All Stories, General Fiction

All Around Town by Adam Kluger

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“Where are you looking?”

“Sweet Pines Middle School. Riverside Country Day. Ethical Morality on the Upper West Side.”

“All top notch — if you don’t mind me asking… how can you afford that?”

“Oh, Tom just got promoted and we’ve saved a little from his inheritance.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

Portraits of the Dead and Dying by William R. Soldan

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Dwight had just torn open the pack of Lucky Strikes he’d stolen from Mort’s Little Shopper when we saw the plane going down. We were in the patch of woods behind St. John’s, where we liked to horse around on those long summer afternoons when our mothers were working and our fathers were either slouched in front of the TV or down at Miller’s Tap tying one on.

“Holy Shit!” Dwight said. “You see that?”

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Literally Stories – Week 56 – A Tale of Two Emails

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*The names in this blog have been altered to protect the innocent — not the guilty.

Email One — 23 December 2015.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

In actual fact Twas the night before the night before Christmas, when an email landed in the Literally Stories inbox. Attached to the email a short story for our perusal.

Standard acknowledgement email is dispatched by yours truly.

All well and good.

Christmas came and Christmas went. New Year beckoned. New Year came and was soon spent and the story we received 23rd December continued to languish in our gmail account.

Forgotten. Unloved. Unread.

9 January 2016  — Email Two.

A standard rejection email is sent out to a much-loved LS published author, *Gertrude Ponsonby.

11 January 2016 — Email One

Email One is unearthed by the same buffoon who forgot to bring it to the attention of fellow Editors. Sincerest apologies email is duly dispatched to potential LS author patiently awaiting a reply:

Sorry *Engelbert — we somehow failed to flag up your story for reading… we will read it and get back to you very shortly.

12 January 2016 — Email One

Email is sent to the author of unloved, abandoned, forgotten story to tell them it is no longer unloved and will soon have a home at Literally Stories.

14 January 2016 — Email Two

A standard rejection email is sent out to the much-loved LS published author, *Gertrude Ponsonby; the same author who received the same email for the same story five days previously.

Oops!

Later that day

Much loved LS published author replies with typically pithy good humour:

Wow. You must really have a special hate for this thing. I’m used to rejection, but I don’t think I’ve ever had anything given the old heave-ho twice in one week. To be honest, I concur. The story sucks.
Regards
*Gertrude Ponsonby
~~~~~~~~

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All Stories, Fantasy, Horror

Body Art by Daniel LaPonsie

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The human body is undoubtedly the greatest work of art in the entire universe. This is my sincere conviction as I silently spring, hop and even moonwalk. Swirling with grace through the city street, I place the human form on nude display while keeping my mind expertly focused, eyes calm and and dispassionate.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Chocolate Kid by Tom Sheehan

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Today it all came back. Once again, on another brilliant dawning, the Western Yetness still calling me, I woke with a toothache. A stupendous one! In half an hour, despite quick brushing, the stimulator poked here and there, gargling, all proving useless, the ache remained in force. It was, without a doubt, the chocolate again, or the mere thought of chocolate. I knew I was weak to most any candy, and to chocolate in particular, right from the beginning.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Guilty by Frederick K. Foote

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I, the most hated and reviled, the duly convicted mass murdering, monster calls and he, the newly anointed great red, white, and blue America white hope, comes to me like I knew he would. He enters with a mouthful of self-serving, homogenized bullshit.

“You’re just one insignificant member of a tiny, marginalized extremist group. You stockpiled weapons and hid in the shadows of normalcy and plotted your cowardly attacks. Death is a reward for your kind. Life without parole is a more fitting punishment, and it robs you of your martyr status.”

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All Stories, Horror

After Evening Benediction by Bill Vernon

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At nine years of age I met Monsignor Karavich up close when he invited me onto the altar during benediction alongside Michael Dolanski, the heroic high school halfback. Until then, the priest had been an other-worldly figure, an unreal actor on stage, looming above and orating as I knelt silently at a pew, trapped in place by my mother’s piety.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Milltown by Martyn Clayton

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They call it the valley creep. A mire of mist slithers down the river bottom then seeps its way through the narrow terraced streets, climbing as far up the hillsides as it can travel before gravity calls time. Those who live at the top keep their distance. Their view of the valley is always from on high. Any problems up there are easily resolved. Those at the bottom bought in when they were in search of something that the cities could no longer offer. Some came to find themselves in this old mill town, industry given way to dreams of creativity and reinvention. Some fall between the gaps, others slide into the canal after a drunken night out. In the little bunting bound park the bewildered born and bred meet those who’ve blown in to tighten their arms and pierce their veins. Once a film-maker raised in the valley came back with his camera to meet them. He called out all the suicides, the blame getting put on the steep valley sides that hide the sun for months of the year. When it snows the roads in and out become impassable. The sun shines too though, and when it does the place comes alive with trippers from the nearby towns. People sit on the low old bridge and eat ice cream. Today it’s neither sunny nor cold, just a grey valley day.

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Literally Stories – Week 55 – Allergens not in BOLD: strong language, dodgy humour.

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Hurrah!

Santa was back on form this year. He clearly read the message I left him, very carefully unlike last year when some incompetent stand-in or faux Mr. Claus totally f***** up.

Dear Santa I wrote — as you do — I would be most grateful if you could kindly arrange it that your elves assist you in the delivery of a number of…

Now conjure up a long list of ‘literary books’ by the likes of Orwell, Dostoevsky and other suitably heavyweight names including Albert Camus.

NB: To avoid severe embarrassment as once suffered by yours truly, please note that Mr. Camus was born in Algeria (then French Algeria) and his name is pronounced, not unsurprisingly for the French, Al-Bear Ca-Moo.

Not Al-But Ca-Mus.

Any road, as we say round these parts, you can imagine the puzzlement, nay sinking feeling that besieged me, when unwrapping many book-shaped packages I came across The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and did not subsequently discover The Outsider by said Algerian.

YA fiction is not, as you would no doubt hazard a guess, top of my must-read genre list, but to be fair to S.E.Hinton I read The Outsiders (published 1967), which was written by her when she was still in junior high school, and it is indeed a fine book of its type.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Mr. Pascal’s Funeral Parlor by Nikki Macahon

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Mrs. Pascal’s first rule, no sweets in the parlor.

My fingers dig into the folds of my gloomy clothes, clawing at the satin that piles under my fingertips. It does not do to indulge yourself in front of the grieving, Genevieve. Her voice scratches against the walls of my head. Not when there is work to be done.

Perhaps not, Mrs. Pascal, but to deny one their sweets in time of such pain does not do as well.

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