The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: Flash fiction (page 1 of 2)

Flash fiction by Michael Prihoda

The Year of Looking Up Friends on Our iPhones Only to Wonder Who We Actually Met

 

Chloe read the Magna Carta backward. I’m sure of it, whether you are or not. Please tell me we are not the last people on earth. Please tell me if I open the door I will find the mail in the box, maybe a couple bills we can pay on our meager salaries. There was a guy named Peter one of us knew from somewhere, not a support group, no, I never went to that one that met down the street from the place where somebody my parents used to know lived. People started dying long before we started living.

Freddy is not worth talking about.

Oh. Raquel is another story. Well, there was this one instance, and I only heard this from Cam, who happened to be with her at the party and eventually got her home completely without taking advantage of the situation whatsoever (considering Cam this is almost unbelievable and I don’t even need to include any euphemisms for you to know what sort of activity he refrained from that I find unbelievable yet enlightening because, perhaps, humanity has some baseline goodness left and since Cam was probably five to six rum and Cokes heavier than when he started the night that this story takes place on makes it all the more improbable yet uplifting/encouraging/inspiring). Anyway, Cam tells me stuff went down and Raquel happens to be lucky in that there is nothing worth remembering (in a good or bad sense) from the night because she definitely remembered zero of what transpired in perhaps the best possible way of not remembering zilch. Continue reading

2016 Halloween Contest Finalist: “The Neighborhood Association” by Ani King

Nobody does Halloween like Ginnie Farrow. Just ask the neighborhood.

Sheila Canterwell, beloved kindergarten teacher, used to take the ribbon with her Haunted Haus, and before that Reverend Jim McGee smugly won decades worth of praise with his carefully planned Zombie Garden. He spent hours in his garage hand painting fake rubber limbs to look terrifyingly real when strewn in haphazard rows. We all enjoyed the results of their friendly feud, ohhing and ahhhing at each new height they managed to reach.

The prizes have varied over time, from gift certificates, to lawn service, to cash on occasion, but really, it’s the awe and appreciation of the neighborhood that most seek to win.  And growing ghosts? Well, that’ll do it.

Thing is, no one in the neighborhood ever managed to grow a decent ghost. Some tried, including Jim and Sheila, but the soil didn’t cooperate, or the corpse seed didn’t take even if it was planted at the height of spring, under a full moon. We once saw them collaborate a bit, trying to get a few to come up in the community garden in town. Nothing doing, it just didn’t happen.
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“Politics,” flash fiction by Kelly Evans

Politics

by Kelly Evans

“I’ve decided to enter the cutthroat and unforgiving arena of political life,” Frederick announced.

Mother looked up from her book. “Whatever for, Freddie?”

“I’m a natural born leader and others should benefit from my vast life experience.”

“And how do you plan to enter this world?” Frederick’s younger sister Constance smiled wryly.

Frederick sat on the settee and swung a leg casually over the arm. “I’ve discovered our local school requires a new governor, a perfect place for me to cut my teeth, politically speaking.”

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“The Worst Hangover,” flash fiction by Adam Kluger

The Worst Hangover

by Adam Kluger

 

Lady-in-a-Blue-DressHe was pretty hung over.

So bad that he was burping into a glass of water. He hadn’t noticed the waitress right away. She must have been new. It was wintertime. The morning after the Smart-TV Christmas Party.

Booger had secured the location for the station and he put together a very bad Christmas reel. The bureau chief cornered Booger at one point and asked what happened with the reel… why was it so lame? Booger was mortified and the only thing to do at that point was drink heavily. He ordered a shot of whiskey with a beer chaser and kept hitting the same number until the embarrassment gave way to stupor. He got home, smoked a bone, whacked off and went to sleep. When he woke up in the morning his mouth was full of cotton and his stomach was doing somersaults. He threw on a coat and went across the street to “My Most Terrific Dessert Company.” It was expensive but he could sit there order a soda and a croissant and feel a little better. The waitress moved across the floor like a ballerina. She was friendly too.

