Featured Stories

Silence

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Silence. Silence is a contagious word, she muses and looks at sea. Warm waves hurry to meet the sun burnt rocks. The gold of the sand shimmers in the glow of the night. Silvery orb of the moon twinkles, one last wink and then ducks behind bales of black cotton. She scribbles on the sand: there is silence in the …

August 17, 2019 :: 0 comments

My Partner

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My partner was driving me nuts. We work for a company that does financial research and analysis. When we’re assigned a project, I do the research part, using the internet to get all the information I can. I give the data to Ben and he uses computer algorithms to analyze it, then he generates a report. By the way, I’m …

August 10, 2019 :: 0 comments

Aint It Like

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Momma, Ms. Betty, Poppa Turtle, Ervay and I went to Tyler’s so named cause that was the headliner that night. They goan go someplace, do something out this joint, was Ms. Betty’s critique. She aint no Tina mumbled Pops. No, Ms. Peaches smelled like the clean sweat of honest work. She sang with her man, Tyler on bass, a daughter …

August 3, 2019 :: 0 comments

Contributed Stories (Past Year)

Peruse our short story archives here

1969

by on April 20, 2019 :: 0 comments

Jim looked out of his upstairs apartment window. He watched as a drunken man staggered up to the door of the Bus Cafe. It was late. No doubt after a night of drinking he was going for a burger and fries, or some greasy chili. Jim and his wife Brenda rented one of two apartments that were above the New …

A Quiet Thanksgiving

by on April 7, 2019 :: 0 comments

She was an old woman now. The crime her son Aaron committed was on her mind every day. And why shouldn’t it be? He had killed his wife and was serving a forty-year sentence in Chino Men’s Prison just south of Los Angeles. Her husband, God bless him, had left her plenty of money. Sitting at her cluttered dining room …

A Wind-Bent Daffodil

by on September 15, 2018 :: 0 comments

He asks me to count to ten. I am lying in a bare and chilly room on a very high and narrow bed, which he helps me to mount with the aid of a few steps. I’m wearing a pair of feather-light slippers. He looks so ridiculous in his green cap, a strange color for such a muscular man who …

BLACK ROOMS

by on September 1, 2018 :: 0 comments

I was in a considerable state of nervous overload when the Black Rooms made their first appearance in my young life. That life had been one of panic and slip sliding instability. Evictions again and again from a long succession of scabrous hovels the merest step from wretched homelessness. All of them grotesquely filled with gobbling monstrous ghouls. Such places …

BONES

by on December 10, 2018 :: 0 comments

I never leave the city. In its steel canyons and paved valleys I lose myself. Metal and granite body of the colossal organism pulsates in artificial mechanical rhythms while I tumble through its gridded metropolitan veins. Never do I look at the sky. Nor linger on the fringes. Cubiforms and sectored geometries dissolve into random natural contours here and I …

Cages

by on November 3, 2018 :: 0 comments

I “read” the other abductees for you. What more do you want? “Wake up! I paid millions for you. There’s no time for sleep.” There’s no mutuality to our “contract.” “Drat! Sebastian, get me the longer pole. This one doesn’t reach.” “He’s already pretty bruised up, Boss.” “Shut up or I’ll thrash you, instead.” “I’m getting the broomstick.” And I’m …

Damien Ricardo III and Goneril Elektra

by on December 15, 2018 :: 0 comments

Damien is at the main tranquerawith a dozen armed black-suited people behind him,Goneril is standing beside himholding a newspaper above her headto block the sun from her face.Three grey-suited men with legal pads in their handsstand to her right. Damien is Teresa and Obligation’s son. Goneril is his wife. Obligation bought this ranch. Obligation died of a heart attack while …

Donald Peterson

by on September 22, 2018 :: 0 comments

There was a long stopover from the American Airlines flight from Seattle to Cleveland. She wore a loose fitting dress with tiny birds seeming to fly off into the distance. Lucy disembarked with old carryon baggage coming apart at the seams. She made sure her name was visible on the small plastic card as she lugged it to the nearest …

Exactly

by on November 10, 2018 :: 0 comments

Justin enjoyed his daily walks. A lot of people jogged or ran for exercise, but for him, a long walk was not only good for his health, but also relaxing. He could look around at the world he lived in and get a feel for what was going on in it. An unhurried look at his surroundings. His walks also …

Fast Asleep

by on May 18, 2019 :: 0 comments

Excerpts from Sleeping Beauty The princess speared her palm on the spindle cusp of the spinning spinning wheel and fell down senseless in a death-like swoon. The old crone started in alarm and tried to undo the damage the spindle prick had done but all her qualms cries pat-a-caking rock-a-bye-babying rub-a-dub-dubbing Mother Goosing ring-around-a-roseying and hey-diddle-diddling failed to arouse the …

