• Thousand Dollar Coat by Chris Offutt

    I gave her everything and she left anyway.  Oldest story in the book.  You always hear that, but never what the second oldest story is.  I probably lived that one, too.  The last time I saw her she wore a thousand dollar coat I’d given her, a desperate gift laden with the hope she’d recognize […]

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  • No Other Choice by Curtis Ippolito

    You’d never held a gun on a person until that day, so obviously you’d never shot anyone either. The Smith & Wesson shook ever so slightly in your grip, your aim dead-center on our hit’s forehead. You were standing, he was kneeling—whimpering—in his fancy Spanish Colonial mansion in Henderson. A real monstrosity of a place. […]

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  • Waiting for the Butcher by T.W. Garland

    Hannah watched from across the road. Tucked between a Little Caesars and a tanning salon, the law offices of Grubby and Gunster hid behind beige glass and an ‘appointment only’ sign. The lights dimmed across the strip mall. A woman with a purple rinse locked up a second hand bookstore. She shuffled to a station […]

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  • Basketball Night by Michael Long

    “Please, Blake, you gotta help me.” Actually, I didn’t. Truth was, I barely knew the guy. Once a week we sat in the bleachers and watched our daughters play basketball. That was it. When I didn’t answer he went on, “I just want someone there when I talk to him. Finny’s always got a big […]

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  • Big Truck in the Garden by Brian Beatty

    Cale was sitting on the front porch of his crumbling farm house, plunking away on a banjo, when up pulled a pair of sheriff’s cars without their lights or sirens going. “Lucky me!” Cale hooted. “This must be a social visit. Sorry I’m out of iced tea, boys.” “Just looking into a missing persons lead,” […]

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  • Karaoke by Jim Mountfield

    “People say you sing well. Why not sing for us now, Ashikawa-san?” Hiraizumi spoke loudly. The bar’s soundproofing didn’t block out the shrieks and gibbers of the typhoon that’d wheeled up from Guam, made landfall at Wakayama and was passing over Tokyo. “What about the American song, My Way?” suggested Umeki, one of several other […]

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  • The Fighting Squid by J.B. Stevens

    The dark-roast’s odor summoned Heck’s memory of the Costa Rican girl. His chest hurt and he remembered the Dear John email and the taste of Iraqi dust and the overwhelming sorrow. He lied to himself, mentally insisting he was better off—he wasn’t. He often considered cutting out dark roast, but never did. A man must […]

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  • A Cure For Sleeplessness by Amanda Crum

    There was a time when he could sleep through the night and never open his eyes until noon, but those days were as far past him as the ones with wet dreams. Now he was lucky to get in four hours before his back woke him, or his goddamned prostate. Roland Phillips stood on his […]

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  • Baby Magic by Serena Jayne

    Della hobbled down Bourbon Street, dodging drunken tourists. The fifty-dollar bill she’d shoved inside her bra made her tits itch. Her stomach lurched at the stale beer, body odor, and urine stink. Pedestrian chatter blended with the mix of music, making the air seem to pulse. Remy’s words as he’d handed her the cash, “we’ll […]

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  • Por Fin by Lago Milagros

    August in Woodside “That ain’t freedom. You pussywhipped by the idea of heaven.” Gordo said, brown-eyed with crimson lines like blood lightning. “You wildin’ son” replied Teka, as he took the last swig of Aguardiente, before shading in the letters on the brick canvas, behind the bodega on 64th St. “Where God at tho?” Continued […]

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  • Lemmings by Jay Butkowski

    The <CLACK> <CLACK> of keyboard strokes was putting Dimitry into a trance. There wasn’t much else to focus on inside the data center.  Except for the sounds of typing and the occasional whirring of a CPU fan trying to cool down an overburdened processor, there wasn’t much by way of audio-sensory stimulus.  They weren’t even […]

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  • The Quiet/Loud Dynamic by Scott Cumming

    It was the song we’d waited all night for. The acoustic number that had rocketed the band to the mainstream and more specifically the lead singer from pin up to messiah. He sang of a pain I knew well. The daggered, betrayed broken heart. I stood awed by the singer’s presence, ready to bask in […]

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