All Stories, General Fiction

We Do Not Mistrust Each Other Because We Are Armed by Matt Garabedian

Sergeant Bonham walked the streets of East Berlin, finding a city mired in despair. President Reagan’s words hung fresh on the western side of the Wall. No graffiti marked the eastern side. Razor wire and sniper rifles kept would-be vandals at a distance. His counterparts on this side kept a watchful eye from imposing guard towers, in contrast to the humble structure on the other side of the checkpoint from which he stood his watch. This was an odd way to spend his R&R, but he needed to understand.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Hundreds of Little Pieces by Rachel Sievers 

The glass falls from the counter and I find myself sucking in air right before an explosion of small bits of glass and red liquid spill out over the beige tile. I mourn the glass in the aftermath, not that it is anything special, but I hate to waste anything regardless of its obscurity of significance.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Coral, Not Pink by Rachel Sievers

The cupcake frosting compacts and puddles in my mouth, slow and sticky going down my esophagus. I cough almost choking, shoving the rest of it in my mouth, and look down at the plastic container. It is hard to see in the dark of the closet but I can see neon pink sprinkles of three that remain.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Friend by Donnie Cox

Arthur Nagel is an ugly, little man. He stands barely four feet tall, and his head is much too big for his body. The muscles on the left side of his face are totally paralyzed causing his face to droop. Because of his looks, most people think Arthur is mentally deficient. He is not.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Wrecking Ball by Stevie doCarmo

“I’ve done it more than once. Which makes it possibly a bad habit.”  

 “What’s that?” Rama had asked.  

She’d been complexly twisted in her bus seat, patchouli-scented Jessica, pea-coated back to window, New Jersey gliding by behind her in what Rama remembered as a raw and drizzly November afternoon. “I just tell some people straight-out I’ll sleep with them if they want.”  

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All Stories, General Fiction

Blue by Selina Sheth

Blue is the color of anxiety, the smell of despair, the sound of confusion, the taste of fear, the touch of doubt. For Jamshed, it brings back jumbled flashes of long-buried images and emotions. A neon cobalt-stained hospital wall at age five, the time he’d smashed his knee and waited endlessly for a doctor to arrive, any doctor. An inky high school test paper that he’d known he’d fail before even looking at the questions. A joyride in a stolen navy-hued Honda that had landed him and his slow-witted friend Pesi in jail for a night.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 358: The Pursuit of Meaningful Longevity, Tales For the New Year and an Elevating Saturday Special

Welcome to a new year. Today is 8 January, an interesting date due to the odd mix of persons born on it. For example, Elvis, Stephen Hawking, David Bowie and Larry Storch were all born on this date. Elvis would be eighty-seven (thus still possible to “sight” at southern Piggly Wiggly buying peanut butter and bananas, if you are crazy); Mr. Hawking would mark his eightieth. and Bowie would be seventy-five. Alas all are gone, but we still have Larry Storch (dear God please let him live at least til this post airs, please, please). Yes, we still have “Corporal Agarn” from F-Troop. Mr. Storch turns ninety-nine today, and has outlived the others mentioned by a considerable margin of years even though he was (and by a long way) born first. 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Uncle by Ralph Hipps

My uncle was a substantial man, a man whom you could roll because his stomach curved like a ball. I often had the impulse to bowl him: there was something frustrating in the way he spent hours stitching old clothes. His painstaking labour jarred with my need for going fast at the time, which I remember taking the form of speed-reading. While I took a break, I’d find him in the kitchen, stitching lugubriously. I wanted to pick him up and roll him at speed. He was like a blocker, resisting my need to encompass his deliberateness. He was stitching, stitching, methodically bringing together; I, at that age, wanted to tear things apart.

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Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

To Anacortes by Susan DeFelice

Leena’s fingernails are thick as scallop shells, her case worker Victoria observes. Her clinical afterthought is shoe tying and sewing must be near impossible. They are driving to a campground outside of Anacortes where Leena will stay with friends. Borne from desperation and desolation the transitional housing definition has expanded to include camping. To pass the time as they drive Leena recounts traumas with her parents, ex-husband, kids – especially her youngest daughter who kicked her out.

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General Fiction, Short Fiction

Tom Sheehan – 150th Story.

Your Walk Westward toward Sunset by Tom Sheehan

It is brittle now, the remembering, how we drove you east with your backpack like a totem in the rear seat, so that you could walk westerly across the continent’s spine, across the sum of all the provinces, through places you had been before, and we had been, and the Cree and the Owlcreek bear and wolves envisioned when night screams upwind, stars loosing their valid phantoms.

