Short Fiction

Week 336: The Words of Prophets and My Unsteady Jukebox

The Words of the Prophets

I had lost the ability to hear The Sound of Silence until Disturbed brought it back brilliantly in 2015. My mind gets that way with songs; I can hear them too many times–at that saturation point they assume the guise of an echo that my mind ignores upon further soundings. But Distubed’s over the top yet somehow restrained remake of the Simon and Garfunkel classic brought back to me one of the truly great lines in the history of music: The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls…

I wonder what Paul Simon felt when he wrote that line in 1965. Did it excite him or was he so lost in composition that it was just more words to choose from. I also wonder what Da Vinci experienced when he finished Mona Lisa. Did he bask in the glow of his own genius or eat cheese? Now, obviously you can ask Simon the question, but I doubt he could give you the actual answer because time has a way of reshaping memories, and inevitably a legend of some sort will creep in and take the actual event’s shape. I’m not saying he’d lie, but there stands a chance he’d buy the mirage.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Danse Russe by David Lohrey – Adult content.

It was late. I was ready to split. He had my keys. I’d given him them at the back door. I’d warned him on the phone. I had work in the morning. “Me, too. Me, too.” I figured we had an understanding. I hesitated to wake him. I’d been having a good time. I had been triumphantly unselfconscious. Now, not so much. I pulled a throw rug around myself. In my excitement over the phone, I had said something about my rule, that I wouldn’t leave until he’d come three times, but he didn’t seem too interested. He just said, “No negotiating, bro. Nah, house rules. You come into my home naked, you mine. That’s it.” I said okay. Now, I was stuck. It was getting to be midnight. Finally, I threw off the cover: fuck it.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Cold by Yash Seyedbagheri

My older sister Nan and I climb up our makeshift tree house armed with our latest swiped goodies. Vienna sausages. Saltines. Sardines. Plastic Merlot bottles. The Sutter Home brand, not anything fancy, but durable. Plus, it’s enough to give you a good buzz, but not enough to get truly, raging drunk. Not like Mom.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Paper-Lined Tables by Rachel Sievers

“Will you bring me something to drink from the kitchen?” She asks with her feet up on the couch. I swivel from my perch looking out the kitchen window. The open floor plan of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house makes it easy to see the bottoms of her feet from where they lay on top of the armrest of our couch. Her neon pink socks have white writing that read: if you can read this bring me wine. I consider her socks and reach into the walnut cabinet and pull out a water glass, filling it directly from the sink. I bring her the full glass and hold it out to her. She doesn’t look up from her phone but grabs the water glass and brings it to her pale and chapped lips. She needs to drink more water.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Hana by Mariam Saidan

I’m baking a cake, a well-mixed paste of carefully measured amounts of flour, eggs, oil, sugar, banana, baking powder and a pinch of cinnamon, ready to go in the oven for 45 minutes, when she knocks on the door. I think of taking my apron off, but I decide not to. It’s cute, with birds frolicking in a pink world. I look like an unusually traditional woman for our time, I feel. A woman. A kitchen. An apron. A cake. Pink. But I feel something perverse, almost noble, in quietly subverting these clichés still viciously clinging to these symbols. 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Perry by Dianne Willems

He wanted to be a hero. He wanted to be a hero so badly he could hardly think of anything else.

The Parrot sighed, and thought. A lump the size of an orange had formed in his throat, and he wanted it gone. It felt suffocating.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Light by Yash Seyedbagheri   

It’s the first clear winter night in almost two weeks. I drive the streets into our valley community, 2003 Subaru Forester rattling with age and emptiness. Well, more like I’m driving down the one winding main street that slopes down a hill, flanked by cathedral-like ponderosas. A few side streets branch off to the market and the cluster of shops and the one or two churches that flank either side of the river. The outskirts, the hills beyond, my cabin,  darkened rooms, and bills wait behind me, all splayed across the kitchen table. Power, water, a myriad of cards maxed out, in part due to my fondness for Fat Tire.

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All Stories, Fantasy

Shut Your Hellhole by Gabriel Munro

The Thing at the Border:

But erecting a building on consecrated ground presents its own challenges. Wailing banshee? Use stone-wool insulation for soundproofing. Vengeful demonic presence? Mix a dash of salt into the foundation concrete. Ghosts? Use the phrase “historic charm” in the branding. Carlos is ready for anything.

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