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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Braelin Cordelis by Tom Sheehan

It did not come with electricity or a smash of static on the air, but it was there. Braelin Cordelis, five minutes into the darkness of a new day, a streetlight’s glow falling through his window like a subtle visitor, was caught on the edge of his chair. Knowledge flowed to him, information of a most sublime order, privacy, intimacy, all in one slow sweep of the air; his grandson was just now, just this minute, into this world, his only grandson. He could feel him, that child coming, making way his debut into the universe, and his name would be Shag. And for this life he and Shag would be in a mysterious and incomprehensible state of connection. This, in the streetlight’s glow, in the start of a new day though dawn not yet afoot, he was told.

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Snakes & Lasses by Christopher Stanley

Jock’s folding his pyjamas back under his pillow when he hears it. A low, growling hiss. His twin daughters are elsewhere, probably playing in the walls, so it’s just him and the mannequin dressed as his wife in the bedroom. He’s searching for the source of the noise when the duvet shifts on the bed. It’s a slight movement, like wind-ruffled marram grass, but it’s something. Carefully, he pulls back the covers, revealing the green and yellow-chevroned scales of a king cobra.

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Lessons by Gigi Papoulias

The first time the piano teacher walked up the two flights to our apartment, my mother rushed to help him. “Thank you, but I can manage,” he said as he tap-tapped his way up.  He wore the thickest glasses I had ever seen. His eyeballs, massive behind the lenses, wobbled and darted – not quite focused on anything in particular. Tallish and round, he always wore a suit. His big shoes were shiny. Before he even entered the room, I could smell his cologne – heavy and manly. When he opened his mouth to speak, he sounded airy, womanly. Sometimes, when I’d play, he’d sing along in a shrilly opera-singer voice.   I’M a yankee doodle dan-DEE…

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