Category: Fiction

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"It doesn't matter what it costs," he said, smiling broadly. "You deserve it." He returned the smile but the feelings of warmth couldn't keep his brain from cringing. He couldn't quite place why he felt that way. This gorgeous man wanted to spoil him. Why was he so averse to it? He deserved happiness, did he not? "I'm tempted to ask you what's wrong, but I know you won't tell me the truth," he said, peering at the menu. "How did you know?" he asked. "Bill, I could cut the waves of tension coming from you with a lightsaber." "I'm…

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She had mental tasks to knock off her list before she left the house with her Golden retriever, Chester. Garage door opener in case the keypad didn't open. A spare poop bag. Her cell phone. Her earbuds. The walking leash with the attached fanny pack cinched to her thick waist. Her old-school Asian grandma would appreciate the meat on her bones. Meant they were well-off in their culture. Too bad it didn't attract anyone cuter than a seven. The weather was cool. That meant a light hoodie. Slim-fit black sweatpants. She hated the feeling of cold ears so she had…

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I'm a few days behind, my bad. It's been one of those weekends where time doesn't exist and the next thing you know, it's Monday. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch saying "just a case of the Mondays" (credit: I type out a forward slash para to activate the paragraph block in WordPress, only to realize that today is Monday though I was supposed to submit this for Saturday. The weekend. Forty-eight hours. The length of time that we've outgrown, the days determined by our ancestors as fair when kids were a viable source of labor in…

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"You don't look so good," she stated. The sweat pooled in the small of his back, warming the tailbone he nearly broke last year. "Yeah?" he asked. His tone was light, passive. Every sinew in his body was demanding that he become confrontational. "Yeah, you feeling okay?" "Maybe I could just take a seat; my heart's a little," he offered. He mimed the erratic rhythm of the ventricles in his barreled chest with his left hand. "Ooh yeah, go ahead, we don't need you right now," she said, shooing him back. He stared blankly at the space between his present…

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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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"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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