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The road stretches out in front of me as far as I can see, all the way to the horizon, straight and flat with empty fields on both sides like enormous blank pages. Nebraska, almost halfway to San Francisco, I am alone on this endless stretch of interstate 80.The audible book supply is depleted. For a change, I'm riding in silence.In the rear view mirror, a patrol car with flashing lights screams toward me. I slow the car and pull to the side to let him pass. But the lights slow too.

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Goose Eggs

At eighteen, Jess Hargrove was afraid of people his age, afraid he might embarrass himself. He spent most of his free time in the virtual world of gaming. His young body softened into an egg-shaped figure with an upside-down U of unruly hair. But one afternoon at his cousin's house up in Pittsburgh, an hour from home, there was this girl he met. He’d driven up from Steubenville, grumbling that he hated parties, but his mother had insisted and so he made the trip in his old Kia with the broken radio...

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The Vanity

The old mahogany night stand had been surgically excised and bruised, yet it survived in the elegant bedroom, standing out like a fly on a wedding cake. It had been in their daughter Tessa's room until she moved out for college. Meridee intended to take to the dump, but Kevin insisted on using it next to his reading chair in their bedroom. Meridee had objected, of course, since it would ruin the elegant look she had achieved there.But that day, sitting in her now ex-husband's chair, she breathed in the faint smell of his...

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Cloudy Water

I sat in front of the screen reading another rejection, this one from an independent publisher.Maybe the book's title is a turn-off. I sighed and slumped in my ergonomic chair that seemed to sink right along with me. I moved the cursor to my documents file, then to the folder Table of Submissions.docx and double clicked, scrolled to row #40 and entered the publisher’s name in the REJECT column.The Ritz cracker package had three pieces left. Crumbs covered the keyboard. Defeat lands a little...

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Now Smile

The daily news changes only with rising numbers of pandemic deaths and lost jobs for months now. A thousand-piece puzzle of a grotesque clown sits on the corner table ready to be broken up and stuck back in the box. Books I’ve finished are stacked like a tower of Babel, but I cannot remember any of them. My wish is to go somewhere, anywhere that the virus has never been.

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Contact   Cathryn Vogeley

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