• Fiction/Poetry

    Second-Hand Sunglasses

    The Saturday before school started, Tina and her mom went to Second Hand Love for back-to-school clothes. Tina hated the feeling of wearing someone else’s jeans, but after a few wears she forgot all about it. After all, one could swing from the monkey bars just as well in pre-owned pants as ones that came brand new from Macy’s, and the other kids only made fun the first week of school before moving on to easier targets than Tina. As her mom searched for necessary items of clothing that didn’t show too much wear at the knees or pilling across the chest, Tina moseyed around the more interesting shelves. She picked…

  • Fiction/Poetry

    Without the Map

    I tried to forgive them, for my sanity’s sake, but the longer I sat there the more I wanted revenge. Imagining walking back to town through the piss-soaked streets, the mud so thick it formed an unwieldy suction around every step, my jaw stiffened. They must have snatched the boots while I slept–it was probably Petyr’s idea, I never trusted those murky eyes of his–and taken them to sell at the stalls with all the rest of the hawkers. Worse than the muddy streets, though, was the money I would have to scrape together for another pair of shoes. Hopefully they’d have combat or hunting boots in decent shape. I didn’t want to settle for…

  • Fiction/Poetry

    Fiction: The Jacket

    Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold on Southern California, mildly nipping them in the April night air. A group of ten stood in the parking lot of the Starbird diner after several hours of milkshakes, curly fries and tossing bent straws at each other across the booth. Most of them didn’t want to leave, because that meant either a.) going home to an empty apartment, or b.) going home to apartments teeming with roommates. So they stood in a loose cluster, discussing plans for the weekend and cracking jokes about Spencer’s need for a haircut. His corkscrews stood out from his head almost like a football helmet, but he wasn’t quirky…

  • Fiction/Poetry

    Fiction: Roses for Elise

    As she glided through the coffee shop, not one person looked up to mark her passage. She sliced through the crowd like a knife through warm butter, the atmosphere around her yielding and pliable. Men and women sat across from each other engaged in animated conversations, eyes bright and coffee steaming in generous porcelain cups. Not one glanced at her movement. This was one of those artsy coffee shops, packed with threadbare armchairs and lumpy sofas, scarred tables worn by decades of abuse, vibrant paintings of bridges and traffic lights coating the walls like splashes of graffiti. Edith Piaf hummed softly over the speakers, and Elise noticed because it reminded her…

  • Fiction/Poetry

    The Green Fairy

    “Damn it!” Lon slurred, tilting the bottle upside down. “We’re all out.” Some of the absinthe splashed from his glass to his neckcloth, leaving unseemly green splotches on the white linen. Ricard laughed, dealing another hand as he spoke. “I do think you’ve had quite enough anyway, old friend.” Lon ignored him, raising his glass to his lips and further sloshing out more green liquid. “Did anyone bring any more? Where are we going to find any in this hell hole? Merde, they probably make their own grog in bathtubs. Liquor from pommes de terre.” I picked up my fresh cards and replied, “It’s not so bad here, Lon. Have you seen the…

  • sweeney

    Fiction: The Night Guard

    It had rained all day, and in the late evening mist still rose from the pavement. This made Stan’s job harder. More room for error: distraction, misplaced evidence, footprints. So much more could go wrong when the world was sopping wet. Stan knew there was no room for error. He usually transported the bags himself, and saw no need to involve anyone else this time. Pulling up to the warehouse, he slammed the gear shift a little too jerkily, the restored Chevelle jolting forward. He yanked out the key and rose from the car. Stan tried to blend in with the wet night. Black leather jacket, dark jeans, black leather…

  • harvest

    Fiction: The Boy They Hadn’t Seen

    He had it coming to him, alright. Everyone in the neighborhood agreed that Marty Polks deserved whatever he got. He yelled at the kids who ran onto his lawn to retrieve stray soccer balls. He harrumphed the neighborhood moms who waved to him when he came out to get his paper every morning. His wife hurried in and out of the house after arguments, ashen face inscribed with abuse and neglect. “I heard he’s been beating his wife for years,” Tilda McHuen said, half-covering her mouth so as to appear concerned with not being perceived a gossip. Mary Holt leaned over the caution tape wrapped around the perimeter to get…

  • Romeo and Juliet

    Fiction: Chance Encounters and Shakespeare

    It was almost serendipitous, the way I looked up from the sink just in time to see Mercutio running down the street. “Shit,” I muttered, dropping the lettuce I’d been cleaning and running out the front door, grabbing the leash from the hook as I left. Jogging after him, a quick glance behind confirmed that yes, the door had failed to latch after I unloaded the groceries. I really need to be more careful about that, I thought. Mercutio was not the kind of dog you wanted running around the neighborhood – he was the kind of dog you wanted when you were a single woman living alone at the…

  • Fiction/Poetry

    The Room at the End of the Hall

    I had been aware of Margery’s affair for some time, even if only subconsciously. A man of patience, that’s how I like to think of myself. I merely looked the other way at her subtle tells; the nights when she’d return from whist long after I’d left the club, her furtive glances when the post came, the letters fleetingly buried under a stack of correspondence as I entered a room, the awkward blushes in public around a certain mustachioed gentleman. Then one day the behavior stopped, and we went on with our lives as if nothing had transpired. Though it had been many years since the indiscretion, I never forgot. While we were…

  • Fiction/Poetry

    The Salon

    It was impossible. No woman, much less a lady of nobility, should be exposed to such filth, though it masqueraded as art. Monsieur le Beau had already fought with the others to keep the painting out of the Salon, although really it was no contest. None of the other members of the Académie would have dared accept such a piece anyway. But now this Salon de Refusés attracted so much attention, all because of Monsieur Manet’s painting! Monsieur le Beau set down his fountain pen and sealed the envelope, hoping his influence and entreaties would prevent the Vicomte’s daughter from entrance to the exhibit. The Vicomte’s friendship and patronage over the years ensured…


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