Companeros  by Roger Ley

Giving it food had been a mistake, it was a mangy, cringing, skinny animal, and who would think that a dog would eat pasta anyway. It started to follow her on the trail, disappearing for a few hours and then returning and dogging her footsteps. After a couple of days, she started calling it Pedro. She didn’t need its company, this trek through the Iguazu National Park was supposed to help her come to terms with the divorce. That her husband had found a younger partner was humiliating enough, that he was of the same gender made it worse but losing both a husband and a competent handyman at the same time was unbearable. House repairs, gardening, car maintenance, Maurice could turn his hand to anything, she would never find his like again.

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Mr Sunshine and the Instant Dawn by Andrew Johnston

Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of people who wanted to discuss the end of the world with me, but Jeremy Smedley was a bird of a different color. He didn’t have a standard preferred pseudonym, for one. He was willing to speak with me on the phone without turning on any dodgy homemade anti-surveillance devices. Most significantly, I didn’t have to meet him in a church sub-basement, a hidden personal library, or anything one might describe as a bunker. Jeremy felt no need to conceal his galactic insights, instead offering to meet me on a charming grassy hill overlooking an otherwise charmless Midwestern town.

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Drug Store Blues by Allen X. Davis

The pretty robot at the pharmacy drive-up window has captivating dark eyes and shiny black hair. She’s wearing a professional smile and a white Walgreens shirt with red lettering. I get the feeling we are in a television commercial. Your total is one-oh-two-oh-eight, she announces over the intercom. There is a sharp intake of breath from the older lady in the back seat of my cab.

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The Knowing of Which Way to Turn by Michael Grant Smith

It surprised no one when Bruce Feathers once again launched a torpedo into his own life. Ten years ago, the semi-retired auto mechanic earned a ticket to the slammer for diddling the brake lines on Nathan Polk’s pickup truck. Bruce insisted the disconnection was accidental, but everyone knew that Nathan, a semi-retired insurance agent, had been topping off Bruce’s future ex-wife’s fluids, so to speak.

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