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My prospects for a glorious Fourth of July were high. Sparrow, our ten-year-old, was out searching for strawberries in our garden. I stepped off our back stoop just in time to see Rue, our four-year-old adopted Chinese beauty, screaming and running away from Sparrow’s pile of dirt. To Sparrow’s delight, an earthworm had popped up its little brown head or its little brown tail or whatever earthworms poke up. I wasn’t much of an expert on ends. I calmed Rue and told her how to play with worms. Sparrow pulled the little pokey part out of the ground and dubbed him William. She scratched in the earth long enough to find William a wife, Willamena.

A few minutes later, she located baby Willie. It wasn’t long until Rue as well as Sparrow were playing dolls with wriggly worms. As the sun gathered steam overhead, I told the girls to place their Worm family back on the dirt. A dehydrated worm is just not a pretty sight. The girls placed the squirming trio back on the loose earth where they disappeared rapidly. Rue surmised that the worms would hide in the earth never to be found again.

Our family went to a barbeque at a friend’s home where the huge back porch overlooked a child friendly playground. Rue ran off to the swings. I was just filling my plate when I heard phrases like, “Make her stop! Rue is gross – just gross!”

Rue? I knew it must be my little cherub. First of all, she was the only Rue there. Secondly, she would be the only Rue used in the phrases as “gross” and “make her stop." I stepped out on the porch. Rue’s aunt had barbeque sauce dripping from her lip. Her uncle’s teeth were embedded deeply into an ear of corn while another aunt wrenched her face into an unrecognizable kind of contortion. My eyes panned to Rue.

Now, Rue had a sock fetish. Every other step, she would bend over and tug at her little socks to pull them up. Evidently Rue had located a lost family member of the Worm family. She had located a night crawler of notable length. Her prink short outfit had no pockets. When she had decided that it was time to come up to eat, she took a step and needed to tug at her socks but, with no pockets, and the knowledge that a worm on the soil disappears, Rue placed that night crawler in her mouth.

It was hanging out on both sides. In fact, she looked rather like a Manchurian warrior. I was the only one amused. Later, at home, I asked Rue if she had learned anything about worms. She studied the floor and confessed that no one wanted to kiss her all day long. I kind of hope that she’s addicted to worms until she’s about sixteen. That’s really old enough for any daughter of mine to date.

Sharon Witt is a nationally licensed embalmer and preacher’s wife. That’s an unusual background for a writer! She is also a college professor. She and her husband, DeWayne, have one biological daughter and two adopted children.

“That bird just shit on me!” I yelled, my finger pointing aimlessly toward the sky. I could feel the white glob starting to slide down the side of my face.

“Want me to shoot him for you?” my cousin Artemis asked.

“Heaven knows he can’t do it himself,” said Uncle Kipp.

Kevin, another cousin was literally rolling on the ground, shaking with laughter. This was the only reason they ever brought me hunting. I seriously couldn’t hit the side of a parked bus with a rocket launcher, there was no way I was ever going to shoot a moving quail with 12-guage.

I only went to get away from the women and the apple orchards. Trust me, the one year I opted for that was even worse. I still can’t use a ladder without chuckles erupting.

I sighed and walked back over to camp to get my towel.

“I’m spending next fall in Hawaii,” I muttered to myself along the way. I could feel the hushed whispers behind me.

“Tell ya what, Danny-boy,” started my uncle. “You bag yourself a single quail this trip and we’ll stop making fun of you.”

All eight of my cousins let out the laughter they were failing at concealing.

“For this,” one of them yelled.

After wiping most of the bird shit off my face, I tossed the towel on the ground.

“Whatever,” I said and wandered toward the edge of the woods. I was heading toward the stream to wait out the rest of this day in peace. I almost made it there too.

“Oh, don’t be such a woman about it!” called George. I turned around, still walking backward toward my destination.

“Hey, I resent that!” hollered Sue-Ellen, the one female cousin who never missed a family hunting trip. She aimed her shotgun and fired. The quail fell to the ground.

"Just you wait,” I yelled. “One of these days you’ll need one of the skills I do possess and-"

I felt the heel of my boot catch on a root. My arms flailed, all balance lost. Somehow on the way down my finger pulled the trigger and my gun kicked. Panic overtook me and I couldn’t breathe. Seconds later something landed on my face.

“That doesn’t count!” I heard Sue-Ellen yell.

An unnatural stench burned the insides of my nostrils and something tickled my eyelashes. It was a quail! I shot a quail! I scrambled to my feet and held it up.

“Now, shut the hell up.” I called.

“I think it’s the one that shit on him,” yelled Kevin.

“That’ll teach ‘em” replied Uncle Kipp. “Dirty pheasants.”

