“Life Saver Aboard The Jamaica Mon” by Jacob Weber

Surely, this was a cry for help. Generally, the Governors wanted the staff to stay out of the lives of passengers. There were some things going on that passengers wanted to believe nobody noticed. There were couples swapping partners, both with and without the knowledge and consent of the people they’d arrived with. There were orgies with all kinds of drugs, especially among the senior citizens.

“I’m Sorry for Your Loss” by Jeremy Townley

We can’t all be like Lotta Tornberg, environmental crusader. I, for one, never had her strength and confidence, her resilient spirit. She remained optimistic to the end, certain that her peaceful protests, with the speeches and marches and sit-ins, would actually make a difference. Back then, her image was everywhere: a slight twelve year-old girl with braided pigtails and a doughy smile. Politicians, not to mention some of the most egregious corporate polluters, paid her lip service, while working adamantly to undermine her cause and credibility. Lotta simply gritted her teeth and doubled down.

“K-120” by Brett Finlayson

I didn’t used to tell the ski jumpers about the time they have to endure at the top, but in the more than thirty years I’ve worked at the Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex—meeting the competitors at the base of the K-120 long jump and directing them to the start—I’ve come to realize that it’s better to get this information on the table immediately. Otherwise, they grow restless. We all do. And that’s when the real accidents happen.

excerpt, “Night Coming Tenderly” by Sandra Jackson-Opoku

The bid-whist-playing, gin-drinking, chit’lin-cooking, barbecuing, party-loving Pattersons. That was Mama’s family–loud, boisterous and slightly disreputable. Miss Jonita declared them “country,” though the Pattersons had been established in Chicago a good half-century before Miss Jonita’s people came Up North, or as Black folks ironically deemed it, “Up South” from Arkansas.

“A Homeroom Meeting” by Fumiki Takahashi, translated from the Japanese by Toshiya Kamei

The day before the world was supposed to end, Kasumi woke up in the morning and slipped into her school uniform as usual. She had nothing else to do. Besides, she didn’t dislike school. On the other hand, her best friend, Tomo-chan, had left for a trip a few days earlier, saying she would spend time with her boyfriend. By this time, she would have lost her virginity.