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nayt rundquist

DUETS AND THE CRACK IN EVERYTHING by Nayt Rundquist

She’ll break open the world, just a bit, and tell them how they’ll end, how they’ll get there, who’ll wrong them along the way. They’ll drown in it, their fates, choking to take it all in, no matter how certain they’d been they could swim. But she’ll be there, on

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teddy duncan

THEME PARK SUICIDE by Teddy Duncan

I’d been to six flags before and I knew that there was a ride called goliath that you could manually unbuckle the seat belt even after the ride had begun. I don’t fully understand what I was thinking at the time but I don’t think anyone does when you get

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clare tascio

OPENING WEEKEND by Clare Nazarena Tascio

OPENING WEEKEND THE HARD PART IS THAT IT ISN’T HARD. TO GO ON LIVING. AFTER. THE LIVING JUST…GOES. JUST GOES ON AND ON! WITHOUT ME. AND I HAVE TO WATCH IT GO. AND I CAN’T CATCH UP TO IT. AND I CAN’T REALLY WANT TO. SO IT GOES. ON AND

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THE TURTLEMAN by Patrick Reid

The turtleman has dark green skin, a thick, spongey surface, like wet clay. The turtleman lives by the lake. The turtleman has long, smooth legs, and even longer, skinnier arms. The turtleman reads fiction. The turtleman writes screenplays, hoping he will eventually sell one to Hollywood, but he doesn’t let

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nikolas slackman

SHAVER by Nikolas Slackman

“All of my hair is leaving me.” But I was the one who’d shaved it all away. To say it left me was a compulsion to attract that rich melancholy self-lovers look for. I knew within mundane choices was the opportunity to feel abandoned. I’d electric razored the whole thing

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jennifer greidus

ALTOIDS BURN SO GOOD by Jennifer Greidus

Cheetah’s mom is dead. So’s his dad. He lives with his almost-deaf uncle Grant. His uncle plays a lot of solitaire and has a lot of different girlfriends. When Cheetah was in fourth grade, Uncle Grant was a volunteer fireman. He laughed a lot. He made casseroles and brought them

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I HOPE THERE’S NUZZLING by Marisa Crane

The universe is held inside a crunch bar. Everyone knows it. We are all just waiting for the sloppy giant to unwrap that beautiful blue wrapper and take a big bite out of it. And then what? Well, fuck if we residents of the universe know. We’re just here. Will

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michael mungiello

MILK by Michael Mungiello

I’m on my way to mom’s apartment. * I’m at mom’s apartment. Wow, nice. She’s really spruced up the place. Mom? I’m in here! Down the hallway, wood floor, wood walls, wood doors, wood frames around photos (of me as a baby, me at my wedding, none in between); plants.

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CHERYL by Michael Seymour Blake

There was a loud crash outside the apartment. We were in bed talking about leaving the city just as we always had around ten p.m. every night for the past million years. I’d bring up a photo of some paradise with green grass and a nice big blue sky, no

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jenny fried

EYE BITES by Jenny Fried

What You Need to Know I cut off a rat’s head with a guillotine, and it told me I looked like someone who ate cereal for every meal, which was one I hadn’t heard before. I do not in fact eat cereal for every meal, but there’s no use fighting

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SONNY CROCKETT CIRCA 2004 by Ryan Hall

The chain-store you were employed at made so many bad decisions that you pictured board meetings full of cross-eyed and drooling executives, giving power-point presentations that were actually crude finger-paintings rendered in their own feces. And it was there, at the end of things, that you met Ricky. He first

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HOW TO TAME A FERAL CAT by Katherine Beaman

It was a point of personal identity for Lula that she refer to no plant as a “weed” and refrain from assigning labels of “good” or “bad” to any creature. Her property: a lot which was adjacent to her daughter Valerie’s own house, and on which sat a mobile home

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DIPIETRANTONIO

KENTUCKY SHITS by Giovanni DeJaneiro

Steven lived alone in a small house on a cattle ranch at the bottom of a hidden valley.  He didn’t have city water, air conditioning, or internet. The kitchen stank. Empty beers crowded the table and counters and stovetop.  A flyswatter hung on the wall—flies hummed through the air. Dishes

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kristin lafollette

SHOOTER by Kristin LaFollette

I was walking next to Maureen at a slower pace than usual. She was always walking slowly, mostly because she was usually talking too much. I was actually surprised to hear from her when she had called me the day before. It had been months since I’d heard from her.

