JAKE’S DÉTOURNEMENT by Ben Robinson

The concrete slab lies resting at the centre of a clear perspex bowl that had until just now been full to the brim of cake mixture, a potential Victoria sponge whose life is suddenly cut short. As of mere seconds ago, the sugar, eggs, flour, and butter are splattered all over the tabletop and kitchen walls, the encounter played out in a split second flash of joyous rage and violence. The boy’s name is Jake. He was raised in an all-female household with four elder sisters whose relationship with him could best be described as fractious. Ever teased and chided…

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BROWN RECLUSE by Cody Pease

Their arrival to the reception is further delayed when he sees a spider on the tongue of his boot. Both men refuse to wear the boot now. The taller man traps the spider beneath a glass, as his partner tries to decipher what kind of spider it is. A brown recluse. The two men debate on how to dispose of it. The taller man offers to throw the glass far from the house. To let it sit in the snow and melt when spring comes. The shorter man is too kind and stubborn; he does not want the spider to…

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ASSIGNATION by Joshua Hebburn

He bought flowers at the grocery store and put them in a wine bottle with a little water and an aspirin. He put them on the nightstand. There, for her, so the room wouldn’t smell of him.       He took the ingredients from the plastic bag that said, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You in red block font on the side. He took out the butcher block. He smashed, peeled, and chopped the garlic. He halved, skinned, sliced, and chopped the onions. He blinked, he blinked, he blinked. He put the onions in a bowl. He put the…

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BODY BETRAYAL by Crow Jonah Norlander

When I reached the age at which my older friends started to complain about their bodies falling apart, mine really did. My infant son picked up a smooth piece and used it to soothe his gums. My wife palmed another, soft for warmth and whispers. Mom grabbed some with more defined edges to help set up her printer, while one other bit of me barely holding its shape looked on as dad skated around backwards. My boss’s part sat around ignored, waiting to get fired. The chunk of me attending to the Executive Board made the motion to call the…

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MANDALA by Vallie Lynn Watson

He always walked me to my car when I left his house after sex, so stealing his albums was tricky. Not stealing. Borrowing. I started in month two, initially one album at a time, always only the record itself. He’d have to excuse himself to the restroom five or six times an evening, and I’d barefoot across his new carpet to just outside his bedroom, where the shelves began. I would slip an album out of the cover and into my messenger bag, take them home until our next engagement—he usually asked me back within a week—and after sex, put…

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A VERY SHORT STORY ABOUT TWO (THREE) FORMER FRIENDS by Eli S. Evans

On my fortieth birthday, my old friend A– sent me the following message: “Happy birthday, bro. Mark Fisher summited Everest last week.” As Mark Fisher and I hadn’t been friends for at least twenty years, this news was not meaningful to me except in so far as it provided a measure relative to which all of my own accomplishments in life suddenly appeared quite meager. And on the day of my fortieth birthday, no less! In bitterness, I composed the following reply: “That’s cool, but not as cool as when I summited your mom last night,” and only after not…

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THE FULL LENGTH OF THE WALL by Darren Nuzzo and Toddy Smith

I watched him do it—down there in the alley beside our house. “Up to no good,” my wife said. “Can you handle it, Sam?” she asked of me. “I’ll handle it,” I told her. But I just watched. I watched this tall man from our bedroom window standing in the alley, near our things, near my wife’s car she’s almost paid off, near the flowers finally blooming from finger-painted pots, near my daughter’s purple tricycle we won in a raffle just last week, near all the things a husband is supposed to protect. I opened the window and leaned my…

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ALL WORKED UP by Linda McMullen

He often simply appears in my office, insouciant grin and silver hair: “I want to show you something.” In the age of #metoo, he is carefully respectful of a female subordinate. No hands ever touch in the exchange of— A binder with reference documents, paginated and neatly tabbed; a viciously indiscreet email from a colleague; a rare compliment on a memo from his own supervisor… Whatever it is.  For my eyes.   For me. Or: I’ve written his remarks for a major briefing the next day, and he invites me to pull up a chair, next to him, so we can…

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TO TEACH by Tyler Barton

Whenever she passes a picture she’s in, Jewell closes her eyes. She laughs. Jewell’s earlobes are drippingly long, and her granddaughter Tanny would like to see them pierced nine, maybe ten times. This makes Jewell laugh. Jewell has been convinced by friends to join the poetry club, because, they say, Jewell is always finishing their sentences with a slant rhyme, and damnit they want the real thing! Jewell laughs at them. The poetry teacher is a bear of a man at a pottery wheel until Jewell is told he is the pottery teacher. Jewell laughs through her apology. The poetry…

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RESCUE 60640 by Megan Carlson

Google Search History (retrieved 11/14/2019)  How to get salt stain out of Uggs How to make friends How to make friends in your 30s 60640 coffee shop  weather Chicago  60640 coffee shop NOT starbucks negative effects of caffeine alternatives to caffeine benefits of chamomile Making friends at coffee shop  how to talk to strangers how to be less awkward  how to be less intense with new people be less intense  be less  am I too much quiz  liquor store 60640 husband distant my husband is distant what do I do emotional connection in relationship emotional connection in relationship importance Instacart…

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