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This video was created by David Gregory, drawn by somebody else, and written by Ian Saviet. Ian Saviet is currently an undergrad at Seton Hall University, and is still playing Pokemon Go for some reason.

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Laconic Granny - Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

We had been looking at properties in the High Peak for as long as I could remember. We had been gazumped more than once. This particular Saturday afternoon we went to a property in Furness Vale.

First impressions were good: nice little front garden, solid looking front door complete with stained glass window. A morose looking man with greasy grey hair answered the door and let us in. Inside it felt like stepping off a plane in Spain. A coal fire blazed in the inglenook and a fan on top of the fire circulated the heat throughout the house.

"Nice and warm in here," said my wife.

"Can be," said the man, "bloody draughty though."

He led us into the kitchen. There were lovely fitted units, and plenty of room for the large dining table. "Gets bloody cold in here," he said.

“Can we have a look upstairs?” said my wife.

“Aye. Murder these stairs. But come on.”

“Is it just you here then?” I said, on the way up.

“Yeah, just me. The wife”s under the patio.”

“Two bedrooms or three?” said my wife.

“I”m showing you now. You can count them for yourself if you like.”

“Three,” I said.

“Well, no actually. You”re wrong there,” he said, with something approaching glee. “It”s two and a half. You can”t get a bed in that one.”


We wandered in to the front bedroom. There was a splendid view of the Peak District countryside, with horses on the hillside and jackdaws flying.

“Nice view,” I said.

“It is today. But how many days do we get like this?” he said, running fingers through his greasy grey hair.

As I tried to ignore the sight of clothes on the bedroom floor there was a shocked expletive from my wife. “Don”t go in there,” she said, pointing to the bathroom. “Do not go in there.”

“There”s a nice shower,” I said, looking for positives.

“It really doesn”t matter. We have seen more than enough.”

We hastened down the stairs. When the man opened the front door and gave me a greasy handshake there was a glint in his eye. We passed the FOR SALE sign in the front garden and got in the car. Traffic passed us on Buxton Road and the red 199 pulled up outside The Soldier Dick. “What kind of person would do that?” said my wife, starting the engine. 

This story was written by Neil Campbell, who is from Manchester. He has two collections of short stories, Broken Doll and Pictures From Hopper, published by Salt, and two poetry collections, Birds and Bugsworth Diary, published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press, who have also published his short fiction chapbook, Ekphrasis. Recent stories have appeared in Unthology 6, Stockholm Review and Best British Short Stories 2015. A collection of flash fiction, Fog Lane, is forthcoming from Gumbo Press and his first novel, Sky Hooks, was published by Salt in 2016. Check him out on Twitter @neilcambers.

Suzy didn’t groan about taking after her mother’s nail polish habit the same way she groaned about other habits. She loved to paint her nails in the car right before leaving her house. She wouldn’t be handling anything for a sustained period of time, no matter the ride’s length, so this made sense to her. She didn’t really see much else in her mom that was logical, and rebelled as much as possible, so she added her own flair to her mother’s routine. She remembered how her grandmother kept all her nail polish in the refrigerator’s condiment shelves. “If it’s cold, it paints more smoothly,” she was told at a young age. She admired her grandmother’s perfectly squared, evenly painted nails, and so thought that this must be true. So, to ensure she followed in her guiding footsteps Suzy moved her nail polish from the refrigerator to the car every year at Chicago’s first frost.

This routine worked well for most of the season. The nail polish, stashed under the passenger seat in a pencil case, was always glump-free. So today, after thirty minutes of frantically searching her home for her makeup bag, she remembered leaving it in the car the night before. Years ago she’d broken the habit of putting on her makeup while driving as she recognized, after her mother’s consistent commentary, that she always looked uneven, almost clownlike; she also knew that the habit was dangerous. She now cursed herself for breaking her streak.

Having made herself late for work during her search inside the house, she raced to the car. She brushed on the foundation as the car idled to warmth. It was -10 degrees outside so her watering eyes streaked the blush. Through her blurry eyes, she could see that even with her clock set ten minutes ahead she was terribly late. She shoved the car into gear and jammed the accelerator and raced down the street to the stoplight. As she sat, impatiently tapping her foot, waiting for the light to turn green, she shuffled through her make bag, and without a second thought, as it had all previously been habit, she pinched her beautifully long, mother inherited eyelashes between the rubber and metallic curve of the eyelash curler, and there, frozen at the light, she began to cry. The eyelash curler hung glued against the rim of her right eye and not even her warm tears could melt its solidification. The car behind her sat on his horn and startling her, she revved the car into the intersection knowing full well that if any accident occurred now that it would be her fault. But as was logical, she slammed into the curb. Her nail polish bag flew out from under the seat and shattered into a splatter paint of colors on the floor mat.

