Guns by Sean Patrick Campbell

Let me tell you about a few things that have changed since I was a boy.

Back then, there wasn’t a nice big garden outside our house like there is now, only a heap of muck and a puddle of ooze that we used to surf in on the broken-off door of a cement mixer. We’d wreck around in that puddle what feels like all the time, until Ma came out roaring, I’ll brain yiz if ye cross this door mucked! And off we’d dash into the house for tea, kicking off our battered trainers at the doorstep, beating the muck out of them on the wall and leaving them to crust over in the sun.

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A Coffee Shop Moment by Kevin Koyce

Feigned screams and contrived hugs all round.  To look from a distance, you’d be forgiven in thinking that these two girls were sharing an overdue and heartfelt moment, borne out of a lifetime of uninvited separation.  They saw each other yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.  To be specific, with the efficiency and punctuality of German engineers, these two girls meet in this same café at 8am exactly, Monday straight through to Friday.  I’ll need to find a new café.  I’d rather not have to do so, as this cafe is a five-minute walk from where I work.  However, before I embark, I may as well enjoy what could be my last morning here and bask in my current surroundings.

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Mutla Ridge by Martin Rosenstock

He lowered the window an inch and the dry air now flowed past his temple. Though he had arrived in Kuwait five days ago, he was still feeling some jetlag edginess. The road stretched out flat and straight. Nature here had the color of an oatmeal cookie, most houses too. Some were a bit lighter in color, like an oatmeal cookie bleached in the sun. They formed an unbroken line right off the freeway, three-story facades with columns and small, frequently shuttered windows. None of this had been here back then. The country had come some way since Mr Sodamn Insane’s drubbing.

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Why Demigods Roam Alone by Tom Sheehan

What a silent, legless kick in the chest! A dead man afoot.

Here came a man I thought long dead, half smiling, book-laden, walking out of the library, not casually, not the least, but the way certain men leave libraries, loaded with surprise, excitement, a hope for new intelligence. Short of handsome he was, but rugged-looking for an older guy, a sense of confidence moving afoot. I thought, a man knowing what he wants and has his hands on it. In each arm nestled a clutch of books; rugged wrists and hands gripping the books tightly, his poplin jacket sleeves taut as ropes.

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The Bee by Rebecca Moretti

It was early but the sun was already strong and high. In the distance, the road was shiny and sweaty as it curved between the red ground. It was going to be a hot day. In the East, the sun cast a hazy film over the hills. Lachman sat in the sultry shade of an olive tree as a single bee buzzed loudly and persistently around his head. He’d always found that bees were particularly drawn to him. Perhaps they knew how to spot a criminal.

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