October 22, 2020

“Being Green,” A Short Story by Col. Jon Marsh

“Being Green,” A Short Story by Col. Jon Marsh

Janey was trying so very hard but her six-year-old-to-be fingers had not yet fully mastered dexterity. “Well, Poop!” She learned to cuss in the girl’s bathroom at St. Thomas Elementary. She tried again. She learned from her friend Alonda that Mommies and Daddies would get a divorce if they had arguments all the time. A divorce was a bad thing to get, Janey was sure. She didn’t want them to get a divorce. . .where would they put it? In her bedroom? There wasn’t much room in there already, with all the stuff they brought with them from their house. The apartment was too small and it smelled bad. She pulled a little to stretch the rubber band enough to get it to fit through the loop her little hands were able to form. She learned in school that…

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October 13, 2020

“The Trio” — A Short Story by Nick Sweeney

“The Trio” — A Short Story by Nick Sweeney

Of the men in the trio, one managed a hardware store, another was a supervisor in a factory producing plastic parts for light fittings, and the other a print shop proofer. Their white collars were discolored, verging on frayed, their shirt cuffs grubby, though they had to have a Sunday best at home. They were men out of old magazines and black-and-white movies, from a different time, I sometimes thought, yet there they came, swanning into mine. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, they converged on a corner on the edge of the industrial district, where three roads met, then, without pausing, marched into our little restaurant.  “Never call it a diner,” Dad warned me, a long time before I set foot in there to work. “It’s a restaurant.”  But with a cook, and not a chef, and no espresso machine, it can’t even be called a café; it’s a diner. There’s nothing wrong with that. In our ad in the local rag, it says we serve ‘good, honest, home-cooked food’. Those commas are the loudest items on the page. It’s not too off-the-mark to say I’m…

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October 8, 2020

“Red Studio” — A Short Story by Bob Conklin

“Red Studio” — A Short Story by Bob Conklin

In your lover’s studio, everything is red—the chairs, the coverlets, the bedspread, the afghans, the doilies, the end tables, the lamps, the lampshades, the sofa. Red is how she likes it.   The easel itself is painted red, as is the canvas, and she always wears a red dress. To mention individual items is a pointless exercise, as it is impossible to distinguish shape from shape, item from item, form from form. It strains perception, and your eyes must make a profound adjustment coming into the room, and then readjust when you leave. It is similar to entering a room that is without light, pitch black, except that once your eyes adjust to the perpetual darkness, you come to accept the featureless quality of the darkened environment. Or else your eyes begin to detect faint shapes,…

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September 29, 2020

“A Blue Finch”— Short Fiction of Ana Vidosavljevic

“A Blue Finch”— Short Fiction of Ana Vidosavljevic

Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to present two pieces of flash fiction by one of our members, Ana Vidosavljevic, from Serbia: “A Blue Finch” and “A Yellow Marigold.” A Blue Finch  I keep many secrets in the pit of my stomach. My trees and shrubs witnessed many fortunate and unfortunate events that occurred in the depth of my body. And I helped many wretched souls that got lost among my thick tree trunks. On the other hand, I couldn’t help some of them. They were in a hopeless pursuit or running from their own wrongdoings. And their own deserved destiny caught them.   One lost soul especially got stuck in my memory. Her name was Hope.  Hope was a little blonde girl, not taller than my blueberry shrubs. She came to me breathing heavily, and almost losing breath. She was…

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September 22, 2020

“Counseling” — A Short Story by Yash Seyedbagheri

“Counseling” — A Short Story by Yash Seyedbagheri

Go see a counselor, classmates proclaim, when I ask for company. Friendship.  “It’ll help,” the ringleader of the pro-counseling legion proclaims. Her name is Betty Brown, she wears huge glasses, and I suspect she has a few fucking issues of her own. “It’ll help you get balance. You’ll find peace in your life, Nick.”  Balance? What the fuck? I want a friend. I want a fucking friend.  As if counselors can compensate for the vast spaces between me and people, the empty rooms at night, the excessive time spent with Netflix and its soothing red glow. Can counselors make people respond to the emails I send? Are they punishing me for bluntness unmasked? Counselors are just as fucked up, truth be told. They’re people who disguise sorrows beneath diagnoses and cold recommendations. Take this pill. Get more exercise.  I’d like a friend. That’s what every email I send…

