All Stories, General Fiction

Aussie Girls by Kirk Alex

(story excerpt from Blood, Sweat & Chump Change ––
Taxi Tales & Vignettes by the author)

I’m first up on the taxi stand at the Beverly Center, after waiting for close to an hour and a half. Two Aussie girls climb in the backseat. One is blond, the other a particularly thin brunette with pocked cheeks. They want to go to Melrose.

“The Bank of America on the corner,” they tell me.

Melrose is a long street, goes for miles. I need a cross street. They can’t think of it, but explain the bank is “by the shops on Melrose.” Not much help really, but feel we’ll be able to find it.

I get the meter going and pull off the stand. Turning left on La Cienega, I take them north. When we reach Melrose Avenue I make a right. I find out that the blond has lost her wallet at the B of A “by the bus stop,” and this is why they are having me take them there. They wonder what the fare will be. I quote them between five and six dollars.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Orange Fish and Cigarettes 

I sit in the silence of the well-lit room. The lights hum above me in a constant gentle artificial song. A small squeak escapes from the guard’s shoes. The shoes, generic in form and cheap in manufacturing, hug the woman’s size ten feet. The guard, tall and muscled, must have terrible foot aches when she gets home at night. I wonder about her as my eyes drift over her imposing form. The straight line of her lips and knitted eyebrows add to the already impressive stature. Does she have a husband waiting? Kids? Do they see the angry straight line of her lips as she walks through the door? Or does her face lose the sharp edges when she is home? A soft mother who nestles her children to her large, albeit, hard breasts. 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Abyss by Emil Birchman

Yumi Suzuki decided she’d throw herself in front of a train on a warm, sunny day. She came to this conclusion sitting in her apartment, watching the weather forecast for the next week. It rained for the last five days, and if the forecast was correct – she’d see the sun tomorrow.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Photogenic Memory by Santiago Márquez Ramos

Carlos López Andrade sat at a rickety red table, bathing in the sea of glowing colors that was Times Square. The luminous ads and billboards high into the night sky – ads of phones that ensured happiness and apps that promised love – trickled down white and blue and red colors that danced across his dusty brown skin. It was the texture of a ripe avocado, his skin, and the lights highlighted every ridge and crevice, every memory held within the rind. Even the ones that he didn’t want illuminated. He sighed.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Room For the Dead, Room For the Damned by Ella Paul

“You’re a kid,” he says, and his voice is so absolute that it leaves no room for argument.

Meesha isn’t sure she’d be able to argue even if he sounded uncertain. Her eyes are blank, her lips locked in that little downward position that everyone claims neutral (that everyone knows is actually a faint frown), and as she stands in front of this leathery heap of a man, she can’t bring herself to care that she’s been caught.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Black Coffee | Hēi Kāfēi by T.L. Tomljanovic

Cigarette smoke curls up in front of my face like curtains parting on a stage. I lower my hand to my drink and shift on the hard metal stool facing the band.

The western world may have quit cancer sticks, but Shanghai is a throwback to a wilder time, and I throw myself right into it. I take another drag off my latest addiction– clove cigarettes. I soak up the nicotine, the syrupy sweetness of my rum and coke, and the atmosphere. I like sitting by myself swirling the ice in my drink and smoking. It’s a nice contrast to my workdays spent corralling dozens of shouting, laughing, and crying preschoolers.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

 Standing in the Rain to Wash the Sins Away by Tom Sheehan

He stood in the rain to wash his sins away thinking it would do the trick, cleanse his soul, invigorate him once more, to be what he once was. That’s our hero, Viking Arel Tor, neighborhood leader, pointer of straight or straighter paths, finder of fame, good luck, saving for you the best lady of all in your welcome arms, for now and always. Viking’s way in the world.

But where did he go wrong, our Viking?

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Thursday Night Woman by Tom Sheehan – Adult Content.

It was all hers, the night, the huge house, the loneliness, the dark corners of every room that she knew so well. It was all hers, and Thursday was special, just about every Thursday except the ones precluded by her natural flow. First, there’d be a soak in the tub, for an hour or so, after which she’d stand in front of the 7-foot mirror and study herself, always noting the dark mass of pubic hair, curled and rolled and headlining her view. There was a connection with that action, left by her husband, Kent.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Hundreds of Little Pieces by Rachel Sievers 

The glass falls from the counter and I find myself sucking in air right before an explosion of small bits of glass and red liquid spill out over the beige tile. I mourn the glass in the aftermath, not that it is anything special, but I hate to waste anything regardless of its obscurity of significance.

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