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Whale Scouts

by Mary Fifield

Three dollars in pennies. A handful of over-the-counter decongestant pills, expired. A piece of fabric printed with elephants from a pair of pajamas he had as a kid. A compact fluorescent light bulb. Folded liner notes from “A Love Supreme.” A rusted USB flash drive. Hair in a hair brush. A dried oleander flower. A flint of quartz.

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Mary’s Memory Box

by Damian Robb

Mary kept a box inside herself in which she kept all her unwanted memories.
It started when she was nine, on Christmas day. After running into the lounge room to see what presents Santa had brought her, she had slipped and hit her head, and so her parents had rushed her to the hospital.

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This Account Has No Feelings

by Philip Jacobsen

When Peter Petersen entered the Marriott and saw no line at the check-in outside the convention hall, he knew he was late. There was a woman sitting at the table, staring at her phone. He approached her and said his name. She scrolled threw the document on the laptop. “I’m not seeing you.” He pulled out his I.D. “I’m with the Bureau of American Innovation.”
She smiled. “We were wondering where you were.”

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Bombs Gone

by Ian Evans

My best friend when we were growing up in Hamilton, New Zealand, was Stephen Walker. The only thing we had in common was that we were both born on D-Day, 1944, just a little ahead of the baby boom. I liked camping, fishing, swimming, cricket, and riding my bike. Stephen liked playing the piano, reading, and listening to Ray Conniff records. But we were mates and during school vacations I spent my time at his house.

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Chemistry

by Andrea Chesman

The first time Chloe kicked Brian out, they weren’t even married. And she didn’t really kick him out. Chloe was the one who left, though the house was in her name, though he was the one who transgressed. She thundered out of the house before she could do something she’d regret—like throw the pot of boiling sauce at him.

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Before Her Time

by Jacqueline Schaalje

“Let it go for a while,” said Fem when the alarm rang again from Mrs. Johanna (Hannie) Raven’s room.
I flicked my women’s magazine close that, a bit early in the season, displayed colorful spreads for Easter brunches that my parents would be quick to condemn, and got ready to get up.
Fem shot me a withering look. “She just wants to get turned over again onto her other leg, Steph.”
I began: “She’s in pain. She can’t sleep when she’s lying on her fractured leg.”

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The Green Bike

by Nick Gallup

Benny had forgotten about signing up for a job to deliver newspapers. It’d been two years, but that was evidently how long a kid had to wait to get a paper route. It was one of the few jobs reserved for kids. The routes didn’t pay much more than $15 a week, which was too low for grown-ups but high enough that every kid on Point Cadet wanted one.

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To Love

by H. C. Phillips

Professor Victor Miles, head of the Department of Future Insight at a highly prestigious institution, was to dine with one of his favourite ex-pupils on one particular spring evening.
Carl Werner arrived on the stroke of seven, ever punctual.

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Mugwah, The Winged Tortoise of Love

by Steve Young

The last time she saw Tommy Greene was in a laundromat in downtown Essex Junction, where he gave her $180 in cash in a plain white envelope. She drove her car in to meet him through a cold, drenching, late-winter downpour. The grayness and the raw, chill rain had infected the little college town that morning like a virus; the streets and sidewalks were waterlogged, the storm drains overflowing, the stores and cafes, with their pale-yellow beacons of light, lost and abandoned in the torrent.

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Our Soldier of Fortune

by Kirk Combe

Cleve Clucus was high mountain people before he came to live with us. Not trappers or recluses or nothing odd like that, but high range people in the Sawtooth, over by the Salmon River. Kin. Part of our clan families around Arco. Clucuses, Combes, Barlows, Gordiols. All Swiss that hadn’t wanted to be in the Italians’ war.

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The Exorcism

by Willow Barnosky

So there was a man named Ed, and I really liked him at first. I thought he had an interesting life story, although I didn’t know all the details. I knew all that I cared to know, all of the essentials, but when I tried to tell other people about Ed, they had the tiresome tendency to ask for more information: “Oh, but how’d he meet his wife?” or “Why doesn’t he have any children?” or, even more exasperatingly, “What kind of car does he drive?”

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“Safe” Spaces

by Natasha O'Brien

‘But Mummy…’ Lukas tugged at my sleeve, protesting. ‘It’s not bedtime, look!’ He pointed out the window at the sunlit peaks topping over the valley. ‘The sun’s still up!’
‘That’s because the sun stays up later in the summer.’ I guided Lukas towards his small bed in the corner of our living room. He usually slept in his own bedroom, but I felt safer if we all stayed together.

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The Subtenant

by Allison Lamberth

Deborah found another bruise on her right leg. She didn’t know where they were coming from. She wasn’t prone to falling and bumping into things and her apartment was fairly sparse. Between her bedroom, the kitchen, and the living area, there was a twin bed, a dresser, a desk, a couch, and a short round kitchen table shoved underneath the bay window.

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Starry Night in Albany

by Joanne Kennedy

We had never planned it that way. My ex-husband and I living together under the same roof for two years after our divorce. Well, at least, children aren’t involved, my family and friends lectured me, as if that would have lightened up the inevitable burden of living together.

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On Meeting Tony Malhorn

by Rachele Krivichi

I wasn’t like anyone else in school, but I did this to myself. I liked to win things and get more praise from superiors than other people, was competitive and over-achieving, and was only kind enough to keep just a few friends by my side, which was the way I preferred it.

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The Comeback Kid

by Phyliss Merion Shanken

“Who?”
“A jerk from the past.”
“What? Who is this?”
“I woke up this morning. And out loud, I said your name. It just came out! From nowhere! I haven’t spoken your name for sixty-eight years, so —”
“I’m about to hang up the phone. Take me off your list!”

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Chess with a Scarecrow

by Robert Evenstell

“How can I help you?”
The librarian behind the reception counter was slightly younger than me, maybe in her mid-twenties.
“Something to read while I’m waiting for my car to get serviced, please.”
“Anything in particular?”

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The Artists’ Model

by Ellen Pober Rittberg

Piercing her sticky wad of clay, Margo felt a sense of revulsion at the naked male model straddling the large plywood platform, his legs splayed at what she considered to be an unnatural and almost lewd wide angle. His sloping forehead reminded her of an early man in a diorama she’d seen in the county natural history museum, a primitive subspecies that no longer existed.

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