The only thing fake about me is my name. Everything else, from the leather of my riding coat, to the bullets in my revolver, to most importantly, the intentions in my heart, are very real. To the world, I will soon be known as Simon Bolter, but to one currently unsuspecting soul, I will even sooner be known as “the man who robbed me.”Continue reading “The Ballad of Simon Bolter by David Ford”
Literally Reruns – Paraffin Lamp by Alex Sinclair
This story has content that some readers may find distressing.
Under normal circumstances, a tale of a violent, animal abusing prick wouldn’t get far with me. But Alex Sinclair is not the usual writer; nor is Paraffin Lamp a usual story. Alex has the tremendous ability to bring forward the least appealing elements in a character and make them interesting and alive. It lies in his effortless mastery of the language and perfect ear for dialogue.Continue reading “Literally Reruns – Paraffin Lamp by Alex Sinclair”
Week 430 – Dear Food Balancing The Books, Mick Bloor / Mason Yates And *’I Smell A Watering Hole’
We’ve been really busy this week.
I reckon we had close to sixty submissions and most of them were at the back end of the week.
We’re more or less caught up, maybe with a few stragglers.
It’s been good. But it always seems to happen when we have someone on holiday, and in my case, trying to get two rooms ready for the decorator coming tomorrow!
It’s been fun though – Well not the wallpaper stripping. I’m not the smallest of people and have two arthritic knees so trying to squeeze behind a cooker ain’t much fun.Continue reading “Week 430 – Dear Food Balancing The Books, Mick Bloor / Mason Yates And *’I Smell A Watering Hole’”
Hindsight and Occupational Choices by Michael Bloor
I think it’s quite common for people to chat to their dead parents/spouse/buddies from time to time. In Andy’s case, he would chat to his dead dad, usually when the car was stuck in traffic. Andy’s dad had been a no-nonsense kinda guy and his contributions to these conversations tended towards telling Andy not to be so bloody daft; which advice Andy usually found helpful.Continue reading “Hindsight and Occupational Choices by Michael Bloor”
Beasts by Claire Marsh
Boots sank into the damp ground, charting his path through the mud. The long, gnarled wooden stick added its own accompanying impressions. Pulling the brim of his hat low to guard against the puddles of rain exploiting gaps in the trees, Vincent walked. Unconcerned about the trail he left, knowing nature would conceal it long before any of them rose. He’d dedicated his life to knowing their practices. A commitment borne of bloodline. They hunted. They executed. Without exception.Continue reading “Beasts by Claire Marsh”
Southbound Traveler by Mason Yates
Dereck Banks found himself alone on the desert highway, a single vehicle on the massive but narrow southbound scar—a blemish on the natural brown landscape, that is—made of asphalt and metal road signs. His windshield flickered in the vibrant sunlight, and his tires crunched tiny rocks and pebbles and specks of sand. He kept the windows rolled down and radio turned up (an oldie—“Kaw-Liga” by Hank Williams—happened to be on) and let his wispy hair blow in spring winds, the temperature outside (mid-seventies) perfect for spontaneous road trips to nowhere and everywhere all together.Continue reading “Southbound Traveler by Mason Yates”
The Glorious Both/And by Jane Houghton
She walked down a long street, new-build red-brick configurations either side of her. She didn’t rush, she had no need for rushing, her strides slow and steady. A slight thing, tiny, some might say delicate, but she wouldn’t be stopped. Couldn’t be stopped. A row of prop-forwards would struggle against her. A decision had been made, signed and sealed in her head. She was going to do it. SHE WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO DO IT. The joy that this yielded rendered her untouchable.Continue reading “The Glorious Both/And by Jane Houghton”
A Flowerbed of Lies by Steve Combs
There’s foolishness and then there’s sin. I’m talking breaking the big-ten sin. You ever did something stupid like drunk texted and thought you felt shame for it? Nah, that’s not good enough for regret! Good enough for regret is when you steal or kill.
Don’t know how I got in the park that night with my 9-millimeter. Told that fucking Puerta Rican, “don’t drag me to no gun range, I deal with depression.” He taught me to shoot, and that didn’t do me no favors. See, you own your weapon of choice and tell yourself you gotta protect your family, but the shit lays idle until it gets in the wrong hands, and in this case, it got in mine during one of my episodes.
Walking the park, don’t even know how I got there no more than how I got the gun, and I’m going down the sidewalk, you know all outta place. Got on a long black robe over striped pajama pants. Top hat going on, too. Real pajama gangster. Sign says not to step on the prairie. So, what’ I do? Step both feet on, after all I’m wearin’ a fuckin’ top hat.
What happened next, you aint gonna believe, but remember this aint makin’ me look good. I’m confessing sin. Good enough sin for regret. Them flowers on that prairie came to life. You say plant life is life too, but I’m saying they really came to life, here. Started singing so beautifully, I wept. The sunflower in the middle-had lady bugs crawling all over. Goes, “easy, ladies, I’m married.” He sang base. Most beautiful rendition of happy birthday I ever heard, and them ladybugs told me I was gorgeous.
What a flowerbed of lies. Fuck em! Fuck em’ for telling me life is sunshine and rainbows. Let me introduce you to me. I’m thorn. I pulled out the 9-millimeter and aimed it at that ol’ sunflower!
After all, it must be a hallucination, right? Right? But Mr. Sunflower in the stiff stems, squirting blood with his base range up to high pitch screams haunts the hell outta me. I can’t forget it. For the sake of Mary and all the saints—I can’t. Clovers and coneflowers and goldenrods rushed to him. That’s reds and violets and yellows or something like that. Doesn’t matter, cause even the bright colors are dull.
What matters is Mr. Sunflower in a huff says, “my last wishes are for my family to get the little house like Michael Landen’s that I promised, and that you forgive my assailant, for I too have a soiled and seedy past.” He’s a guy like me with his own rap, dying cause I popped him. And he’s praying for my forgiveness? Yeah. Hope his family gets the house so half his wishes come true.
Might of got outta that prairie without any detective looking for the pajama gangster, but neither God nor me will ever get over what I did to that sunflower.
Image by Pavel Durčák from Pixabay – flowerbed filled with mixed colourful blooms
Now a chance to get to know one of our wonderful authors in more depth.
This time it is the turn of Rachel Sievers who has been with us since 2021 and if you haven’t had a look at her stories, now is the time.Continue reading “Sunday Whoever”
Week 429: More Awful Truth; Five Human Works and Beware of the Tippleganger
More Awful Truth
When I was young and inexperienced in the fine art of self destruction, I believed that getting a book in print made you both famous and rich. Boiled down to its elemental flaw, this belief was based on the notion that writing a book good enough to land in the small library in Port Orchard, Washington (as unlikely a candidate to supplant The Great Library of Alexandria imaginable) must mean you are famous–ergo rich–for I assumed you could not be one without the other.Continue reading “Week 429: More Awful Truth; Five Human Works and Beware of the Tippleganger”