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PLAGUES AND OBLIGATIONS by Simon Henry Stein

After nine days of nights, I went. On each of those nights I hadn’t gathered more than four hours of sleep, adrift still-dressed from the previous day on a bed that used to boast plural ownership. On three or four of those nights, I twisted toward the ceiling and tried

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michael prihoda

THE HYPOCHONDRIAC SOCIETY by Michael Prihoda

The Hypochondriac Society met every Thursday night in the basement of Knox Presbyterian Church. The church was like a Russian nesting doll: the Presbyterians on Sunday morning, some Mennonites on Sunday night; a children’s Montessori school met in part of the basement during the week or whenever the hell kids

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s.f. wright

THE PAINTER by S.F. Wright

Lands wanted to be the next Jackson Pollack; his parents and siblings told him he should pursue a field in which he could get a real job. But Lands couldn’t see himself as a professional, and he figured, while he had the chance (his parents would pay for college, even

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kevin hatch

RENTAL by Kevin Hatch

My sister was a Blockbuster Video. She was a happening place. She kept her aisles clean, her shelves organized. Children begged for candy inside her. Families made special trips to see her. My sister was the church of Friday night. She was too inviting. A track-star type took her out,

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DESERVED IT by Sebastian Mazza

But I know, it’s my own damn fault. – Jimmy Buffett The lightning bolt lit up the parking lot, fizzing, spitting, then evaporating into the gloom. After my eyes adjusted, I could just make out Dad’s fuzzy supine form across the lot and the man still standing over him. Before

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SOMETIMES HEROES CAN’T WEAR BROWN SKIN by Delvon Mattingly

In times of life-and-death, nobody quite grasped the concept of “be quiet.” But for us, it didn’t matter. My peers panicked, whimpered, some nearly hyperventilated—but nothing outclassed the tormenting screams coming from an adjacent room. Nothing could abolish the cackling gunfire, bullets penetrating walls and possibly bodies. Nothing stopped the

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EXCERPT FROM “DRIFT” by Chris Campanioni

Born Under Punches The things I recall, I recall in zip pan, POV, a pullback shot without mise-en-scène. Or in darting moments, a brief flash, a passing scent, transposing and unblinking, and utterly distinct. Yet the whole of history favors similarities and slight anachronisms. The schism of time is in

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VICTORY PARTY by Sheldon Lee Compton

He talks to me through the trees. Not through them, like he’s standing on one side of a treeline and I’m standing on the other, but like he is the trees. We will stay together, become taproots, strong and lasting, he says. Or we are both oaks. Discussing trees and

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dylan gray

RAW LIVER by Dylan Gray

i am eating a bagel as the fucking cat jumps onto the counter and stares me with what i feel is hate. from the first day we met, the cat and i were never close. it was dereck’s cat. we bought it together, but it was more of his idea

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mike corrao

NO THANK YOU by Mike Corrao

becomingplateaubecomingmachinebecomingplacebecomingbodybecomingbirdsongbecomingdirectionbecomingstasisbecomingmattressbecomingthinbecomingessencebecomingmaterialbecomingpersonbecomingurnbecominganimal (or No Thank You)   There are a thousand plateaus spanning across this plane. Each occupied by strange machines eating each other, who stare at the remains for as long as they can bear to. “What kind of fucking place” is this: somewhere locked within itself. A body that

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andrew higgins

DULUTH by Andrew Higgins

The plane fulfills its purpose: we are no longer ascendant. The engine winds down smoothly, a game show loss sort of draining. The tarmac is ice-sheathed but our skid in was mild. Men outside in reflective gear gesture meaningfully towards the hull, and we look at them through the ovular

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WE CLEAN UGGS by JP Sortland

