by Yurina Yoshikawa
Clara lies down horizontally inside what looks like a science fiction sleep capsule, wearing nothing but a thin paper gown. She stares up at the white plastic ceiling, though it’s so close to her face that maybe it’s less of a ceiling, more like a lid to a coff—
“Ms. Hoshino? We’re about to start,” the technician says into his mic. “Try not to move.”
by Alicia Oltuski
We were watching House Brothers or House Hunters in Margaret Thatcher’s parents’ living room—none of us were cool enough to go on real spring break or nice enough to go on Alternative Spring Break (we called her Margaret Thatcher because her name was Margaret and someone, maybe a teacher, had said Margaret Thatcher in class once and my takeaway from ninth grade was that a nickname was like a grab)— and I was pretty bored listening to a couple about to drop their first baby complaining about dirty carpets or something. I was always bored watching house shows—I’m sure Dom was, too—but we were at an age when it felt, I don’t know, hot to do something you didn’t want to do for a girl. I was in the kitchen taking a break. Dom kept saying, “When’s your mom getting home?” and Margaret Thatcher was about to catch on that he was trying to steal another one of her fountain pens from the den. It was my opinion that if he was going to take something, it should be money, but Dom said, did I see twenty hundreds hanging out on their table? And he was right.
by Sylvia Math
I could tell he thought I was younger than I was, and so when he got that adorable predatory look men get, when he started to strategize, I accepted it as a challenge. I was going to draw it out, take him on a wild ride called “I’m Not An Ingenue.” But I made such a good honey- tractioned trap that I got stuck in it too.
by Jon Fotch
We hiked up the hill. Bailey was ahead, looking for what she called arrow points.
“Think of it like destiny,” Rebecca said.
She huffed next to me the whole way up. Too close. Her breath a mix of old pennies and sourdough. I watched Bailey disappear up the trail. Todd right behind her. Like a puppy. Or a predator.
“She could do better,” I said.
“Oh yeah? Like you?”
I watched my feet.
My Parents’ Friends
by Jacob Margolies
When I remember my parents, I often end up thinking about their friends.
My father, the son of Jewish immigrants, grew up in Boston. After serving in the army in World War II and four years of college on the GI Bill, he ended up in New York in the 1950s. He taught at different public schools and worked at a small advertising firm, while going to night school at NYU.
Final Boss America
by Nicholas Grider
Like regular America, Final Boss America is over-designed and flatly lit and depends heavily on worldbuilding and lore at the expense of character and story, but everyone who lives in Final Boss America is a final boss, even the NPCs, who stare blankly and emit tough love and quest offers and toxic positivity from the oversaturated backdrops of our shared sad adventure world.
Indiscretions of the Living
by Bradley Spinelli
After my wife died I started sleeping with a friend whose husband had died barely a year before. We had all been close, the two wives closest of all, and I tried to keep it from my friends and of course it became an instant scandal when I couldn’t.
by Jeff Gabel
After Mavis Gallant’s “In Transit”
Perched on a hillside overlooking Vevey, there is a pension the size of a small chateau. The translated version of their website boasts of the most romantic view of Lake Geneva, nestled above Switzerland’s quaintest town. On a late September evening, the view from the lounge offers something like this. The rooftops of town are like a quilt, the color of burnt orange and cider. A cathedral tower rises high above, its bell ringing in the hour. Across the lake, the French Alps are capped in snow after an early frost. To the west, a setting sun marries the horizon line, cutting the pension’s lounge into pools of hard yellow light and long dark shadows.