• The Smartest Guy in the Room by Albert Tucher

    “Nobody has to know,” said Diana. “I’ll know,” he said. Diana studied him on his bar stool. She seldom got to work for men like this Jason, with his strong forearms, tousled dark hair and jawline so sharp it could injure a hooker who forgot her professional detachment. Maybe it was just as well he […]

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  • Denied by Karen Harrington

    My dad lay dying, intermittently mumbling short bursts of information. Missing my mother. Lots about Jonathan, my older brother. The favorite with a tech start-up. His worry over the youngest, Claire. She’d been spoiled into addiction and until recently, was still getting payments from the Bank of Dad. I waited for my name to rally […]

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  • In the Frame by Linda McMullen

    I loitered on the edge of the crackling pavement, watching cruel smoke ribbons emanate from the ash of Cocody Marché.  The ghosts of Abidjanais merchants’ middle-class dreams keened above.  Harvey, a 280-pound bead of sweat, muttered over his shoulder while mopping his grotesque brow: “The police have officially declared it an electrical fire.”  A beat.  […]

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  • Two in the Streets by Bobby Mathews

    Two a.m., and last call was fifteen minutes ago. The slender guy at the bar paid with cash, peeling twenties off a thick wad that he stuffed back into the inner pocket of his cashmere coat. He looked around the bar and shook his head as if to clear it, and then he wobbled toward […]

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  • Ground Beef by Amanda Silverman Kosior

    “Stop me if you’ve heard this one,” I said.  A few clouds grazed lazily across a field of stars.  They lumbered onto moon, and the world went dark. Tanner kept on shoveling. “Ole died,” I said.  “And so Lena goes to the newspaper man to write an obituary.  ‘Just put, “Ole died,”’ Lena says.  ‘That’s […]

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  • Philippine Farewell by Devin Misko

    The Cessna Citation banked hard right for a few paralyzing seconds before leveling, and what caught Max’s attention was the glimmering Pacific appearing through the window, its dazzling vastness extending as far as the horizon allowed. Briefly, the majestic view made him forget how much he hated to fly, or, more specifically, how much he loathed […]

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  • One Bad Spin by April Snellings

    For the rest of my life, I’ll never be anything but The One Who Left Mom Alone in the Car That Night. It’s like landing on the “bankrupt” wedge on Wheel of Fortune—no matter how well you’ve played the game, one bad spin undoes it all. I’ll never be Selfless Angie Who Took Mom in […]

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  • The Naughty List by J.B. Stevens

    The Christmas tree stood proud, red and silver and plastic. It smelled real. The collector’s wife must have lit a pine-scented candle before leaving for church. The presents, more than I’d ever seen, were wrapped and stacked beneath simulated evergreen needles. Gold and blue paper popped under lights and tinsel—the place looked like a Hallmark […]

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  • Outsourcing by James Blakey

    Johnny Maggio’s wife was having an affair. But a divorce was out of the question, as the Church frowned on such measures. Instead, Johnny chose to have this lothario rubbed out. The Church also felt rather strongly about murder, but this was a matter of pride. The Romeo in question was Vinnie “Two Cats” Castiglione, […]

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  • Fore! by Alan Orloff

    Me and Deke were down in my basement, talkin’. He worked the counter down at my shop, and I’d invited him over after closing. “When I turned fifty, I told myself I was going to get a new set of golf clubs. Running a plumbing supply business is hard work, and I deserve a little […]

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  • Vic Has Got to Die by Lawrence Allen

    Anton fell to his knees in Vic’s front hall, bleeding from four or five wounds. He had lost count during all of the shooting and stabby-stabby and was busy holding his guts in so maybe he could make it out before the police showed up. He looked up at the ostentatious piece of shit front […]

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  • Ted Flanagan Pothole by Ted Flanagan

    Now Ramos and I, we’re in the groove. The kid on the stretcher is dead but still screaming, not dead enough yet. The ambulance gallops over every pothole like some kind of bullshit steeplechase. At a corner pause, we hear more gunshots outside and a block away, but barely notice. We’re doing a hundred things […]

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