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Cover image for COPING MECHANISMS by Rebecca Jones-Howe.

Self-published; April 2020

During the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, Costco employee Jamie endures a violent workplace incident, which tangles her into the calming control of her new coworker, Brendan.

Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up to No Good; November 2018

On the television, the orange man rambles about how much he’s winning. My captor enters the room with a grilled cheese sandwich and a bottle of whiskey. “To soften the blow of the polls,” he says, but all the alcohol ever does is dull the sensation of his weight shifting over the mattress.

Gamut; September 2016 (reprint)

The mug says I Love London, except the word love is a picture of a red heart. She thinks how stupid it is that the little heart is supposed to mean love when it looks nothing like the pounding organ in her chest.

Gamut; August 2016 (reprint)

The barista gives him his coffee in a disposable cup. He’s a man on the go. He’s older, because they always are. He approaches like they all do. His smile is a ticket to France, but I know the truth, that under the Eiffel Tower is just a bunch of homeless people.

Exigencies: A Neo-Noir Anthology; June 2015

“You’re wearing those pants again,” she calls. “I always thought they defined your package real nice.”
The other passengers look up. They look at her and then at me, at my black pressed slacks. My throat tightens. My gaze drops to the floor and I take a seat.

Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up to No Good; March 2015 (reprint)

The apocalypse isn’t about the zombies. The men bring liquor and cigarettes and luxury and Judah gets all primped up while I get fucked in the Swiss Alps, in the Mayan Rivera, in the middle of Westminster Abbey.

Solarcide; January 2015

His wife had been a terrible singer. He’d have dreams about her voice, her banshee shriek shaking his skull, spreading the fissure cracks wide open. He’d lay awake thinking of her, sweat spilling onto the sheets, fingers tracing over to the side of the bed she used to occupy.

Revolt Daily; October 2014

The mug says I Love London, except the word love is a picture of a red heart. She thinks how stupid it is that the little heart is supposed to mean love when it looks nothing like the pounding organ in her chest.

[Pank]; Issue No. 10, July 2014

The barista gives him his coffee in a disposable cup. He’s a man on the go. He’s older, because they always are. He approaches like they all do. His smile is a ticket to France, but I know the truth, that under the Eiffel Tower is just a bunch of homeless people.

The New Black; May 2014 (reprint)

I buy pacifiers. There’s a bag of them on his kitchen counter. The baby cries and I pop one in. Her mouth is so pretty, so perfect. Her lips close around the pacifier and she falls asleep like a normal person.

Cease, Cows; April 2014 (reprint)

His confidence is kind of sexy, even though it won’t last. He’s the sort of guy I would have dreamed about getting with in high school, except back then my idea of getting with a guy was more like holding hands and going out for ice cream and shit.

Flash Me! The Sinthology; September 2013

I reached for my mug but he moved his hand and grasped my knee. I flinched, knocking the handle. Hot coffee slipped over the rim, burning my fingers. A rush filled my chest.
His fingers flinched, tightened. “Have you ever been hurt?” he asked.

Punchnel’s; April 2013

I sit back and run my tongue over my teeth, picturing cherries, red stains of failure. Anxiety fills my chest. I swallow and grind my teeth. The sound vibrates through my ears. It’s how a glacier must sound when it moves and scrapes the earth. It’s called ‘glacial abrasion’ and it’s going to be on the exam tomorrow. The professor said so.

ManArchy; April 2013

He takes another sip and he looks me over, studies me from the neck down. He wants the experience, the opportunity to brag. Then he looks at my face again. I smile at him. I make him nervous. He looks about ready to concede, but he knows he’s wearing the wrong shirt to do that.

Pantheon Magazine; April 2013

The voice was deep, husky, greedy. Seth pictured it was how Cain must have sounded while he was chopping up Abel’s face with the hatchet, saying, “Take it, bitch. How do you like that, bitch? Huh?”

Out of the Gutter; March 2013

It wasn’t often, but at times I could be realistic about my situation.
“It’s funny to think of it,” he said, “what really scares you girls.”

I’ll Never Go Away: Volume II; March 2013

“I’ll show you the kind of girl you can take a dip in,” he says, laughing. “She’ll be a fucking angler fish, man.”
I pick up my book from the counter:
The Collected Works of Sylvia Plath, all her secrets compiled. I know more about women than he ever will.

Revolt Daily; March 2013

[T]he wind starts to pull at the red of my hair. Then the ketamine kicks in and that heavy, numb feeling comes over me and the world becomes continuous. Things are going faster, but the blur of the park comes across as slow and delayed, like paint drying in the air.

Bollokscraft Xine; Issue No. 1, February 2013

Her red waves spill over her shoulders, framing the cleavage revealed through the deep neckline of her dress. She’s got small tits, but they’re perky tits.
Carrie used to hate that I used the word tits, but that wasn’t the reason I left.

Pulp Modern; Issue No. 4, January 2013

He’s spent all his time in the solarium on the third floor. It used to be the breakfast room but now it’s his domain. He’s got crates of canned food and bottled water. He’s got guns and crowbars and knives. He has jigsaw puzzles on every table, a collection of different places, better places: The Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls, the Venetian Canal.

Infective Ink; July 2012

I pound my fist on the table. “You all know that I own a fucking Porsche,” I remind them. My old boss slaps his hand over my shoulder. “Trying to pretend you’re not on the way to the retirement home, Henry? It’s okay to admit it, you know.”

Nova Parade; July 2012

I buy pacifiers. There’s a bag of them on his kitchen counter. The baby cries and I pop one in. Her mouth is so pretty, so perfect. Her lips close around the pacifier and she falls asleep like a normal person.

Solarcide; December 2011

“I’ve fixed plenty of things.” He pulled out another smoke but he didn’t lift it to his mouth. “When you were fourteen the gear switch on your bike broke and I managed to fix it for you. Do you not remember that?”

L’Allure des Mots; Issue No. 1, Summer 2011

He couldn’t think of anything to say when she slipped her fingers through the diamonds in the chain-link. Richard swallowed, stepping forward, the apple bobbing so hard in his throat that he was sure she noticed.

Pulp Metal Magazine; May 2011

Conor was the first to pour a new glass, his smile already widened by the eight drinks he’d poured already. “I used to look at the Ariel poster in my sister’s room,” he said. “I had no idea why it made my dick hard, but it felt good. I used to go into her room all the time.”

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