It Was The Burglar's Idea The worst people hired him because he was the best burglar around. No one knew his given name, not even him. As a child, he'd grown and fed himself by stealing what he needed on the streets. He had no name. But since many people called him- "That one!" -the growing and adept burglar decided to call himself "Thone." He knew he needed at least a name, if not food, home, clothes -- and why not some kind of fame and fortune? Yes, he decided, he'd have both infamy and fortune. He was certain he was a clever, quiet, sneaky, and nice young man, fully deserving of both. Soon he had both.
Late one night, a very rich man hired Thone for a new job and asked him the usual questions. Thone was as silent with the rich as he was with the poor. For that matter, he was more silent with the rich. Thone never explained his work to anyone, and it was always the rich who hired him. Thone was the most expensive burglar ever known to other criminals.
This rich client, whose chins
Another Take The human I live with calls me "Tommy Gun." Or "Kitty." Sometimes "Cat." Yeah "cat," but I'm really an alien. Though we got here first and are highly evolved, humans insist on calling us all these names. I think it's because they're unable to call us what we call each other. They can't hear us talk most of the time. We usually use what humans call "telepathy," except in extreme cases. We try other ways to talk to humans. Use "meow" umpteen ways and you'll see how hard it is.Another Take3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I like my human. She's a beautiful girl calls herself "Mimi" when she's on stage. Yeah "Mimi," and she's definitely human. She's a belly dancer and an excellent one. She can enchant a room full of old humans without even a drum, without even taking off any of her very many veils. She sort of undulates, like a wonderful snake might. But snakes I can eat. Mimi is way bigger than me, plus I want her to live. I won't kill her. She feeds me so I won't bring a dead sn
FragilityPardon meFragility5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is my new lipstick
I need ghost lips.
My rib-cage needs fragility
like the bones
of bird wings.
I need to be light,
need to float. Like a bird-
no, like a spirit.
My pallid skin
so you can see
with the moths.
McMasters"I can't even believe this," Mrs. Nesbitt spat as she tossed down the history textbook she'd been given to teach out of in the coming year.McMasters4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"What's up with it?" asked Carrie, an English Major who was working in the school to pay off her student loan.
"'What's up with it' is the cover art, for one thing, and I don't even want to take a look at the contents," Mrs. Nesbitt answered disdainfully, pointing at the images of McDonalds through the years, from an old fashioned drive-in all the way up to the newest McHome food processors (because who should expect someone to leave his own home just to get some McDonalds?). It was disgusting.
"Oh, the McDonalds stuff on the covers?" Carrie asked dismissively. She wouldshe wasn't even twenty, and Mrs. Nesbitt was well into her sixties. Carrie had been born during the war, Mrs. Nesbitt remembered how things were before. Her leg still ached and her teeth set on edge whenever she remembered it.
"I've taught this book for years. The cover change
The Spider That Ate Cleveland Steve and Lucy lived in a suburb of Cleveland and liked it very much.The Spider That Ate Cleveland3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Steve liked sitting on the porch every Saturday evening, drinking beer and looking at his neighbors' houses, identical to his, dreaming about ways to make his house different.
Lucy liked spending weekday afternoons watching soap operas on TV, dreaming about ways to spend her afternoons like the people did on TV.
Steve liked going to work in Cleveland on weekdays, not so much for his job but for the drive, during which he dreamt about other places the freeway could take him.
Lucy liked a little house-cleaning and a lot of going-to-the-mall, where she dreamt about what she could buy with soap opera money.
But both were too content, and never changed a thing.
Occasionally they talked about one TV program that show
A Drink Further"Don't you dare."A Drink Further4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I grin, weighing the snowball in one hand, then the other. It's inconsistent and flaky the kind of freshly fallen snow that's little more than frozen mist and air packed loosely around a soggy liquid core. It'd probably break apart before it flew the few paces between Lisa and myself. But she doesn't know that.
"Don't I dare what?"
She gives me a look that touches on withering, but I know better. I've known Lisa for quite some time, and I doubt she's ever been capable of violence. Nevertheless, I drop the messy ball with a chuckle and wipe the remains on the sleeve of my jacket.
