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The Perfect Mark

The old lady was almost the perfect mark. Sasha held back an urge to smirk, and instead leaned forward to listen with polite interest. “Do you like cats, Miss… how do you pronounce that?” Sasha nearly grimaced, but caught herself. “Oh yes,” she said quickly, glancing around the condominium. Nothing in sight but good solid […]


In An Old Man’s Lap

Colleen Kelley relaxes in the visitors’ lounge of the Barnet Convalescent Home in London. The facility is immaculate, even if the history of the neighbourhood around it is rather sordid. She writes Tuesday, 1 December 1959 in her diary as her granddaughter Jacqueline scurries among the residents, making a nuisance of herself. Old age is […]


Surface Tension

I hate it when she does this. Brianna lies in the bathtub on her back, one knee bent and leaning in, making the lines of her hips twist and beckon. She lies in deep water, her eyes in calculating slits, the exhalations from her nose rippling a tiny current atop the surface. I refuse to […]


How We Met

Now come dessert and coffee and each couple telling the story of how they met. From across the table, you send a hint of a smile that is for me alone. We know how these stories go, and these couples keep to the conventions. “She was working at the bank, I knew from the first […]


A Place for Passions

Four. That’s how many suicide attempts it took to get me committed to Pleasant Gardens, where I scratched at my wrists and tried not to look at my older brother Pete standing a careful foot away. We walked along smooth stepping stones, my brother and I, trapped by walls of flowers. “Oh, look,” said Pete […]


How Did I Get Here Bruce

On each floor, across from the elevator, is a chute where we plummet garbage down to the basement incinerator. There is no excuse for a cluttered room, messy hallway, overflowing waste can. When you open the metal door, much like an enormous mailbox, the hot breath of rotting and burning blasts in your face, so […]


Good As New

When his daughter came home with her first hole, Martin plugged it with gauze and said, “School can be cruel sometimes, darling.” After, they shared a pizza and watched Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which had long been her favorite. The next day Lauren came home with two more holes — one above her collarbone, […]



They were beating on the door. Huey could hear it rattling, see it shaking in the frame. They were going to take him away and lock him up like he was crazy. And this was only fair, Huey reflected, edging a little further out onto the ledge. The cars below looked like droplets of blood […]


On the Fly

It was ten fifty in the morning and he was squinting through one eye as he diced vegetables. The other eye was swollen shut. Jorge had just a vague recollection of the fifth–sixth?–bar last night after work, and someone talking smack. The fat ass kept on calling him “Chef” as they played a game of […]


The Coyote Howls

She stood on the white painted line. The cars zipped by, whipping up dust-filled air, throwing it in her face. The dust climbed up her nostrils, slid down her mouth, and settled in her throat. It coated the worn duffel bag beside her feet and colored her black hair coarse. Bitter patience kept her thumb […]


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