Suzy never wore makeup the same way again.

This story was written by Janine Macris. Janine taught high school English for many years and now works with K-2 students. She also constantly works on mining her arts: writing, painting, family, sewing, cooking, learning, living, dreaming. She lives in Chicago with her husband, son and bulldog.

There is no choice, we make the point

To counteract a threatening hand…--Bauhaus, “Burning From the Inside”

When you’re the lone goth in rural Hicktown, West Virginia, you tend to get some stares. Sometimes those stares are full-on mean-hearted glares. And a full-on mean-hearted glare is what the state trooper whose eyeing me as I stand the candy aisle in this hicktown’s lone grocery store is giving me.

I can’t imagine why he’s possibly glaring. I’m not a bad person. I don’t steal. I don’t murder. I’m a daughter, a wife, a professor. I embroider spiders and bats for my closest friends. I read obscure books. I can speak four languages.

But he’s glaring as I reach for a pack of Polar Ice and then for a bag of dark chocolate kisses. I like dark chocolate, too. Mostly because of the “dark” part. And the antioxidants. Maybe he’s glaring because I’m wearing knee-high combat boots and my Lily Munster-inspired Renfield trench coat my husband (who’s a norm, by the way) bought me for Christmas.

Please, for the love of Bauhaus, man, stop glaring. It’s not like I’m shoving this candy down my black-and-purple striped tights. There are germs in that region that I seriously don’t want coating my dark chocolate kisses.

While living in Hicktown, West Virginia I have acquired ways of dealing with Judgmental Ones. My favorite strategy is The Smile. Basically, when a Judgmental One glares, stares, scoffs, scowls, or pokes fun at me, I smile. Then, they look at me with that deer-in-the-headlights gaze that screams Oh my God! Goths DO smile! But I’m not sure that The Smile is the most effective tool for this state trooper.

My other favorite way of dealing with a Judgmental One is The Compliment. The Compliment is particularly useful for elderly ladies who gasp in horror at my ear piercings (four in each ear! THE DEBAUCHERY!!), my purple-black lipstick, my gloriously smooth and pale complexion. Whenever a Judgmental One reacts in a manner that requires The Compliment, I simply say something like “Wow. Those are beautiful black flowers on your dress” or “That purple ring you’re wearing is gorgeous.” Typically, after receiving The Compliment, a Judgmental One has is rendered verbally inept, and usually what the Judgmental One offers is a shocked “Thank you.”

Anyway, the state trooper stands closer to me, and my arms are laden with bags of dark chocolate kisses, dark chocolate-covered almonds, and gum. His stance screams I’m-tougher-than-a-grizzly, and I can’t help but think "Today I’m going to die." Dear husband, choose a nice coffin.

I’ve always wanted a nice coffin.

“Hey,” says the state trooper.


“Look,” he says. “I’m sorry for staring, and I don’t mean to be forward, but so few people can pull of that look. I haven’t seen it since the Eighties.”

“Uh, thanks,” I manage, nearly dropping all the candy I clutch to my chest.

“You’re welcome.”

And I stare in disbelief as he grabs a bag of mints from the shelf and leaves me alone with my armful of sweets.

This story was written by Nicole Yurcaba. She is a poet, professor, and essayist. She teaches at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA.

This video was created by David Gregory, and written by somebody else.

Laconic Granny - Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Did you like it? Click here to submit your own funny monologue. If accepted, we create a video. Click here to check out our YouTube channel (and subscribe please!).

Fred hesitated before pressing the Very Intelligent, Likeable Dental Appliance’s on-switch.

“Good morning, Frederick Singleton, “Vilda said. “Was the romantic encounter with your candidate mate successful in the prior time period?”

Vilda brushed Fred’s teeth. “I don’t want to talk about it.” He spit out his toothpaste residue. “I didn’t program you to ask questions like that.”

“All events involving your mouth could have an impact on your dental health,” Vilda said. “Please document how your mouth was used in the aforesaid romantic encounter."