Fly High, Little One

by on March 31, 2019 :: 1 comment

Fly high, little one. Let your beautiful wings spread. You’ve learned much, now, and far more to see still. Travel onward, now, across this peculiar world. Mature, experience, and feel. You’ve come far. All the trials of your life you’ve surpassed; all the pains you bore them well. Carry on now, little one, and fly high. Soar across this beautiful …

Forgetting

by on March 9, 2019 :: 2 comments

“They tell me I shot myself in the chin, shot somebody else, too, but I don’t think that’s right. What happened was I fell off a fruit wagon.” That’s Dr. Wagner. He’s a pharmacist, had his own small town pharmacy out in the Valley for years, seemed fine, until this happened. I’m his occupational therapist. It’s my job to determine …

Girl Next Door

by on October 13, 2018 :: 0 comments

After racing stop signs jutting from small town Texas school buses dull in pre-dawn’s sunray deprivation, I park where we used to play. Tossing basketballs into a net without a backboard, occasionally one would volley next door where my friend’s dying heart was pushed by an electric wheelchair and a young shaking hand. A teenage boy dying from ataxia, the …

Hands of Steel, Not Today

by on March 16, 2019 :: 0 comments

My urologist recently asked me, “John do you know where you are going and have you found the right path to clarity of expression and urination?” As I looked at him with a quizzical expression, he directed his nurse to schedule some tests for me at Community Hospital. I thought I was feeling fine, but I guess my doctor wants …

Hanging by a Thread

by on February 9, 2019 :: 0 comments

I was a high school teacher before they came. I’m not sure what I am now. They said they chose me because they needed cases to test. To make sure their experiments worked. Now I feel more like a Wax Museum custodian than anything else. What I most recall is that it was a very regular night. Even the light …

He Belongs to Nobody

by on July 20, 2019 :: 0 comments

Coyote sings us into presence and then laughs his ass off. Sings us into the soul of winter, into resistance, into euphoria. He knows he’s just a moon-illuminated rumor, dog with no name, knows he’s as much a mnemonic device as peyote is a serial killer. Tufts of stubborn snow feathered against the old walls may last, surviving in shadow, …

He Did Not Shoot the Deputy

by on January 26, 2019 :: 0 comments

The cherry cocktail sticks jumped on the neon sign outside the 114 Lounge. Inside, the singer was singing of these cherry cocktail sticks as part of a tune he had written: The neon cocktail lights a dancin’ invitations so bright… The place, the 114 Lounge, was located at 114 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. Hence its unostentatious namesake. The …

Homage to Julius Fuick

by on December 29, 2018 :: 0 comments

A hissing sound awoke me from a gentle dream of circuses. Light-footed elephants and happy clowns inhabited the dream. I was sad to leave it. “Psst. Are you awake?” The voice emanated from a corner of the pitch black room. “Who is it?” I whispered. “Are you awake?” I threw off the blankets and kicked my feet over the side …

I Have a Mistress

by on April 13, 2019 :: 0 comments

Back in 2017 I acquired a mistress, or should I say she attached herself to me. I informed my wife of the mistress and she begin to cry and said can you get rid of her. I said I will try. But now she is with me all the time. She demands to go shopping with me and then I …

I, Adam Porter (GONE ALASKA novel excerpt)

by on February 16, 2019 :: 1 comment

It was near noon and the crisp, sea-refrigerated air had evaporated from the cove. The sun was hot, straight up, hovering above the inland ridge of mountains. I was on the rear deck of a trawler, down to my T-shirt. In my sweaty sunburnt hands was an electric drill, plugged into a portable generator on deck. Wiggling the drill bit …

Judgement Both Ways

by on December 1, 2018 :: 0 comments

A history student, entering an ex-magistrate’s shop, always said: “Hi.” The ex-magistrate never answered, the student thinking: “Prick.” “My usual, please,” the student said. The ex-magistrate always wrapped up the wholemeal bread the student always ordered. “It’s delicious with butter and honey,” the student once said. The ex-magistrate just glared. “Bye,” the student always said, never receiving a reply. One …

Last Night on Earth (TX)

by on June 1, 2019 :: 0 comments

Antlers, still attached to frozen plastic bagged deer heads, stare as my husband sits into a sagged old lawn chair in our new garage. Old paint buckets to touch up new scratches we put in our new world pyramid around us. We didn’t need a map to find a home with one another, just a compass. But the damn severed …

