March 15, 2021

“In the Hotel Room with Arles,” by Jeffrey Boldt

“In the Hotel Room with Arles,” by Jeffrey Boldt

1.  I first met Arlene Henson in law school. She’d been a teacher for twenty years and was in her early forties—which made her nearly twenty years older than me, and most of the rest of our class. But Arlene was still youthful and fun, and I never thought of her age as a significant factor in our friendship.   Her face had the gentle and patient look which you’d want to see on your favorite teacher, but it was also quick to flash into an ironic smile and even a dismissive, almost-cynical laugh.  Arlene was recently divorced from a Geography professor and she was attending law school on her share of the sale of their house in Milwaukee.   She’d been a collegiate swimmer, and still did triathlons; she often came to class in tight fitting athletic outfits which hugged her trim figure and still drew plenty of attention from young men half her…

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February 16, 2021

“Soliloquy in Blue,” A Short Story by Johan Alexander

“Soliloquy in Blue,” A Short Story by Johan Alexander

Did she say something?  Did I say something?   Her brow illuminates under the streetlights and pulses with the beat of the windshield wipers. She won’t look at me: her eyes flash sequins at the sidewalk. Droplets floating, floating: translucent globes hanging in space. Then they burst apart.   She shakes her hair and I can no longer see her eyes.   Rain: I yawn through the misty rhythm. My eyes close continuously. Headlights and streetlights mix in the distance and through the murk I wonder when things started to go off course.  We had danced together, squeezing particles of music from our sweatshirts. Then we ate at the Greasy Spoon, where she said it.   The air between us is a stale sponge unable to soak up all these discarded feelings. Damp inside the car and heavy on my eyelids. I try to blink.   The tires below us slime their way through the night.  She sits in the passenger seat, staring straight ahead.   What`s the point?  She glances over, a quick reflex of her neck, surprised. I realize I have mumbled my thoughts aloud. Beads of sweat wander across my hairline. I keep my face forward.   She turns away. Again.  I roll down my window an inch. I open my mouth. A few raindrops land on my tongue. …

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September 6, 2020

“Yodeling in the City” A Short Story by Marc Littman

“Yodeling in the City” A Short Story by Marc Littman

“No more yodeling, John, I can’t stand it!” Joan clutched her ears like she was clinging to a stout tree in a hurricane.  I peered at my wife’s pained visage, a face that after 40 years I no longer tried to spare any torment, and shrugged.   “Maybe I’m calling out to you, if only you could hear.”  “Like I’m a fat cow in the Alps and you’re a shepherd?!” Joan cried. “We live in New York, John. People don’t yodel in the city.”     Peering through our expansive windows at a Matterhorn of concrete, I started to warble but stifled the urge. Taking a different tack, I pivoted to confront Joan.  “Elmer does.”  “Elmer’s a peasant, he belongs in the Alps. He and Julie Andrews can sing their hearts out!” Joan volleyed back. I took a hit but stood my ground.  “Yodeling is more than singing, Joan. The subtle pitches and measured breathing, it calms me, and it reminds me of our younger days. Remember when we used to…

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August 24, 2020

“The Beholder,” A Short Story by Fiama Mastrangelo

“The Beholder,” A Short Story by Fiama Mastrangelo

You blink your eyes open and stretch your arms above your head.  You’re wearing an extra-large cotton t-shirt this morning—one that you got for free in your freshman year and never threw out.  Your dark brown hair is splayed out on the pillowcase and is exceptionally messy.  I wonder if you were feeling lazy or if you just didn’t care what I would think when you decided on this look last night.  We can work on that.  I watch you get up and move into the bathroom.  I can hear you washing your face, brushing your teeth.  You turn on the shower and the noise of running water fills the room.  No steam, it’s cold water.  Hot water will age you, remember?  I wouldn’t like that at all.      I told you that your legs felt prickly last night.  I wonder if you remember that this morning, while you…

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August 6, 2020

“Party Boy,” A Short Story by Lee Anderson

“Party Boy,” A Short Story by Lee Anderson

I’m alone at a charity event in Patricia Yeo’s new Midtown eatery. Shirtless, chiseled busboys and lanky, large-breasted servers run lightly about the restaurant, carrying trays the size of manhole covers. The place is gold-trimmed and supported by Roman columns but a terrible place to have a party. Not enough room. We’re ass-to-hip in here practically.    I meet gazes with Celine about ten minutes after I arrive. She approaches me without hesitation. I actually don’t think she’s ever hesitated a day in her life. “Uh-oh,” she says. “Lazarus Fucking Cooper. Is that you?”  “Last I checked.”  “Well, there’s no telling what’s going to happen now.”  “We’ll have to be careful.”   “Yeah, you attract bad energy. I’m a lily caught in the rapids with you.”  “I see you haven’t changed.”  “Does anyone?”  A hyper-paced metal song begins growling from heightened speakers,…

