Short Fiction

Wig Shop by Jon Fotch

He sat on the couch with his arms crossed around his middle like he was hiding something precious from some malevolent authority.

“I think I might have gone,” he said.

In a moment the water stopped to a drip in the kitchen sink.

“I’m coming,” she said.  

She went to him compressed by the years. Shrunken like wool in the dryer. Her shoulders pushed down from holding all the clouds above the world.

She helped him to the bathroom.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Climbing by Antony Osgood

For the fortieth memorial picnic, Egon Frankl had prepared ditalini with tomatoes smothered in oil. The food shimmered beneath an airless Viennese sun as he waited for his brother, who adored the dish. Not once did Egon sneak a bite. He’d long ago learned to go without so others might eat. Whilst his brother was normally late – Egon’s disappeared wife, Hilde, the person to whom the afternoon was supposedly devoted, once said being late was Ignaz’s chief characteristic – that day Ignaz excelled himself by failing to make any appearance whatsoever. Egon occupied himself by admiring the tattered life for which the city park was home. He ardently wished for his brother’s Copernicus moment, when it would dawn on Ignaz that the universe did not revolve about him. Younger brothers – even one aged eighty-two – seem duty bound, it seems, to disappoint.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Rachel, Remarque, and The Maltese Falcon by Vince Barry

Del Río— Rachel’s new board and care home. ’S where I was this morning till eleven, with Caron, the Russian, although “Caron” sounds Greek to me. Whatever, he’s gonna handle the move. Me, I’m driving home and thinking of Miles Archer and tuned to NPR when—

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Cherries by L’Erin Ogle

Frankie is his least favorite nursing aide. She wears cheap perfume that smells like cherries and he hates cherries, the knotted pits inside them, the red juice that blooms across fingers and teeth, the bittersweet taste spread across the tongue. His mother loved cherries, left bowls of them half eaten sitting on dressers and counters and even stacked on the floor, the pits stinking and rotting with bits of the fleshy fruit still attached. The stain on her fingertips resembling the lipstick smeared around her mouth.

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All Stories, General Fiction

About 465 nm:  A Chronology by Martin Agee

Age 7

You can’t imagine how much I loved holidays. Especially Christmas. Getting out the Christmas records and playing them over and over on the stereo. There was a Bing Crosby one where he talked in soothing tones about Young Jethro unwrapping presents all done up with paper that looked like stained glass. Decorating the tree. I was a Christmas ornament. Miss Twitchell told us to bring our school photo and we cut it into a triangle and put popsicle sticks around the edge. She came around and put glue on them and we sprinkled dusty sparkles that looked like icicles all along the frame and it made us feel proud. We knew we’d be right there on the tree, front and center, and everyone would say “oooh” as the tinsel reflected off the sparkles that made our faces with smiles shine and our lips look like flower petals that would bloom in different colors in April. I’m still there, somewhere down inside a cardboard box under the stairs wrapped in newspaper that’s got 1950 and some other words on it. Once a year I come out and hang there smiling at everyone with sparkly popsicle frame.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Troublemaker by Cathy Adams

The first thing Clara stole was one of those glittery cell phone covers that looks more like the cover for a light switch. That was Clara’s first impression of the flat, pink object with rhinestones shaped into a falling star. She was in Target, and the clerk she had asked to help her find shoestrings told her to go to the seventh aisle where there were definitely no shoestrings but row upon row of phone covers, useless plastic rectangles that were supposed to “reveal your personal expressiveness.”

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All Stories, General Fiction

Unsanctioned Acts of Compassion by Leila Allison

 Torqwamni County Convalescent Center (“T3C”)

Charleston, WA

Sunday, 26 January 2014, 3:52 AM

Millie was in the breakroom waiting for her shift to begin, when, like a child, Wendy from the graveyard team peeked through the swinging doors. Obviously relieved to find Millie alone, Wendy rushed in; her eyes were wide with worry and woe.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Cohort Retirees by Tom Sheehan

Each Raytheon retiree’s email, each contact with an old co-worker, though distant, departed, an accidental approach, brings me back to places, offices, plant sections and locations, that I left in my past and where I find those that never let go, holding on with clever clutches; some of my favorite people ever climb back into my present circumstance, letting me know they do not let go, not easily, not knowingly, not without a sidewise look I can remember as if it was sent my way yesterday.

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All Stories, General Fiction

It’s All in the Maul by Tom Sheehan

It was the moment of pure silence before we would set the forest on its ear with the roar of our chain saws. The deep woods that morning glistened with long tracts of snowy and scary silence, now and then broken by the creaking of a frozen limb swearing it would fall to earth. At best that fall would be a minor distortion, a minor distraction. Yet again, that creak sounded like a baby in the night, or a wailing or a keening, or, at an odder moment, like a voice given to what has no voice. At attention we stood, my friend Eddie LeBlanc and I, some twenty yards apart, some huge oaks apart, their ugly and monstrous arms clawing at early daylight.

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