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.

How to Disappear/ Kaj Tanaka

Someone called me late in the evening to let me know. My last obligation here was finally dying. I walked out into the night, down the shoulder of the highway toward the nursing facility, and on the ground, the partially evaporated crust of brittle snow. When I crunched through it, the neighbor’s dog started barking […]

The Waitress/ Kai Harris

“So, well done?” I roll my eyes, digging my heels into the sole of the too-small shoes that grow hills on my toes. I got here this morning at 7:45 AM, the typical start time for an Opener, and now it’s 6:45 PM with no end in sight. I need the extra money, but I’m […]

Nelta and the Wolf/ Tom Weller

The rumble alerts Nelta that Frankie Farber and the white wolf are on the move. It starts like distant thunder: low, ominous. It grows louder, more insistent, more high-pitched with every click of the second hand on Nelta’s watch. When Frankie Farber’s truck passes Nelta’s house, the noise blossoms, fills the entire block, a mechanical […]

Gilding/ Lizz Huerta

There’s a pencil drawing of exaggerated labia on the portable potty wall. I edit it with my permanent marker, happy the shit truck came early and there is no stalagmite of feces in the hole beneath me. I make an orchid, the beckoning lips perfect, then a bee with a trail of dots swirling out […]

This Tyrant, This Child of Pride/ Sheldon Lee Compton

There was a chance she wouldn’t even open the door. But Roy hadn’t seen Jenny or her boy, Thomas, in five years. She couldn’t not answer the door. He knew his daughter. He went over what he should say while walking the small dirt road until the house loomed out from the hillside, a tilting […]

Roller Coaster/ Jared Silvia

When I was ten, a catalogue arrived in the mail, the first thing I remember receiving outside of dull blue birthday cards from distant family members. It was called 100 Projects For Boys Ages 8-13. I read it cover to cover, flipping each page with trembling, mosquito-bitten fingers. All the boys in the neighborhood who […]

Train Approach Warning/ John Tormey

At the start of the shift I grab the folding chair out of the crossing shack and set it up next to the door. I’m hoping to catch some action: drug deals run day and night in the parking lot of the Burger King on the other side of the tracks. It’s almost November and […]