Photography by Leeta Harding

Violet and Alice
By Mary Grimm

Violet spit in my chocolate milk and now she was drinking it. 

“I hope you enjoy that,” I said, “because you’re about a minute away from crunch time.” I made the sign for crunch time, which was pounding on the table twice.

She drank another long sip, smacking her lips. I looked around to see if anyone was a witness to my misery and outrage, but our mother had disappeared.

Sunrise at the Corporation
By Daniel Johnson

He saw her moving in a shadowy corner, gaunt, sexy, vaguely superstitious. He got the feeling that she would read his star sign and fuck the life out of him. Her hair, dyed a glinting auburn, fell from a high ponytail that looked unkempt yet designed. He saw her fake tan as vaguely Mediterranean. There was something of the hill country about her, as if the city’s vaulted northside held the mystical kinds of things that only misty highlands do.

By Marcel Jolley

Of course there is no contingency plan for a search party. Becky is wary even to use that term. Hansen is not missing. They simply do not know where he is.

By Sylvan Lebrun

We started hanging from buildings. Like the Bulgarian guy in those videos online, suspended by his fingertips some thirteen stories up, feet swinging in the air, veins protruding like spiderwebs down his forearms. He flung himself from fire escapes and almost kissed the pavement. Climbed up a church spire with a GoPro camera strapped to his head.

Straight People Don’t Understand
By Erik Pardos Olsen

I lowered my hand and looked up. “Straight people don’t get it.” I started pacing. “They don’t! I’m sorry, but you don’t. Straight people — don’t — get it.”

A ripple of giggles. They were following me. They were with me on this trajectory.

Our Greatest Product
By Jason Pangilinan

The Rolling of the Burrito is crucial in forming the sacred bond between customer and creator. Too loose, and it falls apart. Too tight, and you tear it into pieces. And that’s just our reputation! The burrito, too, might get ruined.

Love, Loss, Live
By Sarah Schweitzer

The queue stretched for pages. The emails were from Emmas and Jens and Elizabeths and Annas and Rebeccas and Andreas and Melanies. Ashleys were overrepresented for some reason, as were Roxies. The subject lines for the most part stuck to “Condolences” or “My Deepest Sympathy” followed by the emoji of hands clasped in prayer. 

The Sod
By Brendan Shea

Mr. Mathers hadn’t always been the scoundrel who stalked squirrels. Initially, he just observed their presence, and then progressed to commenting to his wife on their numbers. He had enjoyed their antics before he had a lawn of his own, but soon after buying the house he recognized their power to destroy.

Bug World
By Lizzy Steiner

When the bugs came, I threw everything away.

All of my stuffed animals. Bargain-priced, oversized, you’ll-grow-into-it-eventually clothing from the outlet center. The scuffed-up dress shoes I wore during our twice-yearly visits to church. The flower-print bedspread I’d had since I was ten. Bubblegum pop CDs purchased with babysitting money. Paperback teen books with yellowing pages and cracked spines.

Hospitality Day
By Trevor Wadlow

Your phone chirps just as you close the lid of your lap top. As your evening is free you have decided to take your lap top into downtown Qidong and design your lesson plans in the UBC café: a dark, cavernous, western-style, Taiwanese place near the mall. At this time of day, it is deserted aside from a few students in tracksuits, nibbling at fries or napping on the benches lining the tables. Kitsch piano tinkles on the air. Outside, well-padded people heave against the cold like Michelin men.