I was done with the whole fiasco. As I turned to find my spot along the stream, the quail in my hand squirmed. Started, I repelled it toward the ground a few feet from me.

The damn thing was still alive. I hadn’t shot it at all.

“Yup, Hawaii it is.” I muttered, checking to make sure no one saw.

This story was written by Sonja Biberstine, who has dreamed the same dream for over 20 years. She's never wanted to do anything except write, which is why she is a Paralegal student and mother of two. Check her out on Facebook >>

The gods lounged around on their celestial La-Z Boys eating hot dogs and ambrosia, the official food of heaven. Aeons of time had passed before one of the newcomers, Fred, dared mutter, “I'm bored.”

“Oh Me,” the God Who Shall Be Nameless, said. “How can you be bored? These hot dogs are divine--Hebrew National, of course. Maybe try some sauerkraut.”

Fred wrinkled his nose. “Gives me gas.”

“Well, then. Have more ambrosia.”

“Can't. Diabetes, you know.”

“How in My Name did you ever get to be a god?”

“My Aunt Minerva knew a guy.”

The Nameless One tried to breathe normally to keep His blood pressure down. He had promised to rule more hands off since the flood, but his Earthly creations weren't making it easy on Him. Neither were his supposedly more angelic subjects. He let loose an exasperated sigh, causing tidal waves in the Pacific Ocean. The other gods turned quickly to see what had been done.

“Don't blame me, blame the boy.”

“El Nino,” the god from the South shouted. “Look what you have caused. Waves like skyscrapers.”

“Cool,” Fred said, high fiving the surfing gods who, to the consternation of the elders, had chosen to rest for eternity on their boards rather than La-Z Boy recliners.

“I've had enough of this bickering,” boomed the voice of the Big Guy. “You're worse than lottery jackpot winners with your screaming. Can't you see I'm trying to catch up on my sleep? ”

The Big Guy's assistant said, “Of course, He doesn't really sleep. He always keeps one eye open to watch over His creation.”

“SILENCE,” the voice boomed. “I cast out Lucifer back in the old days because of his incessant whining. I need My sleep so I'm rested when there's a real emergency, like an asteroid heading for one of my favorite planets, an outbreak of pestilence not of My doing, or that orange man getting the nuclear codes.” The Big Guy stretched, scratched and let out a yawn that upset sensitive auditory equipment hurdling into the far reaches of the universe, causing scientists all over the universe to wet themselves.

“Here's what we'll do so I can get some rest. Fred, you and the Beach Boys, return to Earth, if the Good Life doesn't suit you. I'll give each of you a nice allowance, a Smart Car and a conservation message. 'Save the planet,' that sort of thing."

“A Smart Car?” Fred asked. “How about a nice Porche Spyder?”

“You've seen all that fighting over fossil fuel. Smart Cars!”

“Conservation? Don't you have a sexier message for us? You know, like the one about being fruitful?”

“Be Gone!” the Big Guy boomed.

“And don't let the Pearly Gates hit you on your way out,” shouted the old-timers.


Once again, peace returned to heaven.

This story comes from 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. His short story, “Zen and the Art of House Painting” has been made into a short film. 

The three of them agreed that the Statue of Liberty would be a good place to record the vote that would decide the election. Gerald and Russell were the candidates for President, and Esther, laboring up the spiral stairway with her heavily bandaged foot, was the voting public. Gerald scowled when his opponent went back momentarily to help Esther, but she soon made it clear that she saw through Russell’s calculated show of concern when she took a small notebook from her padlocked purse and scribbled a note in it for posterity.

Once they stood in the crown, a closing oration was in order. Gerald went with his oft repeated claim to have discovered that it was the corn smut, served at the company party as a conversation starter, that had protected them from the plague that had so swiftly dispatched an entire population. Russell relied more heavily on an expression of resolute willpower. “I’m the only one who knows how to shoot the damn guns,” he said. “I found them, I collected the right ammo—and, I even located a cleaning kit. Everybody knows it’s regular maintenance that keeps the machine out of the ditch.”

“Brilliant!” Gerald cut in. “Now we can dig our garden with a pistol butt! And let’s not forget that Esther’s foot would not be so terribly mangled if your facility with weapons had been up to warding off a wild poodle. Perhaps we should not view my knowledge of books with such disdain. Surely we need to avoid false hopes that satisfy, for a moment, our desire to dispense with fathoms of responsibility!” Gerald’s audience pondered his speech until it seemed they were considering other things entirely: hot meals without having to boil water, microwave ovens, quick flights to distant lands.

When it was time for the vote, the two men looked aside for a moment as Esther wrote the name on a wall in all lower case letters.

“Congratulations,” Russell said.

