“The Brady Street Laundromat” By Mark Putzi

I’d read about the parking lot there in the Shepherd, a local free newspaper. Parking around Brady was always difficult since they’d built it up and made it a shopping and restaurant district. People would go there, leave their car in the laundromat lot and have dinner or shop. When they returned, there’d be a …

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“Falling in Love with Teeth and Coral” By Penny Senanarong

The merchant was taught—ever since she was old enough to fear anything—that monsters could walk in daylight and nightmares could wear the skin of normalcy for a short time before slipping back into the depths below, shedding their masks as night falls again. So, when she was roused awake by a stranger knocking on the …

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“Old Man and the Boxer” By Hanna Nielson

A blast of damp, frigid air blustered through the opened doors of Marlow’s Tavern. The cold wake skirted past the punters, rushing the bar before they did. The barman Brian Legarty felt it raise a chill on his bare arms and watched it lift the flimsy Christmas decorations tacked to the dull walls, making them …

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“Ruger 10/22” By Kevin McMahon

They’re regulars at Gray’s Sporting Goods, and not the regulars you’d expect—–fishermen, marksmen, student athletes—no, they’re an ancient man in a wheelchair and his equally old, but able-bodied wife. New-hires soon learn that they’ll never buy anything and let them be. A department head or manager will approach and say, “How are my favorite customers …

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“Empire of Mud” By James Roderick Burns

I, GIMPY, EMPEROR of the Mudflats, declare that henceforth this place—formerly known as the General Register Office, Edinburgh, and within the avian community, as home to the crazy bird lady and her seeds—belongs entirely to me! I hereby extend my empire up from the Forth and all its cowering estuary creatures, along the spine of …

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