Featured Stories

Chapmans Lake

Chapmans_Lake
by

Uncle Nat was definitely my favorite uncle. He was my mother’s younger brother and lived in Scranton, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sadie, and their two daughters, Lillian and Dorothy. Dorothy, the younger girl was just one year my junior and we were great friends for years. Uncle Nat, born Hershel Newtah Jochnewitz, Americanized his name to Nathan Young while still …

April 17, 2015 :: 0 comments

Have a Cookie

Cookie_Jar
by

My first graders bring in something they like from the outside world to share for Show and Tell every Tuesday morning. Martin Taccone does his presentation last. He slowly walks up to the head of the class carrying a heavy satchel that looks like it has a bowling ball in it. He carefully takes out something wrapped in a blanket. …

April 10, 2015 :: 0 comments

Friends

Friends
by

The two sat in an empty plain windowless room with one door, at a thin legged wooden table, on folding metal chairs. They’d been playing cards. You know I want to hear it, said the larger, heavily bearded man. What? said the skinny bald one. That you’re my friend. I want to hear you say that you’re my friend. The …

April 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

Contributed Stories (Past Year)

Peruse our short story archives here

#eggnogriot

by on December 24, 2014 :: 0 comments

They wrecked the halls when the whiskey eggnog was snuck into the dorm after finals ended. Jeff was everyone’s hero. He bootlegged enough to of the ‘nog to keep everyone lit and alive until New Years. No one has to leave, joy demanded it. Parents were concerned within hours, though. Then snotty, boggy vomit fell from the dorm’s roof as …

A Kentucky Derby Hat in the Hay Maze

by on January 30, 2015 :: 0 comments

At this hour, we had the hay maze all to ourselves. Guarding the entrance stood a gang of white pumpkins on a bed of scattered straw. Tower rested his foot on the largest one as he pointed to Katie’s milk colored Kentucky Derby hat. “You wanna put that wedding cake in the car?” he asked. “No, watch me beat you …

A Knock on the Door

by on February 20, 2015 :: 0 comments

I was doing my dishes one day and heard a knock on the front door. I leave my door open in the summer and always have a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge. I love the way the lemon wheels float to the top and the glass pitcher gets all frosty. Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw …

A Little Ghost Story (The Intruder)

by on July 4, 2014 :: 0 comments

When Joanne DuMont first opens her eyes in the morning it usually follows an intense night of waitressing. She has already slept late (9:30, or so) and relishes her slow mornings to herself. She’d waitressed all her adult life, raised a son (now grown) by herself, and now enjoys her morning to herself. Her mornings are now free, quiet, calm, …

Bad Dreams

by on August 4, 2014 :: 0 comments

Todd Smith woke to find a raccoon biting his chin. “I was at camp, dreaming that my mom wanted me to shave. Christ, I’ve only got about four hairs.” Aaron Goldberg woke to discover that all his teeth had fallen out. “I’ve had the same dream a hundred times. Out come the teeth. My therapist told me I was worried …

Big Thanksgiving Snow

by on November 27, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Sometimes Jesus walked around with a big staff, just like me,” Mrs. Day says to herself as she looks at the frayed picture on her kitchen wall just above the little kitchen table. She cut that picture out of a magazine fifty years ago when she subscribed to Life and Look and Colliers magazines. “Jesus doesn’t need that staff,” Mrs. …

Cable TV Commitment Phobia

by on June 7, 2014 :: 0 comments

I hung up the phone, mentally exhausted from the battle that had just ensued. I had just survived something worse than negotiating with a used car salesman. Talking to my cable TV provider. After receiving the flyer advertising the new-to-me feature of On Demand, touting thousands of movies and channels at no extra cost, my interest was piqued. Weary of …

Christmas Eve at Rosen’s Deli

by on December 22, 2014 :: 0 comments

It’s Christmas Eve and Paddy Kelly is on his way home from work at the Post Office. He stops at Rosen’s Deli and orders a brisket of beef sandwich on pumpernickel rye with a smear of horseradish and a new kosher pickle on the side. Ever since he came from Ireland to Chicago, Paddy has preferred the new kosher pickle …

