NOT TO BE by Mars Girolimon

I’m in class reading Hamlet and contemplating suicide on a cliffside. Reciting poetic verses about family curses and hiding behind a curtain with a knife. My phone buzzes, and I lean forward to read something out of a Shakespearean tragedy. She killed someone. The words glow like the flame of a lit match and I spring from my desk chair, repelled by their heat. Faces swivel toward me, judgement radiating from their eyes. I’m an injured animal at the center of a swarm about to be mauled by my own pack. My heartbeat radiates in my ears: glove to a…

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TWO MICROS by Grace Q. Song

MAGICIAN’S HAT You find an upside-down magician’s hat on a table. It’s made of velvet, smooth as moonlight between your fingers, and a stripe, broad and white, wraps around its base. No one’s around. The first thing you pull out is a wand. Next, a deck of fresh cards. Pigeons and rabbits who disappear into the dark corners of the room. These are ordinary things you’d expect to find in a magician’s hat, nothing too surprising. So, you keep pulling and pulling, magic trick after magic trick, until things finally begin. The twenty-fifth item is a red Starburst, followed by…

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THE WOODHOUSES, THE MARITAL BED IS LAVA, SLEEPWALKING by Ariel Clark-Semyck

the woodhouses “greensleeves” floats through the halls of the high-rise & stops in for the showing.  the new tenants are young & comely.  they pay no mind to the plea of the piano or the hospital stretcher rounding the corner.  the woman’s blonde hair curls inward at the ends, teasing the tip of her heart-shaped face.  the man wears a powder blue linen suit & slaps her ass while the realtor isn’t looking.  they each excrete a gasp when they see the living room.  they make a show of admiring the antiques, the burgundy drapes.  they take a thoughtful glance…

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CLUTCHING by Melanie Maggard

Maybe you’re off the highway, cleaning out the deep fryer at a bowling alley in a college town in Virginia, the alleged state for lovers. You’re a boy in jeans and a Fresh Prince t-shirt, a short apron splattered with an eagle rising from a pool of blood. Townies and good ol’ boys order deep-fried chicken wings, burgers, nachos with canned cheese sauce the color of cantaloupes. They heehaw, drunk on Buds and Jim Beam, high on the split they just picked up in the last frame. You cringe with each dropped “g,” but we’re all dying, anyway. You’ve dropped…

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THREE MICRO FICTION PIECES by Cressida Blake Roe

Apocalypse Needs a More Exciting Plural Form Proposition One: The plural form of apocalypse isn’t nuclear fallout, environmental degradation, contagions, Horseman, acts of God, or St John’s Revelations. Instead, it sounds more like a woman fleeing in broken counterpoint to the screech of subway brakes and takes the shape of a fist slamming through a wall two inches from a child’s head: finales too small for the tabloid headlines, too colossal for folding away between pages, out of sight. *** The train didn’t stop in time. They said she didn’t mean to die. Her husband thought, in front-page letters three…

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IF YOU CAN, LISTEN by Jake McAuliffe

First off, endings are quiet. As something/somelove dies, a spacetime wound will appear to you and crickets will come out. They will flood your ears and tickle your canals like cotton. Some cheeky crickety fucks are going to use your body as a musical instrument. This is normal. I think every bone and pipe inside the human body was placed on purpose. You may have heard the theory of “intelligent design” but try this: crickets frisking your insides for anything that can shake the air. That’s music, baby. And that’s how tinnitus comes about. It’s insects. It’s our slow air…

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NAVIS by DM O’Connor

Tricky Dicky Manure, my first boss, said the raccoons on Lake Huron were dexterous enough to pick bicycle locks with their fingernails. He paid three fifteen an hour. His desk sat in the corner of a steel Quonset ex-military hangar which could hold every boat in the harbour in winter and only the coolest air in summer. Atop the desk: a hammer and a dictionary. Tricky Dicky liked shade, hated sweat.  My interview was to fill the diesel mower without spilling a drop. One drop and you’re gone. Raccoon nails can cut a flap in a screen easier than a…

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FOUR STORIES by Joe Aguilar

Face Tattoo I get a tattoo of my face over my face. Now my face looks even more like my face. It’s my face twice over. My wife asks me if I’m in a good mood because today I look brighter than ever. I tell her yes. It’s true. I’m true. My truest face.     The Man with the Tiger’s Head Who Answers Phones I have a human body and a tiger’s head. People stare at me on the train. I avoid their eyes. I answer phones at the company that makes weapons. Nobody sees me over the phone….

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CHASE by Frankie McMillan

Mr Whippy here and there, up the street, down the street, swerving his pink and cream van to avoid a dog, Mr Whippy his face emperor white, hunched over the wheel wondering what dogs want with Mr Whippy. Mr Whippy glancing in the rear vision mirror, kids still chasing him on bikes, their heads ducked under the handlebars, a mother jogging with a baby on her hip, ice cream, ice cream but Mr Whippy is wrecked, days leaning out his window, handing out cones with the perfect pointy top, pulling on levers, eyes squinting in the bright sun. his ears ringing. Mr…

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