Featured Stories

The Pissing Contest

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The late morning sky was clear-eyed blue, rich, almost regal. There was no breeze, a soft November, the trees naked of leaves, the sun too bright. “Summer,” one of them muttered. None of them could remember a November this warm. They walked in a small cluster down the center of the street as was their practice: five boys, not a …

September 25, 2021 :: 0 comments

Shucks Among Aging Partners

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“Shucks! You shouldn’t have.” “I didn’t. I have no idea who sent ‘em.” “Jeepers! You really don’t care anymore.” “Of course, I do. I keep putting down the toilet lid.” “Gee, Willikers! That’s only been forty years in coming.” “Well, you still fart in your sleep.” “Son of a biscuit, how would you know?” “Haven’t been sleeping too well.” “Sweet …

September 18, 2021 :: 0 comments

Where Harry’s Buried

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As the two women approached the cemetery, June said, “Hey, this sign here says No Trespassing, No Digging, No Rubbers. It looks like, around here, rubbers are banned from cemeteries.” “I know lots of guys who’ve left rubbers in cemeteries. Don’t worry about it.” Janette said. Looking at her, June said, “I’m pretty sure that’s not what the sign means.” Unfazed, …

September 12, 2021 :: 1 comment

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A Blue Foot

by on May 22, 2021 :: 0 comments

Matt went outside to smoke and play with his phone. Quentin started on the dishes. Everybody had ordered the lasagna, so the dishes had to soak in the hot soapy water forever. This loosened up the dried sauce and cheese but the water got so filthy so fast that he had to drain and refill the sink three times in …

A Dreaded Conversation

by on December 1, 2020 :: 0 comments

Willie Ortloff knew Pamela Sunshine was going to crash through his front door in about a minute and a half and begin asking questions — questions for which he had no satisfactory answers.  He dreaded what was coming. Willie ran a straight shop. His work was immaculate and he had ethics. That ought to mean something. He had the only …

A Fish Story

by on June 19, 2021 :: 0 comments

Frances browsing a thrift store, operated by the animal shelter, noticed a wire cage on the floor. She leaned down to have a closer look, “Well, well, what do we have here?” She glanced at the salesclerk. “Is this puppy for sale?” “Yes, he is. Would you like to hold him?” “I would.” The salesgirl came from behind the counter …

Abandonment

by on April 17, 2021 :: 0 comments

Hounded by neighbors and ruthless schoolchildren during the day, their nocturnal, air-rending cries of hunger keep me vigilantly awake. Stoning is the most lenient fate that awaits mums, puppies, or the already lame. My ears have attuned their nerves to catch the slightest bark that has a tinge of dread as it squeals its alarm away. A stray dog has …

Abused

by on January 12, 2021 :: 1 comment

It was six o’clock at night. Irene stressed. Slightly disheveled. Dropped ice cubes. Poured whiskey into a glass and rapidly started stirring. Donald would be coming into the house. She’d heard the garage door open and close. “Where’s my drink?” he asked putting down his briefcase. “You know I want it when I get home from work.” “I made it. It’s …

An Amphibious Light

by on December 22, 2020 :: 0 comments

The sun rose on Mars, and Spektor watched the grainy images sent back by NASA’s rover on his computer screen. The MP3 playing was a European dance beat without any real instruments, produced by a South African DJ who never showed her face. The time was 3:21 in the AM. Evanescence, Spektor’s girlfriend, was out somewhere, either at work or …

Awakenings / Brought Round

by on July 24, 2021 :: 0 comments

Yet as this new-sprung prince of undiscovered sterling qualities made to enter the immense cordon thorn lance-a-lot barricade the thicknightet hedge theurgically parted only to close again after his advance opening into redolent wild roses devoid of their prior barbed prongs. And even these sweetbriars bent aside and gave way until the now-present-prince found himself in my perfumed palace gardens …

