All Stories, General Fiction

Sweet Tea by Radhika Kapoor

Karan came to visit them once, Meera and her husband, soon after the wedding. She had cracked open the door with quiet trepidation, for he had told only her he was coming. Even after having seen innumerable pictures of him in her husband’s old, milky photo albums, she was unprepared for his beauty, and, for a moment, she cupped her cheek in astonishment as she gazed at him. She was wearing her favorite patterned frock and trousers, and knew she looked pleasant. To her, his eyes were pools of chocolate kindness, his voice lilting. She couldn’t possibly imagine how her husband had given him up – a younger, even lovelier, even more unsettling iteration of him. He folded his slender hands in greeting; she slowly unlatched the door and led him inside, feeling the corners of her vision contract to focus on Karan.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Looking At Women by Yashar Seyedbagheri

My father, long-divorced, proclaims the joys of fucking women. Not making love. Not sexual intimacy, even. Fucking. He prowls dating sites, beady black eyes assessing thin-figured women with names like Irina, Tatiana, Sandra, Svetlana, Lara. Of course, they’re not only thin figured but voluptuous. He’s always kept abreast of that.

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All Stories, General Fiction

What If? by Yash Seyedbagheri  

My life is a sea of ifs.

What if I’d published this collection? if I’d studied harder? If I hadn’t shot off my mouth at home? What if I hadn’t eaten too many potato chips and drank too much Merlot?

On my thirtieth birthday, they all rise up like the ghosts of Christmas past, whispering. If, if, if, a hollowed-out word that sits next to me in the coffee shops, follows me on my nightly walks, snuggles too close to me.

I procure the biggest whiteboard possible. Eliminate ifs. Draw up concrete whens in lavender marker. No red markers bleeding with psychological pressure, thank you. I lay out goals and visions.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Shake or Float? By David Lohrey

I drove a 1963 Flamengo-orange Thunderbird, wore navy blue tennis shoes, and sat eating a banana split at the A&W. It was 1986. In White Haven, Tennessee, where truck drivers were thought to be rich, it was still considered a big deal to go to the movies. Girls looked forward to losing their virginity in the back row at the Malco Theatre.

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Short Fiction

Week 345: Mister Hisster, Star Turns and Things That Need Inventing

Mister Hisster

For the past three years I’ve been feeding a “neighborhood cat” I call Mister Hisster (yes, that is him in the header). I figured that by giving him a name I’d eliminate the “stray” stigma. Mister Hisster is a smallish long haired gray tabby, and leads with his right. There is nothing overly tragic about Mister Hisster because he is feral and has no use for the human race, but tolerates me–to a quickly arrived at point. Whenever I place his food at his spot under the boxhedge, I’d better get my hand out of the way awfully damn quick or the next thing I will do with it is open a tube of neosporin.

“Good morning, Mister Hisster. How’s my favorite little son of a bitch today?”

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All Stories, General Fiction

Voice by Yash Seyedbagheri

I try to leave Mom a voicemail. Again.

The voicemail cannot be delivered. Again. She always stores old voicemails. Always says you never know when they might come in handy. Especially if you’re in a jam and need proof that you communicated with X at Y time. Pre-empt the world.

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All Stories, General Fiction

They Always Welcomed Visitors by Mariam Saidan

It had been a year since the separation, and she was still trying to get a divorce. Domestic violence. Or ‘family issues’, as they would say. Her husband admitted he’d made mistakes, but he’d do better. Be better. A better man. She didn’t want him to be a better man. Or anything else, in fact. Only to agree to the divorce. But the court needed evidence. Specific evidence of maltreatment or betrayal.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Steady Space by Yash Seyedbagheri 

Dad communicated in grunts and edicts. But Uncle Max communicated in smiles and jokes and deliberate instruction. He told me dirty jokes and turned condoms into water balloons. But he also took me bowling and taught me to drive, telling me always to look forward, guiding my hands with ease.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Smoker’s Holiday by Tom Sheehan

Ahead, Big Coppitt Key flared suddenly behind the rowing fisherman who had rescued him, like carnivals appear around far corners, though sounds not audible. Randy had no idea how he had gotten out here on the Gulf, afloat in a dory. He’d only guess. His head hurt. His ass hurt. His gut hurt. Blisters rode his lips. His tongue was swollen. He felt lumps under his beard.

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All Stories, General Fiction

The Bund by Richard Yu

There were many things in life that Oscar did not comprehend. Miro, for one, totally baffled him. When it comes to abstract painting, he would readily relegate that area of expertise to his wife. Afterall, she had attended art school for a big part of her life, so she was supposedly an art connoisseur as well as an artist herself. What puzzled Oscar was why she bothered to learn all those advanced techniques just so to paint like a five-year-old. “You should find a job teaching kindergarteners how to paint,” Oscar would snipe. Naturally, his wife ignored his snide remarks. Just recently, she had bid on a sketch by Miro for as much as five years his salary, he being a CEO of a high-tech firm that supplied chips for the space shuttle. Had he run across such a sketch in a flea market, he wouldn’t have paid more than the price of a can of sardines for it, if only for the scrap value of the frame and mat.

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