Short Fiction

Wig Shop by Jon Fotch

He sat on the couch with his arms crossed around his middle like he was hiding something precious from some malevolent authority.

“I think I might have gone,” he said.

In a moment the water stopped to a drip in the kitchen sink.

“I’m coming,” she said.  

She went to him compressed by the years. Shrunken like wool in the dryer. Her shoulders pushed down from holding all the clouds above the world.

She helped him to the bathroom.

Continue reading “Wig Shop by Jon Fotch”
Short Fiction

Borrowed Time by Rob O’Keefe

“16 years? Seriously, 16 years? You’re killing me!”

Why do they always yell? I didn’t know this guy, but I knew his story. He was in over his head. That’s how it was with most clockers. Give ‘em a second, they’ll take a year, right? Okay, I know that’s not original, but it’s still true.

“Not yet,” I countered. “Unless you keep borrowing more than you can pay back. And it’s 16 years and 47 days, plus a few hours. How do you want to do this?”

Continue reading “Borrowed Time by Rob O’Keefe”
Fantasy, General Fiction, Humour, Short Fiction

The Riddle of the billigits by Leila Allison

Meet the Hammy Dodgers

The crystal ball on my desk flashed red. This happens whenever the Witch HeXopatha (nee “Hezopatha”) wants to pee in my lager.

HeXopatha is an immortal Wiccan. She has been around for thousands of years and will continue to be around for however long it takes for her to get bored with the world and retire permanently to Hell–but I don’t count on that happening soon. Once upon a time the “peasants” might have been able to do something about HeXopatha, but her skill level has risen beyond river tossing and the pyre. In fact it is a bad idea to mention such previous activities in HeXopatha’s presence; nor is it advised to claim to be of “Puritan stock,” unless you enjoy long hours in pillory stocks.

Continue reading “The Riddle of the billigits by Leila Allison”
All Stories, General Fiction

Burned Toast by Gil Hoy

By the time Sally died, it was too late for Jack to become a better husband and too late to make amends. Car crashes come suddenly, without any warning, and can be as unforgiving as the wife of a cheating husband who feels no remorse. Jack was alone, five days after the accident, sitting in his kitchen eating breakfast and checking for the fourth time to make sure he’d turned the stove off.  He had overcooked scrambled eggs and the toast he’d made looked more like burned charcoal than anything fit for human consumption, but he’d eaten most of it anyway, spitting out the darkest of the black, crumbling pieces into the sink (after chewing them until the taste was unbearable). Those buttery, black bits were now stuck to the greasy aluminum pots and pans that lined Jack’s sink and would be onerous to get off.  

Continue reading “Burned Toast by Gil Hoy”
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.

Continue reading “Bobby’s Shadow by Desmond Kelly”
All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Kick by Leila Allison

Rehab, 1988

Using cardboard, duct tape and a lamp, Tess turned her closet into a camera obscura.

“This gag’s been around forever,” Tess explained to her “model”–a simple but sweet cocaine addict named Sabrina. “Remember, hold a straight face and don’t look at the light.”

Continue reading “Kick by Leila Allison”
All Stories, General Fiction

Arm Milk by Spencer Levy

Tin men play their kazoos too loud. Like having an annoying ass bee trying to drill into the deep part of your ear. It’s Sunday and it’s the boardwalk. Sea spray that you’re not supposed to touch or it’ll leave a nasty pollution rash. Gregg doesn’t care, though. His arm is messed up anyhow from all the lousy skateboarding.

Gregg rides and I walk and the waves shove against the wooden thing beneath our feet. Some people call it an embankment, but that sounds too much like a place where loose-tie fathers coax children into cashing checks in exchange for thin lollipops. Gregg grazes his lousy arm against the slippery arm rail, catches some sea spray in his mouth.

Continue reading “Arm Milk by Spencer Levy”
All Stories, General Fiction

Climbing by Antony Osgood

For the fortieth memorial picnic, Egon Frankl had prepared ditalini with tomatoes smothered in oil. The food shimmered beneath an airless Viennese sun as he waited for his brother, who adored the dish. Not once did Egon sneak a bite. He’d long ago learned to go without so others might eat. Whilst his brother was normally late – Egon’s disappeared wife, Hilde, the person to whom the afternoon was supposedly devoted, once said being late was Ignaz’s chief characteristic – that day Ignaz excelled himself by failing to make any appearance whatsoever. Egon occupied himself by admiring the tattered life for which the city park was home. He ardently wished for his brother’s Copernicus moment, when it would dawn on Ignaz that the universe did not revolve about him. Younger brothers – even one aged eighty-two – seem duty bound, it seems, to disappoint.

Continue reading “Climbing by Antony Osgood”
All Stories, General Fiction

Jehrico and Chico and the Western Conservation Society, by Tom Sheehan

They had found the secret cave, Jehrico Taxico and Chico Vestra, but they soon found out that they were not alone in the discovery.

Continue reading “Jehrico and Chico and the Western Conservation Society, by Tom Sheehan”
All Stories, General Fiction

The Van by Peter O Connor

Claire Jones took my virginity.  It was in the back of her father’s 1968 Morris Minor van.  The van, an F-reg MK II, crouched on the drive of 68 Moor View on four splintering wooden blocks.  The engine removed, along with the bonnet, wings, lights and windscreen.  It perched blind and unmoving in that pose for five long years of my life. Even today, years later, the ghost dark patch of dripped, fluids can be seen on the drive of No 68.

Continue reading “The Van by Peter O Connor”