“Oh it was a splendid race! None of that shameless rhetorical maneuvering for a change.”

Esther, snacking on diet puffed rice crisps, paused. “What’s that noise? It’s a kind of ‘bottlebottlebottlebottlebottle’ sound.”

Gerald and Russell immediately surrounded Esther to shield her from all threats, and squinted out at the harbor. “There!” Russell said, raising his binoculars. He fiddled with the focus wheel. “A rusty little tug boat,” he said. He reached for the rifle and lifted the front lens cover on its scope.

“What are you doing?” Gerald asked, losing control of the military.

Russell handed the binoculars to Gerald. “We both knew this day would come,” he said, taking aim.

“That boat’s flying the Mexican flag.”

This story was written by Daryl Scroggins, who has taught creative writing and literature for a number of years at The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of North Texas. He and his wife, Cindy, recently retired early and moved to Marfa, Texas, where they pursue art and writing projects. His poems and short fiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies across the country, and his most recent book is This Is Not the Way We Came In, a collection of flash fiction and a flash novel.

The view of the weathered, jagged mountains across the way always put Jerry in a contemplative mood. He sat at his desk—taking in the wonders of nature—like he did every night, reflecting on how everything had turned out. He was also waiting for the unmistakable sound of her voice, the signal to free his mind and hop eagerly into bed. For now, however, it all continued to play through his head, as if he was watching some tattered, old videotape.

He had planned it all for weeks, to the finest detail. He had to; nothing else had worked. He had been fed up with his dire financial situation and, as a result, embarked on a journey of desperation. This particular journey had him in the bowels of raunchy psychic shops, offering what pathetic pocket change he could muster for the day’s winning lottery numbers. His efforts there left him with a heavy heart, and an even heavier hand, as the small printed numbers on his tickets failed to achieve.

Then there was the three-day period he stood in front of the zoo’s main entrance, an open suitcase propped up beside him, as he attempted to caress the ears of the unassuming pedestrian with his opera singing. His gig was up when a woman walking past reached into the shrubs behind him and yanked out an old cassette player, the resounding voice of Mario Lanza ending abruptly as she whacked him in the head with it.

He didn’t quit there, though. Jerry, man of many trades, decided to go all out on the next one. He grabbed an old sport coat and a pair of slacks from the closet, sloshed them around in mud and beer, put them on, and proceeded to stand on the freeway ramp. He was even equipped with the unoriginal cardboard sign, holding it up for the hundreds of stone-faced drivers that passed him daily.

Four days of that endeavor left him with a bad sunburn, a bag full of cigarettes he wasn’t going to smoke, and a foot that had been driven over at least twice. No thank you.

Then there was the big one; the plan he had pulled off so nicely. He finally had the cash in his hands. No more student loans, no more stress about bills, no mor—

A woman’s voice decorated the air gently behind him.

“Ready for bed?”

Oh yes, he was quite ready for bed. There was her voice, right on time.

He rose from his desk, clicking off the small lamp in the process. He was certainly going to enjoy this. He unbuttoned his shirt and swiftly threw himself under the covers.

“Goodnight, warden.”

“Goodnight, Jerry. See you again tomorrow for lights out.”

Jerry listened to the warden’s footsteps growing more distant as he shut his eyes and thought of his eventual escape.

He had a plan…

This story was written by Louis Sisto, who was born and raised in Chicago, IL. He has been writing short stories and flash fiction for years as a personal hobby. He is hoping to one day begin working on his first novel. His previous publications include flash fiction and short story pieces on the Funny In Five Hundred website, Slattery’s Art of Horror magazine and

In early 1992 during the height of the success of the popular TV show 3rd Rock from the sun, two Martians managed to catch a couple of episodes rebounding off a satellite. They decided that this was an ideal opportunity to infiltrate earth disguised as humans, as nobody would ever suspect real aliens would do something as absurd as that which was taking place on a popular sitcom. They even chose the names of popular TV aliens Mork (as in “and Mindy”) and Marvin (as in “the Martian”). This is their story.

“Mork! Come Quick!”

“What is it Marvin?”

“That human ritual known as payday has arrived.”

“Ah yes. So the humans will all be getting dreadfully sick and fighting each other by early this morning.”

“Yes quite. I bought us a television. I thought we could see what all the fuss is about.”

“Oh what fun.”

“Do you need some help?”

“Excuse me, back on Mars who drives the ship?”


“Who fixed it when you spilled something green and bubbly all over the controls?”


“That’s right… But yes I do need some help.”

After some time they get it working and turn it on. WWF wrestling is on; they’re in justifiable awe of the insanity and the violence.

“That was amazing.”

“Did you see how they cheered the fellow with no hair who swore a lot?”