Another moonlit winter night in Neriem, a town nestled high in the mountains off the coast of Antioch. Snow falls in thick sheets here, coating the city in delicate white powder. It's thick stuff, enough to muffle the sound of our footsteps as we cross campus, yet falling lightly enough that it doesn't m
Diversionary Tactics "And would you care to buy a gram, sir? Great price on coke today," the girl smiled.Diversionary Tactics3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Lucas never saw that girl work here before.
He immediately said, "Are you kidding?!" and used his uppity Mercedes power to get away from that drive-through bank as quickly as possible. Man. That never happened to Lucas before. Was it the case of Old Forrester on the passenger seat?
No. It couldn't have been.
As it was, Lucas had more cocaine at his house than any one gram delivered in a pneumatic tube at some bank. He was returning from R-and-R at Yellowstone when he stopped for his bourbon and some cash. The Mercedes was dirty from his travels and he hadn't shaved for two weeks, but he still couldn't guess why that girl would think he was an idiot.
Lucas kept his coke in a steel suitcase, bags of it, even when he was gone. W
The Man in the Coffee ShopThe man who works at the coffee shop looks like you. I noticed this some time ago and have since frequented the place. He recognizes me now. He smiles at me when I come in. His smile even looks like yours. He doesn't say hey though- you always said hey.The Man in the Coffee Shop3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I still work at the library even though you're not there.
Sometimes I look over to your desk and expect to see you typing at your computer, but someone else is there now. It's not you.
Sometimes someone will come in who looks like you. Maybe he will have the same hair, same stature, same profile, same laugh, same voice. It's never been you.
Sometimes I drive myself crazy. I pull at my hair and scream 'till my lungs burst. I scream for and at you. I ask how you could have left me here.
Sometimes I allow myself to believe that I will see you again. By chance we will run into each other in a Wal-Mart far away.
I go to the coffee shop on Tuesday afternoons. I order a small chai tea with milk.
Sometimes the man is working at th
Bones.We are made of smoke tonight.Bones.5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
We are made of deep pits of longing in our stomachs
and years of waiting dancing across our eyelids.
The earth does not exist tonight,
and there is no rust beneath my finger nails,
no glass between your teeth.
There is only you and I on the edges of town,
where the dandelions fell and the fire swallowers hid.
Our footsteps in the grass creak like breaking bones
until the drill bit stars are sobbing our names.
"You'll live forever," you whisper, breath hot on my cheek,
but my heart beat fast until my chest caved in.
Forever can't exist if we haven't lived at all.
We fall from the ferris wheels sunk into your eyes
and lay amongst the broken bones,
sucking down an atmosphere hung from thin metal wires.
You are silent and I am screaming, and we are two different galaxies
brought together by a love of gasoline and retractable razor blades.
But tonight, you taste of iron and there's blood in my hair
and I'm getting drunk off the feeling of eyelashes on skin
Her Necklace Now It began as a very small thing.Her Necklace Now3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Junior and his dad disagreed on an item made in their silversmithing shop.
That shop was kept away from the family's houses, set up in an old outbuilding because of noise.
Silversmithing was always too noisy for the dozen homes on the family's half-section of wood and meadow land.
The lapidary equipment alone made a terrible sound.
Allie, Junior's wife, used that equipment to smooth rough turquoise and coral into stones ready for silverwork. She used a spinning grinder of damp and charcoal gray stone for her main work. When Allie put a stone against that, it sounded just like the machine it was. She used a smaller spinning buffer to polish stones.
One Saturday, human voices escalated in the little, old shop about who owned a particular design.
Even Allie, using loud lapidary equipment, heard Junior and his father argue. Naturally, curiosity won and she slowed her work, listening through a thin old wall of warped
tell me when your heart stopswe are laying in cradles of heart stopping emotions, running through our hair on a sunday morning, and after confession and around mytell me when your heart stops5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
rose colored rosaries. i want you to know that when you leave, i will be watching from our curtained bed room window and i line up plants under my feet because if i am going to cry the water might as well be
put to good use. tell me when you stop thinking, or stop breathing. tell me
when you hear silence so keen in the air you run back to me and realize,
i am gone. i never existed. tell me
when you loved me.
so that i can forget.
Mother knew the ocean amassed every tear ever shedMother always told me that the most important lessons in life come accompanied by saltwater.Mother knew the ocean amassed every tear ever shed2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I always thought she was carrying a soul too spent and too sullen.
