Category: Fiction

Imitating Dopamine by Matthew McGuirk

The rush of euphoria is something unmatched. It starts with an almost unnoticeable prick in the back of your head and the comfort just washes over you and the world melts away, you are floating in the clouds. Your body is filled with a sense of relaxation and elation, the worries and worldly things take a back seat. Most pair D2 with what we call augmented reality, it’s a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for. All this came to be just a couple years ago.

I was 25 when D2 came out. I had just gotten my job in sales; Maureen and I had just gotten together at that point and I had beers with the guys on Friday and Saturday nights. That was two years ago and I do remember those times pretty distinctly, but I don’t really miss how it was before I got it put in, before D2. Sales was always a buzz; I work mainly on the phone pushing supplies for a computer company. Really, this was how I got into D2; I was pushing it without really knowing it, so I decided to get the chip, it just made sense. That’s also when Maureen started to waitress at my favorite bar. I remember those tight jeans waiting for the tray of drinks to go out, then the plain white t-shirt she had on that night that pushed her tits right out there and the smile she sent my way was something else. Before we knew much about each other we were out to dinner flashing each other our best smiles and then running back to bed. We could hardly leave bed outside of our dates, couldn’t get enough of each other. The outside opportunity for drinks on Fridays and Saturdays really kept things lively though. Andrew, Alex and I hitting O’Malley’s, throwing back the suds and checking out the ladies, look but don’t touch.

Consuming Life by Philip Charter

Each class was costing Sarah nearly one hundred Dirham, even if she went to Yoga twice a week. That was nearly thirty dollars an hour. She could imagine Arnold’s look of disapproval at her indulgence, but keeping in shape made her feel better about living in a city surrounded by desert. Sarah couldn’t go running in the humid evening like her boyfriend.

She stole a glance in the mirrored walls of the all-women fitness club. Most of the other members were in much worse shape than she was. It wasn’t their fault; some Arabian women barely got out of the house. But, the instructor helped them much more than her.

When Everything Goes Right by Hannah Dadd

Kate stumbles into the cafe, welcomed by the smoky smell of coffee and a thick blanket of heat, her glasses fogging up. Thank goodness, it was freezing outside. She unwinds her scarf and stamps her boots on the worn mat. The afternoon is bleak, on the cusp of evening, cold and damp with the lingering promise of rain. Hopefully she won’t catch it on the way out. She scans the room but he isn’t here yet. That’s fine, she is early. Eager. And he is always late.

“Can I take your order?” A smile is drawn to kind lips, the barista’s pen poised, watching Kate who watches everyone else. 

Carlos, A Dying Dream by Justin Meckes

Sean opened his eyes and found himself seated at a table adorned with a single calla lily, which stood erect in a slender glass vase. Beside him was an otherworldly bright and shining cobblestone street. If it wasn’t for the dazzling shine, Sean might have believed he was in Paris. Then again, there was the pungent odor of garlic, tomatoes, and freshly baked bread, which made him think he might be in Rome. Sean also noticed the hint of a floral perfume wafting through the air. Thie scent was not coming from the white flower in the table’s centerpiece, so he turned his attention to a dark-haired woman behind him.

Her cheekbones were high and modelesque. She was wearing dark sunglasses, perhaps because of the ethereal radiance being emitted by the adjacent roadway. Staring into a compact, the woman methodically applied a bright red lipstick. When she noticed Sean, she closed the case and smiled before crossing her long legs and picking up her menu.

Fireflies by Jason Fisk

The day was barely there, full of mist and humidity, full of future ghosts that posed as inaccessible emotions. “Grab a few toys,” his mother said, “and put them in this. She handed him his father’s canvas duffel bag.

“That’s Dad’s,” he protested.

“Do as I say,” she said. “We’re going to visit your grandmother for a while.” He did what he was told, but thought it was all a bit unusual. His grandma only lived a few miles away, and they had never spent the night there. He did love visiting her, though; she had her own yard, unlike the small apartment that he and his parents lived in. 

Come Away From the Window by Thomas Morgan

The mirror in the bathroom is foggy with condensation. It’s like this because he’s just stepped out of the shower. He puts a towel around his waist, then he breaks off a square of toilet paper and wipes the mirror clean. He stands over the sink, puts the plug into the plughole and fills it up with warm water. Then he starts rubbing some shaving gel onto his face with his fingers. You see, he showers first, then he shaves. Some people might think this is odd – and maybe it is – but it’s how he’s always done it. For one thing, it gives his body a chance to dry on its own. Plus, he’s heard it’s supposed to be better for your skin, doing it this way.

He starts with the right side of his face, beginning just below his sideburns. From there, he moves onto his cheek and his chin and then his neck. He’s about halfway through his shave when he hears his wife scream.

Stinky McGuirk by Rick White

Stinky McGuirk will not be remembered as an exceptional guinea pig. Never really more than a novice climber, his problem solving skills were in the lower percentiles for the Caviidae family. Averse to water. His aroma, questionable.

He had the appearance of a perpetually shell-shocked rodent — twitchy, trembling. Bug-eyes staring vacantly into the middle distance. His ginger and white hair stuck out at every angle, like some demented throw-cushion.

The last guinea pig in the pet shop, he looked like he needed a good home. And Jessica, suffering twin indignities of living through high-school and her parents’ divorce, was in need of a loyal friend.                                    

Genesis and Revelation by Carl Tait

Bubba Cantwell’s a better salesman than I am. He even sold me on selling Bibles.

His daddy’s a preacher. A real boring preacher, even as preachers go. Oh, Lordy, don’t tell Bubba I said that. It’s true, but don’t tell him. He thinks his daddy is best friends with Jesus.

Anyway, Reverend Cantwell is connected with a company that spreads the Word of God to regular people and heathens. Every summer, the company sends teenage boys to towns all over Georgia to sell Bibles. The boys earn some spending money and the church helps save sinners. It’s a pretty good deal all around, I reckon.