• Pickles and Mayo by Jackie Fender

    Mayo and pickles, again. My stepmom wakes me up, hurried and excited. “Get up! You’re late, let’s go!” I am 8 years old and it doesn’t occur to me to glance at a clock and protest. I’m pulled out of bed with feelings of dread. Quickly I dress myself and head down the long carpeted hallway to the dining room where my stepmother is ironing like a madwoman. “Go, go, go!” She demands, handing me my lunch pail and shoving me out the door without another word. It’s a crisp January morning. The grass crunches under my feet, frosted over with dew. As I walk to school I watch my…

  • Scooby Snacks by Joshua Swainston

    The previous night echoed in a headache of tequila shots and karaoke. Driving home, golden arches served as a beacon of reprieve in the bright spring morning. JoAnne dreamed of hash brown patties and egg biscuits to soak up the fatigue before she drove the remainder of the way home to her own bed, aspirin, and quiet. It was a lie. McDonald’s stopped serving breakfast at 10:30. After sitting through the drive thru, the digital clock on the dash of her Kia Rio read 10:42. She maneuvered the Rio amongst RVs and F350s in a football field sized parking lot which separated fast food from Walmart. Finding a secluded corner…

  • The Great Halloween Egging Adventure by Alec Clayton

    Somebody, I think it was Crash Rogers or one of the Cason boys, came up with the brilliant idea of egging cars Halloween night. It seemed like a fun enough way to celebrate an evening dedicated to mischief, faster and seemed more devious than soaping windows. Besides, what else is there to do when you’re seventeen years old and living in a lousy little town population 15,000 where the main industry is raising chickens, where the only movie house in town is playing The Sound of Music for the fourteenth-gazillion time, and when you’re too young to go to either of the two bars in town (though not too young…

  • Immaturity and Wheels by Kristi Nebel

    This is the story of three days punctuating four years.  I sometimes think that the absolutely worst judgement calls I’ve made in my life were between the ages of 18 and 23.  My husband Steve says it’s a wonder teenage boys make it to adulthood after so many reckless close calls.  I think maybe my adolescence extended into young adulthood. In the summer of 1971 I was a student at the University of Idaho in Moscow, between my freshman and junior years.  I had decided to leave that place for a number of reasons, but was hanging on long enough to get in one more semester of credits in the…

  • Our Agate Day by Delaine Gately

    Northwest summers are beautiful but when you are near the Straits, warm days are few and far between. We set up camp at the high point between the river and the beach and bundled up to greet this day. My love started a fire and made coffee.  The morning chill brought everyone to the campfire. The smoke followed us as we huddle around its warmth. After a warm breakfast we embarked on a walk out to the river. The sun broke through the mist and the fog swirled and disappeared.  The river’s beauty was mesmerizing. The ebbing tide pulled the emerald green waters, and the smell of salt filled the air.  The…

  • Grooving With The Eternal Now by Tyler Keenan

    She was dancing when I noticed her. I could only see one of her eyes because the LEDs casted shadows onto her silhouette at sharp, mysterious angles — but she was definitely looking at me. Our staring contest lasted longer than it needed to and I was sober enough to recognize the social cue. I reached for her hand and pulled her through a curtain of shadow into a beam of light. Her eyes were brilliant and brown, emphasized by how they remained so present on a backdrop of chaos. To my left, the DJ rummaged through crates of vinyl. His middle and pointer fingers sprinted from record to record…

  • First Luv of My Life by William Turbyfill

    My first serious relationship with a member of the opposite sex was back in the 2nd grade. This was before I ever got nervous in front of girls.  They were not yet the threat that they would one day become.  Don’t get me wrong, of course I kissed a few girls before that point. Yeah, that mountain got climbed way back in kindergarten during nap time. But 2nd grade was when I took the next step and plunged into a committed relationship. I don’t remember too much about that whirlwind romance which took place in the halls of Madison Cross Roads Elementary, but what I do remember was incredible. She…

  • Date Night by Titus Burley

    So maybe she should have chosen a more recent photo for her dating profile. It wasn’t a flagrant misrepresentation necessarily but people do change over six years. A sedentary thirty-seven year old may lack the – oh what was the phrase she was looking for? – skin elasticity of an active and exercise obsessed thirty-one year old.               Glad I got past that phase, thought Dana. Talk about self absorbed. The money one could blow through on a healthy kick differed not a great deal from the dough one could squander on a destructive vice. In fact the occasional pack of cigarettes and fifth of vodka cost a lot less…

  • 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…