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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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Me and Woody

by Marcia Calhoun Forecki

Nobody loved Woody more than I did. I adored the silky feel of his curly, copper hair. The rough creases on his hands were wild terrain for my fingers to explore. He loved me to scratch his back when he was tired and massage his shoulders when they were sore. Woody was a lean, solid man and if he didn’t have the biggest brain in the county, it didn’t bother me any. He was a genius with engines with his hands generally, and that was enough for me. I loved him first and best.

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Petrakis

by John Etcheverry

Our brightest days are a rich subset of a broader story and the fortunate among us ration a few for the end, savoring them as that final nightfall advances. Petrakis appears to have plenty of life left in him, but his stock of unclouded days is depleted. Nora, his bride of sixty-two years, passed this summer and the combination of his memory outages and the solitude that her absence compels is more than the old man can manage.

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Amnesiac

by Kate Slader

“It’s the only place in the world that has all five species of scallop,” says the grey old man at the table next to us.
I didn’t know there were different species of scallop. I’m eavesdropping.
The man is croaking his words and waving his hands, his fingertips inches away from a thin-stemmed glass filled with a double-pour of the house brand Sauvignon Blanc. I’m dreading the moment he’ll send his wine flying across the room.

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A Piece of Me

by Cathryn Sherman

NETA had a hard time talking about her childhood without saying thank you. Thank you to her Nana and Papaw who finally took them in. To Lottie and Isabell who pampered her, to Henry who kept her warm. She could even thank her father for leaving. The only person she couldn’t thank was her mother.

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Outside Flagstaff

by Matthew Brown

There was a sigh on the other end of the phone, a long nasal sigh, the kind you hear only at the precise moment that someone has had as much of someone else’s shit as they can possibly stand. A woman’s voice spoke: “We buried your Goddamn father six months ago.”
“I know.”
“I’m not gonna bury you.”

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New Mind

by Hunter Blackwell

The room’s mostly dark. A bit of light filters in from the the window next to her head. The fan blows cool air over her. White noise makes her eyelids heavy. Clink. Clink. Clink, the sound of metal—hanging medals for things that don’t matter now— hitting the wall. Two to three seconds of silence between each tap. The ceiling swirls. She blinks, an attempt to reorient herself, but it continues around in her eyes.

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Another Orpheus

by Coda Danu-Asmara

Because Orpheus knew his name,

he did not want to be born. He clutched his fingers to his toes and refused to move, even as his mother screamed and the doctor pleaded. So they had to cut him out with a long slice across his mother’s hips.

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The Spider and the Butterfly

by D.P. Snyder

That rotating fan’s like a blind old man shaking his head no, no, no. No what? No, don’t look? No, I’ve no clue when they’ll replace the window unit in my room? They promise, then nothing. The sheets are sticky with sweat, so I stay still and try not to notice. I’d feel better if I got dressed, you say? What for? Where am I going? This bleached-out cotton thing is to keep them from having to look at my body, to keep me from seeing them looking. I’d go naked if they’d let me. What do I care?

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Bunny

by Lissa Miller

It was a Thursday and Bunny Lopes was performing her toilette while she waited for a kettle of water to boil for tea. She saw that it was a quarter to six and the doors to the Polish Hall opened at seven-thirty. It might be wise to eat something first so she wouldn’t have to choke down any store-bought cookies or tuna casseroles reheated for the night’s event. Last week the food had been a letdown.

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Porch Views

by C. White

You can play with growing up without growing up. You can play with love without loving. You can play with skipping rope without skipping.

In particular, playing Snakey is good for the kids who have no sense of rhythm or coordination. The ones who can’t walk down the street with a friend without bumping hips every ten feet; the ones that need their seatbelt buckled up for them ‘til they’re twelve. Good for them to face jumping over one single thing, or to be the one in charge.

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XOXO

by Renay Costa

As John waited for the doctor, he studied Mandy’s Tinder profile, preparing for their date that afternoon. She was definitely his type, with sandy blond hair and grey-blue eyes. She, like most women on Tinder, enjoyed “yoga, wine and walks on the beach.” Through their text messages, he learned that she was an administrative assistant pursuing a nursing degree. Would she be the type who would pretend to be cool and then suddenly explode as he slowly lost interest, or would she be the sensitive, clingy type who wanted commitment after meeting for coffee?

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Offender

by Sharon Bandy

Two years ago, I fell. From a ladder. From the sky. From grace. Caroline and I were going to run away, so I was sneaking into her bedroom and trying to overcome my fear of heights all at the same damn time. I was nineteen and she was sixteen, and now I’m a sex offender trying to find an apartment so I can have an address so I can get a job. While I was locked up my mom sold the double-wide and left town with her boyfriend, so staying with my brother and his family was my only option for a while.

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