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The King Of
by Alex Jennings

Exhaust billowing from the Axicell plants on Southgate’s north side thickened the August air and lent it the smell of clean laundry. Laud Umar turned off his book and checked the time. He’d been here an hour, and now he wondered whether he should descend the escalator to the street below and walk alone into the city or buy a ticket back to Torarica. “Keele Haxem.” “What?” Laud looked up to see a teenage boy in a vintage black pinstriped suit and wingtips. “Keele Haxem,” the boy said again, but he offered no hand. “What the fuck.” His skin was

T ME
by Alexander Jennings

The portable classroom was larger than Joan Ellen had expected. Lit from overhead with fluorescent lights and busy with seventh-grade artwork, it smelled of chalk dust, old books, and refrigerated air. It reminded Joan Ellen of home. These days, most everything reminded Joan Ellen of home – or at least how far she was from it. She tried to pay attention, but now Joan felt the yawning chasm of distance, the thousands upon thousands of miles between Tunis and DC. “I’ll put this as simply as I can,” Mrs. Thornton said. “Patrick is a brilliant boy.” Liz Thornton was Patrick’s