All Stories, General Fiction

Anne: Office Monster by Michael W. Clark

She shouldn’t have red hair.  Also, it shouldn’t be the red that it is.  It is a dye job, a bad dye job.  She should act her age, but it’s not clear what that age might be.  She has too much energy for her skin.  Her skin has the pale of age, old age, too many years, is the phrase I would use.  Her skin had too many years on it for the energy she had.  Her thin pale epidermis indicated she should be slow moving, if not immobile, bed ridden maybe, but not walking faster than all the other employees.  People so much younger, so much stronger, should have so much more life than she had.  Her energy and her fire engine red hair, they just weren’t right. 

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All Stories, Editor Picks, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 350- An Antisocial Experiment, Five Magi, A Special Announcement and Hell’s Jukebox: The Love Songs

An Antisocial Experiment

There are endless social movements dedicated to improving people by requiring them not to be like people. Depending on your point of view this activity lies somewhere between education and brainwashing. I am old fashioned to the degree that I believe a person is influenced by both her upbringing and whatever chemistry is peculiar to her. You do your best to raise a child and if she grows up to be a doctor or a teacher you share in the credit, if she turns out to be a Josephine Mengela or the incarnation of Lizzie Borden, you shoulder some of the blame.

A person can improve. But people, as a whole, seldom do because there are “leaders” who want you to do as they command and will reward “good behavior” with letting you spend your life gazing into your phone and punish “bad thoughts” with unsupported accusations and placing you under the spotlight on the scaffold for a good old fashioned cyberstoning. This has been going on in one form or another since the invention of the third person–the first child who decides that her parents should be severely sanctioned for bringing her into this overlighted, loud and dreary existence, as well as not allowing her to have a phone until she can use one responsibly.

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All Stories, General Fiction

As If He Still Drives a Capri

In the lull between my husband’s condemnations, I reminded our daughters that each Sunday is a Christmas. This way of thinking is Karen’s idea. She does Fridays and Saturdays in the shop with me.

She said when sorting citrus, ‘When life serves you lemons–’ and I held up my hand and asked, ‘Is there a cliché for grapefruit?’

Karen couldn’t think of one.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Hacienda of Love by Monika R Martyn.

The weather app on my phone lies and says there’s only a 10% chance of rain; it’s raining. I listen to the sound of the soft rain as it mingles with the stillness evaporating with the rising sun. The world sleeps, and only the doves are awake with me. Humidity is 96%. Maybe it isn’t raining after all, and the sky is merely sweating. It’s hot in Mexico.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Except with Strangers by Rachel Sievers

I stood there naked. I let a small smile tickle the corners of my lips. I watched several people’s lips do the same. These were people who came because they understood what being naked meant. These were people who were here because they liked my craft. Knew about my craft. These were not people that I was nervous in front of. They had explored my work and enjoyed it and were here because they wanted to see it and be part of it. I liked these events. I liked sharing my nakedness with them. It was easier to be voluble to strangers. 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Her Special Day by Nicholas Katsanis

Clara looks up from the edge of the bed. Her eyes are red and swollen. She dashes to the wardrobe, blurting something about a different pair of shoes.

“The black flats are fine, hon,” I say with my softest voice. Next thing I hear is her scream, the crash of the shoe rack, her sobs: those unbearable sobs that cut through my flesh. I rush to the closet. She’s curled up at the corner, empty boxes strewn everywhere. The edge of her hand is bleeding.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Dixcove by David Chappell

It was not the love of eating fish that drove Kwajo out to sea, though he knew that taste better than most.  Nor was it the love of clawing with his paddle through the powerful waves and currents, or struggling to drop the net overboard and then retrieve it when heavy with catch.  Every morning, the fishermen waited on the beach for the third wave to blanket the collision of the first two, aimed the bow of their dugout canoe at the horizon and shoved off into the chilly mist.  As he listened to his father’s chant to motivate them, young Kwajo did it because he was proud to work with men.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Cut Off by Yash Seyedbagheri

I ask for one last Budweiser. And my bill. I’ve had what three beers? Surely, no harm in a fourth. It’s a Friday night. My voice breaks a little, the pause hanging over the pot-scented bar, humming like some force. The signs stare at me from the dull mahogany-colored walls. Bud. Coors Lite. Fat Tire. Red and white lights, mixed with piercing blues flicker over the bar, over the floors covered with napkins, possible vestiges of puke.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Week 348: The Graveyard Game and Rejected Classic Special Episodes

The Graveyard Game

I grew up across the street from a graveyard. By old world standards Ivy Green Cemetery is freshly dug. Still, it was founded in 1902, which makes it the oldest boneyard in town. Then again, there are only two.

The cemetery is fourteen and a half acres seated in a sprawling hillside that faces west. When the weather is in (usually it’s not) you get a fine view of the nearby Olympic Mountains.

Despite its relative youth, Ivy Green is almost at capacity. There are only a few prepaid plots left to fill. Yet it could take a long time for that to happen. Nearly all of the plots belong to women; as everyone knows, nothing dies harder than an Old Lady.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Last of the Roses by Tom Sheehan.

That morning I was a thorn between two roses.

My wife Kay sent me out to water the flowers along the front and the driveway side of the house, and my mother, just now marking her first year as a widow and not yet a pest by visiting too often, coming for the day. It was a Saturday, a lazy day off and I wanted to fool around for a while before the day got going.

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