Jan/Feb 2008

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(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Bootcamp Writers Children in Need Marathon

Four flash fictions from the Bootcamp writers' third annual Children in Need fundraising marathon.

Various Authors

Almost the End: A Movie

What had appeared to be some sort of dangerously stylish cigarette-holder in her hand is, in actuality, a brutally curved sword. It smashes down upon the camera. The screen goes black.

Anna Sidak


I wish we didn't have to eat with them, but when I tell my mother, she just says, This is our home, now. Some home. Me and my mother and 300 retardos living together at the Freemont Residence for Retarded Adults.

Rachel Maizes

Mallam Illia's Meat Shop

Somehow Chinelo had fallen into the belief that Hausa meat sellers never cheated. Their religion forbade them from doing that. They often took the precepts of Islam more strictly than the Igbo did the Christian ones. They didn't haggle; their "yes" was their "yes," and their "no" was their "no." So, she walked up to the first man she saw in the Muslim section. "I need a kilo of meat," she said.

Chielozona Eze


Okay, I need more rest, but at least I'm not off my rocker like a certain someone in the immediate vicinity.

A. Ray Norsworthy

Standard Deviation

Yes, I worry. Do you know what our five-year survival rate is? 60 percent. At 9 AM today I froze with fear of death. At noon I was dismissive. Later on—indifferent. Right now I am defiant.

Julia M. Sidorova


"Honey, your pimples are all in different stages of life, and the drug needs to accumulate if it's going to do anything." Hold back. Don't throw knives. Pat his head. Good dog. Good son. "All I mean to say is that when you take a few days off, you undo all the pills that you have taken." Kiss his head. Rough hair, hair that no girls want to play with or feel in their young, slutty hands.

Caroline Kepnes

Harry's Giant

Dad treats them like daughters. Says if it weren't for the girls, we'd be broke and lost. I swear he loves them like human beings. When I was a kid, we'd name them, but now it's just number earrings, a box of room-temperature syringes, and Probovac, the growth hormone that's ruining my life.

A.S. King


My Uncle Charlie's barely used the air conditioning the whole ride upstate, and the seatbelt's been resting right between my tits—as everyone at school loves to call them—so when I take it off there's a dark sweat stain on my t-shirt, running right down my goddamn cleavage.

Brad Wetherell

Hieronymus the Pauper

And so he sits here now, imagining the blood-curdling cries the blacks let loose as the reds hover over them, then pounce. Loving the dissonance of the yellow shirt he found on the laundromat's floor and threw in at the last minute. Thinking how it lends the whole picture a frenetic rush-hour madness.

Alexandra Abuza

An Excerpt from the Shahid Dastgerdi Report

Following systematic review, it is our finding that the 759th MP Brigade experienced challenges adapting its task organizational structure, training, and equipment resources from a unit designed to conduct standard IMTO operations in the COMMZ (Bangladesh).

Rob McClure Smith

The Dedevilin' of Lucy Firebottom

"I am Firebottom," Lucy growled. "I search the earth, looking for weak wills and strong bodies. I consume them."

Stephen Healey

Bones Do All The Hard Work Of The Body With Very Little Thanks

After I finished explaining my predicament, this bone loss, one of the old Finns at the steam bath wanted to know what I'd been drinking all those years. He must have weighed in at three-hundred pounds, a weight he carried with some majesty since he was well over six feet tall. I couldn't help but think he must have exceptionally honest bones.

G.K. Wuori