17:30/ Mary Breaden

If you can endure the middle of nowhere, you do get the stars. Off in the distance, about a mile to the east, she can hear the Interstate, but it’s easy to pretend that it’s the whooshing patterns of something more majestic.

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Undercurrent/ Joseph Allen Costa

I said that Donnie was probably off his meds and Del chuckled at that, but I was serious. We watched Donnie drop the rag and bottle on a work table, walk out of the shop and put a finger to each of his nostrils to blow snot…

New Cybernetics/ J.L. Bogenschneider

T-ness & R-ability are qualities ascribed to people but there’s no reason they can’t be applied to machines, T in particular «a kind of knowing» and it’s actually harder to trust people because they’re unpredictable…

Cooper Will Be Dead Soon/ Zachary Davis

“You’re saying you’re not available at all on Tuesday, then? You’re certain there’s no wiggle room there?”
“No, I’ll be unavailable that whole day, and every day after that.”

The Workhorse/ Lucy Crowe

Oh, those hands – they sifted fall soybeans and pinched them to gauge the moisture content. They tugged wet cornstalks from the corn head, they wielded hoes, shovels, hammers. They patted the dog and held the child, circled the waist of the woman he loved.

Swing Shift, Two to Ten/ Jill Adams

There were twelve long rumbling lines and dozens of workers, with a catwalk overhead where a floor supervisor languidly prowled making sure we were all hustling and hurling. At the top of the hour the whistle blew and we had five minutes to use the toilet or sit down and rest.

The Bastard Need/ Icess Fernandez Rojas

I know that today was payday because your wallet bulges from the back pocket of your dusty Wal-Mart jeans. I know that your truck smells like sweat, like taco meat, like recently sprayed $5.99 musk for men because it was on sale. It’ll mask the smell of honest work, the smell of hunger, the smell of indiscretion.