Closer

by on December 12, 2014 :: 0 comments

He had been deeply in love, but love had stretched and thinned and wandered in three years. She wasn’t as into him, either. And that gave him panic attacks as he questioned his mortality, his relevance. Three years ago she climbed on him in the back of a taxi heading home. With real animal aggression, she didn’t give him a …

Clown

by on May 23, 2014 :: 0 comments

The frat near Whittier decided to have a clown party. It was Good Friday and seemed like the thing to do. Nine teenagers from the party decided to cram into a top-down convertible and drive home. It’s what clowns do. Pile into a car. But clowns usually don’t do that drunk on a major California highway. The car hit a …

Cooder

by on April 25, 2014 :: 0 comments

The funeral was big. Cooder sat at the back. He was dressed in a black suit. He hadn’t shaved. He fiddled with a puzzle. He twisted it left. He twisted it right. He could not solve it. He’d probably never solve it. The person next to him told him to shush. Cooder slouched into his chair and scowled. He slouched …

Crooked

by on September 12, 2014 :: 0 comments

It happened after a night of drink and drugs, licking, sticking, sucking and fucking her way into friendship at a party. Jenny was speeding the streets trying to make it home before her father found her gone. He was always up with the first chirp of an early bird, and her time was quickly dwindling, as the fading moon foreshadowed …

Dreams That Trip

by on January 9, 2015 :: 0 comments

The train rocked her to sleep, though she drifted in and out of consciousness. Her eyes popped open every five-ten minutes with each jerk of the train. Her mind half-registered the beggars, the vendors, the passengers, her father next to her… Suddenly, she was naked. She was standing in the middle of the field, one very much like her grandmother’s …

Fat Andy

by on February 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

That could have been me getting nearly killed that day as I sat on the schoolyard steps getting high with Ferrone. But it wasn’t my turn, yet. Only a few weeks earlier I had bought a ten dollar bag of weed on credit from Fat Andy. Fat Andy was a new dealer in Astoria Park. Being a little taller than …

Five Weekends

by on October 24, 2014 :: 0 comments

Tony was trying his thirteenth draft on this piece, 1234 words, into the top of the fifth double spaced page. It was a true story in Tony’s own life about how he almost got screwed, due to the follies and games that men play, out of a musical gig. The musical gigs were important to Tony as a livelihood and …

For the Love of Snakes: Dr. Veenum and Dr. Wang

by on October 18, 2014 :: 0 comments

The letter said this project could change your life, so he sat in his University of Arizona-Herpetology Dept. office waiting for this Dr. Wang to appear before the United Nations. They were showing the general assembly on the cable news station, which was full to capacity, with folks standing on the sides. Protocol and safety were at their usual high …

GI Magi

by on December 21, 2014 :: 0 comments

When word from our platoon commander came at 1800 hours saying that orders from Regiment was that we were to be heading out on patrol at 2000 hours, in full battle rattle, none of us were surprised. The Corps didn’t give a squat what day it was. Why would Christmas Eve be any different than Labor Day, Veterans Day, or …

Here’s To Kissing Chimneys

by on June 27, 2014 :: 0 comments

Yeah, sure. You’ve heard the old line: The young lady tells you, “I smell smoke,” and you know how it goes: Where there is smoke, most definitely, fire exists. Did I mention fire exists? Pardon me, buddy, but after being locked in the so-called basement of life, lorded over, of course, by the Masters of All Time and All Space, …

Hoot

by on October 10, 2014 :: 0 comments

Shirtless and covered in blood, I walked into the Hooters. John Donne said, God is an angel in an angel, and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw. God is a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters in a bloody, shirtless man in a Hooters. I’d fallen on glass. I was drunk. My sister worked there. …

