Oct/Nov 2014

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

American Leather

Occasionally, one of Earnest's old clients visits, unaware. At Salvatore's, HR doesn't allow us to tell customers where he's gone, even though he's dead, so one of us will hand the client a little prayer card with Earnest's name on it. In time, I will show the replacement where the cards are.

Raul Palma

Bartender Apocalypse #3

Never send crooked bartenders to Gitmo, let alone waterboard them or destroy their religious casks. They'll get back at us.

Louis Wenzlow


Laughter rang out around the darkened living room, but it sounded spiky, febrile. It was early evening and a scattering of men were ranged about on dingy loungers. All long term residents like John or frequent visitors like Simon, they had just woken from a sort of vigilant nap they took every afternoon and were now talking idly about Lusaka, Zambia—more specifically, about the rampant muggings there. Lucien stood in the doorway listening, for Zambia was his final destination, although where exactly, he wasn't sure; the tribe on whom he would be gathering genomic data was small and moved around.

Katherine Forbes Riley


Death is very short, I think. As short as life is long. Dying, of course, takes quite some time, but death? Just one moment and you're another star falling into the Pacific, becoming your own re-flection. A blip. Untraceable in your disappearance except by certain astronomers or poets who study one bit of sky all too closely. It's a pinprick, is what I'm trying to say. One of those childhood flu shots with far more fanfare than its worth. Just a shot in the arm. Maybe life will seem the same after a couple eons, until it, too, fades into a bruise. A freckle.

Connor Greer

North and South

She shuffled through her garbage bags, pulling out tank tops and sweatshirts. Some things she hid from me. Her delicate valuables, like the monkey skull, were wrapped tightly in newspaper or dirty cotton shirts. It reminded me of how my mother unpacked Christmas ornaments for the tree.

Kevin Louis McFadden

Better Than Google

Alone on the lab computer, he went to Stella and typed in "Thelonius Monk" just for kicks. The screen looked a lot like Google's, just a plain white background with a search box in the middle, and what came back looked so much like Google's list of YouTube videos and Wikipedia links and Thelonius Monk fansites that at first Silas thought he was looking at an illegal knockoff of Google. But then Stella's voice, delicate as a bird's, came out of the computer speakers: "I see you are interested in Thelonius Monk," it said. "Have you considered this other piece? It might be what you're really looking for."

Joe Pitkin

This Is How You Make a Movie

"Why don't we steer this ship to sleep, Robert?" I'm tired, and I just want another day to start and another scene to end.

Joseph Han


That night Charlie dreamed of apples. Rotten in the sidewalks, attracting fruit flies. Blue chalk everywhere, and children running to clean it up. Sorry, they said, I'm sorry to have made a mess.

Andrea Cetra

Crossing the Road

Sometimes she'd ask me why I didn't tell her stories anymore. I wasn't sure why so I said I couldn't remember what I was reading before and she'd say so make it up yourself. But come on. The last time I tried that one I had Jesus in our bedroom, for crying out loud. Anyhow, it didn't matter what I did. She loved me more than both of us put together and it felt really good.

David Karraker