What Was He Thinking?

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By John L. Malone

What was that guy thinking? Did I agree to this? I must have. What was I thinking? I should never have posed nude, for starters. That wasn’t necessary. And sitting in public view for all to see. You know what I look like? A guy sitting on a toilet seat, hunched over, muscled legs taut, trying to take a dump instead of having a good think. At least he could have put a cubicle around me. Even a bronze statue deserves some dignity.

            
John Malone is on a roll. His chapbook of poems has just come out.

Eleven Days

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By Paul Germano

He quit his drinking for her; she did the same for him. A frantic decision, made in a heartbeat, by two thirtysomethings desperate to keep their hearts beating. Their faces are haggard, their minds slightly numb, but still they persist. Eleven days and counting, with no guarantees they’ll make it to the twelfth day. They lean on each other as best as they can, taking it day by day and drinking lots and lots and lots of Ginger Ale and desperately fumbling around to find something, anything at all, that they still might have in common.

           
Paul Germano’s fiction has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, The Fictional Café, Foliate Oak, Microfiction Monday, Vestal Review and Voices in Italian Americana.

Pillow Talk

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By Robert Runte

Proper nouns went first. I did not miss them, because context always carries us through. And pointing substitutes for common nouns, and mime for verbs; and adjectives are but color commentary that one can do as easily without. You could lose all the words, and I would love you still.

I love our wordless dog.

It’s the repetition. Having to answer the same question twelve times an hour.

Worse: your questioning some ancient memory best forgotten, unrelenting. No Old Age Home for you: some questions must not be asked in front of others. Has to, then, be the pillow.

           
Robert Runté is mostly known as an editor and critic of Canadian speculative fiction, but has lately tried his hand at other genres. He is currently focusing on micro and flash fiction.

What a Way to Make a Living

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By Spencer Chou

You arrive at work. It’s almost nine. You blow your coffee and take a sip. You open your browser to half the size of the screen, then bring up a spreadsheet in the top half in case anyone happens to glance over. You type the first letter of his name and his profile comes up. Most of it is set to private. You can’t remember exactly when he unfriended you. They look happy together in his profile picture. It looks like they’re at a bar or something. You click through to the next photo. Another day begins.

     
Spencer Chou runs the literary magazine and publisher The Nottingham Review. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award.

Feelings Are Bullshit

The envelop on his desk was unexpected. Absent-mindedly he opened it, sending a chill down his spine.

A month since they argued. What was it about? He couldn’t recall. She said something in that tone. He slammed. She threw. He yelled. Threw something else.

“Bullshit,” he stammered. She stormed out. Where? He didn’t ask.

A few days passed. They made up. She decked out in a killer pair of heels and form-fitting dress. There was a dinner out, then make up sex. All was healed.

And now, this bill. His face flushed. He knew how she’d felt.

THE COTTAGE

fleeing womanBy Karen Shei

Welcome, neighbour, to these little woods, there’s nary a soul but you. You, and we sisters three. Here on your doorstep: some fruit and an invitation to tea. Come, yes, from our window we beckon, where the foxgloves blossom and apple tarts cool. Long in the tooth and long are our days, we long for your good company.

And when you come calling, do not mind no one’s home; it’s only been empty these past hundred years. Mind not the thriving decay or the hanging dead things, never mind our pretty illusion.

Do come in, dearie.

Sit down.

Stay.

Sunday Lunch

washing-her-handsBy Daniel Boshoff

As Alice washed the blood from her hands she wondered if she had made the right decision.

Jack had specifically asked for beef but she had decided on the pork belly instead. It didn’t really matter now, she supposed; she liked pork just fine. She could eat the leftovers for breakfast with eggs.

She finished washing the blood from her hands, rinsed it from the knife too, and went to get the belly from the fridge.