“I have an idea! This is what these gentlemen do for money. It’s their job. If he got cheered and loved so much maybe you should do what he did in your job? What could possibly go wrong?”

So Marvin went to work the next day with the idea to behave exactly like Stone Cold Steve Austin. It did not go well.

“That did not go well. I got my first disciplinary for repeatedly blaring loud music every time I entered the room. Then when the boss was yelling at me I punched her and poured beer all over her. And nobody cheered!”

“Well that doesn’t make any sense.”

“I think it was because she was black.”

“It can’t be. The bald fellow is always beating up that black fellow on our show and everyone cheers. You know the one. He must be a chef because he’s always asking if people can smell what he’s been cooking.”

“Well nobody cheered this time. They let me go.”

“They let you go early? Well that was nice of them.”

“That was what I thought. I had to ask them to explain it. I can’t work there anymore. They terminated my contract.”

“Well why not just say that?”

“Humans are very conscious of their choice of words; they’re very easily offended you see.”


This story is from Conor Miggan, who is living in London but originally from Dublin, Ireland. She's a Nursery Teacher (Kindergarten for my American brothers and sisters). Her influences come from all over the place; from Tarantino and Kevin Smith to Steinbeck, Hemmingway and Chandler.

One day we, the class-mates, were looking through the reference book of the dog breeds.

“Look here! Doesn’t this bull-dog look like our math teacher?”

Someone of us noticed. So it began. French bulldog’s peculiar features proved to be like mine. It was the common opinion.

“Take it easy. This breed is not nice-looking, but it is clever and determined,” Makho, Caucasian sheep-dog, said to me.

He himself was a robust and aggressive guy. He turned over the pages of the book and nobody could encroach on his right to do it. But it was the lap-dog with ringlets, Irina, who named the schoolmates. Everybody had to accept that she possessed an imagination, though of a sarcastic nature. Almost all of us found ourselves in this book.

While this game was going on, Guriko was the most anxious. He was stout and fat. His unequivocal appearance did not inspire refined imagination. Nicknames associated with corpulence were his.

“Unfortunately, we could not find you in this book. It is about dogs and not about…” said Makho ironically. Guriko did not let him finish the phrase, and the two began to fight.

Despite their bickering, everybody was enjoying the game.

The crisis of genre came soon, and after a brief search, a glossy picture from "Playboy" prompted a topic. There was a girl, half-dressed, and with the piquant details of a rabbit’s fluffy tail and ears. An idea of trying on tails of the different animals was willingly picked up. Makho was awarded a jaguar’s tail, elegant and expensive.

Guriko, on the other hand, was doomed. Internally, he obediently admitted that a short and spiral tail could suit him. However, “Guriko, the tail of the hippopotamus would decorate you,” followed unexpectedly.

It was Irina’s guess, an exclamation followed by a pause. Nobody had seen a hippopotamus except for on TV. This animal itself was exotic, sure, but its tail was not the most remarkable part of its body for us. The hitch was aggravated by the fact that Irina herself, despite her broad erudition, did not know, what hippo’s tail looked like.

“Do you know what you look like? A rat! The tail of yours is long, with horn rings,” Guriko yelled.

Irina smiled wryly. There was really the something rat-like in her grin.

Quite soon holidays came. I visited my granny and cousins in Tbilisi. They presented me the last album by “Beatles” Everybody knew that I went crazy with their music. One day my relatives invited me to a circus. The well-known tamer of exotic animals was in program. Hippos were in his team…

The news that I had brought the “Beatles” album immediately spread on my return to home-town. My classmates visited me. They listened to album for several times. I told them about the circus, about hippopotamuses.

“These beasts are in fact pink color with blue specks?” I said.

But nobody listened to me. Guests were obsessed with music. Only Guriko took interest and asked me as though accidentally: “And what about their tails?”

This story was written by Guram Svanidze, who is from Tbilisi, Georgia. For 25 years he worked in human rights organizations, 16 of them - in the Committee on the Civil Integration of the Parliament of Georgia. He is an author of scientific articles on globalization, civic integration, immigration and others. His books of short stories "Town" and "Poplars" were published in Tbilisi. Repeatedly his short stories are published in Russian, American, Israeli and Georgian on-line magazines (in Russian). His stories were published in the "thick" magazines "Neva", "Friendship of Peoples", "Volga", "Siberian Lights", "New Youth", "Ural", "Neman".

“Mrs. Morgan, I’d like to know everything that happened. Did my grandfather say anything before he died?”

“He didn’t say a word, Mr. Nelson. He just laid there…but it seemed that he was sort of smiling. I’d like to think he was at peace with himself.”

“So, he just laid there, without a word, with a smile on his face. That it? Nothing else happened?”

