All Stories, General Fiction

Clovis Clayton Holiday by Frederick K Foote

My mother told me, “Clovis Clayton Holiday, you gonna be the death of me with the way you do the things you do.”

My father instructed me, “Clovis, son, sometimes you have to go along to get along, you understand?”

My older sister, Nora, scolded me, “Clo, Negro, you can’t just go and do anything you want to do. You got to follow the rules.”

Nelda, my younger sister, declared, “Clo, You, too weird to be my brother. I disown your Black ass.”

Continue reading “Clovis Clayton Holiday by Frederick K Foote”
General Fiction

Week 384 -Born Too Late; Five Timely Tales and a Saturday Special Not Written by Tom

Once upon a time it was possible for a writer to earn a living writing short fiction. Now, by a living, I mean at the lowest level of subsistence. Enough for a rented room, paint-thinner bourbon, shake doobie, stamps and cigarettes. The late Harlan Ellison used to get by working the penny-a-word market for the pulps. But this was back when thirty dollars a week could support a person.

The thriving magazine market began to die off during the fifties. Some say TV did it in, as it had radio plays–maybe in the same manner that streaming is draining television today. Whatever the cause, writers like Ellison began to write for TV because that was where the money went. 

Still, that doesn’t completely explain why the paying short fiction market dried up long before online journals (such as ours) could do to it what Napster did to record sales. After all, novels did not die due to TV; mass market genre paperbacks still sell; so do anthologies written by the masters of fantasy and science fiction. But writing short stories no longer supports even the least demanding lifestyle. And like poetry, it may be that more people write short stories than read them.

But it is still an art, thus valid. Sadly, malletheads think that anyone can write a short piece and the real art (aka, money) is in novels. Malletheads see good and profit as being the same thing. Although I believe that producing a great novel is a monumental accomplishment, it doesn’t follow that short fiction is inferior to the long form–save for the effect each has on your bank account. Besides, some writers are distance runners while others are sprinters. Dorothy Parker discovered that she was a short track specialist incapable of writing a novel, and drank a bottle of shoe polish after she had spent the advance for a novel she could not write. She survived, as do her shorts, which, unlike the lady herself, have never been out of print. 

Continue reading “Week 384 -Born Too Late; Five Timely Tales and a Saturday Special Not Written by Tom”
General Fiction, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, All Stories

Uncle Fail by Salvatore Difalco

Uncle Florio’s face was all lumps, his purple left eye half shut. His swollen lips barely moved as he spoke. “I’m gonna kill him,” he said. “I’m gonna kill that prick.”

My mother, his kid sister, poured him a shot of anisette. He sipped it and grimaced with pain, gently touching his lips. A dark stain splotched the collar of his red plaid shirt. I wondered if it was blood.

Continue reading “Uncle Fail by Salvatore Difalco”
All Stories, General Fiction

The Handicapped Man’s Desire by Hylas Maliki

A Somali father and his adult son were having the inevitable or even, penultimate, father-son talk in their living room somewhere in London.

‘Son, I think it’s time for you to get married. You’ve finished school, have started your career, and are settled enough to start a family. The time is right.’

Continue reading “The Handicapped Man’s Desire by Hylas Maliki”
All Stories, General Fiction

The Final Frontier by Doug Hawley

Sally got home from her nature guide conference after being gone for a week.  She was surprised to see an envelope with her name on it in Duke’s handwriting propped up on the phone.  He used to send her little love notes, but with his recent problems, he had dropped the habit.  Could he finally have some good news?

Continue reading “The Final Frontier by Doug Hawley”
All Stories, General Fiction

The Whole Me, the Whole She, the Whole Nine Yards by Antony Osgood

For an ugly man making minimum wage in his thirties – okay, then, mid-twenties – it is a hard life – for a man who could do with a change of apron, you’re full of mucky questions. Rather than stare at me and pepper my face with questions, you could be busy changing blown bulbs, or turn up the café’s heating, maybe put the clock right, or making a decent cup of coffee. Maybe you’re simply the curious kind, or have learned to believe I am, as your only customer, late at night, your business. Perhaps my being alone is nothing less than an invitation for you to make enquiries while you run your eye over me. What’s the unshaved old man doing out so late at night in Brighton on a wet weekend in March? Shouldn’t he be thinking about escorting his accent back to Lincolnshire? Has he no home to get to? Where is he staying?

Continue reading “The Whole Me, the Whole She, the Whole Nine Yards by Antony Osgood”
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.

Continue reading “Room For the Dead, Room For the Damned by Ella Paul”
All Stories, General Fiction

Autumn Eyes Lost, Autumn Eyes found by Anmitra Jagannathan

Callahan wishes the voices would stop, but they never do. Some are soft as a caress, some are screamed out shrill. Some are wistful sighs of longing, some are determined mantras. Some are woven with glee, some are drowned in sorrow. No matter what they are, they never stop, swirling around his head, taunting him to listen, daring him to comfort, daring him to help, daring him to laugh, daring him to cry.

Continue reading “Autumn Eyes Lost, Autumn Eyes found by Anmitra Jagannathan”
All Stories, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Sexed by Mark Saba

It took seven minutes of her time, seven minutes of his time, and time was as precious as ever to them. He was on his way to a potluck breakfast (for which he hadn’t even bought his dish yet) and she was on her way to buy a new dress for her mother’s wedding before going to work. Neither of them had time for this but, luckily, it didn’t take much time. Everyone was in agreement about that.

Continue reading “Sexed by Mark Saba”