We spoke on the phone for a couple of weeks before we met. It was nice talking to a woman again, calling someone on my ride home from work. I knew it wouldn’t really be going anywhere; she lived 3 hours way and had a 12-year-old to boot. Still. It was nice talking to a woman again.Continue reading “Sarah by Yancarlo Rivera”
Eddie Kidney lived in a Jiffy John in downtown Buffalo. Kidney was not his real surname, of course, but it seemed to fit so that is what we called him. Besides, Eddie liked having a last name and smiled when anyone referred to him as Mr. Kidney.Continue reading “Eddie Kidney’s Thanksgiving by David M Robinson”
Dirty fucking hoors!!
Hoor-maisters…Dirty fucking hoor-maisters.
Clatty bastards the lot of them.Continue reading “Do The Right Thing by Hugh Cron – Warning – Strong Adult Content”
So, Hugh now joins the teeny tiny group – well I say group – there’s only one other, of writers with 100 posts on the site. CONGRATULATIONS. It is fair to say that it has probably been harder for Hugh. As editors I think we are tougher on ourselves than we are on other authors. We are so keen not to be seen to be showing any sort of positive bias that we are brutal with each other. However, Hugh always accepts rejections and edit suggestions with good humour, humility and professionalism.
He is the backbone of Literally Stories, he has kept on going through his own personal traumas, never letting what is happening in his life get in the way of his work on the site. He has been an incredible rock when the rest of us have had our own dramas, kind, sympathetic and stoic (hahahahaha – his hate word – ha) and he makes the work, which at times can feel overwhelming, worthwhile and rewarding. As well as the reading and emails, Hugh comments on the stories and together with other of us give feedback to authors who have requested such or who we feel deserve an explanation as to our decisions or a suggested edit. He writes almost all the Saturday roundup posts and let’s be honest they are hilarious and a brilliant end to the week, even though the times when he says ‘That’s it there, Diane. Sorry’ I do quake in my boots.
I have never actually met Hugh, or Nik in person, or Adam or Tobias for that matter, but I count them among dear friends, but Hugh, and Nik are the blokes I want to have a drink with, the blokes I can count on to unload to when life throws cabbages at me and I just want to say thanks and, Hugh, my life is richer for knowing you. You are a fearless, uncompromising writer and I admire that more than I can say and many, many Congratulations on reaching this outstanding milestone.
Never Being Confused
It was a typical day in the life of Jim and Debbie, the parents of SeptemberThe28th.
They were on The High Street championing their offspring’s cause as usual. They wore their ‘Asexual Is Not Fluid UCUNT!’ Tshirts, The back of which said ‘LGBTQI+Forever!!‘ And underneath that was ‘I am not a label!’
This is one of two stories that I’ve been given free gratis with. I really do appreciate that and that is why I wanted to explain why I chose this one.
I was playing around, for so many reasons, with changed perceptions and this is what I came up with.
My fellow editors felt the content was too strong but it had to be for what I was going for. I wanted to see if I could alter a reader’s sympathies and to do that I needed the situation to be so abhorrent that they would need a real change of heart.
I wondered if we always fall down on one side or another with our sympathies or were there situations where, until all was revealed, our initial gut feelings may not be relied on and would be changed not just dramatically but more than once.
A jutting, brick-walled affair, we’d moved into our one-bed flat three weeks ago. It wasn’t much – first time buys never are.
But it was something. It was our space; it was home.
When Kurt Cobain died, Susan didn’t leave her bedroom for four days straight. She closed her door on that Saturday morning and stayed put until I went over and saw her on the Tuesday afternoon. She never joined the groups that gathered at our college when the following week broke; the circles of teenagers who grimly shuffled in the canteen and classrooms, who shrugged and sighed and slowly shook their heads. It was, I suppose, our defining moment. Naturally, none of us realised it at the time. As a generation we had no Great War or Woodstock, social media was science fiction and everyone’s parents had jobs. We were fortunate enough to be insulated from existence. It took a dead rock star to communalise our experience, to sharpen our senses, to force us to cower as the world fired its first warning shot. A snatched photograph of an outstretched leg with a limp Converse training shoe was the image that blew our adolescent minds. This was when the penny dropped that shit had finally got real.
Maye Tuong was part Chinese, had three brothers and one sister, all married and moved out, and she lived with her mother and father across the Saugus River, at the upper end where a small wooden bridge spanned the water. Her mother was the Chinese parent, not the father, Henry Tuong, who was, as far as I knew, an old Lynn boy from way back who brought his wife home from one of his wars as a Marine. Shanghai rang a bell but I was never sure of where. I did know some other things about Maye, fact or fiction as you’ll have it, which had settled into my mind because she was extremely shapely for one thing; and she never had a date, at least I never saw her with a fellow. One time in the past, I heard, she’d been embarrassed at the beach when someone spotted a patch of thick, black hair on her backside, just below her waistline. A small patch it was, but a patch out of place. A few tough and pointed wisecracks were tossed off at that time and Maye was never seen at the beach again, never seen in a bathing suit again. I was one of those who never saw Maye at the beach or in a bathing suit. I never saw that thick, black out-of-place patch either, but had thought about it, I’m willing to bet, on a daily occurrence, perhaps hourly if you’re aware of the routine. Maye, on this night when the story really began, was 28 years old, or thereabouts, having unsettled some of my recent and late night thoughts, the older woman kind that haunt and capture and beset the young mind; let me teach you a thing or two, young man, you naughty boy, you.
“Err…Ladies and Gentlemen…The Groom.”
The wee mousey man backed away out the door. The groom stood up championing Sports Direct and eating a Gregg’s sausage roll.
I maneuvre my Schwinn Ten-Speed Racer around all the established potholes, black ice and rotted roadkill that lay in my path. A mass of gray stony sky looms above, mirroring the stretch of road that lies before me. I have become too familiar with these two miles or so of bleak service road that connects North Edison to South, and more importantly, connects me to Durham Road and The Galaxy Diner. As I make my descent down the sloping asphalt, my bike begins to pick up startling speed, making the twenty-something air temperature feel more like forty-fucking below. I sit rigid and hyper-alert, letting the winds pound against me. Tears run down my cheeks and solidify into a salty paste that sting like hot wax on my skin. I tighten the drawstring of my hoodie and button the top button of my fleece-lined Lee corduroy jacket, momentarily navigating the bike with my knees. As I cruise through the turnpike underpass, I let out a strategically timed scream to hear the sound of my voice echo into the abyss, as if convincing myself and anything else with ears that I am, for the moment, still very much alive.