“Younger” By Alyssa N. Vaughn
"A Town with No Name" by Steve Carr
Ten years later, at our youngest granddaughter’s high school graduation, my husband had a heart attack and died again. The kids and my sister complimented me on how well I was managing to keep it together, how composed I seemed.
I hadn’t forgotten the last time, and although my heart broke, I woke up hesitantly every morning. Discovering that I was alone brought on a strange mixture of relief and renewed mourning.
"Limerence" by Don O. Noel Jr.
The bartender nodded and twisted one end of his handlebar mustache between his thumb and index finger. He put the glass down on the bar and poured whiskey into it. “What brings you to town?” he said.
Lark gulped down the whiskey and set the empty glass on the table. “Just passing through.”
"The Perfect Cup of Coffee" by Linda Lenhoff
They proved a good team, tackling the project with a will, successful enough that management wanted them to keep at it. They gladly did so, meeting often over lunch, where they could linger because on company business. Their desks were near enough to leave each other notes. They talked about the arts, and discovered shared tastes in books, theater, music.
Somewhere he learned a phrase that described such collaboration: They were office spouses.
"Be Kind" by Alexis Cram
It took weeks, no, months, into this relationship before Dave even let me touch the coffee maker, the grinder, all his fancy equipment. Dave’s coffee maker has more buttons on it than anything I’ve ever seen. Two timers, two pots. It’s top of the line. And the grinder is fast: seven point three seconds. Dave times it once a week.
But finally, one Saturday, Dave spent the whole afternoon showing me how to use everything properly—how to measure, how to grind it (not too fine), how to time it. We went over it all slowly, methodically. I really felt close to Dave that day.
"Love in the Wings" by Rebecca Hope
Finn sighed and set down his luggage. “Alright Uncle. I’m here. What do you want to show me?”
His uncle was always researching something and ALWAYS showed it to Finn when he thought he was onto a breakthrough. Of course he was always researching things like the key to immortality, proof of the afterlife, ancient “cursed” relics, and other equally ridiculous things. But those were their moments, and Finn wouldn’t trade them for anything.
"X" by Melanie Haney
When Kate started dating a guy she’d met on Love-in-the-Wings, I was as thrilled as she was. The two lovebirds made a perfect couple—they were birds of a feather, just as the site advertised. Before long, she was urging me to join so I, too, could find true love at last.
“I’ll register tonight—after the kids are in bed.”
"Good Boy" by Jamie Fouty
X-marks the spot.
It was a game his dad had taught him when he was only three and he wanted him out of his hair for a few minutes to watch a race and drink a beer. You see, son, he’d said, X-marks the spot, like a treasure hunt. See, you take your two fingers, just like that and they make an X, you see? Now it’s your treasure finder, like pirates. So why don’t you go and see if you can’t find us somethin’ nice and let me know.
"The Change" by Deb Jannerson
I wake you up in the mornings with kisses and jumping on you, even though you get upset sometimes, I continue to do it because loved ones should always start the day off with excitement and joy. You are lucky, others don’t have the fortune to start everyday with expressions of happiness and opening their eyes to the blur of pure adoration. I am your fuzzy alarm clock, because I am a good boy.
"Shelena, whose hair falls in tight, black curls" by Matt Miller
“No,” I protested, then more loudly, “no! That’s not what I want anymore.”
It laughed. The mystical fire laughed at me! I can’t wait to tell Kelsey about this dream, I thought. Some part of me already knew the dreadful truth, but hope dies hard.
"The School Therapist" by Sheila Martin
I wish I was different. I picture a different me sitting beside her this evening, someone who can grow a beard that doesn’t look like patchy tufts of pubic hair; someone who can wear slim-fit jeans without his stomach pressing over his belt, someone who looks good in a t-shirt. I envy this me, as he casts a sexy yet mysterious air around the table like Antonio Bandaras in 1998’s classic The Mask of Zoro, or that guy from the Dos Equis beer commercials. He doesn’t have to ask for her name.
