"The Mission" by Karen E. Williams
"Second Chance" by Paulene Turner
To me, a good man was like an endangered species. Hard to find, and there was a penalty for their capture. I looked into the connecting family room and spied a picture of Brian on her coffee table.
“Three years is a long time to be dating with no ring, if you ask me,” I leaned in, taking her hands in mine.
"An Indeterminate Hour" by Joseph Hernandez
I was late for a meeting. It was a big deal with a Japanese company – they don’t like you being late. Then, I got this text message. I looked down just for a second. She must have stepped onto the crossing just then.. Oh, God, can you believe that – late for a meeting? How fucking stupid. When that cop comes back, I’m turning myself in. I don’t care what happens to me.
"The Measure of Love" by J. Ray Paradiso
She never told him about these dreams. She knew he would laugh at her. And anyway, these were never direct forecasts of what was to come. The dreams never involved him. She was always alone in them.
"The Rescue" by Steve Carr
I love when we snuggle.
So do I. You’re my one and only!
After we snuggle, will you comb my hair?
"My Mother's Rosary" by Joanne DeMieri Kennedy
When the couples lay silent and still, allowing their bodies to be fried by the sun and heat, Chester ate bean sprout and tuna sandwiches and drank ice cold bottled water. He watched the woman who swam alone as she gently glided back and forth across the choppy water.
"Wild Horses" by Valerie D. West
I pictured the shimmering beads, my mother’s rosary, lying at the bottom of the airplane’s bin. Wrapped in half eaten sandwiches, pretzel wrappers, bound for some dumpsite on the outskirts of Vienna.
"Todd and the Big Easy" by Pilar Aurelio Munoz
Alicia stood in front of the mirror, putting a gold chain around her bare neck. Her strapless violet dress revealed cleavage, and her dark areola showed faintly. She struggled with the clasp, so of course I helped. I stood behind her, and we were still the same height. I loved Alicia.
“Younger” By Alyssa N. Vaughn
When he listened, he listened intensely. I finished the recapitulation with my lifelong excitement to come to New Orleans. I told him I was a writer and that New Orleans had captivated me: the energy of it, the utter happiness of its residents, the musical nature of it all.
"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.”
"Be Kind" by Alexis Cram
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.
"Good Boy" by Jamie Fouty
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.
"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
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.