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Mainstream

The Knives of Her Life

The night my step-dad found mum in bed with another guy was the same night he gave me his Swiss Army knife—the one he’d spent hours whittling wood with outside on our balcony. He jammed his clothes and books into a knapsack and told me he was sorry I wasn’t his for the taking. I […]

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Vaquera

The summer Tabby is nineteen and tired of being the girl whose college instructors forget her name, she spots an ad for mascot tryouts in the community college newspaper and finds herself at the audition doing cartwheels and strutting like Yosemite Sam in front of a scowling cheerleading coach and her squad. She gets the job, […]

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When the Selkie Comes

My name is not Elisabeth. My eyes are not full of tears. My life has not just changed forever. My best friend is not dead. Mum screeches my full name like a fishwife, carrying over the howling winds of the bay, and the magic is broken. Every evening I sit looking over the sharp rocks […]

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Eating It Too

Her mother had taught her that each meal, each dish made with her own fingers was a gift. You should cook with your loved one in mind, Sophie, her mother used to say, and strive for the best. So Sophie had. Each meal was a feast, a gift of love. Harold ate each with gusto, […]

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A Delivery of Cheesesteaks

His own saliva wakes him up. The icy patch on his face tips him out of the warmth he mustered from the newspapers pitched against the restaurant grate in the alleyway. Gabe checks the clockstrip he filched from a street vendor. 1/10/2015… 7:22 a.m… 18 degrees F… A shelter tonight. He hates being locked in, […]

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President of Baseball Operations

This story illustrates Bruce Holland Rogers’s sixteenth Short-short Sighted column, “George Washington’s Life in Baseball: Using Characters Your Reader Already Knows.” The secretary never had a chance to say, “Do you have an appointment?” Washington was already past her and opening the CEO’s door. Benjamin Rush, the man behind the enormous desk, was on the […]

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Midnight Mambo

My future daughter-in-law Janey told me exactly how it would go down and what to say. She’s been doing this for a while now, so she had this Nancy lady down pat, from the extra-extra smile to the cautious handshake to the little sing-song apologies dangling off each phrase. Everything went just like she said […]

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Candy Floss Time

The free carnival pass dropped through Penny’s mail slot on Wednesday, exactly ten months after her mother died, three weeks after her son was born, and seven days before she planned to drive her car off Myrtle Pier. Penny had shoved the stack of letters behind the door, along with other bills piling up since […]

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Through Amber Eyes

I paint whiskers on my face with bath water. The water doesn’t stay, but the whiskers remain. I prowl around the house in my bathrobe. The cat is washing herself on the rug. I kneel down to show her my fresh whiskers. “Meow,” I say. She flicks her tail in disdain, as though I’m any […]

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No Show

Amy never relaxes until the third song, imagining everyone’s staring at her hands. But when she sings Styx and Stones, the music takes her places where, even if they are, she doesn’t care. So large as to be almost grotesque, her hands allow her to play a Martin Dreadnaught and to hold a man so […]

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