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Best Stories on the Web

A Wallet Full of Money

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The woman from another lifetime had sent him the surprise she’d hinted at.  He waited before unwrapping the cardboard package until he had walked back to the high-rise co-op, an interminable distance from the Post Office on East Broadway.  In the package was a recording of Marlene Dietrich singing “Lili Marlene.”  He held the disc so the sun shone on the Deutsche Grammofon label, marveled at the shiny shellac, and felt as satisfied as he had been in months.

From the corner of his eye he saw the girl from the 16th floor watching expectantly, waiting to be recognized.  She nodded and he slid over on the park bench so she could sit down.

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The Flip Side of Love

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Their love story had all the makings of an old-style romance novel. Star crossed lovers who caught each other’s eye across a crowded room and both knew in that instant that they were destined to be together. Fiona was the beautiful heroine trapped in marriage that she no longer desired to be in. And Devon was the handsome successful business tycoon, who after taking just one look at her knew that his life would never be the same. But this story wouldn’t have the same kind of happy ending that stories that start in such a way usually do.

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My Grandfather's Mirror

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Once, when I was a lad in my youth, a girl of fancy asked me “why does the cage bird sing?” I told her something poetic and romantic that could only have come off as pretentious with ignorance. I now know the answer. They do not sing, they scream. It was only after gazing upon that mirror that I understand the horror of imprisonment; of only being able to stare at the world, of having all your screams and pleas come off as singing.

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Abbey

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“Pistols shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out "My God they killed them all"
Here comes the story of the Hurricane!”

Abbey was proud of herself for knowing the lyrics of the man her daddy deemed “The Greatest of the Greats.” Bob Dylan was practically considered God in her house, and it wasn’t a disturbance to sing his songs as loud as you wanted to. As she showered, the sweet smells coming from the kitchen filled her nostrils. Dinner was almost ready.

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Where the Bodies are Buried

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How shallow was a shallow grave?

He’d never dug one before.  The hole before him, which he’d gouged out of the sandy soil in the heat of the desert looked deep, but now he’d pushed the man’s body into it, suddenly it looked awfully shallow. Could animals or other things get down to the body? Or maybe that was the point? Just deep enough for cover, but not so deep that it took too long for the flesh to turn to corruption.

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Forgotten Memories

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Detective Greg Warren stood over the limp body laying beside the back entrance to McGregor’s Bar and Grill.  Dirty and bloody, it was hard to believe that this was once a man.  He stooped down beside the body so that he could shine his light on the man to get a better view.  The beard on the man covered the premature wrinkling of a face that had seen a hard life.  Warren tried hard to recognize the man but the dim lighting in the alley made it difficult to make out many features.

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Tweaking the Thrifty Gene

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“I’m sorry, Amaranth Q, your travel application is denied,” said the TTA’s customer-service robot.  Following some pathway in its neurocybernetic map, the robot added, “You understand the Time Travel Authority’s decision is final?”

“Yes,” said Amaranth.

Her application had been necessarily vague, and they didn’t trust her to follow the rules once she got into the past. She didn’t blame them. They were right not to. But some things were more important than bureaucratic rules.

Leaving the Federal Office Building, she walked quickly through the crowded Mariana Trench City center, then down damp, twisted backstreets to the shadowy neighborhood known as Abyssal Alley.  Here, months ago, anticipating TTA rejection, she’d found the time-travel black market, a moldy hallway, and the wizened dealer.  Now, as he smiled at her, the diamonds in his long white teeth were the brightest objects in the room.

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Happy Anniversary

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They had been driving for a couple of hours. The radio was on, tuned into the local station and the interstate had been left behind half an hour ago. They were now bumping along on little more than a well-kept track, which should see them at their destination in six or seven minutes. Tony tried to remember when they had been here last - must be three or more years ago. They had spent a lot of anniversaries up here once the kids had grown old enough to be left on their own, monitored by the neighbors next door.

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Chicken and Egg

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Marjorie opened the oven door and inserted a skewer into the dome of lemony sponge. “Done,” she announced.

Her husband Edward wandered into the kitchen of their tiny cottage. “Looks like a good ’un,” he said as Marjorie slid the cake onto a cooling rack. He licked a finger, pressing it into the stray crumbs that had fallen on the worktop.

“How many times have I told you not to do that!” Marjorie glared at him. Why did the silly old fool never listen?

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What is this White Stuff?

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Sheriff Barnes awoke to the voice of a radio announcer.  “Nobody seems to know where the white stuff came from.  It’s not snow, because the temperature is 81.  Also, and most important, is that fact that it’s not snow.  It feels like Styrofoam.  It’s unbelievable.”

The sheriff rushed to his window.  “What the hell,” he said, and dressed as he listened to the radio.  “What is also strange, is that Greenfield is the only town in the county that is covered by the stuff.

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