Short Fiction

Week 334: Little Toughs, A Kvetch, Good Stories and an Extra Helping of Frederick K. Foote

Little Toughs

My football-shaped black cat, Dudley, has been assassinating my left ankle again. He is an irresistible little thug who takes “No” poorly. “No, Dud, I’d rather you not shred the new sofa.” “Um, no Dud, you may not go outside and fight with the crows.” He can hold a grudge longer than a Catholic funeral; and has the sort of personality that would drop a nuke to end a snowball fight.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 332: At War With Reality, and The Apocalypse A to Z

At War With Reality

I like to create an artificial sense of order. To achieve this I write a To Do List everyday. I neither accomplish nor consult the thing after I make it, but the act of creating a To Do List and peeling it off the pad and sticking it to the wall behind my monitor temporarily places me in control. It makes me feel like I’m doing something; that I am in charge.

I write my daily list on one of the dozen or so multi-colored sticky pads that may or may not have at one time been inside the office supply closet at my workplace. I use one of the fifty or so black “Precise Rolling Ball” pens that may or may not hail from the same source as the sticky pads to write my To Do Lists (used to do them in a fine point Sharpie until the supply dried up). I take heart from the pastel squares of Great Deeds to be Done accumulating on the wall like coral. Many have given up the stick and have fallen into the slim space between my desk and the wall, down amongst the spiders. But looking up at those which hang in there gives me the artificial sense of order that I crave.

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Short Fiction

Week 330: Fear and Recreational Violence


I’m afraid of heights, close places, and small talk with strangers. This makes me a crummy candidate for riding in planes. Which is fine because I’ve only been on one air trip in my life, and I will never do it again. I’ll go by car, rail or ship first. Hell, I’ll walk, if it comes to that. A friend once told me that air travel is statistically much safer than going by sea. She also reminded me that I cannot swim. I retorted that I may learn how to swim anytime I please, but that my prospects for self propelled controlled flight are limited.

Excellent questions usually attract poor answers. For instance “Why do some people joyously skydive and bungee jump, while others clutch the sides of their chairs until the blood has left their knuckles just contemplating those activities?” I usually reply to something like that with “You never hear about anyone leaving a crater after she falls off a barstool, right?” Yet, later on, when doomed to spending time with my own thoughts, I wonder why I am afraid of the devil may care aspect of life.

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All Stories, Short Fiction

Week 327: Twenty-six Ways to Weave Your Drunkard

Everything is offensive. There’s no plainer way to put it. There is no topic that can be brought up that is universally inoffensive.

“What about a box of cute newborn puppies?” A voice in my head asked, when I first conceived the opening paragraph.

“Gotta do better than that head voice,” I said. “Try to fight this: ‘Cute, but that breed shits on the floor, no matter how hard you teach ‘em not to. How dare you rekindle that memory.’”

“Okay. How about World Peace and True Love? Surely no one can complain about them,” my head voice said; for it was a stubborn head voice that needed to be smacked on the nose more than once.

“Munitions manufacturers will find something wrong with the first and the second does not exist. Go away, head voice.”

Case closed.

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Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Week 325: Little Vermin Have Big Ears


No vermin have been harmed during the production of this post. The only vermin the author would like to harm are those who police matters of pronoun usage. In this piece Rats will be referred to in the masculine and Mice in the feminine (and yes, I know capitalizing vermin species deviates from standard usage). It could have gone either way, but mention of the late Audrey Hepburn, in relation to Mice, was the deciding factor.

For those persons who will still take offense on general principle, due to the combined deficiencies of their parents, mentors and education systems, I offer this item I found on Google yesterday during my research for this piece: Oxygen through the rectum aids in respiration. Since the persons addressed in this paragraph think and speak with and through their rectums, I find it fair to point out that there are health benefits to be gained from such ignorant actions.

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Latest News, Short Fiction

Week 323: A Dope By Any Other Name is Still a…


Welcome to week 323. My name is Leila Allison, and I believe that I am the first American editor at Literally Stories, which, of course, means nothing to no one nowhere no how, but since I so rarely come in first, I thought I’d mention it.

For those who are addicted to Hugh’s Saturday posts, I extend my apologies. But the fellow deserves a break every so often, and this week I have taken up the cause in his place. Although I have no idea what Hugh will do on his mini-vacation, rest assured it probably doesn’t involve listening to Coldplay or soliciting funds for a statue of the late Royal Consort to be erected in Ayr, Scotland.

The world is an unsteady place, but one thing is for certain: Hugh makes the Saturday post look easier than it is to accomplish in reality. So it is with great anxiety and a general sense of foreboding that I now present my pale imitation of the master.

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