Blatherwick Hall — New Luxury Apartments! by Rick White

I

Mildred wants to borrow a button again, she pleads with Charlotte — says come on, we haven’t played in so very long. Agatha chides them — we’re packing them away children, soon we’ll all be gone. The men with clipboards stand outside, saying this roof is crooked, something’s wrong.

This button was a porthole once, it was a Catherine wheel. These shoelaces were conger-eels, this matchbox was a bomb.

Agatha remembers this house so full of little feet and little laughs. Summer evenings yawned like dozing cats; we listened to faeries singing at the bottom of the garden, eavesdropped on wood nymphs chattering beneath the slow-crackle of bonfire leaves.

Haunted by Jayson Carcione

The boy calls me The Lady. Bed-ridden, surrounded by mountains of comic books and tissues of blood and snot, he looks  for me in the cracks in the wall, the grotesque stains on the ceiling, smudged window glass.  He should be looking outside where there is grey light upon the lake, where leaves turn yellow and red on the branches. He saw me once in the corner of a broken mirror in the old apartment in the city. He thought me very beautiful. I say this not out of vanity, but to note he saw me as the unblemished peasant girl I once was.

The Tin Man by Norbert Kovacs

Every Thursday, the theatre in our small town put on a variety show. Students from the college and local people who believed they could act or sing did ample numbers for the program weekly. The audience was treated to scenes from famous plays, takes on popular songs, spoken word poetry. The acts did not bowl us over as a rule, but most people enjoyed the evenings and felt entertained. I numbered among the few who went really hoping to spot talent. Brilliance shows up even in small towns like ours I believed. And I thought seeing or hearing some great, undiscovered singer or actor perform would be a magnificent event, that everyone would admire the talent revealing itself on the stage and raise no question of the artist’s greatness. True flare could do no less.

Xan & Grit by Coleman Bigelow

Long before the children would shed their gender conforming names and escape their provincial village, the two siblings endured a tortuous childhood of stifling convention. The children’s mother called her son Hansel, a ‘healthy eater’ and her daughter, Gretel, a ‘little piggy.’ Their father clapped Hansel on his meaty back and offered him a stein of the family pilsner, while their mother showed Gretel how to polish the silver and iron the wrinkles out of lederhosen. 

Karoshi by Jaclyn J. Reed

TO: [REPLY ALL] Employees of Sand Star, Inc.

FROM: Allie in Advertising, Cubicle 2 (2nd Row) by the Copier from 2005

DATE: August 10, 2017

SUBJECT: RE: Our Culture: We Want Your Opinion!

PURPOSE

On behalf of myself, the ad. team, and my fellow worker bees, I’d like to inform the powers that be of the individual and institutional mismanagement, maleficence, and malapropism of Sand Star employees that has not only contributed to America’s middle class dystopia, but has no doubt also increased liquor sales and opioid abuse in Central Pennsylvania.