November 12, 2019

“No Man’s Ghost” – Chapter 1 – Jason Powell

“No Man’s Ghost” – Chapter 1 – Jason Powell

WHEN THE FIRE STARTED in the Johnsons’ apartment, it probably looked worse than it was. But then it was allowed to spread and became worse than it probably looked. There were a lot of contributing factors to the spreading. The first one, obviously, was the gasoline; but a close second was Mrs. Knudson – the neighbor in apartment 6A next door. She should’ve been the first to call the fire department but at the time of the fire, she closed all of her windows and put a towel at the foot of her door and kept it to herself. She didn’t do those things because of any smoke or heat, she did it because of the sounds of the commotion. To Mrs. Knudson, it sounded like a fight next door and it made her angry….

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November 2, 2019

“In Thought, Word and Deed,” by Jose Oseguera

“In Thought, Word and Deed,” by Jose Oseguera

By the time Paul and Ariela reached the Caravaggio exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, they decided to stop avoiding the urge to hold hands, and finally interlaced fingers. The tingling sensation first came to him when he handed her the red LACMA sticker, she needed to wear in order to be allowed in all the special exhibits. Paul squeezed her hand as if it would fall out of his if he didn’t. She blushed. He smiled, showing more teeth than he’d intended. Paul was born in Mexico, but was adopted as an infant by white evangelical Christian missionaries who decided to bring him home to Rialto, California along with all the goat’s milk candy they could fit in their luggage. Although his parents had tried to instill as much Hispanic culture in him…

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October 21, 2019

“Stan the Sous-Chef,” by Wilson Koewing

“Stan the Sous-Chef,” by Wilson Koewing

Stan the sous-chef turned forty-seven on a Sunday. A fishing rod and an apron were painted in icing on his cake. After his modestly attended party, Stan cleaned streamers off furniture and vacuumed up confetti. When the guests were gone, and Stan knew his wife, Cathy, and his adult son, Jamie, were occupied, he wandered outside and released a happy birthday balloon into the sky. Stan stood in his driveway watching the balloon rise and float away for a very long time. Stan had been given his birthday off at work, the New Orleans Country Club, and since the club is dark on Mondays, Stan received two days off in a row. A phenomenon that had never occurred in the seven years he’d worked there. Taking advantage, Stan enjoyed a quiet day of fishing for…

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August 25, 2019

“Disney Rape and Other Paranoid Ramblings,” a Short Story by Kate Rose

“Disney Rape and Other Paranoid Ramblings,” a Short Story by Kate Rose

The things I want more than anything are the things others want: peace of mind. Friendship. Money, even. That’s the one that gets to me. Oh, maybe they all do. Friendship is hard because there has to be a line. You cannot let the other person take over, but you can’t take over either—you need to dance some kind of dance. Hard. Not knowing. I have a friend whose parents were guerrilla fighters. Like most people, I used to think they were named after the ape—that’s how far I was from their, and his, lived reality. He wonders about the people his mother killed—what it was like for her—before she was dragged away when he was two. He remembers her placing him in the neighbors’ care and never seeing her again. His father didn’t get…

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August 24, 2019

“Castel Gandolfo,” by Susan Taylor Brand

“Castel Gandolfo,” by Susan Taylor Brand

     There are different kinds of parachutes in this world, different ways of escaping a life which resembles a crashing plane, and eight years ago my parachute was taking a quick trip to the Eternal and making that trip last forever. They say a wolf will chew its own leg off to get out of a trap, and I was like that then. But Rome is the perfect place for an American woman remaking herself.        Today my neighborhood is called Colle Albani, White Hills. It’s just by the Aurelian walls, and our mailing address is still Roma.       Only once has the veneer I pulled over my remade life slipped to the side to reveal the truth. The day I’m speaking of, I was walking home after dropping by the…

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August 22, 2019

“Water,” A Fiction by Rob Swigart

“Water,” A Fiction by Rob Swigart

“Water? What do I think about water? I’ll tell you what I think about water.”  Lyman was angry.  The silence went on.  “Well?” Alford prompted. “What do you think about water?” He tried to keep his question flat, so as not to acknowledge Lyman’s fit of pique.  “I try not to,” Lyman said, at last, deflated. He put his head back and closed his eyes.  Alford did not see how this was possible. Lyman sat in it. Or rather, he lay in it. Was lying. He was lying too. Alford knew that as well.  Lyman did not try not to think about water. To try to not think about water would have meant humming meaningless jingles or reciting nursery rhymes or doing advanced algebra in his head or most likely doing nothing but think about not thinking about water, which Lyman, for one, was unprepared…

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August 13, 2019

“The Gift,” A Wry Story by Maureen Crowley

“The Gift,” A Wry Story by Maureen Crowley

     You think you know a person until you have to buy her a gift—then it feels like you don’t know her at all. I realized I didn’t know my roommate Amanda as well as I thought I did, even though we’d been living together for two years. Most of what I had was speculation: she was from some cul-de-sac/suburban utopia where all the houses sit evenly spaced from one another and look pretty much like the builders used a Xerox machine while constructing them. Her mom was the kind of parent who seemed to be heavily involved in the PTA and was the chaperone of every school dance. Amanda probably got her expectations on what romance should be like from watching Disney movies—where happily-ever-after is the end–all, be all. She also didn’t think Nala qualified to…

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August 12, 2019

“The Music Boy,” by Claire Tollefsrud

“The Music Boy,” by Claire Tollefsrud

The Music Boy         He was young and made of sound. Rhythms followed him. They drummed through his fingers on school desks and sang through his dreams while he slept.        His mother was a wildcard who wore her heart on her sleeve. She made sculptures and saw beauty everywhere, raised three boys while finishing her art degree. Many nights the boy slept on the floor of the art building with his brothers, tucked into blankets among the half-finished pieces of desire. So, maybe music was in his skin. And perhaps it also crept into his soul on those nights, like creativity tends to do.        The boy was made of different mettle. It took him some time to find his way into the hearts of other people, but the melodious metronome in the back…

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July 28, 2019

“The Kraken,” A Tale of the Sea by Kimberley M. Munsamy

“The Kraken,” A Tale of the Sea by Kimberley M. Munsamy

Daniel Dlamini, a postgraduate student in marine biology at the University of Cape Town, switched on his laptop and checked his email. It was a daily routine. He would get fried hake, thick-cut chips, and a cheap beer from the cart parked outside the harbor, dine on the edge of his boat while the sky darkened from summer to winter blue, then check his email. His mentor, Dr. Samson Saris, was on an expedition and was due to have his reserves restocked, but two months had passed and Saris could not be reached.   When Daniel checked his email an hour later, there was a new message in his inbox. With quivering lips and frenzied eyes, he clicked on the link and watched the first video attached to the email.   **  He adjusted the camera mounted to the dashboard, smiled broadly,…

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July 21, 2019

” To Whom It May Concern” A Short Story by Claire Sartin

” To Whom It May Concern” A Short Story by Claire Sartin

I am dressed my best to do it, if that helps: a classy dress with large floral black and white print that falls just below my knees.  It is strapless with a sweetheart neckline, the kind that looks good on everyone.  I must have bought the dress for a special occasion, but I found it shoved in the back of my closet, unworn, tags still attached.  The dress makes it appear less meaningless.  I didn’t know of my attacker until after it happened.  I didn’t even realize it had happened until months later.  When I woke up there was just one man standing by the bed.  I heard a variety of beeps all around me and a faint consistent ticking sound that seemed to be coming either from right below my head or inside my ear.  I opened my eyes and stared up at a white…

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