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minding the shop. by Phil Shils / two more by Phil Shils

are your in-laws who own the store being overwhelmed by the little monkeys that come down from the trees and steal the nuts from the packages? if only they had a daughter like our jennifer who is able to distract them and plays with them like they’re her brothers. such a light touch
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Chapter II by Nathan Roberts

“It’s making me cringe, so it’s making me think of other things that make me cringe and that’s just making me feel really, really awkward,” Daniel had leant toward and spoke over the repulsively beige music directly into Billy’s ear. “I get that sometimes,” Billy said.

Daniel turned back to the stage, peering from their seat through the legs of the mobilised crowd. A projector had the words CHAPTER II emblazoned across the raised platform, malevolently manipulated by the looming figure that stood at the microphone. A live performance dynamically staged and divided into acts. Hilarious on one level but also empathetically embarrassing, causing his thoughts to once more drift into an ether of self-conscious memories.

A Dolphin Scene by Ali Znaidi

A little dolphin
in the canvas.

No more tears
to shed, although
the air is redolent
w/ tear gas.

The dolphin’s back
is a shield.
— An impenetrable
canopy of purest sea.

I imagined flying through the cosmos, seeing the souls of the billions of people that had lived before me, each one lighting up the darkness of space with their love and sadness, their struggles and transcendence. Alone, they were just little fireflies being tossed about by silent winds. Together though, they formed a massive, buzzing, molten sun hurtling through the far reaches of space. And I was right in middle of it all, every one of them pouring over me like static on a television screen, hissing, whirring, until I could hear nothing else. by Scott Niekum


The preceding is excerpted from a short story entitled Boots.