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Utterly Verboten
Mark Perry

     “Tell Joey he’s an idiot!” shouts Carl.
     “Joey’s definitely not an idiot,” I reply. “And don’t use that kind of language.”
     I don’t tell Carl that according to the now-forbidden labels once favored by psychologists neither Joey nor Carl is actually an idiot because each is technically a moron.

Mark Perry is a retired English teacher who currently practices law in Georgia. His most recent work has appeared or will be appearing in Red River Review and The Stray Branch.




Love Letters
Gina Faldetta

     Every love letter you ever sent me was sent between the hours of one and three AM and was something along the lines of “what’s up.” Despite the persistence of your affection, I never wrote back. After a few months, you stopped writing. I don’t really miss your drunk texts.

Gina Faldetta is currently a freshman at Amherst College. Born in Boston and raised in Austin, Texas, she enjoys Oscar Wilde, Scott Fitzgerald, and glitter nail polish.




The Paper Affair
Amy Pollard

     The first time Steve saw her in his wife’s catalog, she wore a blouse. The second time, she wore a bra. The third time, she wore nothing. Each night, he resurrected her from the recycle bin and caressed her paper body until morning came and she dissolved with his dreams.

Amy Pollard is a poet, writer and student. Her work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in publications such as Big River Poetry Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Fictitious Magazine and Bradbury Quarterly. In her spare time, she drinks coffee, makes music and watches black-and-white movies. For more information, visit amyspen.blogspot.com.




Kibbles and Bits
Carly Berg

     My husband said, “Want to go out, girl?” The room brightened. Hell, yes. I took the hamburger slop off the stove, dumped that shit in the trash. A quick clothes change, lipstick, and I grabbed my coat. But he was already gone, and the dog’s leash was off its hook.

Carly Berg is a girl who likes to go out. Her stories appear in several dozen magazines and anthologies, including Word Riot, PANK, Bartleby Snopes, and~woo hoo!~ Boston Literary Magazine.




Boston Talk
Bob Dunning

     Always amazed by the dichotomy between culture and perceptions of culture, Otto laughs every time coastal storms bring the news crews to his beach. With their ubiquitous Boston accents, they'll say, "Pak the ka in Havad yad," but when a gale races up the coast, magically it becomes a "NoR'easteR."

Bob Dunning lives in the Boston area with his wife and two teenage daughters. He writes poetry, short stories, and is an active member of the Absolute Write on-line writers' community.




Showerheads
Jade Wu

     The first thing he did was to change the showerheads, because they might not last much longer, and she can’t reach that high herself. Then, they sat together on the bed. But you've never even smoked, she insisted. They had five more months. Those showerheads lasted her another sixteen years.

Jade Wu is an emerging writer and a Psychology doctoral student at Boston University. She loves to paint, cook, camp, study the brain, and remind people that she is an immigrant when she performs poorly at bar trivia. Vladimir Nabokov is her hero.




Reunion
J.F. Smith

     My biological mother drains her Chablis. Sweat creaks down her hairline, plastering thin strands to her mottled face. "More pink drink, daughter,” she crows, rapacious. With polite smiles, my family chews food for centuries; my real mother, ethereal against candlelight, reminds me with kind eyes: this was what I wanted.

J. F. Smith is a writer, English and Creative Writing Professor, and competitive dance instructor residing just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College after obtaining two Bachelor of the Arts degrees in English and Social Science from Providence College. For the most part, she focuses on fiction and memoir in her creative works. She has published short stories, poems, academic papers, and a multitude of journalistic articles both online and in print editions around the globe. Currently, J. F. Smith is working on two novels and a variety of short stories. In her spare time, she attends dance workshops, shops, reads, pretends to love cooking, designs jewelry, giggles with her baby cousin, runs, and exercises. Smith believes in two mantras: read all work out loud, and sweat every day.







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