One day in March, I felt an excruciating abdominal pain, so painful that I fell to the floor. Because my wife Sally was out shopping and I was immobilized, there was nothing I could do. Within five minutes, the pain left, and I felt as if nothing had happened. I decided not to tell Sally, because I knew that she would freak and want me to see a doctor immediately. I thought it best to see how things played out, and see my doctor at the earlier of my next incident, or within a month.Continue reading “Half by Doug Hawley”
I fucked up. I did. I admit it. I messed up bad. Some have even accused me of child abuse, and those accusations have come from members of my own family. You might have heard something about this mess already. Now, what I’m asking you to do is set aside whatever you heard and listen to what I have to say. I did mess up, but I wasn’t alone, and if you get the backstory, it might help you understand what went down.Continue reading “The Name of the Game by Frederick K Foote”
Louis Pyne squats on his haunches beside the corpse. The boathouse is cold as a meat locker. A massive hangover is dancing a tarantella six-eight time inside his skull, and the two guys standing behind Lou are making him nervous. At least they’re hungover as well. Hell, even the corpse would be begging for aspirin if he wasn’t so dead.Continue reading “The Fall Guy by Marco Etheridge”
They purchased the mountain house in the summer of their 39th years. The husband worked part-time at the brewery in Golden while the wife commuted to Denver to serve as a corporate accountant. A sizable inheritance from the wife’s parents made it unnecessary to work, but neither knew what to do with themselves if they didn’t. They held no artistic ambitions or hobbies they cared to explore. They had no interest in children. Two dogs, one large and one small, ran around the property left to their own devices. There was no cable, so they had a satellite dish installed. When the weather was poor, the television snowed. Animals wandered through the yard. Black bear, elk, mountain goats. Birds flew up from below to reach the house, appearing from under the cliff face that formed their property’s edge. The wife enjoyed witnessing this phenomenon far more than the husband. It had long been rumored gray wolves would be reintroduced in Colorado. Both waited eagerly for that.Continue reading “Snow by Wilson Koewing “
In life, everyone knows a version of Dave. Dave is the sort of man who is never any good with the ladies. Sure—he can joke with them at arm’s length, the innocuous touch on the shoulder, the forearm. And because a sprig of humor always plays on his lips, he smiles most of the time. He also suffers from a continuous string of good manners and never fails to hold doors open for the ladies, and flatters them on new sweaters and haircuts. Without crossing into hashtag territory, he comforts them when they confide in him.Continue reading “The Human Condition by Monika R. Martyn”
At the coffee shop, all the tables are full, both the rectangular tables and the smaller square ones. People fill each side, hunched over computers and stacks of notes. There are boyfriends and girlfriends in turd-colored hoodies and skimpy white tank-tops, parents and children dissecting fractions and Abraham Lincoln, laughter, hugs, shoving, F-bombs deployed with cheer, fusillades of life fired into my ears.Continue reading “Empty Histories by Yash Seyedbagheri”
My mother always liked the idea of being queen. I think that’s why I hated her so much.
Though she believed we lived in a palace our home was modest and our garden was, to my delight, unruly. She wore clothes she couldn’t afford, stained with perfumes so sweet they made me feel sick. Her king had left her and she had no other children. Her only kingdom was me.Continue reading “Mother by Josh Walker”
You find meaning where you make it, I thought, polishing off my second bourbon and getting up to leave. I’d stopped by Puffy’s after an early piano gig, hoping to take the edge off before heading home. I couldn’t stop thinking about the old man —always worrying about him, continually reframing the narrative in my mind. I’m grateful for the time I have left with him was the best I could come up with.Continue reading “In For a Penny, In For a Pound by David Thomas Peacock”
Bill McCullister is usually tilling in the garden, sweeping off the porch, or oiling the hinges on the banged-up screen door. Except Sundays. He wakes in the morning and washes away soil and sweat not worked into his weathered skin. Two quick swipes through what hair is left him and the comb is deposited into the broken-handled mug on the porcelain sink. A clean tee shirt mostly by faded overalls, work boots, and a tattered baseball cap promoting a grain company no longer in business completes the look. If the wind is especially biting, he might toss on his wool coat. He drives the ‘58 Ford truck down the shady lane to Hagmans Crossing, the rusty rocker panels and fenders rattling. Stones kicked up from the tires bang against the undercarriage. The road ends on Route 10 and he cranks her hard to the right, rolling through the stop sign, heading for Ashwell. Bill watches the signpost for the county line slide across the chipped side view mirror before he pitches over Devil’s Hill.Continue reading “Sunday Papers by Darren A Deth”
My older sister Nan makes promises. Promises to visit, promises to talk soon. Drops “luv yas” in, hasty afterthoughts. Texts that she’s proud of me too, even if they’re in sentence fragments.
But the promises keep rising and rising. Talk tomorrow, visit next month, two months. Promises are splayed across my consciousness.Continue reading “Promise by Yash Seyedbagheri”