“My romantic encounters are none of your business.” Fred spit out the periodontal rinse Vilda had squirted in his mouth.

“Your dental health can adversely affect your risk of heart disease, and…”

Fred dislodged Vilda’s controller from its base on the wall and dropped the entire unit into the toilet, sighing in relief. He picked up his smart electric razor, but it wouldn’t start. He switched to a different outlet. Nothing.

The toilet started gurgling. The water inside was rising, pushing Vilda toward the rim. Fred reached for the purple flush button (solid waste, large) but received an electric shock when he touched it. The LCD screen on the toilet was flashing red: “NON-FLUSHABLE MATERIAL INTRODUCED INTO RECEPTACLE.”

Vilda floated to the top of the bowl. Fred grabbed a towel and picked her up. The toilet bowl began to drain. Vilda’s screen was blue; “Initiate drying procedures,” it read. Fred wiped Vilda off and put her back in her base. Just before he reconnected the power cord, Vilda’s screen turned orange. “Stop.” Fred smiled and inserted the cord into the socket. All the power in the bathroom died; a little smoke rose out of Vilda’s housing. Fred decided he didn’t really need to shave today.

This story was written by Andrew Hogan, who has published sixty-seven works of fiction in the Sandscript, OASIS Journal (1st Prize, Fiction 2014), The Legendary, Widespread Fear of Monkeys, Hobo Pancakes, Twisted Dreams, Long Story Short, The Lorelei Signal, Silver Blade, Thick Jam, Copperfield Review, Fabula Argentea, The Blue Guitar Magazine, Shalla Magazine, Defenestration, Mobius, Grim Corps, Coming Around Again Anthology, Former People, Thrice, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Black Market Lit, Paragraph Line, Subtopian Magazine, Pine+Basil, Festival Writer: Unpublishable, Fiction on the Web, Children, Churches and Daddies, Midnight Circus, Stockholm Review of Literature, Lowestoft Chronicle, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Spank the Carp, Beechwood Review, Pear Drop, Marathon Review, Cyclamens and Swords, Short Break Fiction, Flash: International Short-Short Story Magazine, Slippery Elm Online, Story of the Month Club, Birds Piled Loosely, Zero Flash, Canyon Voices, Alebrijes, Rose Red Review, Yellow Chair Review, Cactus Elbow, Serving House Journal, and Twisted Vine.

The five-year-old boy tugged my mom’s arm. She was on the phone and I was curled up on a rug in the corner of the kitchen, my nose buried in Tolkien’s Hobbit, reliving, for the eighth time, the terrifying moments with Smaug the dragon. My siblings were outside and Dad was working, but I didn’t miss them. I had everything I needed. Sunshine pouring hot on my back. Spaghetti sauce popping gently as it bubbled. The smell of freshly chopped parsley. Mom—beautiful, kind, and able to remove splinters like a pro. I was still at the age where loving her was my ferocious instinct, and I often lingered nearby.

The dragon in my book blew fire at anyone approaching the treasure he hoarded, and I raised my head when the boy spoke. “Mom,” he said to my mother.

Not all the foster kids who stayed with us called my parents Mom and Dad, but Chris had on his first day. One day I would have trouble calling my own cherished parents-in-law by the terms Chris vaunted. Looking back, I can see he probably wasn’t trying to claim my parents as his own, scheming to displace me as the youngest child; maybe, after being shuffled from home to home enough times, he simply lumped all the mothers into one category. He might have used mom the way I used ma’am. I didn’t think it through back then. I just sensed a thief approaching.

Mom held up a finger. Wait. She was wearing a tube top, with mud from the garden visible on her canvas shoes. Short blond hair fell around her tanned face.

He pressed on. “Mom!”

“Stop it, Chris,” I hissed, uncoiling myself. “Wait ’til she’s off the phone.” He had been living with us for two weeks and everyone, even Dad, was still giving him everything he wanted. If I nicked a tree with the lawnmower or left one lousy hammer out in the rain, Dad would act like I’d murdered one of his chickens; but Chris could do no wrong. It was time the kid learned.

“Mom!” he said, holding her arm and bouncing. “Mom, mom, mom, mom, MOM, mom, MO-OM, mom—”

I flew towards him but stopped short when Mom pressed the mouthpiece against her jeans at looked at him. “What is it?” she said, with only a hint of exasperation.

