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Jude

Issue 47 by Lydia Landrum

I always hated driving. More than that, I always hated the backseat, and I always hated riding shotgun, even. I hated it back when I was a little girl in the backseat of my daddy’s Ford Super Deluxe. I don’t know why, really, maybe it’s because someone always lights up a cigarette and chokes up everyone in the car, or maybe it’s the way I get carsick if the windows ain’t up. I don’t know, I just don’t like it.

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Under the Microscope

Issue 47 by Joanell Serra

Deep down, I will always be the pastor’s daughter. While Inspector Corrick has come to Keystone School as a private investigator, my roiling stomach imagines he is a messenger from God, a toad-like minion in the army of St. Peter. Is he here to decide whether there has been a crime committed, and if so, my part in it, or to ascertain whether there has been a moral failure?

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Iben… I’ve Been Through Some Sh#@!: Unbroken

Issue 46 by K.E. Mullins

I looked at myself in the rearview mirror one last time before entering the building. The gym was packed. As I took the podium, one young man, then another, clapped. “Thank you,” I said before beginning. “I’m Iben Okafor and it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to address you today. Before I get started, how many of you have brothers and sisters?”

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I Don’t Swoon: Chapter 1

Issue 46 by Esperanza Cintrón

The Reverend Cletus Jenkins was stretched out in the front yard of Miss Mattie’s whorehouse. Stiff like that wooden Indian that Virgil Parker sets outside his general store every morning, Jenkins looked like somebody had shoved him off the porch with the business side of a heavy boot and he’d landed splat on his back.

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The Serpent Papers:  The Serpent of the Apocalypse

Issue 46 by Jeff Schnader

The reality of the draft and the resultant paranoia which had descended upon my collegiate brothers precipitated a sense of indecision in me. Forgetting about the library, I grabbed my coat and fled the dorms like a shell from a cannon, my trajectory at random. Questions squirmed in my head, challenging me as to why I, son of a warrior, would be so panicked by talk of the draft or possible rendezvous with war.

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Her Own Devices: Part Two

Issue 46 by Geoffrey Dutton

A tour guide without tourists, that’s me. All I can do here is revisit familiar places with nobody to relate them to. Save for the never-ending astral chorus I constantly hear, they appear as silent movies in the muted colors of old postcards. I am free to approach the screen but not to penetrate it to where life is being lived.

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Stumbleweed Valley

Issue 44 by Stephanie Sandmeyer

“Isn’t there some other way we can go?” she asked, looking warily at the work crew only a few yards ahead of them. She buried her hands in her muff, although she wished she had insisted on taking the reins. It was, after all, her horse and carriage…

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The Serpent Papers: Jump

Issue 44 by Jeff Schnader

A small truck stood curbside in front of a narrow store; a florist was taking delivery as I approached. The shop’s metal cellar doors, normally flat and flush with the sidewalk, were opened and upright revealing the steps to the storage area below the shop.

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One Silent Moment

Issue 43 by Ted Olson

I found Dad’s typewritten manuscript in his filing cabinet three days after his funeral. It lay flat and about an inch thick in a 9×12 envelope. The flap had been sealed, the metal clasp spread open. It was in a drawer that also contained insurance documents, the title to his car, and his honorable discharge certificate. The envelope had my name on it, written in copperplate pencil.

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The Serpent Papers: Echoes of Sunshine

Issue 43 by Jeff Schnader

Christmas break arrived, and I elected to stay in the city. Without any school or family obligations, I could explore the landscapes of Gotham, a student on furlough, looking for random adventures flowing with women and rivers of beer. Nebraska was gone—God knows where—and I had the room to myself, sleeping at any hour, traipsing naked if I wanted. I could have women without any concern for Nebraska’s rights to his space.

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The Serpent Papers: Headed to Babylon

Issue 42 by Jeff Schnader

There are things I’ve never told anyone, secrets hidden away in a vault with the doors clanged shut, forty years ago or maybe fifty, in the deepest recesses of my head. Secrets not previously told because they might have jeopardized my future by branding me a pot fiend, a beer hound, a left-wing radical or a white pointy-headed bigot. But I’m older now with a dwindling future, and the story is ready to be told.
Everything starts with the seed, and then come the roots.

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Mouthbrood

Issue 42 by Saskia Nislow

When I am young, I dream that I die. In this dream, I am sitting cross-legged beneath the dining-room table. In front of me sits myself in the same position. I am both selves at the same time, though sometimes I am just one. One of my selves – I am not sure which – has been poisoned. I know I am about to die. I know it both as a fact of my body and as a kind of empathy. The me that is not dying is filled with self-pity and begins to make small choking sobs like a caught zipper. The other me makes the same noises but does not feel self-pity.

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She Was A Child

Issue 42 by Fredric Koeppel

The Messenger
Baltimore, May 1832
Virginia Clemm sits with Cousin Eddy on the small stoop in front of the little brick house in Baltimore, Maryland, in the Republic of the United States of America of which the president is Andrew Jackson, known as Old Hickory, slave owner and Indian killer. The street is unpaved, but a slave on the other side sweeps the dirt with a long-handled broom because his mistress says he must. A brown and white dog sleeps in the wagon ruts, and he will be run over if he doesn’t move; drovers are hauling produce to market in their rattling, trundling wagons.

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The Year of the Rat

Issue 42 by Faraaz Mahomed

What woke him was the sound of a fist on the front door, a thumping that signified in its speed and its impertinence that his landlord was coming to collect the rent again.
The scar tissue wasn’t healing well, so he was constantly in pain. Clad in just boxers and a vest, Bill winced as he took the five steps from his bedroom into the living room, crouching and running his hand down his uncovered leg, feeling the bristles and the indents, soothing himself.

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Secrets of a Different Kind

Issue 41 by Linda Heller

Before he met and married my mother, my father used to go to Orchard Beach in the Bronx, so he could strip to his trunks without seeming like the exhibitionist he actually was. Other guys his age also flocked to the boardwalk with their muscles oiled and their stomachs drawn in. Summer flings were rampant. The air was heavy with two kinds of heat. But my father offered more than mere youthful swagger. He was the spitting image of Harry Houdini.

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The Price of Tea

Issue 41 by Nadine Gallo

On the way to Dublin Nora O’Neal stopped in Kilkenny to see Olga Kerensky. Olga’s house was on the main road. Nora remembered it well but not the big brass knocker on the front door. Maybe it was new. She reached up for it and slammed it down a few times. She sniffed the air around her and wondered where the beautiful roses were. She could smell them as if she was standing among them. There wasn’t a sign of them anywhere. Once she was in a bog and the rose smell made her think of a lot of butterflies in a garden.

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Samuel’s Way

Issue 41 by Paul Clark

14th March, 1643.
An eccentric old woman. Creaky and bent. Snarling. Haggard. Annie Parsons hunched in her chair, dribbling and murmuring. Clumps of lank, grey hair shrouded part of her face. Grime made the whiteness of her shift barely visible. It clung to her body like a loose skin. Her bony wrists and ankles bore the sores of a long spell in irons.
Samuel Hawke loomed over her, arms folded, about to perform his service for the town and the county of Hampshire, and more importantly, for God.

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