Featured Stories

The Fates

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As I looked out the window, leaves were randomly floating to the ground. It was their destiny from the time they were formed on the trees in the Spring to lie scattered on the lawn this Fall. It had been my destiny to go to war, survive, get married, raise two kids, and become divorced. Now this… My thoughts drifted …

May 26, 2018 :: 0 comments

Between You, Me, and The Devil

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We got this one sayin’ — really a lotta sayins up here, but my personal favorite is: “hell ain’t worth a damn ‘less you know why you’re damned.” I ain’t paraphrasin’ neither. We don’t have no time for paraphrasin’ up here. That’s right, you’ll find out soon, once you too get damned. Hell is actually above all you regular type …

May 19, 2018 :: 0 comments

The Cuckoo That Couldn’t

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Is destiny carved or does instinct win out? What causes a species to thrive or thin out? Are queries and theories the puzzles they seem? Let’s hark to a cuckoo tale spun from a dream. There once was a cuckoo who happened to grow into a rare nestling that needed to know about all the whispers and strange twittered words …

May 12, 2018 :: 0 comments

Contributed Stories (Past Year)

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50/50

by on January 13, 2018 :: 0 comments

Springtime we used to drink mostly in our favorite joint 50/50, anywhere closer was dangerous cuz cops might appear at any time. Our guys drank Three Axes, cheap rotgut, and talked, especially sport and politics. Sometimes they went out to take a leak and some of them never came back. On that very evening I got loaded. As usual. All …

A Gathering of Generations

by on October 7, 2017 :: 0 comments

An old man, a poet of the generation of Kerouac, Corso and Ginsburg, is at the lectern tonight in the auditorium of a small college nestled in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Although widely published for many years, both in the United States and abroad, he has never done a reading of his work. He attended a reading once, back in …

A Night without Stars

by on June 24, 2017 :: 0 comments

“My planet sweet on a silver salver,” she said. “What?” he asked. “Dana, that makes no sense, none.” “What doesn’t?” Dana asked. “It’s a song lyric, Echo and the Bunnymen.” “Oh,” he said. “I don’t know them.” “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “No,” he said. “I suppose not.” “Besides, I came out here to have a break, I didn’t want …

Actuality

by on December 16, 2017 :: 0 comments

Griffin liked to arrive early enough to cruise by the parking lot until a 15-minutes-only space opened. There, he would sit in the car for half an hour, rearview mirror tilted at the coffee shop. The seat belt could be undone in an instant, but first impressions couldn’t. He’d know her when she arrived, but the women rarely embodied their …

Aftermath

by on June 10, 2017 :: 0 comments

Denzel couldn’t conceive of anything but jail time in his future. Even if his trial was completed before he turned eighteen, he might be sentenced as an adult despite the fact he hadn’t cause Zoe’s death. They had been skimming rocks across Kinzua Lake. Denzel had proposed a fishing date, figuring they’d find a spot along the twenty plus mile …

Basic Needs

by on March 3, 2018 :: 0 comments

~1~ You know exactly what it feels like when you really need to pee. And you can’t get to a bathroom fast enough. I have found myself in that situation far too many times. But the time that was perhaps the worst was when I arrived at a crowded party, headed right to the bathroom, and found a line of …

Bloody Rock

by on September 10, 2017 :: 0 comments

The sun was blazing green hues, the earth was sprouting blood like dust. The wind was icy and heavy- almost suffocating. Sunburnt twisted limbs dug. They fissured the serum of earth with violence and tickled the tarnished soil with their sickles and spades. Each brutal sweat evaporated into miasma. The wailing chill swallowed the filth, the trauma. Violence sniffled into …

Boomerang

by on August 12, 2017 :: 0 comments

She sat like a statue on a charpoy, staring vacuously in the space. A plate with lentil curry and bread was lying beside her but she seemed to have no appetite. She was a middle-aged woman with attractive features but a forlorn look on her swarthy face, her hair unkempt and dusty. She has not changed clothes for five days. …

Charcoal Gray – and other passages from The Autobiography of a Granada Cat – As told to Harley White

by on July 29, 2017 :: 3 comments

photo “Charcoal Gray” (above) by Kirk W. Wangensteen Mark Twain asserted unequivocally, “If a man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve the man but deteriorate the cat.”—no comment from me. And there’s another by him, which expresses sentiments my lady embraced: “A home without a cat, and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat, may be a …

Cubie’s Corner

by on December 30, 2017 :: 0 comments

Cubie sat at his COSTCO-purchased, black leather folding card table. He began pondering the possibilities of another short work. He was lucky because he sold a crime novel of 38 chapters, and the sale brought him some free time for writing. I’m playing with the devil, though, and soon my luck will run out. The devil of luck with the …