Very friendly, Booger thought. Continue reading

“Nest,” by Meghan Ferrari

Scabbed knees scurry down a path saturated with yellow leaves.“Hurry up!” Sam shouts at her younger sister, exasperated by her slowness.She navigates the strewn branches swiftly, jumping over their jagged edges like a well-worn hopscotch. At the foot of the path she pauses, leaning her body, newly lanky, against the large rock shaped like a jelly bean. The grey bean, swathed in green moss, once served as the perfect table-top for tea parties, and Barbie’s BBQs, but now seats Sam and her friends as they practice their fishtail braids, crossing and re-crossing freshly highlighted hair, and discuss the day’s drama, most recently Becca’s foray with Ben H. behind portable #5.Sam waits until she can see the fraying bows on her sister’s pale pink sneakers, then continues deeper into the woods. As she runs, she stretches her flannelled arms out, and with pointed index fingers, grazes the passing pines, as though leaving a line to retrace.

 

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“Someone From Beirut,” a flash fiction piece by Carra Leah Hood

“Someone from Beirut searched for you on Google.”I receive this alert from Academia.edu in my inbox at least once a month. I usually click on the green button at the bottom of the email to view analytics; I’m always curious: what did he look at or download this time?

You see, I know it’s my ex-husband. He moved to Beirut a number of years ago to teach and to direct theater at a university there.

We’ve been divorced since the early 90s and have only made efforts to talk twice. In 1998, we ran into each other on line at Starbucks in LaGuardia airport; both of us were waiting for the same plane to Toronto, heading for the same academic conference, and as it ended up, staying in the same hotel. We drank coffee (he also ate a plain bagel with butter), sitting across from each other outside the gate. We chatted for an hour about Dino, our Siamese cat. The second time, we communicated by email. I wrote to let him know my father passed away. That was in April, 2006; “Give your mom and sisters my condolences,” he wrote back.

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The Miracle Maker, by David Scheier

The Miracle Maker

by David Scheier

I knew better than to go home with him, but he juggled planets, made arm-length dragon blood trees sprout from barstools and drank sun-fire instead of vodka, which shouldn’t impress me but did.

So how could I refuse? His head contained a wild ocean in place of his hair – a charming whirlpool at the chin that spun violently with thunder and lightning. Naturally, his eyes too, a hint of turquoise electric bolts cracking briefly in his pupils as he downed shot after shot of nuclear energy, pulled me in. He was a god all right, or part god, half Olympian bar-hopper and half culinary art school dropout.

“Sweet thang,” he said rolling bracelets of asteroids from wrist to elbow. “How ‘bout old Uncle buys you a drink?” I rolled my eyes. “All the drinks,” he added and my eyes rolled again. “Baby, I’ll turn the bartender into a mango martini, or how about a dirty Manhattan?” My eyes focused on him. He pointed his finger, the bartender swirled, body widened, and became transparent and hollowed out to a glass filled with liquid. The dirty Manhattan-tender sloshed and spun before breaking on the hardwood floor. “His name was Michael.” The god looked pensively at his finger. “And it was his time.” He raised his hands, towers of mixed drinks, canned beers, low-ball dancers and highball serenades lined the bar, teleported from the netherworld and into the hands of barflies. “Drinks on me, everybody.”

“Datz where it’s at!” shouted a blond fluffy-haired man with his shirt unbuttoned down to his navel. The god turned to me, fingers in the shape of a gun.

Oh god, he’s going to turn me into a vodka-tonic, I thought. He ran his fingers along my head, through my hair, and above my ears. I wanted to tell him how inappropriate this was: his pistol fingers, flipping my hair, and turning people into drinks.

“Susan, it’s okay Susan, I want to make you feel good.” His smile sincere, teeth chimed under the blue and purple tavern lights. “Now you’re thinking, how did I know your name?” He pulled me close using atoms, gently touched my shoulders. The tavern walls melted and transformed to an evening sky, light fixtures evaporated into the moon and street lights and finally my bedroom, yes, I was smashed. He kissed me, and kissed me some more, he kisses me aggressively, and kissing me still – when did this happen, the change from past to present tense in my story?

“Don’t worry about it Susan, we can jump time and all other narrative techniques.”

“My name isn’t Susan,” I told him. He smiled and undressed me with the touch of a finger and bite of his lip. He, too, bare now, skin, the olive smoothness of a Mediterranean dolphin. My hands possessed, caress his muscle, chiseled, and oh, god-sexy chest and arms. Just tonight, I tell myself. He winks at me. I won’t go alone to bars again. We make love for eons, looped in some out worldly time. He sets the mood with strategically placed pinhole stars, comets riding along the walls of my room and galaxies colliding and forming in the wake of our sex. The matter of space changed color, purple, blue, then a lighter shade of purple, and a then darker shade of blue. We started with headstand sex, our bodies melted to the stuff lava lamps are made of, I turned to clay and cracked when penetrated by his sex, and finally, invisible sex moving fast into the future while floating in this contained space of orbiting orange, and bustling blue stars around marble suns.

