July 27, 2020

“Departure,” A Short Story by Bari Lynn Hein

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“Departure,” A Short Story by Bari Lynn Hein

When Chelsea stepped off the school bus on her last day of kindergarten, she handed me a construction-paper card shaped like a necktie. “This is for you, Mommy,” she said. With pink and yellow tempera paint she had filled the tie with flowers, and with black she’d placed the letters M and O over the preprinted F and A in FATHER. I understood, in that moment, that the next two and a half months were to be treasured, that my days of unfettered freedom with Chelsea would be finite.  Eventually, I moved the card from my refrigerator to a box on a shelf above my desk. In the years that followed, I added more treasures to the box: a seashell that Chelsea had found at the shore, a rubber Minnie Mouse and Canadian coins from our trips to Disney World and Niagara Falls, a…

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July 23, 2020

“Captain,” A Short Story by Zach Piggott

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“Captain,” A Short Story by Zach Piggott

The pulsing woke him up from his deep sleep. He hated those blaring alarms and had opted years ago for the pulse. It did him wonders back then. Now he hated feeling it. He hoped for a morning where he wouldn’t feel it.  He groaned, moving his body under the covers. His fingertips grazed the cool metal that had become familiar to him over the past weeks. He swung his feet over the side, his weary green eyes half opened. Where a partner should’ve been had been empty for six years. Too committed to the military. It was just another excuse. The routine was the same since he had gotten home from his deployment: breakfast, shower, shave, dress and wait. Sometimes he waited all day with nothing happening. Other times he received phone calls. Once or twice he was ushered…

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July 16, 2020

“Knowing,” A Short Story by Jarrett Mazza

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“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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July 6, 2020

“The Life and Death of Arthur Miller,” by Andrew Lafleche

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“The Life and Death of Arthur Miller,” by Andrew Lafleche

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ARTHUR MILLER or, Damnationem Vita et Humani Conditione  Fourteen days after Arthur Miller’s sixteenth birthday, both his parents were killed in an automobile accident when a drunken driver swerved into their lane as they returned home from a night at the theater. Their deaths occurred instantly, and to that effect, neither were able to be presented with an open coffin at their post-life nuptials. The last time Arthur saw his parents alive was in the moments following Sunday dinner, his mother in a dress, glowing, his father dressed handsomely, saying, “When you finally meet the woman who makes the world stand still, son, don’t ever quit doing for her what you did at the start. That way there will never be an end.”  Arthur clung to these words in the weeks that followed. He clung to everything…

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June 28, 2020

“Countdown to Romance,” by Glen Donaldson

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“Countdown to Romance,” by Glen Donaldson

Amid the din of busy Grinders Coffee Shop, silence like the centre of a hurricane enveloped them both. “Could this honestly get any suckier?” Fergus wondered to himself as he grasped his own sweaty, nervous fingers under the table, yanking then releasing them one after the other.  Sitting opposite him was his first meeting date, Willow. She’d said she was 27. She was not only wearing “awkward” like it was her own exclusive fashion label but by this stage had taken to incessant hair-twirling in an effort to get through the dead air and lumbering silences that felt by now to them both as long as a freight train.  Fergus commenced quietly tapping his Ray-Bans on the marble coffee table, being careful not to disturb the two polished silver stir-stick containers that rested in the centre; the same ones he’d positioned and repositioned more than a dozen times.  Like a finger-drumming leopard straining on…

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June 18, 2020

“Ave Maria on the Moon,” by Frank Diamond

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“Ave Maria on the Moon,” by Frank Diamond

Desperation birthed the plan, if you want to call it a birth, and if you want to call it a plan. NASA threw us at the Moon; a Hail Mary pass for world peace, of all clichés. Look how that turned out.  I, Chuck Dunn, now sit at the entrance to the cave-complex at the base of the Marius Hills, behind the screen—or the veil, as we on the mission nicknamed it. The Moonscape stretches before me like an addict’s vision of the Arizona desert: rock formations back-lean as the dinosaurs might have while gazing at the arrival of their extinction event. Further beyond, the cloaked range dead-stops at the horizon. The Earth hovers between two cupped peaks; a raised blue Communion host. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death,…

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June 15, 2020

“You vs. the Apocalypse,” by Ayman Elsayed

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“You vs. the Apocalypse,” by Ayman Elsayed

TITLE: You vs. The Apocalypse  GENRE: Legal, Simulation, Strategy  DEVELOPER: COVID-19  FRANCHISE: Pandemic Interactive  PUBLISHER: Ayman Elsayed  RELEASE DATE: March 15, 2020    The handling of the end of the world is on trial. Your only mission is to survive. Overcome struggles such as mental health, physical isolation and deteriorating resources by interacting with technology. Engage with others. Find a hobby. Judge your community. Protect yourself from yourself.    Single-player  Achievements  Full Remote Compatibility    RECENT REVIEWS: Very Negative. 99.9% of the 7,729,536,211 user reviews in the last 30 days are negative.    Popular user-defined tags for this product: Closed World, Survival Horror, RPG, Retro, Sandbox, Social Distancing, Crafting, Souls-like    —————————————————————————————————————–    _________    / ======= \    / __________\    | ___________ |    | |         | |    | |  START  | |   …

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June 9, 2020

“The Alarming Misadventures of Henry’s Continuing E.D.,” by Len Messineo

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“The Alarming Misadventures of Henry’s Continuing E.D.,” by Len Messineo

“Have you no sense of humor?” Sylvia says. Earlier in the evening, she had jokingly referred to Henry—who suffers from male-pattern baldness—as “Cue Ball” in front of their friends at the Eagle Cove Yachting Club.  Now Henry is sulking. He might have been a good sport about it, but Henry, an engineer having a keen intelligence for machines, has none for humans, especially Silvia. He reasons, falsely, that if only he could grow hair, he would escape his wife’s withering remarks.  So, Henry sees his family doctor. The doctor writes him a prescription for Propecia.  By now we’ve all seen the ads on television for the newly FDA-approved medication. A soft lulling music plays while a voice-over—as consoling as a funeral counselor—reads a list of possible contraindications: drowsiness, burning, tingling sensations, difficult bowel movements, seizures, and on and on with the tag…

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June 3, 2020

“The Outing,” A Short Story by Lee Marc Stein

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“The Outing,” A Short Story by Lee Marc Stein

They found his body at 5:00 am at the bottom of the stairs leading down from the sports deck to the pool. Claire Warner hears the announcement at 8:00 in her stateroom as she is curling her hair. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain. As some of you may already know, the body of our distinguished guest lecturer, Francesco Carlucci, was found this morning by our First Officer Paul Cornelius. We are guessing that Professor Carlucci missed a step, fell down the flight and hit his head. When we reach port in 30 minutes, an official Medical Examiner will come onboard to determine the actual cause of death. We promise to keep you informed.” Her husband was doing laps around the sports deck now. With the iPod blasting in his ear, he probably didn’t…

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May 28, 2020

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

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“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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