“Counters and Booths” By Susan Dashiell

Fleets of buses and trucks jockeyed for position along Northern Boulevard, but Gayl stared ahead looking at nothing in particular. Shoulder pressed against the vertical box of sealed-off space, her cupped hands cradled the phone like she was whispering in someone’s ear. Red panels enclosed the base of the phone booth, providing coverage from her …

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“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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“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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“Multiple Choice” By Hannah Laudermilch

I feel my breathing get faster as I sit down at one of the long tables in an otherwise empty room and look at the white, stapled packet in front of me. I read the instructions: “After each presented scenario, circle the best response.” 1. Your plans to get smoothies with your brother fall through. …

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