Higher and Harder | Paul Beckman

She led me down a dark dirt path. I’d met her fifteen minutes into the Fantasy Party, she said let’s blow this Popsicle stand, and I, always ready to follow a redhead, agreed. Our only light was the from her cell phone and we ended up at an old barn. “This is what I wanted…

FAR AND AWAY | by Steve Carr

The crystal glass drinking glasses on the table vibrated, forming ripples in the water. The ice cubes tinkled. The floor beneath Amanda’s feet trembled. She looked up to see the bamboo blades of the ceiling fan pause momentarily, as if assessing the situation, before continuing to rotate. The chain hanging from the fan swung slightly….

Constance | by Paul Beckman

I had finally gotten settled into first grade when the principal walked in with her hand on a girl’s shoulder and announced, “Boys and girls, this is Constance. She just moved to town and will be in this class. Constance, there are six empty seats, chose one.” The Principal turned the expressionless Constance towards the…

Taps | by Paul Beckman

Captain Rothman, deciding he didn’t want to be deployed to a war zone in Afghanistan for the fourth time, grabbed his duffle and went AWOL after he heard the conductor announce that Chicago would be their next station. From Evanston he ran out the train door onto the platform and headed back the way he…

Futility|by Mitchell Grabois

At age seventeen, I was a Paul Simon song: a rock, an island. I was Dostoyevskys underground man. I was Camuss Stranger, who only needed his neighbors howls of execration to complete him.  I was a zombie, undone by a woman I’d met in New Orleans. I was a diamond with a flaw, as described…

FATE AND FREEDOM | by Norbert Kovacs

The mountains ringed a wooded enclosure that contained an earthen path. A person emerged every so often from the woods by the enclosure and started on the path. At night, he lay by its side and went to sleep. He did the same the following days and nights. All the people on the path did….

​Two-Timer | by Paul Beckman

There is a man who stares at me whenever our paths cross. I haven’t said anything to my husband because he’d just laugh at me and my so called fertile imagination. Our town of Adams, Connecticut has a population of only twelve thousand so it’s not uncommon to run into the same people. He’s one…

​Jingle | by Iris Schwartz

She wiped a newly sweating brow, then rifled the handbag for her cell. Elyse hadn’t spoken with Uncle Chuck in two weeks. With his bullet-shaped, nearly hairless head he strongly resembled the hockey puck comic. Chuck came over a lot after that; on weekends her father’s brother brought her to movies, kidded around with her…

​Lunch, 1962 | by Iris N. Schwartz

While Sunny worked two bookstore jobs to keep the kids in clothes and herself in books, Grandma Rivka took care of spiritual and nutritional sustenance. Monday through Friday Sunny’s mother sent Danielle and Edwina to elementary school with a good packed lunch and an even better proverb. Mondays: Rivka loaded each brown sack with two…

Momma’s Rules | by Paul Beckman

There are seven daughters but only six on display. Number 5 (we are not allowed to say the name of the missing—it’s not allowed), these are Momma’s rules and have been all her life—all ninety-two years. I miss talking to Number 5—we are the closest in age and have always been best friends except for…

Leaving | by Leslie Kain

On a brilliant spring morning, as daffodils nodded their golden heads, robins poked at greening lawns to find insects for breakfast and sparrows busily gathered bits for their nests, Dr. Samena Burns headed to her office. A light breeze carried intoxicating scents of warm earth, lifting her imagination to faraway unknown destinations. But she resisted…

MacBens Tea Shop | Makinde Damilola Peter

She snuck up to him again, casting a wandering spell on his mind for the umpteenth time, that night. He stared at the ceiling, towards the beautiful chandelier hanging from it. But the ornated lighting wasn’t close to what he was seeing. She further strayed his heart, flashing a smile across his reminiscences, making his…