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Window Pain
Jeff Switt

     I wonder how many hearts you have broken. I want to show you mine. A sparrow with a broken neck. I flew into your life like a bird into a window. You told me I should have expected it. You exit without remorse. I have enough for both of us.

Winter Storm
Jeff Switt

     Ice pellets sting my face. My stomach burns but doesnít warm. I tip the flask for one last taste and fling it at a passing car. The driver brakes. Skids into a pole. I rush to her. Pull her door. Her eyes stare blank. Her purse whispers, I am yours.

The Empty Drawer
Jeff Switt

     You left abruptly as you came. I yelled obscene donít ever come back. I strip the rumpled sheets that hold your scent and a forgotten shirt; two scoops of soap. I pull your shirt and touch it to my face and put it in the empty drawer. Just in case.

Jeff Switt is a retired advertising agency guy who loves writing flash fiction, some days to curb his angst, other days to fuel it. His words have been featured at Dogzplot, Boston Literary Review, Flash Fiction World, Nailpolish Stories, 50-Word Stories, 100 Word Story, A Story in 100 Words, 101 Word Stories, and Shotgun Honey, and have appeared at lots of places that take whatever you send in.




Firsts
Ellen Goodlett

     You want me to say the first time with him was terrible. I guess it will make you feel better. Less competition.
     But I won't lie. The first time with him was like discovering H2O. Elemental.
     If it makes you feel better, though, the last time with him was awful.

Ellen Goodlett writes book reviews for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and various online publications. She is currently living in New York City and working on her first novel.




Third Runner Up
Hege Jakobsen Lepri

     After the pageant, her face was an artistís palette struck by sudden rain. Loud voices still throbbing in her pink earlobes. She folded her polyester ribbon, put it inside her empty diary in the underwear drawer. Then she let her hair down, sank into her grandmaís chair and started knitting.

Hege Jakobsen Lepri is a Toronto-based translator and writer. In a former life, she was an manager of European projects in Tuscany. Before that, she was a sociologist in Norway. She returned to writing in 2011, after a twenty year break. Her fiction is published in this fall's issue of J Journal.




Settling Up
Bob Dunning

     The ghosts of O'Keefe's Saloon drifted with the smoky air above the poker table. None were surprised that Jones cheated his way to a royal straight flush. Moreover, they approved roundly when Mister Smith's thirty-eight-caliber belt buckle ended the game—they all had grievances to settle with Jones.

Bob Dunning lives in New Hampshire with his wife, two teenage daughters, dog, and cat. He is an active member of the Absolute Write online writing community, and his work has been seen in Short Story Me as well as here at Boston Literary Magazine.




Watching
Paul Beckman

     The watchers are watching the watchers. I watch from my bedroom window. Alpha watchers are being watched by Bravo watchers. I don't see anyone else watching Bravo so I must be the Charlie watcher.
     That means there's a Delta likely watching me. Why? How could they possibly have found out?

Paul Beckman was a paper boy, pin boy, butcher's apprentice. numbers runner, saloon keeper, air traffic controller & real estate guy. He no longer is a numbers runner. He lives in Connecticut and often travels to the city looking for material and/or trouble. Stories published in The Raleigh Review, The Brooklyner, Pure Slush, Connotation Press, Playboy, Ascent Aspirations, Metazen My Audio Universe. Soundzine, 5 Trope, Word Riot and other wonderful venues in print, on line & via audio. Paul's published story website: paulbeckmanstories.com.







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