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Read Runner-Up Patrick Grace’s Short Story on the NUB App!

Magic Tricks by Patrick Grace

Before he disappeared, Julian was all grins. Shit-eating grins. Payday: new wool toque, vest, chinos. A weeks’ worth of stubble on his upper lip. Friday was his busiest night but I liked to play dumb, lay the guilt trips. We perched on couch cushions, TV dark, and he watched me eat forkfuls of congealed pork and egg rolls. I could tell he wanted compliments on his new get-up.

“Cash up front this time?” I asked. His vest smelled of leather and metal, like blood.

“They sure as hell don’t give cheques.”

A car pulled up outside and the driver revved the engine—Julian’s signal to head out.

“It’s Friday,” I said. “Can’t you take the weekend off?”
“Money’s best tonight. Sorry. Kiss?”
“Trash.” I pointed to a knotted bag on the kitchen floor. Minutes later I heard the dumpster lid crash down. You could see the carport from the living room window, and after midnight you might catch drug dealers trading product for cash beside the parked cars. I etched a sad face on the glass that faded as soon as I thumbed it to life. Julian never looked up, just hopped in the back seat of the car and disappeared. That word, disappear—all weekend, I heard it pop in the air like a magic trick gone wrong. On the statements and forms I struck out disappeared and penciled in missing. I could handle that word. It lacked magic…

 

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Read Runner-Up Uzodinma Okehi’s Short Story on the NUB App

Monisha by Uzodinma Okehi

 

She’s dancing, dancing, keep in mind. Fluttering, yeah, jogging hips. Hand all down the crotch of her bathing suit, Khira, ridiculous, that’s trembling, shimmering thighs, like sliced meat slick with sweat, and glitter, she’s got you, from the mirrors, and not just her; hundreds, a thousand Khiras . . . I’d wake up, bathroom, or on up to the roof landing to relieve myself. Jerking off in the stairwell of a go-go club. That’s heroism! That’s purple neon, the bright, bright whites of her eyes. Forget Khira. Half-empty beer, down it, find a cigarette. We’ve got the jackets on, doors open at seven. That’s lights-up, hit the streets, for me and Benoit, not cold, cold, but smooth . . .

 

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Read Runner-Up Ian Wolff Short Story on The NUB App!

How Could You not Do Well in the Bahamas? by Ian Wolff

 

There is a man living under my house. He moved in a week ago. At first I thought it was a raccoon making a nest for itself with the leaves from the big maple out back. The leaves had all fallen from the tree, and I had raked them into piles in the yard. I’m not much of a yard-work man, but I had needed the diversion. I’ll go ahead and tell you, my girlfriend left me.

Melissa left me not long after I quit my job at Danza’s where I was a line cook. I shouldn’t have quit.  It was a good job. I made decent enough money. Enough to buy this lousy clapboard shotgun shack. And I had full benefits. But the GM had it in for me and constantly rode my ass until, finally, I came out of the kitchen and punched him in the face in the middle of service. Melissa made it through most of my drunk that followed. But she finally gave up after day eight, and ran off with Danza’s brother, the sommelier….

 

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Read Runner-Up Curtis LeBlanc’s Short Story on the NUB App!

Water Break by Curtis LeBlanc

We got a call from his neighbour a couple days back, said there’s a sinkhole the size of his Ford Ranger forming in the backyard next door, said he’s worried there might be some kind of water leak. Apparently, the guy who owns the house wasn’t overly concerned about his sinking lawn, considering he wasn’t the one who called. In fact, he looks like he’s more worried about the fact that we showed up to check things out.
After I see this guy squirming, talking to me with the front door open just a crack and the chain lock pulled tight, I radio public works to find out if he’s been skipping on his payments. Turns out, he hasn’t. Never missed a payment in his thirteen years of tenancy. So I get off the radio and ask him, “Mind if I take a look?”
He says, “Be my guest.”

There isn’t much around the back—a twelve-by-twelve deck and an empty plot of grass. At one end of the yard, I can see the sinkhole forming around where the valve is supposed to be. It looks like fresh sod on top. At the other end is another fairly large spot of crisp green grass that I’m guessing he used to replace a dead patch. I poke around with the metal detector over the spongy ground that’s sloping in, and off it goes, wailing. I dig a couple inches down and hit the valve cap—ting—right on the head. No problem. It’s pretty clear to me what’s happened here….

 

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Read Runner-Up Jodi Stone’s Short Story On The NUB App!

Vicious Lovers By Jodi Stone
I have brought the chickens. Two of them, siblings. The smaller one’s named Nancy because he’s a bit of a wuss, the other called Beak on account of his being the largest of the flock. They don’t race unless I prod them which is something I don’t like to do but I need the money. Who doesn’t. I was told to come at sunset and it’s just about that time judging by the rose-blue sky. Nancy and Beak sit still in their cage, the wire corner poking into my ribs as I walk toward the dark mouth of the sewer pipe. It’s lit inwards with fire or flashlights; I can’t see for sure out here under the bridge. I step inside where the water drips and pools, where voices come at me from the end. I wait, and listen, and consider turning back.
‘There they are.’ A slap on my back and a familiar voice: Ron. ‘The chickens!’ he says. ‘The headliners. Hey!’ and pokes two thumbs at his chest like Fonzie in his leather vest. Ron leans down making wet kissing sounds at the chickens now clucking. Beak struts in a tight circle kicking up seed behind him. Ron smacks my back again. ‘Right this way,’ he says. I commit and follow….

 

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Read Runner-Up Sarah Segal’s Short Story on The NUB App!

It’s Nothing by Sarah Segal

I was taking the baby for a walk to the park when the rockets started falling from the sky. Perhaps the sounds should have alerted me to the troublesome situation developing on the border with Lebanon, but I’d become used to explosions and didn’t even raise an eyebrow. We lived near the firing range and the military practiced often. My baby and I lounged at the park, enjoying the shade of the trees. I pushed my baby on the swing. Afterwards, we walked down the quiet, dusty streets to our home, and I put my baby down for a nap. All to the soundtrack of explosions and machine gun fire.

I washed the dishes and made myself lemonade. The ringing phone brought nap time to an early end, and with the baby on my hip I listened to my father-in-law shouting down the line. Where have you been, I’ve been calling! Dont you hear the bombs, dont you know Hezbollah are firing on us? Another explosion, much louder this time, startled the baby. I hung up the phone to comfort her, and turned on the news. A scuffle on the border, soldiers from our side killed, all border communities ordered into the shelters.I sat back in my chair. I was so habituated to the sounds of war that I didn’t even notice one when it started! I called my husband at work.

“It’s nothing, I’ll be home later,” he said.  “I invited some friends over for a barbecue. Make a salad; I’ll pick up some chicken on my way home.”….

 

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