Book Description: Literary short stories by established and emerging writersExcerpts:Karen Outen Inside the Universe of His ParentsUnless he came to know that, unless he came to that new shore just beyond him, that place where he might understand the two of them, then the rest of the world would never make sense. He would never find anchor. Michael SchiavoneGhost PainWe met last summer, the two of us partnering up for The Monkey's Fist Bluefish Tournament. He told me he'd make a good teammate because of his insomnia. "I can fish all night and that's when the big bastards show up," he'd said. Frances Ya-Chu CowhigMonkeys of the SeaConnor had given up meat at age fourteen after seven summers of 4-H heartbreak. His first love had been an American Yorkshire sow named Tina. Eric Scot TryonA Handful of Ones"You know," my father continues once they've left, "your mother and I have lived our lives. We've done things. We're okay with how things are now." Maggie ShipsteadVia SerenidadShe was the type of teenager who moved from childhood to adulthood with the minimum of blooming, looking essentially the same, only older. Juan MartinezWell TendedThe summer's been too long, too full of afternoons where one judge show rolls after the other. I've watched them all. The one with the man holding a bat. The one where Kato Kaelin's the bailiff. The one where the judge always cries. Clark E. KnowlesBoxville, East BoxvilleThere are two sets of sterling earring studs in the package, and Betty begs her mother to let her get her ears pierced. Ellen grabs her daughter's earlobes one by one, squeezes them like she might a fruit to see if the ears are ripe enough for holes. Xu XiInterview by Anne de MarckenI think my sense of place derives from a lack of a national identity. Hong Kong is a unique political and historical accident that, for better or worse, is what I'm stuck with as the reality of my origins, and is my major cultural influence. Paul MichelNot the King of PrussiaHe used to look out of it as he dressed for work, listening to Marta in the kitchen below, smelling the good smells of coffee and bacon, watching herons and cormorants and even eagles, right here in the city, hunting their breakfasts in the still green waters. Elizabeth KochWould You and Other Relevant QuestionsOutside, she stood in front of a tree with colored Christmas lights. Snow stuck to her lashes so the lights blurred and swirled like tie-dyed fabric, like swatches of clothing flung from many floors above. Michael PooreThe BeekeeperAfter an hour of zigzagging through desert broom it was a miracle they didn't run afoul of the Border Patrol the Mexican screamed, "Alto!" An old woman lay curled up amidst the remains of a camp. A few plastic bags full of clothes, some energy bars, a sack of nuts and raisins. She was dead.