My Health History by Nan Wigington

The first doctor was disappointed. He found only furniture – a broken mirror in the cecum, a rotten egg on the rectum’s wall, and a chair, one leg missing. A bit slovenly, the doctor said, but not cancerous. I put my left shoe on my right ear and danced east, not west out of the recovery room.

My Favorite Student by Carl Tait

I was wondering how you’d address a Christmas card to Jeffrey Dahmer.

Addressing envelopes always required more thought than you’d imagine. Older people preferred “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith,” like my mama had taught me when I was little. But folks my age favored “John and Lizzie Smith.” Or maybe just “The Smith Family.” So how about “Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Dahmer”? Wait, he never got married. Plus he was a serial killer. Oh, and he was gay, so if he’d been married, I’d have to figure out the correct form of “Mr. and Mr.”

Space Mysteries Decoded by Leland Neville

Their destinies crossed in the Dreams and Mysteries section of the public library when Mia realized that Jimmy was a fellow traveler through space and time. She had captured and decoded an errant brainwave; his mind was a coil of feuding inner-psychic processes. Jimmy, a cute sophomore at Brooklyn’s FDR High School, was an unmoored extraterrestrial either unwilling or incapable of embracing his distant roots. He also harbored a latent desire to bond with an unpretentious, approachable, and reasonably attractive alien. An extraterrestrial who didn’t know he was an extraterrestrial was definitely (despite his existential uncertainty) excellent boyfriend material

To Forget & Not Forget in a Bathtub by Danae Younge

It has been seventy-three years 
& she must swallow night, now, like her caplets,
when daylight is a dearth inside her peeling stomach. 
The days are nameless & dirtied, those

that secrete from her skin come nightfall — 
that she feels dust her creases mauve 
& defuse through turbid water — 
her throat takes them back through steam 
pasting moon crescents to the tiles. 

The Fish and My Father by Kevin McGowan

On a moist autumn day, long before the nicotine dressed his lungs in black for his funeral, my father severed the line with his pocketknife, set down his rod, and lit another cigarette. Mayfair from the newsagent: he had always been a man of quantity over quality. I traced the castoff line, limp in the water, back to the tree that had claimed it. Neither of us could fish, but fishing, maybe for reasons of primal origin, was seen to be one of those father-son bonding experiences. Well done, kid, you killed something. High five.

Certain Stories by John C. Krieg

Certain stories are supposed to have certain endings.  The die is cast.  The storyline is set in stone.  To not follow the plotline could almost be viewed as a sin, and to go off script oftentimes invites disaster.  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and sometimes the flow can cause you to drown.

The day after Luke died, there was a puppy roaming in the driveway, maybe eight weeks old, but probably closer to six and just on the edge of being appropriately weaned.  She was cute, as all puppies are, but there was a sadness about her.  She had obviously been dumped upon us by someone who just didn’t want to be bothered anymore.  Judging by how skinny she was, they most likely didn’t spend any money on dog food.  I could envision her masters ripping apart the litter, separating the young and innocent from their mother as soon as possible, and putting their concerns behind them as they dumped their problems on to someone else.

Under the Gooseberry Bush by Michael Bloor

April 8th, 1974. I’m setting this down on paper and placing it in a tin that I’ll be burying under one of the gooseberry bushes. If things don’t work out, I’d like there to be a proper record of what happened…

Strangely, the root cause of the fatality can be traced back to the fact that, back in the 1950s, there were two Rodger Ackroyds in Chapel Street Primary School. There was me, generally known as ‘Rodge.’ And there was him, generally known as ‘Big Ackie,’ a nasty piece of work, even when he was an eight year-old. Ackroyd isn’t an uncommon a name in the town – I remember another Rodger Ackroyd used to be the Clydesdale Bank manager in Sadlergate. But the teachers used to make lame, irritating jokes about us, and I expect that’s why Big Ackie took a particular dislike to me. All kids hate being singled (doubled in this case) out for attention, and Ackie mysteriously decided it was all my fault.