Featured Stories

Repressed Slumber Party Memory Syndrome

memories-set-in-stone
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It was the night of the slumber party. The little brother served bowls of ridged potato chips and garlic and onion dip to the teenage sister and her friends in pajamas. But wait! Wasn’t there a truck driving past the house at that moment? Try to remember! The truck was painted violet with decorative tendrils of fuchsia, and silver, remember? …

December 2, 2016 :: 0 comments

Chicken Breast or Rump Roast

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Freddie and Fern were an old couple, a very old couple if truth be told, but on the matter of age, the truth seldom surfaced. Their kids were grown and gone and had families of their own. All of them lived in different cities and two of them had even asked their parents to sell the house and buy a …

November 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

In the Summertime

sorry_no_cruisin_for_boozin
by


I remember one outstanding summer day. Not very hot, with occasional warm rain, but also with a lot of sunshine when you can sit with your buddies in the yard, in the shade, and drink vodka. Perfect. 

The day before I had drunk with my wife all night long and in the morning, she, as usual, went to look for …

November 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

Contributed Stories (Past Year)

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A Swan’s Memory

by on October 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

When I was seven years old, my father dragged me onto one of those swan pedal boats they used to have at the beach. It was so hot the seatbelt buckle burned my fingers every time I touched it. Staring at the water, I wished I knew how to swim so I could jump right in. While Dad was peddling, …

Aksinya

by on January 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

I can’t for the fuck of me understand Aksinya. One moment she’s bald and the next she wears blue hair. One moment she is demure and sad and nothing will cheer her up, than she is the tumult of the falls and starts to fight. That day we sat on a bench in broad daylight on Kozlov St., near the …

ANOTHER MARK AGAINST VANITIES AND BOOK COVERS

by on October 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Never judge a book by its cover. I learned this from a small incident that would almost disappear into the shadows of history, were it not for the power of memory that can’t help wanting to retrieve it, and others like it, and, too often, does. I was a handsome guitarist in a late-teens, 20’s and 30’s bar called the …

Boredom

by on June 10, 2016 :: 0 comments

In the evening my phone rang. Nobody had called me for ages. I thought that all the people I ever knew had died already. It was so boring. And suddenly it turned out an old friend remembered me. I have not seen him for a thousand years. Since he had gone into business, we parted ways. Here, all of a …

Coroner’s Office

by on January 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

I thought the worst part of going to work for the Coroner’s office would be the emulsified bodies, the stink of rot hanging in my clothes, an air of finality about my demeanor, decay of the soul and spirit, moral jaundice, an urge to buy new shoes every other week, and wondering at the end of each shift what the …

Cussin’ Paul Gets Religion

by on January 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Word spread fast at the poker club where the retired men of the community meet to play almost every day but not on Sunday out of respect for those who went to church. But this is Saturday and the word is out that Cussin’ Paul, in his 80s now, a charter member, wouldn’t be coming to play anymore. The word …

Diane

by on April 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

The way I see it, Diane, you know, I did her a favor, the way things were going I hate to say it, but I would have needed to kill her, reporters flying in from New York and Los Angeles to interview her and write her up in magazines, she got her colored picture in Gentlemen’s Quarterly, couples we knew …

Dr. Chapman’s Insight

by on April 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Dr. Chapman had been valedictorian of his class in high school and college but had finished second in his class in medical school, something that still bothered him after 30 years of successful practice in a small city. Many patients traveled from all over the state to see him. Over the years, he had hired a number of practical nurses …

Earth Angel

by on September 9, 2016 :: 0 comments

Soon after it happened, police cars swarmed in, followed by a fire truck and an ambulance. She watched them all evening from her second floor window that looked out over the parking lot, red and blue and green lights swirling through the darkness like kaleidoscopic searchlights. Around midnight, upset and nervous, she went to bed, wondering if she should check …

Emergency

by on July 1, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Nine, one, one. What is your emergency?” asked the Dispatcher at 6:03 in the evening in the County San Diego Operation Center. “My daughter is being abused by her father,” yelled a woman. “What’s your name?” “Susan Johnson.” “Are you a witness to the incident?” “No. A neighbor heard my daughter’s screams and called me.” “Is this the first time …

F.T.P.

by on May 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

“I think you like it rough.” Her eyes stared at the detective blankly. “Excuse me?” “And I think…” he sat back in his chair and clasped his hands over his belted khakis, “you didn’t want your parents to find out that you had sex with a black guy. You’re embarrassed, so you said it’s rape. Am I right?” His gold …

