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Happy-Time Tools - fiction

The red letters of the store’s sign flickered above the entrance, and the trashcan next to it overflowed on to the sidewalk. Food wrappers, cigarette butts, and broken tools littered the surrounding concrete.

“Welcome to Second City Tools where we hope your time with us is a happy one,” the cashier said as I walked through the door. He wore a pair of green mechanic’s gloves, and his hair stood gelled into tiny spikes. Country music blasted through the store’s PA system, Toby Keith belting out a song about America.

“I need to speak with Frank, I got a call about an interview,” I said.

“Oh, I’m sorry, but Frank isn’t here right now, he’s out to lunch,” the cashier said.

“But, I got a call saying to come at this exact time for the interview,” I said. “Do you know when he’ll be back?”

“No,” he said and turned his back to me. He began stapling newspaper fliers together. Click...Click...Click...

I told him I would browse around the store and to let me know when Frank showed up. He didn’t respond. Click...Click...Click...

White light saturated the left side of the store. Missing light fixtures shrouded the right side. Aisles of tools extended endlessly in front of me, a labyrinth of home improvement. Yellow caution-tape and orange traffic cones closed off sections of the floor where tile was cracked or missing. Signs that read ‘NOT FOR SALE. DO NOT TOUCH’ sat on every tool display. 

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Mile Marker 17 - nonfiction

‘Unregulated shooting range’ brings arousal to the loins of many a purebred Montanan. Mile marker 17 is located to the north of Billings on the two-lane highway to Roundup. A left turn on to a dirt road leads to a plateau standing proud and lonely above the Great Plains and underneath the vast expanse of blue we call the Big Sky.

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Atmospheric Impulse - fiction

They relaxed in cushioned wicker chairs admiring the vast expanse of stars and galaxies above their heads. A breeze blew from the west, a relief from the brutal heat of the day. Sweat from a pitcher of sun tea pooled on the glass surface of the table next to them. A custom record player crafted from the leftovers of a giant coastal redwood hummed The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour in the background. Arthur looked over at his friend Douglas. Both of them had been sitting in silence for a few minutes, unsure of how to proceed with their conversation.

“I’m still not sure I completely understand,” Arthur said.

“I know it sounds bat shit crazy, but it’s real. And, I can’t turn back now,” Douglas said. 

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Lowlands - fiction

“Gretchen, what are you doing?” Henry asked. He followed her into the bedroom.

“How did we get ourselves into this, Henry? I don’t see any other way out,” Gretchen said. She opened the closet door and began rummaging through clothes and personal effects.

“Please don’t, honey, I’m begging you,” he said

“Listen up, bub. It’s the middle of January, there’s two feet of snow on the ground, and I’m sure as hell not going to starve to death because all of a sudden you began your period.”

She dove back into the closet and continued to forage. A couple minutes later she stood at the front door to the cabin with a 12-gauge shotgun in hand. The wind screamed through the prairie. It screamed at Henry to stop her, but there was no way he was going to confront her now.

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