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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All Stories, General Fiction

The Scary Lady by Jeffrey Penn May

Not long after Mike and Katherine moved into their spacious St. Louis county house with pillars and brick facade, its value plummeted. But it was a nice house, woods in the back, nice deck.

“What will we do when they’re gone?” Katherine asked, brushing a tangle of brown thinning hair.

“Who?” he responded. She was talking about their kids. Two more years and both would be in college.

“All this space,” she said. “Empty.”

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Turtle Beach by Paul Blaney

The first inkling Frank had of the change that would overtake him came on the drive down. He was in the back seat, his hip aching from hours on the Interstate, listening to a radio show about snow geese migrating from the Arctic, big flocks miles high but always along the same route: migration corridors they called them. And all of a sudden Frank was up there flying among them, mile after airy mile in unison. Who knows how long it lasted before Kathy turned and spoke to him, words he didn’t catch but that startled him back down, into his body? He shook his head, a horse throwing off a fly; he was a practical man, not given to daydreaming. ‘How long till lunch?’ he asked Kathy who asked Tom who wanted to get another hundred miles at least.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Funeral Crashers by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

My older sister Nancy and I love funerals. We go at random every weekend, ingratiating ourselves into the crowds, the friends, the family. We pretend to weep with the mourners, while we absorb things with the coldness of detectives, me in an oversized suit, borrowed from Dad. Nancy in one of Mother’s nice black gowns. We love the darkness, the garb, the somberness. The people gathered together, mothers and children, cousins, nephews, people with connections we cannot fathom. Being so close to darkness, a kind of whirl, excitement. We don’t know dead people, the wildness of loss. Mother and Dad are divorced, but that’s different. They wear fedoras and lavender and false civility. Even our grandparents still live, regaling us with tales of meeting Teddy Roosevelt and other trivialities.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

The Line Man’s Last Drive by Harrison Kim  

Scrawny old Bill Jackson worked twenty years as janitor at the mine.  He swept the lunchroom, washed and waxed the office floors, operated the snowplough and weed whacked the grass.  He liked to see things clean.  After the mine closed, he spent most of his time driving up and down the highway and side-roads picking up cans and bottles.  “Without me, the garbage would just pile-up” he told anyone who’d listen. He hauled discarded tires, old couches, rotten mattresses into the back of his pickup and drove them to the landfill.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Where They Are by Hugh Cron

David

I just don’t know!  What’s this world coming to?  A security guard who is nothing but a slip of a girl.  It’s not right.

But no matter.  It’s the shopping centre’s problem.  I have to admit that it’s nice that they give me my breakfast.  But in saying that I’m paying them enough. She does check on me, I’ll give her that.  But surely that should be a man’s job? 

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