Fantasy, General Fiction, Humour, Short Fiction

The Riddle of the billigits by Leila Allison

Meet the Hammy Dodgers

The crystal ball on my desk flashed red. This happens whenever the Witch HeXopatha (nee “Hezopatha”) wants to pee in my lager.

HeXopatha is an immortal Wiccan. She has been around for thousands of years and will continue to be around for however long it takes for her to get bored with the world and retire permanently to Hell–but I don’t count on that happening soon. Once upon a time the “peasants” might have been able to do something about HeXopatha, but her skill level has risen beyond river tossing and the pyre. In fact it is a bad idea to mention such previous activities in HeXopatha’s presence; nor is it advised to claim to be of “Puritan stock,” unless you enjoy long hours in pillory stocks.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Burned Toast by Gil Hoy

By the time Sally died, it was too late for Jack to become a better husband and too late to make amends. Car crashes come suddenly, without any warning, and can be as unforgiving as the wife of a cheating husband who feels no remorse. Jack was alone, five days after the accident, sitting in his kitchen eating breakfast and checking for the fourth time to make sure he’d turned the stove off.  He had overcooked scrambled eggs and the toast he’d made looked more like burned charcoal than anything fit for human consumption, but he’d eaten most of it anyway, spitting out the darkest of the black, crumbling pieces into the sink (after chewing them until the taste was unbearable). Those buttery, black bits were now stuck to the greasy aluminum pots and pans that lined Jack’s sink and would be onerous to get off.  

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All Stories, General Fiction, Historical

Piece of My Heart by Mitchell Toews

On a still fall day, I walk through the woods near the river. The sun is out and this makes the birch bark shine in white vertical swipes on a background of dun and green. The river is every shade of blue, capped with white horses beneath a sky of mare’s tails.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Camel by Jay Tanji

The cerulean waters of the Mediterranean splashed against the rocks below my table at the bar. I’d secured a seat on the cliff’s edge under the bamboo canopy of Ca’s Patró March, a seaside bar overlooking the popular inlet of Cala Deia. It was still early in the spring and the cove wasn’t yet filled with the typical sunbathers, swimmers, and cliff jumpers of the summer months. The bar was relatively empty with the exception of a German couple discussing the insurance package on their villa over two cañas grandes and a table of three profane teenagers sipping on Coca-Cola. I skimmed over the copy of the Majorca Bulletin strewn out in front of me, reading the garbage my fellow journalists had written for the week.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Bobby’s Shadow by Desmond Kelly

Watching the planes take off and land. It’s possible to observe them through a gap between trees. Little glimpses, a flash of light, a roar of the engine. Gone again, come again. I’ve watched so many, it puts me to sleep. It takes a while to realise those sausage tubes contain real people. Pilots and stewardesses in their perfectly tailored suits. When I turn away, the sound of traffic returns, the commotion on the street. Windows don’t close, except in monsoon season. Even then… Snakes slip between unguarded spaces. The monkeys set up a racket. The creatures lurking in the forest make their presence known. There are no trophy hunters; no men emulating Hemingway. The fish have buried themselves in the deepest deep, the wild game have found a habitat across the border more in keeping with their lifestyle. The forest will flourish until the loggers return. And then there will be mayhem.

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Editor Picks, General Fiction, Latest News, Short Fiction

Week 412: Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda; The Week That Remains; Unexpected Genius From Unlikely Sources

The Grammar Check is in the Mail

There is a vast, unplumbed hole in my learning when it comes to vocabulary. For instance, I went many years believing “unplumbed” meant clogged, like a tavern toilet, not unfathomed, nor lacking indoor plumbing (though I was in the same outhouse with the second definition).

I also went a very very long time thinking that “desultory” was a synonym for dismal; and until recently I believed that “penultimate” placed extra emphasis on ultimate; “atypical” did the same for typical–and, worst of all–I had “hirsute” as a fancy word used to elevate a person’s status instead of an adjective that describes someone who likely grows hair on the bottom of his/her feet.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Kick by Leila Allison

Rehab, 1988

Using cardboard, duct tape and a lamp, Tess turned her closet into a camera obscura.

“This gag’s been around forever,” Tess explained to her “model”–a simple but sweet cocaine addict named Sabrina. “Remember, hold a straight face and don’t look at the light.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Smoothing Stream by Michael Bloor

After the cremation, I felt I had to get away. I found a Perthshire country house hotel on the internet, situated in one of those mysterious winding glens that end abruptly in a wall of rock. The hotel advertised itself as ‘a mecca for hill-walkers,’ but that clearly only applied outside the shooting season, as was evidenced by the stags’ heads in the hallway, bar and library. More like an abattoir than a country house hotel, it seemed on arrival. Nevertheless, the staff were friendly and the weather was surprisingly dry for April, so I decided to stay on for a second week: I didn’t relish returning home to an empty house – her clothes in the wardrobe, her flowers in their pots on the kitchen window. And it wasn’t really until that second week that I got to know Willie Anderson.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction, Historical, Horror, Humour, Short Fiction

Franky And Jesus by Hugh Cron (Warning – Very strong adult content with what some would find blasphemous references. Do not read if you are likely to be offended.)

For my sister Tracy – Happy birthday and I know that your mind will be elsewhere. Hope this cheers you up a wee tad.

Continue reading “Franky And Jesus by Hugh Cron (Warning – Very strong adult content with what some would find blasphemous references. Do not read if you are likely to be offended.)”
All Stories, General Fiction

Varda May Atkins by Frederick K Foote

Samson LeBlanc, the Black son of a field worker father and a maid mother, was drunk on the arrogance of perceived acceptance and blinded by the blazing promise of equality.

He raised his cup with the elite rowing crews at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale and bonded with the offspring of billionaires, presidents, statesmen, and celebrities.

His hope for the future was boundless, and his ambition was an endlessly accelerating rocket.

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