Editor Picks by Hugh Cron

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When we thought about doing this I considered researching, re-reading and trying to come across as a damn sight more intelligent than I am. I therefore decided to do this off the cuff. That is what it is all about. In my lifetime I have read over 400 books and I would not be able to hazard a guess at the amount of short stories. Within all of the short stories published on Literally Stories, I remember some. Those are the ones that I would like to consider.

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Stand-by by Michael Henson

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“Give me a ticket or give me a bar tab,” the young soldier said.

After seven beers, the soldier had gone belligerent, but the ticket agent had nothing new to offer. The agent was a dark, square-shouldered man and he spoke with an accent that may have been African or Haitian. “I can give you nothing right now,” the agent said. “When we start boarding, I will see what I have.”

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Mrs. Mattison by Jeff Burt

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Pushing eighty, Mrs. Mattison reclines on the lounge chair on the mossy concrete patio while her husband clips the naked remnant of rose bulbs from the bushes, and I attend to distributing mulch. I live in a shed behind his house, a gift from Mr. Mattison to put a roof over my head and keep me off the homeless list.

“Everyone calls it dead-heading,” he says, “but I call if live-heading. See, the stem lives, and it is the only way the stem can produce more. Same way in life. My wife and I need to move on and let more vigorous flowers bloom. We don’t wish to die,” he says, casually continuing his work, “but our attachment to life has been robbed by this Alzheimer’s. And our children are scattered across the globe.”

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Educated Fishwives by Adam West

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I decided to check again. For the last time. No point keep on hoping the consignment would make it here before the twenty-second.

It wouldn’t. No choice but to proceed before it was too late.

A hologram whirred up and out of the console in a lazy fashion, like a half-cut genie who could not care less about being emancipated.

The soon-to-be-re-incarcerated figure intoned: ‘UPDATE: Next consignment due eighteenth of –’

I jabbed a finger at an ephemeral terminal button. Cut the genie’s damn circuits.

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