Another month, another release! We are happy to present to you our midsummer batch of stories, ranging from eerie science fiction to heartwarming contemporary. Enjoy!

by Keith Korman
Highway Patrol Officer Cheryl Gibson stood in the admitting area of Keck Emergency at the USC complex. Los Angeles Medicine at its most immediate. Huge letters plastered across fifteen feet of curved wall, spelled E – M – E – R- G – E – N – C – Y in case you had any doubt. She watched the man on the gurney roll away, blood leaking from a shoulder wound. A man she’d spent every waking moment with the last two weeks–Professor Bhakti Singh–appearing on her doorstep a complete stranger. Then never leaving her side. Until now.

The Punjabi man was babbling, Janet-Janet-Janet. But who listens to crazy Punjabis in an emergency room? That’s never the emergency.
by Peter Gleason
Hi, there!

Every so often, we here at the Green Beings Coffee Folk get a letter from concerned customers like you which reads something like this:

Hi, there!

I love your coffee, but why does it cost $75 a cup? When I go to my local Starbucks, it only costs $4 a cup. I would love to drink your coffee every morning on my way to work, but I can’t afford to spend $375 a week on coffee. Help!

— Sara from San Francisco
by Karim Miteff
Dr. Joshua Grant stood quietly as the lab’s sensors scanned him. To him, the elaborate scheme of security devices seemed only a token effort. His facility’s greatest defense was the veil of secrecy that unobtrusively enveloped it. Its construction modest and measured, its operation quiet and simple. Still, the possibility of intrusion and espionage could not be ignored. The potential contained within was now too great.

His small, nondescript lab had unlocked the secret of time travel.
by Robert Arrington
Joe Bob stood silent while his father bound the steel gaffs to the gamecock. He found it easy, today, to concentrate on whatever his father did.

Jack Thayer. Dad. Fighting gamecocks for the first time in fifteen years, the best damned chicken fighter in Tennessee back in action.
by T.L. Knighton
Only the smattering of clouds broke up the canvas of blue sky–sky that should have seen a shuttle come through at least three days ago. Tommy Riley, of the Atlanta Rileys, wasn’t used to being kept waiting. His bodyguard and valet, Harley, had considerable more experience in that area.

"Damn it! What’s keeping them?" Tommy asked.
by Derrick McCluskey
The boy was slapped awake by the hoarse and repetitive pitch of his alarm clock. He massaged his eyes with his thumb and index finger before he slowly opened them. It was never easy getting up before light on the weekend. He silenced the clock and slid out of bed.

Dressed and fresh, he finished his oatmeal and left home for his job at the farmer’s supply. High school graduation loomed and for six months now he had filled orders from fifty-pound bags of feed to eighty-pound bags of concrete mix. He stacked bricks and mortar for the masons and packs of shingles for the roofers. He weighed out nails for the carpenters and helped the sheetrockers fill their trucks with gypsum board. The pace was unrelenting. Contractors lined the front entrance with a time-is-money look on their mugs and they demanded expedient service. He learned how to move with efficiency.
by Chana & Joseph Cox
Buried 120 feet below Washington D.C., the War Room is almost completely dark. The lights have just gone down, and the massive view screen along the eastern wall is still dark.

The only illumination in the room is the faint blue glow of the flat screen monitors embedded in the boardroom style table. That glow casts itself against the bodies of as many people as have ever occupied the space–diplomats, soldiers, scientists–and, of course, the president himself.
by Mark Ellis
Get one thing straight. I never had any use for homosexuals. I didn’t hate them, like my father did. Not that I’d ever known any. I had heard television preachers say that homosexuals were maladjusted and needed our prayers. Since there wasn’t anything in my experience to suggest I do otherwise, and since the position seemed more tolerant than Pop’s, I adopted it, cautiously.

Then, in 1981, right as the AIDS crisis was emerging, I did meet a homosexual.