Whistler stood in the weeds, leaning against the brick wall of the old train station and listening to the susurration of wind over the tracks. The others might have known he was there, might have seen him suddenly after looking once and not seeing him as the wind stirred through the cyclone fence, wafting the trumpet vines and grasses down near the old, rusting boxcar where Nathan lived, but he saw no one. Bobo and Saint Louis lived at the other end of the yard in a faded red caboose, but nobody knew where Whistler lived. He appeared and disappeared. No one knew.Continue reading “The Violin by Frank Jamison”
Too sunny on the belt buckles, blinding my brown eyes. Hooking them down to the sidewalk, I take control of my hazy head, walking quick with the crowds, watching for loose wallets. I’m skinny, so I slip between pants. It’s a familiar circuit on rainy days too, under the umbrellas and inside the handbags. Hey! There’s the known mullet cut! Yes, over by the plate glass doors. That’s Ed up there, jostling just up the Hastings sidewalk, debating with Miss Jehovah Witness, holding her pamphlets.Continue reading “Deep Inside Woodwards by Harrison Kim”
Leena’s fingernails are thick as scallop shells, her case worker Victoria observes. Her clinical afterthought is shoe tying and sewing must be near impossible. They are driving to a campground outside of Anacortes where Leena will stay with friends. Borne from desperation and desolation the transitional housing definition has expanded to include camping. To pass the time as they drive Leena recounts traumas with her parents, ex-husband, kids – especially her youngest daughter who kicked her out.Continue reading “To Anacortes by Susan DeFelice”
When Jeff built a water slide on the stairs of his friend Andy’s house, he knew he’d crossed a line and he couldn’t go back. He had been sofa surfing for months, alienating all his friends and now Andy would surely turn against him too. So, Jeff decided to go all out.Continue reading “Sofa Surfing by Tim Frank”
“Verminous dole scrounging deadbeats poetically whingeing that’s all it is, lamenting wistfully about the plight of their work-shy genes. The Celtic curse so it is, forever waxing philosophical about being a shite for brains’ pisshead.”
He stops. He has run away with himself and he can’t remember what he was talking about.
Packy is barely cognizant of where he is. He exists in half dream, half myth.Continue reading “Paraffin Lamp by Alex Sinclair – Warning – strong language and content that some readers will find upsetting”
Because we didn’t know his name, and he played air guitar outside Family Dollar, we called him Air Guitar Eddy. He had two dogs. We called the pit bull Pitbull, and the other, a terrier, Funky Bitch. Funky Bitch was pregnant, bursting at the seams, and she would sit and pant in the shade. Because it was Family Dollar, Air Guitar Eddy, Pitbull, and Funky Bitch didn’t get much by way of charity.
Tex and I rode the straight road south with a shaggy haired driver in a tight green shirt. Tex leaned over from the back seat. “We’re pretty hungry. Can you give us those food stamps on your dash?”
“I guess so” The driver’s voice quavered. He braked a little too close to the car in front of us. Then he lifted his head to look in the rear view mirror. “Maybe if you go swimming with me?”
“We need the food stamps,” said Tex.
Someone stole my caiman hide boots from underneath my styrofoam homeless shelter mattress. My boots are a rich polished brown with chunky scale nubs rising from the foot area. My Dad gifted the comfy caimans to me as a 27th birthday and university graduation gift, he purchased them online from Leathers of Louisiana. It took me seven years to obtain my BA in General Studies due to my schizoaffective brain problems, though my measured IQ is 132. Psychosis is eating away at my cerebrum. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell what is real and what is illusion, but I know for sure my boots are missing.
The town fidgets on a rock outcrop spouting with springs. Only a few decades ago its salient features were a few old-time stringband musicians busking on the pavement, a minor moviehouse, a tractor showroom, the teaching college and the big Baptist church that owned the majority. Some of those old boys and girls are Grammy winners since, but the theater awaits refurbishment and the tractor palace is a coffee shop, the university is open to everyone and the Baptist Church is at most number two on the scene. The university has become the largest landholder in town. It owns almost everything. Another two thousand students and it can advance to a higher football division. Football has cleaned up the town.
“And then she invited him over for lunch! Her man’s not dead a year and she’s already at that bowls club on the prowl.” The old woman’s bonnet bounced up and down as she spoke. The rain continued to pound the pavement as she and her friend passed. Sam listened to her story, smiling a little. If they hadn’t been walking right in front of him he might have thought that they were speaking to each other from across the road, their voices were that loud. He wondered if they realised how loud they were, if they were both hard of hearing or just assumed the other was because of their age.