Ben in the Jar

by on March 13, 2021 :: 0 comments

Ignoring the sudden, throbbing pain in her hip, Katie limped to the front of the class. “Kids!” She set her cane aside and motioned to get the second grader’s attention. “Look at this.” ​She held up a glass canning jar with a dragonfly in it and listened to their enthusiastic “Ooh”s and “Ahh”s. ​Jeremy, one of her more inquisitive students …

Black and White TV with the Sound Turned Low

by on July 10, 2021 :: 0 comments

My uncle Charlie only ever saw things in black and white. He had never owned a colour TV. He said the colour TV license was far too dear. I didn’t even know anyone still believed in that shit. Was there such a thing as a black and white TV license in this day and age? “Black and white’s better,” he’d …

Bruised Heart

by on November 3, 2020 :: 0 comments

Maria, a forty-year-old divorcée, hoped Frank hadn’t changed his mind. She peered out her living room window. Pedestrians passed, cars eased to the curb, but no sign of Frank. She scooped a handful of jellybeans from the candy dish and popped them into her mouth. She picked at her teeth with a glossy red fingernail. Finally, Frank pulled up front …

Chill Packs

by on January 9, 2021 :: 0 comments

(Featuring Polly & Molly) Other Characters: Chef Jean-Paul The Ice Man Fifi the Cute French Waitress Harry & Larry Freezer Boy Bob Random Marcy Marcy (does not appear) Cyclops Various narrators & monkeys, who can be played by actors or cardboard cut outs as the budget allows, except where indicated Location: The Walk-in Freezer at the Ritz Carleton, Paris Time: …

Cornball Love

by on April 24, 2021 :: 0 comments

My life changed when I met a woman. I suppose that’s a cliché you’ve heard before. Stick with me here, don’t get cynical. The restaurant was crowded on that autumn day, and with no chair nearby, the young lady asked if she could sit across from me. I sat alone at a small table with one other chair, reading Shakespeare’s …

Crazy Morning

by on October 10, 2020 :: 0 comments

My wife and I are new residents of an over 55 community on the edge of the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey and are still finding our way and learning the rules, regulations, and customs of our neighborhood. We feel as though we are living “off the grid” as a simple trip to a grocery store, mall, or restaurant …

Crime Pays

by on October 7, 2020 :: 0 comments

Two drunken men in their late twenties stumble down the steps of a brick house into the street. They ask what the hell I am doing walking the streets of Hyde Park at three AM. “You looking for a place to rob?” the taller one pushes. I could shoot back the same line but I am prepared and tell them …

Daughter

by on September 29, 2020 :: 0 comments

One day when I was sitting in the teacher’s room a man walked in and sat next to me. “Remember?” He asked. His face looked familiar but I wasn’t able to remember where I had seen him. I was putting pressure on my mind when he jumped to his feet, frowned, and got very angry. “As now that you’re a …

Do the Time Standing On My Head

by on October 31, 2020 :: 0 comments

The best result of hearing a police siren when you are in jail is that you know they aren’t after you. Of course then you must deal with the reality that your ass is incarcerated. Los Robles prison near Punteranes, Costa Rica. I’ve resided in gray bar hotels in a few states back in the U.S. and had the hospitality …

Familiar Eyes

by on February 20, 2021 :: 0 comments

A fierce downpour pounded the pavement outside Birmingham International Airport and lashed against my windscreen. The rear lights of the car in front lit up as a cloud of exhaust fumes gusted into the night air. Through the dissipating smoke I saw her walking towards me, dressed in a red coat and woollen hat. She placed a case on the …

Get Ready, Jonathan

by on August 14, 2021 :: 0 comments

The call I had been expecting came through. I was laying on my bed thinking about screwdrivers, thinking about how I’d love to unscrew my jaw and let the muscles just hang there like David Foster Wallace. I answered. “Hey, what’s up, Ashton Kutcher,” He said. “What’s up, Mama’s Boy Otis,” I said. “What you doin’?” he said. “Just, you …

