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The Monster Mash

by Daniel Bartkowiak

Rain drips from the awning, the constant patter, late December up north you get snow, late December down south you get rain. Strings of red and green bulbs hang zig-zagged over the dark and puddled road. Think fog and mist and shadows. Think gaseous orange sky and shrill nameless voices and the strange feeling, because it’s a feeling after all, not a thought nor a string of contemplation, but a feeling of imminence cast out by the damp air and prickling the skin’s hairs; a foreboding,…

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Ventilator Blues

by Daniel Bartkowiak

Beyond the tracks and rising erumpent from the swallows of the Mississippi are two Maple trees which he watches alone and with a face not older than the trees but one of a similar mold. He pulls out a red lighter and a pack of Lucky Strikes from his leather jacket. He spins the wheel twice before the flame emerges, an orange haze in the gray evening.

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A Very Fine Time

by Daniel Bartkowiak

They were sitting alone on the white sand. Everyone else had gone to bed. The night was cool and calm and the waves collapsed peacefully on the shore. The rods were still standing in the sand with their lines in the water. It was said to be bad luck to take them out after sundown.
“Why’s the sand white?” asked Marjorie.
“I don’t know,” said Nick. “Why is anything the way it is.”

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Fake Names

by Daniel Bartkowiak

Adenocarcinoma lines his lungs; not what Richard wants to hear. He plays the tape of his father on the ledge, in the air, plunging seven floors down. Richard wonders if he himself had “always been falling and only now looked down.”

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The Redness of the Setting Sun

by Daniel Bartkowiak

Daniel Bartkowiak knows how to make a sentence glide and dialogue slip into your mental sphere in a most understated way: “We have to go soon.” “Better start drinking then.” And this story is not quite what it seems.

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