Jordan Castro ~ Like an Animal Running

Standing, hunched, in his bed­room, he would plan to pack the bare essentials—one pair each of under­wear and socks, one t-shirt for each day, one pair of jeans, a col­lared shirt—but would end up frus­trat­ed, con­fused.

Which under­wear, for exam­ple, looked best on him? Which fit in such a way, or were made from such mate­ri­als, that caused his gen­i­tals to sweat the least? And which, of these, might –more

Tommy Dean ~ Cotton Candy

Gavin, a mid­dle school his­to­ry teacher, stood in line at the super­mar­ket, duck­ing his head, try­ing to go unno­ticed. Though he only had a few items, he hat­ed the self-check machines, afraid he’d make a mis­take or the price wouldn’t ring up right. Some of the employ­ees were his for­mer stu­dents: con­ver­sa­tions like scripts from bad com­mer­cials he couldn’t suf­fer through again. So he wait­ed in the express –more

Kim Magowan ~ Daisy Chain

Gently, Dr. Sukimoto sug­gests it is time for Sharon to get her affairs in order. Dr. Sukimoto is her favorite oncol­o­gist. The flaps of hair on either side of his face remind her of the soft ears of a bea­gle. When he says these words, Sharon, whose dis­ser­ta­tion chair a dozen years ago com­plained she had an undis­ci­plined mind, has an errant thought. She imag­ines not a will, but a daisy chain of names. –more

Avital Gad-Cykman ~ This is When the Sun Spreads Cherry Bloody Spots

A coun­try grows, waters its deserts, rais­es its chil­dren, cul­ti­vates trees, con­structs cities, opens schools, equips hos­pi­tals, defends its bor­ders, builds sky­scrap­ers, pro­grams its com­put­ers, fights a nec­es­sary war, accepts immi­grants, starts busi­ness­es, names its restau­rants bistro or gourmet, goes to anoth­er war and then anoth­er. This is when min­ions work for their mas­ters, dogs bite every stranger, –more

Girija Tropp ~ I Have Almost Forgotten the Taste of Fruit Loops

Pull the weeds, I hear my land­la­dy say. She likes to give strict instruc­tions to her man, so much so that I’ve been inspect­ing him from my kitchen win­dow to see if I can fig­ure out if he is a sub­mis­sive. He is no hunk but there seems to be some­thing about their rela­tion­ship that implies this. To explain, I live below the pair of them, and they have a habit of swarm­ing all over the vast gar­den that –more