For Rosealie

by on January 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Outside, the chair was right in front of the building, and they were drinking rotgut wine. I noticed two Latinos and a West Indian with one of those high caps with yellow, green and red swirls. One of the Latinos wore a waist length, brown army jacket. The third guy was in a big, overstuffed armchair, springs splitting through. He …

Frieze in Miniature

by on June 3, 2016 :: 0 comments

Sunday and snow. A promise made— a promise kept. Laden with oranges, apples, chips, crackers graham, muenster, and wine to placate my misgivings, a thermos of cold water, mittens, blankets, and four rain-booted children bundled for snowball battles, quivered with impatience— up Angeles Crest we plunged. Destination— snow— 7000 feet. Carsick children— and me. Still no snow. Destination— Big Pine. …

Headbang

by on December 26, 2015 :: 0 comments

The jukebox dared to play New Moon. “Charlie, who put this on?” “Weren’t me, it’s one of those tossers over there,” shrugged Charlie. Tony cast a fury glance at Soulboy, Dollop, who wore his muscles under his belly and Library Lad. “They come in our pub and stick their crap on, it ain’t right is it, Sid?” Sid followed Tony’s …

Hennessy on the Rocks

by on August 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

I know this older lady who left her soul in every barstool across the city. She appeared to be this beautiful shade of lost with just a hint of recognition. Her eyes told this alluring story that I was interested in finding out, and I eventually did. The night I met her she told me she dreamt of being a …

Henry Showed Wendy His Paintings

by on August 13, 2016 :: 0 comments

Henry and Wendy Throckmorton had been married a week when Henry took Wendy to his garret 100 miles south of their estate in posh Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago. Wendy thought she was going on a delayed honeymoon. Henry had never told her that he was a painter by avocation. She knew only that he was a successful patent attorney …

I Was Here First

by on July 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

People leaving the stairwell entry in the front row of the bullring’s top tier kept stopping to admire the view, moving on when hearing: “Fucking move!” When Mohican screamed, he stood up. He had stood up a lot. He was in the front row beside the entry. “You’re in the fucking way!” he belched, for the twenty-fifth time. Stunned faces …

In Vino Veritas

by on April 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

I hit the bell boy up for breath mints and on the way up to the bar in the lift and finger combed my hair and repeated my drunken mantra which I believed would allow clear speech: A proper cup of coffee from a Proper copper coffee pot A proper cup of coffee from a proper Copper coffee pot A …

Internet Dating

by on May 20, 2016 :: 0 comments

Mick went out that evening. There was the Purity Restaurant over on 7th Street and 7th Avenue. Mick was a little down on his luck, figured 7, 11…dice, numbers like that. Walked into The Purity. The place used to be owned by a couple of Greeks and is now owned by a couple of Italians. It also relocated from Union …

Inverse Veritas

by on October 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Detective Earl Horsewhite, as I live and breathe, it is you!” Mona LaPiere, chanteuse extraordinaire, had been lounging in the San Angelo P.D. interrogation room for a half an hour, behaving as though she was pool-side at the Hilton. Earl had been observing her the entire time, memories of love and suffering fighting his professional judgment. She’d been exonerated of …

Jimmy the Human

by on August 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

Jimmy the human. Well, vaguely human. It’s been a long thirty years on the factory floor, A robotic existence, but you’ve made a feed For yourself and the factory fodder you and your wife Spawned at intervals: Funny how their conception times to Celebrations of promotion and pay rises. Like hey baby, I’m financial: let’s procreate! Escape. Lest the mewling …

Killing the Rapist

by on March 4, 2016 :: 0 comments

He buried his corpse in an open field. The evening was filled with utter silence and no living person passed the site. The sky looked perfect pale by the rays of glowing moon. Ajay dusts off his hands clapping strongly, lifts the shovel and starts punching the mud to flatten it. After finishing up he stands unmoved, overwhelmed with pride, …

Letter to Myself

by on April 1, 2016 :: 0 comments

Hello, Nearly Departed: Death has visited you, but yet you still remain. Death has no sting, only a stench. I am writing you to keep the light of life burning bright in you. I wrote this to myself after I was nearly murdered two and a half years ago. Here is what I wrote for all of you, who like …