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September 15, 2020

“On Waking Up and Strong Desires,” by Kelly Burke

“On Waking Up and Strong Desires,” by Kelly Burke

It is Saturday morning. I woke up with a strong desire to get a haircut. On my laptop I look up local salons to read reviews and compare ratings. I find one that looks promising. It has 4.9 stars and a recent client named Beatrice wrote that the stylists are warm and helpful people. Everything on the website is written in a romantic cursive font like a wedding invitation. I book an appointment for noon. I type out my name, email address, and phone number. Before submitting the form, it asks me to select the length of my hair, long or short. There is no option for medium or other. It makes me wince a bit. Then I begin contemplating the most accurate way to describe the length of my hair. I think about how…

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September 6, 2020

“Yodeling in the City” A Short Story by Marc Littman

“Yodeling in the City” A Short Story by Marc Littman

“No more yodeling, John, I can’t stand it!” Joan clutched her ears like she was clinging to a stout tree in a hurricane.  I peered at my wife’s pained visage, a face that after 40 years I no longer tried to spare any torment, and shrugged.   “Maybe I’m calling out to you, if only you could hear.”  “Like I’m a fat cow in the Alps and you’re a shepherd?!” Joan cried. “We live in New York, John. People don’t yodel in the city.”     Peering through our expansive windows at a Matterhorn of concrete, I started to warble but stifled the urge. Taking a different tack, I pivoted to confront Joan.  “Elmer does.”  “Elmer’s a peasant, he belongs in the Alps. He and Julie Andrews can sing their hearts out!” Joan volleyed back. I took a hit but stood my ground.  “Yodeling is more than singing, Joan. The subtle pitches and measured breathing, it calms me, and it reminds me of our younger days. Remember when we used to…

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August 24, 2020

“The Beholder,” A Short Story by Fiama Mastrangelo

“The Beholder,” A Short Story by Fiama Mastrangelo

You blink your eyes open and stretch your arms above your head.  You’re wearing an extra-large cotton t-shirt this morning—one that you got for free in your freshman year and never threw out.  Your dark brown hair is splayed out on the pillowcase and is exceptionally messy.  I wonder if you were feeling lazy or if you just didn’t care what I would think when you decided on this look last night.  We can work on that.  I watch you get up and move into the bathroom.  I can hear you washing your face, brushing your teeth.  You turn on the shower and the noise of running water fills the room.  No steam, it’s cold water.  Hot water will age you, remember?  I wouldn’t like that at all.      I told you that your legs felt prickly last night.  I wonder if you remember that this morning, while you…

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August 19, 2020

“Writing the Song,” A Short Story by Carole Langille

“Writing the Song,” A Short Story by Carole Langille

I met Van and another man at a party and though I was attracted to the other guy, I called Van. That’s how I did things in those days. I wrote lyrics, Van told me he wrote melodies, so when I suggested we get together and go over some material, Van invited me to his small duplex on the west side of Manhattan where he had his piano.  That first day, sitting on his couch, watching this tall guy with broad shoulders and curly brown hair play such wonderful melodies, I was happy. He looked like a cowboy, tall and lean, with his checked shirt and leather vest, his dark moustache, but an intellectual cowboy, his green eyes very alive. Years later, when I saw a film with Samuel L. Jackson, I thought they looked…

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August 11, 2020

“Pool Boy,” A Short Story by John Beyer

“Pool Boy,” A Short Story by John Beyer

The concept did not come as a lightning bolt out of the sky, striking my cranium instantly. But more like a slow buildup of storm clouds on the horizon. The ones that leave a person wondering if inclement weather was in fact on the way or would fizzle into nothingness. Weather is like that sometimes, much like thoughts, ideas, or dreams. Nothing to do with reality at the moment but perhaps in the future that reality would truly become real.  That was how it was with the epiphany I could make a lot more money if I turned my career into something deeper if not more sinister.  I grew up poor, angry and disillusioned in Forest Park in Detroit. The small neighborhood bordering Wayne State University had high unemployment and those lucky enough to be working had some of…

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