Mandragora by Andrew Johnston

“Someone really lives here? Geez. Always thought the place was abandoned.”

Detective Kolar undid her seat belt and opened the door to the cruiser. “Even in this state, it’s still a multi-million-dollar home. I’m sure he can’t sell it, plus you know how stubborn these old guys can get.”

“I guess,” said Detective Slaski. “Still, you’d think he’d put some of that website money into renovations. It’s…I don’t know, a little creepy keeping it like this.”

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Waiting by Hayley Sleigh

‘We were fair game 
but we have kept out of the cesspool.
We are strong.
We are the good ones.
Do not discover us
for we lie together all in green
like pond weeds.
Hold me, my young dear, hold me.’

Anne Sexton, Rapunzel

The sound at the end of the phone was a metallic female voice, not her mother’s. “I’m sorry.” Pause. Her mum’s voice: “ANGELA.” Pause, then the robot woman again.

“… cannot come to the phone right now. Please leave a message after the tone.”

“Mum, I don’t want you to worry, but please call me back if you can. I just wanted to tell you… I forgive you.”

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Under the Same Sun by Astrid Ann Larsen

Geneviève Gueron was as French as one could be. And while her peers were riding up and down the waves of hormonal instability, lamenting one second, rejoicing the next, she was simply and unequivocally in love with her life on the French Riviera. It had taken her some time to get used to the fierceness of the sunrays of the South, as the lack of obscuring buildings or tufts of sky made them bounce right off her white skin which would respond instantly with sizzling red spots. And with each day that passed, the deep yearning for her favourite dusty bookstores in Paris gave way to the undisputable dogmatic truth proclaimed by her parents, who had convinced themselves their new hometown would be kinder to them.

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A Particular Kind of Scumbag by David Henson

Harold Marold was confident his new discovery was going to be big. Really big. Sure, his previous inventions hadn’t all turned out as he hoped. The periscoping contact lenses caused vertigo and motion sickness. His electro-socks to eliminate foot sweat were “shocking” — as he’d found out the hard way. And his chainsaw-equipped drone for trimming high tree limbs had its drawbacks. But his current project couldn’t miss. It was going to bring about world peace.

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Case File: Something’s Cooking Under Where? by Frank Morelli

Case File: Something’s Cooking Under Where?

6:58 PM: Dames play games with my head. They drive me to extremes. Run me off to sit in parking lots where the glow of the streetlamps glaze the top of my smoke rings in honey. Some dames disappear in the middle of the night. After twenty years. All because I was born to fight crime. All because I missed a few dinners, an anniversary or two, while out mopping vermin off the streets. Then she gets remarried, moves on with her life like I’m some speck of shit on the toilet rim that never spiraled down. I can only counter with three hundred sixty five canned chili dinners and a new leather duster. And now I’m about to attend my second class in an introduction to cooking course at the community college. I never dreamed there’d be a first, but canned chili only gets you so far before you reach colostomy bag status. So I sit here and wait. Watch the tall brunette, the curvy redhead, and the tattooed blond–my classmates–walk past and wonder which of these fair maidens slipped a favor in the front pocket of my duster last week.  It’s a silly little thing. Pink silk with eyelet trim and a round cutout on one end. Some kind of exotic lingerie apparatus, I imagine. All I know is my pocket was bare at the start of class and later that night I found the kinky surprise. It’s a real mystery. Now the only thought in my mind as I step out of the car is: which of these dames wants to toss my bacon in the skillet?

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