Hot Dad by David E.J. Berger

“Tomorrow’s fucked anyway! So why give a shit if you die tonight!” I growl into the mic. “I never liked you anyway, that’s why I fucked your dad in the pale moonlight!” It’s the chorus to our song “Hot Dad,” which was inspired by our ex-friend Shelley. She broke up our friend Daria’s family by … Read more

No Lights by Kim Kolarich

I met her at work at the advertising agency. I had graduated from DePaul University, and it was my first job. I got my own office; it was small, but I could shut the door and take a snooze if I had partied the night before. My parents said it would be easier for me … Read more

Reset Button By Lou Gaglia

He joked to Janice that maybe his next job could be writing reviews for the local newspaper, except that he would write interesting ones, since every article in the paper was about some town meeting or how the garbage dump smelled. She smirked. “Start with the bowling alley in town then, and copy someone’s review … Read more

Good Angels by Marlene Olin

They stood in the faculty lounge sipping coffee. Outside, palm trees swayed in the breeze. Inside, women pursed their lips and men tugged on their sleeves. The object of their discussion had long since left the room. The air was stuffy. Someone opened a window. “It’s not that I don’t have a great deal of … Read more

Death is an Airport by Jordan Larue

I died once. Have you? I can tell you this because I didn’t stay dead for very long; as it were, someone clumsily revived me, and interrupted me from a pleasant stroll down a mist-filled hallway towards the light at the end. As I recall, I was approaching what looked to be a big man … Read more

A Light At the End of Something by Paula Danovsky

I tried to focus on the pink lamp, the one my grandmother gave me on my tenth birthday, before she had the stroke. The thing made me think of her, and when I thought of her, I could make it through what my mind said was impossible, like a 30-mile drive on icy roads in … Read more

The Roommate by Anne Hosansky

My reading habits are changing, for lately I open the newspaper to the obituary page first. I’ve always been a rather morbid man, but there’s a kind of pride in seeing familiar names and knowing that after seventy-some years I’m still here. This morning, though, was a shocker. Ed’s name was on that page. There … Read more

One Night in June by Stefanie Lyons

It’s funny, the things you remember and the things you forget. For instance, I can’t recall what day it was, exactly; I just know it was a warmish evening in June. And I have no clue if I was wearing a sundress or a nightgown or if I’d gotten my braces off yet, but I … Read more

Okanagan by Abigail Mitchell

The day you crashed the boat there were hardly any people on Okanagan Lake, just you and me and a lone fisherwoman trolling for rainbow trout. We were mostly alone on the lake but we weren’t alone in Okanagan. That September, I remember, we were there with your dad and your maman and your aunt … Read more

The Longest Night by Laura Rodley

I’m supposed to be at my girlfriend’s. I had a pass for the weekend to go to her house for an early Christmas visit. But we had a fight and she got on the bus without me. She didn’t even look out the window as I waved, hoping she’d change her mind. There’s no way … Read more

Nothing is Reviled by Perle Besserman

Now that I think back on it, I’ll bet every girl at Edgecomb knew about my affair with Denny Mackle, the college handyman. It’s hard to be private on a tiny campus jam-packed with three hundred post-pubescent Presbyterians. Having Winnie Foy for a roommate didn’t help, either. Winnie could spread gossip with the speed of … Read more

An Encounter by George Christopher Moreno

A man helped me out last night. He was small and dark-skinned, with short curly black hair and dark brown eyes. He wore black pants and a green sweater, with two white stripes running down each sleeve. I met him on my way home from work. His name was Rodrigo. I’d taken one of the … Read more

Pondering Norm by John McDonough

Sitting across from me at the dinner table two weeks into our marriage, my husband Norm scrutinized Popular Electronics, grinning as if he’d found the secret to happiness. Must’ve been 1959. I asked if he wanted more cauliflower and for the first time noticed a small birthmark shaped like Iceland on his prematurely bald scalp. … Read more

On the Ride to Stargard by Tom Earles

Natalia wakes me at 5:30 a.m. for work. She shakes my arm and I take out the earplugs that I’ve started wearing to block out the noise of the upstairs neighbors. They wake up even earlier than we do. Natalia and I both start work at 8 a.m., but she works right here in town, … Read more

What the Hell’s in Helena, Montana? by Paul Luikart

The tractor brakes finally burned out in Helena, Montana and the boss only wired enough for one plane ticket, so John flew back to Chicago to get another cab and left Jerry in town to babysit the load—a bunch of basketball shoes. Jerry had never been to Montana before. First thing he did was find … Read more

Maybe Tomorrow by Lynne M. Hinkey

Debbie pushed herself up to a sitting position and shimmied to the edge of the bed. She raised her eyes to the window, where the sun hit the frost-tinted glass and exploded in delight. In the kitchen, her mother sang out bits and pieces of the overplayed perky pop song of the week. The bangs, … Read more

Be Right Back by Ian Geronimo

I’m sitting across from Jane in the outdoor area of my favorite Indian restaurant in Los Angeles. She’s dressed casually. Her hair, longer than the last time I saw her, is falling out of her hood that she has pulled up, perhaps because she is cold. The courtyard of the restaurant is shaded and peaceful … Read more

Scraped Toast by David Muchnik

Once a year I pick up my dead dad from the cemetery. The cars with tinted windows move slowly looking for their dead loved ones. I am nervous to see my dad. I miss him. I even coughed excessively over the phone for my boss to give me time off. I also paid two ladies … Read more

Zombie Apocalypse by Michelle Kopp

I’m counting the remaining seconds of my life on one hand–in the five steps along the concrete railing of the bridge crossing the river.  People scream their car horns at me and some jerks in a Hummer order me to jump. The sun sets behind the haunted hotel overlooking the water, built beside a haunted … Read more

Why Don’t We Invite Ana? by Kathleen MacKay

It was hard to remember completely the first time I met Ana. I only have two specific memories from that night. The first one, firmest of the evening, was my blurred reflection in that too-small, too-dark bathroom. I sweltered under my raincoat but couldn’t take it off; I wasn’t dressed for the place. I swiped … Read more

Lucy’s Red Pickup by Caitlin Killion

There’s this one spot in the front yard where the edge of the grass juts out into the driveway, so when you’re backing out you have to swerve to the right. I don’t know why it’s there; I guess the landscape designer thought it might serve some sort of aesthetic purpose to make our yard … Read more

The Guy by Isaac Boone Davis

You get drunk at the party and tell everybody about the time you were raped. Half of it’s bullshit. Alcohol is doing that to you these days, though. Last week you were at the bar and started lying about doing time in Chino. And the long-haired dude who looked more like a rocker than a … Read more

Saudade by Penn Stewart

Misfortune had smiled upon Nikki and left a thousand injuries. By the mid-90s she’d resigned herself to the dismal future that lay before her: living alone in a one bedroom apartment that smelled of cat urine—a remnant from the previous tenant—selling women’s shoes for a living, driving a car Ralph Nader condemned as a death … Read more

On the Riverbank by Joe Marchia

We were silent on the plane. I told myself this was because of the confined space, that nobody talks on airplanes because other people would listen to our conversation. They would hear the two of us playing happiness and roll their eyes. It’s better we don’t talk. I looked at her in the seat next … Read more

Rusty Nails by donnarkevic

I recognize the black balloons, the same kind used at the office party for my fiftieth birthday. Now sixty, I expected something more creative: black homburgs, melanistic leopards, caviar. I would have settled for farfalla schwarz (black bowtie pasta). Instead, I got first pick from a six-foot sub, Black Forest Ham, and a swig of … Read more