Category: Fiction

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Academic Decommitment

I had been with XXX for almost three years. As far as I knew, I had no enemies in this business. I came from a good home, I guess. Dad was always busy with work, and Mom had her own life. It was just my sister and me, and eventually, just me and my cat. I was in the middle of a deep-cover assignment—my second one when it happened. She didn’t have to die. She shouldn’t have been there. They found her and they took her and they robbed her of her life. I saw her future drain from her…

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The Song in My Head

If there’s one thing I am proud to share with my fellow Americans, it’s the automobile. No place else in the world loves their cars as much as we do. Mind you, not all Americans feel this way. But I do and I don’t give a shit about those who do not share my sentiment. Another American mentality. I bought my car when I was still feeling good about my job at the unnamed home improvement palace. It’s perfect for me: a brand-new, four-door Nissan Altima. White. No aftermarket parts ‘cause I can’t afford them. My favorite thing to do…

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Requiem for a Fallout Shelter

It was a ludicrous assignment. Claire Peyton, the entertainment columnist for the Mountain Valley Daily News, knew it. After their morning meeting, editor-in-chief Warren Harris pulled her aside. He mentioned a ghost story that had persisted in Mountain Valley, population 150,000, since after World War II. Then he let slip that he wanted her to find out if there was any truth to it. "When you think about it, it's a human interest story. Ordinary people crave a little silly fun because reading about terrorism becomes tedious." "Don't try to package a ghost story with ‘human interest'!" Claire replied, trying…

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Paralyzed

"Honey, there's something I have to tell you," Gavin Matthews said gravely. Catherine - his wife of fifteen years was at the stove, her back to him. She paused, her hand gripping the wooden spoon stirring their tomato soup dinner on the stove in front of her. "What's wrong?" she asked, turning the fire down and willing her brain not to run the gamut of the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes when presented with such a loaded question. She placed the spatula on a plastic holder beside the stove. "Justin and Audrey," Gavin began. The Watsons had…

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The Seduction of Francesca Miller

I won third place at the 2002 Modesto Junior College “Celebration of the Humanities” contest with this story.

I think love is real and true when all those cheesy love songs on adult contemporary radio begin to make sense. My name is Francesca Miller. I am the product of an American fighting man and an attractive Italian-American. I’m twenty-four years old. I want to tell you a story about the One.

I first remembered Giovanni Paretti when his little brother Joey and my little brother Anthony met in choir class. The drama teacher at school had decided to do the musical, Picnic. That’s where their friendship grew and I got to know of Joey. Then I put two and two together. I realized that he was related to Giovanni and that Giovanni had been a teacher’s assistant in my sophomore English class. He was a senior at the time.

I did that whole turbulent “I’m stupid, fat, and ugly” teenage crisis during my freshman year. It didn’t take me too long to get over myself and grow up. During my second year in high school, I felt remotely self-assured and confident enough to stand on my own two feet, doing whatever puts a smile on my pretty face. Lucky (as people at school nicknamed him) never really stood out to me; he blended in with the woodwork. I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course. He was attractive, but not something I’d typically pursue. He was one of those clean-cut, friendly, easygoing, helpers of old ladies to cross crowded streets, and feed the homeless type of guy. I’m usually infatuated with a more streetwise kind of guy if you know what I mean.

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Build God, Then We’ll Talk

She looked at him pointedly. Then, amidst the fervor of the green room of the Empire Ballroom, he got the hint. Only a few people knew of their love affair – and if the rest of them knew, they played dumb. They left in their respective tour buses for the budget hotel the record label sprung for them on tour. As always, she got her own room, being a solo artist. She unceremoniously dumped her Gucci valise and oversized messenger bag near the dresser and waited. It was excruciating. Luckily, the feeling was temporary. A soft knock echoed in her…

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Boys in the Band

I didn't even like the band, but my friends were dragging me along. Who am I to turn down a free show? The band's name was Love Split Mystery. They were part of the post-punk revival; you might even call them emo with their shitty lyrics and bass lines that sounded exactly the same. It was payday, and my best friend Natalie called me before I left work. I had bills out my ass, and this paycheck was going to keep them at bay for a little bit longer."Ingrid, guess what?" Natalie said cheerfully over the phone. "Wha?" I replied,…

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40 Steps

"When does the new tour start again?" Nicola Allen asked randomly. "In a month. After this last bit of appearances, we're coming home for a bit. Why?" her best friend Christopher Donaghy asked. "'Member, how you're always asking me to come to visit?""Well, yeah." He and Nicola had been best friends since high school. As the eldest member of Love Split Mystery, high school was a long time ago. He and Nicola had bonded over a mutual love of video games. Nicola was a professional game tester now, while Chris - AKA "C-Dawg" - was a band member, focusing his…

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The (After) Life of the Party

"We need to talk," she said, the most feared phrase in the English language invaded his ears. She took him by the hand into a quiet corner of the arena's backstage area and waited for her to speak. She seemed resolute in her words, but her hands told him the truth. She was nervous and couldn't quit playing with her trademark purple jade ring. She couldn't look at him as she spoke either. He wasn't paying attention, really, until... "You're what? Say that again?" he interrupted her. "Look, Summers, I'm 30, you're 21," she began before he cut her off…

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It Was Like ‘Static’

“So, are we going to storage today, Ma?” Mary said, gulping down her orange juice. “Yeah. There are a few things your Grandma Lucy’s been after me to let her have that used to belong to Daddy,” Marcy added. “I might get rid of the whole unit.” “What are you gonna do with all the stuff in it?” asked Mark. It was almost a year since Michael Crow had been removed from the machines that kept him alive. Mark took some time off from work for a week and had been visiting. Mark was an investment banker in San Francisco.…

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