The cathedral clock across the street from Nick’s home rang out the hours, the quarters. The clock chimed out his life, the Westminster Quarters and memories floating from the august belfry, the huge bells hidden inside, the clock ticking. The clock Nick once tended to.Continue reading “The Flight of Time by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri”
I first started drawing when I was a kid, staring up at popcorn ceilings, trying to make sense of the symbols I saw there. I created comics about a fox that lived in the midst of the shapeless blurs of styrofoam. I don’t draw foxes anymore. Instead, I draw people I’ve met, making them ugly as sin and arguably very realistic.Continue reading “To Tame the Animals by Rose Ragsdale”
“What’s your name?” James asked the hostess.
She furrowed her brow, “Claire. Do I know you?” She donned a small, professional smile.
“No. Readers like knowing the names of the characters. If I just call you the hostess over and over, they’ll get detached from you; it’ll annoy them.”
“What?” Claire asked.Continue reading “Ellen and Elise by Brent Holmes”
Life has hammered me.
I take another drink and lean over my balcony.
Balcony, that’s a fuckin’ laugh, it’s the breadth of my two feet and the stink from that clatty bastard two doors down makes me gag. They’ve a wee Jack Russell that they allow to shit on the balcony instead of taking him a walk. The wee soul needs to climb up a shit mountain to take another shit. When he’s having a crap I can look him in the fucking eyes.Continue reading “Maisonette by Hugh Cron – Warning Strong language and Adult content.”
The night of the infamous Thursday writing group, it was storming. Rain pounded the roof of Shanahan’s Bar, where we’d met the past three months. I was about to discuss a Richard Ford story. The jukebox was blasting Kenny Rogers, “Just Dropped In.” I glanced at my watch once, twice. The second hand clicked, clicks reverberating in my ears.Continue reading “Time Enough by Yash Seyedbagheri”
I go to Rodney and Betty’s grocery only for the credit, because they sell mealy hamburger and I won’t touch the chicken anymore after the kids found feathers stuck in their drumsticks. It was at a barbeque, a really rare day when the sky is clear cornflower. It is unusual having a summer day when the air is light, light, without so much humidity trapped inside it you could suffocate.Continue reading “Self-Made Grocers by Susan DeFelice”
My cousin Boxie returned from Afghanistan to say that people turn into pink mist when they are blown to smithereens. Boxie spends his days shelving toilet paper at Costco, making $37,000 a year. He bought a house for $109,000 and leases a Chevy SUV. He has a daughter but his wife can no longer bear children. They live near Pearl, Mississippi. They keep a Boxer chained to the tree in their back yard. Boxie won’t let his wife cook instant rice. She shaves her pussy. Their daughter, Esther, wants to be a fireman. She wears a helmet to bed. Boxie, Tricia, and Esther belong to the Church of Proximate Causes, a sect based on the worship of reality, an internet group of survivalists who live somewhere in North Dakota. People say, they keep tons of deodorant in their basement along with cans of ravioli and Mississippi tamales.Continue reading “Step Right Up by David Lohrey”
I’ll tell you why she jumped. That bastard husband of hers couldn’t keep his pants zipped. She put up with it, for the kids. But then, he was the one who split. She and me were best friends in high school. I stayed here in Lynchburg, Central Virginia for college, now bookkeeper at the newspaper. Junie, she jumped at the chance to get out. That chance was a fast-talking UVA senior named John Miller, promised to take her to New York. He did, a dozen years and four kids later, she came back. Her family wasn’t a whole lot of help when she did. Junie told me, first words out of their mouths, Where are you going to live now? How are you going to support your children? I guess she shouldn’t have expected a cuddly reception, the way she ran off with John middle of senior year, her Ma still in the hospital. Irregardless, you’d think they’d care about their grand kids.Continue reading “Why Junie Jumped by Townsend Walker”
Computers and Bill Clinton’s penis consume the world. Meanwhile, from behind a desk, my older sister becomes my teacher. She’s twenty-six. I’m fourteen.Continue reading “Sister Teacher by Yash Seyedbagheri”
Rio sits in an orange and yellow faded tent in the middle of an overgrown field. The sun is low in the sky and slants through the branches of trees that died long ago, grey and brittle instead of green and supple. There are buildings not too far from him—houses—but Rio doesn’t go to the houses. His parents told him not to go there.Continue reading “Rio by Kailyn Kausen”