All Stories, General Fiction

Silent Retrieval by Tom Sheehan

The day had a head start on young Liam Craddock, he could feel it, and all that it promised. Across the years, on the slimmest sheet of air, piggybacking a whole man’s aura on that fleet thinness, he caught the sense of tobacco chaw or toby, mule leather’s hot field abrasion, gunpowder’s trenchant residue, men at confusion. If it wasn’t a battlefield in essence, or scarred battle ranks, he did not know what else it could be. And it carried the burning embers of memory.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Last Cigarette by Tim Frank

I had a theory that if I collected enough cigarette boxes and scrutinised the warning pictures – the obscene, grotesque illustrations of the sick and the dying – I would become so repulsed I could finally conquer my addiction. Of course, I knew I would smoke the very cigarettes I had gathered in order to quit. The cure, like chemotherapy fighting a tumour, would be as devastating as the illness. However, I had tried to give up so many times before this felt like my only solution.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Friend Request by Yash Seyedbagheri

Mom costs me friends. She shows up drunk to my high school functions. Double-fists Merlot at a parent teacher conference. And it happens again at my drama club production of Hamlet, set in a Burger King. Although this time she imbibes Pinot.

Friends’ parents suggest I’m not good company. It’s not me, they claim. They just have to be selective. This is high school, it’s a volatile time for everyone. People are easily influenced.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Sisterhood of Nod by Leila Allison

A Day in the Life of 1987

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Ever since it was installed in 1951, the carillon atop the Charleston city courthouse plays a piece of classical music after it chimes noon. On a day long since protected by the statute of limitations, I was waiting out a red light in front of the courthouse when the carillon played the Chopin nocturne featured in The Deer Hunter. Maybe I’ve reached the age where my cultural references are “out of print,” but there’s a special sadness in that melody which always sinks me; yet on that day, when I was twenty-eight, I felt nothing at all.

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All Stories, General Fiction

They Shot the Beave by David Lohrey

Yeah, I live on Scarlet Street all right, near the corner of Agamemnon and Chintz. You know it? There is a pool hall on the corner, where there was a stabbing last year. 1732 to be exact, apartment 2C, in the back. I used to have a Plymouth Valiant but now I drive a Malibu.  I just finished a box of crackers and a hunk of Swiss. I’m all out of dough. Cashed my pension over a week ago, paid some bills, and haven’t a dime to my name.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Otter by Tim Hildebrandt

My cubical is in a row along the east wall of the building. Windows provide ample light on a sunny day, filtered through a bank of trees ringing the parking lot outside. The wind in the trees create moving shadows on my desk, and I follow them as my mind wanders.  I gaze at the ceiling ignoring my work. Reading is time-consuming, time I need for maintaining appearances and impressing others with skills and abilities always needing attention. Skills and abilities are my life’s work. I know what people look like when they have such skills, I know how they act. I try to act the same way so people will assume I have the same abilities. My goal is to learn how to engage effortlessly in small talk and put others at ease with humorous anecdotes. I search for anecdotes whenever I can, I sprinkle them throughout my conversation. But it is hopeless, I know I have no social skills. One has to learn how to get along with people, it isn’t an innate skill.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Sister Mother by Yash Seyedbagheri

One day, you look for money in your sister’s drawers and you discover something else completely. You started out the day Nick Botkin, sister of Nancy, son of Penelope. Now Penelope’s your grandmother and Nancy’s your mother.

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All Stories, Literally Reruns

Literally Reruns – So Are They All by Mitchell Toews

We could tell something had Leila all riled up. We could hear her howling at the moon. We turned the music up and hoped for the best. This is what we found next morning on the steps outside the LS dungeons.

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