by Chelsea Catherine

My father has been going on about the mystery bottle of wine on the kitchen counter for five minutes now. He stands cooking, surrounded by the aqua colored walls of the house I grew up in. Traveler’s Palm fronds brush the windows outside. It’s windy and cold for Thanksgiving in the Florida Keys.

“Who brought it?” Dad yells. His voice is slightly rounded, like he’s having an allergic reaction. He’s been deaf since childhood and even though he sometimes wears hearing aids to help him, usually he chooses not to.(More …)

Rules of Engagement

by Jon Chopan

I was pulling guard duty with a guy named Styza who claimed to be a badass Marine—a real haji killer. As far as I could tell he’d never killed anything, was just some Long Island punk who didn’t want to be a yuppie like his parents. I hated the guy. But I’d been paired with him for everything to this point and was trying my best to get along with him, or at least tolerate him.

“This war is boring,” he said.

“Boring is good,” I said.

I believed that, because what sane person wanted that kind of excitement? I’d only joined the Marines because of my father, who himself had been killed during the invasion of Iraq. Now, five years later, I was sitting in the desert thinking about how stupid that was, my following him, like a dog following its master over a cliff.(More …)

Blue Bird, Blue Skies

by Angie Chatman

Her name was Maria and she was beautiful. A woman knows. That primal sense of competition kicks in and you recognize that even if you had just stepped out of the beauty salon with flawless hair and makeup, wearing a designer dress, men would turn their heads and look, not at you, but at Maria. (More …)

Musselshell County Historical Society Fact Book, Appendix G: Others Who Were Here, 1908-1930

by Joe Wilkins

It may surprise you to know that some of the early residents of Musselshell County eventually left our prairie paradise. Their reasons were legion; their counsel most often their own. Many were laboring men of little skill or motivation and thus cursed to blow where the whims of the wind would take them; some were families ill-suited to the demands of these Montana plains or beset by misfortune; and others, though few, were lone women sadly adrift without benefit of father, brother, or husband. (More …)

Sex Coffee

by Desiree Cooper

You walk into the coffeehouse and pick a seat beside the thin woman whose beauty is coiled into tight vines of hair. Never seen her here before, you think as you slide into the bench beside her, careful not to get caught looking in her direction. (More …)