by Jose Sotolongo What kind of name is Octavian, anyway?” he had asked his mother when he was twelve and starting to look at girls.      He combed his hair meticulously in front of the bathroom mirror, turning this way and that, checking the shave job, getting ready for his date.  It was ten in the morning.      “You going out again?” his mother called in through the thin bathroom door.      “I haven’t been out today yet.”       “I mean this Saturday, today, again.  You promised your father you’d help clean the windows.”  It was May, and the screens … Continue reading Roses

Dad’s Escargot

by Beau Hulgan My dad used to catch snails.  He kept them in a dirty 5-gallon bucket in the back yard.  He wanted to keep them inside but my mom insisted they not be in the house.  He was afraid the snails would get too cold, or too hot, or maybe drown if it rained.  But my mom stood steadfast and made him keep them in the back yard.                  We lived in the suburbs.  Cookie-cutter houses stacked on top of one another with a meter wide side yard and back yards squeezed up to one another separated by six-foot … Continue reading Dad’s Escargot


by Kat Carrier             Don’t do it. I ignore the thought hissing from the back of my mind and jump into the pool. My body slips through the water as if there is nothing but air, ribbons of multi-colored light striking across my vision and wrapping around me. Energy hums in my ears, my kind of energy, the kind I’ve had since I was a little boy. It’s wild, ceaselessly vibrating and barely contained. It’s the kind of energy that made the other kids hate me during exams in school, unable to keep still or stop my pencil from rapping … Continue reading Treasures

I See

by Angela Hart Taking another sip of his coffee, Jim could barely swallow it – it’s cold. Not the good kind of cold either. The kind when all the flavor has evaporated and it tastes bitter. Swishing it around in his mouth for a moment, Jim could feel his face turning crimson with rage. It wasn’t just cold from the half and half, it was cold from being out too long. Picking up the pot of coffee his secretary made, he slowly tilted it to the side pouring out every last drop down the drain. Watching the last of the … Continue reading I See

The Stray

by Jahla Seppanen Ensenada was the hottest night. The first night. The two drove down from L.A. to Baja: Him, driving, and her, taking pictures from the window.             “Here we are. Big, bad, scary, Mexico.”             The woman looked through the eye of her camera and focused on the coast. The boats in the water seemed still, even with the wind blowing. A person here and down another block walked the road, but not many and never in big groups. The air was hot and the breeze salty. However, what the woman noticed most of all was not through … Continue reading The Stray

A Member of the Club

by Lawrence F. Farrar On a July evening in 1963, even more drunk than usual, Claude Dillard hunched against the bar in the paneled club room of the West Harmony Country Club.  He had come in about eight o’clock and then devoted the rest of the evening to knocking back Scotch and waters and puffing his way through a pack of Marlboros.  He was now the only patron left in the place.                Fifty-three years old, Dillard was a lean man, wiry really, with sharp features, short-cropped gray hair, and gray eyes topped by caterpillar brows.  He sported a … Continue reading A Member of the Club


by Andre Borges Aragon             It was on a gelid 17th of February in the year of our Lord MMXLI that Donny Lowstadt had his epiphany, his realization, and his eureka moment. In a scintillating second of miraculous clarity, he understood that they were all dying  – either slowly or fastly – each and every one of the bloated whales at the Lexington Christmas Ornament Marketing Collective. The clock was ticking and Lowstadt, always a man of action, was ready to strike like a razor-fin Alpha-tiger with a paunch.             The idea came unbidden while he watched the Red Eagle … Continue reading Murica

The Alabama Boogey (Man) Nights

by Bryan Bolden             The only thing darker than an Alabama night on the Gulf of Mexico in the early 1960s was one with heavy clouds and no moon. Like on that night. It got even blacker when Ben’s dad cut off the big car’s engine. They were parked in a scraggly stand of pine trees in the middle of nowhere in front of a lonely house. Some tall grass marked the start of a swamp a little way down to the right of the car. A few lights were on in the house making it hard for Ben to … Continue reading The Alabama Boogey (Man) Nights

Donuts Are Like Manna

by Cameron Coursey Grandfather’s donut shop was a magical place when I was growing up.  You had to park a few blocks away on Saturdays, near the courthouse occupying the town square, and walk past a procession of cars on Main Street before reaching the entrance.  The bell tolled when you opened the door, but the crowd’s roar inside the small shop drowned it out.  The scent of fresh donuts and coffee mingled in the air.  On those days, it seemed as if the whole town came out to pay respects to Grandfather’s magnificent creations, made irresistible by his secret … Continue reading Donuts Are Like Manna

The Lady of the Red Light District

by Muhammad Nasrullah Khan Ahmad rushed toward the newspaper office, trying to avoid the stinging, dust-filled wind that seemed to get stronger with every step. It was a brief walk from the parking lot. By the time he reached the office, the other staff journalists, two women, and five men, were already tucked into their cubicles like caged rats. Their eyes glued to computer screens. The editor’s office was situated in the center of the large room, the employee desks circling it like the planets of the solar system. Ahmad slid behind his desk. His status as a trainee journalist … Continue reading The Lady of the Red Light District