Nature of Intertia

by Ben Kline


by Brendan Gillen

But Not for You and Me

by Christine Baerbock

One-Way Family

by Claire Polders

My Hair, or A Marriage

by  Julie Pecoraro

Aisle Ten: First Aid

by Kristen Ploetz

Last Minute Hugo

by Matthew Reed

Child Rearing

by Michael Putnam


by William Squirrell

It Won’t Be Long Now

by Sarah Kunstler

No Cymbals, No Trumpets

by Shayne Terry

Always Funny

by Daniel Mueller

Black Crickets

by Steven Edwards

Elegy for a blue crab

by Jane-Rebecca Cannarella

Family Movie Night

by Sara Lippmann


by Victoria Anderson

A Dozen Eggs

by Marta Shaffer


by  Michael Schermerhorn

Unidentified Male Artist

by Caitlin Powell


by Chaya Bhuvaneswar


by Louis Wenzlow


by Marvin Shackelford

There Must be an Answer

by Nicholas Bon

Suburban idylls of Birmingham

by Valentine Conaty


by Jordan Ranft

bezoar – I

by Scherezade Siobhan

Can you share a holiday encounter of the strange and hilarious kind? Perhaps a jaunt in Santa's Lap or a wacked-out family meal—anything that has to do with holiday beauty is fair game here.

Meg Tuite



     The Willow Mall wrapping station never rests. Vandalize some lockers and you can experience it firsthand like me. The principal fired my favorite teacher, so I protested. This is my parents’ idea of penance.

     “Just a minute,” I sigh, threading myself through a nest of ribbons, suddenly face-to-face with my vice principal.

     “How’s suspension treating you?”

     “As good as Mrs. Fallon was treated.”

     A chuckle slips through his feigned stoic fortitude. “You’ve got a voice, kid, but consequences follow actions.”

     Great, someone else who doesn’t get it. “Which gift wrap do you want?”

     “You pick.”

     “You look like a stripes guy.”

     He nods, sliding a box onto the counter, rattling as I envelope it in what looks like candy cane skin.

     “This sounds…interesting.”

     He nods. Again. Four pieces of tape and I’m finished.

     “Anything else?”

     “Just this. By the way, you did good.”

     “My wrapping job’s shit,” I laugh.

     “Yeah, well…” he nods and leaves.

     The clock tower chimes, and I’m ready to go. I walk to my car, and atop it find a terribly wrapped box. I tear the paper and inside rattles a can of spray paint, exactly like the one I used on the lockers.

Bethany Chernay

Santa’s Worker
A few nights before Christmas, the doorbell rang. I ran to open it and standing on the porch was Santa, all fat and red, sporting this off-white beard that was a bit mangy. And his eyes were wild. He marched by me, dropping his huge bag of sharp things, and reached for my older sister on the couch. “We’re running behind at the North Pole, so you have to come work for me!” He lifted her off the couch by her shoulders. My parents just sat there as my sixteen-year-old sister screamed hysterically. Santa pulled her toward the open door, and when her fingers clutched at the corner of the wall, he pulled harder at her legs until her body went horizontal. My brother, already in his onesie and armed those days with his trusty plastic machine gun, leapt onto the coffee table, took deadly aim, and shouted, “I’m gonna kill you Santa!” And still, my parents did
Finally, my sister kicked loose. Santa laughed gleefully. My sister ran up the stairs crying. Santa turned out to be our cousin. And his family was parked down the street and were bummed they missed this whole traumatic, horrible scene.
Dan Crawley

Even The Mouse
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, a creature was stirring, it was a damn mouse. A crinkle and a rustle. Then, a tiny squeak. Good lord, I said to Cassie.There’s no way, it couldn’t be.
I threw off the covers and to my surprise, sitting atop Cassie’s bag, I saw two twinkling eyes. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, he’s eating your candy. He’s eating your gummy worms and I swear it’s no lie. 
Well go get him honey, go get him right now. I’ll just pee my pants if that mouse isn’t found.
So I crept up slowly to most definitely see, it was as plump a mouse as ever there could be. He chewed on a red gummy worm, his tail made a wiggle, and just as I lunged he started to giggle.
Oh for fucks sake, Cassie screamed. She covered her head. Shhh, I whispered back, he’s gone under the bed.
With my hands inches away and capture now certain, the mouse suddenly sprang and ran right up the curtain. That gummy worm dangled, still from his mouth. I’ll get you, I promised. I’ll get you, you fat mouse
Daniel Thompson