In the Car

by on March 6, 2015 :: 0 comments

I sit in the front seat of my dad’s brown shitbox Honda Civic. It’s my weekend with him and we are on our way somewhere fun at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon. It’s mild outside, even as the sun begins to set. I wear a white shirt and so does he. We match today. We drive past his condo …

Indian Summer

by on December 2, 2014 :: 0 comments

It was about that time that I first started to notice girls. I was twelve and the girls I had known since elementary were growing what my father called “A woman’s curves.” I would spend the summers with my uncle and grandfather in the country, while my parents went on missions with their church. The house was close to a …

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

by on January 23, 2015 :: 0 comments

Janice picked up her phone to call her mother. I kept my mouth shut. I’d offered a lot of useless advice in the past, but had learned to keep quiet. It was almost the end of October and the phone call was just something that had to be done. I was grateful that Janice was willing to call. “I’m ready,” …

Kathleen Malone, Genius Detective

by on June 20, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Esmeralda seems to really like you.” “She’s a cat.” “Right, and a cat has no motivation to lie about how she feels about others. She’s very useful when trying to decipher the intentions of those who are in question.” “Does that mean I can leave now?” “No, no, you won’t get off that easy. Even if you’re not directly involved, …

Killing Field

by on July 18, 2014 :: 0 comments

The way you can’t swallow, a thick throat, swollen with the need for a wet drop, that was their country. The hunter left his family to gather supper, a hog to slaughter. The kill would happen early, while the woman and children would pick cotton. The hunter would return with blood on his hands, food for bellies. With death, there’s …

La La Love Ya

by on November 7, 2014 :: 0 comments

So, today I drove to work in a car with no heat on a day that was so cold people even started caring about the homeless. When I got to work, my boss was waiting for me, ready to nag for twenty-five minutes about something somebody else did but averted reasonable suspicions to me because they knew I would just …

London, Here I Come

by on December 5, 2014 :: 0 comments

I had been accepted to Oxford University after writing and winning an essay contest entitled, America and Britain-brother countries. In my essay I had wrote how America had gained its independence, yet there was still a connection between the two countries. We are sometimes brother countries. The university would pay my flight, room, board and tuition. I had never visited …

Meeting the Replacement

by on February 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

I sank deep into a worn out couch that had felt the weight of more bodies on it than the world’s shoulders. I glanced around the room whilst taking a sip of my drink. Saturday nights always drew large crowds into the city. The stresses of paid slavery seemed to drive the people crazy and they loved to pound them …

More Decaf, Please!

by on November 21, 2014 :: 0 comments

We took Shelly’s car. “Shelly,” I said over the phone, “have you looked outside today? It’s a sheet of ice. My car door won’t open.” “Oh, so you don’t want to go visit Willie today?” “I didn’t say that. Of course I want to visit your brother. I just don’t want to drive. Can you pick me up?” Naturally I …

Most Pay Homage

by on January 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

David was studying when his father came home. His father’s face glowed, same as the mahogany table David sat upon. The wood looked burnished by silver light. “Elizabeth and I are getting married,” his father said. Frank sat for the first time ever with his son at that table that was owned by Frank’s mother. “When?” David asked. “The date …

New Year

by on December 23, 2014 :: 0 comments

On the eve of the new year, Oksana invited me to her place to acquaint with her parents. In the corner of the room stood the Christmas tree, and in front of it, right on the floor, sat Oksana dressed like a toy from a Department store. “Well, you look okay, ” I told her, not even daring to sit …

Nothing If Not Critical

by on September 26, 2014 :: 0 comments

The problem is that there are three problems. First problem is that Clyde can’t cry. Hasn’t cried in, what, a year? Second problem, he has stopped moving. Literally. Well, not quite literally. He goes to the shop to satiate thirst and hunger with cheap food—chocolate-covered matchsticks, milkshakes and matzos. But still, his movements are decreasing. He stopped going to work, …

Oddly Mandible

by on September 19, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Have we got anything to eat?” she asked, shattering the silence with her jagged crystal voice, “Have we got any fish? I want a fish,” she added, looking at me sidelong, not quite sure of her own motives. Her face was shadowed by the headrest. To me, she seemed like a horse underwater, not struggling but submitting to the environment. …

