Home from the Dead by Tom Sheehan

Earl Chatsby, six years ceased being a father for real, felt an odd distinction coming into his place of being. The newspaper for the moment loomed an idle bundle in his lap the way it stayed weighty and rolled and unread. Walls of the kitchen widened, and the room took in more air. He could feel the huge gulp of it. The coffee pot was perking loudly its 6 AM sound and the faucet drip, fixed three nights earlier at Melba’s insistence, had hastened again its freedom, the discord highly audible. Atop the oil cloth over the kitchen table the mid-May sun continued dropping its slanting hellos, allowing them to spread the room into further colors. Yet to this day he cannot agree to what happened first, the front porch shadow at the window coming vaguely visible in a corner of his eye, a familiar shadow, or the slight give-away trod heard from the porch floor, that too familiar, the board loose it seemed forever and abraded by Melba’s occasional demands to fix it.

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Roxxi by Susan Jean DeFelice

All day long is about Roxxi’s wants and needs.  Mrs. Lombard watches the sun stream through translucent curtains in her kitchen, feels a pliable breeze.  She reflects the day:  Roxxi believes there’s a syringe lodged in her cervix.  Mrs. Lombard and all the staff had laughed.  It’s crazy Roxxi’d say such a thing.  But here, comforted by early evening light enveloping her home, while Roxxi shoots heroin “made from tar and apple cider vinegar” (Roxxi reports) into her fifty-something veins, Mrs. Lombard’s thoughts on her reflective pedestal stream in like the light traveling through the kitchen: Well Roxxi is a product of the system. Yes she is an intravenous drug user.  But she is a product of The System that got her addicted in the first place.

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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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