“i was born in nineteen seventy…whatever” By Sybil Wilen

“Listen, I have to tell you something.” I almost hung up the phone then because I just didn’t want to hear it. I mean, I knew it already, I knew it in the tone of his voice, but in reality I knew it in his posture—and in his eyes that no longer met mine. I …

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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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“Solitary Confinement” By Vincent Oppedisano

Today is the one hundred and thirty-third day of my voluntary imprisonment; this is the day that I will kill myself. I have made all the preparations, like a Japanese warrior who has been shamed and will shed his blood to save face; the instruments of my destruction are laid out, gleaming in the artificial …

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