Featured Stories

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

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“Did you come?” She was quiet, laying there on her back, her eyes closed. I guessed she did. She acted that way. I was just asking. She didn’t answer. I felt stupid asking a second time, but did anyway. “Did you come?” I asked. “Yes! Yes!” she said in an exasperated tone. “I did.” “Sorry,” I said. “Don’t be sorry. …

September 23, 2016 :: 0 comments

The Wall

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Once upon a once upon a time time time I gave up on my life—that is I gave up all the things that make life worth living. Like hoping, wanting, wishing—in fact I gave up as many feelings as I could get rid of. Strange how that works. You decide—only semi-awarely—to stop feeling pain. You put up a wall—invisible, impenetrable—surrounding …

September 16, 2016 :: 2 comments

Earth Angel

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Soon after it happened, police cars swarmed in, followed by a fire truck and an ambulance. She watched them all evening from her second floor window that looked out over the parking lot, red and blue and green lights swirling through the darkness like kaleidoscopic searchlights. Around midnight, upset and nervous, she went to bed, wondering if she should check …

September 9, 2016 :: 0 comments

Contributed Stories (Past Year)

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A Mother’s Sorrow

by on November 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

I floated on golden cloud from place to place. All I had was my soft brown and white fur, my tiny pink tongue, my piercing blue eyes that melted the hearts of everyone who saw me. Meow! Meeee-ow! There were so many ways to express myself. But no meow could capture the way I felt when they cut me open. …

A Previous Life

by on October 23, 2015 :: 0 comments

It was their wedding night and Priya didn’t want to tell her new husband all about it but Bill kept asking where she had learned to walk like that. Finally she told him it was inherited from a previous life, a life she had lived many years ago in India, not far from Bangalore. She had been a cobra kept …

Acid, Mom

by on October 30, 2015 :: 1 comment

When I was 16 my mom told me not to do acid. She told me a cautionary story about two people she knew who took acid and drove on the highway. It was late at night and they were the only drivers on the road. Then they saw a refrigerator in the middle of the highway. The guy in the …

Aksinya

by on January 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

I can’t for the fuck of me understand Aksinya. One moment she’s bald and the next she wears blue hair. One moment she is demure and sad and nothing will cheer her up, than she is the tumult of the falls and starts to fight. That day we sat on a bench in broad daylight on Kozlov St., near the …

Boredom

by on June 10, 2016 :: 0 comments

In the evening my phone rang. Nobody had called me for ages. I thought that all the people I ever knew had died already. It was so boring. And suddenly it turned out an old friend remembered me. I have not seen him for a thousand years. Since he had gone into business, we parted ways. Here, all of a …

Boundaries

by on November 20, 2015 :: 0 comments

It is 7:35 in the afternoon and Kris is sitting in the middle of a row of kids at church. She is sweating and her leg is shaking and her heart is beating fast and the back of her eyes hurt. She is the most awake that she has ever been in her entire life. She has a lot of …

Coiffeuse

by on October 2, 2015 :: 0 comments

Mary worked as a coiffeuse and drank rather heavily. She even sold the toilet bowl in the apartment. Then she met a businessman named Volodya, fell in love with him, quit drinking and married. With Volodya’s help, Mary bought a bistro, where in the old days there got together all sorts of local drinking profligates. She herself often dropped in …

Coroner’s Office

by on January 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

I thought the worst part of going to work for the Coroner’s office would be the emulsified bodies, the stink of rot hanging in my clothes, an air of finality about my demeanor, decay of the soul and spirit, moral jaundice, an urge to buy new shoes every other week, and wondering at the end of each shift what the …

Cussin’ Paul Gets Religion

by on January 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Word spread fast at the poker club where the retired men of the community meet to play almost every day but not on Sunday out of respect for those who went to church. But this is Saturday and the word is out that Cussin’ Paul, in his 80s now, a charter member, wouldn’t be coming to play anymore. The word …

Diane

by on April 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

The way I see it, Diane, you know, I did her a favor, the way things were going I hate to say it, but I would have needed to kill her, reporters flying in from New York and Los Angeles to interview her and write her up in magazines, she got her colored picture in Gentlemen’s Quarterly, couples we knew …

Dr. Chapman’s Insight

by on April 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Dr. Chapman had been valedictorian of his class in high school and college but had finished second in his class in medical school, something that still bothered him after 30 years of successful practice in a small city. Many patients traveled from all over the state to see him. Over the years, he had hired a number of practical nurses …

