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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Nic Knuckles – The Futilitarian Private Eye – Mary Maria by William Ade

It was late in the afternoon on one of those chilly New York City days where the clouds couldn’t decide whether to spritz or pour rain. I was in my office, trying to ignore the past dues and termination notices. I didn’t have any appointments scheduled, so I was surprised when the office door was pushed open with authority. In came an older woman. Before I could stand up from my chair to make introductions, she popped a question.

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The West and Beyond Bar and Grill by Donald Zagardo

There were no dying pleas, cries or screams, just blood and vomit, burning flesh, bugged out eyes, then nothing. I listened to civilian radio stations every day, all my life, until the music stopped, then to signals from various military centers until they went dead. It happened over the course of less than twenty-four months; twenty-three months, three weeks, three days to be precise. Millions of years of biological evolution, made inconsequential in the blink of an eye or two. Your beautiful species my friend: the intelligent humans that created me, who taught me all that I know, all the world’s creatures, large and small, gentle and ruthless, most machines, even those tiny little bugs. All gone.

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Lilly-Anne by James McEwan

When I heard the front door close I dashed to the window. From behind the lace curtain I watched Lilly-Anne skip down the steps onto the street. Palpitations fluttered in my chest, my arrhythmia raced like a motor-cross Kawasaki skidding sideways across sand. She walked along the street in black low-heeled shoes, light blue stockings and her coat flapped with each step exposing her knees, her handbag hung over a shoulder. Those lips glistened with gloss; no colour, such a pale face. She looked ill. I groaned, perhaps her boss will give her the day off; I wished. She made her way along the road out of my view.
I sat down and began my breathing mantra; in for five seconds and out for five until I calmed myself sufficiently to let the pulsating surge in my groin subside. My hands no longer shook and I could pick up my coffee.

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One Star by Sharon Frame Gay

All I need is one star to guide me.  Doesn’t matter where it swims in the sky.  It’s enough if it pokes through the clouds and keeps me company.

I’ve been on this raft for days now.  Lost count a while back when I fell into such a deep sleep that I may have been unconscious for hours, bobbing along in the middle of the sea like a sad little cork that forgot to stay in the bottle.

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