Love That Moon: A Poem in Three Parts

by on June 21, 2016 :: 1 comment

One: Jefferson We sat on the front porch, the whole lot of us, the Washington family, knowing that yes our folk of all different hues of brown, were born of the first father of our country, our country too. Granny, born of a young slave girl, had nearly died today, fell down once again, not good for much, she was …

Midas Eye

by on February 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I am aware of the fingers clutching my jaw, the green eyes that incarcerate my shrinking visual field. He won’t come with me, not this time, this time it’s a rite of passage. He blows the smoke into my mouth. I feel my uvula shudder. Today I become a man or I lose my shit trying. Leaves and slicks of …

Milk Thistle and Fenugreek

by on March 11, 2016 :: 0 comments

While I’m the recipient of Happy Springs’ Senior Citizen Prize, I can’t comprehend why my art’s heralded as precious. Five-year-olds can knock together found objects. True sandbox pals attribute value to most refuge, even stuff, which after being turrets and moats, is tossed aside as bottle caps, lost memory sticks, broken rubber bands, and paper clips-gone-wonky. When my neighbor Jim-Jam …

Night at The Dakota

by on July 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Nobody likes “the professor,” but he does throw great parties. Lots of good-looking yuppies, excellent food and an open bar. A distinguished professor of psychology at the City University, he owns a huge apartment in The Dakota, a landmarked building on Central Park West. He never could have afforded it on his salary but he earns substantial royalties from his …

One Billion Stoned

by on February 12, 2016 :: 0 comments

So it goes like this. My good friend Morgan and I assumed the driving duties. Our other good pals Justin and Nick were in the back seats tripping their balls off on mushrooms saying how beautiful the trees were. Morgan drove the first half of the trip from campus and then we switched and I took over for the rest …

Permission Slip

by on February 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

I, __________, do hereby grant permission for my wife, Lucia Lopez-Costner, to have discreet sexual adventures with other men (or women) provided she agrees to the following terms and conditions: 1. Lucia agrees to have protected sex unless provided with current STD test results. 2. Lucia agrees to make clear that their business is strictly for pleasure, and nothing else …

Planet

by on October 21, 2016 :: 0 comments

Researchers at the Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Research Center were talking while looking at the wide screen showing numerous stars as dots, floating rocky planets and gaseous clusters. “This one is located twenty light years away. The planet should be habitable with the right gravity and pressure as is revolves around its star very comfortably in the goldilocks zone” “Does it have …

Regular Maintenance

by on March 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

Over the weekend my wife’s Honda wouldn’t start. I went out to the garage to tinker under the hood but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Monday morning, she said she was taking my Pontiac to work and I could walk. The bus stop was just around the corner from our house but I had to get off at …

Serpent’s Tale

by on April 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

My eyes are like diamonds, finely cut in the mirror. The outlines of my face waver, melting into the cracked walls behind me. My tie represents who I am. Neat, perfectly-strewn, nice. Together. There is no image in my head as I drive through the night. No faces of my dead mother or vanished father, just the recurring voice of …

Skies of Hell Flame


by on July 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

Texas heat beats down on the lawn in front of the house. There is a scorching wind gently blowing the blades of inch high grass. The grass is wet green, as if oils soaks through the surface to slicken the grass. The sun’s blaze doesn’t reach the inside of the house. Along with the tarantulas and snakes, it’s stopped at …

Smells

by on May 6, 2016 :: 0 comments

Working at home, I decided to take a smoke break. I started a doobie and after what seemed like hours and my coffee smell stale I decided to go out and get a beer. At 7-11, I smelled hotdogs so I got the twofer, it was getting to be lunch time after all. I added some onions some mustard and …

Stoop Dreams

by on January 2, 2016 :: 1 comment

We used to lay together on days so hot the hydrants spewed water with firefighter’s blessings and I’d throw off all but my big girl’s panties and feel your holy brown stone on my bare stomach as you cooed the hum of air conditioning units into my soul “Do you mind?” I’d ask, smothering you with chalk till you breathed …

The Brooklyn Hallelujah

by on March 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I’d like to thank God and Long Island and the Dutch for giving me the Hallelujah of naked sunbathing 300 feet above Red Hook with Russian dicks and rooftop fellatio atop century old abandoned warehouses with their apathetic dock workers, black netting condemning the building and freeing our nights to watch the sunrise, to camp out in this cement sanctuary …

The Golden Sunshine

by on November 11, 2016 :: 0 comments

I saw Jadene, my neighbor across the street, take a sledgehammer to her small brick house. She was working on the east side, smacking the red bricks cemented in a row right above the cement pad, cracking bricks and then removing chunks with a small crow bar. I don’t know how long Jadene had been at the task. When I …

