Special Night

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Brenda stands up and looks out across the hotel’s back parking lot. Past the dry, cracked asphalt and patches of brown weeds pocked with plastic bags and broken bottles. Neon lights flicker on from the fast-food restaurants and gas stations along the main drag three blocks over. She watches them, but then focuses on a group of teens that cuts through, leaving a trail of vape smoke in their wake. She turns to me and says, “I’m gonna need more cigarettes. Some more vodka would be good, too, don’t you think?”More

The Witch

The Witch

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She would always wear the same outfit—battered tan trenchcoat, leather boots and a dazed, trance-like expression. Every Tuesday, at exactly 4 o’clock, she would saunter through the East entrance, ride the escalator up to the first floor and sit on the right-hand side of the three-seater, stainless steel bench that overlooked the concourse. She sat for exactly an hour. She did not read a book, nor did she Crush Candy on her smartphone. She merely sat, twirling strands of greying hair between her fingers as she observed the throng of panting commuters.More

Horns

Horns

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Kneeling by the animal on the ground, feeling the thin hard things in his hand, he imagined them hollow, so that if he snapped them from the skull he could drink with them like straws. More

They Call Me Sack

They Call Me Sack

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Seriously, I felt bad—you know, about the guy’s ears and everything—but guess what, if your ears’re that messed up you shouldn’t give a flying sack what kind of oil’s in your car. I mean, isn’t shit like having shriveled up ears supposed to make you realize what’s important in life? What’s the use in having bad stuff happen if you just end up like every other douchebag?More

Crossing Fingers, Folding Hands

Crossing Fingers, Folding Hands

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Cal wants to be a “good guy” badly and he is, around 64% of the time. Back of the envelope math, etc. There’s just some times where his brain doesn’t go quite right and for one reason or another he’s less “good guy” and more “not-so-good guy,” according to what he understands the parameters of the “good guy”/“not-so-good guy” paradigm to be. Much of it is that he can’t forget about the things he’s done wrong over the years.More

Safe Word

Safe Word

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We’ll talk, talk, then we’ll play.More

The Sting of God

The Sting of God

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I listened to the still waters that weren’t really still and stared up at the stars. I thought, if you could corral them all in one place, you might call it a starrcade. I laughed at that. I had a habit, even then, of laughing at my own jokes. I looked around, but I was alone.More

Fiction, Supposedly

Fiction, Supposedly

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Suppose you discover in your 60th year that your father was a molester, had been molested himself. By his father. Suppose you discover that your grandfather, whom you never knew, was not only a molester but most likely had been molested too. By his adopted father. Suppose you learn all this over conversation with your cousin whom you barely knew growing up, being 19 years older than you. Suppose he asks you if your father had ever hurt you, as you sit at his kitchen table drinking coffee looking out over DC at the sunset-lit horizon through leafless trees. A city with all its history that you love so much.More

The Bus Stop On Brownwood

The Bus Stop On Brownwood

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“That’s the problem with your school,” the father went on. “You show up every day to learn things you won’t need until you’re in college, then you learn things in college you won’t need until you get a job. That’s why we’re here. That, and my back problems of course.”More

Completely Different People

Completely Different People

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They sometimes had pets, sometimes did not. Sometimes had children, sometimes did not. They sometimes loved each other, sometimes did not. And they lived that way for a long time.More

Cursed

Cursed

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She said she knew that God existed because she knew that the enemies of God existed.More

Old Tennis

Old Tennis

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He didn’t feel like he had aged well at all. His baggy shirt might hide the spare tire around his middle, but then there were the blemished parts that were harder to disguise, like the deep furrows across his forehead, the laughter lines about the mouth, and crow crags at the corners of his eyes. A little wart had also suddenly revealed itself in place of a beauty spot. Today, he felt like a hoary old man.More

Toy of the Season

Toy of the Season

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He wants the game but also doesn’t. He imagines slamming it into the trash bin under the sink or cracking it against the side of the house, breaking it into a hundred jagged pieces, orange casing, grey screen, the soundtrack whirring tick tick tick. He is also sure all his friends at school will crow and squawk in a huddle when he shows them. They’ll crowd around him at lunch time, in recess and they’ll watch mesmerized as Mario climbs and Kong hurls and Pauline cowers in the corner.More

Encore

Encore

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Here’s the thing—the clown isn’t laughing. He’s just sitting there on his stool in the center of the tent, sharpening his banana into a knife. This is after twisting together a balloon elephant and making my sister cry, popping it with a pin hidden between his teeth.More

Two Stories

Two Stories

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Nudging 40, disturbingly gray, I’m vexed and disappointed that after weeks of webs and skeletons, Mill Valley is a ghost town.More

Two Stories

Two Stories

Fiction by

When Lester Hardin stood before the judge he had just turned twenty-three years old. His hair was greasy, cut and trimmed low across the top of his crown with long knotted strands straddling down his collar. More

“The car had been through a reconstructed transmission, a busted carburetor, and was an absolute lush for Valvoline.” – Jordan Farmer, “Brothers”