Yes. No. Hand washed. No machine. He was the only man who shined shoes at George’s Shoe Repair. The tiny refuge was located below ground at the 51st and Lexington subway station. Yes. Hand. Wash. Personally. You’ll like. There were two or three ladies of an implacable foreign origin who

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bud smith

RIVALS by Bud Smith

Last night a cop came uninvited to the party and tasered people for ten dollars. He was a year away from retirement, and so, was relaxed, even breathing from the mouth, acting like a pal. A lot of guys tried the taser. One even was shocked while he was downstairs

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clio valentza

A CATALOGUE OF TEMPORARY OBJECTS by Clio Velentza

One by one they sat for their portraits. Littlest ones first. They stopped at the door and undid their braids. They rubbed their hair with vinegar and pinched their cheeks. The oldest ones were fearsome, they didn’t know how to listen anymore. One pricked her finger and spread the blood

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EXCERPT FROM “COLLEGE NOVEL” by Blake Middleton

The next day around 6:00 p.m. Jordan drove to the corner store near his apartment and bought a Peach Cisco. He drove down I-95 with the windows down and drank Cisco and listened to Propagandhi. In the song the lead singer sang about sticking an American flag up someone’s asshole.

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tara isabel zambrano

BUBBLEGUM by Tara Isabel Zambrano

The girl has created a bubble with 1/3 cup of glycerin, 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup dishwashing soap after her third psychiatrist visit. Years ago she was a perfect baby― a head full of black curls, big eyes and a wide smile. After she turned five, something went wonky

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melissa goode

HERE WE ARE NOW by Melissa Goode

We play this game. You say something nice. I say something nice. You say something mean. I say something mean. We fuck. You aren’t so into it now. Your nice isn’t that nice—beautiful, really? That sounds like a lazy lie to me, but it’s my turn to say something nice.

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LIL ULYSSES 666 by Paul Curran

It feels weird talking to a camera. I must look like a terrorist or a school shooter. I’ll turn off the light. That’s better. Your music sucks anyway. What makes you say that? I thought it sounded funny. You’re the one who asked me here.  Let’s rape and kill some

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WARMAR by Sean Kilpatrick

One day I could speak the language hidden beneath my scabs. There were alphabets above the vacuum overhead that revealed themselves to me, but it was like diving after a flea with safety scissors. Almost enough grown to fill a coffin, still using gunshots to count sheep at night, I

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marc olmsted

ART NAZIS by Marc Olmsted

Spainhammer’s gone, of course.   Flattop blond muscleman Viking male stripper and street hustler who wrote for Curtains’ ReSurface, grumbling about not getting paid, and mad at Crazy House Press publisher Enoch Poorboy (whom he threatened with a syringe of his own AIDS blood ) – that was the event

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harris lahti

DARK WOODS by Harris Lahti

Another flashbulb blanches the room white. “Smile,” her mother tells the purple, howling baby swaddled in its crib. Everywhere the baby—in picture, on magnets, JPEGs plastered across the internet. Roswell can’t even pull a frozen pizza from the refrigerator without being confronted with its alien face. Roswell flips the channel

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isabella esser-munera

BANGKOK by Isabella Esser-Munera

He begins to paint. Frescos. No. But layers. Layers. There are faces. Clouds. He paints feverishly. Time is obsolete. His hand is limitless; it isn’t his. His body; not his. He makes love to himself in paint. ~ It is July 4th and he takes the four pieces that are left

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harris lahti

BONDO by Harris Lahti

That summer I started working at Lexington Home for minimum wage. I spent shifts convincing residents to swallow pills brimming from paper cups. It was a powerful position. Or at least that’s what I told friends. I told them I could’ve swallowed every pill if I wanted. But the only

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FRIENDHYRE by Leland Cheuk

Feedback Entry Form: I really wanted to go to DonutFest but none of my actual friends were as fervid about donuts as I, so I thumbed FriendHyre on my phone and hired someone for just $20. I thought of the cost as a surcharge on the event, which had a

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james mcadams

WHERE WE MARCHED, HIS FINAL YEARS by James McAdams

Here’s a pic of Dad and me marching at the Inauguration Protest, January 20th, 2017, he’s holding the IMPEACH TRUMP sign I duct-taped to his hand. He voted for Trump but that didn’t matter—what mattered, according to his neurologist, was that he get fresh air, sunlight, and exercise, away from

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SHE HAS DISCOVERED COSTCO by Shannon McLeod

It’s Friday the thirteenth and day number four of your leave. You’re taking some time off work since “the incident.” You’re at the DMV because you’ve been meaning to go for months but you’re always working when it’s open. You’re afraid of seeing your students’ parents in the waiting area.

