Brought Back By Michael Sherrin

Denise organized the chairs in a circle, each no more than six inches apart. She sorted the donuts on the tray so each had its own space, none touching. The coffee was positioned to allow for steady traffic and conversation.

Denise smiled and watched each person enter the room, grab donuts, gulp coffee, and slid chairs out of position. She stayed silent, reminding herself this was part of the healing process.

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My Guns by Kika Dorsey

I have a lot of guns. Most of them people have given me, and one I stole. Adam bought me a shotgun to hunt grouse and ptarmigan in the mountains, and we would eat the meat carefully, picking out the pellets. The rifle I couldn’t resist taking from the old man who was an evicted hoarder, and I was hired to clean out his basement. It had been under a pile of new shirts with their tags still on them, and I stuffed it with the clothes in a trash bag, carried it out, and put it in my trunk. I never shot deer, so I would lend it to Adam, who sometimes brought home venison that I would cook with carrots and tomatoes in a stew. A friend had given me the handgun. I had been complaining to her about my current job weeding the landscaping for some man who worked for Google, wore silver chains and Hawaiian shirts, and kept trying to touch my shoulder when we talked.

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Sophia’s Shoes by Lisa Gaultier

Gaultier, LisaSophia only owns one pair of shoes. They’re cute, chubby heels, short enough that she can walk all day long relatively painlessly. They’re black, varnished, the kind that attract no attention whatsoever, so it would take you a while to notice. If you meet her in the summer, and you start hanging out, say you take her on a date to the beach, you might notice then, because you’re wearing flip flops (which isn’t a great idea on a first date, your toes aren’t that nice) and she’s stumbling in the sand, tripping, looking quite stupid. It’s alright though because she almost falls and you catch her in your arms like a princess and you both laugh and blush, you say why don’t you take off your shoes and she does, a little self-consciously. Now you feel a little less stupid about your flip flops even if they keep going flip flop. She tells you about being a vet and her scratch and sniff sticker collection, about how in college she auditioned for The Voice but didn’t get picked. By the end of the day you’ve had so much fun her shoes got lost somewhere and you didn’t realise it. You laugh it off and carry her from the beach to the Uber and from the Uber to her apartment, it’s lovely and romantic, you kiss her goodbye and you feel giddy, excited, you think about it at night, but Sophia has no shoes and she’s wondering how she’ll get to work tomorrow.

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