Fiction: “Amateur Altruism” By Jody Azzouni

… okay you have to start over, that’s all. Huh? We’re at the beginning of the program again okay? Soup Kitchen: just start in on it like: here’s the big event that ended it, the event that no one talks about. I guess. Once upon a time—now it’s your turn: Go Continue reading

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Fiction: “Struggle” by Evan McMurry

Mikhail Feldman the writer disappeared from this world on June 19th, 1939—or, in the words of my grandfather, went poof. This happened on the street in Peredelkino, southwest of Moscow, in front of a café, though it seems strange to me to mark the spot of someone’s disappearance. It seems to me he could have vanished halfway across town and gone just as poof.

My grandfather fled Russia a few months later; Lev became Leo somewhere over the Atlantic. He landed at a harbor in Baltimore, showed up soon after at a train depot in Chicago, and finally arrived at a bus station in Los Angeles, where a small group of Russian émigrés told him that if he kept going west he would wind up in Russia again.  He’s still friends with these men, and growing up I heard them called cousins. They set Lev Leo up in construction. He asked them if they had heard of the writer Feldman, and his new cousins shrugged. Continue reading

Fiction: “Opticon” by J.A. Bernstein

His company had been stationed on the Lebanon Line for four months, and in that time, they’d only seen “action” twice. The first was an unreported skirmish, late one, night when a forward party, crawling through thickets of scrub oak and sage, was greeted with a volley of shots—low, whipping tracers, which hadn’t touched a thing. The second was an unanticipated mortar barrage that torched three posts and resulted in eleven wounded. Cpl. Evgeny Sokolov had been on leave when that happened, and he didn’t regret it much.

This afternoon, as he stood manning the northeastern lookout, which was basically a periscope hole dug in two meters below earth, his thoughts revolved less around the chances of his killing or being killed than his prospects of finding a wife. He had been told that most successful relationships started in the Israeli army, though he didn’t know how, since he hadn’t seen a girl in three weeks.

“Sokolov,” shouted his Captain, blaring through the radio set. “When you’re done in twenty, stop by Command.” Continue reading