All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 396: Stumbling Leaves; Another Week That Is; Autumnal Vexations

I like fall, but I avoid saying “I like autumn.” I went to school with a girl with that name and hated her. I wouldn’t want the little god whose job it is to check up on the likes and dislikes of people like me to get confused. So, to be clear, I like autumn, but not the Autumn I knew in seventh grade.

But there are things about fall I can do without; for instance, grownups who wear “onesies,” and those who get as excited as a three-year-old seeing Santa for the first time when the subject is “pumpkin spice.” Usually these people are one and the same. I will hear no defense for normal adults who wear onesies with little fire trucks and/or race cars, Bunnies, Unicorns, Cows, Green Aliens and Sea “Horseys” on them and must tell me about it. What you do at home is your own business, but unless you want me to wonder if you wear a “dype-dype” and rubber panties to bed, don’t bring it up, especially if I am eating.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Whatever It Is, I’m Against It by Leila Allison

I entered my building’s courtyard at dawn on a clear, cold November morning. I brought a bowl of tuna and a cat trap. I placed the bowl at a specific spot under one of the two box hedges that lined the walk and laid the trap nearby. Every morning I brought food to the same place; it was the trap’s only appearance.

I’d come for the benefit of a feline warlord in winter named Lemmy. I’d been feeding Lemmy on the sly ever since I first met him in the courtyard at least three years ago. Obviously feral, I appreciated the defiance in his attitude that wouldn’t allow him to beg. Oh, he certainly gobbled down what I gave him and shamelessly came back for more–but not once had he ever sought pity.

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All Stories, General Fiction

From the Other Side of the Saloon Bar by Tom Sheehan

I pour and they drink, and I am always mesmerized by their desires, their needs, their dry heaves between drunks so calamitous they’ll never know the impact till they get to the great beyond. I’m a bartender, barman, pourer, scoop setter, sudsman, but I will say at the same time that this menial job, though one with a great overview of the human soul, has saved my own soul for the long ride into the hereafter, though my travels don’t go beyond the 25 feet of the bar.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Citizen Wyckam-Smith by Michael Bloor

Have you ever ordered a DVD of an old film that, once upon a time, you thought was wonderful (back when you were at an impressionable age, say, between the ages of 15 and 25)? And when you settled down to watch it, accompanied by a wee whisky and some cheese and onion crisps, did you then discover that it was utter crap?

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All Stories, General Fiction

Aussie Girls by Kirk Alex

(story excerpt from Blood, Sweat & Chump Change ––
Taxi Tales & Vignettes by the author)

I’m first up on the taxi stand at the Beverly Center, after waiting for close to an hour and a half. Two Aussie girls climb in the backseat. One is blond, the other a particularly thin brunette with pocked cheeks. They want to go to Melrose.

“The Bank of America on the corner,” they tell me.

Melrose is a long street, goes for miles. I need a cross street. They can’t think of it, but explain the bank is “by the shops on Melrose.” Not much help really, but feel we’ll be able to find it.

I get the meter going and pull off the stand. Turning left on La Cienega, I take them north. When we reach Melrose Avenue I make a right. I find out that the blond has lost her wallet at the B of A “by the bus stop,” and this is why they are having me take them there. They wonder what the fare will be. I quote them between five and six dollars.

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Our Harbour by Paul Kimm

Until the first ‘magical’ incident our harbour was like most others around the country. One side with its fishing industry and the other for the summer tourists. The South Pier reeking of fish guts and the north side either boarded up or packed with visitors stuffing seafood and sugar into their mouths depending on whether it was summer or not. That was until a few years back.

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Sanctuary by Tim Frank    

 You could say I’m an unhappy guy. I just want to blot out the days, smoke away the nights and dump my beloved books into the ocean. Books used to be my everything, but now they simply bore me – I can hardly read a paragraph my senses are so dulled. I have better days, it’s true, because I’m essentially free. I can choose when I wake – I have no alarms, no commitments, but sleeping in my car, that I’ve called home since the divorce, can be a real drag.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 394: Seeking Inspiration; Five Inspired Tales and Must See Comic Strips

Seeking Inspiration

The human ability to whine at any level of existence may be the crowning glory in the evolution of our species. The aged, the sick, the poor, the abused, the cheated all have plenty to rightfully complain about; yet even when we are young, healthy, rich, safe and on the winning team, we are still able to find something wrong with our lots. That is the point when rightful complaining turns into cry-baby whining.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Dreaming in the Third Person by Adam West

He dreams he is a young Asian woman. Diminutive. Pretty not beautiful. Not distinctly of Indian or Pakistani heritage but notionally from that region of the world sometimes known as the Indian Subcontinent.

And yet in his dream he isn’t actually the young woman in question. Not as such. More, he is her in the third person.

Whilst the dream lacks structure he experiences a resonance throughout the day. An intangible notion of being someone else. It’s a novel experience but one that returns periodically.

Earlier in the day he had a fall.

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Hill 407 Reboot by Tom Sheehan

He was uphill again, part way on the steep incline, where time, circumstance and opportunity had taken him. But time had crumbled, and with it the matter of circumstance. Only opportunity, sometimes a laggard, held on, fate deciding issues as it had decided his. Downhill he could see how difficult the climb could be to anyone determined to go top-side, as jagged rocks appeared, thick clumps of trees turning toward the awed colors of fall, now and then a formidable gorge in the way of quick ascension. At his backside lurked the sense-awakening pain and the phantom ache lingering in his legs, as if archived for history, remnants of another climb, on the real Hill 407, northwest Afghanistan, in the formidable quarter of activity in that distant country.

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