Literary as hell.

Tag: Flash fiction (Page 2 of 3)

“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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Flash Fiction by Andi Dobek

The Procedure

by Andi Dobek

4:12 a.m.

I clambered back into bed, feeling more awake than before, and the blue-white light of my clock radio cast a glow over the walls and a portion of my bed. I groaned and turned onto my side, facing the window. My shadow, discernible only as several lumps above the mattress, was projected on the sheer blinds that kept others from peering in.

I tried to bore myself to sleep with the monotony of my shadow, calmly rising and falling, my breathing nearly synced with the ocean waves from my sound machine. I heard the clock chime the half hour.

And then my shadow wasn’t mine anymore.

Like watching a plant grow with time-lapse photography, something bulbous, followed by two long appendages, extruded themselves from near my hip.

A head. Arms.

I looked over my shoulder, but there was nothing behind me to cast such a shadow. The light burnt my eyes, and I turned back towards my window, which had clearly become a canvas for my imagination.

As I squinted so my vision could adjust, the shadow became humanoid. The arms, not so gangly now, grew more refined. It stretched, tilting to face the ceiling. The creature conjured something, then pulled it up to its face. When I saw its long fingers fiddling at the back of its head, a single word floated into my mind.

Mask.

Then gloves. Pulled on quickly, efficiently.

I swallowed. Sleep was out of the question.

The humanoid being that was behind me…yet, not…whose shadow was projected upon my window shade, continued busying itself with things unseen. Then it turned, so I might see the silhouette of its back.

If I had attempted to move before, fear and revulsion now paralyzed me.

What I could not see in profile, I now made out clearly. Below the creature’s shoulders, formed by the two primary arms, protruded two more pairs of limbs. They stuck out only slightly from the torso, with a few too many joints, and hung limply at the sides, inferior with apparent disuse. Around the head, two angular extrusions jutted out from where its temples would be. Suddenly it turned back, its head bowed close over my shadow, clutching something in its hand.

Another mask. Delicate shadows of several tubes streamed from it, and the silhouette that held it leaned over, closer to the shadow of my head on the pillow.

The sound machine breathed for me now. Slow. Steady. Rhythmic. Calm.

It fastened the mask around my head.

After what felt like minutes, but may have been seconds, the giddy chirp of a bird trilled in my ears, and I reopened my eyes.

The world outside my window was beginning to glow gently with the dawn. More birds joined the first one’s song. I looked at the shade.

The outline of the humanoid shadow was barely discernible in the strengthening light, but before it disappeared completely, I saw it held something long and thin in one of its six hands.

Scalpel.

 

Andi Dobek (‘Andrea’ to her parents and strangers) rarely leaves the confines of her own head, finding the company there much more agreeable and easier to sway than those of the ‘real’ world. Long before she could walk, she began her writing career as soon as she could grip a pen, and hasn’t stopped mutilating innocent paper since. She holds a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois, and another in Web Design and Development. Currently she is slaving over a novel conceived over ten years ago, and her greatest dream is that it will one day see the light.

Andi lives in the Midwest and works at a credit union to fund her next endeavor: an MFA in Screenwriting through Lindenwood University. If you’re socially inclined, you can follow her on Twitter (@andreadobek) and Instagram (@The_Cicatrix).

Flash Fiction by Joan McNerney

Another Small Death

Assured his references would be fine, two week’s notice was given, severance check guaranteed.  That would give him one month total to get a life.

Freakyfour years gone just like that.   Exiting in long strides through swinging doors, Gary walked to the elevator.   This whole building, all twenty six floors, would be there when he was gone.  His work was unimportant, in a few weeks nobody would remember him.

His hands hung in a gesture of hopelessness.  His tongue covered with thick crust leaving a bad taste in his mouth.  He sat down more numb than anything else.  Shuffling his options like broken glass through his mind…if only one thought could come out straight, one sliver of truth.  But truth could be hard to handle, like shards of glass, slashing your face.  The bleary sky was streaked by blood red rays from a setting sun.  Night approached deep and dark.

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“How to Get a Jewish Divorce,” by Nina Bennett

How to Get a Jewish Divorce

 

Don’t live in the same house with your wife

after you’ve decided to divorce her. See your rabbi,

find a scribe. Observe the sun, divorce

proceedings must take place during daylight.

Do not let the scribe use a form, or any paper

that can be erased, it should be parchment.

Choose two righteous men as witnesses.

 

Your wife removes all rings, holds cupped hands

beside each other, palms up, fingers

somewhat raised. You hold the Get, tell her

This is your divorce. Accept this document

and you are divorced from me from here on.

Allow the paper to fall into her hands.

She closes her fingers around the document,

lifts it up, places it under her arm, walks away.

Have no further contact.

 

Delaware native Nina Bennett is the author of Sound Effects (2013, Broadkill Press Key Poetry Series chapbook #4). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as Kansas City Voices, Big River Poetry Review, Houseboat, Bryant Literary Review, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Philadelphia Stories, and The Broadkill Review. Nina was a 2012 Best of the Net nominee.

 

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