• Finding Miller by Gregory Knight Miskin

    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. — Joseph Campbell Rummaging under a stack of papers in my office I ran across a thin book purchased weeks before then set aside as the reason for it faded. Less than 120 pages, I decided to run through it quickly and be done. Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child had been an online recommendation to someone else but I thought I might uncover a nugget or two for myself. I settled into my office chair at home to zip through as much as possible…

  • Falling Down by Kevin Munley

    Maybe mom was right. Maybe he had damaged his brain with beer and destroyed his heart with cigarettes. After watching him sleep like a suckling pig for hours and then throwing up all kinds of bright greens and yellows into our toilet like a bewildered beast, I never touched the stuff. My childhood was shit because of it. You wouldn’t touch the stuff either if you saw your old man falling down the stairs screaming at invisible demons. Sure, it was difficult for me when I first got to school. Everyone wanted to know why I didn’t drink. Some guys in particular can be pushy. You know how those jock…

  • A Pocketful of Second Chances by James Nordlund

    Anne-Marie shifted the weight off of her sleeping arm, letting the tingles subside as it hung over the side of the couch. The faded yellow and maroon paisley patterned couch had been her asylum for about a week now. Rebecca would let her stay on that thrift store purchase as long as she wanted to. The tiny apartment in Tacoma, Washington smelled of ash and body odor. Anne-Marie lit up a cigarette. “So, you think you’re going to get off that thing before noon today?” Rebecca teased from the kitchenette, pouring herself a cup of coffee. “I don’t got shit to get up for,” Anne-Marie said in a held breath,…

  • When in Doubt Suck Your Thumb by Brad Myers

    It was 1975 when I used to watch television lying on my stomach with my head perched on my hands. My elbows always got sore so I would shuffle or cross my arms and rest my chin on them…Then my chin would get sore. Eventually, I’d be lying on my side or sitting cross-legged until I could go back to my tummy. Sometimes I would be lucky to have a throw pillow thrown at me. But I do remember the smell of our 1970’s shag carpet and picking our dogs hair out my mouth at times. I can’t describe the smell but the main ingredient was cigarette smoke. But I…

  • A Boy and His God by Christian Carvajal

    My dad’s so twentieth century. F’real, though, he tries to be cool, but everything he does makes him stick out like a total noob. “Jake,” he says, patting my shoulder in what he hopes is a fatherly way, “the world hasn’t changed. People have all the same hopes and fears they ever had, no matter what the calendar says.” This from the guy who still pines for his old computer keyboard. Mom threw that out years ago, back when pretty much all of Western civilization went forty-gig universal WiFi. Poor old Pops still hasn’t figured out how to talk to the web through his implants. “Dad,” I remind him, “we…

  • On Senses: A Nature Essay by Janie Elizabeth Miller

    Since this is a nature essay, I should explain that while my body is located in an experimental forest, it is so far from its senses that all I smell is the sour pungency of a warm beer and the pitiful pool of wax at the bottom of a controlled flame near the air vent of my computer. Since I am here, and outside is there, I strain my ears to hear early dusk sweeping the landscape of its dust, settling early layers of dew on each sword of the sword fern which will sink imperceptibly lower to the ground as it gathers the burden of night, or the yellow…

  • The Road to Winlock by Leah Mueller

    Pacific Northwest rain has a spiteful, insidious quality, as if it was deeply committed to causing despair for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be caught in it. I was weary from battling a torrential downpour while driving along Interstate Five in my Toyota minivan. It was an ungainly, wedge-shaped vehicle, and it already had more than 200,000 miles on the odometer. Doug and I had left Eugene around five o’clock, after our intentions for a romantic getaway had refused to pan out. We’d spent the weekend arguing and threatening to split up as soon as we reached home. Neither of us had uttered a word to each other for…

  • Football by Alec Clayton

    My greatest ambition was to be a football hero. Evan’s too. Evan’s my twin brother. We look so much alike that even our parents couldn’t tell us apart. In high school we were the smallest kids in the whole school. Smaller than lot of the girls. But that didn’t hamper our football aspirations. I wanted to see my picture on the cover of a game program and on the first page of the sports section in the Journal. We’d seen movies about Knute Rockne and Crazylegs Hirsh and the greatest of all, Jim Thorpe, and we wanted to be them. Over six seasons, first in junior high and then in…

  • The Cannibals of Kitsap by Jonny Eberle

    I stopped eating on the first day of fourth grade. I opened my lunchbox and nearly puked at the sight of the food. My PB&J looked soggy and gelatinous, like the corpse of a beached whale about to explode. I imagined the interior of my apple crawling with fat worms. So, I ran to the nearest garbage can to dump it all out. That night at the dinner table, I swore I caught a whiff of gasoline in my meatloaf; imagined there was glue mixed into the mashed potatoes and tar in the gravy. I pushed my plate away and went to my room. My parents were too deep in…