Pitch for a Picture Book

by on May 2, 2014 :: 0 comments

“Hello, Trisha Donnelly, Mindful Child Publications, correct? Sorry I read your name tag there, well, in advance, thanks for a moment of your time, Trish. Can I call you Trish? Oh, sorry, no that’s better isn’t it, Mrs. Donnelly? Oh, of course! More business-like. Thank you. You see I have this fantastic idea for a children’s picture book that I …

Riding a Broomstick

by on August 29, 2014 :: 0 comments

As a little girl I always puzzled over the idea that witches, like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched rode broomsticks. Of course, I was young and a little too literal-minded to realize that a broom is not always a broom, and that there are many forms of “brooms,” kind of like the proverbial “womb broom.” When I came of age I …

Small Matters

by on October 31, 2014 :: 0 comments

We got the call at 5 A.M. My father had woken from a coma after forty-eight hours and asked to see his family. Before he had fallen into the coma, we had brought him home from the hospital. “Take him home and make him comfortable; he doesn’t have long,” the doctor said. We came home and ordered food. For my …

Staying Home

by on June 13, 2014 :: 0 comments

“I dream about you a lot these days,” I say to my dad. “And for some reason I show you up in your dreams,” he responds, laughing. It doesn’t feel like I’m dreaming. His voice is clear. The wisps of his grey hair are fine and crisp. I see the individual strands layered on top of each other. I always …

The Boy Who Laughed Too Much

by on August 8, 2014 :: 0 comments

No one really knew him. He was just a 20-year-old kid who sat in a corner and didn’t speak; another mental case and a mute. When he arrived, one of the psychiatric aides introduced him to me. I said hello and forgot about him immediately. Then the rumors spread. I heard three of them. First, the boy swallowed a bottle …

The Cosmic Cardinal Coastal Club

by on May 9, 2014 :: 0 comments

Golf on television. What’s up with that? Do you know anyone who plays golf? Here it is, Sunday afternoon, and I have finished my chores, emptied the garbage, cleaned the sink, brushed-out the crapper, and now, when I’m ready to sit down on the couch, there it is: another dumb golf game. I am not knocking golf. Sure, golf is …

The Drowner

by on August 22, 2014 :: 0 comments

After praying all night at the foot of his bed searching for answers to questions that never got answered he decided that today was the day he was finally going to kill himself. After an exhaustive search online of the many and varied ways he could shuffle off this mortal coil. He decided on drowning. The beach was preferable, although …

The Jazz Mine

by on March 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

Yola stepped up front to check the hedges. I slipped the rag from the slit between the seats. It’s the rag she wipes—or should I say swipes?—her mammalian gourds up with eagerly each day’s end, her mammalian gourds meatly, not enormous exactly, but filled to bursting with stuff, call it guts, might as well, or grits, what the hell, or …

The Love Letter is Dead

by on February 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

The love letter is dead. Love letters are not being written anymore. They’re not being lovingly folded, placed in an envelope, and sealed with a kiss. They are not being sent, read, and cherished. There is no reason to anxiously wait for the mail carrier; no need for a length of satin ribbon, fat rubber band, or corded twine. Why? …

The Mystery of Mister Hollywood Zero

by on September 15, 2014 :: 0 comments

Oh, roll me over, in the clover, red hot rover, white cliffs of Dover… Yeah, man. Cry me a river, baby. You came alive once, once in a blue moon, Angie, and it hurt me so badly to see your frantic performances on the patio stage as you, demonstrating no talent at all, sought to rely on your physical beauty …

The Oval Mirror

by on January 20, 2015 :: 0 comments

On sultry August nights I often close my wet-baked eyes and see the old doc and his oval mirror in my mind’s eye. When I taste the sweat pouring down my olive face and inhale the sweltering heat, I remember how this eerie journey began. I met Dr. Jacob Lightman, the eminent psychiatrist and founder of Mirror Image Therapy more …

