This issue of Atticus Review is an all-fiction issue without an organizing theme. I made this choice because upon joining Atticus Review, I inherited a number of stories that had been previously accepted for publication, some of them quite some time ago, and I want to get these stories out into the world without any further delay.

Because there’s no theme, I’m introducing this issue by simply giving you snapshots of the nine stories collected here:

Gool,” by Molly Bonovsky Anderson: “There’s a place on the highway, not far from our crash-site, where if you turn left coming from the mall, you have to punch it, because there’s a blind spot on the right where the road curves, and you can see what’s coming for only about thirty feet. It’s a death-trap, and every time I make that turn I think, go fast, and hope nothing comes faster.

Pride Purchases” by Katrina Otuonye: “She had hit the tone in the conversation, that place where her friends could tell that she was on a roll, and so they all avoided eye contact, as if focusing all mental energy on her, as if to propel her ideas forward, force her to push through, to keep working.”

(de)Construction” by R.M. Schappell: “I don’t bother reminding him that my problem was getting on base. That I batted so poorly back then, the coach would secretly encourage me to crowd the plate. He’d get close to my face, adjust the brim of his faded jean hat, call me chief and tell me how bruises heal, but a losing record—it can sting forever.”

“Cake” by Laurie Stone: “I had been the cake’s steward, or servant, or hostage for eight months when I opened the freezer door. It was a moonless night, and I was peckish for something sweet.”

Sex Pistols T-Shirt” by Erin Lyndal Martin: “I’ve only ever worn it to sleep in, so I paired it with elastic-waist underwear. Never the sexy kind. I didn’t want to feel like a package for you to unwrap.”

Afternoon Bottle” by T.C. Jones: “A bunch of little kids are playing on the porch of some ugly purple house. And get this: these parents of theirs are sitting out there in these big wooden rocking chairs just watching them. They actually think these kids of theirs rolling around and throwing an inflatable ball are something to see.”

Ludmilla” by Angela Morris: “She waited until the phone rang—her son saying his plane had landed at Dallas Love Field Airport—before she put the cobbler in the oven. It was her strategy, her plan to have her whole house smell like sweet blackberries when her son came home. Blackberries that weren’t for him.”

Ghost Friends” by Jenny Irizary: “Sometimes my mom would quilt or weave with me, and I loved hearing how her great-great grandmother sewed silver into her skirts and the quilts that she had sold in Sweden so that she’d have money when she reached America. But the ghost’s heartbeat got ragged behind my ear whenever my mom got to the part in the story where that same great-great grandmother beat her sister’s daughter Lil almost to death.”

After the Separation (and Before the Divorce)” by Hannah Sloane: “Marrying Neil had been a mistake, a knee-jerk reaction to turning thirty-four and realizing every girl she’d grown up with was raising the next generation and perfectly content with their lives, as evidenced by various social media posts.”