Dreams in the Kingdom of Chaos

by on October 9, 2015 :: 0 comments

There was a man in the kingdom of Chaos. His name was Melodious Music. He was all contrasted by the warring elements of the kingdom, by their uproars, their thundering beats and plays. He was silent, all pervading among the syllables of coarse voices, hence being-less the passers-by believed him to be. For decades there came no Columbus. And one …

Emergency

by on July 1, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Nine, one, one. What is your emergency?” asked the Dispatcher at 6:03 in the evening in the County San Diego Operation Center. “My daughter is being abused by her father,” yelled a woman. “What’s your name?” “Susan Johnson.” “Are you a witness to the incident?” “No. A neighbor heard my daughter’s screams and called me.” “Is this the first time …

F.T.P.

by on May 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

“I think you like it rough.” Her eyes stared at the detective blankly. “Excuse me?” “And I think…” he sat back in his chair and clasped his hands over his belted khakis, “you didn’t want your parents to find out that you had sex with a black guy. You’re embarrassed, so you said it’s rape. Am I right?” His gold …

For Rosealie

by on January 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Outside, the chair was right in front of the building, and they were drinking rotgut wine. I noticed two Latinos and a West Indian with one of those high caps with yellow, green and red swirls. One of the Latinos wore a waist length, brown army jacket. The third guy was in a big, overstuffed armchair, springs splitting through. He …

Frieze in Miniature

by on June 3, 2016 :: 0 comments

Sunday and snow. A promise made— a promise kept. Laden with oranges, apples, chips, crackers graham, muenster, and wine to placate my misgivings, a thermos of cold water, mittens, blankets, and four rain-booted children bundled for snowball battles, quivered with impatience— up Angeles Crest we plunged. Destination— snow— 7000 feet. Carsick children— and me. Still no snow. Destination— Big Pine. …

Headbang

by on December 26, 2015 :: 0 comments

The jukebox dared to play New Moon. “Charlie, who put this on?” “Weren’t me, it’s one of those tossers over there,” shrugged Charlie. Tony cast a fury glance at Soulboy, Dollop, who wore his muscles under his belly and Library Lad. “They come in our pub and stick their crap on, it ain’t right is it, Sid?” Sid followed Tony’s …

Hennessy on the Rocks

by on August 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

I know this older lady who left her soul in every barstool across the city. She appeared to be this beautiful shade of lost with just a hint of recognition. Her eyes told this alluring story that I was interested in finding out, and I eventually did. The night I met her she told me she dreamt of being a …

Henry Showed Wendy His Paintings

by on August 13, 2016 :: 0 comments

Henry and Wendy Throckmorton had been married a week when Henry took Wendy to his garret 100 miles south of their estate in posh Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago. Wendy thought she was going on a delayed honeymoon. Henry had never told her that he was a painter by avocation. She knew only that he was a successful patent attorney …

I Was Here First

by on July 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

People leaving the stairwell entry in the front row of the bullring’s top tier kept stopping to admire the view, moving on when hearing: “Fucking move!” When Mohican screamed, he stood up. He had stood up a lot. He was in the front row beside the entry. “You’re in the fucking way!” he belched, for the twenty-fifth time. Stunned faces …

If Dog is God Spelled Back Ways, What is Cat?

by on December 4, 2015 :: 0 comments

When Markie was a freshman at Irving High, he used to lie in bed and think about murdering his parents. He did not think about getting caught. He did not think about what he’d do with the bodies. He merely thought of getting rid of their unendurable pressure. Markie planned to do it in the dead of night, when his …

In Vino Veritas

by on April 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

I hit the bell boy up for breath mints and on the way up to the bar in the lift and finger combed my hair and repeated my drunken mantra which I believed would allow clear speech: A proper cup of coffee from a Proper copper coffee pot A proper cup of coffee from a proper Copper coffee pot A …

Internet Dating

by on May 20, 2016 :: 0 comments

Mick went out that evening. There was the Purity Restaurant over on 7th Street and 7th Avenue. Mick was a little down on his luck, figured 7, 11…dice, numbers like that. Walked into The Purity. The place used to be owned by a couple of Greeks and is now owned by a couple of Italians. It also relocated from Union …

