The Novella of Jason Bendix by Penny Faircloth

Jason Bendix had finished writing his new novella the evening before. It was the first mature work that he had written. For nearly three years he had been trying to find his voice and to whet all artifice from his sentences. Thirteen, fourteen stories had been his apprentice work. First, he had written stories of two or three thousand words each. Then, he had managed a few five-thousand-word beasts of burden. The three ten-thousand worders had been monstrosities which cost him dearly.

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All These Dreams and Tomorrow Too by Leila Allison

Words cannot adequately express the giddy joy I experienced while I stood on the ferry’ s bow, alone with my “escort” (an amiable deckhand twice my size, half my age), as the vessel glided swiftly across the gunmetal Puget Sound toward Charleston, where the Law awaited me with open bracelets. The early spring sun made a lovely show of going down behind the Olympic Mountains–all dreampurple and pastel poetry. It had been ages since I had felt a sunset unfettered by loss. I was was further gladdened when my escort shooed off some fool who had come out of the cabin to capture (thus desecrate) the sunset on his phone. There was a reason we were alone; that reason (also, twice my size, half my age) was inside the cabin holding one of those phony “Blu-Ice” bags to the spot on her meaty chin where I had landed a right cross just a few minutes before.

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Hooves by Lily Daly

It’s Mother’s Day. In the village in a foreign country my host grandmother has hooves for feet. She sits in the living room after bending her back from morning to evening, in the garden, in the outdoor kitchen, in the animals’ home. I serve her thick, dark coffee with a piece of Russian candy. Does she worry I’ll hit her with the silver pot one day? It’s a jazva, she spits. Use our language. Her teeth are badly eaten but it doesn’t affect her self-esteem. She would not know the concept, anyways—she would not see its selfish grace.

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