Small Town Economics - Tommy Dean
The Chase - Sara O'Connor
Experience - Kurt Klein
Houdini's Ghost - John Gorman
Fate - Doug Mathewson
At the end of a long day he reclined in bed beneath a gloriously rumpled pile of sheets and blankets. She walked in the room and eyed him.
Tom Mahony is a biological consultant in California with an M.S. degree from Humboldt State University. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in dozens of online and print publications. His first novel, Imperfect Solitude, was published by Casperian Books in 2010. Visit him at tommahony.net.
Small Town Economics
Windows streaked with the dirt from years of abandonment. The grocery store, the coffee shop, the hardware store. The superstore on the edge of town gloats with its bright lights, full parking lots, and super sales. Downtown used to thrum with the voice of commerce and the pop of radial tires skimming over cobblestone streets. Now the grout shows between exposed brick. The shadows come well before sundown as the security lights are all broken. The town was formed around the river, and then the railroad. The old highway, a two lane crumble of road, is circumvented by to the east and west by the four lane express route that takes visitors north to the big cities. We that remain—farmers, teachers, life insurance salesmen—pass downtown with a shake of our heads and wonder when someone will do something; wonder how long it will take before the windows are all broken. Once the windows are gone, then maybe we’ll leave. Maybe, we like to say. Maybe?
Tommy Dean is a supplanted Mid-Westerner living in the heart of North Carolina. A graduate of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA program, he has been previously published in Pens on Fire, Tuesday Shorts, Apollo’s Lyre, and Pindeldyboz. He is currently working on an untitled novel.
I swerved my wheel to the left, nearly colliding with a pedestrian when I made my screeching turn at the red light. They were on my heels now, about three or four of them, lights flashing and sirens wailing. I was short on time; my heart pounding in my ears. I needed to reach the border before they could apprehend me. I made another abrupt turn left, but this time the manoeuvre proved unsuccessful. My car slammed into another vehicle parked on the shoulder. I was surrounded now. Game over...
Sara O'Connor lives in northern Indiana, where she earned her bachelor's degree in English Literature from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame. She has written numerous features for a local newspaper and has been published in Religious Life Review magazine. She is currently a contributing writer for Demand Studios and teaches at Ivy Tech Community College.
Dad, can we please go home tomorrow? my son asks.
Kurt Klein lives in Chadron, Nebraska. He's old, 87, upright but leaning.
This straitjacket pinches my gut—feels like it might squeeze out my pancreas. I’m a hairy fetus trapped in a mammoth, wrought iron safe. I’d see stars if any damn light seeped through—it’s spookier than the bottom of Lake Erie. Oh, how they’d love to see me choke on my own breath. Fink of a magician. Son of a failed rabbi. Can they prove any lock-picking? The cops postage stamp these keyholes. A whir like a Victrola comes to a bleeding halt. Then it cranks again. Knock it off, I want to yell, but my lips are sealed shut with plaster. Snap of whipcord. There goes the straitjacket, but I’m still wriggling in cuffs. A drug rush whistles through my veins. The whispers and whimpers of lesser men vie for my ear. Want to share their wounded hearts, squandered hopes, and last chunks of beef. I feel the oil, sweat, and fears of these men, skin to cuff, a bridge to humility’s trampled road. Godless. The loudest squall weeps from my father, jibberish sputtering into a vacuum. He pales to a ghost all the zeal sucked clean from his wrinkled flesh his bald head slumped beetle eyes smirking at his scraggy shoes. I shed the cuffs, but not my father. With dumb luck, I kick open the door. They forgot to lock it. Fools them all, again, but I’m shaking. Fear and shame cling to me like shadow.
John’s stories have appeared in Mississippi Review, The Rose & Thorn, Monkeybicycle, Word Riot, Nexus, Writer's Digest, and elsewhere. His debut novel, Shades of Luz, is published by All Things That Matter Press. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University.
Eat right, exercise three times a week. spend a few hours cutting and stacking firewood, feeling fit... now Girl Scout cookies. Damn it!
Doug Mathewson continues his love/hate relationship with reality from his home in eastern Connecticut. He favors hats, and rarely turns down dessert. His work most recently has appeared in The Boston Literary Magazine, Cezzane's Carrot, Gloom Cupboard, and Poor Mojo's Almanac(k). Sporadically he is grasped by fits and starts of inspiration, equally he can be swept away into infinite worlds of busy-signals, radio static, and elevator-music. To read more, comment, or just poke-around please visit his current project, True Stories From Imaginary Lives, at www.little2say.org.