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Grave Designs by Mike O’Reilly

They say blood is thicker than water, but some friendships are made of thicker stuff still.

There is no surer sign of damnation than the need to pay a priest for a eulogy.

He whispered the prayers.

His hand was trembling and his eyes were black hollows burrowed into his skull. A three-day growth filled the hollows of his cheeks.

Johnny’s corpse had looked healthier before they closed the lid.

The priest finished and folded a once-purple stole into the pocket of his coat and turned away without saying a word.

There wasn’t much more to say. Johnny wasn’t a good man, but he was my mate.… Read the rest

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Hazard Pay by Nick Andreychuk

Simple jobs have a way of becoming more complicated, but that’s why they pay you the big bucks, isn’t it?

The stench of stale urine made me want to vomit into the piss-warm beer I was drinking from a dirty glass. I tried to ignore it because I’d picked the stool at the end of the bar, close to the stinking washrooms, for a reason — I wanted to listen to the conversation next to me.

Normally, I sat at the other end of the bar, near the cash register, so that I could flirt with the waitresses when they placed their drink orders.… Read the rest

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The High Road by Sarah M. Chen

The morning after the night before. Sometimes you’ll do just about anything to make the day more bearable, and sometimes you should have just stayed in bed.

As Jay staggered to the bathroom to take a piss, the last thing he was thinking of was his pickup truck. Why should he? It was, well who the hell knew what time it was, but it was daytime and Jay had just woken up. So obviously his first thought was smoking a bowl. It was always his first thought, but this morning he was feeling particularly crappy. His head felt like somebody hammered a nail into it and his tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth.… Read the rest

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