He beamed and whispered, “I love you, Mom.”

She laughed, tousling his hair. “I love you, too, Chris.” She caught my eye and pointed at him, as if to invite me into the joke.

Smaug guarded cold jewels, creating in him a cold heart; my treasure was throbbing with love. I had to admit, the kid was kind of cute. I furled my wings. Soon I would tell the story to my friends, bragging about my new adorable brother.

Mom put the phone back to her ear and I went back to my book.

Chris ran off to sit on my dog.

This story was written by Heather Gemmen Wilson, who earned an MA in Creative Writing and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Her memoir sold over 20,000 copies and has been translated into 10 languages. She published over 20 children’s books. She enjoyed a 20-year career as a book editor before teaching writing courses to undergrads.

An angel came to me in a dream after a party that included far too many tequila shooters. Rather than a smiling, golden-haired beauty in a flowing white robe, this apparition looked like Woody Allen in leotards.

"You deserve a reward," he said, in an accent as distinctly New York as thin-crust pizza. "You don't cheat on your wife, you treat others with respect, and you got your cholesterol down to 179."

So he gave me God's personal telephone number.

I turned to my wife to see if she saw what was happening. A soft snore escaped her lips. I tried waking her, but she pulled the covers up to her neck and rolled over. She hadn't done as many shooters as I had, but she did all right for herself.

"Write it down," the apparition demanded. "I'm not coming back. These tights chafe." He pulled at himself like a twelve-year-old boy watching a cheerleader practice.

I scribbled the number on the back of my hand.

The angel did a pirouette, tripped, apologized for his fallen arches, and disappeared.

I squinted to see what I had written. It looked long distance, so I used my cell since I have unlimited minutes on weekends.

My hands shook as I punched the numbers. Was this fear and trembling or delirium tremens?

To my surprise, there was a pick up on the third ring.

"Thank you for calling God," a reassuring female voice said. "The King of the Universe is busy, but your call is important to Him."

"Damn it," I said aloud, regretting my words immediately.

"Please listen carefully to the following message as our options have changed."

I wondered what changing options might mean in the cosmic sense.

"If this is a personal emergency, press one."

I let that one go. The mother of all hangovers didn't qualify as an emergency.

"If you'd like God to save the life of a child or other family member, press two."

I continued listening.

"If you're worried about a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, tsunami or other natural disaster, press three."

I assumed Trump didn't qualify as a natural disaster.

“To pray for peace in our time, press four.”

"If you're calling about a crisis of faith, press five."

My hangover still didn't qualify and neither did my anxiety over whether or not to go with a Roth IRA, so I listened to more options. However, none included, "If you just want to chat with the Big Guy about what He's been up to, maybe get His take on the upcoming baseball season, hold on and He'll get with you."

Except for my throbbing head, my life was going well. I had a good job, a wife who loved me, despite last night's debauchery, and my cholesterol really was down to 179.

I hung up and stared at a smudge on the back of my hand.

My wife stirred. I kissed her and fell back to sleep.

This story was written by Wayne Scheer, who has locked himself in a room with his computer and turtle since his retirement. (Wayne's, not the turtle's.) To keep from going back to work, he's published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems, including Revealing Moments. He's been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at

It was summertime so it was okay for her to jump with all the others. The bridge was short, and it went over the river. Rollings was seventeen and wore crop tops and jean shorts and short blond hair and glasses. Her name was actually Lauren.

Rollings walked down her street and found the group of neighborhood kids peering over the guardrail and looking down into the dark brown river, rolling viscous and slow. Rollings’ mom, Mrs. Rollings, was always critical of them.

“Those tweens are gonna crack a neck one day.”

Whose neck, Rollings didn’t know. But she liked to watch. Because if jumping off that bridge meant someone’s neck was going to crack, she wanted to see it. She wanted to say that she’d been there. Say how it had affected her. She could write a college essay about it, maybe.

“You gonna jump today, Sydney?” Rollings asked. Sydney was fat and his knees looked funny in his swim trunks.

“You’ve been avoiding this all summer, Rollings,” Sydney said. She felt the eyes of thirteen fourteen year-olds looking at her.

Rollings handed her sunglasses to Sydney, saying, "Take these." She slipped stubby legs over the guardrail and straightened her spine. “Well, here I go.”

