The Girlfriend Game, stories by Nick Antosca

Word Riot Inc.: Kicking Small Press Into High Gear
Creative Nonfiction

Fancy Gap by Spencer Fleury


There is a place in Virginia where you can drive south and north at the same time. It’s right where two interstates cross, cutting through swaths of butternut and red cedar like baby’s first X. For about seven miles the two numbers share the same asphalt, and which direction you’re going depends solely on which highway you think you’re on.      If you think about this for a minute, it will make sense. Draw yourself a map if you need help.      This only works because the asphalt isn’t pointing either south or north. It runs east to west, so

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Creative Nonfiction

Scrap by Alex Norcia

Alex Norcia, Head Shot

We were all strippers. Three generations of men. My grandfather opened the scrap yard in the Ironbound in the ‘70s. He had seen his boss shot in the forehead and took over the business as a sort of formality. I never wanted to work there, and after my father took his father-in-law’s money and ran, I had more of an excuse to leave New Jersey. I aspired to be a writer, but I hadn’t done much other than aspire. I left college with no idea of what to do, or where to go, or how to start. I didn’t even

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Creative Nonfiction

Fool by Rick Bailey

Last night, halfway through Jeopardy, I asked my wife if she wanted to suck face. She shook her head in disgust. It’s not our usual nomenclature.      “How about a smooch?”      No.      “A peck?”      “No.”      “Buss?”      “Why do you talk that way?” She pointed at the TV. Alex Trebec was introducing Arthur Chu for the tenth time. Was there anything left to say about Arthur? While the Double Jeopardy categories loaded, I watched her. She saw me, and refused to make eye contact. The truth is, I didn’t want to kiss. I just wanted to

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Creative Nonfiction

Bosoms by Corabel Shofner

I anticipated the arrival of my bosoms with the same excitement I felt for the coming of the Mississippi State Fair. I suspect that all little girls wish to grow up to be pretty, even if they have been raised by academics, which I was not. I was raised in the deep south to believe that pretty and popular were coins of gold.      By all accounts I was due a Rubenesque figure, with luscious curves and bosoms that could only be contained by a custom made brassiere. I looked forward to the day that my buxom mother would take

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Creative Nonfiction

Paper Lanterns by Sunny Bleckinger

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My father lives in the middle of a cemetery. Large trees and civil-war era gravestones in all directions. A two-lane road curves through the grounds and past his front door. “I guess it’s weird,” he says, “but at least you know a McDonald’s is never gonna pop up across the street.”      The first day of our visit we’re all nervous. He repeats vague statements like, “Boy, is it good to see you two,” then laughs to himself and reaches out to touch one of our knees. The last time my sister and I saw him was more than twenty

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Creative Nonfiction

The Slow Book Movement by Art Edwards

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It’s amazing it took this long for me—someone who’s self-published and promoted two novels in the past—to opt back into the self-publishing game. You’d think I were being dragged back. I spent 30 months submitting my third novel Badge to seemingly to every agent, publisher and contest in the country. I’m reminded of Vladimir Nabokov’s anecdote about his inspiration for Lolita where he describes an ape who learns to draw, and his first sketch “showed the bars of the poor creature’s cage.”      The things we call freedom when we mean convenience. That’s the word I think of when I

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Creative Nonfiction

Blood Money by Austin Harrington

At nine in the morning on any Saturday, my neighborhood is quiet. I can hear the traffic from the major intersections but no cars come down my street. All the hookers left the streets at dawn. The cops made their rounds long ago to quiet down the late night partiers. The pit-bull puppy from down the street that’s already mean because his owner thinks it’s tough to have a growling dog at his side, even he is still sleeping. I am left alone to walk the few blocks to the plasma center. The sound of each step echoes in the

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Creative Nonfiction

Remembering Kaukau by Gavin McCall

There’s a sweet spot on a cow’s head, a weak patch of skull in the middle of the forehead at the center of an imaginary X drawn from eye to ear, eye to ear. There, a single bullet will drop the animal, quick and painless. At least, that’s what we were told. My family learned it wasn’t quite that easy, as after two shots from my uncle’s .22 the first steer of our newly-obtained herd to be slaughtered had dropped, but was refusing to die cleanly. We slit his throat and bled him out in the pasture where he’d grown

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Creative Nonfiction

The Damage Done by Melissa DeCarlo

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I remember a black and white photo of my brother. He’s five or six years old, holding up a fish and smiling, his eyes almost closed against the sun. I can’t blame that boy for the man he would become anymore than I can blame that fish for ending up in my grandmother’s skillet. We’re all hungry for something.      It would be easy to blame my parents; I’m sure they blamed themselves. But I don’t, and I don’t think my brother did either. Oh sure, there were probably times when he did, when he remembered the sound of my

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Creative Nonfiction

Notes on the Great Pigeon Race Disaster by Alicia Catt

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I. My neighbor, the hunter, keeps his flock of homing pigeons in a backyard loft. All summer he trains his dogs to point and flush the birds out of hiding—practice for the open season to come. The pigeons are tools, not game, prized for their extraordinary inner compasses: particles of iron in the birds’ beaks align with magnetic north. Navigating via low-frequency soundwaves and scent cues, a pigeon released in a faraway field—even hundreds of miles from anything familiar—will immediately cut a straight path back to his nest. A well-bred pigeon knows instinctively where he belongs—will live and die knowing—will

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