“Yes…well no, not quite.”

“What do you mean?…Not quite, Mrs. Morgan?”

“Forgive me, but you said you wanted to know everything that had happened. Well, just before he passed … he passed gas. That was the last thing he did, Mr. Nelson.”

“Hmm…I hope you don’t mind my asking, Mrs. Morgan, but do you recall if it was a little pip or did it go on for a while?”

“That’s what startled me, Mr. Nelson. It went on for what seemed like forever. For a moment, I thought a miracle might had happened. It lasted so long, I thought maybe your grandfather had regained control of his faculties. But, that thought was short lived. The gas had finally passed, followed by your grandfather.”

“That, along with your telling me about his smiling tells me a lot, Mrs. Morgan, thank you.”

“I’m not sure what you were able to gain from that, but you’re welcome, Mr. Nelson.”

“Mrs. Morgan?"

 "What is it, Mr. Nelson?”

“This may seem strange, but when he was lying in bed, at any time did he have his right index finger pointed in your direction?”

“Come to think of it, he did. Why do you ask?”

“What did you do when you saw his finger pointed at you?”

“I grabbed it and held onto it…to the end.”

“Did you squeeze it?”

“I guess so. Isn’t that a way to console when words aren’t necessary? Did I do something wrong?”

“No, no, Mrs. Morgan. You did nothing wrong, but you did fall into what we kids used to call, and, please excuse me for this,…Grandpa’s fart-trap.”

‘His… fart? trap?”

“That’s what he always did with us kids, especially on family gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and he needed to pass gas. He’d point his finger at one of us and tell us to squeeze his finger. We all knew what was about to happen. When we did, he’d let it all out, and we’d all laugh. Mrs. Morgan, I’m afraid you were his last finger squeezer. I hope you don’t mind the prank. In fact, you should see it as a compliment. He must have felt very comfortable with you nearby.”

“A compliment, Mr. Nelson?”

“Yes, Mrs. Morgan. My grandpa would have never purposely pass gas in front of a stranger. That would have been rude and embarrassing. You must have been like family to him. It’s comforting to know that someone like you was with him when he passed.”

“Thank you Mr. Nelson…Mr. Nelson?”

“Yes, Mrs. Morgan.”

“Would you squeeze my finger?”

This story was written by Dan Allen. Dan Allen lives in Oswego, NY with his wife and two dogs. His first story published here is titled Corners of Opportunity.

Hell was undergoing budget cuts. Word on the street was that the president, Kaden Luce, had been spending the government’s deposit of Kidney Stones on unspecified “projects.” Any moment now Kaden would soon have an announcement to make. The zombies drove nervously and cross-eyed in their business casual dresswear.

The teleprompters appeared. Kaden had an announcement to make.

An intercom system of floating televisions, held by roughhousing wingèd minions, displayed Mr. Luce’s face to the Hellions below. The minions cackled and flew about the crimson skies and pinched zombie men and women with their short arms and flew back up, snarling and laughing. Everyone was to stop whatever they were doing at that exact moment in time and pay attention to the teleprompters. Cars slammed on their breaks in the intersection and crashed, and mummies with dislocated shoulders wobbled out of their vehicles to listen to the announcements.

On the screen appeared Luce with his beet-red face and his hornèd Viking helmet, and his gruff voice, and he stamped his Doc Martins against tile which made sounds like a goat’s hooves. “HELLO,” he said in his gruff businessman’s tone, gritty like toothpicks, and the mummies in the middle of the traffic winced and re-bandaged their exposed ears. “HOW ARE YOU TODAY?”

Everyone said “Good” in unison. One mummy whispered “Bad” and he was launched from a catapult.

“Alright, let’s get down to business,” Luce said, and everyone uncovered their ears, sighing in relief. “So, there’s been some budget constraints we’ve been having here in Hell lately. I’ve been working on some... projects.” The zombies looked awkwardly at each other. “And these projects,” Luce continued, “are very expensive... It’s hard to both balance the budget of Hell while also paying for these projects... So, I’m here to announce that I’m cutting every Hellion’s payroll by three Kidney Stones.”

There was a general uproar among the people, and they ran about ranting.

“Calm down. Calm down. This just means that the cable car operators are gonna need to be laid off,” Kaden announced through the teleprompters.

The mummies shook their heads and tossed their hard hats to the ground. The crane operators cackled and the cranes hissed.

“Oh, and also everyone else is fired too.”

The chaos returned. The wingèd minions flew about cackling again, pinching and slapping people in the uproar.

