Luisa by Tim Gorichanaz

Every day Luisa left a new piece of art at the foot of his bed. They were washcloths shaped like animals, a different one each day. She was very talented.

He knew it was Luisa because she signed her work. She left a card that said Your Room Was Cleaned By ____________. It’s my pleasure, and Luisa wrote her name on the line. He suspected she left those cards in all the rooms she cleaned, but maybe she was reaching out. She’d written her name there, by hand, just for him. She dotted the i with a circle.

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Carson by Caleb Harvey

I don’t really know Carson. I mean I know him, everybody knows him but he’s not my friend. It used to be that I wouldn’t be caught dead spending time with him. Now… I dunno, I wonder if he’d take me.
Carson is one of just three retarded kids at Robert F. Kennedy High School. The rest are too retarded for public school; they go to Strathmore Academy which is a “Special School” just up the street from where I live.

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Odyssey of Tears by Titus Green

We move forward, dragging our punished, callous-covered feet in the vague direction of a hypothetical salvation. It is freezing cold, and this spiteful European wind spits rain into our faces. The storm strengthens, and the droplets turn to hail stones, which sting our cheeks like the words of the people who line the roads to curse us as our pathetic procession shuffles through their towns. “Stay Out!” and “We Don’t Want Your Problems!” scream the placards. “Stay Away Terrorists!” reads another forceful imperative. I look at the scholarly looking woman in wire-framed spectacles holding the sign, and wonder if I should stop and offer her advice in how to recognise real jihadists, since she’s clearly a novice.

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Top of the Line by Marissa McNamara

Melanie’s boyfriend Ray began drinking as soon as he moved in. At first it was just a few after work. Then it was four, maybe six. She liked to cook, but he always wanted to go out. She was tired of every restaurant within 10 miles, but whatever, he paid. He always made a big deal of paying. Pulled out his worn brown wallet, the one he said was “top of the line.” He always said that. His things were “professional grade” and “top of the line.” He “spared no expense.”

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The Literary Agent by Larry Lefkowitz

In a Tel-Aviv writing workshop I became friendly with another aspiring writer who, it turned out, lived two streets away from mine. Proximity and vocation synergized to cement our friendship. We commented – politely—on each other’s work, as well as that of the others in the group. We both were practioners of the soft criticism school, as opposed to some in the group who favored a hard-line approach to stimulate writing improvement.

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I ♥ Burt by Leah Holbrook Sackett

I am both partial to and particular about angora sweaters. I like to wear them without a bra. I imagine that is what it would feel like to press my breasts against a hairy chest. I am obsessed with hairy chested men, and it all started with Burt Reynolds in Cannonball Run. I was 9 when I saw the movie on TV one Saturday afternoon. I’ve been a Reynolds and hairy chest fanatic ever since. Even when I go out dancing with the girls, I go braless in my angora. Once I braved going braless to work. While I found it liberating, it was also distracting.

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