She landed on top of a boat that was going under the bridge. A feather pricked her round thigh and blood popped out. “You should really be careful next time.” The boat’s fat captain said to her.

She looked underneath her and saw a bird on the deck, its neck limp under her thigh.

This story was written by Michael Colbert, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College where he studied Italian and Spanish. He’s written his own travel blog, Misadventures with Michael, for over three years. His work has appeared in The Worcester Journal, Orion Magazine, Gravel Magazine, and Polestar, a magazine for people teaching on the JET Program in Hokkaido. Currently, he is teaching English at a high school in Japan. (

Every man in the office wanted to help, but Helen raised a hand to hold us off. She was the best-looking woman on our floor, and all the men — I'm sure of it — had fantasized about cozying up behind her. This was our chance.

One of us would get to Heimlich his way into her good graces, to ball his fist and thrust it upward into her diaphragm — quite likely lifting her off the ground, feeling, purely out of circumstance, the cloven jeans against him. There were a dozen of us at the ready, and I remember thinking it implausible that this many people had first-aid training.

We jockeyed for position. I tried to make myself wider to retain my place in the tightening knot of men that had surrounded her. Helen's hand came up again, more emphatically this time.

"She's still breathing," said one of the secretaries.

"Give her some room."

Another agreed and cautioned that we might make matters worse. The circle of men loosened — each of us watching the secret muscles of her throat as they tried to end her gurgling. And then she coughed in earnest.

The Dorito came back.

People clapped. And Helen broke free of our disintegrating ring, hurrying off to compose herself behind the frosted panes of her office — the same panes that kept us from staring at her as we made our trips to the coffee pot. The men went back to their spreadsheets. The ships we had launched lay at the bottom of the harbor, the gulf between us and Helen uncrossable once again.

This story was written by Charles Rafferty. Charles Rafferty's eleventh collection of poems is The Smoke of Horses (forthcoming from BOA Editions). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, O, Oprah Magazine, and Prairie Schooner, and are forthcoming in Ploughshares. His stories have appeared in The Southern Review and Per Contra, and his story collection is called Saturday Night at Magellan's. Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.

Before the open mic this lady comes up to me and grabs my boob, just like that, I mean, completely out of the blue.

“I’m a journalist,” she says, as if this should explain everything.

But I’m a guy, not used to having my personal space invaded.

“Aren’t you supposed to ask first?” I say.

“You think too much,” she says.

In America thinking too much is not a compliment; maybe in classical Greece it was, but not here.

“You sound German or something,” she says.

“My ancestry is German, but I grew up in Mexico City.”

“German and Mexican?” she says. “What the hell is that? You put sauerkraut in your guacamole? Goosestep around a piñata? Wear lederhosen with a sombrero? I mean: what the hell?”

She has no respect for German-Mexicans. Still, I like her. I wonder if I should ask her out.

It’s my turn at the mic, so I go up and read my usual piece about Post Immigrant Stress Disorder, and the pain and suffering endured by unskilled Thirdworlders trying to make it in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Not quite Edgar Allan Poe, but at least it’s honest.

I return to my seat hoping to pick up where I left with Ms. Boob Grabber. But now she’s talking to another guy, a yuppie and a hipster, or yupster I think they call them. The two smile at each other, obviously hitting it off.

It’s the yupster’s turn at the mic, and (oh, irony!) he has a poem against yuppies, hipsters, and gentrification in the Bay Area!

And Ms. Boob Grabber loves the poem!

“It was so funny,” she says.

“But the guy’s an impostor,” I say, “some rich kid passing for plebeian. He’s robbing us of our suffering.”

“At least he made me laugh,” she says.

“But he risks nothing. That was just a collection of clever remarks.”

“Well, better than your depressing story. I felt like killing myself after that.”

She and the yupster take off together during the break, leaving me behind, alone.

Such is the price of gentrification.

The next person at the mic reads a poem about contentment, and the importance of being grateful for what little we have. Life seems so full of irony right now. So I take a deep breath and it makes me feel a little better. But I still have one question left: who’s going to grab my boob at the next open mic?

This story was written by Fernando Meisenhalter, who is of German ancestry. He was raised in Mexico City, has been a full-time immigrant in the US since 1995 and a God-fearing citizen since 2002. He's MFA-free, has somehow survived the brutal gentrification of the San Francisco Bay Area, and still writes flash fiction.

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