Green Witch

by on May 29, 2021 :: 0 comments

Once, not terribly long ago, there lived a green witch. It might be assumed that she dwelled in a ramshackle hut, yet she lived in a tiny house designed by the famous draughtman, Donald Alaska. Donald’s creation had two lofts, a woodburning stove, a deck, and a large kitchen sink. Additionally, his architecture featured a cat door, staircase storage, and …

Hellfire on the Devil’s Highway

by on December 8, 2020 :: 0 comments

The Kafka brothers, tiny men with thin moustaches and matching scars across left cheeks, hardly ever speak to one another and forget the other exists, even though they live in the same house. Now in the bestial winter, they have not spoken in over a month nor have they seen the others’ dark brown eyes. The house is not a …

High Tea

by on November 21, 2020 :: 0 comments

He awoke as General George Armstrong Custer. What’s more, he was in the thick of the fight. The Indian took stock. “It’s ironic,” he told himself, “but I’m General Custer.” Just then an arrow flew past his chin. The Indian as Custer looked around. He and his men were trapped! On the crest of a tree-less rounded hill! With hostile …

Homage to Cassini and its Mission to Saturn

by on March 20, 2021 :: 0 comments

With rare international cooperation, Cassini–Huygens took off into the skies. Thus, in nineteen ninety-seven, the creation began to develop before our eyes of the two-decade venture which came to a close with last gazes at giant Saturn’s face to merge with its surface in dramatic death throes as the spacecraft perished with glowing grace. But before that transpired another splendid …

Hunger Pangs

by on January 16, 2021 :: 0 comments

I’m finished with the second box of matzo and we still have a hundred or so miles to go. One piece of matzah every ten to twenty miles. It keeps me awake and I like the way it crunches, changes texture, leaves a slight film in my mouth. I always take a five to ten-mile break between each piece. “Hey,” …

I Heart Newark

by on November 13, 2020 :: 0 comments

People from Newark have a beautiful quality of saying exactly what’s on their mind. From the ages of eleven to thirteen, I played on an AAU basketball team from there-The Newark Rams. A basketball director from a summer clinic in South Orange, New Jersey must have had a wicked sense of humor when she told my mother that my older …

In These Trying Times

by on October 3, 2020 :: 0 comments

Now they’d bloody well fucked it. Humanity, having finally realized how much it hated itself, had wiped out its existence from the universe in a nuclear firestorm. Even the politicians were dead, the ones who had pushed the buttons to set the whole thing in motion. The big nuclear powers, seeing the course global politics was taking, had all independently …

Irises

by on November 17, 2020 :: 0 comments

It was not the torso that Greeks and Romans sculpted for generations to immortalize the ideal physique; neither the Celtic mane of a Scottish highlander nor the stature of an Amazonian warrior. It was simply the freckles on his irises that brought it all about, an obsession that changed the entire course of my life. His eyes reminded me of …

It Could Be Worse, It Could Be Raining

by on March 27, 2021 :: 0 comments

Up, out of bed at 3 PM. Saturday, San Jose Costa Fucking Rica, rain with a mixture of car exhaust. Gray skies over a gray world, just the Gods reminding me what a hangover looks like. The storm has already saturated the city, flooding streets and low lying areas. The smell triggers my olfactory memory machine to recall fond thoughts …

Life Advice

by on May 8, 2021 :: 0 comments

Vacationing in a small hut on the beach, or rather attending an unimportant convention, we stepped outside to a glorious morning: blazing sun, sparkling sand, gulls glinting and squawking as they swooped above, ocean waves dancing upon the beach. We began the long walk to the convention halls, my wife rapidly, impatiently ahead, gaining ground as usual. She swooped into …

Living the Dream

by on August 28, 2021 :: 0 comments

I once worked as the night shift charge nurse for Oak Street Care Center. The hospital where I worked prior to that went bankrupt. So I took the job at the Care Center, a skilled nursing home in my own town. I had been nursing for 13 years by then. In that time I had seen a lot of changes …