Now it seems the ready truth that juxtaposition is just a matter of indifference, because we have all been where we are going, into selves, shadows, odd shining, all those places the mind occupies, or the heart, or a lung at exercise. You had already passed places you would come into when we knew your hailing us down, thumb a pennant, face a roadside flag halting our pell-mell island rush.

To go westerly, to walk across the world’s arching top, you said you had to go east, to know Atlantic salt, kelp girding rocks at anchor, clams sucking the earth down, to be at ritual with Europe’s ocean itself, that mindless sea of lonely buoy bells arguing their whereabouts in the miseries of fog, singular as canyon coyote.

We promised you holy water at Tormentine, reaching place of The Maritimes, a fist-thrust ready for Two-Boat Irish Islanders, Cavendish’s soft sand, holy trough of journey, wetting place, publican’s house of the first order, drinks hale and dark and well met and Atlantic ripe as if everything the bog’s known the drink has.

It’s more apparent now, after you moved outbound, or inward on the continent, trailing yourself, dreams, through wild Nations once ringing one another, your journey’s endless. Nine years at it, horizons loose on eternity, trails blind-ending in a destiny of canyons too deep to be heard, and your mail comes scattered like echoes, scarred horseshoes clanging against stakes in twilight campgrounds, not often enough or soon enough or long enough, only soft where your hand touches hide, hair, heart caught out on the trail, wire-snipped, hungry, heavy on the skewers you rack out of young spruce.

Out of jail, divinity school, bayonet battalion, icehouse but only in hard winters, asking Atlantic blessing for your march into darkness and light, we freed you into flight. You have passed yourself as we have, heading out to go back, up to go down, away from home just to get home. Are you this way even now, windward, wayward, free as the mighty falcon on the mystery of a thermal, passing through yourself?

You go where the elk has been, noble Blackfoot of the Canadas, beaver endless in palatial gnawing, all that has gone before your great assault, coincident, harmonic, knowing that matter does not lose out, cannot be destroyed, but lingers for your touching in one form or another, at cave mouth, closet canyon, perhaps now only falling as sound beneath stars you count as friends and confidants. Why is your mail ferocious years apart in arrival? You manage hotels, prepare salads, set great roasts for their timing, publish a book on mushrooms just to fill your pack anew and walk on again, alone, over Canada’s high backbone, to the islands’ ocean, the blue font you might never be blessed in. Nine years at it! Like Troy counting downward to itself: immense, imponderable, but there.

A year now since your last card, Plains-high, August, a new book started, but no topic said, one hand cast in spruce you cut with the other hand, your dog swallowed by a mountain, one night of loving as a missionary under the Pole Star and canvas by a forgotten road coming from nowhere.

We wonder, my friend, if you are still walking, if you breathe, if you touch the Pacific will Atlantic ritual be remembered as we remember it: high-salted air rich as sin, wind-driven like the final broom, gulls at swift havoc, at sea a ship threatening disappearance, above it all a buoy bell begging to be heard, and our eyes on the back of your head.

That other landfall

     on Equator’s quick needle

          bamboo’s vast jungle

Tom Sheehan

***

Our thoughts:

One day, I was on the grounds and saw a tower in the distance. Like a mountain in the desert the tower appeared closer than it actually was. It took many days and raises in the Sherpa’s (an Iberian Ibex named Aristotle) salary to reach the tower. Lo and behold the great tower was composed of Tom Sheehan Stories. Aristotle shook his head and informed me that there was no way to top the tower, and that we should just admire it for its greatness.

The tower continues to grow and one should expect that this growth will continue for some time to come. There is no finer professional than Tom Sheehan, and the best we can do to salute yet another achievement is to visit the tower and examine it piece by piece.

Congratulations Tom!

Leila

***

I often wonder, and we have never asked, what it was that prompted Tom Sheehan to send us his work. The muses and internet mages were smiling on us that day, anyway. Right from the very first time we knew that this was a writer of quality. What we have come to appreciate so much since then is his professionalism and wonderful gentlemanly nature. In a world and an environment where much is not as kind as it could be, to interact with someone like Tom is a real privilege. His work and output is amazing, and though some of his submissions haven’t been quite right for us it is all presented beautifully and the reading of it is a bright spot on any day. Thank you Tom for sticking with us all this time and allowing us to read your wonderful words. Long may it continue.

dd

***

It has been and still is my pleasure to be on the same site as Tom Sheehan. My admiration for the man is indescribable, I am in awe of his talent, his productivity but more so his respect and humanity.

If I am ever able to even write a quarter of the amount of words he has, I’ll be a happy man. I will bow my head though as I will never reach his quality!

One hundred and fifty stories on the one site is an achievement that very few will ever get near. Many congratulations Tom and thank you for gracing our site and my life.

All the very best my fine friend.

Hugh