And it was over. I wake alone. My body aching from the stillness of time and my floor covered with tiny holes and ash from the scattered collections of stars and suns. A black hole still spins by my dresser, getting larger as it eats dust, dirty cloths and the paint off the walls.

*************

David Scheier is writer and illustrator who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, he teaches at Harold Washington City College. Both his illustrated and written work have appeared in various publications including the following: The State, Spork Press, BlazeVOX, OVS, Front Porch Journal, Rio Grande Review, Petrichor Machine, Gather Kindling, Meekling Press,and Ginger Piglet. Visit him online at society6.com/davidscheier.com.

“A Hole You Fill With Money and Water,” flash fiction by Stephen Pisani

A Hole You Fill With Money and Water

by Stephen Pisani

Not long after her mother left us, Janie started running around the outside of the pool. Every night, after I got home from work and her, daycare, she took about fifteen laps around the rectangular hole sunk into the far left corner of our backyard. I had a tough time telling whether it was a coping mechanism or a seven-year-old’s idea of a good time. Probably a little bit of both.

“I’m looking for Mommy,” she’d say, as if she was going to find her hiding in one of the corners of the deep end. The water wasn’t exactly crystal clear—fallen pine needles and floating bugs formed a patchwork of various shades of black and brown on the surface—but still transparent enough for even a kid to realize the pool was full of only one thing: water. No sentient beings were lurking underneath.

“Catch me,” she’d say.

“Stop that before you hurt yourself,” I’d say.

A week went by, this activity still occupying the majority of Janie’s free time, and my words proved reluctantly prophetic. She tripped on one of the uneven bricks surrounding the pool. Her sweatpants tore straight through to reveal a clean break of skin. Blood turned her pants a darker shade of blue right around her knee.

“Owweeeee,” she screamed after dropping to the ground and clutching the compromised appendage.

I knelt beside her to inspect the cut. “What did I tell you about running around the pool?” I said, a directive I understood to be common and even required dad-speak in this type of situation. From my wife, I learned that every kid is supposed to receive a dose of “I told you so” from their parents. Really, all I wanted to do was ease Janie’s pain, so I quickly adopted a gentler tone.

“Are you OK?” I said.

She didn’t take well to the Bactine. “It stings,” she squealed.

“I know, honey,” I said. “Sorry.

“It hurts soooo bad.”

“I know.”

She sobbed in one continuous burst, a tactic in histrionics I was sure she picked up from her mother. “Mom would have never let this happen,” she said. She eyed me with a “fuck off” look that sort of gave me chills. I never considered that such a thing could be hereditary.

“I know.”

Truth is my wife didn’t even want a pool. She cringed at the mention of it, like just having to look at the thing would induce some sort of seizure or something.

What she said was, “It’s just a fucking a hole in the ground with water in it. And I’m sure it’ll cost a fucking fortune. It’s just a hole you throw water and money into.”

What she did was kick a small indent in the lawn next to where the pool was slated to go. Blades of grass scattered to reveal a patch of brown earth into which she poured a dab of Poland Spring. Then she dug a few nickels from her pocket. They let out a “plink” when they hit the muddied spring water.

“There,” she said. “Same thing.”

Kneeling next to Janie, watching her face writhe in child-agony, I decided I’d fill the pool in. With what I wasn’t entirely sure. But right then and there, as I patched the gap in Janie’s delicate skin, I finally agreed with the woman who had abandoned us: it was probably a good idea to fill a hole with something more substantive than money and water.

 

Stephen Pisani is a Long Island, New York native who received his MA in Writing from Coastal Carolina University. His writing has appeared in Blue Lake Review,Soundings Review, and The Furious Gazelle.

 

“What’s Left of the Crumbs,” flash fiction by Stephen Pisani

What’s Left of the Crumbs

by Stephen Pisani

Davey holds a fresh piece of copy paper in the middle of the den, standing halfway between his girlfriend and the muted television.

Elyse’s face contorts—it takes forty-two muscles to frown, he’s been told—and she angrily waves him away. “I’m on a call,” she mouths, ignoring his sign saying, “Come Play With Me” in dark, hastily-scribbled magic marker. Outside, snow smothers the roads, so Elyse is working from home. By Davey’s unscientific count, this is the fourth conference call she’s been on today, and it’s only five past noon.

