Buddy’s New Friend by Jared Cappel

Where are they? They’ve been gone forever. Wait, I know that sound. Oh my gosh, they’re home!

The door opens. Melody bends down to pat me. “Who’s a good boy?” She rolls me over and scratches my belly. She knows just the spot.

I’m too excited to lay still. I struggle to my feet and run over to Ash. I sniff at his cuffs. He’s been in the park. I jump on his thighs. Say hi to me! I’ve been waiting all day!

It Isn’t Safe to Fool Around with a Skeleton by Emily Harrison

Between half-filled composition books, dust bunnies and balled up socks, the skeleton eases its way out from the space beneath Rosie’s bed and asks: ‘Are you gonna tell him?’

Rosie tugs her baseball tee at the neck and pulls the paisley-patterned comforter higher. She’s can’t count how many times they’ve done this. Maybe sixteen, since summer started. It’s the first time the skeleton has had to hide under her bed, though.   

‘I can’t tell him,’ Rosie sighs.

The Fountainhead of Cringe by Lucy Goldring

After twenty-two years of performing vasectomies, Dr. Kenneth Longman was disenchanted with his work. Whilst he was not yet conscious of his ennui, it had become disturbingly apparent in his behaviour.

In earlier times Longman’s clients had remarked upon his charming eccentricity. Recent patients were more likely to wince at the mention of his name. In fact, a growing number of men harboured a bad memory of Kenny – a memory triggerable by the vaguest of testicular references.

The Bi Women Mentee Program by Tai Farnsworth

Oh geez, I’m so sorry I’m late. I was in the middle of sixty-nining my newest lover and I completely lost track of time. Candidly, I’m usually late but you’ll learn all about that. I was thrilled to get your call! You’re my first bi mentee and, I have to say, it’s a complete honor. I still remember my days of being a bi woman mentee. What a joyful time. I’ll try and be as succinct as possible, but there’re a million things to talk about. We’ll get there over the course of our meetings, I’m sure. Before we go any further, I have to say, you are distractingly beautiful. Truly, you’re stunning. It’s almost difficult to look at you. Oh, wow, thank you so much for saying so. This is one of my favorite outfits. Okay, we can’t get carried away. There’s plenty of time for us to swoon for each other after I’ve told you all the bi women truths. I’m going to be totally transparent with you – those bi women stereotypes you’ve been dealing with since coming out, they’re true. All of them.  

Coin Laundry by Jesse Bant

At 9 AM each Saturday I come here, to the laundry. It’s a ritual. After getting any coins I need from the change machine I empty my clothes into a washing machine, pour in some powder, push in five dollars’ worth of coins and hit start. At the vending machine I pick up an energy drink. By the entrance there are some tables you can work at. I take a seat at one, setting down my drink and emptying my pockets beside it. A small pile of dollar coins. My keys. It is the last time I will come here before I leave for a new city on Thursday. My mind begins to wander, and I find myself sifting through all that I have seen at this laundry, looking for something meaningful among the empty episodes that have taken place beneath these bright lights. 

A Good Couple by M.C. Tuggle

I turned into the entrance of the Charlotte Metro Nature Preserve and followed the twisting gravel road toward Copperhead Cove. The wedding I would conduct on the banks of Lake Wylie was two hours off, so I had plenty of time to prepare. Maybe take a quick nap. Maybe even forget my anger.

At a sharp bend in the road, I passed a man and woman nestled in cheap folding chairs, both illuminated in a shaft of silver-white sunlight that pierced the oak canopy. Homeless, judging by the looks of them, with their possessions piled nearby in black plastic bags. The man lay twisted on his side, his head in the woman’s lap. Ragged flannel hung from the woman’s thin arms, which were wrapped around the man. Despite the warmth of early September, both wore long-sleeved shirts and blue jeans.

The Residents by K.C. Bailey

The cuckoo clock on the wall sounds its hourly alarm, despite being three-quarters past the given time. No one knows whether the lifeless plastic bird with startled eyes is fifteen minutes early or if the clock is behind. Sometimes it is silent for days on end, though the residents swear they still hear it singing.

‘Good morning, sister,’ calls Agnes, descending the stairs and humming as she goes; her hand gliding gracefully down the old banister, pale alabaster skin against the dark wood. She is burgeoning on seventy, but the lithe figure beneath her knee-length floral dress is that of a younger woman.