Jimmy the Human

by on August 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

Jimmy the human. Well, vaguely human. It’s been a long thirty years on the factory floor, A robotic existence, but you’ve made a feed For yourself and the factory fodder you and your wife Spawned at intervals: Funny how their conception times to Celebrations of promotion and pay rises. Like hey baby, I’m financial: let’s procreate! Escape. Lest the mewling …

Killing the Rapist

by on March 4, 2016 :: 0 comments

He buried his corpse in an open field. The evening was filled with utter silence and no living person passed the site. The sky looked perfect pale by the rays of glowing moon. Ajay dusts off his hands clapping strongly, lifts the shovel and starts punching the mud to flatten it. After finishing up he stands unmoved, overwhelmed with pride, …

Letter to Myself

by on April 1, 2016 :: 0 comments

Hello, Nearly Departed: Death has visited you, but yet you still remain. Death has no sting, only a stench. I am writing you to keep the light of life burning bright in you. I wrote this to myself after I was nearly murdered two and a half years ago. Here is what I wrote for all of you, who like …

Love That Moon: A Poem in Three Parts

by on June 21, 2016 :: 1 comment

One: Jefferson We sat on the front porch, the whole lot of us, the Washington family, knowing that yes our folk of all different hues of brown, were born of the first father of our country, our country too. Granny, born of a young slave girl, had nearly died today, fell down once again, not good for much, she was …

Midas Eye

by on February 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I am aware of the fingers clutching my jaw, the green eyes that incarcerate my shrinking visual field. He won’t come with me, not this time, this time it’s a rite of passage. He blows the smoke into my mouth. I feel my uvula shudder. Today I become a man or I lose my shit trying. Leaves and slicks of …

Milk Thistle and Fenugreek

by on March 11, 2016 :: 0 comments

While I’m the recipient of Happy Springs’ Senior Citizen Prize, I can’t comprehend why my art’s heralded as precious. Five-year-olds can knock together found objects. True sandbox pals attribute value to most refuge, even stuff, which after being turrets and moats, is tossed aside as bottle caps, lost memory sticks, broken rubber bands, and paper clips-gone-wonky. When my neighbor Jim-Jam …

Night at The Dakota

by on July 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Nobody likes “the professor,” but he does throw great parties. Lots of good-looking yuppies, excellent food and an open bar. A distinguished professor of psychology at the City University, he owns a huge apartment in The Dakota, a landmarked building on Central Park West. He never could have afforded it on his salary but he earns substantial royalties from his …

One Billion Stoned

by on February 12, 2016 :: 0 comments

So it goes like this. My good friend Morgan and I assumed the driving duties. Our other good pals Justin and Nick were in the back seats tripping their balls off on mushrooms saying how beautiful the trees were. Morgan drove the first half of the trip from campus and then we switched and I took over for the rest …

Permission Slip

by on February 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

I, __________, do hereby grant permission for my wife, Lucia Lopez-Costner, to have discreet sexual adventures with other men (or women) provided she agrees to the following terms and conditions: 1. Lucia agrees to have protected sex unless provided with current STD test results. 2. Lucia agrees to make clear that their business is strictly for pleasure, and nothing else …

Regular Maintenance

by on March 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

Over the weekend my wife’s Honda wouldn’t start. I went out to the garage to tinker under the hood but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Monday morning, she said she was taking my Pontiac to work and I could walk. The bus stop was just around the corner from our house but I had to get off at …

Serpent’s Tale

by on April 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

My eyes are like diamonds, finely cut in the mirror. The outlines of my face waver, melting into the cracked walls behind me. My tie represents who I am. Neat, perfectly-strewn, nice. Together. There is no image in my head as I drive through the night. No faces of my dead mother or vanished father, just the recurring voice of …

Skies of Hell Flame


by on July 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

Texas heat beats down on the lawn in front of the house. There is a scorching wind gently blowing the blades of inch high grass. The grass is wet green, as if oils soaks through the surface to slicken the grass. The sun’s blaze doesn’t reach the inside of the house. Along with the tarantulas and snakes, it’s stopped at …

Smells

by on May 6, 2016 :: 0 comments

Working at home, I decided to take a smoke break. I started a doobie and after what seemed like hours and my coffee smell stale I decided to go out and get a beer. At 7-11, I smelled hotdogs so I got the twofer, it was getting to be lunch time after all. I added some onions some mustard and …

