I Do Crew by Rachael Marie Walker

Three months ago, I was vaping in the tub, leaned back against the tile, submerged my face in the water, and thought: fuck, I’m not cis, am I?  My girlfriend of three years, Liz, was playing video games in the living room, out on a mission with her gamer friends in Red Dead Redemption. She took one look at me, still dripping from the bath, naked and sudsy with lavender bubble bath, and said she had to go, she’d catch up with them later, and motioned for me to sit in her lap. I curled up there, left a moist…

Fresh Coffee By J.D. Strunk

Paul opened the door to the break room and froze: a neon-blue eye stared back at him. The unblinking cyclopean orb belonged to a new coffeemaker. Paul felt his stomach hit his toes. He’d been dreading this day for years. The old coffeemaker had been grimy and scuffed, but it had also been reliable. What’s more, he knew how to use it. Paul approached the new machine with trepidation. It felt too futuristic to be a coffeemaker. Why did everything need to be so futuristic? The word “streamlined” shot through Paul’s mind as he examined it. While it was true…

Ammonite by RT Young

Dina starts awake to the sound of the phone ringing, and before answering she knows Ken has gone out again. She can feel the absence of him in their shared bed like a cavity, the room still and silent as a forest, and the roaring klaxon of the landline is a chainsaw, teeth biting through living wood. Still, to confirm she is alone, she lets her hand search around the empty space beside her, roving over the landscape of pilling cotton sheets. They are cool to the touch. The digital clock on his bedside table reads, ‘02.37’. Next to it…

The Wedding That Was by Ankitha Venkataram

Michelle pointedly kept her school bag next to her seat on the school bus and looked away from Siddharth who was trying his best to look as innocent as her puppy, Tommy. She saw something yellow flash in front of her. He was holding out two Ferrero Rocher chocolates.  “I’m sorry,” he said. “Could you let me sit before the bus starts moving?” “Why don’t you go sit with your friends instead?” she said, acidic.  “I’m sorry! But they make fun of me already for hanging out with a girl all the time. If I acknowledged you waving at me,…

Frankie by Rachel Ament

I hadn’t gotten pregnant yet, but I could still feel the baby in me. Heavy, slimy movement. A soft cramping. We named her Frankie because it made us laugh. The name was hard and sturdy but also playful and full of life. At night I would ask Drew to touch my stomach. Our little ritual. Did you say goodnight to Frankie? He would play along. Oh, hey Frankie. Did you have a good day? It was a life within a life. I knew one day it would be the reverse. The rest of my life buried in motherhood. Drew palmed…

Talent Management in ScamBot City by Vivian Chou

Did you know forelsket means falling in love for the first time? Humans go bananas for that word during courtship. I went over it in yesterday’s bot seminar, “So You Want to Scam Norwegian Widows. How to Come Off Like a Native Speaker and Not Fresh Off the Boat.” Our catfish bots closed upwards of three million kroner yesterday alone! Ever since corporate strategy shifted from small fish, big pond, to big fish, small pond, our high-income targets have brought in way more cash, with the help of the humanizing software updates.  But boom times don’t last forever. Boss’s words…

FICTION: Accident by Brian Ellis

I was struck from behind by a solid gold car. Well, gold as in painted gold and solid as in made of matter. It was really more of a piece of crap on closer inspection. Cracked side-view mirror, dimpled hood, dented grill, rusty caps. The car wasn’t without charm, though. I mean, it was gold. The owner of the vehicle (Molly, according to the name tag on her black vest) exited the car and asked if I was all right. I said I was all right. She said the collision had surprised her because her attention had been drawn toward…

Stay Inside and Live Forever by Matthew Chabe

Christopher’s crying in the stairwell. He’s been at it for hours. I’m concerned about what the neighbors will think, but also I don’t care, so I shut the door and fall back into bed. I turn and press my head into the pillow. I bury it so far, it’ll never be found, and just when I’ve reached the lowest point, the door across the landing opens then shuts, and there’s a knock. “Samuel.” It’s a mirage. I pull the blanket over my head. “Sam.” Fitch stands outside the door in his tighty-whities. I can see more than I want. “What,…

Who Hates Acapella by Eric Rasmussen

For most of a minute, the tenor splits his stare between his phone and the lake view framed by the minivan’s windshield. Then he sets the device in the cupholder. The other three members of the group wait in silence. Finally, from the back seat, the bass speaks. “What’s it say?” The tenor swallows. “It was all a joke.” “That doesn’t make sense,” says the baritone from behind the steering wheel. “They sent the down payment. The money’s already in our accounts.” “The groom hates acapella,” explains the tenor. “When he found out the best man hired us, he made…

Redlands, CA by Aja Vasquez

“The University of Redlands held a commencement ceremony Monday to honor its ailing mascot Thurber following his cancer diagnosis, which was made public last week… Those close to the pup, including handler Beth Doolittle, praised the dog’s contributions to the university. Thurber was then presented with a diploma representing his degrees in math and psychology, and a minor in theater and human-animal studies.” ~Kristina Hernandez, Redlands Daily Facts, November 13, 2017 The glow of Madison’s phone lit the tears that ran down her face as she sat in the dark. It was always like this with her. A mixture of…