Madrigals

by on April 10, 2021 :: 0 comments

David Newton, young project manager, was in a harshly lit meeting when he realized that he’d rather die than spend another stupid month at his job. The conversation among his coworkers, now as always, was dry and droning—the sound of life passing you by. But where else could he go? The arts were his passion but not his talent. He …

Mend

by on January 5, 2021 :: 0 comments

It’s the same scene today as it is every morning: my husband amuses himself with the stock market, the children get dressed for school, I toss up breakfast and the sun streams through the open window. I am in a state of constant dissatisfaction. Frenzy. Turmoil. I walk around with the same unanswered questions. We want our partner to remain …

Moon Passed Cutting

by on July 17, 2021 :: 0 comments

One The moon laid a strip of light on the dark ocean. The reflection was soft except for the crests of the waves catching the light sharp and white. The ocean seemed so quiet. “Nothing.” John outlined roughly the shape of the moon. “You don’t think it’s a little windy out here?” He held up his right hand to gesture …

My Friend

by on May 15, 2021 :: 0 comments

Of all the cell phone apps, the best by far is My Friend. It is a smart phone app for lonely people, including lonely married people, like me. At least I was married until a month ago. Think of all the friends you have. Isn’t there some little thing wrong with every one of them? No one is perfect, after …

New Rules

by on October 24, 2020 :: 0 comments

A man fiddles with his top button and recounts his sadness. I sit, half-listening, as the speakers above us garble. With music or talk radio, I’m not sure. When I’ve had enough I go outside to smoke a cigarette. Someone asks to borrow my lighter and calls it pretty even though it’s not. I listen to three strangers discuss politics …

Omen

by on September 4, 2021 :: 0 comments

Bizarre! The dream woke him up with a start. Such a dream will wake up any guy! A shudder passed through him. Dead of night—the howl of a stray dog added to the uneasiness. Was it a premonition? The Grim Reaper stared malevolently; neon sign lit up the urgent message on the billboard, at the interstate highway, his car waiting …

On A Good Day

by on January 30, 2021 :: 0 comments

“It’s been a while,” she says quietly, her fingers running over the scars on my arm. Like she can see my past and future, like palm reading. I wonder, briefly, how that would sound: You have lived a hard life, the fortune teller might say. This one indicates you will lead a long life. And I would think, no, it …

On Aeaea During COVID-19

by on January 19, 2021 :: 0 comments

I wake from my afternoon nap in my office, rise from my fold-out chair and push the button to trip the electric switch that will lift the roll-down blinds that cover the sliding glass doors that face the sea. Nothing. I turn on the lights. Nothing. I can see a crack of sunlight where the blinds don’t quite meet the …

Orbs of Light

by on October 14, 2020 :: 0 comments

Dominica had a beehive like Amy Winehouse, like Marge Simpson. It was a strange beast, natural but with a fake sheen. If someone needed a pen or a lighter, even a cup of tea, she just reached inside and pulled out whatever was needed. Chris, her ten-year-old nephew, was fascinated by her tricks and at a family gathering hosted by …

Peace Lily

by on November 24, 2020 :: 0 comments

I lift my eyes from my work as a light moves across the living room—the sun glinting off her windshield as she approaches the house. My thoughts are drowned out by the muted crackle of tires slowing their roll against the road. Apprehension turns to dread, turns to defeat, as the garage door opens and the whole house hums. Her …

Plunge

by on May 1, 2021 :: 0 comments

I roam a lot. All day long I keep walking from one place to another. Sometimes, I have gone as far as the university where I had studied several years ago, when I was young and ambitious. I wander everywhere in the university. I don’t just visit my department but go to other departments also which I didn’t do when …

Run-On Ron 

by on February 13, 2021 :: 0 comments

There once was a putz named Run-On Ron after some poor sod who always tripped when he ran and became useful as a human speed bump in the same way beer supports the morale of the  working man that usually complains about not enough money but hates to work overtime when life is too short on some kind of dream …

