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Doug Mathewson

     After her father died I'd take the pickup to Westchester every Sunday, and bring her a carton of Camels. Only family was allowed in locked wards, but the staff thought we were still married.
     Holding hands in the Day Room we'd talk and laugh for hours. When time came to go, we would kiss each others eyes, it was our little custom.
     Coming home I'd usually pull over to think, have a smoke, and watch the Hudson for awhile. But some things just don't change, you know. She'll still be locked in the Mental Hospital, and I'll still be in love.

Doug Mathewson continues his love/hate relationship with reality from his home in eastern Connecticut. He favors hats, and rarely turns down desert. 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.

Greta Igl

      Her finger hovers. Should she?
      She shouldn't.
      She knows David will come running. But what about the rest? Mark? The kids? David's wife? If she clicks, she tosses them like dice. She has the power to make everyone tumble.
      She shouldn't.
      But the endless stream of days and tasks make her yearn for the thrum of fresh blood. She wants to step over the edge and freefall, to race the wind, feel her weary heart pound.
      David did that.
      She shouldn't.
      Summer's last warm breeze rustles her hair through the open window. She takes a deep breath and clicks send.

Greta Igl's short fiction has been published in Long Story Short, Tuesday Shorts, Word Riot, Six Sentences, Every Day Fiction, and a previous publication in the Summer 2008 issue of Boston Literary Magazine. She is currently at work on her second novel, JamiesonĘs Folly. For more about her writing, please visit her here.

     I am here to tell you that I found the elusive genie in a bottle. She is a voluptuous temptress who will carry you on her spiritual wings. She will grant your wildest wishes while you bear no thought to the consequences. But let me warn you my friend, she comes with a price. Once you get accustomed to using her talents, you will change. Your very being will be drawn to her every whim. Soon she will make herself the master and you the slave. That is why I came here. My name is Fred. And I'm an alcoholic.

B. A. Sans lives in North Las Vegas with his wife and son. His short stories have been published in Boston Literary, Stories for Children Magazine, Pen Pricks, and Static Movement. He will also soon be published in Necrotic Tissue. He is currently looking for representation for his two middle grade novels and his adult novel while he is writing his first young adult novel, a paranormal romance entitled From the Flames.

San Diego Renter
Gerald Vanderpot

      One morning while doing dishes the clangy rattle of the Can Man's shopping cart in the alley distracts me. No need to look; he's searching bottomless dumpsters for middleclass deposits abandoned for nobler compensation. Shutting the water off, I grab the plastic bag filled with plastic containers from my plastic life.
      Opening the backdoor, I walk towards him. We make eye contact; the sun rising over another's America. I extend my meager contribution, his calloused hands accepting my returns. Unkempt whiskers mask a weathered face as his gaze drops. Anonymous lips mumble, "Thanks, Boss"
      I think, I'm a paycheck away.

Gerald Vanderpot was born, raised and educated in the Northeast. For the last ten years he has lived in San Diego. He is active in his labor union. His poems have appeared in City Works Literary Journal.

Swamp Mermaids
Deanna Dinielli

     I got into an accident while driving along the Everglades, screeching metal and fiberglass plummeting into water. Escaped by smashing the windshield with an emergency icepick from the console. Swamp mermaids befriended me by planting prosthetic gills on my neck, introducing me to their underwater society of competitive (strip) Pictionary. We drank moonshine and smoked cigars all afternoon until I noticed the rippled night sky.
     I swapped blog addresses with them and returned the gills before making my way to shore. While shaking water out of my ears, I wondered, "Did that just happen? Did I smoke a cigar underwater?"

Deanna Dinielli is 23 years old and lives in South Florida, where she runs a housekeeping business and works on a science fiction novella during her spare time. She has also worked as a travel agent, dog groomer, and nanny. This is her first publication.

That Christmas
Robert Scotellaro

     That Christmas, it wasn't enough the cat died. Or that my father's brains had turned to porridge. That our child (too many highways, and a thousand miles between) was all grown, and too busy with her new life to visit. But that Lizzy, our 10 year-old weimaraner, kept eating the ornaments off the tree. We'd hear the bulbs burst, then a tinkle of glass on the hardwood floor, and get to her too late—her gums all bloody. There was fire log burning on TV (the 54" screen we'd just purchased)—we sat for way too long and watched it.

Robert Scotellaro's fiction and poetry have appeared, online and in print, in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Boston Literary Magazine, Ghoti, VerbSap, 971 Menu, The Laurel Review, Red Rock Review, Long Story Short, Six Sentences, Pen Pricks, Macmillan and Oxford University Press collections and elsewhere. He is the author of several literary chapbooks, three books of poetry, and the recipient of Zone 3's Rainmaker Award. Raised in Manhattan, he currently lives in California with his wife and daughter.

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