The Gun Shop

by on May 13, 2016 :: 0 comments

The gun shop sign, I have to admit, was shimmering. Other than that, it was a piece of shit, but the sun blessed the thing when I drove up. I was armed with statistics. My hands were shaky. I’d wanted to do this for a long time. I knew how many kids kill themselves with guns each year. I had …

The Idiots Heritage

by on November 4, 2016 :: 0 comments

Each street has its own imbecile, and such was the case with ours. His name was Vaja, with a stutter that caused him many troubles. Anybody could “pretend to be” Vaja and allow himself to babble everything. Nonetheless, sometimes it is useful to have such poor idiots. Vaja invented the word “Ке-ке”, which means: “someone has died.” One day some …

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

by on September 23, 2016 :: 0 comments

“Did you come?” She was quiet, laying there on her back, her eyes closed. I guessed she did. She acted that way. I was just asking. She didn’t answer. I felt stupid asking a second time, but did anyway. “Did you come?” I asked. “Yes! Yes!” she said in an exasperated tone. “I did.” “Sorry,” I said. “Don’t be sorry. …

The Other End of the Bar

by on July 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Jesus! What am I doing! Robert thought to himself. It was midday and he was alone in his tiny room with his mind in the salt shaker. He is quite strong. He benches 280 and arm curls 130. He is a writer who just lifts weights for something to do. He has been watching a lot of mixed martial arts …

The Train to Discomfort

by on June 24, 2016 :: 0 comments

David McConnell didn’t realize how tense he’d been until the train left German soil and entered Austria. In a few hours he’d be in Vienna and he and Julia would shop for a cleric. He let out a sigh and looked up from his week-old edition of the London Times. Sitting across from him was a large man with a …

The Twilight’s Last Gleaming

by on December 19, 2015 :: 1 comment

The thing he missed most was the sound of birdsong. After the change, you no longer heard birds. You might see birds high in the sky, now and again, far from humans, as if too frightened to come near. But you didn’t hear them. You couldn’t hear anything. There was a ringing that droned in his ears but he wasn’t …

The Wall

by on September 16, 2016 :: 2 comments

Once upon a once upon a time time time I gave up on my life—that is I gave up all the things that make life worth living. Like hoping, wanting, wishing—in fact I gave up as many feelings as I could get rid of. Strange how that works. You decide—only semi-awarely—to stop feeling pain. You put up a wall—invisible, impenetrable—surrounding …

Time, Dreams and Broken Stitches

by on October 14, 2016 :: 0 comments

My first born of two sons died nine years ago. It was the day after Easter Sunday and the month prior to his 18th birthday. Without warning and within moments our lives were unequivocally altered. We were pummeled to our knees, bloodied and broken by the happenstances of life. He died within 20 feet of his father and I… horrific …

Trade Relations in the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster

by on December 11, 2015 :: 0 comments

Reid was optimistic. The latest sales forecast located his zone in improved prosperity. Other leading economic indicators, too, looked rosy. There was a sharp increase in building permits in his region. As well, the dollar exchange rate had climbed, and unemployment claims had dropped. Whereas Reid wasn’t yet ready to invite Deidra to sample Champaign in his apartment, he was …

Transfiguration

by on February 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

There was no getting around it anymore—Annie’s stomach had become a definite protuberance. The problem seemed to be her fondness for food. Still, Annie was not devoid of the tendency toward self-evaluation. Browsing through the fashion-filled pages of Damsel magazine, she had become aware of another hunger experienced when studying the color portraits of lean, hollow-eyed models, accompanied by a …

Vote

by on September 2, 2016 :: 0 comments

The flyers up around the gayborhood didn’t say much: no date, no time, and no location. They just say VOTE: A NEW GAY DANCE CLUB – COMING SOON. It’s rumored to be inspired by Studio 54 back in its heyday—you know, when the bouncer handpicked the hot and important people outside the club. The address everyone is passing around is …

Who’s Who

by on August 20, 2016 :: 0 comments

Mr L.K.J. Portland was in shock. He couldn’t put his finger of what he’d done wrong. Well, to be truthful, he had done wrong—he’d taken an illegal turn and collided with an old car driven by a young woman. A nobody. That was what troubled Mr. Portland. The nobody was but a fly yet she stood her ground when he …

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