Featured Stories

French Fries

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The day of the fire, Jasper called some guy a douchebag in the drive thru right before dumping a tray of milkshakes in the backseat of said douchebag’s Camaro. Mr. Bowdon had a conniption. His face turned red and that one vein in his forehead started bulging and throbbing like it was about to explode. He screamed, That’s the last …

March 24, 2017 :: 0 comments

Malaise

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You are sitting at home one Wednesday afternoon when you get a call. 9-1-1, you are having an emergency, the voice on the other end says. You decide to remain calm. You ask her to be a little more specific. That’s not my department, she explains, I can transfer you, but there’s a three-to-five minute hold-time, and by then….I understand, …

March 17, 2017 :: 0 comments

An Immodest Proposal

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with apologies to Jonathan Swift The other day I was talking to a neighbor who said he found a way to help the poor and improve our environment simultaneously. It’s no secret, he said, that we have a dire food shortage among the chronically poor. It’s also no secret, he pointed out, many of our cities are overrun with feral …

March 10, 2017 :: 0 comments

Contributed Stories (Past Year)

Peruse our short story archives here

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, …

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 …

Be Still My Mind

by on February 24, 2017 :: 0 comments

I was meditating on being grateful for my reliable truck when I transformed into an angry white man directing a fear struck Mexican to pull over. I could see him wondering if his brown ass was gonna be kicked by a Trump supporter. While approaching the construction vehicle, I noticed the load was held by one strap and glanced at …

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 …

Chicken Breast or Rump Roast

by on November 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

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 …

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 …

Easy Money

by on December 16, 2016 :: 0 comments

I’d been walking around the east side in circles. I felt sluggish and in pain. I had to go somewhere. I had to eat. Like mother says, “a hungry man is an angry man.” I decided I would stop off at Piano’s for their happy hour lunch special. Burger and a salad for five bucks. Can’t beat it. Where was …

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 …

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. …

Harvest Road

by on February 10, 2017 :: 0 comments

Harvest Road took women and no one was bothered. From God’s eye and Internet maps it was easy to discover the street but miss sidewalk cracks where dark things with wet skin made night sounds, piles of departed and disfigured pets found under lost animal posters, and ghostly annual October Klansmen hanging in mesquite trees. Karen absorbed all this on …

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 …

Immortal

by on February 17, 2017 :: 0 comments

(excerpt from the short story “Immortal”) Excuse Me Miss, can I ask you a question? ••• Oh, no ma’am, I’m not trying to sell you anything ••• No, no it’s not like that. I just want to ask you something if you would be so kind as to indulge an old man for a little while ••• Well, what could …

In the Summertime

by on November 19, 2016 :: 0 comments


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 …

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 …

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 …

Merry Marshmallowed Memories

by on December 23, 2016 :: 4 comments

’twas 1978, early morn on the eve of all Eves, snow came crashing in waves of big fat flakes that blasted our dingy urban world in a blanket of white wintry innocence. As I recall decades later, with nostalgic-tinted glasses, the mundane neighborhood landscape seemed to turn magical as I looked out the fogged-up windows and saw this dream scene. …

Neil Armstrong’s Thoughts about January 28, 1986

by on February 3, 2017 :: 0 comments

My first response to the accident? I was catatonic. “They’re all dead. They’re all dead.” I don’t know how many times I repeated it. I’m sure I sounded mechanical. That was my first response on January 28, 1986 to the shuttle Challenger disaster. At 11:39 in the morning. Seventy-three seconds of that day started the darkest period of my life. …

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 …

Pain

by on December 31, 2016 :: 0 comments

There’s this show on MTV called Ridiculousness, where Rob Dyrdek, 42, is the coolest, most quick-witted, snap-backin’est, high schoolin’est adult ever, and he spends 22 minutes of a half hour around 10pm laughing at and narrating videos he selected from the part of the internet where people get hurt. He wears snapbacks bearing the Monster Energy Drink logo and overlarge …

Pale Leviathan

by on January 6, 2017 :: 2 comments

The heat had become unbearable that summer. “Make it stop, daddy,” Liddy’s son, Torin, said, as they walked home from school. The sun glared down with a vengeance, its rays like vicious lapping tongues. It seemed to Liddy that the sun was angry at the earth. “I can’t make it stop,” said Liddy. “But we’ll be home shortly. Mom will …

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 …

Primal Landscape

by on January 13, 2017 :: 0 comments

Day World Hickory Dickory days, divided into boxes— Time to eat breakfast. (Finish all your egg!) Wash your hands and face. Brush your teeth. (Always up and down.) Sit on the toilet. Wipe front to back. (But never why.) Story time— play time— lunch time— nap time. Take the key and wind her up. If she hollers, shut her up. …

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 …

Repressed Slumber Party Memory Syndrome

by on December 2, 2016 :: 0 comments

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? …

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 …

Stupid

by on January 27, 2017 :: 0 comments

Buick. Nice polish. Oops. My key fell and scratched the paint job. Stupid rich folks. Camera. Burnt orange. Dumb color. Will they notice this new line on their windshield? Asinine Volvo. Fancy Shmancy. Look at that! So many bags from senseless stores. So much money wasted! Oops! I think they now have a slow leak in one of their front …

The Amanda Years

by on March 3, 2017 :: 0 comments

The haunted trail was a sexy choice, Owen reflected in study hall. It was a perfect combo of darkness and closeness: make-out city, baby. Not that he was particularly anxious about it. He liked being around Amanda Overstreet; kissing would only be a bonus. In fact, he just plain liked her. That purring voice, man! Those swimmy eyes. Owen grinned …

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 Mary Kay Lady

by on January 20, 2017 :: 0 comments

What do you have that I might buy for my girl? What do you have that I might buy for my sweetheart? The Mary Kay lady who just rematerialized looked at him with skeletal cheekbones and said, for what seemed to him the ten thousandth time, I told you I told you I told you, I did: I’ve got nothing …

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 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 …

The Wicked One

by on December 11, 2016 :: 0 comments

She closed the door and, through the peep hole, watched him walk down the hall to the elevator as his semen leaked from between her legs and pooled in her underpants. As soon as he had disappeared from sight, she pressed her forehead against the door and began to quietly cry. From behind her came a familiar voice. “I thought …

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 …

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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