All Stories, General Fiction

The Camel by Jay Tanji

The cerulean waters of the Mediterranean splashed against the rocks below my table at the bar. I’d secured a seat on the cliff’s edge under the bamboo canopy of Ca’s Patró March, a seaside bar overlooking the popular inlet of Cala Deia. It was still early in the spring and the cove wasn’t yet filled with the typical sunbathers, swimmers, and cliff jumpers of the summer months. The bar was relatively empty with the exception of a German couple discussing the insurance package on their villa over two cañas grandes and a table of three profane teenagers sipping on Coca-Cola. I skimmed over the copy of the Majorca Bulletin strewn out in front of me, reading the garbage my fellow journalists had written for the week.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Cure by Corey Olds

“Four horsemen on a broke-dick mule!” exclaimed Dr. A.P. Cary, as he pressed off the Orget.

He couldn’t believe what he had seen. His sister Beverly—had she been there—would have said, “Y’all going out the world ass backward.” And they were. The denizens of Sand City had lost their natural-born minds. The shit was ridiculous. Teenagers, twelve-year-olds, lucky-to-be-twenties blicking each other as if homicide were going out of style. What they failed to understand was that they were blicking at the wrong MFs. When the bluecoats routinely blazed holes in sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts, the self-proclaimed savages didn’t do anything. Rarely did they risk their life to take a devil to hell. All those Sand City villains misunderstood who the opps really were.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Smoke from the Chimney by Tom Sheehan

Diagonally, out my back window, pal Buzz Chadsy’s house sits like a white peppermint on the side lane, one house between us. In winter’s Christmas snow, it celebrates life and color, at Easter the calm is newly evident, at night a single bulb lights the living edifice. Many late evenings, it is the last sign of life as I trod to bed, to a deep sleep, or a night full of dreams on the run.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

For Love of a Three-Legged Horse by Marco Etheridge

The interrogation room is like any other. This one happens to be inside the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Nashville. A steel table occupies the middle of the room, legs bolted to the floor. Two chairs face each other across the scarred tabletop. The chairs are secured to the floor as well, for good reason and from accumulated bitter experience.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

Uncle Fail by Salvatore Difalco

Uncle Florio’s face was all lumps, his purple left eye half shut. His swollen lips barely moved as he spoke. “I’m gonna kill him,” he said. “I’m gonna kill that prick.”

My mother, his kid sister, poured him a shot of anisette. He sipped it and grimaced with pain, gently touching his lips. A dark stain splotched the collar of his red plaid shirt. I wondered if it was blood.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Executor by Barb Lundy

Emmet Emafo started his day running. Broken branches and shredded herbs told the story of the hail storm that woke him during the night. A thin mist still fell. A canvas of fall leaves swayed in trees. He became one with the morning light and shadow. The slap of his footfalls on the wet cement comforted him.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Fake Teeth Yarn by Kiersen Clerkin

Listen officer, kids die all the time, you know. Trust me. And seventeen isn’t that young. But his blood tasted like mine, that was a surprise. So was his walk; wobble really. Monnie told me he needed a few more, “Get it girl,” that’s what she said, and she said it just like that, like her lips were dripping with sticky spit and she was slurping it back up. I couldn’t, not just then, couldn’t give him what he need.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

There’s No Bars in this Town by J Saler Drees

We were bored when we started drinking and bored when we got too drunk and bored when we stole Adee’s pickup and drove it down to the riverbank. What a joke. We laughed the whole way, that forced, bored kind that sounds like a fraud. How we mused, won’t this be funny when Adee gets off her shift and finds her truck gone.

Since no one ever locked their cars, or their doors, stealing came easy. Only problem in a town this small, you’d get caught. Didn’t matter. Stealing was more a game than a necessity, so catch us if you can, Adee.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

A Saddle in the Desert by Tom Sheehan

He was in the sparse land between shifting sands of the great desert and the last tree bearing green when he saw the vultures descending from their high flight. Breward Chandler, “Brew” to friends back in the mountains where breathing was much easier than here in the midst of little life, sat bareback on an Indian pony he had freed from a natural corral behind a blow-down. Chandler had learned that the horse would obey pulls on his mane and in this manner he had escaped from sure capture by heading into the desert, with his pistols loaded and a lariat and a canteen he had grabbed on the run. He was not sure who was after him, either renegade Indians or renegade whites out for the kill, looking for guns, clothes, saddles, anything for free. He was hoping that they’d measure the little he might have against the rigors of a chase in the desert. Perhaps, he also hoped, they were smarter than he thought they were.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Van Damned by Todd Mercer

I’m not saying society is unstable here, but Kidnapping is the third-leading sector of employment. When I flew in, I was shocked by the ubiquity of it, and the apparent randomness of who is selected. So different from back home. Six months later I’ve adapted and am making mind-blowing amounts of money driving a Kidnap Van on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I could ask for more assignments, but the quality of the work-life balance is so important. Two days a week pays all my bills and then some.

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