Screwdriver 

by on October 17, 2020 :: 0 comments

Screwdriver seems to be an ideal cocktail but not everybody shares this opinion. I got sucked into making one after reading an article in a magazine, one you wouldn’t touch if you weren’t sitting in barbershop, waiting for your turn. Screwdriver-two ingredients: long-awaited drunkenness and a mild state of euphoria, things that any of us need in certain situations. Also pain. …

SETI

by on December 29, 2020 :: 0 comments

Our objective was to find the Engineers. Some religious people coined the term God but Scott and I were clear they must have been just plain Engineers. Several archaeological digs consistently pointed out that one planet in a distant planetary system, some 60 light years away. As per the observations using large array telescopes, the planet was the first and …

Shedding the Serpent 

by on November 10, 2020 :: 0 comments

The old snake made its way around SouthGress. People saw it in several spots on occasion. But among its favorite of spots was the carousel. It would wind around the circle of the carousel’s low metal gate several times and then settle into a sleep as the dawn broke. On the days when the snake curled around the carousel, only …

Sodium

by on July 3, 2021 :: 0 comments

“Hi, Wendell.” I turned my head, tracking the voice past the light blue wall with a seascape print on to the doorway. It was Jared, my dietician. “How are we doing today?” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a jerk, but I’d been cooped up in the hospital living on their boring food for eleven days and I was sick …

Solstice Dream

by on February 6, 2021 :: 0 comments

She had had to get out of the hostel at eight in the morning and stay out until eight at night, and that was in the good days, when she still had a hostel to go to. Now she had a dusty alcove off a hallway of a commercial storage firm, where no one yet, knew she slept at night. …

Stardust

by on January 2, 2021 :: 0 comments

The meteor shower was spectacular. It was also unexpected. All over the Earth, at least in most places, people were treated to a magnificent fireworks display. Many of these “falling stars” seemed to streak brightly across the heavens clear down to the Earth. For stargazers around the world, it was a show that lasted for several days. Scientists appeared on …

The Aesthetics of Penury

by on August 21, 2021 :: 0 comments

She lived among sordid squalor, yet she only beheld what enthralled, such as a stray sunray that fleetingly slipped into her darksome room or a moth happily fluttering round half a candle that her little brother was given at church. The key to her tidiness was a bar of soap that she earned from her overtime chores. Having scrubbed myriads …

The Diamond Sky

by on July 31, 2021 :: 0 comments

I saw her again today, following me. As I turned right on the corner, from a left-side glance, I saw the shiny blue of her shirt. First, she waited a few beats, hoping I wouldn’t notice, then continued slyly walking. Why is she following me? What does she want? She’s been following me for years now. I didn’t feel threatened …

The Door Knob

by on January 23, 2021 :: 0 comments

It was the center of attention in a modest real estate office. I brought it and fixed it without the owner’s permission knowing that it would flatter the flamboyant side of his pretentious character. It was a crystal-like globe with a blue tint that endowed each ray of light that was refracted with the azure of the skies. My intention …

The Drive By

by on February 27, 2021 :: 0 comments

In a world where the oppressors rationalized injustice with the cliche “On both sides,” it was always same shit, different day. Until one day Darth Vader slow-creeped toward Earth in his Death Star and beamed down with his stormtroopers. He came to destroy the planet but morning sex put him in a good mood. “Because I like to be entertained …

The Hotel Frasina

by on April 3, 2021 :: 0 comments

There is only a parking lot now where the Hotel Frasina once stood on the corner, just off the square, in the little town where I grew up. It was first opened in 1893 under the name The Antlers. Then, in 1946, it was purchased by Dominic Frasina. He renamed it Hotel Frasina and remodeled the elegant dining room as …

The Life and Death of Dave Adamson

by on June 12, 2021 :: 0 comments

A scream runs through the street. A young couple sees what they’ll talk about until they’re old: a time, together, when they saw a body on a sidewalk. The couple hold one another and their breaths until police and emergency services arrive. No one offers a “Poor bastard” as those living gather to see where life goes. There’s something about …

