All Stories, General Fiction

It’s All I Can Do by Thomas Elson

Look closely. Near the walnut bookcase a friend built for my son. Can you see me? I visit here every day.  

A couple of weeks ago, I told my son it was time. There were no miracles cures for me – ninety-two years old – not really high on the list of miracle-cure candidates.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Renaissance by Yash Seyedbagheri

Spring breaks through my empty walls and drawn curtains, an impenetrable fortress. It spills onto cell phones where sisterly jokes about my old-school wardrobe and loving and laughing face emojis no longer wait. Sunlight taunts the charcoal-colored shadows that keep me company on empty couches that smell of musk, armpits, Malbecs, and sativas.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Rewind by Yash Seyedbagheri

Streaming services kill our multiplex. The multiplex my sister and I went to Friday nights, as regular as anything. They don’t say it outright, but I know Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays even, people are hiding behind the glow of screens, including some of my own friends. They sink into names like HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, contrivances with big letters and feigned cleverness.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Empty Histories by Yash Seyedbagheri

At the coffee shop, all the tables are full, both the rectangular tables and the smaller square ones. People fill each side, hunched over computers and stacks of notes. There are boyfriends and girlfriends in turd-colored hoodies and skimpy white tank-tops, parents and children dissecting fractions and Abraham Lincoln, laughter, hugs, shoving, F-bombs deployed with cheer, fusillades of life fired into my ears.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Sunday Papers by Darren A Deth

Bill McCullister is usually tilling in the garden, sweeping off the porch, or oiling the hinges on the banged-up screen door. Except Sundays. He wakes in the morning and washes away soil and sweat not worked into his weathered skin. Two quick swipes through what hair is left him and the comb is deposited into the broken-handled mug on the porcelain sink. A clean tee shirt mostly by faded overalls, work boots, and a tattered baseball cap promoting a grain company no longer in business completes the look. If the wind is especially biting, he might toss on his wool coat. He drives the ‘58 Ford truck down the shady lane to Hagmans Crossing, the rusty rocker panels and fenders rattling. Stones kicked up from the tires bang against the undercarriage. The road ends on Route 10 and he cranks her hard to the right, rolling through the stop sign, heading for Ashwell. Bill watches the signpost for the county line slide across the chipped side view mirror before he pitches over Devil’s Hill.

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All Stories, General Fiction

All My Darlings Waiting by Antony Osgood

I caught her eye. Recognised a kindred spirit. Her head then converted into cruor popcorn. Colour of grey nail varnish, millet porridge. Scarlet white and woeful.

I feared I’d lose my lonesome bench for good.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Ladybird by Joy Florentine

The waitress who has taken my order wears a sepia-coloured dress, checkers faded and hem ruffled. She excuses herself as she leans in and wipes the table with a damp cloth. On her sleeve is a single red, round button. It gleams. She asks me something. My car is parked between two cargo trucks. I’m not usually the type of person who visits roadside diners. The red, round button reflects the light from the fluorescent lamp, its four holes laced with loose black thread.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Shadow of Your Smile by Yash Seyedbagheri

Nick takes pictures of smiles, in coffee shops, at the store.

He especially likes crooked smiles, like his older sister Nan’s. When she smiled. When she was a being and not a shadow in the past tense.  He’s tried to store her smiles like contraband. A smile on the way to bed, the two of them exchanging a glance. A smile pronouncing his nickname. Nicky. Or a smile while watching The Big Lebowski, a smile transforming into real, crackled laughter, especially when The Dude lit a joint without care.

But time makes it impossible to store things.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Whacky Ideas by Dave Henson

One morning over coffee, Jessica says she wants us to take a horse to church. My wife doesn’t mean using the animal for transportation. She wants to walk a horse up the steps, down the aisle, and let it stand there during services.

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