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r.e. hengsterman

GRANDMOTHER by R.E. Hengsterman

A low metal growl rises, and I leap from the bed. Ten… nine. By seven, she’s reached the cornered hill of Fletcher and Fields. Her brakes protest with a tinny squeal. By five, I’m half dressed. At three, the throaty rumble of the eight-cylinder engine grows.  By the time I reach

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BURGLARS by Francine Witte

I used to wish my parents were burglars. That would have been more honest. Instead, we had to live in a shadow. It looked like a house, but it was a shadow. All dark and hushed and Daddy about to lose it anyway. Always about to lose everything on some

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zac smith

FLIPPED by Zac Smith

Brad flipped his car after hitting a fire hydrant, right downtown, right on Fifth Street, right near our old apartment, the prefurnished one with the broken window and the red wall and the kitchen that had bookshelves instead of cabinets, he was driving, something happened, who knows, he hit the

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troy james weaver

HOOKS by Troy James Weaver

A few days after I heard the news, that he’d tried to carve a hole for himself inside the earth, I wondered if it were possible for a man to rip out his own vocal chords. One night, I actually Googled it, came up with a bunch of misleads. Wouldn’t

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LAYING ON HANDS by Aaron Buchanan

At Garron Lake Baptist, all the hands were up in supplication to God as bodies swayed and voices sang “Just As I Am.” In the front, Pastor Charlie Schmidt was laying his sweaty, psoriasis-afflicted hands on Grace Switowski. Pastor Schmidt prayer was heard above the din of chanting, moving bodies.

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scott garson

FUTURE COOKIE by Scott Garson

They were running a charter school out of a city building that stood in a quiet bureaucratic limbo of disrepair. Hanes had laryngitis, but Gutierrez asked him to cover L3 for the teacher whose name he always forgot, a twenty-some boy who was unable to smile without blinking convulsively, as

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shane kowalski

CRAWL ON ME by Shane Kowalski

A lot of times, after having disgusting sex at her slow nephew’s cabin, we’d just get very sick of each other and begin volleying hurt back and forth. Don’t call my nephew slow, she’d say. I have a cousin who’s slow, I’d say. It’s okay. My nephew’s not slow though,

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jocelyn hungerford

FAITHFUL by Jocelyn Hungerford

A cool Sydney night at the beginning of spring. We were smoking a joint on the verandah. The lights on the harbour twinkled and the possums were rasping out their mating calls. He’d been ‘scraping it together’ for a year, he said, to be able to come here. A few

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AN ESSAY ON BIGNESS by James Tadd Adcox

I am a man who never needs to do what other people tell him to do. I am so much bigger than they are. When someone tells me to do something, I give them a look. It is a calculated look. In this look, I share with them the artificiality

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sam phillips

BE SCARED OF YOUR YOUNG by Sam Phillips

What if it’s all torn down, she asked me. I thought this was an odd question coming out of such young mouth. I wondered what exactly it was they teaching her at the preschool. We, me and her mother, me and my wife, are giving nearly half of our income

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louis dickins

DROP SHOT by Louis Dickins

Sonia is ashamed of her husband. She’s sitting with a crowd of people at the local tennis courts in horror, as her husband Paul prepares to serve. He hasn’t won a game, and he and his opponent are deep into the third and final set. It’s a hot, windy day

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EYE UPON THE DONUT by Gregg Williard

“She could be one of them.”  Matt nodded toward the end of the counter.  A Japanese woman of indeterminate age with fuchsia hair and an aqua hoody sat alone with a donut and coffee. Jake had never seen anyone eat a donut the way she did, from the outside surface