Dark Matter Matters

by on January 20, 2018 :: 0 comments

Dark matter seems to be what isn’t there to be seen in between what we see. They dub it dark since you cannot detect it, nor can they inspect it with telescopy. Yet, while it can’t be descried, it cannot be denied for equations that irk to work. Should dark matter matter, would dark matter matter a titter or twitter, …

Durkin’s Time

by on April 14, 2018 :: 0 comments

In an apartment near New York’s Central Park, Carl Durkin sits in his study, oblivious to the street below. At first sight, he has a tanned, healthy complexion. Up close, his skin is damaged, pockmarked. Despite the portentous financial news scrolling across his TV, he is relaxed. During a lull in the broadcast, he is joined by a visitor. Someone …

Eventually

by on May 5, 2018 :: 0 comments

The kitchen floor was still damp but she squatted, still trembling from the shock of the untoward incident. It was purely accidental and she had no regrets. It was preordained that way. He was incorrigibly testy, always chastising her for being “childless.” His propensity to criticize had corroded their relationship. After giving vent to his anger and frustration upon her, …

For the Love of Santa

by on August 26, 2017 :: 0 comments

Ever since I was a zygote, my father told me that Santa wasn’t real. I’d unwrap my presents on Christmas and afterwards he’d show me all of the receipts and tell me that they didn’t come from the North Pole but from KMart. He’d tell me it would be physically impossible to live on the North Pole unless you’re a …

From the Lips of an Old Sea Captain

by on May 27, 2017 :: 0 comments

Or rather, I suppose I shall tell you now. You see, Bent was part of a British expedition expect’d to go around the horn of Africa, but three weeks after sailing out of Tenerife, the crew discover’d that a strange kind of mold was growing inside a majority of their water barrels, making the water undrinkable. They had to make …

Hairdon’t

by on March 31, 2018 :: 0 comments

The dining hall at Cape Rush College, panopticon, explosive diarrhea universal. Zak sat down to dinner at the table with Jase Hantman and the friends they had in common. And Zak Block had no friends at the table, and that’s what made this unusual. The table, in the dining hall at Cape Rush College, and the dining hall was a …

Hands of Home

by on July 22, 2017 :: 0 comments

Chevy stepside rust fades when Texas horizons distort from blue to grey, promising only the crawl of darkness. Stark against crepuscular atmosphere slants a white house filthy from foundation to deteriorated shingles. The frame sags into dry Texas soil. Ancient worms and creation’s bones partially devour what’s inside, memories of no one who returns here, hands in pockets hoping to …

Hush, Sweet

by on January 27, 2018 :: 0 comments

Of course I couldn’t find my sunglasses on what turned out to be the most blinding day of the year, also known as the day Jeff and Ally got married. “It’s rude to wear sunglasses to a wedding,” my own wife reminded me, hand on hip, watching as I lifted everything but the refrigerator in my quest. “According to who, …

Jack’s Cow

by on August 5, 2017 :: 0 comments

Jack and his mother were so poor they had only a cow. When the cow stopped giving milk, his mother told Jack to sell the cow. You knew that. What about the rest of the story? What about the old man with the beans? Why trade magic beans for a cow? The old man was a secret wizard and was …

Larry’s Karma

by on March 23, 2018 :: 0 comments

“Kerouac would have hated the computer.” “And why is that?” “It would be too tempting to change things.” They always got into that. ••••••• The story was good. It was about a fight in a bar which our writer had the pleasure of witnessing, having been then employed as a musician in that bar. The owner, named Nicky Holiday, was …

Lost in Translation?

by on February 10, 2018 :: 0 comments

It didn’t take me a second to fall for his eyes. Hazelnut brown, a tinge of blue and there I was. Flat on a floor, heart beating on the ground, tongue-tied. He was the only man in the room that did not mind me whistling. In fact, it appealed to his senses so much that I’d be greeted with surprise …

Low Key Elephant Man or Whatever

by on June 3, 2017 :: 0 comments

“David, come with me, please.” Mr. Watson thundered. His normally happy, half stoned face was solemn as he pushed himself up from his desk and gestured toward the hallway. Everyone in the classroom looked up from their quizzes and love notes and knives gouging fancy S’s into the desks to watch me follow Mr. Watson into the hall. I glanced …

M-Theory Musings

by on October 21, 2017 :: 0 comments

What theory unifies forces, weak, strong, with gravity— also, to which belong all the string theories of why and because? To answer these queries, M-theory does. Proponents aver it offers clarity as to the issue of singularity. Where there’s a will there’s a way, so they say… In the beginning our universe sprang from membranes colliding to cause a Big …