He unplugs his phone from the charger on the kitchen counter. He turns the corner into the den, cell phone in hand, and says, “Excuse me, hun, can you get me on this call?”

She patronizes him with a labored chuckle. “Give me ten minutes, then we can play.” She winks, puts the phone back on speaker, mutes it on her end, and returns to the business of ignoring him.

“Get Mr. Howard on the line,” he says, holding his cell phone to his ear for emphasis. “Tell him I have some great ideas for the business.” She rolls her eyes without taking them off the computer screen in front of her. “I’ll be in my office downstairs, when you get a hold of him,” he continues. “I’ve got all my notes down there.”

Davey pretends to descend to the basement, but they both know he won’t. Instead he returns to the kitchen, opens the double-wide doors of the stainless steel fridge that she—mostly—paid for, grabs a package of turkey and another of ham, both of which she paid for, Boar’s Head, never the cheap stuff, and makes a sandwich on the store-brand bread he bought with a few of the dollars leftover from his pitiful severance.

Davey hears what sounds like the call ending in the other room. “We need milk,” Elyse says. She won’t drink her coffee without it, and she drinks a lot of coffee, a beverage working folk tend to enjoy. Davey won’t touch the stuff.

“Right now?” he says. He sets his sandwich down on the couch and sits between it and Elyse.

“Why don’t you go to the store? I forgot I have another call in a few minutes.”

Davey turns to look through the blinds Elyse insisted they needed a few weeks after they moved in. He can see the white flakes furiously falling between each handcrafted slat. “I’m not going out in that,” he says. “It’s too icy.”

“How about you shovel, then go out to get milk?”

He stands up, sandwich in hand—a good chunk of it in mouth—and says, “How bout I get you milk from downstairs?” He puts the sandwich down on the ottoman. Standing tall over Elyse, he gradually slinks behind the ottoman, like he’s going down a flight of stairs, the one-man show only finishing when he falls on his ass and starts cackling like a hyena in heat.

“You get that out of your system?” Elyse says. She is still planted in the spot Davey’s ass occupies most afternoons. Her phone rings. She puts it on speaker—again, muted on her end.

From his seat on the carpet Elyse wants to replace as soon as they can afford it, Davey reaches to the side. He pretends like he’s paddling a canoe out of the room. When he realizes Elyse isn’t paying him any more mind than the silenced talk show hosts on their forty-inch flat screen—a gift from her parents—he grabs his sandwich off the ottoman. The bread crumbles in his hand. Seagull-friendly specks fall to the floor. He walks away, figuring the dog will pounce on most of the mess. After Elyse leaves for work in the morning, he’ll vacuum what’s left of the crumbs.

 

Stephen Pisani is a Long Island, New York native who received his MA in Writing from Coastal Carolina University. His writing has appeared in Blue Lake Review,Soundings Review, and The Furious Gazelle.

 

Flash fiction by Michael Prihoda

Excerpts from “The Years,” a collection of interrelated flash fictions

by Michael Prihoda

 

The Year of Problems

Our parents have problems.

The man bagging groceries at the local Meijer has problems.
Steven has problems.
Gary has problems.
I think one time you mentioned how the dental hygienist attending the initial cleaning of your front molars referenced her recent, razor-edged divorce, which, I have to say, makes me think she has a host of nearly illimitable problems.
Joanna has problems.
The last barista I ordered a drink from (please, not Starbucks; whatever I am I am not that) didn’t pull the ristretto correctly and I tasted the off-ness in every sip, probably would have enjoyed the drink otherwise, but just knowing the mess-up, the goof, was enough to put me off from the whole coffee drinking enterprise but then again I didn’t go up and complain, realizing somewhere subconsciously that I should have ordered a Gibraltar or even a café miel because at least the honey would take the edge from whatever mistake could have been made (excepting, of course, an over-eager dusting of cinnamon, which definitely happened once, though I let it slide because the barista that time was cute and yeah, standing, waiting for my drink, I thought about how exactly I might tip her head just so to meet my lips and how much tongue I would use and if she wore chapstick/lip gloss what kind it might be and if that would somehow be a turn-on or else perversely anti-arousing because it magically reverberated with the same natural flavors in my body wash, purchased from the health store down the road from the coffee bar where they faulted my ristretto). All of this meaning the barista who served me my ristretto has, at least, a singular problem.
Vincent has problems.
You have problems.
I have problems. Lots of them. Since the year of my birth.

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