All Stories, General Fiction

The Scrabble Player by Alison Kilian

He was on his way to our weekly meeting when he slipped on a patch of ice, fell backwards and cracked his head like a piñata, spilling its candy-colored contents onto the asphalt. I read about it in the paper the next day or I would have never known, would have simply given him up for another one who lost interest. We had never exchanged numbers. I didn’t even know his last name until last week. But they ran his picture with the obit and the announcement of the memorial service to be held Wednesday at 2pm. Today. Today is the day I will see his wife for the first time. Today she will find out. 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Flowers for a Wedding by Victoria Mei-ling Kerrigan

One month after my mother’s funeral, Darian and I are buying flowers again. My brother Lloyd is getting married tomorrow. I lead us through Madison Square Park to Belle Amie, the flower shop my family frequents.

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General Fiction, Short Fiction

 Black Flowers by Michael Ventimiglia

Being home hurts. It’s a subtle sort of pain that isn’t always obvious, but it’s always there just the same. The aching starts the moment I cross the state line and it won’t stop ’til I cross it back over. I guess that’s just the price of having a past, having to live with it.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Music by Leila Allison

I half-seriously considered boosting the copy of the Beatles’ “White Album” I gave my sister Tess on her tenth birthday in 1972. I didn’t care who made it; I didn’t care if it was a double album–seven bucks for a four-year-old record was bullshit. I figured I could easily outrun the young clerk who looked like the only person in The House of Values remotely fit and crazy enough to give chase. For if I did make the move, it would come to that. Getting away unnoticed with an album was impossible due to its shape; almost as dumb as trying to conceal a basketball under your sweater. But a little voice told me that it was bad luck to steal a birthday present if you have the money. So, I wound up buying the goddamn thing, but I hooked a Rocky Road bar at the register so I wouldn’t go away feeling like a complete chump

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All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 414: UserTube; Another Milestone in Scotland; the Remains of the Week and YouTube Fascinations

UserTube

I don’t like TikTok much because it encourages the further curtailment of an already alarmingly short public attention span. I sometimes think that maybe we are being steadily prepped for a future in which chips will be planted in our brains at birth. In the year 3000 “slow” will describe someone who actually takes a second to think something over. No, not much for TikTok, but I do like YouTube, well, to a point, yet there is something happening on it that makes me howl with rage.

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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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