The Girlfriend Game, stories by Nick Antosca

Word Riot Inc.: Kicking Small Press Into High Gear
Short Stories

Women of Ernesto by Molly Bridgeforth

We have surnames for first names—ripped from the headstones of old family plots—all of them devoid of sex. We own sixteen pairs of heels: red, black, peach, puce—that hang in the armoire, colorful spikes that reoccur like a dream. We feel something like empathy for the broken ones. For breakfast we have Pop Tarts and leftover five-to-ten year plans that life coaches formulated our parents hired way back. Ask any of us, our parents are morons.

We live in the most coveted spot on campus: the first in a row of bungalows at the top of a wooded hill.

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Short Stories

Birthday Cake by Rayne Gasper

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Jimmy finds me in the kitchen and squeezes my waist as he passes me by for the refrigerator. He’s heavy with the smell of gasoline and menthol cigarettes. We’re in the middle of Indian summer and the smell hangs in the heat, wrenching my stomach. Rolling a cold beer against his forehead, he saunters past me, trying to slip a hand up my shorts. I swat him away so he cracks open the sweating can and drops into a chair.     “Did you get the cake?” I ask.     All Jimmy had to do was pick up the cake for Edie’s birthday.

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Short Stories

Heimlich by MC Moore

An ugliness blossoms in Nina’s husband when their daughter is born. Though not confined to the bedroom, it’s at its most unpleasant there. Wordless instruction—would he hurt her if she didn’t submit to his rhythms? Would he hit her? Excitement slides toward fear.      Post-coitus, she tries, “Do you think you might be jealous of Elsie?” Her words grateful of the dark.      “That’s ridiculous. Why would I be jealous of a baby?”      As if he’s asking, what equations does she know?      They met when he was working on his Ph.D. in astrophysics. Nina was a senior, flunking

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Short Stories

Fat Brother by Portland Riley

Tonight I’m driving home and the orange moon looms low and large over the first billboard. Morgan Weber smiles with ultrawhite dentistry, trying to sell me a house I’ll never want to own.

Two more Morgans to go before I pull into the driveway of the only house I’ve ever lived in. Out back on the deck my dad and I will avoid eye contact, stare into half-husks of new houses, drink a six pack and eat a pizza. He’ll talk about Michael, the unstable fat son, until we’re tired enough to sleep.

Tomorrow night I’ll go to a bar,

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Short Stories

Red Alert by Thomas Kearnes

Lonnie, holding a plastic sack from the drug store, swaggered through the front door. I knew he was too wrapped up in making a grand entrance to notice how I admired all the effort he put into that grand entrance. Now it was time to share his attentions with her.      “What you got in the bag, baby?” my big sister asked. Everyone called her Roz but our mother. To her, she was forever Rosalind. Mom insisted she got the name from Shakespeare, but I think it was really “The Young and the Restless.”      “Lonnie’s gonna dye his hair,”

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Short Stories

The Breakfast Table by Travis Vick

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Has four legs, like an animal, or any other table, most of them; this breakfast table. It has an oak top, lacquered lightly by the hand of a stranger, and stands in the corner of the kitchen, pressed against a window, with two chairs tucked on opposite sides. In the summer, a vase of lilacs sits in the center. In autumn, a bowl of pinecones. Outside the window, the view from the breakfast table: their lawn in any season; a shelterbelt of pines; their black lab, lying in tufts of overgrown buffalo grass, chews on its chain; slabs of bright

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Short Stories

Picking Up A Burrito In A Walmart Parking Lot by Nathan Scott McNamara


Listen to a reading of “Picking Up A Burrito In A Walmart Parking Lot” by Nathan Scott McNamara.

We had candles but no flashlights, so I drove down South Hill to the Walmart on Route 96.

This was in July, when there were the flashflood warnings and water was running all over the roads. It was about nine o’clock, right before it got really bad.

My wife Lynne and I had spent the evening preparing the house. We moved boxes out of the basement. Lynne filled the bathtub. I cleared the storm drain.

We hadn’t eaten dinner

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Short Stories

Specters by Mariah Robbins

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It was a bad time to be in Texas, but it was a bad time to be anywhere, and it was worse to be me, any time, any place. For a while I hired myself out as a ranch-hand, learning what I needed to know as I went along, but I kept getting let go, and let go again. By early 1922 I found myself on a meager little farm just outside a town called Decatur. Decatur and the farms surrounding it were nearly eaten up by the Cherokee reservation that stretched for hundreds of miles in all directions; it

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Short Stories

The White Wings of Moths by Tessa Mellas

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Bea lies in her daughter’s bed, in the narrow rut of the mattress, where the small hips of a stomach-sleeping child wore grooves between the springs. It is an upper–bunk bed. As a child, her daughter liked being scrunched tight to the ceiling, boxed in by pillows, an old drapery-like comforter pinning her down. Bea is giving this method of sleep a try.       Menopause has made sleep a difficult thing, a hidden room in a hidden house in a hidden town. She is in her sixth year of symptoms and has come upon a bad time. Her body burns

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Short Stories

Juárez by Caitlin Corrigan


My stalker is experiencing cold feet. I don’t know what happened, only that one day he was my stalker and the next he stopped calling. It’s been three days, and now he’s just acting like a regular guy.       “Hey you,” I say to the beep, “where’d you run off to?” I’m no detective, but I got his number from an Internet service. It used to say “blocked” when he first called, and now it displays his number. He’s calling from El Paso, Texas. “You’re being foolish,” I tell him. “Call me and we’ll work it out.”       My stalker

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