THE GROOM by Paul Ruta

I just work here, okay, so it weren’t my job to speak up when I dug the ring out of Prince’s hoof with my pick, packed into the groove there with the mud and manure. I stuck it in my pocket and said nothing cause they’d only take it away from me and they got no right. Anyhow it’s just a plain wedding band, but solid gold I reckon, so it’s gonna be worth something.

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THE HUNDRED YEAR PERIOD by Leah Smolin

Today marks my one hundredth anniversary working at the waffle factory. They threw a little party for me in the breakroom—coffee in paper cups, a pink cake with ONE HUNDRED written on it in frosting. My friend Ellie mimed throwing up on the cake. I laughed and covered my mouth with my cup. 

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THE BEGINNING OF DUSK by Jon Berger

Back in high school Jared would come to our lunch table and say the craziest shit to get a laugh out of everyone. We would egg him on and tell him to go to other lunch tables and say the same vile shit.

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SISY WUZ HERE by John Waterfall

The baby never wakes up, no matter how high he throws it, how far he punts it into the strange lunar twilight of Hell. No, it never stirs, despite the whirls and twirls. Through the chops and knocks, baby sleeps on.

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OYSTERS AT THE FAMILY FARM by Jo Unruh

The old say to the young: 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘺𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳. And when the old men speak these words, they are sincere, because the world has been delivered unto them, and the world is now theirs to bestow.

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COBRA by Marcus Ong

At two in the afternoon, she hears a bang like a gunshot. Eugenia peeks out her bedroom window. What’s visible to her: the Tangs’ barbecue pit, their garden shed, their kidney-shaped pool. She counts dead oval leaves trapped on the water.  Must be the Tang brothers lighting firecrackers behind the shed again, she thinks. They’re always plotting to give the birds a heart attack. Forefingers stuffed in her ears, she wonders why the brothers aren’t studying, and from where do they get their sadistic toys? But if the Gohs across the street managed to smuggle in flamingos to chain to…

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POSSUM STORY by Kayla Jean

We were going to scrape that possum off the road because somebody had to do it. That’s what our Dads said, trucks rattling in neighboring driveways, complaining about the borough workers, asking nobody in particular where their taxes went, if not to cleaning up a dead possum right in the middle of the intersection. The Biology teacher had even joked about dissecting it for class, because it was the intersection right next to the high school and so every student and every teacher saw it, curled up and still in the mornings then somehow more freshly dead in the afternoons….

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