The Forum

David Harris Ebenbach

On the screen, a pair of giant breasts rubbed against another pair of giant breasts, each the size of a patio table if you walked right up to them. And a person could have walked right up to them, too, without bothering practically anyone, since only one seat was filled down below. Frank watched the scene from the projection booth: the four breasts mixing it up together, and the man down in the seat, angling for just the right time to jerk off and leave. There, Frank said to himself, is a traditionalist. The man had left home and come all the way here for the show.

Moleskin

Jenna Clark Embrey

He doesn’t know about her tattoos until they sleep together. After they finish, his eyes adjust enough to the darkness so that he can make out the black ink on her back and stomach. There are three: small, medium, large. The level of grayness and fading indicate that the smallest one was first and the largest one was last. He can’t see that much detail. She prepares homemade mushroom ravioli for dinner. A girl who matches her shoes and her purse, she doesn’t look like the kind who would have tattoos. He tries to decipher their meanings and authors: Maimonides, Cummings, Shakespeare.

Goon

Chad Willenborg

Around the corner he come all panting and wobble-eyed with his little sticks kicking out to the sides, and he slipped because the grass was wet. One of his Velcro shoes flew off and knocked into the siding. He got himself together, picked up his shoe, and bounced inside the house. Willard. I told Angela he’s over-sugared.

The older one, Brian, come sprinting across the yard. “Will!” he’s hollering. “Will!” He dropped his old bat as he flew past me, and the screen door slapped shut, and then everything was quiet again.

Local Author Profile: Kelly Simmons

Aimee LaBrie

Like most writers, novelist Kelly Simmons admits to having some anxieties. But instead of letting them get the better of her, she has found a way to translate them into a haunting and compelling novel of tension and self-discovery. Standing Still, Simmons debut novel, describes the ordeal of journalist Claire Cooper, who suddenly finds that her anxieties have a real world focus. When an intruder breaks into her home and attempts to kidnap her sleeping daughter, Claire immediately offers herself instead. For the next several days, she will face the terror of living with her unknown captor, trying to uncover the reason for the crime and, perhaps most significantly, struggling to make sense of her own life, her anxieties, and her identity as a wife and a mother.

Detour

Elisabeth Majewski

One day you may veer your van or perhaps

the spiffy family sedan off the 422 freeway

driving home by the back way, past the Corinthian

Yacht Club, where guests palmed their cognacs

when you and I stripped and dove underneath

the dock by the tackle and gift shop.

Hand & Hip

Courtney K. Bambrick

The thin wisp of warmth
evaporates after a moment,
gone until a small breath

catches you in whatever place

Reading Her Skull

Natalie Ford

because it’s close now
under her thrust pale skin,
catching every stranger’s eye
before they refocus
and rush to greet us
passing in the street

Standing Still (Excerpt)

Kelly Simmons

In all things, I blame the husband.

Women who sleep with teenage boys, women who shoplift collectibles, Yes. Their rotten husbands drove them to it.

And that is why, when the kidnapper cracks open our new skylight like an oyster and slithers in, I don’t blame the defective latch, the alarm system, or the thin bronze shell of the new tin roof. The dotted line of fault doesn’t lead to my architect or contractor or engineer.

And oddly, lastly, I do not blame my intruder. And that explains everything that follows, doesn’t it?