WHAT COMES ALONG by Henry Gifford

An arachnid in the corner carefully traipses through the crack, under where the baseboard just fails to meet the worn and oaky floor. He weaves himself, and step by step by step times eight he finds himself new diversions: a knot in the hidden wood or a crumb that’s been swept into his corner by the fat old man who comes and goes every morning and night and sleeps on the thin bed that doesn’t quite carry him. With these he can make a day last longer or shorter, go faster or slower, all depending on what he wants. He…

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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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VÉRTIGO by Salvatore Difalco

Juan rose to pee in pitch darkness, his eyes fluttering. He found the toilet, but peed all over the unraised seat, splashing his shins and toes. Catching jeweled glints of chrome and glass, his eyes oriented to the darkness. Incomprehensible, his next move—he lurched right, toward the bathtub, and not left toward the door, which led to his bedroom. The shins, bright with urine, walloped the side of the bathtub and his body pitched forward. A reflexive extension of his arms kept him from face-planting the tub. Swollen and contused, the left shin blazed to the touch. Juan screamed and…

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PUNKER by Kevin Bigley

Leslie stalked the stage with the palpable anxiety of a mountain lion locked in an exhibit. His shoulders were hunched, guitar still echoing the final chord from the previous song, his face bleeding rivers of perspiration. He slithered from end to end, fighting existential hysteria. “Play ‘Ready to Go’!” cried a fan near the lip of the stage. “Come on, dude. Play it!” Leslie ignored the fervent fan, wiping his damp forehead with his already drenched t-shirt. He sweat profusely, battling his intense flu-symptoms. He had a fever of one hundred and two degrees. His stomach flipped like a rabid…

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THE MID-SOUTHERN WORD FOR DEATH IS EDUCATION by Cary Stough

I grieve that grief ~ Today, when I was being caught up on the news of whether or not my cousin Brian had accepted therapeutic treatment upon being released from the White Oak Psychiatric Hospital, my mother called him a “stubborn soul.” Today was a week after he had called every member of his family speaking of ending his life. A week before when I had spoken to her about the calls every member of my family received I was sitting in a black wooden chair in my partner’s apartment in Allston, Massachusetts, which is about a twenty-minute walk from…

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KENTUCKY SHITS by Giovanni DeJaneiro

Steven lived alone in a small house on a cattle ranch at the bottom of a hidden valley.  He didn’t have city water, air conditioning, or internet. The kitchen stank. Empty beers crowded the table and counters and stovetop.  A flyswatter hung on the wall—flies hummed through the air. Dishes towered in the sink. Bright orange slime curdled in a dirty saucer, seemingly the source of the hideous reek. He inflated a mattress in the family room, where a floral couch faced a huge wood stove.  Grains of rice, toenail clippings, bottle caps, and dirty tissues overspread the coffee table….

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EXCERPT FROM “COLLEGE NOVEL” by Blake Middleton

The next day around 6:00 p.m. Jordan drove to the corner store near his apartment and bought a Peach Cisco. He drove down I-95 with the windows down and drank Cisco and listened to Propagandhi. In the song the lead singer sang about sticking an American flag up someone’s asshole. In the parking lot of Eric’s complex Jordan sat in his car and swallowed an Adderall then drank some Cisco. He walked toward Eric’s apartment. All the apartments looked the same. People were starting to come home from work. Jordan walked up the stairs to the third floor. He knocked…

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MILK by Michael Mungiello

I’m on my way to mom’s apartment. * I’m at mom’s apartment. Wow, nice. She’s really spruced up the place. Mom? I’m in here! Down the hallway, wood floor, wood walls, wood doors, wood frames around photos (of me as a baby, me at my wedding, none in between); plants. Mom? Kitchen. Mom’s cluttered kitchen, Tchotchke salt shakers, detergent blue water sitting in the sink, a mini-TV in the corner and a little man saying in the Voice of Concern A Storm Is Coming. I look at the whole scene through the linty light coming through mom’s drawn translucent curtains….

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NINE STORIES by Edward Mullany

Bay Ridge I’d fallen off my barstool and had been helped back up onto it by the man who’d been sitting next to me and who was laughing at me, or with me, as I was laughing at myself, though this man wasn’t someone I’d known before I’d entered the bar that afternoon, several hours earlier, when I’d found myself on the street on which it was located, having walked a long way, without much purpose or direction, from the neighborhood in which my apartment was, and in which I’d been arguing with the person with whom I’d been living…

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CHERYL by Michael Seymour Blake

There was a loud crash outside the apartment. We were in bed talking about leaving the city just as we always had around ten p.m. every night for the past million years. I’d bring up a photo of some paradise with green grass and a nice big blue sky, no skyscrapers or office buildings in sight, and Terry would go, “Yep, that’s the place for us,” and then we’d settle back into our misery and forget all about it. I was delinquent with two of my loans, Terry took a pay cut to save her job, and we had a…

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