The Man with a Cane

by on June 5, 2021 :: 3 comments

I’ve been shopping at divergent Italian fruit stores in the Milan suburbs: one has sweet Calabrese navel oranges for a euro a kilo, another has Colombian bananas for the same price. We rarely pay any more than a euro a kilo for all fruit and vegetables. Sicilian red oranges are currently 79 cents a kilo, but I sometimes find them …

The Pearl Stringer’s Mother

by on March 6, 2021 :: 0 comments

Maya lifted her chin off of her chest. She rubbed the crusty gunk out of her eyes and coughed, once, to clear her mouth. To her right, her mother lay prone on her hospital bed, a ventilator breathing for her and a seeming myriad of tubes snaking in and out of various ports up and down her body. Instinctively, Maya …

The Round Table

by on December 19, 2020 :: 0 comments

When I watch television, I hardly ever listen to commercials. About 99% of the time, I mute them out, with the exception of the guy that does the Mexican beer commercials about the world’s most interesting man, but that’s not the commercial that I want to write about. Back in 2012, I muted a commercial as soon as the station went …

The Surprise

by on November 7, 2020 :: 0 comments

Walter Nye would overcome his shyness towards his lover Kristin. After his eventual first date they became a great couple. Collecting comments from street gossip about their togetherness. Walter would talk of nothing else. Kristen this. Kristen that. Until all his friends deserted him. But Walter didn’t care. Nor hardly realize. All he wanted and needed was Kristin. As time …

The Wedding Fee

by on December 26, 2020 :: 0 comments

“It was an Appelt.” “Huh?” “Its sale covered the fees for: the hall, my dress, and the caterer.” “Not parsing.” “I found it when cleaning out my grandma’s storage room.” “?” “I was looking for vintage and found expensive art.” “So?” “You and I took Art Appreciation, together, sophomore year.” “We also toked together and we each also slept, without …

V/r

by on June 26, 2021 :: 0 comments

Dude, like around 8? No, maybe like 9, in the morning, I ate three blotters. I’ve done Lucy a bunch of times, but I forreal hadn’t done ‘em like that early or whatever. My friends and I found a connection on ‘em a few weeks earlier, so we’d been taking a few hits every weekend or whatever. But that day, …

Wall of Mendacity

by on December 5, 2020 :: 0 comments

When your father’s angry, his mustache bristles. Words fire fusillades. You’re too weak, what good is art, you need to fuck around, use people, don’t trust anyone. When he’s in a good mood, he proclaims you his light. You build walls of mendacities. First you make up fictitious girlfriends, prestigious fake awards, even fake fistfights. You add bloody detail for …

When He Slept for Eternity

by on December 15, 2020 :: 0 comments

Once upon a time, Barry woke up in his dark room, where the smell of the unknown floats like a river of riddles and the soul of the world goes round and round within four walls of an unborn light. He was oblivious to the dream. How did he wake up? What was the unfathomable mystery that unhinged such a …

When There’s No Stage Left

by on November 28, 2020 :: 0 comments

In a theatrical afterlife, the shades take over the performance halls, while post-pandemic audiences move into the limbo of the virtual.  When the theater is dark, critics and reviewers have nothing to report. A Drama Reviewer’s pages remain blank; there is nothing to review when nothing is viewed. Reviewer is unemployed, like the actors, directors, designers and stage hands. He …

While The Poor People Sleep (With the Shade on the Light)

by on August 7, 2021 :: 0 comments

Hi, my name’s Arch and I live inside. I’m inside him, Eddie. I come out at night while he’s sleeping. Out of Eddie’s anus I crawl. Like a nocturnal form of tapeworm, only I go exploring at night. But I’m no worm. I’m small, that’s for sure. Small enough to live inside him and crawl out of his asshole every night. …

White Feather

by on October 27, 2020 :: 0 comments

The first time I met White Feather was in the ER. I was an RN on the psyche floor of our hospital. I was a floor nurse, working the Special Care Unit, or the “locked side,” as we called it. I was often asked to come down to ER to help with patients that were combative, for whatever reason, including …

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