All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 343–Some Good Things Lost, Gained and A Celebration of Hairspray

Some Good Things Lost



I asked my grandmother if everything was wonderful in the good old days. She told me that “wonderful” can exist at any time as long as you are young and have enough money. She also said it’s better to be young than anything else, but since nobody stays that way, sources of money should always be cultivated.



My Grandpa Henry was a custodian at a community college for forty-three years. And although he made a decent “working man’s wage,” and in all other ways was a generous man, not once in his life did he pay more than two-hundred dollars for a car.

He had a thing for extremely tuckered government vehicles at state auctions. One year he landed a 1970-something Plymouth Fury for twenty bucks because he was the only one to bid on it. Grandpa Henry was proud of that car even though the only way to start it was to wrap your left arm behind the wheel and pull hard on the shift while cranking the starter with your other hand and pumping the accelerator, hoping it fired before the battery croaked.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – Goodbye by Frederick K Foote

I believe that knowing we will die causes art and kindness. I mean if you knew you were going to live forever, why invest your soul in that sculpture? Why not be a jerk? I also believe if there are immortals out there, they are uncultured assholes.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – Cat Eyes by Yashar Seyedbagheri

You never know which new writer will hit the site in a big way until a little time goes by. Often we get one timers whose contributions are appreciated, yet leave us pining for more. And there are the occasionals who submit every season or so, and we always welcome their return. Then you get prolific persons such as Mir Yashar Seyedbagheri. He hit the Literally Stories ground running and hasn’t looked back since. Although there will be a definitive count in a few months, Yash has already surpassed twenty posts alone this year of 2021, and today we invite you to look back at his first LS story from 2020.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 341: Where Have All the Disposable Ensigns Gone and Results From the Great Cat Division of the Feline Olympics

Three or four years ago I gave up on network television for the sake of my safety. It doesn’t mean that I have departed from gazing glassy-eyed into a screen, but nowadays I feed the vacuum in my mind caused by a lifetime of watching TV with YouTube and NetFlix. The TV is still on, but in the other room, tuned to one of those retro-channels, to long since departed shows, which star dead actors who come back to life for twenty-three to forty-six minutes five days a week, in worlds where forever usually arrives no later than 1982.

The main reason for this involves the Discovery Channel and its spin-offs on basic cable. For years my general sense of fear and isolation was greatly enhanced by an endless succession of learned talking heads who glibly informed me what would happen to Earth if it wandered too close to a black hole or was bathed in a gamma ray burst or nailed by an asteroid the size of Cincinnati. And none of it was pretty. End of Days. Repent. I was more distrubed, however, by the smarmy attitude of the scientists who spoke of these possible calamities with twinkles in their eyes. Why were they so happy to suggest these things? Isn’t everyday living hard enough already? Are these people sociopaths? And how come they all wear khaki pants and blue shirts? Even Victor Frankenstien owned a tie.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – Kenny Women by Fiona McGarvey

James Joyce would have understood Amber in Fiona McGarvey’s Kenny Women. He would have understood the social circumstances of the ugliness that finds her as well as her lassitude toward it. Although the story is hard going, it is rewarding due to its honesty and the quiet strength of McGarvey’s prose.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – The Thing by Dianne Willems

I’d rather that antlers grow in than have a child. Although it’s probably for the best that a person who has no children should feel that way, not everyone is so blessed. In an even more sinister conception, a combination of buyer’s remorse, potential Munchausen by proxy and our dear pals depression and fear drive this week’s rerun, The Thing by Dianne Willems. It is a simple tale of a complicated state of being, which I believe happens often, yet a shame enforced secrecy persists to the point of causing tragedy.

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All Stories, Short Fiction

339- Secret Rooms, Incidental Blonde Bashing and Results From the Tiny Wildcat Division at the Feline Olympics

Hugh is on a well earned holiday this week. This leaves me alone in a room, thinking of what to do for Week 339 at 3:56 A.M. on a Thursday morning.

The cursor is blinking, and my mind is its usual unsteady and fearful self. Writing is like life, I go from here to there and make it up on the spot, then return to edit the mistakes later.

Yet there are always some things I miss and never fix. For instance, the fatuous simile in the previous paragraph.


When I was a child we lived in a house that had secret rooms. Actually, the secret rooms were crawl spaces above the eaves–one at each side of the attic, accessed through pull out shelves. Only persons the size of your standard six-year-old (or so) could move around comfortably in the crawl spaces; only persons of six (or so) have enough imagination to consider the places the Christmas decorations wind up secret rooms.

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All Stories, Editor Picks, Short Fiction

Week 338: Fearing the Two-Hundred Degree Day and Results From Feline Olympics

The Pacific Northwest winter used to run September through July. The main features were a minimum eight hours’ rain every twenty-four and temperatures favorable for sustainable mildew. Some years, but not all, there’d be a relatively balmy August, which motivated many to rush to the rocky shores of the Puget Sound to frolic drunkenly in the sea until they suffered pointless deaths brought on by hypothermia.

I avoid Climate Change as a subject for debate because it really doesn’t matter. It could very well be that the cloud of hairspray sent up into the atmosphere by 80’s Product Rockers, Poison, alone, has punched a lethal hole in the sky. But it still really doesn’t matter. My advice to the people who are smart enough to change the world is stop wasting time trying to make the people who hate you see things your way. Be creative and invent something big that will end the problem. Channel the same egghead pluck and ingenuity that ended World War II. Your scientific ancestors impressively overkilled the most significant event in human history by inventing a device that, when applied vigorously, can wipe out our species’ future in less time than it takes to roast a turkey.

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Fantasy, Short Fiction

The Mynah Fall and the Major Lift: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical By Leila Allison

Marianne was an uncommon Common Hill Mynah. Hill Mynahs are native to Southeast Asia, but they can be hatched anywhere in the world as long as they are kept warm. This was the case with Marianne, who had been born in Norway, lived for a time on the Greek island of Hydra, then Asia, Canada, the American northeast and eventually wound up residing at a Bird sanctuary at the University of Southern California at Burbank. In her first six years, Marianne had seen more of the planet than most people see in a lifetime.

She was a well adjusted and happy Mynah, with a large, eclectic vocabulary drawn from several cultures. And all was going well until the following sort of thing began to happen on a daily basis:

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