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October '05 -- stories that Brad likes

Poker Night
  by Andy Henion

More Than a Little Impressed
  by Peggy Johnson

Down With the Ship, Yo
  by Brian Beatty

Crazy Jake and Me
  by Lincoln Michel

Sportscaster Reporting About Dwarf Athletes at the 1984 Olympic Games
  by Jonathan Shipley

The Time Hopping Inter-Era Pirate Talk Show Host
  by Nick Mainieri

Selected pages from a 'Choose the Adventure You Want' story
  by Brooks Callison

I remember when we were kids Jake's father was the North American Lawn Dart champion. This was before they were all banned for sticking into children's skulls. Jake and I would spend most days sitting on his porch, chucking darts at squirrels.

One of those days I bet Jake a dollar he couldn't dig a hole as deep as he was tall. He took the bet and we shook hands with Jake's brother as a witness. But then he didn't do squat, just leaned back in his chair drinking his juice-box. "Well, are you going to do it or what?!" I screamed. "You didn't put any time limit on it," he said with a laugh. I was furious. But then, I guess to make me feel better, he went outback to his garage and came back with his father's shovel. He stuck the tip into the ground and tossed up a pitiful clod of dirt. "I'll finish it later."

Things went on like this for a couple years; Jake and I sitting on his porch making outrageous bets that were never completed and drinking juice-boxes; the lawn darts and that old shovel just rusting out on the front yard.

Then, when we were about fifteen, Jake suddenly developed a raging case of Giantitis. He grew a whole six inches in a week! The doctors had never seen anything like it. He was being stretched like silly-putty right in front of our eyes. I guess he realized that the he was only making the bet harder on himself by waiting. He picked up that rusty shovel and started digging furiously, right next to his mother's vegetable garden. But every inch he dug his body would grow. The other neighborhood children and I watched him half-in, half-out of the ground, his arms pumping like machines, but him not moving a centimeter vertically. The bright lawn darts were stuck in the ground like construction flags. He didn't give up though, kept hauling dirt out with his father's shovel like a madman. Sometimes I thought that hole meant more to him than just our bet. Like something terrible was going to get him and he had no way to fight it except through digging.

All-in-all he must have grown to be ten feet tall and you know what, he did finish the hole, when he was 8'6". And even though the bet was made when I was just a little kid, I gave him the dollar anyway, cause he had earned it. Of course, during all that crazy digging and growing, I'd stolen his girlfriend, Lucy, and I'd also become the new North American Lawn Dart champion. There was a cash prize of a half-million bucks! So I guess we were both winners, when all was said and done.

Lincoln Michel's work has recently appeared or will appear in journals such as The Mississippi Review, Pindeldyboz,, Cranky, Monkeybicycle and The Vestal Review. He is also a frequent contributor to