We’re so excited to announce our nominations for one more award in 2018: Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. This is the very first time we’ve ever nominated stories for this particular award, but we feel these three pieces are absolutely perfect for it.

Best of luck to these three talented writers, and a huge thank you to everyone who submits to our site. We wouldn’t be CHEAP POP without you!

Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy:

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We’re stoked to announce our nominations for three additional awards in 2018: Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best Micro Fictions (400 words or less). We owe everything to all of our wonderful contributors, and every time awards come around, it feels impossible to decide which stories to choose, but we felt these pieces really highlighted our focus and drive here at CHEAP POP.  

Best of luck to these talented folks, and a huge thank you to everyone who submits to our site. We wouldn’t be CHEAP POP without you!

Pushcart Prize:

Best Small Fictions:

Best Micro Fictions (400 words or less):

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Hello, friends!

We had a heckuva Season 1 and 2 in 2018, and we hope you were able to follow along.

We’re excited to announce that SUBMISSIONS will be open for the month of NOVEMBER 2018. We will be actively reading for Season 1 of 2019—these pieces will run mid-January through the end of March and/or into April 2019.

(As always, for more information on what we're looking for, or how to submit—when we're open!—please check out our submissions page.)

Additionally, we’re doing something a little different this time: For the month of November 2018, you have the option of

(1) a regular submissions, or
(2) you can submit + SHOW PROOF OF A DONATION (to one of the charities below in any amount). With proof of donation (a screenshot of the receipt or email confirmation), we will provide feedback in the event your piece is not accepted for publication.


We all feel very strongly about these charities, and as the saying goes: Any amount helps at all.

Please note: We will not respond (accept/reject) pieces until after a submissions period is closed. You are free to query us, but our method is to read every piece we get, even ones submitted at 11:59 PM on the last day. It's important to us that every piece gets the same care and attention. This also means we generally need a small buffer of time after submissions close to read and gauge pieces.

We’re excited to read your work! For additional info, click here!

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And where does gratitude, unexpressed, go? I’m not interested in washing it from my body like sand on skin after hours at the ocean. What I want is a place to put it: public. Or, semi-public. Maybe we could make it password-protected. People could go if they needed to be around some gratitude. Could ask a friend for the entry code, like the hot tubs near Ashby where I would’ve wanted to bring him. Where I try to get so boiling that I stop thinking for a few minutes. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between gratitude, longing, and hate. It needs a somewhere, besides inside me where it bubbles, too much to contain. A parklet or a secret bar or an underground cathedral. All of which are, I guess, already effigies.

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Janet Frishberg is currently at work on a memoir about grief, writing, and friendship. Her work has been published in Catapult, Electric Literature, and The Rumpus, among othersYou can find her on Twitter @jfrishberg.


The first time was an accident. One minute they were just walking, taking a shortcut through Myrtle Timmins, the lush green trees of late spring crowding all around them, and the next, her back was up against a gravestone, and his breath was hot on her neck. They could hear the voice of a preacher cataloging the many virtues of a recently deceased dentist, and, in a way that nothing ever had before, the booming cadence of the religious man’s speech sent Marianne’s eyes heavenward. It was difficult to explain, really. She was spiritual, yes, but not religious. She hadn’t been to church in sixteen years. And yet, here she was, a grown woman, pinned to a granite slab, whispering more, more, more into the ear of a man who was not her husband. The man began a series of tiny bites leading from her earlobe to her collarbone. She closed her eyes, focused on the sensation, delighting in the preacher’s voice—both somber and enthusiastic—as he declared, “and let us not forget that this is a man who showered his mercy on those in need again and again!” Yes, she thought, again and again and again. The man began to peel back her blouse, exposing her pale flesh to the bright southern sun hanging over their heads. Her fingers curled into his hair, and her back arched as the preacher’s words rang out, rich and flowing, like honey. The preacher began to speak of sin. Of the fire and the brimstone and the many natural and just punishments that would come to those who were not so virtuous as the man who lay before them. His voice sank deeper, and he sounded truly sorrowful as he laid out the many ways in which one could invoke the wrath of the Lord our God. The list went on and on, and Marianne grew dizzy with every mention of death and judgment and the watchful gaze of the one and only Lord above. And she smiled as waves of pleasure washed over her, saying only “my god, my god.”



Kori Linn is a life coach who uses her storytelling skills to help clients build lives they love. Before that, she designed corporate communications (and even had fun doing it). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. You can find her work in Nailed Magazine and The Monarch Review. Come say hi at


The summer you laser off all your hair is the same summer your twin sister’s left breast becomes unfaithful, lets something else in. That’s how she’s doing: the language of an affair. You’re coming back from your first appointment—belly, when she calls. “Hairless as the day I was born,” you cheer, passengers’ eyes around you lifting. A lanky guy who looks like a boy you once went to school with straightens up. “Lump,” your sister says, her voice a wet mop. “What a dick.”

Next appointment: armpits. The doctor warned this one might be more painful, and you find yourself thinking about pain, being in it, how much you’ll be able to take. The sky today is dirt blue. The boy who looks like Michael sits across from you, his face in a paperback. You want to ask him what word he’s on, and if it’s a good one could you borrow it?

“Lumpy,” your sister says, eight hundred miles away. “Lumpelstiltskin.”

“That doesn’t even make sense.”

“A bad joke always makes sense.”

It’s blazing hot, humid. Your asshole is a real asshole. You can’t sit. The train’s packed. You stand and nose-breathe. You’re craving something: bubblegum, glass of lemonade, swimming. You close your eyes, ass prickling, remembering when your mother took you and Jen to the public pool; how you sprung off the high-dive, Jen yelling cannonball! at the top of her lungs. Back when the only hair you cared about—on your head. The only problem with breasts—not having any.