Magic

by on July 15, 2017 :: 1 comment

I grew up thinking my mother was magic. She recited memorized poetry in the bath every night and when she was home (which was often), she was naked, if not in her long silk robe that always drooped lazily, untied, and exposing her all the same. She smelt of rum and frankincense and had hair so long and so thick …

McGillicuddy’s Wake

by on July 1, 2017 :: 0 comments

Two new crutches and two double shots of Bushmills Irish Whiskey enabled Joe Faherty to move from the back seat of Moira Murphy’s 1976 Buick into Eagan’s Funeral Home for Tim McGillicuddy’s wake. At 87, Joe was in bad shape, only a tad better than McGillicuddy who looked splendid in a rococo casket. The way the funeral home had painted …

Mehr

by on October 28, 2017 :: 1 comment

The excitement of the new project had begun to fade away. Adventure became regular in face. My enthusiasm level was at five then, not completely worn off but I was in need of a caffeine shot to wake up from the drowsy non-happening routine. I had already been to all the markets and captured culture on a reel. The initial …

Negotiating with Hostage-Takers

by on September 30, 2017 :: 0 comments

It made no sense to Montgomery that a brilliant man, i.e. himself, couldn’t negotiate with the neighborhood bully for the release of his granddaughter’s kitten. Accordingly, he grabbed his favorite rake and a handful of plastic garbage bags and headed toward the delinquent’s house. Partway there, he turned to regard the footfall of the person following him. That awful kid …

Pain and Perfume

by on November 18, 2017 :: 0 comments

The sandwich shop sneeze guard is layered with disgust, a windshield driven through a locust plague. Braelynn leaves the stack of hardening foot-long shells of bread to clean the circular common patio table of ladies who arrived fifteen minutes until closing time in a Baptist shuttle to order twelve six inch tuna sandwiches. No chips, diet Pepsis. Across the floor, …

Proposition 29

by on March 10, 2018 :: 0 comments

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all the slaves. And yet slavery is widespread in the United States in the 21st century. Only today the slaves are called robots. Robots are owned by human beings. They are not paid for their labor. In most places they have no rights. They do not get the nights or weekends …

Rio Negro

by on January 6, 2018 :: 0 comments

They thought that for him there is no more salvation and decided on the last, desperate move. Early in the dawn, they went by boat to the outer limits coast and stopped at the place where the sea flows into a specific river, supposedly healing, but no one came back from where it was left. Something had barely spoken for …

Saints

by on October 14, 2017 :: 0 comments

In the Egyptian desert, prayer in the air, the legend about the origin in an ancient tomb in golden letters written memories. Hordes of demons in the year of the wilderness, the cry from the grave, the light in the sand, hordes are getting closer, changing shape, a saint in heaven hermit in prayer, the girl in the river. River …

Scales

by on September 16, 2017 :: 0 comments

Come in! came a voice. Hurley went in and confronted a bald well-built man in a wife beater undershirt with an electric guitar strapped on, playing scales slowly with no amplifier to the tick tock of a tall red metronome. He didn’t stop when he saw Hurley. He just nodded What do you need? I need your name. The ticking …

Shade of Silhouettes

by on February 3, 2018 :: 0 comments

The shadowy figures were looking in on the captive with great interest. There was a mist that was shifting across the room that made the shadows seem all the less distinct. The entire room seemed to be saying perpetually. There was a kind of exhaustion about everything which wouldn’t exactly be defined. It was what it was. And it was …

Tales of a Grunt’s Battered Battle Boots

by on November 11, 2017 :: 0 comments

If these well-worn, war-torn, badly sand beaten, sad looking field boots had a voice, the tales they would tell of scenes they had seen when they once enveloped this grunt’s feet. As I pulled these battered boots from an old forgotten box of Marine Corps memorabilia that I was sifting thru, this duo spoke to me and presented the keys …

Texas Oceanfront Property

by on April 21, 2018 :: 0 comments

“Let’s go into the blue,” was how I invited her to trespass onto the backyard dock. We weren’t prepared for more murk than color over our borrowed sludge lagoon. Sand was as far away as winter and we had splintery wood planks offering our bodies to lake water dragged twice this year already. Sounds of tree services already hacking and …

The Answer

by on April 28, 2018 :: 0 comments

Roy looks in the mirror. Says “What am I doing with my life?” and feels worried after he says it because he said it reflexively. He’s wearing a red and white shirt. He has short brown hair and a beard. “So how’ve you been,” said Ariel. He reached into his bag and surreptitiously pulled out the answer. “I’ve been good. …

The Boy by the Window

by on February 17, 2018 :: 0 comments

The boy by the window looked out and wondered what was special about the day. It was same as yesterday, identical to any other day. He was prohibited to look out of the window. He thought of how and why such restrictions were imposed on him. In his heart, he knew the truth. His parents didn’t know any better. They …