Stoop Dreams

by on January 2, 2016 :: 1 comment

We used to lay together on days so hot the hydrants spewed water with firefighter’s blessings and I’d throw off all but my big girl’s panties and feel your holy brown stone on my bare stomach as you cooed the hum of air conditioning units into my soul “Do you mind?” I’d ask, smothering you with chalk till you breathed …

The Brooklyn Hallelujah

by on March 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I’d like to thank God and Long Island and the Dutch for giving me the Hallelujah of naked sunbathing 300 feet above Red Hook with Russian dicks and rooftop fellatio atop century old abandoned warehouses with their apathetic dock workers, black netting condemning the building and freeing our nights to watch the sunrise, to camp out in this cement sanctuary …

The Case of the Cross-Country Skier

by on November 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

At last, at last, Wendell rests his skis at the other side of the lake in sunset, exhausted, satiated. He senses the water conscious and raucous down under the lake, glaring, straining upward, knocking against the depths of the ice again and again, enraged at his escape. He’s unwilling to look away, but does not want to cross the lake …

The Gun Shop

by on May 13, 2016 :: 0 comments

The gun shop sign, I have to admit, was shimmering. Other than that, it was a piece of shit, but the sun blessed the thing when I drove up. I was armed with statistics. My hands were shaky. I’d wanted to do this for a long time. I knew how many kids kill themselves with guns each year. I had …

The Other End of the Bar

by on July 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Jesus! What am I doing! Robert thought to himself. It was midday and he was alone in his tiny room with his mind in the salt shaker. He is quite strong. He benches 280 and arm curls 130. He is a writer who just lifts weights for something to do. He has been watching a lot of mixed martial arts …

The Robot

by on November 6, 2015 :: 0 comments

It may sound simple enough to go to your father’s house for Christmas dinner, but the fact is for me it wasn’t. I have tried over and over again to figure out what happens. I start out filled with the resolve to act natural— just be myself— talk to Father as though he were anyone else. But it’s always the …

The Train to Discomfort

by on June 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

David McConnell didn’t realize how tense he’d been until the train left German soil and entered Austria. In a few hours he’d be in Vienna and he and Julia would shop for a cleric. He let out a sigh and looked up from his week-old edition of the London Times. Sitting across from him was a large man with a …

The Twilight’s Last Gleaming

by on December 19, 2015 :: 1 comment

The thing he missed most was the sound of birdsong. After the change, you no longer heard birds. You might see birds high in the sky, now and again, far from humans, as if too frightened to come near. But you didn’t hear them. You couldn’t hear anything. There was a ringing that droned in his ears but he wasn’t …

The Warehouse

by on October 16, 2015 :: 0 comments

We’d cop 40s from the mafia front on Smith and Union (the one on the corner, not the bodega next to the pizza joint—they’d just laugh at our fakes and tell us to try across the street) and run down President till we hit the water. “Take the F to Carroll and walk to the river,” we’d tell anyone who …

Trade Relations in the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster

by on December 11, 2015 :: 0 comments

Reid was optimistic. The latest sales forecast located his zone in improved prosperity. Other leading economic indicators, too, looked rosy. There was a sharp increase in building permits in his region. As well, the dollar exchange rate had climbed, and unemployment claims had dropped. Whereas Reid wasn’t yet ready to invite Deidra to sample Champaign in his apartment, he was …

Transfiguration

by on February 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

There was no getting around it anymore—Annie’s stomach had become a definite protuberance. The problem seemed to be her fondness for food. Still, Annie was not devoid of the tendency toward self-evaluation. Browsing through the fashion-filled pages of Damsel magazine, she had become aware of another hunger experienced when studying the color portraits of lean, hollow-eyed models, accompanied by a …

Vote

by on September 2, 2016 :: 0 comments

The flyers up around the gayborhood didn’t say much: no date, no time, and no location. They just say VOTE: A NEW GAY DANCE CLUB – COMING SOON. It’s rumored to be inspired by Studio 54 back in its heyday—you know, when the bouncer handpicked the hot and important people outside the club. The address everyone is passing around is …

Who’s Who

by on August 20, 2016 :: 0 comments

Mr L.K.J. Portland was in shock. He couldn’t put his finger of what he’d done wrong. Well, to be truthful, he had done wrong—he’d taken an illegal turn and collided with an old car driven by a young woman. A nobody. That was what troubled Mr. Portland. The nobody was but a fly yet she stood her ground when he …

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