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Red Wine and Pizza
by Christy Effinger

She can't cook. Some friends stop by the house, so Jess puts a frozen pizza in the oven. Give me time, she says, I'm new to this marriage thing. Her husband laughs and pours her a glass of red wine. They are always laughing, it seems.
    The other couple has been married five years. They have a child who is a genius, a juvenile Jackson Pollock with glitter glue and finger paint. The child throws his toy truck around the kitchen. The father talks about his new lawn mower. The mother has brought a loaf of Amish friendship bread and a Ziploc baggie of the starter. Follow these steps for ten days, the mother says, handing Jess a sheet of instructions.
    Jess reads over the paper. She's wearing a glittery pink tank top and denim shorts. She's barefoot and tan. When she leans across the counter to reach for the wine bottle, her cleavage shows. It's nice cleavage.
    Her husband wishes they were alone. Wine always puts her in the mood. Jess pulls the pizza out of the oven. It's a little burned on the bottom, but oh well. She's thinking to herself there's no way she'll keep the yeast alive in that bread starter. She's going to forget to massage the bag or add the ingredients.
    The mother pities Jess's husband. His wife can't even make frozen pizza. There's no way she's going to make Amish friendship bread. She'll kill the starter, no doubt about it. The mother makes a mental note to ask Jess about the bread in two weeks. She's curious to see if Jess will lie.
    The child thinks he wants to run his truck across the pizza. The father wonders what Jess is like in bed.



About the author:
Christy's work has appeared in
Southern Indiana Review, elimae, Dark Sky Magazine, Six Sentences, Greensilk Journal, Word Catalyst, and All Things Girl. She has a piece forthcoming in Online Writing: The Best of the First Ten Years, an anthology by Snowvigate Press. Her website is www.christyeffinger.com.



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Midnight Picnic
a novel by
Nick Antosca

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