The Shy Man

by on January 16, 2015 :: 0 comments

Shyness is climbing a circling staircase. Shyness isn’t stasis, paralysis, paranoiac fear of leaving the house, venereal disease, fire ants, or rain storms. Shyness isn’t cabin fever. Shyness is ambling along beneath cloudless weather and noticing the same buildings the same houses. Again. Again. The dead lay down. The terribly shy keep walking. The staircase leads beyond the passages beyond, …

The Spanish Drummer

by on March 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

We first wanted to start a wedding band. This is where I met Scott Howard. He was a fat guy playing keyboard across from me in a Manhattan rehearsal studio. The next week I had him over at my house. I watched him wobble up the walkway. We lived in a place called the Butcher’s Co-op on Midwood Street, Brooklyn. …

The Story About a Dog’s Name

by on November 14, 2014 :: 0 comments

One day a twenty-something white woman was walking down a sidewalk, in the suburbs, when she bumped into an elderly black man. She was startled because this man was walking the biggest Rottweiler anyone has ever seen. “What a big dog!” the white woman said. “What’s his name?” The man then tied the dog to a tree and told him …

The Tickler

by on February 17, 2015 :: 0 comments

Tonight would be special. I would be allowed to stay up an hour past my bedtime. There would be punch and cookies with the grownups. Music and dancing would make the living room and mother’s face look happy. The sounds of a party were beginning to drift upstairs. My older sister and I combed and fluffed in white pinafores, sat …

The Unselfing of Dr. Selby Leigh

by on December 19, 2014 :: 0 comments

Dr Selby Leigh had never been very happy, despite his successes in life. Last Saturday he went down to the village café. On any day before this day it would have been routine procedure. Order a coffee, chit chat a bit with the wait staff while paying and tipping, browse the front pages of the papers, offer a friendly doctor’s …

The Weary Enforcer

by on January 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

Her hands hurt. With great effort she whipped them. Born in the family of enforcers, she was destined to live cruelly and punish offenders. The queue of little labours persevered with their burdens, sometimes their backs broke with the weight. She would strike the poor creatures until they shrieked in action. With the advent of winters, she became brutal. There …

Two Assholes

by on August 17, 2014 :: 0 comments

There are lots of ways to get fired. Take today, for example—a call from dispatch that I should attend a nine o-clock meeting. And it’s Friday. I’m not talking about reasons for getting canned—just the methodology, the setup, the protocol. But I’m observant, notice I didn’t say smart, just observant. I watched a year ago in dispatch when Bob S. …

Waiting All Day for the Mailman

by on July 10, 2014 :: 0 comments

I’m awake, I’m awake—I only look asleep because I am in the daily trance of waiting for the mailman; I’m sitting on the front couch with a cold coming on. But my mood is good—the mailman will come. She will— When the mailman comes, it will just be wonderful! Who knows what she will bring what it can be what …

Warm Company

by on October 4, 2014 :: 0 comments

In the morning I woke up knowing that I was absolutely broke, but it was necessary to have a drink. Very urgent. A matter of life and death. I got up, thanking God it was not necessary to dress because yesterday I fell asleep fully clothed. Outside it was very cold and my zipper was broken. I almost froze my …

White Angel

by on March 19, 2015 :: 0 comments

Well, I’d say I’ve done fairly well in this hardball game of life we all come to naked and crying. I’ve got two great grown kids—Sarah and Mark—who seem sane and happy, I’ve got my loving wife Mary of thirty years, I’ve got my two story home in suburban north Dallas, and a job with Grace Insurance that I’ve long …

Yellow Whiz, Cracking Concrete

by on May 16, 2014 :: 0 comments

At least Joe did get to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on cable. Sure. He was a movie buff from way back. And yes, while the Ang Lee cinematic display, an American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese co-production, seemed vaguely entertaining with its goofy, Photoshop-eradicated tension cables that indeed allowed the chop-saki actors to swiftly glide from building to building in The Forbidden City …

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