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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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Canine 401(k)

Ed listened to the six o’clock news on the booking officer’s small radio. The reporter described him as remorseless, a cold-hearted murderer. He slumped in the hard plastic chair, cuffs pinching his wrists. According to the reporter, Ed’s twenty acres was a killing field containing “massive piles of dog carcasses and bones clearly visible from […]

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Firing Squad

Lord knows I didn’t want to shoot Mendez. Hell, he was only a green kid, a frontline infantry replacement just up from boot camp. He acted gung-ho, but he’d never been exposed to live action before. I knew the stark terror he must have felt a few days ago when the enemy tanks rolled over […]

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Clock-In

First we’ll clock you in on the computer and then you can start following me around. Your clock-in number is always the last four digits of your Social Security number, but for tonight you’ll need my number to get to the tables on the screen. Ever use Aloha before? It’s a pretty straightforward system. Go […]

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The Whole of the Brush

I found Uncle Jim in his workshop at the end of his garden. “Hello, Paul,” he said, “what’s the problem this time?” I blushed at this but he was smiling so I sat on a three-legged stool next to his bench and said, “Julie wants a divorce.” “You’ll have to talk while I work,” he […]

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