The Bully of Columbus

by Tom Barbash

“You’re gonna get your ass kicked,” the greasy haired bully said. He said it every time I saw him, which was once or twice a week when I was coming back from therapy, or on my way back from school. I was 16 then. “Ass kicked,” he called out once I’d passed him on Columbus Avenue,

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Shelter

by Kate Folk

In the basement of the house in Iowa that Reese and Mark were renting for summer, there was a concrete vault, eight-by-five-feet, presumably built as a storm shelter. Reese stored the house’s Shop-Vac there, along with a box of Carr’s rosemary crackers and a crate of wine shipped from their friends’ vineyard in Sonoma. Beyond

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Community Plot

by Bryan Washington

I’d started tending the ex’s plot. The lettuce and the garlic and the turnips. It wasn’t my idea, the apartment complex had a community garden, and of course I’d seen you out there but we didn’t have shit to say to each other. We met on the stairs after my guy left, and it was another few weeks before we spoke. I’d seen you around, though. Sometimes I’d catch you staring. Our eyes met, and you’d look away. You were an old man, living alone, always in the same greasy cardigan and the same burnt brown shoes, which was everything […]

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Love Story, With Cocaine

by Tom Bissell

ZYZZYVA Fall 2011 Cover

Maarit’s father had given her a dog because he hoped it would provide her with something to do. It was true that Maarit did not have much to do, though she always felt busy, which was, perhaps, a natural consequence of waking up daily at 3:00 p.m. Most of her activities involved spending her father’s

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Wool

by Mark Labowskie

Martin exits I-89 before he needs to and progresses town by town. He keeps pulling over to eyeball a fiery spruce or an outcropping of mica, admire quaint inns with ivy wreathed around their VACANCY signs and crumbling breweries offering hard apple cider tastings. He’s eager to reach Tunbridge, but knows anticipation is the greatest pleasure. He stops to buy a mason jar of corn whiskey from a sweet old man on a porch, thinking how happy he’ll be once he reaches Lola and Dot’s barn. Then, realizing his spirits are at that peak where they’re in danger of toppling […]

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Alabama Funeral

by Kristen Iskandrian

The sitter arrived with a Ziploc bag of brightly colored string. “For friendship bracelets,” she said, one eye veering off. “Yes,” Bette said. The sitter’s eye was particularly lazy today; Bette had never gotten used to it, although she herself, when extra tired, had an eye prone to drifting. Bette was aware that she could

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Chorizo

by Jaime Cortez

The dogs are melting. Lobo is lying on the porch with his pink tongue hanging out. Chiquita is hiding under the car with her ears down. Everybody is hiding from the sun except for me. I’m riding my bicycle, so I can feel some wind when I pedal. It’s not working too good. Past the

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Anyone Can Do It

by Manuel Muñoz

ZYZZYVA Volume 34, #2, Fall 2018

Her immediate concern was money. It was a Friday when the men didn’t come home from the fields and, true, sometimes the men wouldn’t return until late, the headlights of the neighborhood work truck turning the corner, the men drunk and laughing from the bed of the pickup. And, true, other women might have thought

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In the Black, With Jessica

by Christian Kiefer

The sound of a car gearing up the ashen road. Chuck thought at first that it had to be someone from Cal Fire or another crew but then the radio crackled and Bob told him it was a civilian. “Copy,” he said, and then, after releasing the button: “Fuck.” No part of him that was

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‘You Will Never Be Forgotten’ by Mary South: Life in Front of the Screen

by Zack Ravas

Under typical circumstances, it’s likely the literary community would be celebrating the release of Mary South’s first book, You Will Never Be Forgotten (240 pages; FSG Originals), a collection of ten dark and crystalline stories that announces the arrival of a distinct voice in contemporary fiction. But these are not normal circumstances, and it’s difficult for any author to garner attention right now, let alone one making their debut. Yet the mordant wit and biting irony in You Will Never Be Forgotten, and its complex understanding of reality’s often cruel reversals, resonates with launching the book when the world is […]

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Ring Around the Equator, Pockets Full of Acres

by Chia-Chia Lin

Chia-Chia Lin is the author of the novel The Unpassing (FSG). Below is an excerpt from her short story “Ring Around the Equator, Pockets Full of Acres” from the Bay Area Issue, which you can purchase at the link. You can also apply to our Fiction Workshop with Chia-Chia Lin by submitting here. When Delepine first started running, the air shredded her lungs. Like inhaling powdered glass. After a run, she kept right on sweating and her face kept coloring, peaking at its maximum carmine hue when she was doing something embarrassingly low-impact, like sitting at her desk and rattling […]

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Mrs. Sorry

by Gabriela Garcia

The first time I see her, she is buying cold cream. What she wants, she says, is a moisturizer that doesn’t feel heavy, doesn’t sit on her skin like so much weight. I lay out her options: whipped argan oil, cold-pressed and refined; our new micro-beading exfoliating lotion with gentle 7 percent alpha hydroxy; the best-selling hyaluronic acid-plus-B-vitamins gel with all-day-stay technology, patent pending. Her red fingernails tap the counter as she slides a credit card with her other hand. She buys all of them. A few days later I see her across my booth in the shoe department. She […]

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