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                                     ISSN 1545-2824


    The Pier      by Suhayl Saadi
She'd done enough thinking. Thirty-five years, up there in the place they called the borders. The hills, the forests, the killing wind. Pebble-dashing and pot-pourri shops. Tourist trails, through tamed woods. It was in the forest, they had talked about this whole thing. Her idea. A lovers' conspiracy. Later, he had claimed it had been his, but they both knew that wasn't true.

from Dryness      by G. L. Griffith
One Saturday morning, he ventured over and knocked on the door. The Suburban was parked in the drive. The place seemed quiet and empty. He knocked again and continued to wait. It was still early. He was about to give up when he heard the lock slowly disengage on the inside. This was the first time he had a chance to see her up close. This morning she was wearing her hair in a classic fifty's style, parted on the side. Her complexion was creamy-colored and dotted with freckles. She had a half-inflated pink balloon in one hand and was blowing on it. Behind her, he saw someone crawl by on his hands and knees.

The Carnival      by Birute Serota
People were starting to yell rude remarks to the announcer about his freak show when he shushed everyone. He asked the snake boy to open his mouth. The snake boy strutted around the stage a few times and then he smiled and slowly opened his mouth and stuck out a forked tongue just like a snake's. The crowd started blessing themselves and spitting three times and left the tent as quickly as they could. I wished my mother had come with us. She knew about these kinds of things. My mother believed in the evil eye and in curses.

Shadows      by Daniel Gould Levine
We looked at each other, remembering the words of our small, flat-faced desk clerk in Athens. "Remember, my friends," he said, smiling with straight, white teeth, "if people offer you drink, you don't take it. First it is, 'I will buy you a drink,' very nice at first, but then you buy them a drink, and they buy you a drink, and then when bill comes, they have no money. They will try to trick you: 'Yes, my friend, very good place I know, very nice girls, come, come,' and then they leave you with the bill, or worse. Remember." We stared at the small glasses, trying not to look at the men in the corner.

Mr. Quackers      by Deidre Woollard
Over the next few days, that duck became a regular feature of our married life. I tried to adapt. If I ignored it for long enough it might go away. Things often happened like that; our marriage cycled and rarely remained constant. In a way, the addition of Mr. Quackers proved beneficial. Steve was much more likely to tell me what he thought or felt if he could add "quack, quack" to the front of it. I was interested to find out that he thought we shouldn't get a home equity loan even though he hadn't told me that when I first brought up the idea. I was less interested in the fact that he hated the frosty lilac paint that I had used when we redecorated the bedroom. Too bad if it "quack, quack, made him feel like a sissy," I liked it.

The Future      by Emery Pajer
Your son will die in Mexico if he goes there. Your son is selling drugs out of his apartment. Your son has not gone to classes in weeks. Your son trusted someone he should not have trusted and the people who trusted your son will be very, very angry with him. Your son has lost a lot of money and a lot of drugs. People will want to hurt your son. When your son gets to Cozumel, your son will try to vanish. Your son will run away from the expensive hotel and back to the mainland. But your son will not vanish like he thought.


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