Another One of His Punishments by Paul Beckman

My son and I meet in the City, dinner and talk. And drink. More and more drink as time goes by. He is quite the drinker, my son is, Old Overholt Rye on the rocks–a drinkers drink. None of those blends that people call Rye. Who am I to talk? When I was his age, twenty-seven, I was out drinking every night and my poison of choice was Tequila.

But it’s not the same. Sometimes I think he needs his golden anesthesia to tolerate our time together. We hug hello and goodbye and he never acts embarrassed to kiss me when he sees me. We never have a bad time, not like the old days, which were rocky as all Hell. That’s okay. Fathers and sons should have a little conflict to make them stronger and bond as more than just parent and child when they get older. By now we should be bonded at the hip, but I worry that he’s getting the Irish disease which is even worse for a Jew than for a Mick. I should know.

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Family Traditions by L’Erin Ogle

“I have a headache,” I told Clark, and came upstairs.

It was nine o clock and the kids were asleep, and I didn’t have a headache.  But I didn’t want to sit downstairs and watch Clark get drunk on screwdrivers while watching old Seinfeld episodes, and then have to come upstairs and try to have sex while his penis stands at half mast no matter what I do.
It isn’t me.  I have no doubts about that.  It’s the booze.  We aren’t as young as we used to be and after the kids are out, Clark can’t put the glass in his hand down.  I guess I don’t care much anyway, anymore.  I just don’t want to spend twenty minutes flogging and sucking a soft penis then trying to stuff it in while it wilts and bends.  Then the excuses and the pity party. Having to make him feel good about himself while my vagina crawls up into my uterus.  Might as well skip the whole shebang, and head upstairs with a book, and escape.

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Have Another by C.M. Pratt

Liam paces the floor of his “study” which is a bedroom in the home that he and his wife Eileen are renting.   The new addition screams its head off.  He wishes the thing would shut up.  Not the thing.  That’s terrible.  The girl.  The baby.  They cry constantly, babies.  They cry because they’re infants, then they cry because they’re teething, then they cry because they’re in the ‘terrible twos.’  It seems different names for the same dreadful screeching.  He has no idea why anyone would have a baby.  He has no idea how he ended up with one.

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Skink, the Town Drunk by Tom Sheehan

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This one’s for you, Skink, this solid and remarkable dream I had one night, just last week, still haunting me in this, my 88th year on the planet. It was so real I believe it really happened in a place so near us, we can’t see it, or so far away from us, we’ll never get to see it for ourselves, even though we know it inside and out, upside and down, from left to right, and all the in-betweens, the hereabouts that may occupy more than one place in this universe.

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A Deal With the Devil by Christa Carmen

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As an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College, Clementine Hamilton had majored in psychology. For the department research requirement, she had pursued her studies in abnormal psychology, so she was aware there was no formal diagnosis for what she was. There were elements of obsessive-compulsive disorder in that her need for constant stimulation was recurrent and persistent, and the impulsivity aspect of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder characterized past behaviors. If she had been forced to ascribe a name to it, it would have been something like ‘stimulus deprivation disorder,’ and the symptoms that had manifested themselves over the years were readily measurable.

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