Kleinhardt’s Women

Theodore Wheeler He noticed how she watched him circle the plaza fountain. Her head tilted slightly skyward, as if she wanted him to think that she didn’t notice him at all. But he was aware of her glances. She took a drink when she looked. She peeked past the curve of her soda bottle. He… More

Extractions

John McCaffrey His name was Crawford Norris. We’d spent more than an hour talking and drinking before he introduced himself. Crawford was tall and husky and looked to be on the long end of seventy. He finished the story he was telling me with a salesman’s smile, his lips parting to reveal a neat row… More

Stara Zagora

Daniel Torday He slapped her too hard on her ass and they stopped for an awkward moment. Andrew felt uncontrollably angry. Andrew had splurged on a room in the quaint medieval city of Sighisora. After he and Hilary fumbled out of their clothes and onto the paper-thin sheets of the bed in their room, she… More

No Names

Alexander V. Bach The rules they had talked about for a while included that he be in the same room, that they both make the choice and that they would have no contact again with the man selected, which helped with the last rule–no names; he didn’t want any way for them to know each… More

Vineyard

Michelle Bailat-Jones This is the season they use fireworks to scare the starlings from the vines. The season of hot afternoons and crisp evenings, when her lower back will stiffen with chilled sweat as the sun disappears from the rows of grapes to be harvested. She lives with the men, but apart, separated by a… More

Hotel Coyote

Simone Martel Driving into Coyote, it’s a straight shot between fields of dusty tomato plants, but the gold tower she’s aiming for is still miles away and the rattling pickup won’t go any faster. “So forget your scheme. Turn the truck around, come back and do some real work.” She hears her dad jeering, sees… More

On the Common

Dan Forward The fading fall made the city came into a more vivid focus. The cold breath of oncoming winter lent outlines to the environment, a sharpness indiscernible in warm months. Every brick in every façade could be counted with ease, every branch of every tree–now bereft of the motley foliage indicative of the onset… More

Monitoring the Situation Closely

Kris Saknussemm There’s something very important to be said for investigating problems as completely as possible before you reach any conclusions. I was reminded of this the other day when an old friend e-mailed in from his latest post in Latvia. Clive was born to be a hotelier—actually born in a hotel, trained in London… More

Taylor

Ryan Millbern Taylor sat in the corner of the bar at the Holiday Inn in Galvin, talking to a man who called himself Sydney. Her pockmarked legs were crossed, her top foot bouncing to the beat of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” A strobe light pulsed in one corner and shot up into a rotating… More