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Alchemy of Gambling

Issue 35 by Catherine O'Neill

The whole process threw me for a loop. I spent over forty years of my life in Nigredo living in the darkness of the disease of gambling. Gambling is in my blood; I carry the ancestral glow of an epigenetic behavior which goes down to the bedrock of my DNA. If you didn’t gamble in my family, there was something radically wrong with you.

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Young Woman Pointing (in a Landscape)

Issue 35 by Terence Byrnes

The nurse standing behind him tucked a strand of dark hair into her lavender hijab before grasping the rail on the back of his gurney. “Gib” Gibson and his surgeon had been discussing the modern hospital building that was under construction while they waited for an operating theatre here in the old one. The stony turrets and false battlements of this showy Victorian relic on the Montréal skyline would soon be put to some new purpose.

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The Most Dangerous Pitch

Issue 35 by BJ Neblett

Victims of automobile accidents often report that at the moment of impact time seems to move in slow motion. I now understand what they experience. For one protracted fraction of a second time stood still. The din of the spectators faded to a distant thunder in my ears. My gloved hand crept skywards.

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Dendra

Issue 35 by Becky Strohl

She lived alone in the woods.
As far as anyone knew, it was just nature beyond the Clifton Wilderness Park’s Welcome Center. Trees and mosquitos and dirt. What else was there to it? Hikers might enjoy the crisp air and momentary escape from their day-to-day life, which they termed “becoming one with nature.”

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Knots

Issue 35 by Liz Wasson Coleman

Any of the stories about why we left could be true, but I gravitate toward the one about the middle-aged father threatening to drive the Jeep off a cliff. I don’t know whether he imagined his family in the vehicle with him. The little boys wouldn’t have been wearing seatbelts in 1979. The infant would have been crying in her mother’s weak arms.

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Precious Possessions

Issue 35 by Kennedy Weible

Carson Rawlings, attorney for the late Miriam McShanahan for over twenty years, waited for Trapp to stop laughing at his mother’s burial request. Trapp sat dwarfing a brown leather chair across from his desk. Carson leaned forward, fingertips pressed together, hands tented, glaring at Trapp. Trapp continued giggling. Carson sighed. “I remember the hilarity of my own mother’s passing,” he said.

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Michael’s Father

Issue 35 by LeeAnn Sosa

I used to see Michael’s father nearly every day. He would be sitting on the steps of a church at the corner of Chestnut and Central, his face turned squarely into the bright sun and his eyes would be closed. He could be getting a suntan except that if you wait long enough you see that he periodically drops his head into his hands and remains like that, head bowed and cradled, his shoulders occasionally shaking. He looks like a statue…

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Actors Therapy

Issue 35 by Jessica Mannion

Amaryllis stood in the rain, squinting at the little blue dot on her phone that showed her location. The cracked screen was barely readable, and the rain didn’t help. It was the correct address all right, and nicer than where most auditions were held. The lobby was very warm and very posh, with doormen, a security desk, and turnstiles that allowed entry only when security pressed a button.

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Something Blue

Issue 35 by Connie Kinsey

Only the bride was still.
The bride, LeighAnna Hope Camden, sat on the floor of the church dressing room in an avalanche of white. She had yet to put on the dress. The slip alone was thirty-eight yards of netting covered with a fine batiste. Batiste, Bastille. LeighAnna wondered if the netting was fomenting rebellion.

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Esperanza

Issue 35 by O. G. Rose

Once upon a time, there was a girl who believed that if she confessed her love to her best friend, her life would leave her body: she would move on. This would cause her best friend great pain, and to save Artemio from hurting, Esperanza suffered the pain of never telling him how she felt.

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The Snitch: Kelly

Issue 35 by M.D. Semel

Kelly couldn’t remember the last time she drove a car. She didn’t take the driving test until she was in law school and she had nearly failed it. Now, she was on the far eastside of Harlem at a cut-rate car rental place that looked more like a chop shop than a legitimate business. A friend had recommended it. She sat in the driver’s seat of a small, battered car and listened to the attendant explain its basic functions.

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Able Archer: Distant Early Warning

Issue 35 by Lawrence Lichtenfeld

Major Powell had agreed to take photos of schematic diagrams of the SDI satellite systems. Dubrikov gave him a Minox B camera to shoot the plans. Powell had special plans created by the technical team at Langley that would photograph clearly on the tiny spy camera’s film. The images had to be clear enough for the Soviet technicians to be able to read, but not so clear that it looked like Powell had had time to set up a photo-shoot.

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