So Kaden Luce’s new budgeting program began, as he embezzled the money for his “projects.” Everyone was laid off, and left unemployed for a full three months while Luce swam like a fat cat in a pile of money. The cable car operators were given one year of severance, and they were trained for job placements in a new program that sweeped Hell with a considerable degree of approval. Kaden instituted a robust social program where every unemployed Hellion prospered with a decent bankroll before they returned to their normal lives.

...because c’mon. This is Hell. Not corporate America.

This story was written by Isaac Birchmier. Check out his work on his website

Buddy slams the hallway bathroom door as he slides by. Mama imagines giraffe-like peace.

“I close the bafroom door, Mama. I do.”

“Thanks, Buddy.”

Mama cooks bacon and eggs on the griddle while Sissy practices violin and Buddy laps the downstairs-rooms-loop. Mostly in-tune notes of “Twinkle” and bacon crackling permeate the air.

Because the night before was a late one of swinging on the Southern hanging porch bed, drinking PBRs out of frosty jars, and laugh-crying about the preposterous nature of the universe, Mama is off her game.

She considers certain new knowledge—that giraffes only spend between ten minutes and two hours asleep each day, which they do while standing. How do they stay so calm, even serene? That level of relaxation seems a solid plan.

She considers Buddy’s approaching naptime and wonders, might she too enjoy a sweet ten to 120 minute long giraffe-nap? Her plot thickens: Put on a movie long enough to entertain Sissy, put Buddy in his room, spend forty-five minutes trying to shut her brain down enough for at least some relaxation, and if she is lucky, a little sleep. Even if he only sleeps for an hour--that falls solidly between ten minutes and two hours, well within the established parameters.

An unusual silence leaves a gap between them, jerking her away from strategizing. The meaning of the stillness doesn’t immediately sink in.

“Buddy, where are you?” Halfway through the family room, the very same Spiderman costume she last saw on Buddy lies crumpled on the floor.

“Upstairs,” replies Sissy.

Surprising news considering that prior to this day, he was incapable of climbing even one stair without a fifty-foot radius filling with the sound of pounding feet followed by, “I climb stairs! Yeah, I do!”

Still, she follows Sissy’s clue.

“Buddy? Are you up here?”

“No, Mama. I not.”

“Okay. Are you in my room?” No response. Mama tries the door—it doesn’t budge.

“Open this door right now!”

Feet scamper. Click. More running.

“Okay, I do.”

She pushes the door open.

“Not done!” He crouches in the corner, red-faced, grunting, wearing nothing but his briefs, one solid looking load of shit giving him a pointy tale, two tufts of hair sticking up like devil horns.

As she scoops poop and shakes underwear clean-ish in the toilet with bare hands, she calls out.

“That was a lot of planning—you took off Spidie to protect it from the dirty clothes, snuck upstairs, locked the door, and hid—all to have a peaceful poop. Do you know what might be more peaceful? Using the potty.”


She flies around the corner, almost stepping right on him on his knees, face pressing against the wall, arms drooping down his sides, mouth wide open dripping drool, eyes closed, tiny snores escaping him.

Before her eyes, fur sprouts, horns stretch into ossicones, limbs twist into long, knobby-kneed legs ending in brown hooves.

Time for ten minutes to two hours.

This story was written by Christina Camarena, who is currently an MFA fiction candidate at the University of Nevada and teaches in English and Women's Studies. She has published a short story titled "Baby in a Jar" in the Jabberwock Review.

Michael picked Asa up from the airport. They hadn’t seen each other in three months and she had been on a plane for twelve hours so they didn’t waste any time, they went straight back to the house.

They took her luggage into the bedroom and then they took turns using the bathroom. Michael found her sitting on the edge of the bed when he returned.

“What should we do now?” he asked.

“Show me.”

Michael smiled and unbuttoned his shirt and let the two sides of his shirt hang open.

“How bad do you want it?”

Asa cracked her knuckles.

“Real bad.”

Michael grasped the hole side and the button side and folded the two halves back until his shoulders were exposed.

“Yay,” said Asa.

Then Michael turned around and looked back into the mirror above the dresser back at Asa.

“Are you ready for this?” he asked.

Asa nodded eagerly.

Michael threw back the shirt halves and twisted his arms inwards and let the damned thing fall off his torso. His back was dotted with all manner of pimples. There were two dozen or so ready to pop.

“Oh my God,” Asa said. Then, “Let’s get it on.”

Michael walked over to the foot of the bed and climbed up onto it and laid face down on the blanket. Asa got on the edge of the bed on her knees, body bent forward over Michael, and placed her hands on his back.

“I don’t know where to start,” she said.

Asa chose the right shoulder blade. Pimple by pimple she worked her way down Michael’s back. She would pop only the ready ones, in one smooth, fluid motion, and leave the trail of pus beside the crater like spent confetti.

