General Fiction, Short Fiction

Tom Sheehan – 150th Story.

Your Walk Westward toward Sunset by Tom Sheehan

It is brittle now, the remembering, how we drove you east with your backpack like a totem in the rear seat, so that you could walk westerly across the continent’s spine, across the sum of all the provinces, through places you had been before, and we had been, and the Cree and the Owlcreek bear and wolves envisioned when night screams upwind, stars loosing their valid phantoms.

Now it seems the ready truth that juxtaposition is just a matter of indifference, because we have all been where we are going, into selves, shadows, odd shining, all those places the mind occupies, or the heart, or a lung at exercise. You had already passed places you would come into when we knew your hailing us down, thumb a pennant, face a roadside flag halting our pell-mell island rush.

To go westerly, to walk across the world’s arching top, you said you had to go east, to know Atlantic salt, kelp girding rocks at anchor, clams sucking the earth down, to be at ritual with Europe’s ocean itself, that mindless sea of lonely buoy bells arguing their whereabouts in the miseries of fog, singular as canyon coyote.

We promised you holy water at Tormentine, reaching place of The Maritimes, a fist-thrust ready for Two-Boat Irish Islanders, Cavendish’s soft sand, holy trough of journey, wetting place, publican’s house of the first order, drinks hale and dark and well met and Atlantic ripe as if everything the bog’s known the drink has.

It’s more apparent now, after you moved outbound, or inward on the continent, trailing yourself, dreams, through wild Nations once ringing one another, your journey’s endless. Nine years at it, horizons loose on eternity, trails blind-ending in a destiny of canyons too deep to be heard, and your mail comes scattered like echoes, scarred horseshoes clanging against stakes in twilight campgrounds, not often enough or soon enough or long enough, only soft where your hand touches hide, hair, heart caught out on the trail, wire-snipped, hungry, heavy on the skewers you rack out of young spruce.

Out of jail, divinity school, bayonet battalion, icehouse but only in hard winters, asking Atlantic blessing for your march into darkness and light, we freed you into flight. You have passed yourself as we have, heading out to go back, up to go down, away from home just to get home. Are you this way even now, windward, wayward, free as the mighty falcon on the mystery of a thermal, passing through yourself?

You go where the elk has been, noble Blackfoot of the Canadas, beaver endless in palatial gnawing, all that has gone before your great assault, coincident, harmonic, knowing that matter does not lose out, cannot be destroyed, but lingers for your touching in one form or another, at cave mouth, closet canyon, perhaps now only falling as sound beneath stars you count as friends and confidants. Why is your mail ferocious years apart in arrival? You manage hotels, prepare salads, set great roasts for their timing, publish a book on mushrooms just to fill your pack anew and walk on again, alone, over Canada’s high backbone, to the islands’ ocean, the blue font you might never be blessed in. Nine years at it! Like Troy counting downward to itself: immense, imponderable, but there.

A year now since your last card, Plains-high, August, a new book started, but no topic said, one hand cast in spruce you cut with the other hand, your dog swallowed by a mountain, one night of loving as a missionary under the Pole Star and canvas by a forgotten road coming from nowhere.

We wonder, my friend, if you are still walking, if you breathe, if you touch the Pacific will Atlantic ritual be remembered as we remember it: high-salted air rich as sin, wind-driven like the final broom, gulls at swift havoc, at sea a ship threatening disappearance, above it all a buoy bell begging to be heard, and our eyes on the back of your head.

That other landfall

     on Equator’s quick needle

          bamboo’s vast jungle

Tom Sheehan

***

Our thoughts:

One day, I was on the grounds and saw a tower in the distance. Like a mountain in the desert the tower appeared closer than it actually was. It took many days and raises in the Sherpa’s (an Iberian Ibex named Aristotle) salary to reach the tower. Lo and behold the great tower was composed of Tom Sheehan Stories. Aristotle shook his head and informed me that there was no way to top the tower, and that we should just admire it for its greatness.

The tower continues to grow and one should expect that this growth will continue for some time to come. There is no finer professional than Tom Sheehan, and the best we can do to salute yet another achievement is to visit the tower and examine it piece by piece.

Congratulations Tom!

Leila

***

I often wonder, and we have never asked, what it was that prompted Tom Sheehan to send us his work. The muses and internet mages were smiling on us that day, anyway. Right from the very first time we knew that this was a writer of quality. What we have come to appreciate so much since then is his professionalism and wonderful gentlemanly nature. In a world and an environment where much is not as kind as it could be, to interact with someone like Tom is a real privilege. His work and output is amazing, and though some of his submissions haven’t been quite right for us it is all presented beautifully and the reading of it is a bright spot on any day. Thank you Tom for sticking with us all this time and allowing us to read your wonderful words. Long may it continue.

dd

***

It has been and still is my pleasure to be on the same site as Tom Sheehan. My admiration for the man is indescribable, I am in awe of his talent, his productivity but more so his respect and humanity.

If I am ever able to even write a quarter of the amount of words he has, I’ll be a happy man. I will bow my head though as I will never reach his quality!

One hundred and fifty stories on the one site is an achievement that very few will ever get near. Many congratulations Tom and thank you for gracing our site and my life.

All the very best my fine friend.

