A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
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Short Story

by Larry W. Chavis


“Think Hubby Dear would enjoy this? Let’s find out. Or–let’s talk. I’ll be in touch.”
Shelby let the slip of paper slide from her fingers to fall on the photograph it had accompanied inside a large, manila envelope, the photograph showing her and Marcus Rivers in flagrante delicto.

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by Diana Deverell


Special Agent Dawna Shepherd thumped the Fiat’s rusting roof. “Eleven pounds of TNT, right in here. I click my remote, these folks will move.”
Foreign Service Officer Casey Collins focused on one of the dozen shoppers crowding the pitted sidewalk in front of the shabby Budapest storefront. “I won’t mind losing the redhead.”

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by Gary Hoffman


Jacob was sweating and his stomach felt nauseated, but his Uncle Leo always made him nervous at these meetings. He watched as his uncle did his usual slow dance over his ledger books. The old man would run his finger down each row of columns and then look up at Jacob and give him a half-smile when he got to the bottom. He seemed to have a calculator in his head.

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by Amy Denton


Bride of the Rat God?” I asked Michael Beinecke, eying him across the low bookshelf that separated us.
“Absolutely,” Michael replied, disappearing from view for a few moments then reappearing with a handful of sodden paper that he stuffed in a trash bag. “This is disgusting.”

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by Tom Raber


“We’ll kill him July Fourth. Think, Dummy, think. All the firecrackers going off, a gunshot will blend right in. We kill him in plain sight, or I should say, plain sound.”

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by Gail Farrelly


Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
That was more than two years ago. They haven’t been seen since.
Okay, okay, strictly speaking, the twins didn’t go to “fetch a pail of water.” It didn’t happen exactly like the nursery rhyme.

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by Margaret Mendel


Pop died suddenly. There were no warnings. He had slightly elevated blood pressure and the doctor said he was pre-diabetic, but with diet and standard meds there didn’t seem to be anything to worry about. I guess when your time’s up, there’s not much you can do about it.

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by Joan Leotta


John scanned the crowd. He stopped his survey when he noticed a tall, willowy redhead looking at him. Red was partially encircled by several of the conference’s mostly male attendees. They were obviously entranced by her smile and her form-fitting green wool dress. Her emerald gaze, however, looked beyond her coterie of admirers.

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by John M. Floyd


Catherine Munsen was less than thrilled about her job. In fact, until the day she met Frank Goodman, she thought it was downright boring.
Catherine was a part-time teller at the Marshlands Bank in Gulf Springs, Mississippi. Her actual position, though not recorded anywhere on her job description sheet, was a combination of teller and secretary and supply sergeant. The only thing she was not allowed to do was process loans.

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by Maddie Davidson


Jake swore loudly as he tripped over a rock and nearly fell. His legs felt like rubber, his back ached from carrying a fifty-pound backpack, and he had lost track of how many hours they had been hiking. Pausing to catch his breath, he watched Alicia bounding ahead of him on the path as assuredly as a mountain lion stalking her prey.

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by Alan Cook


When George pulled his beat-up Toyota into his mother’s driveway, there was a shiny new car already parked there he didn’t recognize. Then he saw the “T” logo and realized it must be a Tesla. His twin sister, Georgia, had to be here already. Teslas weren’t big in this town. She must have rented it when she flew in from the East Coast. Could you even rent a Tesla in Nowheresville?

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by Kate Fellowes


“What do you think happened here?” Officer Robert Packard asked, gesturing to the remains of a blaze, recently extinguished.
Fire hoses spread across the parking lot of Al’s Auto Parts. Smoke drifted into the air

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by Madeline McEwen


Archibald Brown, a chimney sweep, had retired in the very last house on Windermere Lane deep in the heart of the Devonshire countryside in England. Living alone in the village of Lustingleigh, he rarely, if ever, had the opportunity to welcome a visitor and share any of his many memories, what his dearly departed wife called, “Tall tales,” like the time he had a brush with a golden opportunity.

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by Nina Mansfield


The beach was so crowded it was hard for Alex to find a spot for her thighs. The debate played out in her head—sit closer to the parking lot or closer to the water. Where would the glare from her thighs be less blinding? She planted her beach chair on a patch of sand not far from her car, and regretted it later, when, after just a few minutes in the sun, she had overheated and needed to take a dip. She had to waddle on the rocky sand past the group of men, who she couldn’t quite decide if they were straight or gay.

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