Underwater

Kristine Kennedy

We sit in a semi-circle booth at Max’s Ultimate Sports Bar, nibbling out of obligation on hot poppers and fried mozzarella, silently absorbing the familiar comforts of a chain restaurant.

Cut and Dry

Amanda Auble

I’m not even halfway out the door when one of my girls starts screaming at me over the sound of her hair dryer. I don’t care about her date with her boyfriend; she can close down the salon for one night this week.

Coal

Sara Graybeal

Ángel works at a print shop, casting logos onto sweatshirts, white letters on black tees. TGIF. LONG HAIR DON’T CARE. YOLO. KEEP CALM AND…

Field of Rye at Twilight

Louise S. Bierig

How do you explain to your six-year-old daughter, who stays with you two weekends a month, that you killed a dog?  That while you were returning from market in the van—you driving, she sleeping—a dog ran into the road, and you hit it. The driver has just turned thirty and thought the number would protect […]

The Receipt

George Fenton

Like I usually do at the end of every day, before making the climb up my apartment building’s steps, I reach into the breast pocket of my denim jacket to find my apartment key. Sifting through loose change and tangled headphones, my hand wades through my pocket until the cool brass surface of the key […]

Ode to a Flamingo Bag

Beverly Jean Harris

It’s a comfort to know someone who’s as neurotic as I am. My friend and coworker Jane gives me that particular solace. Jane, like me, tends to get too attached to inanimate objects. I am, however, trying to change. My husband, Walt, and I married three years ago—a first marriage late in life for both […]

College Audition – Novel Excerpt

Emily Eckart

At first, when I heard the crackly voice over the PA calling my name, I thought I might be hallucinating. Over the last thirty days, I’d flown to Boston, to Cincinnati, to New York; I’d explained to dubious airport officials that a French horn was a musical instrument and that no, my conical wooden mute was not for cheerleading. I was starting to hear my audition pieces in car alarms and the inflections of people’s voices.

The Point-of-View Character

Karen Rile

Mariel was late getting to the cafeteria after her talk with Dill. She felt his eyes on her as she stepped into the room. Which made matters worse. Not only was there no place to sit, but Dill was watching her from the doorway to see whether she had anyone to sit with. He was forming his opinion, which he would then bake into a hard thing to share with the other teachers.

New Speedway Boogie

Paula Persoleo

“We’ll arrive on the beach by 10 a.m., so make sure Jeffrey and Sissy are ready no later than 9:30. I’ll give you $25, then you can take Jeffrey and Sissy to Funland when it opens.

What the Tourists Left Behind – Third Place

Derrick Calkins

Abby Morales, age nine, grew up just south of Mecca, California on the northern shores of the doomed Salton Sea. The shoreline was thirty-four miles of fish hooks, broken bottles, and car parts. If you believed everything people said, you’d think it was a truck-stop toilet. Her abuelita forbade her from going. So she snuck […]