“Bastard’s taking off,” she says, then switches the subject. “When are you coming?” Her voice is a girl’s.

The next time you see Michael, you reason he must live practically on top of you. You consider asking him, in an easy-going way: Michael, do you live on top of me? Don’t you remember you left me? Ten stops later the doors shut with him inside and you out. You consider palming the door. “Come back,” you say, your throat tar-hot, “come here.”  

On Friday your mother calls. “I have an appointment,” you say. The line’s a cold hand. “Julie,” she says, making your name into a newfound cruelty. “Mom,” you say, but it’s not the same.

Vagina’s a motherfucker. You stay in bed, call in sick. The thing with your hair isn’t a sign of solidarity, you want to tell everyone, it’s the opposite.

Last one: eyebrows/lip. The sky’s a sickly green. It reminds you of home, tornado season. Your sister crawling into the bathtub, holding you against her chest, whispering: I bet you could fit yourself inside something tornado-big, no problem. “Imagine a tube of lipstick,” she’d say. Think how easy it’d be to hide. All you’d have to do was wait for someone to come, pick you up, pop the cap. Twist, twist. Until all of you was out, exposed like a shadow. Until a small voice leaned close to the top of your pink little shadow-head, asked: what went wrong, honey? Do you even know?


Emily Harnden holds an MFA in fiction from Colorado State University. She was recently named an AWP Intro Award winner in creative nonfiction, and has work forthcoming from Puerto del Sol, the Normal School, and the Adroit Journal. Originally from small-town Illinois, she currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.


The book full of dead men appears in the reading station the final week of third grade. It’s Corrine who finds it first, tucked behind a Berenstain Bears. Its title’s a description, a hook, maybe a warning: Buried in Ice! As to-the-point as the picture of the dead man on the cover, not a drawing, but a real full-color photograph. Corrine takes in his milky eyes and parchment skin, the lips that curl back over teeth frozen mid-chatter. His nose is black from frostbite. Corrine lifts a finger to her own nose, traces the scar she earned in January when her sled hit a thorn bush.

In the book, between a lot of names and dates and vocabulary words, she finds more dead men, just as ugly as the first.

She glances up, on guard but giddy, like when the girls found the porno under Amanda’s brother’s mattress. Her classmates are busy at the computer and Lego stations, all but Kyle, who skims a Zoobooks about gorillas, and Ryan, who’s got an issue of Cracked hidden inside an encyclopedia volume. Corrine snaps her fingers and motions the boys closer. When they come, she slips the book across the reading rug like contraband.

Ryan’s eyes pop wide. “What the shit is this?” Shit’s his favorite word this month. He’s already earned two detentions for saying it within earshot of Mrs. Lee.

Kyle lifts the book to his face to inspect more closely. He starts flipping through but then wrinkles his nose and tosses it back to Corrine. “Smells weird.”

Corrine buries her face between the pages. She smells rotten flesh and old pennies. “Blood.”

“Nuh uh!” says Ryan, though he tears the book from her hands anyway. He sniffs once, tentative, then again with gusto, like he’s appraising a wine’s bouquet. Over the summer, he will dream the dead men lie in coffins beneath his bed. He’ll wake screaming until his stomach cramps with the effort of forcing out all those screams.

“I bet they got blood all over the film when they took those pictures,” says Corrine. “Mummy blood.”

The boys nod. “Must’ve,” says Ryan. “Shit.”

They pass the book around, inhaling. They learn the dead men’s names, all the ways you can die on an Arctic expedition. What a stroke of luck to have found the dead men at all, when the rest of the expedition vanished, crew and ships alike. They learn the ships’ names, too, whisper them like curses. Erebus. Terror.

Kyle notices that one dead man has his limbs bound with strips of cloth. “In case he tried to get out,” he reasons, but the Arctic’s a desert. Where would he have gone?

At recess, Corinne lies down behind the playground’s maple tree. The boys grab fistfuls of mulch, sprinkle it over her. It’s sunbaked, smells sickly sweet. She pretends that it’s ice, bright and crystalline, enough to anchor a body right here for the next hundred years, maybe longer, maybe forever.

Sutton Strother is a writer and composition instructor living in New York. Her work has appeared or will appear in Natural BridgeLongleaf ReviewEllipsis ZineCitron ReviewJellyfish Review, and elsewhere.


It’s her dress I notice first. Same fabric as my bedcover, a garish crimson against sea-green floral that I’d bought for the exact purpose of pissing you off. Our house was made for summer, so come winter it was layered over a stack of musty blankets, pulled up tight around our necks.

She is holding a glass of wine, looking closely at your red painting. You had given it another name, something arty, but we both knew it came from bloodstained sheets.

It is never too soon to look ahead. You taught me that. Come winter she could be my human bed cover. When I come home late at night I will fall onto her and be embraced by floral arms.

The inside of her neck smells like old lipstick, and when she turns her chin towards me there is a faint bristle against my cheek. She does not move, make noises in her sleep, or have a sudden need to create in the dark of the night. I have always been an early waker - slid easily from under heavy arms. No need now. She wakes as I do, gently removes one arm after the other, unwraps me like a fragile package. I considerately turn away my morning breath, prop pillows behind her head, and bring her a cup of tea—white with half a sugar.

And then she moves two steps to the right, wine slips against glass and in a camouflage of crimson-green-red, colours shift like light on ice patterned windows, and I can no longer see where she begins and I end, or where we were.

I sleep with arms and legs wide these days.


Rachel Smith lives and writes in the Cook Islands. Her flash and short fiction, and poetry, has been published in print and online journals in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas. She was placed second in 2017 NZ National Flash Fiction Day, is the fiction editor for takahē, and scriptwriter for a feature film Stranded Pearl, due to be released in 2018. Find her at @rachelmsmithnz1 and