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July 21, 2020

Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

Kira Rice-Christianson — Six Poems

Little White Lies     I started carrying around   these little white lies;   they live here on my face.   Like when I ask you a question and   your answer seems ingenuine but   I smile at you softly, anyway.   Or when I fix you a plate  and you give me your thanks,  and I kiss the side of your head.   While inside I scold   the woman who does as she’s told,   though I lay with her each night in bed.   Or when you don’t come home  for three nights in a row  and I lay awake cracking my knuckles and toes.  I picture her holding your body, unclothed.  The thought leaves me paranoid,   and I look through your phone.   I shouldn’t have done that, now I can’t sleep.   My body is filled with anxiety and heat.   I…

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July 16, 2020

“Knowing,” A Short Story by Jarrett Mazza

“Knowing,” A Short Story by Jarrett Mazza

SOMETIMES I WAKE UP AND forget where I am or how I arrived. We often wonder about our personal truths, our pilgrimages that help us to see who, what we are. At night, when I’m sleeping next to her, I sometimes roll quietly out of bed and stumble into the kitchen to shake off the nightmares I’ve had. I’m bleeding in each one. I can assemble so many pieces of my life and merge them meticulously together and take some time to assess how it’s all going to work before I get back to bed. But we can’t change overnight. We just need time. I suppose the lowest moment, the moments where you could say I wish I was saved became increasingly more frequent. Alone in my two-bedroom loft, before I met her, I found…

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June 22, 2020

“Up There” — Three Poems by Chad W. Lutz

“Up There” — Three Poems by Chad W. Lutz

Up There      this one goes out   to anyone that’s   ever made me feel   I wasn’t enough    or     felt they were too good  & drifted away    I remember   we fucked   in the auditorium       your idea       & how carnal &   playful you were    wore a skirt  and it hurt  but I’ll admit  I wasn’t ready    here’s   to the loves   that didn’t last  couldn’t last  it’s all in the past now  but I still daydream  time to time    Acan Glaske  big border  you know what that means  government shutdowns  partisan bickering  sniveling banter  back and forth we go    the first settlers  built walls around their encampments  wanted to keep the threats out    the Lakota  the Apache  the Comanche  they lived on the open range  in communion with nature …

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May 28, 2020

“Mutt and Jeff,” A Short Story by Robert Pope

“Mutt and Jeff,” A Short Story by Robert Pope

Friends who knew us back in the day called us Mutt and Jeff. We had buddy tattoos on our biceps, cartoon characters: Jeff tall in an orange striped suit and fedora, with a mustache like mine, Mutt short, with mutton chops, dark suit and top hat. I never told Tina, my second wife, why I had the tattoo because I got into bad habits with Mick a year into my first marriage. I wanted him nowhere near me and Tina, until the bad times hit.   We had funny hours, Tina and I. She sold real estate, I worked from home, free-lancing web sites, buying and selling, investing. We made decent money, unpredictable, sure, but we talked about having a kid. That dropped off when things cooled in the bedroom. One Saturday, I drove by an open house to say hello when I saw her on the porch, talking with a younger guy in dark slacks, blue shirt. He had dark hair, styled, real regular white teeth.     I put it out of my mind overnight. We had a nice dinner, and off she went…

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February 25, 2020

“Broken Hearts & Dead Flowers,” by Michael Summerleigh

“Broken Hearts & Dead Flowers,” by Michael Summerleigh

BROKEN HEARTS & DEAD FLOWERS (February 1970 – upstate New York)  Josh stepped out into the beginning of the day, heard the steel door slam behind him as he pitched the black garbage bag into the dumpster.  He checked the door once to make sure it had locked, buttoned his denim jacket up around the paper sack of unsold apple crisps and burgers, jammed his hands down into the pockets of his jeans.  It had been a slow shift, some heavy wind and a couple of inches of snow discouraging the stoners from boarding the Midnight Munchie train that usually kept the Jack-in-the-Box busy through the night. He’d sent Kyle and Donnie home at two, started shutting everything down around three-thirty. . .picking up wax paper burger wraps and empty Zig Zag sleeves in the small…

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