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Act 1 of That Football Story, or: The Tragedy of Mack Bethlehem by JD Mitchell

A STORM ROSE OVER the salt flats and with it came a beaten up pick-up truck that had survived the fire. It rattled into the town with more roar than it should have bothered and stopped with a thunk. Downtown. A one hundred meter spike rose high in the sky. Around it, wooden trestles, rotten and falling apart.
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Kierkegaard Responds to the Classifieds by Sam Spurlock

“It is what it is”—I hated that phrase, to me it meant nothing. But to her those words had magical powers of explanation, they were a shorthand philosophy. A way to make sense of the world, shrink it to something that might be grasped and held onto with all of the strength and stamina she possessed.

Landfill by Ian van Dijk

Moscato is a cerebral and ductile programming language. C! is dramatic and ceramic. I know both deeply but not readily anymore because I was fired from Panamerican Softworks two years ago and I am a shoplifter now. Now I am carbon and so was I there, but the kind they found indelible only on paper and they went paperless and left me dulled of the bite of a good actor in the kind of extended tragedy left between overheating computer 49ers who would all freeze to death after less than a winter anyway. The computers would go to the same landfill as my paper, just in a different bin the bin-fillers made ready for a new carbon the old darkstars had started to ash in their tray, like, volcanically, to these bin-filler guys profitably, guys like I once worked with smashing tube T.V.'s (this was in the '00s, my '10s) and some days smoking salvia for as long as it lasted, then K2 for the span of that fad, then infused tobaccos for the crest of their half-life on Earth, and finally a seemingly never-settling harvest parade of always unsettling designer flowers (this was for the last three months I worked there, at that point smashing flatscreens in the same vein as tubes).

Chess Mansion by Curi Roseberry

If you ask me how I ended up tied to this Louis XIV chair in the dwelling of one Dr. Absalom Musgrave, if you ask whether or not I entered his dark hilltop mansion of my own free will, or maybe if you ask if I'd ever heard of such a person before, I don't have a proper answer for you.

I have no idea how I became tied to this chair, and Dr. Musgrave isn't exactly a running faucet of information either. He rides around behind me in one of those remote control wheelchairs... okay, I know it isn't actually remote controlled, that gives the impression that someone besides himself is controlling his wheelchair from some remote location, and that simply isn't true. What is true, though, is the contraption makes an insufferable whirring noise and he maneuvers it around with a joystick. This is no advanced joystick, either. It reminds me of early arcade games, and there is certainly an abundance of what gamers might refer to as ‘poor response.’

Dear Sweet Tooth, Let Me Fill You In by John Gorman

I’m thirty-seven years old and I love pop tarts. It’s not the pop tart part I’m embarrassed about, but some of the goopy lengths I’ve gone to eat them. When I get a craving, which is way too often, gang way. Take this past Tuesday as an example. I was all geared up to do my life-coaching seminar at the Ramada Inn, and from like outta nowhere I got this Strawberry jelly-filling urge that wouldn’t quit. I kept sniffing my Strawberry-scented air freshener, I almost licked the damn thing.

What was I going to do?—I nearly hit the divider. I did the only sensible thing I could think of, I took a detour off I-95 and stopped at the Filler-Upper. Got my fix, but I was late to the seminar and they slapped me with a demerit.