She had popped twenty pimples before she noticed how much he was bleeding. Asa had neglected to dab the pimples. She grabbed some toilet paper and laid it down in balls atop the bubbles. Soon they were soaked red.

“That felt so good,” said Michael. “I could take a nap.”

Asa replaced the old toilet paper balls with new toilet paper balls but they only became soaked through as well.

“Is this normal?” Asa asked.

Michael didn’t hear her. He had drifted off somewhere else.

Asa tried to shake him awake first and when that didn’t work she went and got a cup of water and splashed him in the face. Then she decided to panic.

“I popped too many pimples,” she told the 911 operator.

An ambulance came and took him away. A paramedic rode in the back with them, checking Michael’s vital signs.

“What were you two doing in there?” he asked Asa.

She didn’t know what to say.

“Was it a sex thing?”

Michael had to get a blood transfusion. Asa was sitting by his hospital bed when he regained consciousness.

He glanced down at the IV in his arm and then up at Asa. He smiled weakly and told her that he had missed her.

This story was written by Lee Blevins, who is an open micer with a fast approaching expiration date for his hair. He sometimes tweets @BleeSevens.

There were no cell phones in the 1970s, but there was something called voice pagers. Spencer being the professional sales person that he believed himself to be was one of the first to obtain this specialized communication system. Also during the 70s Spencer’s parents who live in another state would visit once or twice a year but instead of staying with him or his older sister they would rent a room at the Holiday Inn Coliseum.

Spencer had been fortunate to set up an appointment with Conley Chevrolet, one of the largest automobile dealers in the state. The appointment was to demonstrate the Novus system, a method by which to repair Dings and cracks in windshields. This brand-new technology would allow automobile dealers to fix broken windshields rather than replacing them.

While Spencer had begun to demonstrate this amazing new product, his sister was headed to the airport to make sure their parents were picked up on time and safely settled in at the motel.
The appointed time had begun, and Spencer found himself standing in front of Mr. Conley, the owner, and fifteen of his employees. They had provided an automobile with a cracked windshield for Spencer to use in his demonstration. Spencer began telling the Novus story while placing his tripod over the damaged area. Things seem to be sailing right along and looking good for Spencer. He was answering their questions quickly, and his performance was without glitches. Boy, am I a real pro he thought to himself.

And then his voice pager went off as the message heard loud and clear, by all encircled around him and spoken in a very sexy female voice. “Hi Spence, I’m at the Holiday Inn Coliseum, room 212, come on by as soon as you can, I can’t wait to see you again, okay sweetie – – – bye.”

At that point, Spencer lost total perspective for what he was doing. He became uncomfortable, hot around his collar, and began to turn a nice toasty shade of red. Spencer looked up to see the smirks on everyone’s face. Then he proceeded to compound the situation by saying to the group,” That was my sister.”

They all grinned, nodding their heads up and down while saying almost in unison, “Sure that was your sister.” After his stumble, the demonstration began to fail as the windshield problem became worse than when he had started. Spencer was told shortly after to check back with them when he felt more comfortable with the process. Now humbled, Spencer packed up his demonstration equipment and thought to himself, "ain’t big sisters great.”

Jim Freeze is seventy years old and retired. He has been happily married for fifty-two years and has two grown sons. He began writing in early 2012 to have something to do. His short stories have been featured in several publications including-----( Brilliant Flash Fiction, Calliope Magazine, and The Original Writer.)

"And this, with the right incantation," the goblin held up an ornate candelabra, "will transport you to another dimension."

Eric and Will looked at each other. "Only one?" asked Eric.

"What do you mean?" replied the goblin.

"We have three dimensions here, four if you count time. If we transported to a just single dimension somewhere, we would die instantly."

"Well, how about this?" Waving his hand over a slab of polished oak inscribed with several strange symbols, the goblin explained, "It allows you to communicate with the other side."

Eric sought clarification. "The other side of what?"

The goblin explained, "You will be able to contact the denizens of the Great Beyo-"

"It's not even in English," Will interrupted, "Does Google Translate support it?"

The goblin stopped, and took a deep breath. "Okay. This," he pulled a crystal from a red velvet sack, "was crafted by the dark lord himself. It is a source of great power. It..."

Eric's turn. "It doesn't even have a USB port. How am I supposed to charge anything with that? Look, my Mom is going to be here soon to pick us up. Can we just get what we came for?"

A few minutes later Eric and Will were walking out of the store, Eric holding a new adapter for his phone. "You know," said Will, "I still like RadioShack a lot more now that it's merged with Sprint."

This story was written by Todd Wells, father of three and husband of one. Todd Wells runs marathons, hosts international visitors through US Department of State exchange programs, and enjoys standing in line for airport security at Midway and O'Hare. He writes about all of those things at His previous pieces have shown up on, and right here ("Three Wishes"). 

