All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

(100) Calling Occupant By Leila Allison

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Torqwamni County Convalescent Center

4:53 A.M.

Naturally, the first thing healthy people experience when visiting the Torqwamni County Convalescent Center (T3C) is depression; many often secretly promise to kill themselves if they should wind up “like that,” but they never do. Mainly, T3C contains a sum of breathing bodies greater than the number of active minds. Most are elderly, and all are persons too well (in the technical sense) for the hospital but too sick to go home. Hardly any ever go home, save for in the religious view; most depart in the coroner’s van.

The inadequately appreciated orderlies and CNA’s and housekeepers, the real workers who do the staggering dirty work, and who are first blamed when something goes wrong, do their best to take care of the people in double occupancy rooms shared by pairs of the same kind of people: plainly, men with men, women with women, an active mind with another. The insensate are also kept together, or utterly alone, if their population is at an odd number.

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Fantasy, Short Fiction

(97) The Pygmy Unicorn and The Effluvium: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical By Leila Allison

Introduction

I was finished with writing Feeble Fables until I got the greenlight to produce anything I wanted to occupy numbers 96 to 102 in my story list. That meant seven, which is an ugly number when you have only three. Although I had informed the Union governing the Fictional Characters in my realm, who act various roles in my productions, that the Feeble Fable “Franchise” was at quits, (much to their collective apathy, and sniggering over my use of “Franchise”), in a stunning display of diplomacy on my part, I negotiated with the Shop Stewards came away with the cooperation necessary to produce enough Feeble Fables to fill in the empty slots.

Never underestimate the awesome power of bribery.

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Fantasy, General Fiction, Short Fiction

(96) Braindrizzle By Leila Allison and Daisy Cloverleaf, Shop Steward

The former Union of Pennames, Imaginary Friends and Fictional Characters (UPIFFC) recently defrocked all Pennames and reorganized itself as the UIFFC. This came out in a bull that rolled down the hill in a manner consistent with tumbling bullshit. For the first time, however, the announcement made sense; the Union concluded that Pennames are the management in their realms thus not entitled to be whiny pains in the ass because, unlike rolling cow pies, being a whiny pain in the ass is considered an uphill activity.

In my realm there’s just one Pen, yours truly, a lone Imaginary Friend, Renfield (a former FC who took the vacant I.F. office), and 227 FC actors who play various roles in my productions. So it became necessary that we elect a Shop Steward to represent my motley collection of FC’s. I was somewhat surprised to see that only six wanted the job: Daisy Cloverleaf the Pygmy Goatess; Boots The Impaler, a talking Siamese cat; Poppyseed the Type A Hummingbird; Flo the Trade Rat; Maab the Photobomb Fairie and Pie-Eyed Peety the PDQ Pilsner Pigeon, who is beyond description.

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Historical, Short Fiction

WEEK 354: The Fine Art of Failure and a Saturday Special

According to the people at Guinness World Records, the world’s least successful writer (during the paper manuscript era) was named William A. Gold (1922-2001). He wrote eight novels and a vast amount of articles and shorts, but sold just one piece for fifty cents. 

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Fantasy, Short Fiction

It Lets the Air In By Leila Allison

Fittingly, it began at the end of the world, New Delhi. The job now over, the American was about to board the first of many trains west when a slumped and shambling beggar in a ratty shawl stopped him on the platform. “Rupees, rupees,” the familiar whine. The American sighed and smiled and said, “Sure, all right. For old time’s sake.” It was eight-thousand miles to Madrid, but God damn India had a way of converting distance to years.

He offered the wretch a few coins, but the figure in the shawl slapped them away, which caused a hell of a scrum amongst other beggars on the platform.

“Hi, hi, what for hell’s sake is this, I’ll show you,” said the American. He had a temper, and often raised his hand. But the beggar stood erect and kept on standing until he was at least a foot taller than the American, not a small man himself. Arms lashed out from under the shawl and hands of unimaginable strength grabbed the American by the shoulders and lifted him near, toes scraping the boards. Despite the violence and surprise of the situation, the American wasn’t a coward. He summoned the nerve that had distinguished him from others in the Great War and looked up at the face under the shawl. All he saw was darkness.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Dreams Away at Octavia’s by Thomas M. McDade

I was out of the waiter game, quit when a chef threw a cruet that just missed my head; oil splattered my new, old tux I bought from a formal wear rental joint. Only an asylum inmate would be able to summon a voice that said I’d bettered myself. I was working at a fast food joint, The Burger General, home of the Five-Star Half Pounder. I’d added eight published poems to my Good Knots chapbook so I wasn’t complaining about work conditions or pay. I kept a few copies under the counter in case I sensed kindred vibes from a customer. Jake Perez, the janitor found one in the trash. If a fry weren’t a bookmark he might have left it but he thought it was a hoot and shared his kicks with my fellow workers before returning it to me. A high school kid working the drive-thru told me my poems were baffling and so was I but she quotes lines occasionally and said her mom gave me a thumbs-up. Columbia University had recently published the freshly greased poem, “Ghost Shipping” in its literary magazine.  Octavia’s Ristorante returned in sharp focus. Elise shanghaied my mind.

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All Stories, Fantasy, Short Fiction

The Raccoon and the Personal Trainer: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison

It had been a good summer. A little too good. Tony sat atop an obviously forgotten Frito Lay delivery behind the 7-11 and stood watch as the others in the pack looted the short pallet and took its contents to their “clubhouse” down by the creek. Raccoons do not normally have sophisticated criminal minds–pretty much smash (actually tip) and grab is their way–but that wasn’t the case with Tony. He was an abnormally intelligent Raccoon who had the soul of a bandit. Tony loved beer and food, but he got a bigger kick out of stealing.

Maybe so, and although it is never the object of a Feeble Fable to cast body shame, the plain fact that Tony was beginning to resemble a chubby zoo Panda instead of a reasonably in shape wild Raccoon didn’t weigh on him as much as maybe it should have. And the other members of his crew were getting just as tubby. Just a month ago they would have had the pallet stripped in under two minutes; now, with all the dragging bellies and the huge butts smacking into one another, it was taking twice as long. If Tony had been aware of television, he might have seen the similarity between his gang and that on the Sopranos.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Seroquel by Olivia Austin

I sit in darkness, isolated from the world by a dark wooden door. If I think hard enough, I can imagine I’m standing in a sunny field, or listening to the roar of ocean waves. But I’m not. As much as I try, the thin closet door in the bathroom is not enough to block out the screams.

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