All Stories, General Fiction

Bobby’s Shadow by Desmond Kelly

Watching the planes take off and land. It’s possible to observe them through a gap between trees. Little glimpses, a flash of light, a roar of the engine. Gone again, come again. I’ve watched so many, it puts me to sleep. It takes a while to realise those sausage tubes contain real people. Pilots and stewardesses in their perfectly tailored suits. When I turn away, the sound of traffic returns, the commotion on the street. Windows don’t close, except in monsoon season. Even then… Snakes slip between unguarded spaces. The monkeys set up a racket. The creatures lurking in the forest make their presence known. There are no trophy hunters; no men emulating Hemingway. The fish have buried themselves in the deepest deep, the wild game have found a habitat across the border more in keeping with their lifestyle. The forest will flourish until the loggers return. And then there will be mayhem.

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All Stories, General Fiction

A Left-Handed Woman by Ann Harper Reed

Frank noticed the couple when the Antique Collective shop doorbell clanged. Even to this day, he expected to see his wife June pass through that door as the bell reverberated. The couple came inside. She a bit mousy and dressed with some expense to look like she shopped at thrift stores; he was in expensive clothes meant to look expensive with a smartphone glued to his ear. They were the kind of patrons the collective needed to survive. They were the kind to admire his craftsmanship, while still needing furniture and having the revenue to purchase.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Psychic Promise by Yash Seyedbagheri

My father seeks help from the psychics, their names a litany, a liturgy. Padre, Maria, Esmerelda, Christin. They promise good fortune, alignments of the planets. They promise to vanquish his opponents. To vanquish bad luck. And he has so much, at least in his opinion. There’s the divorce from years ago, something that still simmers. I, his only son, didn’t become a lawyer. I up and left. I became a writer, a marker that to him conjured garrets and begging for food, and not victory, conquest. He tried to amass a coterie of girlfriends from abroad, each one coming in from distant lands, snatching a green card and the possibility of things. They called him prophet, valiant lord, but those were only obsequious platitudes.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Bravado by Hugh Cron

Fuck me Ah’m pished!!

…How much shite can Ah talk tae myself?

Dae ye ken, Ah pride mysel’ oan it!

Ah look at this photo of you ma auld gran and Ah ken Ah can tell you things. Ah fuckin loved ye and ye spoilt me rotten!

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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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