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    Searching For Thrills by Leah Mueller

    It’s best not to call a guy for a date if you meet at a dive bar, especially after he bites you while you’re singing karaoke. You’re standing on the stage, belting out a rendition of “The Thrill is Gone.” Your eyes are shut, and you’re really getting into it.  Suddenly, a man leaps from the crowd and clamps his jaw around your right foot. He’s young, dark-haired, and has a lean, perfect physique.  You scream “OUCH!” and kick him, but not hard.  Later, he gives you his phone number, invites you to call whenever you want. It’s a typical Saturday night at the Java Jive. The bar is a…

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    The Waiting by Glenn Buttkus

    Your heart is full of fertile seeds, just waiting to sprout.”–Morihei Ueshiba. The bus station bench became too hard to tolerate, the milling minions                     too loud, too boisterous, too pleased & joyous as it seemed that everyone else met up with a lover, a friend, or a family member, as he sat solitary, arms folded, legs outstretched.

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    The Four Degrees of Disease by McKenlee Heath

    “It’s going to be okay,” my father whispers with a watery smile, clutching mother’s hands tightly between his, like he’ll die if he lets go. “That’s what they all say,” she replies in the same tone, glancing down at their clasped hands. I’m not supposed to be looking, but I am. Father’s shoulders start shaking with silent sobs. It hurts to watch, but turning away would be the same as ignoring it. And I can’t ignore it. We can’t ignore it. Mother has cancer. She’d had it a few years after I was born, before she had Jacob. It had disappeared and she had been able to look after me…

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    Call Me Queen by Lennée Reid

    I hear people talking about pronouns: She, he, they, them, xie, xem. Ok, well then I too wish to be addressed properly. So let me make this clear, I am not your baby girl, sweetie, honey, or boo. I like the sound of Your Majesty. Nothing less will do. Don’t call me ma’am like some ordinary mother. Oh, no there is no other like me. A single rare individual completely in touch with my divinity. Call me Queen, Regina, Her Royal Highness. The shit I have risen above, overcome, reached heights higher, highest. Call me goddess. I bring light through the darkness like Luna. My womb rides the moon. I…

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    Wasted Genius by Kevin Kniestedt

    Several minutes into the drive to bar number two, the cold from the air conditioner and the heat from the punishing Arizona sun were still doing battle inside the car. Michael was not convinced this was a fight the cold air would win. At the stoplight, the exhausted, old air conditioner wheezed over the barely audible blinker as it ticked. Neither of them spoke. To avoid getting her attention, Michael glanced sideways at Carla while she stared out the window. He wanted to look at her without a response and, please, no more conversation. He noticed a bead of sweat on her forehead. The one bead seemed to linger—now that…

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    The Interstate Reads a Book by Daniel Person

    I remember I was reading a book. I can’t say how the book came to me—why a passerby decided to discard the dog-eared Western in such an empty place. Maybe he left it on top of his car at the last rest stop, and it had taken flight when the car hit 70, flapped its card stock covers to see if it were in fact no novel but a bird, then fell hard to the blacktop, an Icarus in pulp. Or maybe an amateur lit critic became so furious with the awful writing that he hurled the book out the window, the sudden rush of air from the open passenger…