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kai ming mckenzie

BUS PORTRAITS by Kai Ming McKenzie

A man on a bus is writing in his day planner There is a slender man who spends every morning bus ride one winter scratching out notes to himself in a little day planner. He looks so busy that we who are seated near him are tempted to try to

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benjamin devos

THE LOBSTER by Benjamin DeVos

I clock in at Pirate Cove and try to find a good place to hide. I stay in the bathroom as long as possible. Until my boss barges into the stall and tells me to get my ass in gear. The shift’s starting. The first table is always the worst

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A SILENT MOVIE by Chris Dankland

On the sixth day, Victor started staring at Antoine’s feet. A pang shot through him every time he saw Antoine’s plump toes wiggle. They were soft, pampered feet that had only walked on the prostrate backs of others. I bet they’re tender, thought Victor, licking his cracked and bleeding lips.

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MICHAEL by Sean Thor Conroe

Michael, who stayed posted out front of Walgreens, requesting eats from entering and exiting Walgreens customers, was presently posted out front of Walgreens, requesting eats from entering and exiting Walgreens customers. “Yo what’s good,” I said as I approached, timing this utterance and my gaze, should he choose to reciprocate

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wayland tracy

THE ELEPHANT EATS THE DOG by Wayland Tracy

I’ve rested my eyes upon the kit cat clock that keeps manic vigil of my darkening apartment. Either this or another video of fish eating birds, and I’ve figured out how all those end. Its eyes shift front door to back door, synchronized with pendulum tail, sixty back-and-fourths to the

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BUTTLOAD by Caleb Echterling

The king’s chief of staff flipped the display numbers. The occupants of the blandest room in the kingdom clutched their flimsy tickets, and sucked in a collective breath. Trumpets flared, and a crier bellowed, “Petition the King Day, now serving A377.” A group of well-dressed, barefoot gentlemen rose to their

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christopher gonzalez

MINOR GRIEVANCES by Christopher Gonzalez

Adam tells me no one else will be by the water after such a bad snowfall. Edgewater Park should be deserted: just us and the lake, frozen into solid hills. It would be quiet, which I preferred—I kept quiet about a lot. Like the Grindr app I downloaded onto my

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edward mullany

NINE STORIES by Edward Mullany

Bay Ridge I’d fallen off my barstool and had been helped back up onto it by the man who’d been sitting next to me and who was laughing at me, or with me, as I was laughing at myself, though this man wasn’t someone I’d known before I’d entered the

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rob mclennan

THE NAMES OF THINGS, by rob mclennan

I gave my attention to the pause. Angela Carr, Here in There 1. I am downsizing, for practical reasons. I gift my belongings before the choice is no longer mine. Ending six months of aggressive treatment, some small strength returns. Moving through boxes and bins and shelves, I name items

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sara chansarkar

NOT FOREVER, SNOWMAN by Sara Chansarkar

You be my Christmas, Snowy. Keep me company this holiday season, that’s all. No Forevers for me, now. Forever lasted only four years and 17 days and left me with this I-am-sorry-note on a neon post-it stuck under the coffee machine, this black-and-white check scarf hung between my coats, and

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kevin sampsell

THE RAZOR by Kevin Sampsell

This is the black shirt my ex-wife gave me before the divorce. The one her father used to wear. I have another one just like it, but it has long sleeves. These short sleeves fit me better. I imagine her dad wearing it. Standing outside, on the roof of his

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HEAD TO TOE by Molly Montgomery

One day, Penny woke up with her consciousness in her feet. She could still feel her head, blink her eyes, watch the procession of sunlight from her shutters ripple onto her bed, but it all felt very far away. Closer to her, the flannel blankets cushioned her arches and as

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TRIAL by Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle

The mystery shopper is ambitious, athletic, with a big dick. It looks good on you. I’ve been here for a while. I ask him what his Myers-Briggs type is and he says he is an INFP. What, INFP, but I’m an INFP. You don’t seem like an INFP, I don’t

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