Pete’s night at the pub with his old school friends had brought the usual mix of nostalgia, laughter and awkwardness. Now living in the city, it was great to return – occasionally – to his home village in the countryside to catch up with everyone. Sure, most of them were the same. Same jokes, same haircuts, same lies. But the familiarity was comforting. The devil you knew didn’t tend to disappoint you as much as the devil you didn’t.Continue reading “The Sack by Richard Huw Williams”
The first thing Clara stole was one of those glittery cell phone covers that looks more like the cover for a light switch. That was Clara’s first impression of the flat, pink object with rhinestones shaped into a falling star. She was in Target, and the clerk she had asked to help her find shoestrings told her to go to the seventh aisle where there were definitely no shoestrings but row upon row of phone covers, useless plastic rectangles that were supposed to “reveal your personal expressiveness.”Continue reading “Troublemaker by Cathy Adams”
My last parent interview of the day was late, by a good twenty minutes, and the damn meeting was only booked for fifteen. Truth was, I didn’t care that Derek’s folks hadn’t shown. For two hours I’d spent fifteen-minute slots explaining to overly optimistic parents how they’d raised kids as dumb as doornails. Nothing I hated more than parent interviews, except teaching in the 8:30 am session. No science to it; try teaching teenage zombies.Continue reading “Parent Interview by Jill Malleck”
I’m baking a cake, a well-mixed paste of carefully measured amounts of flour, eggs, oil, sugar, banana, baking powder and a pinch of cinnamon, ready to go in the oven for 45 minutes, when she knocks on the door. I think of taking my apron off, but I decide not to. It’s cute, with birds frolicking in a pink world. I look like an unusually traditional woman for our time, I feel. A woman. A kitchen. An apron. A cake. Pink. But I feel something perverse, almost noble, in quietly subverting these clichés still viciously clinging to these symbols.Continue reading “Hana by Mariam Saidan”
Joy Florentine has come up trumps with not one, not two, not three but five Rerun suggestions. So pin back your eyelids – eeurgh! Here is number one.Continue reading “Literally Reruns – Ship by L’Erin Ogle”
He wanted to be a hero. He wanted to be a hero so badly he could hardly think of anything else.
The Parrot sighed, and thought. A lump the size of an orange had formed in his throat, and he wanted it gone. It felt suffocating.Continue reading “Perry by Dianne Willems”
When my broadcasting partner, Screwdriver Dan, drops his jaw, I think he has a dental problem. When the station manager texts me to stop by her office after our show, the thought of a raise flashes through my mind. The first inkling I get that something’s wrong is when our call screener informs us the switchboard is lighting up, and no one wants to talk about home repairs.Continue reading “The End Of The World by Dave Henson”
It’s the first clear winter night in almost two weeks. I drive the streets into our valley community, 2003 Subaru Forester rattling with age and emptiness. Well, more like I’m driving down the one winding main street that slopes down a hill, flanked by cathedral-like ponderosas. A few side streets branch off to the market and the cluster of shops and the one or two churches that flank either side of the river. The outskirts, the hills beyond, my cabin, darkened rooms, and bills wait behind me, all splayed across the kitchen table. Power, water, a myriad of cards maxed out, in part due to my fondness for Fat Tire.Continue reading “Light by Yash Seyedbagheri “
The Rapture came to pass on an Easter Sunday and the irony was lost on no one, except perhaps the two and a half billion people who were vacuumed off the face of the earth. What exactly the departed experienced, ironical or literal, remained a mystery. None of them ever returned.Continue reading “Rapturous by Marco Etheridge”
Versatur Circa Quid!
No less an authority on speaking one’s mind than Mark Twain knew that the artificial concept called Free Speech is best left to the dead. That’s why many of his franker observations on God and the human condition were held back from publication until well after Twain’s employer, Mr. Samuel Clemens, joined the ever growing legion of Spirits (which currently outnumbers the living thirty to one), in 1910. I, Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender, know all about the sweet freedom of death, for I have been a member of the Spirit world eight years longer than Mr. Clemens/Twain, which means I am free to “overshare” with impunity.Continue reading “Hannah and the Homophonic: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison (with a forward foreword by Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender)”