The Drinking Hour by John Conaway

Beachum stops at the Bi Lo to get his latest prescription filled. While he’s waiting he looks for something to kill the cat, some kind of poison. He looks up and down the aisles. It appears that grocery stores do not carry poison anymore.
“Where would I find the poison?” he asks the pharmacist
“What kind of poison are you looking for?” asks the pharmacist. He acts as if the mere contemplation of such a question has given him indigestion.
“Something that will kill a cat.”
The pharmacist sighs. “There are many things that will kill a cat,” he says stapling a sheaf of instructions and disclaimers six inches thick to the bag containing Beachum’s prescription that no one, least of all old Beachum, will ever read.
“Can you recommend something?”
The pharmacist shakes his head sadly. “No,” he says.

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Acton by Christopher A. Dale

Acton had never spent much time contemplating writer’s block. This had everything to do with the fact that he had never previously found himself its victim. Perhaps everything is too strong a word. Acton had no trouble considering the ins and outs of things and events he had no personal experience with—although these things and events necessarily carried with them some intellectual element that sparked his curiosity in the first place. Writer’s block, as an idea, had never presented such an element to command his attention, and on top of that, it seemed too cliché a notion to even deserve it. Nevertheless, the prejudice of abstraction doesn’t always hold up under the weight of actual experience, and he now found writer’s block to be a fascinating object of examination.

Acton was at his desk, unable to write.

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Paper Skins by L’Erin Ogle

I take the skins of the women my lover loved. I flesh them until they are paper thin. They are folded stacked in a box at the back of my closet. The box is cherry wood and the lock is made of gold. I know it should be silver, because silver contains powerful magic, and sometimes I hear the skins shifting and whispering to each other.

Think what you want.

He left me no choice.

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The Guy Who Showed Up For the Job by Mark Joseph Kevlock

He wasn’t the guy we expected, that’s for sure. He looked like he’d never worked a day in his life.

“The idea is to make everyone fall in love with you, understood?”

“Easy enough,” he said. Cocky bastard.

They had clothes and stylists galore waiting for him. He ignored most of what they told him as if he knew better. Maybe he did. Charisma is a very indefinable quality.

The first time he walked out of the back and I got a good look at him, I was floored. He was drop-dead gorgeous. I nearly forgot what the hell we were there for.

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