Potato Peels

by Jennifer Houston

Published on October 15, 2010

My mother became a hippy after my second stepdad left with a cigarette hanging from his deceitful lips, and a beat up duffel bag full of his shit slung over his hunched back. Well, that’s how my mother described the farewell; I was at school when the bizarre scene unfolded for all the neighbors to witness. I know my mother howled expletives at him, and she threw her left sandal at him which missed and landed in Ms. Williams’ backyard. I know this because I had to go and retrieve the sandal when I got back from school, and Ms. Williams lectured me on how my mother had a mouth on her like a drunken sailor.

The Night Smoke Finds Religion

by Richard Fellinger

Published on June 07, 2010

Smoke’s right eye starts to swell in the fourth, and I know he’s in trouble. This is a pretty big fight at the Taj Mahal, against Dreaded Eddie Jefferson, a California kid with machine-gun hands, and a black kid too. Smoke’s a plugger, a real old-fashioned Philly fighter, a white guy with a thick neck and thicker head. He keeps trying to get inside, but Eddie keeps stinging him with that hard left jab - plus some right leads and a few nasty left hooks. The ref calls up the doc in the fifth.

The doc’s a little Asian guy in a cheap gray suit, and he climbs up on the apron and lifts Smoke’s chin. I jam a white rag in my back pocket, just so I have it ready if the fight goes on, because that’s what a good manager does at times like this.

“Yo, I’m fine,” Smoke mutters through his mouthpiece. “Listen to me, doc. I’m fucking fine.”

One Trip

by William R. Roy

Published on March 06, 2010

I’d have been better off if they had amputated it, he thought.

Gene placed one hand under his knee and the other beneath his calf muscle, then hoisted his left leg out of the car. He was frustrated with the leg. He would have smacked it with his cane if it weren’t still attached to his body.

Good-for-nothing leg.

The wound was closed. The gauze had been removed. Gene dabbed it with a handkerchief even though it was dry. He stared at the healing tissue. The vertical line on his knee cap was so straight it could’ve been drawn with a pen.

Come on, leg.

He slid his cane off the passenger seat. With one hand on the door and the other on the cane, he pulled himself out of the car. The afternoon sun glared off of the molding on his Buick. He could hear a Brown Thrasher chirping in the trees of his back yard: da-dit, da-dit.

Indigo Valley

by James Thibeault

Published on February 05, 2010

Indigo valley is painted purple with pictures.

I say that don’t right. Mr. Kale says indigo not purple. Purple’s violet and red mixed. Blue and violet mixed—that’s Indigo. He don’t like purple in his Indigo valley. I told Bill about what Mr. Kale told me in art class. Bill didn’t care what I had to say, but Bill’s my friend.

“Shut up Joey and color the stupid page.”

Bill always be nice to me. Tells me to shut up cause he don’t want others to hear what I say. Tells me the others kids will make fun - and I don’t like make fun cause it’s never been fun. They should stop calling it that.

“Remember Bill? Mr. Kale says indigo is not purple.”

“We’re not in art class. We’re coloring in English class and you better be thankful for that.”

Sin-thia, Saiya

by Tessa White

Published on December 31, 2009

It was four o’clock in the afternoon when she showed up. She was tall and dark-skinned, and called herself Cynthia. She cursed and curled her body into knots, crying out Simon’s name as though they had been lovers for years. Afterward, as she smoked in his bed, she propped herself up on one bare elbow and stared at his profile. Simon gazed at the ceiling and thought about his late wife.

“What you thinking about?”

“My wife,” he said. But it wasn’t Marión’s face that he saw, really. It was more of a smell, fresh and lemony, that he remembered. They would lay in bed together, in this bed, his face cradled against her heart. Just above her breast and beneath her soft neck. Marión would run her nails up and down his back for hours, causing a battalion of tiny goose bumps to rise all along his bare arm.

Cynthia nodded and pinched her cheek. “Are you depressed?”

Not One to Marry

by David Klose

Published on November 28, 2009

It was important that Megan worked at the Perfume Counter on the second level on the East Side of the building, near the double doors, because in the morning, before the store opened, Frederick would walk in through the back room, up the powerless escalators, and see her behind the counter, her elbows on the glass display case, with the light from the rising sun falling over her.

It made him smile, that image. And he would remember it until he was too old to remember anything at all.


by Erin Donohue

Published on November 14, 2009

Hannah twirled her pencil in her fingers and stared vacantly at her notebook. It was amazingly unlikely that they ever would have met in the first place, so it shouldn’t unsettle her to know she would never see him again after the semester’s end. It shouldn’t, but it did. She had been unfathomably lucky. Of the six billion people alive today, the one hundred billion dead buried beneath the parking lots under their feet, and the uncountable trillions who would ever live, Hannah happened to exist in the same country, state, and city, in the same fingernail sliver of the present on the infinite landscape of time, as he did. How fortunate that they were enveloped in the same language and socioeconomic bracket, attending the same school, taking the same English class, and each had a predilection for sitting in the rear left of a classroom.


by Obinna Onwuka

Published on September 05, 2009

John didn't care what the road was called. He let his little girl name it, his little ray of sunshine. She called it Frying Pan Road. He took her to a psychologist.

“I think she's, uh, sexist,” John said. They sat opposite from Dr. Schulte, split from him by the psychologist's sensible, modern glass-and-steel desk. The room was like a little jungle, vines working around the walls, exotic plants peeking up from around the black leather couch against the back wall and hanging down in bursts of vibrant purples and oranges in the corners. The plants were all plastic.

Dr. Schulte smiled through a fat beard and looked at John with friendlike eyes. He looked at John's daughter, little Jezebel with her sun-gold curls and her cherubic face and the sun dress with the hem that flopped around her knees as she kicked her little legs.

Wisdom of Scars

by Mike Jordan

Published on August 22, 2009

“I’d hate to see what happened to the other guy,” the paramedic says to me. He’s on the other side of the velvet rope on the polished faux marble floor. The room is vault-cold and lit low, relaxing. It’s his way of asking. Everyone asks. Never directly, always sideways, half-joking. He shuffles forward a step. I shuffle forward a step.

If this was a Hollywood movie with a buxom young starlet as the distressing damsel and a young buck with a chiseled jaw, perfectly mussed hair, and an improbably sculpted and hairless torso as the would-be hero, I’d be the villain and I’d be robbing this bank. Why? Because I look like one. Where ever I go rookie police officers and bored security guards scrutinize me. I’m not a sadistic, cruel, or criminal person by any stretch of the imagination.


by Jesse Putnam

Published on August 08, 2009

I met Luigi on my second day in Elba. I had left my shoes on the veranda the night I arrived and they had been stolen, I assumed, by one of the children who pestered me for money as I had climbed the guest house stairs the night before. I didn’t recall why I left them outside, but I supposed it had been so I wouldn’t get the room so dirty that I would feel obligated to tip the housemaid. I knew I would tip her, I just didn’t want to feel the obligation. Tired and shoeless I tiptoed up the gravel road to the local cobbler. And that is how I met Luigi.


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