February 25, 2020

“Broken Hearts & Dead Flowers” by Michael Summerleigh

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“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 dining area…

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February 11, 2020

“Designer Baby” by Joann Mead

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“Designer Baby” by Joann Mead

Designer Baby: Underlying Crimes  Chapter 1  My Mai    “You are mine. You are my Mai.” He chuckled. “Mai, Mai.” Repeating over and over, he laughed at his alliteration as he clapped his short, thick hands in time with his rhythmic chant.  “Only tonight. No rough stuff. Just what we agreed, Vlad. Promise?” For Mai Tran, this business has rules that must be followed. Her patrons were usually compliant. Most were lonely businessmen with too much money and time on their hands. Most had pedestrian tastes. But this client was not typical—more brutish and less refined than the Scandinavian men, and with none of the sophistication of western Europeans.   Mai keenly observed the differences in her clients. She was a quick study. This patron was decidedly coarse with his disheveled hair and beefy body. She comically thought the size of…

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February 9, 2020

“Surgeon General’s Warning” by A. R. Farina

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“Surgeon General’s Warning” by A. R. Farina

When the warning first appeared, we were already addicts. It was total and complete saturation. I never knew anyone who wasn’t using although, I found out later, some people weren’t. The kids who were fed free lunch used. My parents used. Hell, they were worse than anyone I knew. All the parents were terrible. There was an old jokey Public Service Announcement that came from when my grandparents were young about a kid doing drugs because he learned it from watching his dad. I saw it a few times as a meme. “I learned it from watching you, Dad!” It would be funny if it weren’t so true. The morning the warning came down, I was in school. First-period classes had just begun when the smartboard turned on. Like every other morning, Jake, the admin…

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February 2, 2020

“The Answer,” a Short Story by A. Richard Sogliuzzo

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“The Answer,” a Short Story by A. Richard Sogliuzzo

A heavy snowfall blanketed Manhattan; a fierce wind blew over the Hudson River across the West Side. Gusts of snow twirled, twisted and sped toward Central Park. Downtown, offices closed early, rivers of people poured into the streets and down the subways, determined to get home. Eyes peered out between hats and scarves, struggling to see through the snow and wind. On Central Park West, a cab made its way slowly through the snow then stopped.   The cabbie turned to the elderly passenger, “That’s it, lady. I can’t go on in this storm, otherwise, I’ll be stuck here.”  “I think it’s close enough. How much do I owe you?”    “Twelve dollars.”   “Here’s fifteen.”    “Thanks, lady.”   She got out of the cab and pushed her way through a mound of snow.  The stout woman, looked younger than her eighty years: a few…

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January 30, 2020

“Kung Fu Crack Baby,” by John Reedburg

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“Kung Fu Crack Baby,” by John Reedburg

My elementary school was an off-white graffiti spectacle of a building that looked like it was a semester or two from dying of old age. Walking down the halls made me feel I’d become swallowed alive, passing down into the belly of a fire-breathing dragon until defecated into my 4th-grade class that smelled like urine. I hated going to school. My mother was a drug addict who only made sure I went so she could get a welfare check. While most kids went to learn, I went to have a hot meal. It would have been nice to live like Richie Rich with a robot maid that prepared food and protected you from bullies. Though my reality wouldn’t allow me to be a cartoon. I was Demetrius Deontay Jordan, the weirdest boy at school.   I didn’t have any friends.   Older kids called me “Kung Fu Crack Baby,” all because my mother took drugs and my…

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January 28, 2020

“Go Blow,” a Short Story by Alan Berger

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“Go Blow,” a Short Story by Alan Berger

He would have said how the fuck could they make a trumpet out of plastic and have come forth out of it with such beautiful sounds. Sounds like he heard his father play on his brass trumpet. But Gabriel was only four years of age when he got it and didn’t know yet what plastic was.  Gabe’s mother and father were always fighting. With her doing most of the fighting and him doing most of the ignoring. She was jealous of his trumpet, which he played all the time.  Gabe would listen to his father play in the next room and play along with him from his room.  That duo would harmonize until mom started hitting dad and if Gabe was still playing after a few smacks at dad, she would go into his room and smack on him.  By that time dad would start playing his horn…

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January 26, 2020

“Junk Mail,” a Short Story by T.R. Healy

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“Junk Mail,” a Short Story by T.R. Healy

As he waited in line to order a cappuccino, Poston was surprised how crowded the Java Station was this late in the morning. Generally, it was less than half full at this time but, for whatever reason, every table was occupied. He couldn’t sit outside because it was still raining so he supposed he would have to share a table with another patron which was not something he liked to do. “Do you mind if I join you?” he asked an older woman with spiky auburn hair that made it appear as if she were in a constant state of fear.  “Sorry?” she replied, looking up from the spiral writing tablet next to her espresso.  He pulled out the opposite chair. “It’s so crowded in here.”  “Oh, yes, of course. It is busy, isn’t it?”  Nodding, he sat down…

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January 13, 2020

“True Home and A Bottle of Champagne” by Samuel Ekanem

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“True Home and A Bottle of Champagne” by Samuel Ekanem

 As the only human figure in the void corridor, Inem Ikang paused and wondered at her shadow, cast on the corridor walls – the corridor her only possible passage, its walls made of plywood. She had never imagined this: someone casting shadows in the absence of light. And so she started to dance, her body moving slowly, side to side, until the shadows made clearer semblances of her and she was sure they were not spirits. By the time her heart started to bang inside of her, she stopped dancing and craned her neck around the corridor, searching for light. But then she realised that there’s usually no light when there’s darkness.  She moved closer to the wall and caressed the shadows with both hands. The feelings awed her – the wall feeling doughy like half-baked bread. She caressed and caressed, and…

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January 3, 2020

“Suzy, the New Girl” by Roopa Raveendran-Menon

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“Suzy, the New Girl” by Roopa Raveendran-Menon

Suzy, the new girl, and I became best friends fairly quickly. It took us around five days to be inseparable but I swear that I could have been her best pal the day she walked into the classroom.  I even remember the time—It was ten minutes to the first recess gong. Chubby Chandini had already stuffed half of the contents of her tiffin box into her mouth. I knew she had bought potato pancake—bits of yellow potato laced the little fuzz above her thin lips. I had buried my head in my textbook to swallow the loud chortle that had threatened to sneak out.  That was when Suzy had walked in.  It was hard to believe that she was wearing our dull blue and white checked uniform because she wore it so well, with the flair and grace of a diva. I…

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December 27, 2019

Chapter III of Dan Coleman’s “Professor of Death”

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Chapter III of Dan Coleman’s “Professor of Death”

Editor’s Note: We’ve been honored to publish Dan Coleman’s “Professor of Death” short story which, due to its length, has appeared in three parts this month: Part I, Part II, and herewith, the final chapter of the author’s triptych. Please read them in order for full appreciation. **      Robert dressed in dark clothes and arrived at the banker’s estate in the East Hamptons just after 2:00 a.m., Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The site was secluded off a main road and down a winding lane. He surveyed the area with night vision field glasses. Except for a subtle breeze and ruffling leaves, all was calm, the sky moonless, overcast, therefore pitch black. Very good conditions. He exited the car near the gate and blew the dog whistle several times. No dogs on the estate at least….

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