All Stories, General Fiction

Madame by Matthew Senn

She’d tell the newcomers she was from California, the blond haired Madame of the Diamondback Saloon. She’d tell ’em the same jokes she’d told a thousand nights: she’d say she got the name of the place after her man got bit by a diamondback. And if they had enough fun, she’d point to three crosses in the back and say that’s where lie the last people who had too much fun.

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All Stories, General Fiction

On the Radio, Ronald Reagan is Wheezing by Adelino de Almeida

It’s Friday, and on the radio, Ronald Reagan is wheezing his way through a speech. I hear him often, he’s always on the news, on TV, on the radio. This is his decade, and from his sibylline delivery I learn that his economic policies will one day make me rich. I cannot understand how, and he does not explain it either; so, for now, I just hope that my mates and I can keep our jobs.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Danny by Diane M Dickson

Danny always arrived early. By now everyone accepted that he did and they’d stopped ragging him about it. He wasn’t really supposed to but George let him. “You can do it lad. Them at the council, they don’t know you like we do. No problem, you just carry on. You just listen to us.” Danny liked George.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Dreams Away at Octavia’s by Thomas M. McDade

I was out of the waiter game, quit when a chef threw a cruet that just missed my head; oil splattered my new, old tux I bought from a formal wear rental joint. Only an asylum inmate would be able to summon a voice that said I’d bettered myself. I was working at a fast food joint, The Burger General, home of the Five-Star Half Pounder. I’d added eight published poems to my Good Knots chapbook so I wasn’t complaining about work conditions or pay. I kept a few copies under the counter in case I sensed kindred vibes from a customer. Jake Perez, the janitor found one in the trash. If a fry weren’t a bookmark he might have left it but he thought it was a hoot and shared his kicks with my fellow workers before returning it to me. A high school kid working the drive-thru told me my poems were baffling and so was I but she quotes lines occasionally and said her mom gave me a thumbs-up. Columbia University had recently published the freshly greased poem, “Ghost Shipping” in its literary magazine.  Octavia’s Ristorante returned in sharp focus. Elise shanghaied my mind.

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All Stories, Fantasy, Horror

Watching It Move by Alex Reid

‘I must be the luckiest kid in the world,’ Chris thought.. Every other kid he knew had a bedtime. Not Chris. It didn’t matter if it was a school night or a Saturday night he could stay up as late as he wanted. After dinner he could play videogames until he could barely keep his eyes open or he would watch gameshows with his parents until they went to bed. Spending the night together with his parents around the tv was his favorite. Tonight was one of those nights. But like all good things it had to come to an end. Chris heard those words he dreaded to hear when they were all having fun.  “Your father and I are tired. We’re going to bed. We love you.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

Suzanne by Avery Mathers

I’m standing in the bus shelter on Union Street, and the number twenty-three has been ‘due in two minutes’ for the last five minutes. People troop past on the pavement; hoods up or heads down or fighting with umbrellas. Alone together in the shelter, we happy few peer through the drizzled glass and check our watches. A splinter of Leonard Cohen is stuck in my head: Suzanne.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Bride of Christ by Mary J Breen

Every Sunday morning for the past nine years and one month, my mother-in-law has made her dauntless progress up the centre aisle of Holy Family Church on the arm of my husband. This, she believed, was ample evidence that despite his marriage to an ex-nun—holy women all of them, although those who leave their vocation perhaps not holy enough—her Danny’s primary devotion was still to his mother, not to this drab failure of a Grade Three teacher who got her claws into the school principal, no less, the gentle, much-loved Mr. Lynch. Sweet and kind and considerate with his staff and with the children, but away from school, the embodiment of an ineffectual man. But I didn’t know that then.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Paper Flowers by Thomas Sanfilip

Fiction is a reconstruction of reality, duplicitous by nature because it forestalls the recognition of what exists, what changes, what constitutes the real nature of reality. Easing into narrative is a delicate series of steps, the task of memory and imagination putting flesh to bone, clay to hearth, shape to shapelessness. Night becomes day, for the man sitting still inside the house is like so much firewood waiting to burn, like leaves gathering and recircling, collecting and dispersing in a fierce wind, taking the dead to their last place of refuge. You want him living, breathing, thinking, but imagination is depth and breadth. There is too much to remember, like the broadness of the sea when it rises and collapses.    

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All Stories, Fantasy

The City, the World by Tim Frank

There are forces in the city greater than the stream of cars and buses charging through the streets day and night, greater than the parades of pedestrians and rows of skyscrapers towering like giant chess pieces at war, and these forces combined are nothing less than the world wrapped into a fist, lodged just beneath the surface of the earth, ready to explode.

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