December 17, 2020

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

“Squid Eyes,” A Short Story by Lisa Sita

Every time Amanda cried black ink, people thought it was her mascara running. Sometimes a concerned fellow female, in trying to be helpful, would recommend that she try a waterproof variety, since there were so many on the market and were actually quite effective at preventing embarrassing smudges. She always tried to explain after politely thanking these women that she was not wearing any makeup, but they never seemed to believe her.  Amanda’s parents first noticed the color of their daughter’s tears when she came slipping and sliding out of the womb at Lenox Hill Hospital one early winter morning. As soon as the cord was cut, little Amanda’s eyes spouted like tiny oil wells that ran and dribbled into the creases of her new baby flesh. The doctor who delivered her and others who were consulted could find no reason for it. Thinking first that the black tears…

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November 25, 2020

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

Nothing against Ms. Johnson, but when she read aloud to us, her head wobbled on her long neck. And she licked her thumb to turn pages. Nobody ever checked out a book she had read aloud during Library Hour.  The day she tried to read us The Mouse and the Motorcycle, her thumb had just smudged page one when Evan stood on a library stool and threw the recess kickball at her. It smacked her in the face. The chapter book dropped to the floor, its pages fanning out before us as Ms. Johnson let out a high “Oh!” of surprise. Then a smaller “Oh.” Of realization. She brought her knuckles to her nose. Nobody breathed. “Tissue,” she said through her hand, and brought her other hand to the blotch of pink swelling on her cheek. “Please.” The kickball, bumping across the carpet, tapped against the picture books lining a bottom shelf and dribbled to a stop. Then Evan wound up and toe-balled…

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November 19, 2020

“The Blind and the Seeing Are Not Equal” by Ikjot Kaur

“The Blind and the Seeing Are Not Equal” by Ikjot Kaur

Before I stopped seeing, I started dreaming a lot more. The dreams, if they can be called that, gradually increased in frequency and intensity. The whimsical visions of my dreams spilled over into my waking life, the line between the two states smudged. In the unravelling, I discovered a senseless, feral urge to read.   Books multiplied on the shelves overnight, in the dark, while I was asleep. I wandered into used bookstores and rifled through the pages with a hunger for ink. I pored over the manuscripts in my office, the paper rustling under my fingers. Boxes filled with paperbacks arrived at my doorstep. I cracked open their spines. Words crept under my front door, slid over the carpets, climbed into my bed. I read passages out loud, swirling the syllables around my mouth like sips…

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November 9, 2020

“Barry and the Trumpet,” A Short Story by Nancy Kissam

“Barry and the Trumpet,” A Short Story by Nancy Kissam

Barry always wanted to play the trumpet.  Sure, he was a lemur and that made his dream a bit more of a challenge, but he had faith in himself.  “Listen,” Barry thought, “if I could peel a mango in an hour, I can certainly learn to play the trumpet.  How hard could it be?”  As it turns out, pretty hard.  Barry had a sister.  Actually, he had twelve sisters if you counted his nine half-sisters.  Lemur dads were not known for sticking with one partner, not that his mom cared one wit about it.  “Good riddance,” she once told Barry.  “That guy got on my last nerve.  Did you know he’d constantly accuse me of going out at night?  ‘Of course I go out at night, I’m nocturnal. Ya dummy.’”    Barry’s sister, Colleen, always tried to encourage Barry.  If he was inclined to hang from…

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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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