The Cholesterol Epidemic

by on February 24, 2018 :: 0 comments

No need to fudge on the details, give them scope. Let them dominate the sketch. For instance, the orange art deco chair and ottoman you found at a flea market. You stopped using them after the termite infestation. The termites have long since fled their porous frames. Insecticide sprayed late destroyed any malingerers. Death comes in many guises. That is …

THE DEEP STATE

by on August 20, 2017 :: 0 comments

***URGENT*** AS SOON AS YOU GET THIS MESSAGE, DECODE AND READ IT. THEN DESTROY IT ELECTRONICALLY SO THAT IT CANNOT BE RECOVERED ••• Human beings have shown themselves to be too stupid to govern themselves. They fall for the most outrageous lies and vote for candidates who are clearly unfit to govern. Our movement was started to protect people from …

The Firestorm

by on November 26, 2017 :: 0 comments

What did Gary Hartnel expect for Pell Grant funded education, the classical intellectualism? For that he would have needed a passport and a time machine. No, these were the days of hurry-up and get a piece of paper and a job days. By 2005, however, learning Latin and Greek, or studying philosophy in the original German, was thought to be …

The Fish Avenger

by on December 23, 2017 :: 1 comment

I never forget summer at our little cottage by the lake. We swam in the mere’s crystal clear water between building our own tree house. My father made a blueprint for a cabin and we spent hours making our high-situated shack. It was almost finished and we couldn’t wait to spend the first night up in a tree with owls …

The Further Adventures of Juvenile Delinquent

by on September 23, 2017 :: 0 comments

What I heard in my head was William De Vaughn’s “Be Thankful for What You’ve Got.” There wasn’t a diamond in the back. What was actually playing was a loop of the same five rap songs that apparently our driver picked to put him in El Capo/Pimpin’ mode. I could make some under the table paper, let the driver. You …

The Internet of Things

by on December 9, 2017 :: 1 comment

I’m writing this from Motel Six, where I have been staying for the last three weeks. I have a nice little house in the suburbs but my wife Stella won‘t let me back home. Stella is a good woman even if she’s stuck in the last century. She still has a flip phone, and she won’t have anything to do …

The Mitzvah Gig

by on April 7, 2018 :: 0 comments

1. I don’t remember her name. Let’s call her Sarah. I do remember where she worked: the Kfar Shaul Psychiatric Hospital, as some kind of psychiatric social worker. Like me, she was a new immigrant to Israel, and we both sang in a chamber choir in Jerusalem. “Is it true you’re in a band?” she asked me one evening during …

The Puppeteer

by on July 8, 2017 :: 0 comments

Bobo inherited the corporation from his father, becoming the principal shareholder and chairman of the board of directors. His first executive action was to have a meeting with the management team to brainstorm new ideas for the budget. “I think we should invest more in long term infrastructure,” said Manager #9. “A review of current tax liabilities and implications would …

The Purest Rain

by on December 2, 2017 :: 0 comments

I once was, we once were, ordinary people, like you. Being together we have become one mind. I am sorry if our writing is clumsy. We don’t speak, write or use words any longer. Our thoughts are felt by each other before we have them. The ideas of I and we aren’t as clear as they may be for you, …

The Showing of the Psychic Wares of Patricia Styles

by on November 4, 2017 :: 0 comments

Peter Styles checked and double-checked his messages. She was going through with it. Patricia Styles, his sister-in-law, was putting her psychic wares on the market. She had listed them in an ad posted online and shared across her networks. Everything must go! Peter had been asked by Patricia to an advance showing in the event that he happened to like …

The Spongebob Toy

by on March 17, 2018 :: 0 comments

I walked into a very strange looking room. There were bright lights everywhere and all I could make out of the room was that it was very huge. I asked myself why I wasn’t blinded by the bright lights. Then all of a sudden, I felt something on my face as soon as I thought of that. Sunglasses appeared on …

This Is What Love Is About

by on September 2, 2017 :: 0 comments

“You see, there’s always an increase in stake and a gap and a back up against the wall. Now, look…” He flicked his cigarette. “No matter how much you write, you want more.” Lilly was just listening. Herb was in one of his moods. “It was cool, so clever, the way that thing just arrived in me.” Herb lit another …

Under a Wilder Sun

by on June 17, 2017 :: 0 comments

Above the decorative bells, mounted within the steeple of the Lutheran church, a pair of loud speakers blare a recording of bells. The ringing falls from its rafters like shattered glass on pavement. Parishioners mill around, wearing polite smiles that match their Sunday best. Mouths move, heads nod, but no one can hear the other. As long as nothing is …

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