ABANDONED TOYS ‘R’ US LOVE STORY/ABANDONED SPORTS WORLD LOVE STORY by Jordan Hayward

abandoned toys ‘r’ us love story stone cold steve austin sits unaccompanied by a military grade transport vehicle, unflinching in someone’s captured breath, hidden amongst a dark spot on a crowded aisle, watchful and waiting beneath elsa’s hollow glare and woeful pale complexion. piped music aches in surges from corners and unmarked spaces in the ceiling, whispering ‘so many times’ or ‘say you were the only / toy for me’ underneath ruptured squeezes from a presumably cheap keyboard. aisles creak with age, while skateboards precariously occupy spaces in plain view. the ghost walks with a wry shuffle from sports to…

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A WANTED WOMAN by Paul Beckman

I told him not to call anymore so he started sending me postcards. I had my lawyer tell his lawyer onay on the postcards or any mail. Then the texts started. This time we went to court and the judge gave him a restraining order and we left figuring that was that and no more and good riddance to bad rubbish but the planes started flying low and slow pulling messages—I Love U— I Miss U, etc. So it was back to court and the judge threatened him good and added planes to the list and threw in drones for…

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I AM SPACE MAN by Amanda Tu

I used to think my greatest challenge as a writer was identifying, in the most precise possible terms, how I feel. Most of the time, though, I know what I feel. This is palpable when I am stricken by an emotion I’ve lived through before. No matter how traumatic the sensation—the icy terror of being found cheating on a sixth grade reading quiz calling to mind the chilling shame three years earlier when my dad caught me illicitly scratching off a lottery ticket—there is comfort in believing that feelings are drawn from a massive, but ultimately finite, palette. Perhaps the…

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JUST MARRIED ON BRIGHTON PIER by Tomas Marcantonio

The two women with blood sprinklers in their eyes stood at the railings and looked down at the water. It churned about like great whips of cream under a lazy spoon, throwing petulant fountains of oyster salt over the groynes. Foam bubbled at the shore when it came in with the morning tide and seagulls barked at the brooding ceiling of grey. The flags along the pier whipped against their poles with heavy slaps. ‘The doughnuts are smaller than they used to be,’ Poppy said. She brushed the sugar from her fingers and fished the pebble from her pocket, a…

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MARBLES by Bram Riddlebarger

“Sit down and take a load off,” said Jack. “We’ve been working like the queen’s bees.” “Yeah,” said Tommy. He was tired. “Which one did you go out on today, Tommy? I thought I saw that #4 sagging a little.” Jack wasn’t joking. Tommy was real fat. He was tired, too. “No,” said Tommy. “I stayed on shore and flirted with that cute little Amy. The one with only one eye. Besides that, she’s real cute.” “Are you shitting me?” “Nope,” said Tommy. They drank warm beer out of brown bottles. Jack couldn’t believe this Tommy. “Hitting on the ladies,…

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SISTERS ARE NOT DOGS by Chelsea Houghton

My sister ran away when she was fifteen. She disagreed with my parents about something – she’d been a bad girl most likely, I don’t know, I was too young to be included. We’d never really got along. I was happy, it was quiet without her. No bitching or barking in the middle of the night. Always taking the best bits and leaving me with the scraps. We didn’t hear from her for weeks. She’d been sleeping in friend’s rooms, once in a neighbour’s garage. She was fed and cared for from place to place, until her friend’s parents found…

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THE FLASH FLOOD by Gregg Williard

The flash flood made it impossible to drive home. She had to leave her car in a Walgreens parking lot and walk the rest of the way. Later she heard that someone was washed away when he left his car. She’d been guiding her boyfriend home, trying to avoid the worst streets, though she didn’t know what was and wasn’t impassible and could only describe the google street map of the area. He made another turn but couldn’t see the street sign. Then his phone died. Before it gave out he thought he saw something big and white bobbing in…

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