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The Muse
Doug Mathewson

     I saw The Muse last night at the 24 hour corner store, and she looked like shit. She was buying cigarettes and Slim Jims, I was getting cat food and a Slurpee. Poor thing, she had on an old bathrobe over her house coat, a bomber hat, and men’s shoes. Kid behind the counter told her she couldn’t smoke in the store. I said something. I said “Don’t say that” or “Leave her the fuck alone” or ”She’s alright” or something. I don’t know, but I said something. She ground the cigarette out on the linoleum and paid. On her way out she touched my arm and whispered, “I haven’t forgotten you, Bunny.”

As One with the Earth
Doug Mathewson

     “Well,... first thing off, that beech has got to go,”
     said large bearded Tree Service man, Jim.
     “Which one is the beech?” I asked.
     “The dead one,” said Big Jim.
     “Which one is the dead one?” I quietly asked.
     He gave me a small smile and pointed.

Doug Mathewson as a writer he is best known for his mixed-media sculptures. The art-world remains unimpressed with the exception of his “Head-of-Goliath-a-Day” series. Using modeling clay and found objects he portrays the image of young David with the severed head of the giant Goliath. The tiny dioramas (inside walnut shell halves) portray men, women and creatures from across the ages as David. David could be a robot, space squid, pop-star, house hold pet, or just someone on the bus The artist is always the head. Gratefully none of this involves The Boston Literary Magazine, where the author is very flattered to appear, nor < a href="http://www.Blink-Ink.com">Blink-Ink which he edits.

Marcel Unchained
Ray Nessly

     Street mime in white face and white gloves, trapped in invisible box. Tip jar empty. Marcel's solo dancing the tango now, teeth clenching ephemeral rose. Passersby pass him by.
     He shackles his arms and legs. Imaginary handcuffs, intangible chains. The padlock's but a ghost. The blindfold? Real.
     Master of silence, in bundle on sidewalk, struggling like Houdini.
     Tap-tap down the sidewalk goes a cane, tap-tap against the tip jar, tap-tap against Marcel's noggin.
     “Sorry 'bout that!" the blind man says, reaching into his pocket. He fingers his coins, finds just the right one, and plunks it into Marcel's jar.

Ray Nessly hails from Seattle and lives near San Diego with his wife and their two cats. His stories have been published or are forthcoming in Literary Orphans, Do Some Damage, Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers, Yellow Mama, Apocrypha & Abstractions, and in the collection, Literary Bondage: An Exploration of Potential Literature.

     Cara told me my hair is going grey because I have an iron deficiency.
     “It’s just genetics,” I said.
     “No, it’s true” she insisted, without further explanation.
      “And the fact that my mother went gray at eighteen” I said, “and that all her brothers and sisters and all my cousins, have all gone gray before thirty…that doesn’t have anything to do with it? It’s the iron deficiency?”
     She rolled her eyes at me and lit up a Natural American Spirit.
     She knows gray hair is caused by iron deficiency the same way she knows that diet soda is going to give me a brain tumor, and that it’s perfectly healthy for her to smoke Natural American Spirits, and that tiny particles of plastic are dissolving into our milk jugs and causing us to become infertile, and that reflexology can cure Parkinson’s Disease, and that the fluoride in tap water is a mood-controlling device the government uses to keep us docile, and that all the Pharaohs of Egypt were half-alien, half-human, and she knows all these things and more because she has something that none of these doctors or scientists or historians or other experts in the world have: internet access.

Colin Rowe has been published on Cracked.com, Pure Slush, and will be in the Spring 2015 edition of the Santa Fe Literary Review. He writes flash fiction, novels, and screenplays. You can keep up with Colin on twitter @lowericon.

You Make Me Feel
Mike James

     like a dog with the face of a rhino, like a rhino with the colors of a peacock, like a peacock with the attitude of a house cat, like a house cat with the speed of a sloth, like a sloth with the language of a sailor, like a sailor with the magic of a fairy, like a fairy with a coke habit, like a fairy with a coke habit, like a coke habit with a coke habit

Mike James has been widely published in magazines throughout the country. He has published seven poetry collections. Elegy in Reverse (2014, Aldrich Press) and Past Due Notices: Poems 1991-2011 (2012, Main Street Rag) are his most recent. He also serves as the associate editor of The Kentucky Review and is the publisher, with his wife Diane, of Yellow Pepper Press, a small poetry broadside press. After years spent in South Carolina, Missouri and Pennsylvania he now lives in Douglasville, Georgia with his wife and five children.

Mr. Goodman
Kevin Thomas

     Bruises blue as cobalt, fresh, folded into the cracked wrinkles of his fleshy right cheek. He'd rather not talk about the events leading up to the new bruises, and I'd rather not know. The reasons are all too obvious. He takes a slice of lemon with his Arnold Palmer, heavy on the ice, just like the week before, ad infinitum. Alone. Mr. Goodman is eighty, at least. He tips twenty-percent. He doesn't need water. He reads a Nicolas Sparks' novel with dinner, followed by a chocolate dessert of my choosing. A husband once, hopefully. Life moves at a slower pace for him now. But the falls, they are fast and painful, and by the looks of it, frequent.

Kevin Thomas is a screenwriter living and working in Los Angeles. He is originally from Portland, Oregon, where he attended Beech Elementary School in North Portland. Go Bobcats! This is his first published work. You can find more of his writing at kevinjthomas.wordpress.com.

It’s Medicinal
Francesca Baker

     Saturday afternoon, wandering through the rain sodden trees with my lady padding one step behind me. Every snap of the branch underfoot echoed her terse words, the crackling atmosphere leaving me nostalgic for easier childhood days when the blows of life had not bitten me. Still, at least as an adult I could make the walk's destination a warm pub and whisky could revive my faith once again.

Francesca Baker is curious about life and enjoys writing about it, muddling her musings on music, London, travel, literature and life in fiction and factual pieces. You can find out more at www.andsoshethinks.co.uk or follow her without being arrested on twitter.com/andsoshethinks

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