Jitters by Christian Carvajal

Carv Author PhotoBrad Slayton was one of those middle-management tool chests who treat every business lunch with a woman like it was a date, and every date like a business transaction. From where I sat, he was there to debrief me on the Tokyo deal, which, to his credit, he locked down in record time. He seemed convinced it was more about waging a scorched-earth assault on a Bedrock-sized rib eye and flagon of Lagavulin sixteen-year. Between, often during, red mouthfuls of cow, he was talking to me, his direct superior at Cheswick Financial Group, like I was a first-week receptionist on Mad Men.

“The thing about Tokyo,” he declared, “is it’s a man’s world. They respect a guy who looks ’em in the eye and says, ‘Hey, now, here’s how it’s gonna be.’ I mean, you’re a player an’ all. I don’t mean to say you ain’t got no moves. You’ve got moves. I like ’em.” His face remained impassive around all that chewing.

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The Ambassador’s Horses by Cyndisa Coles-Harris

Acclogo groom, in the course of his service to the private stables of a much-admired ambassador, found himself in the vibrating belly of a specialized cargo jet.  He was not alone in that place.  A veterinarian and an armed guard were there as well, all three men secondary to the purpose of the flight, an entourage for the ambassador’s horses.  Three fine hunter mares stood quiet as cargo, neatly slotted into caution-yellow container stalls; a black, a blood-bay, and a sun-golden sorrel, all pedigreed and proven, sound and glossy.  In a fourth stall, also breathing grassy warm into the caustically clean atmosphere of the jet’s interior, was a new acquisition of the ambassadorial stables; a piebald pony gelding intended for the use of the great man’s young daughter.  

And the plane’s nose pointed east like a weathervane in an unwavering wind, seeking the capital city of the nation of the ambassador’s new posting.

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Covert Operation Calico by L. Lisa Lawrence

head shot 04-14The story you are about to hear is true.

Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Since no one was actually innocent, I didn’t bother.

There are friends you call in the dark of the night, when you need someone to help move furniture. That was my friend Houston S Wimberly the Third.

There are friends you call in the dark of the night, when you need to move a body… Apparently, that would be me.

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The Golden Eagle Casino by Alec Clayton

Author photoEyes turn their way when Pop and Melissa glide into the Golden Eagle Casino. Dressed in a style she laughingly calls slutty-chic, Melissa looks like some kind of sexy film noir vamp. She wears a black fedora with a red silk band. The wide brim is tipped forward to cast a shadowed veil across her dark eyes. Her hair is not truly black but dark, dark brown tinted with Venetian highlights. It flows like oil across naked shoulders. Her black gown sparkles with red glitter that matches the rich red highlights in her hair. Men stare in anticipation as her breasts threaten to pop out and her long thighs scissor through a hip-high slit in her skirt. A tattoo snake slithers from her cleavage. The old man is bearded in white like the Spanish moss on the ancient oaks outside, and wears a white suit of a type long since out of style. He’s six-foot-six and holds himself proud but walks with a slightly drunken stagger.

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She Thinks by Nick Stokes

Photo by Jason GanwichNothing. There is nothing there. Footsteps on the porch. Her own? She is inside, within, she’s sure, at least most of her. Should she shoot? It’s a moral question. She sees darkness, which implies absence of light, which is not what she thinks she sees until she’s thought it. Can one shoot one’s footsteps if one is inside and one’s footsteps are outside? It’s a question of morality. Can she smell herself?

Yes, she thinks. She does not think the stink; the stink is free of her. Of her. Emanated, she wishes she hadn’t thought. The stink is material evidence of her presence. She can imagine she imagines the footsteps; she cannot imagine she imagines the stink. Enough with the stink. Emissions from the membrane between internal and external, from the skin, from where she sweats from anticipation, from exertion. Silence the stink, she thinks. One cannot shoot stink. She is here. Is anything there? She looks, she listens, she breathes. She thinks.

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The Visitor by Angela Jossy

cclogoI know its a cliche but let me start by saying: Don’t freak out. Sorry to wake you. Yes, I am in fact a ghost but let me assure you, I’m not a murderous ghost. Sure, I can kill with impunity but, ya know, it gets old. Human lives come and go so quickly anyway. What’s the point really?

The reason I am appearing in front of you today is I wanted to ask you for a favor. As favors go, this ones a doozy. Do people still say doozy? Nevermind. Don’t answer that. Like snuffing people out for entertainment, following the lexicon of the modern American vernacular has also lost its appeal for me. Who am I trying to impress? Exactly.

Where was I? Oh yes. The favor.

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Augie by Jack Cameron

18049_247178093018_851116_n“This is a great apartment…”

There was a pause after he said it. Augie was fairly certain the boy could not remember his name. Augie didn’t mind. He wasn’t sure of the boy’s name either. Tony, Troy, something with a ‘T’.

He watched from the bed as the boy walked around his apartment. The boy had his shirt off. Augie was enjoying the view. This boy was probably half Augie’s age with skin so white it looked like milk. He had that farm-boy-in-the-city look to him. Augie wondered how many times the boy had done this sort of thing. The boy picked up a framed photo from the dresser. Augie almost forty years ago standing next to his friend Daniel. Dan the man. It didn’t matter where they were, Dan could score enough reefer for him and all of his friends. The photo was taken in Quang Tin Province, Viet Nam. Two weeks later Daniel was dead. Shot by a sniper.

“Whoa.” The boy said, “Is this your dad?” Augie couldn’t help but smile. He’d be sixty-eight in a month but he didn’t look it at all.

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This Old House~a poem by L. Lisa Lawrence

head shot 04-14This old house has stood for nearly 100 years It was occupied by Italian immigrants in 1917 It housed families during the great depression It has seen troops return from two world wars

This old house was built from the forests of the Pacific Northwest Its beams are thick and sturdy Its floors are old growth Douglas Fir Its roof grows moss if not well maintained

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