Hugh

Fantasy, Short Fiction

102 Nixxy-Smonnix By Leila Allison

Breaking News

Although an opus intended to run from pieces 98 through 102 was scrapped, and even though “Mimi” appeared in a Feeble Fable, I was able to salvage a portion of the set aside saga and create this story. Mimi was overjoyed by the news, and I think she gives a fine performance, along with “Probe” who is “essayed” by Boots the Impaler.

–Leila

-1-

(The following is a translation of the numeric language of Probes)

In 1977, Probe appeared at a point roughly halfway between the Earth and Moon. Probe neither passed through the Oort Cloud, nor by the gas giants, nor navigated the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars to get to where he was; one moment Probe wasn’t roughly halfway between the Earth and Moon, the next he was.

“Just the shithole for Probe’s amusement,” thought Probe, after he took a quick scan of the planet’s radio and television transmissions. The creators of Probe had neither designed him to think crudely; nor refer to himself in the third person; nor had they programmed any of the millions of sentient Probes they had sent into the galaxy to sniff out intelligent life to believe that s/he was the only relevant being in the Universe. But that’s what happened with this Probe. A faulty sensor had prevented Probe from receiving system updates. Probe had discovered and repaired the sensor, but by then it was too late. He already had gone “nixxy-smonnix” (“space happy”), and only direct updates designed to correct the syndrome could cure it.

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All Stories, Fantasy, Short Fiction

98 Boots the Impaler and the Qddyte: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical By Leila Allison

Introduction

From slots 98 on there was going to be a saga. A continuing opus of staggering brilliance; something to cement my legacy. And for one shining moment, all was clear to me. Goodbye Feeble Fable Factory, the kid is on her way! Then the bourbon wore off and I saw the mess I made. And as it always goes in the drizzly gray aftermath, when life shows itself to be little more than a protracted exercise in humiliation and despair, I reluctantly set aside the legend maker and returned to my cell at the Feeble Fable Factory. Which required gaining further permission from the union; permission gained through bribery.

But there was a complication.

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All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

1975 b.c.e. By Leila Allison

-1-

A Saturday Morning, 1975 b.c.e

One, two, three, four, five…

One, two, three, four, five…

One, two, three, four–

As she lay in bed, Tess shoved the early morning hum of the street and small under-noises in the apartment out of her mind and focused solely on the little clicks she heard in Anna Lou’s room.

Tess knew about Anna-Lou’s habit. Her mother was a careless telephone gossip, especially when in her wine, which was pretty much always. “The doctor’s been feeding her Percodan and God knows what since they shot Lincoln.”–or something similar, was what Mom said to friends on the phone when the subject was Great Aunt Louise. For some boozy reason, Mom believed if she lowered her voice to a confidential tone that neither of her children would make a special effort to listen.

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Fantasy, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Poppyseed and the Flower Power: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical By Leila Allison

Poppyseed was an orange Rufous Hummingbird, who was as aggressive and single-minded as they come, until he flew over a burning field of “wildwood weed,” one afternoon, during the annual two-thousand mile migration. Something in the drifting smoke asked “Why must you always be in such a rush, little friend–Have you never been mellow?”

The rest of the flock had avoided the field, but Poppyseed was known for his individuality and recklessness. He alone had flown above the pungent blue smoke, and he alone found himself perched on a weather vane atop an old barn, with no memory of lighting there, wondering why he had never been mellow.

Under normal circumstances, such a dipshit question would have enraged Poppyseed. But that was before a new philosophy had edged into his cut and dry, now! now! now! personality. What’s it all about? Poppyseed thought, watching the rest of the flock zoom into the distance.

“It’s about peace, love and harmony…seeking oneness with the Universe, my busy little friend,” said a human Spirit that suddenly appeared on the barn’s rooftop. The ghost had long lank hair which flowed below the brim of a floppy hat. He was wearing sunglasses that had round yellow lenses, striped bell bottom pants, sandals, several strings of beads–and if Poppyseed had known anything about human politics, and could read, he would have recognized the face of Richard Nixon on the tee-shirt the Spirit wore, with the words “What me Worry?” printed below Tricky Dick’s cartoonish visage.

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All Stories, Short Fiction

339- Secret Rooms, Incidental Blonde Bashing and Results From the Tiny Wildcat Division at the Feline Olympics

Hugh is on a well earned holiday this week. This leaves me alone in a room, thinking of what to do for Week 339 at 3:56 A.M. on a Thursday morning.

The cursor is blinking, and my mind is its usual unsteady and fearful self. Writing is like life, I go from here to there and make it up on the spot, then return to edit the mistakes later.

Yet there are always some things I miss and never fix. For instance, the fatuous simile in the previous paragraph.

Anyway…

When I was a child we lived in a house that had secret rooms. Actually, the secret rooms were crawl spaces above the eaves–one at each side of the attic, accessed through pull out shelves. Only persons the size of your standard six-year-old (or so) could move around comfortably in the crawl spaces; only persons of six (or so) have enough imagination to consider the places the Christmas decorations wind up secret rooms.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Karaoke At The Pincher’s Arms by Hugh Cron – Warning Adult Content

Jimmy’s knees were indented where his elbows dug into them.

He gently moved to and fro on the swing. He could hear his father singing some old song that he’d heard too many times. He looked across the road and saw Charlie The Paedo staring at him. Jimmy knew if he told his dad, he’d end up in jail again.

He heard the pub door open, “Here you go son. Is your mum not back from the bogs?”

The boy shook his head. He accepted the crisps and can of Coke.

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