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David Wanczyk

Shine on Tu Loco Diamente

The only copy of the album they had in stock was gold-plated, the collector's edition. It was 32 dollars. I was 16 and mostly cashless. Those protracted riffs and synthesizer solos were about to be my one and only asset. I held that copy of Wish You Were Here in my hands for ten minutes, wondering what I should do.

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S. C. Johnston

Bodies Turn Cold

Tom washed dishes where I worked while he was on work-release from the Ottumwa Residential Facility after serving 7 out of a 10 year sentence for manslaughter. Allegedly involuntary. That’s mean. It was completely involuntary, but that is beside the point.

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James Claffey

Where’s me dinner woman?

  3 Limestone. Asphalt. Bitumen. Stones in the road, a telephone pole, silver paint flecks falling away, crude hearts scratched into the metal, fleeting encounters in teenage life are immortalized for the lifecycle of the metal cylinder outside our house. Mam at the door. “Your tea’s ready, come on in, now.” Sound travels over water. Mam’s voice travels over the tarmacadam ribbon, across the road and up the lane into Hollie’s Plant Hire company. Dumpster trucks with slabs of ice, 5′ x 4′ floes, turn fingers blue, shatter on oil-soaked ground. Perimeter wall is lined with barbed wire, three strands wide, the ...

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James Claffey

Where’s me dinner woman?

  2 Birdseye fish fingers, creamed potatoes, Heinz beans, and maybe, just maybe, a slice of buttered toast. All washed down with hot tea, a blessing on you for taking care of your children, missus. Knock once for yes, twice for no. A low card table with a green felt inlay, deck of dog-eared cards, the suits faded and fingered to nothingness. There was a house up the lane from where we lived, three-story, with a sprawling back garden that seemed to go on forever. It could have been the Garden of Eden, or Gethsemane, but it was the garden of criminal intent ...

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James Claffey

Where’s me dinner woman?

You shared a house in Harrow and Wealdstone with Frank, Mickey, Ken, and Elaine. The place was a cuckoo’s nest of oddities. Mickey, Elaine, and Ken were all from the same small town in Northern Ireland, a town containing a large mental institution it was rumored the entire population had at one time been in. You heard Ken’s maniacal laughter on the tube to Covent Garden one night, his hoots more like a howler monkey than human being.

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D. James Quinn

On Baptism

I am eight. I believe in dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs. Dinosaurs, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or extraterrestrials, are huge bulging fantastic green creatures that can squash buildings, eat whole villages, and make a lot of noise. Dinosaurs are cool. Dinosaurs are so cool that I have to know everything there is to know about dinosaurs— all the different kinds, whether they are bipeds or quadrupeds, whether they are herbivores or carnivores, whether or not they had feathers, which ones fly, which geological timescale they come from and especially, when all these values are added up and considered, which dinosaur ...

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Johnny Damm

Editor’s Corner: Stalking History on the Hank Williams Death Ride

In a quiet residential neighborhood of a small Alabama town, Georgiana, a white-paneled house bears a banner proclaiming itself, “Hank Williams Sr. Boyhood Home & Museum.” Inside, a back bedroom wall is devoted to photocopied newspaper clippings concerning the country singer’s death and funeral, as well as a crude, hand-drawn map showing the route of his last ride. This cross country road trip also features prominently in another room, one devoted to a large, handmade quilt entitled, “The Story of Hiram Hank Williams.” Towards the bottom of the quilt, a small panel offers a crudely stitched image of a blue ...

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