Rainy Night

By Robert Lackey

The litter-clogged drains overflowed onto the sidewalks. My left shoe let in the rain, soaking the shredded newspaper under my foot. I usually put my good sock on that foot when it’s wet out, but last night was mild. I still had my thin sock with the big-ass hole on my left foot.

Shit. Continue reading

The Captive

By Tamara Linden

There’s food. They throw a few crusts of stale bread into the cage and laugh as we fight over them. A dirty, stubbled knee smashes into my face as I reach into the melee with one hand and shove aside a frail old woman with the other. My hand closes spasmodically around a small piece but, as I bring the prize to my lips, another girl tries to snatch it from me.  I jerk away and bite her grasping fingers, lips pulled back from my teeth. She glares at me and rubs her hand, like I’ve done something rude, like she has every right to my food. I glare back and chew as slowly as possible, both to make it last and to rub it in the thief’s face. I hope they sell her soon. She’s been a steadily growing pain in my ass for weeks now. Continue reading

Norbert’s Memoir

By Harvey Steinberg

There was just enough space in the bank’s private lock-box room for Norbert to write his memoirs.

He finished a paragraph with: ‘I was an innocent child.’

Norbert mindlessly flipped open his lock-box Number 426.  He couldn’t resist thumbing through its documents. His bonds, his stocks. Mortgage papers, many papers. Papers, papers, a cascade that displayed what he had figured out, but not the boyhood that hadn’t taken figuring out.

Leaving quickly, he muttered, “Not again. Memoirs are too much for me,” his back in pain, and the metal box filled with his steadily maturing instruments felt heavier than ever.

Harvey’s widely eclectic experience — vocational, civic, personal — includes organization management, politics, writing, visual arts, teaching, physical tasks. At the heart of them all lie his never-still, fertile imagination and ethical commitment. Harvey is a native of New York City and in the latter half of his life resides in New Jersey.


By Eileen Kimbrough

There she is. A silver Volkswagen makes a left turn. Yeah, one of those small cars that looks like it’s going the wrong way. I strain to see the driver. It isn’t her. I know she has a Volkswagen. I saw her drive away in it once, before I learned what happened.

At that time, she couldn’t drive. Twenty nine, and never learned. I drove her to job interviews, helped her shop for interview clothes, waited in my hot car until interviews were over. I regret that. Continue reading


By Joseph S. Pete

Gary had changed a lot since Charlie grew up there.

As he cruised down Broadway, he saw a boarded-up storefront, a check-cashing place, another boarded-up storefront, a package liquor store where a small line had queued behind the bulletproof glass, a boarded-up movie palace from the 1920s, a block-wide newsroom that was now home to a small non-profit. There was a mostly empty mall, a boarded-up chop-suey restaurant and a White Castle where the cashiers were ensconced behind bulletproof glass. Continue reading

The Birthday Card

By Elias Keller

For the first time ever she recieved a birthday card from her grandparents. Along with the canned material, the handwritten message in shaky script said: “Jeanine: We love you, sweetheart. Mom-Mom and Grandfather.”

But the card was not really from her grandparents. Jeanine’s grandfather had been dead for a decade, and since then her grandmother had never given her a single gift or card. “A waste of money,” she’d croaked. “And a birthday isn’t anything special. Everyone has one.” The only thing her grandmother gave her was advice to marry rich. Continue reading

Last Stop

By Peter Borger

Kira took the 6:45 out of the city, a later train than normal, but these nights she was in no rush to get home and make dinner. She stared out the window and watched the cities turn from day to lights while hearing the conductor call out the stations. She knew these cities, had been to every one of them at one time or another, even lived in a few of them. Tonight, however, she just watched them go by one by one, trying to remember something significant about each one: Oak Park, known for Robinson’s Ribs, Pop’s Drive In in Hillside, Hamburger Heaven in Elmhurst, Barone’s Pizza in Glen Ellyn. She and Jack had frequented these places for over 40 years and knew the owners, the waiters, and car hops by name. Most of them knew the two of them, but it wasn’t the two of them any longer. In fact it had been almost a year. Was that even possible? What was the day? Yesterday it seemed. Being alone was the worst part. Of course, the children were gone, but even with just the two of them they were never alone. Not like this, never like this. A tear rolled down her left cheek, but she didn’t move. Wheaton, the Hole in the Wall Popcorn Shop. Continue reading