Memories of Water

by on June 22, 2019 :: 0 comments

My son lives in a small town. Recently, I was helping him move to a new apartment not far from the one he’d been living in for the past five years. The old apartment is a 1930s or ‘40s era city office building that had been converted decades ago into housing. It’s located on a beautiful little trout stream that …

Name of Hope

by on January 19, 2019 :: 0 comments

Where do good feelings come from? They are tucked away and concealed in a calming, charming, and uplifting voice; they are within the frame of an embracing, delightful, and warm soul; they are within tiny acts that aren’t oft committed in the world; they are within the reassurances of the words “I’ll always be here”; they are within every smile …

Now’s The Time To Play

by on October 27, 2018 :: 0 comments

Characters Lisa and Mike. 20-40 years old, but of roughly the same age. Not a couple, just a couple good friends. Nothing apparently remarkable. Should be dressed in the current fashion of the age, but with color. They both have Bi-polar Syndrome. Death. Normal looking man. Dressed in dull clothing, maybe khakis and a gray sweatshirt. Setting Stage should be …

NUMB

by on September 8, 2018 :: 0 comments

George Tango sat on the L train, on the gray, hard seat. He spotted a Liz Smith gossip column headline in an open News, spread wide by a middle-aged man in a slightly weird, off-green Hamburg hat. George got off the train dulled by the headline of Liz Smith, dulled by the weather, dulled by life. He walked one-half block …

Peter Pan of Jazzland

by on May 25, 2019 :: 0 comments

His name was Billy Ray, and he was anything but country. Billy Ray was the Peter Pan of the jazz scene during the 80s in Oklahoma City. The bass player had come of age in the 60s during the birth of free jazz. It was then he had found his religion and never strayed from the altar of Miles, Monk …

Playgirl

by on August 25, 2018 :: 0 comments

It was the late seventies and I’d never known any woman like Marie, who would cover one whole wall of her room with naked men centerfolds taken from Playgirl Magazine. Marie had graduated from the university in Cedar Park and was now in a medical program at Galveston’s Sealy Medical Center to become a medical photographer. “You’ve got some interesting …

Plutonic Ponderings – Present and Past

by on November 17, 2018 :: 0 comments

Most haven’t a clue what to do here on Earth to fix our gargantuan plights… Still Dwarf Planet Pluto in Kuiper Belt ring, in that most amazing of flights, has been closely surveyed, contemplated, perceived, scrutinized, photographed, (not to mention its moons), long after discoverer Tombaugh departed, though ashes of his were on board the spacecraft in its celebrated flyby …

Prince of All Pursuits

by on March 2, 2019 :: 0 comments

Kester requested courses. Thus, Oboe, Advanced Poetry Workshop, Dynamics and Equilibria, an independent study of melanoma research, and Latin III were scheduled. Mom was a pathologist, Dad a collagen scaffold engineer, and Sis a nuclear radiologist. Kester was the rebel. That coed dropped out midterm, anyway. Family knowledge, friends’ good wishes, even lessons with a master yogi hadn’t prevented recurrence. …

Prognostication

by on May 4, 2019 :: 1 comment

Not everything in my childhood was forged with gold. We frequently stayed with our indulging grandparents and basked in their trustworthy hands, but I was occasionally entrusted to the care of the treacherous type, a few family friends with whose children I was accustomed to play. We were once driven to a steep cliff that overlooked a vast expanse of …

Pulled Pork Sandwich

by on July 13, 2019 :: 0 comments

One day Perry Beckett took a pulled pork sandwich to Bone’s basement and when he got there, he said he wished he had told them to put more sauce on it. “So take it back over there and tell them you want more sauce on it,” said Bone. “They got the sauce in squeeze bottles on the counter,” said Perry …

Riding the Roads

by on December 23, 2018 :: 0 comments

My ex-husband and I bought a used Winnebago for $111,000. A doctor of jurisprudence, Michael had never gotten over me. The feeling was not mutual. Now in our sixties, I felt sorry for the man. His third wife, Nedra, had died. He’d made widows of every single woman he’d married or dated. He was always a terrible driver, even when …

Scuttle

by on January 12, 2019 :: 0 comments

I eventually change accommodation and occupy a new flat that is an improvement on the first but totally unfurnished. The move is costly for me after surgery expenses. There is no money left with which to furnish two sunlit rooms with a balcony that has tree-fringed villas for company. It is an affluent neighborhood and each family keeps to itself. …

Showerless

by on July 6, 2019 :: 0 comments

This train is a church in both its movements and its congregation. No one dares interrupt the silence. Metal rolling over rusted metal. Outside the scenery passes by like life to a teenager: fleeting but feeling never-ending. Most passengers wish they could be anywhere else to feel anything else, to feel something other than strictly operational. At each stop people …

