Ethel Jordan holds her hands out in front of her. She never liked her hands. The fingers are stubby, too short to be mistaken for the fingers of a pianist which she had wanted to be in another life.Continue reading “Just Trying to Make a Living by Donna M. Williams”
The world was so much simpler when Forever 21 was just a shitty clothing store. Nowadays, it’s nothing more than a bar off 42nd street, with a comically-large hourglass by the door filled with sand that never falls. I used to consider it nothing more than a cheap gimmick; another one of the city’s countless tourist traps. The truth is the bar was never what attracted people. All those stupid, far-from-subtle decorations aren’t what people come to stare at; we are.Continue reading “A Little Time by Dylan Martin”
The first place I search for Mum is Sainsbury’s. It’s the first shop that pops into my head. Maybe she needs ingredients for a cake or something. Though the last one she baked stirs up images of a smouldering mount Vesuvius. She forgot the eggs. I whip through the supermarket to the beep of the checkouts, panning every aisle, even the frozen food section. But she’s not there.Continue reading “Gone by Robert Steward”
Carlos López Andrade sat at a rickety red table, bathing in the sea of glowing colors that was Times Square. The luminous ads and billboards high into the night sky – ads of phones that ensured happiness and apps that promised love – trickled down white and blue and red colors that danced across his dusty brown skin. It was the texture of a ripe avocado, his skin, and the lights highlighted every ridge and crevice, every memory held within the rind. Even the ones that he didn’t want illuminated. He sighed.Continue reading “Photogenic Memory by Santiago Márquez Ramos”
He stood there, at the door, welcoming his guests. Each, he greeted by name, repeating that he was glad to see them and that he hoped they were well and enjoying the holiday season. He had invited everyone he had known over the many years he had lived in the town, as well as some with whom he had only recently become acquainted.Continue reading “The Outsider by E. P. Lande”
World War I was more than 20 years down the drain for most people, but Tommy Heffernan was looking up, with a slight discrediting look on his face, at Tim Kiely the bartender who was talking to or, more to the point, entertaining three drinkers sitting at his bar in Kiely’s Pub. The 2 o’clock sun bounced off Highland Avenue west of Malden Square and tried to come in through the windows shaded from years of accumulated cigarette smoke. Like always, Kiely couldn’t whisper; too much beyond his control, too much audience pull.“I know you boys come all the way from Somerville to hear the stories that grow from here. They come, glory be, without warning, like a knock on the door, trick or treat. For instance, take that lad down there at the other end of the bar, Tommy Heffernan, Colum’s boy. He was scorched in France, really bad. WW I’s green stuff they say. How many years ago’s that? He’s not worked a hard day since he come home from the Kaiser’s playground and might never work a hard day in all his life remaining, though the boy can put away a pint or two with the best of them. This I’ll tell you, though, that this lad, sick or not, for whatever ails him that the gas brought too close, has the softest hands in the whole world. Watch out for the cards in his hands, or a needle and thread.”
He tittered with his half laugh.Continue reading “The Softest Hands by Tom Sheehan”
He knew he’d reached middle age when his legs defied him each morning and when an afternoon snooze became a requisite for a good day.
Gabby abases himself before post-lunch Sabbath dreams. But when he wakes he thinks he is beside himself, caught off-kilter, unbaked, unfinished. It’s like someone’s drawn his outline and not coloured him in.Continue reading “Gabby Gets Some Colour in His Cheeks by Antony Osgood”
Eighty-nine-years-old and he hasn’t a clue. About fucking any of it.
“I’m sorry, my love. I’m so sorry.”Continue reading “Frank by Jane Houghton”
Fiction is a reconstruction of reality, duplicitous by nature because it forestalls the recognition of what exists, what changes, what constitutes the real nature of reality. Easing into narrative is a delicate series of steps, the task of memory and imagination putting flesh to bone, clay to hearth, shape to shapelessness. Night becomes day, for the man sitting still inside the house is like so much firewood waiting to burn, like leaves gathering and recircling, collecting and dispersing in a fierce wind, taking the dead to their last place of refuge. You want him living, breathing, thinking, but imagination is depth and breadth. There is too much to remember, like the broadness of the sea when it rises and collapses.Continue reading “Paper Flowers by Thomas Sanfilip”
Even with a personality of its own, my Saugus River is hard-pressed to be itself… so many things have happened to it, on it, with it, because of it. Did I dream all these scattered events, these small terrors? Perhaps. I was dreamy as a boy, romantic as a young man, possessed now. Possessed.Continue reading “Hard-pressed My River Is by Tom Sheehan”