"The Drummonds" by Joyce Stein
Finally the therapist looked up.
“I hate it,” she said, “all the paperwork. So what can I help you with?”
“Well, Dr. …”
“Just call me Ginny. I’m an intern from City College. We get to practice on students before we treat people with real problems.”
“But I have a real problem.”
“Oops. Just a second.” She wrote something in her notebook. “Oh, and do you mind if I record this?” She touched a tape deck already spinning on her desk. “I need it for a grade.”
"Two Sisters" by J. Peters
The couple grew up on the same block and met in grade school. Frankly, they could not stand each other. It wasn’t until Bertha accidently backed over Angus while attempting to sneak out with her family’s car that they really got to know each other. As punishment for borrowing the vehicle without permission, driving without a license and being out past curfew, Bertha was assigned to care for Angus until he was out of his full leg cast. Two weeks into the recovery, Angus had made Bertha cry multiple times, and he was not sorry one little bit. Thanks to her, his senior year on the football team was over. Once he got over his anger and she got over her humiliation, things really started to happen.
"To Know Again Why it is You Have Come" by Keren Heenan
Glorious heat seeped into my bones; they were each side of me, pressed close, their breath on my cheeks and legs over mine. Clasped hands lay on my belly and fingers trailed lightly through my hair. Energy radiated through me.
I tried to speak, but Jen placed a long, sleek finger on my lips while whispering escaped hers. “You still need rest. You look feverish.”
"Omael" by Joyce Stein
You know you have to get up tomorrow and do it all over again and you don’t think you can with your feet feeling like every bone is broken and you wonder if you might need a hip replacement too when you get back home but you get up off the bed and stand and moan and put one foot after the other and think of the wine the paella your friends waiting for you or perhaps they’re not waiting at all but dragging their aching bodies around in their rooms thinking of tomorrow
"The Zen of Anima" by C. Angelo Caci
On this particular day, she noticed a man waving at her in the water, a distance from shore. She squinted. She hoped he didn’t need help because she was not the one. He waved again and smiled. Drowning men don’t generally smile. She waved, turned her back to him and laid down on her stomach.
"Gloria's Verdict" by Kate Huffman
I was only at Paolo’s restaurant the one time. I never returned. After all, I’m not a total glutton for punishment. I’m not referencing the cuisine either. Patience, dear reader, as you’ll soon see what I mean. I can remember to this day even, and with such astute clarity, the aura of red lust on green envy capriccio.
"Paper Mache Man" by Steve Carr
She loves this game, bibliomancy. It’s supposed to be played with a Bible, but she plays it with classics. She checks the book – Losing Battles by Eudora Welty. She always gets good answers from this one. She even calls the book “Gloria” because the character Gloria features so heavily in its answer.
Will it be within the next six months? She flips the pages and shoves in her finger for the answer, but then, he’s there, standing in the doorway. His shoulders droop.
"What Makes Us Human" by Victoria Sylvander
“Hey, Malcolm,” Harry said. “I've got a bundle of old newspapers.” Harry placed the newspapers that were tied together with twine onto the counter.
“What do I owe you, Harry?” Malcolm said.
“Five bucks should do it,” Harry said. “I haven't asked before, but I'm curious. What do you do with all the old newspapers and magazines?”
Malcolm took a five dollar bill out of his wallet. “I make things,” he said.
"Blue Crush" by Sheila Rosart
“Mom? Dad? I have to tell you something.”
“What’s wrong, honey? Did you and Yuki have a fight?”
“No, it…well…I’ll just spit it out. I wanted to tell you that I’m asexual.”
“Oh, honey…that can’t be true.”
“What the hell does that even mean, asexual? You have a sex; you’re a girl.”
Blue guy sidles in close to me and initiates a message. I switch on Accept and Translate.
“You alright? No distress?” is what he sends. That was sweet, so I reply.
“Actually, lost an earring down my suit; it was new. Stupid.”
“Sorry. Can I help?”
Ok, that was creepy. “Unlikely, but thanks,” I send back.