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

  1. 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

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

1

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

Michelle Ross ~ Fish Story

Mrs. Lark is dying. I think it’s the chil­dren. They’re like an algal bloom pol­lut­ing her water. What I know is that when I lived with her all those years in her yel­low-walled apart­ment, Mrs. Lark seemed healthy. Then in August, she scooped me into a plas­tic bag and brought me here. She said to me, “I’ll bet you didn’t know I used to teach. That was long before your time. It’s been fif­teen –more

Mary Lynn Reed ~ How to Let It All Go

You imag­ine a life in a small Midwestern town where you teach Calculus at the com­mu­ni­ty col­lege and buy sweet corn at the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays in the town square. Your big yel­low dog named Jethro chas­es squir­rels up trees in your fenced back­yard and it’s all fine because you don’t trav­el any­more and the days are long but not so gru­el­ing that you wake in the mid­dle of the night with a cin­der –more