All Stories, General Fiction

Bottled by Yash Seyedbagheri

As an infant, I sought nourishment in bottles, draining milk with frightening speed.

Thirty-four years later, I still need my bottle, except this time they hold Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the weight of credit card debts. They hold things I shouldn’t have bought to feel like a bourgeois dandy, antique bookshelves. Old lamps that glow and create illusions of home and communion. The bottles hold awards I pursued and barely missed, than missed big time, numbers, tempers lost over teaching philosophies and politics. Apologies I can’t speak. A life of could-haves, all laid out before me, scattered puzzle pieces whose counterparts are long missing.

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All Stories, General Fiction

My Plea For Solitude by Harrison Kim

Right out of high school after Dad died I inherited eighteen acres down the road from Mom’s house.   Raye,  who I now call “The Old Crow”  married me quick after that.  I started building for our great future.  I framed the house around and over top of the trailer, then took the inside trailer wall out.  We trucked in water from Mom’s place.  My friend Elton and I constructed the septic tank, a fifty gallon drum with pipe holes at both ends, pushed down in a rocky hole.  My brother Jackson helped lift the roof trusses. My life pinnacle topped there, Raye and I bouncing on the bed by the wood stove, sex and drink and rock and roll in the custom made residence,  and then came three kids, Raye and my mighty sperm created them two girls and a boy.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Invasive by David Gwyn

A smooth take off and an ascent to cruising altitude set the stewardesses at work. The plane felt stuffier than usual. He was in the middle, his favorite location. He’d been at the front, not first class, but right at that front row, with all that legroom. It just didn’t suit him. He wanted to be appropriately uncomfortable, a badge of honor, a shared suffering. So here he was, middle of the plane, middle of the row. Priest to his right, old woman holding a Pomeranian on his left. He felt like he was living inside a not-that-funny-gotta-laugh-to-be-polite joke that he couldn’t remember the punch line for.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Just Plain Hard Work of Ages, Work of Comets by Tom Sheehan

The tip of the shovel had talked to him with a dull thud, not just through his ears, but totally. It came into his hands and up the stiffness of his arms, through the quick riot of nerves on red alert, through all passageways of recognition. It was wood! At its tip was wood, a cavernous wood, a chesty wood, an enclosing wood. Promise poised itself, much like awards’ night and names to be named. Light leaped at his back, behind his head. Down through the awesome sky of darkness he could feel a star draining, down through thirty-five years of a hole.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Put The Cork Back In The Bottle by James Gilbert

-I don’t know why you have to drink so much all the time.

They were sitting at a small wooden table in the kitchen. The dinner was long finished and between them were two empty plates that had been gently pushed aside, and two bottles of wine; one empty, one full.

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All Stories, General Fiction

A Secret Study of Jack Wilkens, Drunk by Tom Sheehan

Early evening light, what was left of it, spilled near Jack Wilkens in his one lone room in the big house, a house once flaunting and imposing in its stance, now cluttered like an old shed forgotten in a back lot, debris its main décor. Despite his reputation as the town drunk, a ne’er-do-well from the first day, an inveterate crank, there had been an instant and subtle attraction between me and the old codger, an attraction without early explanation.

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