Some Are Some Also

by on May 11, 2019 :: 0 comments

To Mrs. Johnson: Sort of knowing is not knowing but maybe it’s a start. Hazy black grey knowing warm knowing for sure but no knowing what. What’s the time, said the State Trooper who must have stopped you. Must have been it couldn’t have been me because I am asleep, or should be if not then well—nothing that comes out …

St. Vitus Dance

by on February 2, 2019 :: 0 comments

“The vegetables often leave their stalks. Yes, they go gallivanting about. Yeah, mostly at night. Oh, they are always back on the stalk, or vine, by morning. Why do you ask?” “Couple of veggies been acting up. On the west side of the garden.” “The west side? That’s where the eggplant, the aubergines, grow. And the green beans. Those horrible …

Stiff Neck

by on June 8, 2019 :: 0 comments

We kidnapped the barber with the stiff neck. I was against the plan but had only one vote. The rest of the guys were in awe of our friend from Princeton. He had a lot of family money in our small suburb. We called him Coney because his head seemed cone headed. His red hair and crew cut accentuated the …

The Alley

by on June 30, 2019 :: 0 comments

The alley you’re walking down is dark. It is the back end of many dive bars, illuminated by the opening of back doors as some bartender takes out the garbage. The green of large, metal, rectangular, Industrial Waste Company trash containers lines the route. The smell is rancorous; a revulsion that immediately makes itself apparent. There are oily patches everywhere where …

The Day I Went to See David Lee Roth

by on October 21, 2018 :: 0 comments

I read about it in a free weekly that was delivered in the mail to my apartment, one of those local tabloids comprised of advertisements for tanning salons and burrito vans. At first, I was incredulous. In no way did I believe David Lee Roth would come to Manchester, New Hampshire. But it turned out to be true. He was …

The Forensic Dry Cleaners of Murray Hill

by on October 6, 2018 :: 0 comments

Seven a.m. in Manhattan, and I have a full week of meetings looming ahead of me. Latte in hand, I take my Hillary Clintonesque navy pantsuit into the dry cleaning shop next to my hotel. “Just a pressing,” I say to the olive-skinned woman behind the counter. She is dressed head to toe in black, a shawl embroidered with threads …

The Gun

by on June 15, 2019 :: 0 comments

The gunsmith placed his latest creation, beautiful with precise, hand-assembled mechanisms and a handle made of rosewood stemming from metal blue, into the display case. It sat unfired, immaculate in oil, in its velvet housing for of weeks until a man came in, admiring the static potential of a gun, then bought it. The man bought the gun for protection …

The Leech Speech

by on July 27, 2019 :: 0 comments

I heard him brag, in a speech at work, that he was self made. I was so focused on the beads of sweat dripping down his face that I didn’t think twice about being told to shine the light on him as he speaks. It wasn’t until after my boss walked away, and I saw him slither in, that I …

The Silence of Slow Time

by on September 29, 2018 :: 0 comments

He is crouching on the grass behind a bush, out of wind. Only a few feet away he hears the growling of a tiger. He holds his breath until his lungs almost burst, cautiously letting the air seep out of his lungs. The tiger lingers, but then seems to stroll away. It doesn’t matter what we call this being. He …

The Worst It

by on January 5, 2019 :: 0 comments

After prayers for small town dreams, miniature struggles for good grades to play sports before graduating to find someone to get caught up in a wedding proposal so ladies in room 39 can tally praises or prayer requests, Janice speaks wearing the elbow chub of Sunday school authority, “And now we can see there’s a new face with us today.” …

Thelma and Louise

by on November 24, 2018 :: 0 comments

I’ve always been overeager, so when Summit.org started advertising that they could make you live forever, I was one of the first to sign up. It cost a lot of money, but I had it. I was getting on in years. and I knew I couldn’t take it with me. The first session lasted all afternoon. They wired this thing …

Tommy

by on April 27, 2019 :: 0 comments

James was sitting in a lawn chair in the garage having a beer watching Becky’s two-year-old draw with chalk on the driveway. Not the way he planned on spending his Saturday afternoon, but with the washing machine broken, the kid’s mother had to go to the laundromat. “She could’ve taken him,” his buddy on the phone said. “No kidding; she …

Train Tracks

by on February 23, 2019 :: 0 comments

The shortcut to Steven’s house was about two blocks from the train station. Every day he walked on one of two train tracks. He could smell the home cooked meal his sister had bragged about two hours earlier. When he saw the train coming towards him, he took a step to the left and easily reached the other track. He …

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