Dan Crawley ~ What Others Do About It

Theo sat in the tiny din­ing room next to the kitchen, try­ing to con­cen­trate on a book he want­ed to read for a long time now. In lieu of a din­ing set, there was a bur­gundy reclin­er and a small round table that once sat in the break­fast nook. His twen­ty-six year old daugh­ter, Magda, had dragged the large din­ing room table into the kitchen because of the great light from the bay win­dows. He heard her

more …

Kathy Anderson ~ Airport Wine Bar

It was their own damn fault for day­time drink­ing. You don’t wave wads of cash around in front of a wom­an who can’t afford to buy the drug that keeps her alive and not expect her to grab it as fast as she can.

The first cou­ple she stole from was so nice. Ali and Amina from Kazakhstan. Marnie would nev­er for­get them. They were inex­pe­ri­enced trav­el­ers, very con­fused about US dol­lars. Marnie relaxed

more …

Christie Wilson ~ Solvay 1927

The din­ing room, elec­tric with the shift­ing of wool and the sta­t­ic that hums over the tables in the form of spec­u­la­tion and vibrat­ing con­ver­sa­tion, leans towards the impor­tant ones as they enter and take their seats at the tables.

As usu­al, we’ve been instruct­ed on invis­i­bil­i­ty, but it is dif­fi­cult not to linger. I take inor­di­nate amounts of time refill­ing the cof­fee cups, clear­ing plates, and

more …

Andy Plattner ~ Library

Wayne knows that the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library down­town opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday-Saturday and nev­er one min­ute ear­lier, not even when it’s rain­ing and there are a dozen plus-cit­i­zens wait­ing to get inside. The build­ing is eight sto­ries, cube-shaped, neu­tral-toned. He’s read up on the archi­tec­ture: it’s known as Brutalist, tak­en from the French words beton brut, or “raw con­crete.”

more …

Graeme Carey ~ Expelled from Eaton Park

Another head poked through the small open­ing in the door. This time it belonged to Rory, the flop­py-haired kid from next door. He was wear­ing a Santa hat and didn’t say any­thing to James, who lay on the bed with his hands behind his head and his eyes up at the ceil­ing. He just want­ed to get a look.

Everyone want­ed to get a look. All after­noon, heads had been pop­ping in and out of the room

more …

Abigail Greenbaum ~ Beauty Is Pain

The hos­pi­tal where Petra was born, her moth­er would lat­er tell her, ran out of drugs the week of her birth­day, so her moth­er screamed for hours, and her father, at work fil­ing papers, swore he could hear the shrieks echo­ing across the entire city. Petra didn’t know whether to believe her moth­er about the short­age of drugs, or if she made up the neg­li­gence, anoth­er piece of evi­dence in her mother’s

more …

Mark Budman ~ Super Couple

Soupmann is Superman’s third cous­in twice removed. Unlike his rel­a­tive, Soupmann set his pri­or­i­ties log­i­cal­ly and suc­cinct­ly. He fights for truth and jus­tice, and some­times for truth and the American way, and some­times for jus­tice and the American way, but not for all three at once. Otherwise, he’d be stretch­ing too thin. He goes into a phone booth and turns into chick­en soup. He smoth­ers

more …

Kim Magowan ~ Wheels Inside Wheels

Her death is sud­den, so there is no time to prepare—no pro­tract­ed sick­ness. A stroke: Henry wakes to find her dead beside him, stiff and cool.

You have nev­er met Elaine. You have only seen pic­tures: the one on his desk with the lac­quered frame, and the wed­ding pic­ture on the hall table that one time you went to their house, when Elaine was vis­it­ing their son in col­lege. I imag­ine you encoun­ter­ing

more …

James Hartman ~ Stage Three

Even pro­lific swingers like us had morals.  Rules to our care­free promis­cu­ity.  Rules each of us took seri­ous­ly.  Beth and I had been hap­pi­ly mar­ried, you see, before we met this mar­ried cou­ple off a dat­ing site at Sloppy Joe’s.  Rule One: we only got togeth­er with just as hap­pi­ly mar­ried cou­ples.  But when the­se two walked in, Beth poked my shoul­der and rasped, “They’re not

more …

Maximus Anthony Adarve ~ Déjà Vu

I trace the scars that tat­too the dark skin of your shoul­ders in the back seat of my Volvo s80 and tell you to stop pop­ping ben­zos so often. I like the way you sigh and roll your head back when I go down and how you wear that wig some­times. You’re pret­tier than my girl­friend when you wear that shit. Sometimes I feel like I should shave my legs more often. It’s get­ting warmer and I’ve been

more …

Wyatt Bonikowski ~ Teenage Boy in Polaroids

The teenage boy drove a black Trans Am with an eagle on the hood. He was friends with my babysit­ter Rita and her friends, and she would invite them over to drink beers and blast David Bowie and T. Rex on my dad’s stereo sys­tem. One night the girls raid­ed my par­ents’ bed­room and dressed me in a wig and a glam­orous old gown and paint­ed my face with lip­stick and rouge. The teenage boy had long

more …

Joseph Pfister ~ Happy Hour

My neigh­bor, Tom, came to the door. Tom was in his for­ties, his only dis­tin­guish­ing fea­ture a patch of blond in his oth­er­wise dark hair. He and his wife had bought the three-bed­room house next to ours four or five years ago, bring­ing with them a pair of grey­hounds nobody want­ed after their days at the race­track were over. That’s the kind of cou­ple they were. Tom had come over to ask me some­thing

more …

Kathy Fish ~ The Once Mighty Fergusons

One rocked him­self to sleep every night, bang­ing his head again­st the wall. One who’d been beat­en for clog­ging the toi­let, took to shit­ting behind the garage. The youngest one had night ter­rors. Once he dreamed he was being chased and tore through the snow in his bare feet to the neigh­bors’ and broke a win­dow with his fist. They all wet the bed. They suf­fered all the com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, the­se

more …

Greg Bottoms ~ Skittles


At a Wawa gas sta­tion and min­i­mart in Newport News, Virginia, a land­scap­er named Scott stood in line to buy a bot­tle of Gatorade. He had been work­ing for the city, weed­ing and replant­i­ng a wide medi­an strip and a flowerbed at the mouth of an off ramp, which sur­round­ed a sign cel­e­brat­ing the incor­po­ra­tion of the munic­i­pal­i­ty from one of the orig­i­nal Virginia colony shires in 1896. The job—half

more …