SAN ANTONIO by Saul Lemerond

The piglet was pink, but not the regular pink that you expect piglets to be. This was the sort of glowing, warm pink that only exists in Disney movies. God, the little animal was so cute Yancy wanted to squeeze the thing to death. Wanted to squeeze it ‘til its head popped off its precious little body.  Yancy’s friends Tim and John think this too. He is so lucky, they think as they stand beside him wishing they could also have one. They’d all been on their way to the Riverwalk but now no longer care.   Yancy reaches out a…

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HAP’S by Wilson Koewing

Harry and Al were at the bar when I showed for my six o’clock at Hap’s. A young couple smoked in the back booth; a bluish cloud hovered over them. Four roughs fresh off a rig huddled around bottles at a tall table. Decent crowd all told.  I prefer showing at six instead of four. It’s hard on Huck since I’m here until two, but the four to twelve loses late-night tips and four to six isn’t money anyway.  That time of evening the sun cuts sharp angles across the bar so bad you can’t sit some places. I ducked…

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DEAR SOPHIE by Emma Brankin

Dear Sophie, Congratulations on the happiness. Love, Amy Delete.   Dear Sophie, You look so in love. I love the dress, love the shoes, love the veil! I wish you a lifetime of love. Love, Amy Delete.   Dear Sophie, How did you lose so much weight? I thought you were off coke. I have collarbone envy. Love, Amy Delete.   Dear Sophie, Your pictures are deluding me into believing there is a Prince Charming out there for each of us. I want what you have. Seriously. Love, Amy Delete.   Dear Sophie, I’m typing this from the comfort of…

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HOME AT LAST by Greg Oldfield

The first Monday with our rescue Allosaurus Mix, I stopped home for lunch and found the ottoman in pieces. Splintered wood, strips of chewed leather, and stuffing littered the family room with a trail of buttons behind the couch. “Max has to stay in the crate,” I said to Steph on the phone while Max was playing tug of war with my suit pants. “But Max is only a baby,” she said.  “Babies need rules, too.”  “They also need nurturing and a room with a view. Max can’t even see out the window.” That night, after I lugged to the…

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LUMPS by Sean Littlefield Chumley

Unlike most people who live near restaurants, I never visit the fast-food place next to my house. Chunkee’s looks like any other corporate restaurant. The shellacked exterior, the vibrant sign a mile high announcing its presence like a lighthouse, the drive-thru menu with its voice-box speaker. I’ve never seen a Chunkee’s anywhere else, and I’ve never seen a commercial for one, and I don’t know what kind of food they serve other than fast. The sign doesn’t give much away. I watch it change every day, but the bottom always says NO BURGERS HERE!!!!!! From the window next to my…

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SEISMOLOGY by James Sullivan

In 2011 I was in a 3-tatami room.  * That means a tall man can lie down only in one direction.  * How do we measure a room? A living space? I don’t know the square footage of my Minnesota apartment. Only that it’s the smallest in this building, maybe the smallest anywhere in town. But when my neighbor moved out and my landlord offered me his place (“It’s a lot more spacious, maybe $10 more a month.”), I didn’t even look before deciding against it. * You never know when you’ll need that money. For supplies. For an extra…

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DOG TRACING by Mike Andrelczyk

I just remembered a maintenance man I used to work with who said he liked to get drunk and trace his dog on big sheets of paper and his garden was lined with pieces of broken hotel sinks. I just remembered this. Out of nowhere. When things come into your mind from out of nowhere it’s like looking at the outline of a dog on a piece of paper. The dog is gone, but its shape is there. This is a memory. Imagine one of those shitty video dissolving effects now.  ….     ….        …. OK. I was standing in the…

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WHEELS by D. T. Robbins

Fat-boy Brad, the same Brad who went, Hey, Cheese Factory!, to me on the bus because my teeth are a little yellow, stood in the middle of the street with Chris, the same Chris who almost drowned me in his pool last summer showing me what a washing machine was (you flip someone over and over and over and over until they can’t catch their breath and they start to cry and someone’s mom comes out and yells, What the hell are you doing to that boy?), looking at my bike, telling me how fucking gay it is because it’s…

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NO, YEAH. by Erin Gallagher

“You can play games or you can end it and move on.” Lit by twinkly string lights atop a shiny marble counter, apparently we’re not fucking around anymore. Soft pink and blue bulbs create a calm ambiance, steam rises from big porcelain mugs of herbal tea, and we are sparing no emotional expense. Play games: win, lose, flip your phone upside-down and wait two hours, three hours, reciprocate every unit of time you’ve ever waited, multiplied by three. We’re not talking about me (this time), and my advice is out of character, it’s…hopeful:  “Yeah, no, maybe just act as you…

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MEMORY PALACE AS MAZE by Kate Tooley

“Words fail…” No one says that anymore, but sometimes she still thinks it. She hears it in her mother’s squeaky, horsehair voice, the one that meant sarcasm: when her father put all the pots and pans in the oven to “clean them,” when the neighbor dressed her Persian cat in a tutu…But that’s not the only time words fail—quick footsteps behind her at two a.m., Ginny waving from airport pick-up after two months in Tucson, her dog’s muscles going slack before the vet has finished emptying the syringe—these are also things that cause a blank space, a lapse in words….

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