Jan/Feb 2003

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

The Boy With The Hole In His Head

That night, Vivek dreams he is watching Tom and Jerry on television, the episode in which Tom uses a band-aid to stanch a breach in the Hoover dam. Except that Tom is Vivek, and the Hoover dam is not a dam at all, it's Raju, his head bursting at the seams, as Vivek-Tom tries frantically to stem the flow of blood.

Gokul Rajaram

My Expatriate Lover Will Meet Me At Pizza Hut

Because you see, here, in Sydney, surrounded by nothing but Aussie drones, and without anything resembling Fred Sanford's tough love, I have become a whore. Not in the traditional manner, which my dictionary right here describes as "A woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse for money," but, rather, as one engaging, for money, in the act of watching promiscuous sexual intercourse that is itself performed for money.

Roderick Maclean

Time Must Wait

Now really in his element, we learn that for Assak, realization has not come with the heart-shattering suddenness of bad news. Neither has it arrived with regal slowness like the kaleidoscopic rays of early morning sunlight. Nor has it materialized in the manner of a witch doctor's dramatic mumbo-jumbo prediction of the imminent return of a long-gone rainy season, which anyone could have made with no fuss.

Crispin Oduobuk

So Vast A Deference

The awe of women to which he was susceptible embarrassed Amadeo Modena. There was no denying he experienced womankind as a current running under the surface of the earth. To him, each woman was an outlet which, when plugged into, conducted this elemental power. If there was anything comparable in men, it was lost on him.

Russ Wellen

The Renters

Tools and parts were strewn over Emmet's sidewalk—leaving grease, he knew—and, for a while, the two other fellows sprawled in the middle of the adjoining lawns, one on the Bracketts' side and one on Emmet's, drinking beer and laughing. Both wore dirty Levi's and one had no shirt.

J.C. Frampton

Her Cat

Now the door is hung with the thick brown drapes, the base softened with taped-on carpet, and there are no scratches. And the cat is silent. It does not, will not, mew. It doesn't cry. Only once did it resort to an utterance, a hiss, a feeble protestation.

Alex Keegan

Dave and Melinda

This particular night they were lying in bed reading when a question was posed: "Is there one thing in the world that, in order to have, you would sacrifice everything you now have?" Neither one of them knew, and maybe that was the point. They didn't even remember which one of them had asked.

Samuel deFayette

Sometimes Rest Is Always Good

Temp work had been out of the question; Phil didn't type. Sometimes brusque on the phone, he despised taking orders. He had two specialties: he knew everything about land and everything about the mambo.

Ian Randall Wilson

Imaging in Three Dimensions

Typing in his work cubicle, Mikko glanced at Elena, the secretary two stations behind him. She was dead and she didn't even know it. She came equipped with a zombie's assortment of accessories: a divorce from her high school sweetheart, a four-year-old son, the beginnings of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, an insomniac's puffy eyes.

Kevin Frazier

Our Houses, Night

The refrigerator hums, and when the light goes on there's a plastic click inside, the sharp ping of a spark, outside a dark caw, a flash of water, heavy climb of wings—and there now, the sing-and-clatter, sing-and-clatter of a train. For a second we ache, we don't know why, but perhaps we wish we were on a train, travelling hopefully, leaning into a window, our cheek glassed, passing a fat, safe-looking house with a downstairs light on.

Alex Keegan

The Dreamer

In February I kidnapped, corn-holed and killed three little boys. I stabbed at privates. I cut their bodies up. I buried them under the foundation of an old barn. This wasn't the first time—just the last before they got me.

Stanley Jenkins