Lauren walked along the beach and watched the waves. Her auburn hair whipped in the breeze as she looked down at the clear water and small flecks of sand rolling in and out. The noise of the big breaks filled the air and bounced off the dunes. After one loud crashing wave the cold water pushed farther than before and enveloped her ankles. The cool foamy water that pooled around her feet stood still for just a second and then flowed back out to sea.

The bigger wave pushed sand away and at her feet she found the top of a light brown corked bottle. She reached down and tugged it free from its grave. The bottle was empty except for a rolled up piece of paper.

She clenched her teeth as she struggled but finally managed to pull the cork from the mouth. Tipping the bottle over her hand, she patted the bottom until the paper came out. Her eyes sparkled as she uncurled the paper and found a handwritten note. Lauren gently read aloud.

“My dearest, I’m sorry. The squall was too large and I couldn’t keep her true. I was blown off course and then she floundered. I’m floating with the gulf stream but I don’t know if I’m a mile off the coast or twenty. The fins are everywhere circling me. If you find this you have to know that my love is as…”

“Blah, blah, blah.” Lauren said out loud crumpling up the note. She threw the paper on to the sand. “This bottle would look so cool on Pinterest, I could fill it with beads or a single dry rose.” She cradled the bottle in one arm and lifted her phone for a selfie. Still cradling the bottle, she kept walking down the beach.

A new wave rolled in and grabbed the note and pulled it back out to sea.

This story was written by Tyson Abaroa, a self-described ADHD guy trying to make it in the world. Of course my affliction is dealing with the constant need to write down the stories that continuously run through my head day and night.
When the alarm went off, I wished the snooze button I was hitting was, instead, a detonating device. Sunday NFL at the bar had devolved into drunken debauchery. The merriment, I blearily recalled as I pulled on jeans and a t-shirt, had ended well past midnight.

The primary tasks I had to complete this morning were to get to school on time, and make sure I didn’t reek of booze. I spritzed myself with cologne and was out the door. I snagged the last spot in the employee parking lot and trudged to my classroom.

As I opened the door, I was hit with a sickening wave of hot, sour stench. “What the fuck?” I muttered as I fumbled the lights on. It was peak heatwave season, and the air conditioners in the old building rarely worked. I wandered around, trying to sniff out the source of the stink. I could feel flop sweat gathering in my pits, alcohol seeping out of my pores. “Ugh.” There it was: an open milk carton, shoved into a Arturo’s desk. It had been fermenting all weekend.

The bell rang. I had just enough time to toss the offending carton into a trash can in the hallway before the kids came streaming in. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeew,” said Charles, the first person bold enough to comment on the foul odor that still hung over the entire room.

“Since the smell came from your desk, I’m going to let you open the windows, Charles,” I called. It wasn’t true, but Charles was the kind of kid who got away with murder, and I’d take what little justice I could manufacture. Charles reluctantly walked around the back of the room opening windows; gusts of fresher air entered.

Arturo walked in. He’d left early on Friday with a stomachache. Such a sweet boy would never have left the milk to spoil on purpose; clearly he’d forgotten about it in his nauseated state.

“Arturo, how are you feeling?” I asked. The sickening spoiled milk stink was closing in on me; my mouth started to water.

“Better,” he replied as I bent over and unleashed a torrent of beery bile all over his pristine Air Jordans.

Slowly I returned to a standing position. The students, including Arturo, were still frozen in shock.

The door opened, and in walked the principal, Mr. Barron. He eyes were fixed on his iphone as he strode into the room. “Good morning, Ms. Langley. Don’t mind me, I’m just here to observe. Carry on with your lesson.” He finished reading whatever was on his phone’s display and looked up at the class.

The students stared at him mutely. I shot Arturo a desperate look, bulging my eyes at him in a fashion I hoped was expressive. “Good morning, Mr. Barron!” I chirped, surreptitiously wiping my chin. “Arturo had a little accident. And there was a little, uh, spoiled milk problem. I’ll have everything under control and back to teaching in no time.”

The principal’s face contorted as the odor hit him. “I understand, Ms. Langley. I’ll get the custodian in here ASAP, and we’ll reschedule your observation for another day.”

“Thank you, Mr. Barron.”

The door closed behind him. Charles opened his mouth.

 “P.E.?” I blurted quickly, before he could speak. “Extra P.E.? What do you guys say?”

Charles opened his mouth again. Arturo pointed to his shoes. “P.E. every day this week?”

Charles shut his mouth. Arturo looked resigned. A Hail Mary pass, completed.

This story was written by Kate Malone, who lives in Los Angeles and teaches elementary school.

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