General Fiction, All Stories

Half Broke and Fully In by Josiah Crocker

It didn’t take long before I regretted everything. By then it was too late. I cast a look back at the events that had landed me here in this moment and saw nothing but weeds. Overgrown brush and dry mud cracking under the low winter sun. A life left without watering.

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All Stories, General Fiction

About Uncle Story by David Henson

When somebody in town sneezed —pop! — they disappeared before you could say gesundheit. That’s one of the bedtime stories I remember our uncle telling Lucy and me. I think I was five or six. Lucy is a year younger. His name was Trevor, but we called him Uncle Story. His tales always had a simple moral. For example, some kids made fun of an old lady who sneezed so she put a hex on the whole town. Uncle Story said we should always respect our elders.

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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, General Fiction

Donating Love by Amber Hart

Edmund eased the donation truck into the woman’s driveway. He thought he had been here before, to this exact house, when spousal donations had first become a trend. It should not have surprised him—the courts ordering such a thing. With the divorce rate at nearly 70% now, the courts had to do something.

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All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

Is It Me or My Talent You See? By Cy Hill

I sit down at my desk to work on the script’s first draft and open my right-hand drawer.  A 25 cm man leaps out and slaps my face.  You might not think something that small could pack much of a wallop, but he does.  In the beginning I could handle him, but he grows larger and more brazen every day.  I put him in there to teach him who’s boss, but since that did not work, I grab him in my fist.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Modern Entertainment by Megan Wildhood

The man who pit this roof against rain, his best friend and owner of the final store in town, the woman who pits seed against element to feed me all my life, our humdrum hay baler, two others I didn’t know and I sit in a circle in Shopkeeper’s empty store. These are our Friday nights now after the litany of systems failures. “Supply chain-issues,” Papa mumbles when it comes up. “Just the economy cycling again, actually,” Shopkeeper grumbles. “No one believes us about the mass injuries,” the two guests basically whisper.

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All Stories, General Fiction

It’s Not About Her by Jaydan Salzke

Enter. Order. Eat. Pay. Leave.

The whole operation is streamlined; a seamless experience for staff and customer. The rules are clear and seldom broken: there’s to be no trespassing. People are here to nibble at sandwiches and sip coffee, not to have a stranger in an apron pry into their personal lives. So you serve them and leave it at that. That’s just the way it’s done.

…until it isn’t.

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All Stories, General Fiction

These Hands by Rob Vogt

It doesn’t sound sexy at all, this medical condition that makes her fingers turn blue in cold weather. Dangerously blue. She worries constantly about frostbite and nerve damage, even amputation. Her fingers are long and slender, like twigs used to start a fire on a camping trip. Twigs do not sound sexy, either. But whenever Jennifer rubs her hands together, briskly, vigorously, you cannot help but think about the way her fingers would feel if they were wrapped around you. The palm of her hand feeling your heft, your warmth. Probably this should never happen because the two of you met in recovery and according to absolutely everyone you have ever spoken to, jumping into bed with a fellow alcoholic is a horrible idea. Still, you know that you will never forget the day Jennifer walked into the very same meeting that you were attending, snugged into a pair of hard rocker jeans and a scoop-necked t-shirt. Legs up to here, sun-kissed cleavage, eyes that were feline and feisty and hard. How in the hell were you supposed to concentrate on sobriety sitting across the table from all of that? Pretty soon both of you stopped going to meetings and started playing tennis on the local high school courts. Buying air mattresses at gravel-driveway rummage sales. Sitting on the couch watching movies from the 80’s, belly laughing at things that were funny at the time (and also at things that were not).

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All Stories, Editor Picks, Fantasy, Short Fiction

Week 372: Family Circus of the Damned, Five Points of Light and Making Sad Amends

The Nobel Prize For Being a Corporate Tool Goes To…

Almost everything we read online is either a blatant lie or plain wrong. (Forget the “fake news” euphemism–for a kiss is but a kiss and a con is but a con.) For instance, I recall intelligent sources telling me that we use something like ten percent of our brains, and the rest may as well be cornbread stuffing until enough evolution goes by. Although this “fact” (like countless others) is certainly nonsense, someone smart started that misconception, which I bet more people believe than do not.

I’ve finally reached the point where I no longer blindly accept “facts” minus proof. I probably would be better off if I had arrived at this point sooner, but, maybe, “better late than never” is, at times, a valid sentiment–though still not much use in situations when the pardon arrives after the gallows has dropped.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Love? Don’t Make Me Laugh by Alex Barr

First time I laid eyes on Alanna, I thought, There’s a woman I want to saw in half.

She was in the audience, one leg in plaster stuck out into the aisle. After the show I watched her leave, expecting her to walk like a pair of compasses, but somehow she moved so gracefully everyone else looked awkward. I sent my assistant to catch her at front of house but she claimed she missed her, ha ha. And that’s where I should have left it. Stopped thinking about her. I  keep going over it, how I might have escaped this God-awful mess, financial and . . . yes, yes, all right, all the rest.

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