I didn't know how right she was till sometime back, at seventeen.
For it was at seventeen that I was to try through a time where paltry tears- saltwater, was all I could taste, as my world was ripped right out of my ribs, and I experienced my first heartbreak.
I was years too young to search for starfish by the shore, to wish myself an old wives tale cure, all for a classic summer sickness. His sea-foam eyes had plighted me and blighted me. He allowed my knees and ankles to burn in rock salt kisses and promises. I allowed him to sear through my wounds, past and present.
In the end, I almost lost myself to his vastness, and almost drowned in the strength of his currents.
He was far too momentous and I, too infinitesimal.
Summer ended a short-lived romance but romance it was nonetheless. Rock salt senses will always string dé
The Black Bag The problem was simple, really. I was a little too drunk. Me and my buddy Jake though, we found it simple to walk with a stagger and laugh a little too loud, a simple problem. The day was pretty good, pretty drunk.The Black Bag4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The hours passed easy until Max came out of his pawnshop. Max never leaves his pawnshop. He looked so worried and strange I had to squint to be sure it was him. He got us interested, walking toward my buddy and me with trouble written all over his face. Trouble is something a man can relate to from time to time, somehow.
Max walked right up to us and put his hand on my shoulder, thowing me off balance for his remark.
"I need your help, boys," he said.
Jake laughed. "Hey, Max needs our help!"
I nodded and tried to look serious to hide the surprise that made me want to laugh too. I thought it could b
One of ThoseShe was one of those strange little girls, the kind who never fit in with the dress-wearing ones . . . the ones who played with dolls, braided hair for fun, and talked about being mommies one day. She preferred overalls to little pink sundresses and hiking boots to white Keds. She played with her brothers friends, the only blonde in the roaming pack of testosterone.One of Those5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
With her hair pulled tight into a ponytail, she chased the ice cream man and outran the Heinburgs German Shepherds. She leapt over creeks and onto dog piles, having nothing to do with clean games.
The little girls she was predestined to play with called her names whenever she walked by their tea parties. Her revenge was quick, however. One well-placed hit during a cul-de-sac baseball game was all she needed to splatter their dresses and stuffed rabbits with Lipton and send them crying to their mothers.
At night she would escape from her family: a grandmother who said she would die alone, a mother who
The Neighbors Strange things began to happen when the Garcias moved into the ramshackle house next door. Or, at least people were implying that they were the cause of all the odd phenomena. I mainly did what I was told and stayed clear of the couple's territory.The Neighbors4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Rural life, as I experienced it, had its advantages and disadvantages. The good part was that we didn't have the luxuries of mobile phones or cable television and this made life more exciting. Children weren't cooped up at home watching DVDs or playing video games; we were always outside, running amok under the sun.
As for the bad parts, well, we would never even say them out loud. There were just things in the countryside that we simply couldn't understand, like how my best friend's father once burned half of an old acacia tree accidentally and woke up the next day with half of his body searing with blisters, or how wandering little boys suddenly vanis
FunctionFunction5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
When I was seven, I tried to commit suicide. Everything was dark, except the floor, a long way beneath me. My feet dragged me towards the edge of the building. All that I knew was that it was windy, and getting windier by the second, my neck was quite itchy, and I was about to die.
"Ring a ring a rosies,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down!"
I was never really a child. I had a childhood, and I looked like a child, but inside I was more like a machine. I did what I was told to do: I functioned.
"Survival is an instinct built into every animal on this planet: See prey, chase prey, pounce. Dinner. A cheetah would not misuse its speed. A leopard would never let its spots run away. Nature carries onwards. Life carries onwards. Things go the way that they should, and always will do. In the end, everything functions. Now just you remember that, son."
Black hair, brown eyes, thin face and no smile - The only things that anyone from my primary school ca
The Music in the Water Hank told her not to put her tent by the creek, but she did.The Music in the Water2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He figured the young girl wouldn't listen to him, whether she was his cousin or not. He was just an old man by her reckoning, and Hank knew many young folks rarely listened to old men.
Hell, Hank was an old man by his own reckoning.
Every winter morning told him that.
The cold said, "You're an old man who can barely get out of bed. It hurts too much to move. Will you make it today?"
He had so far, though sometimes it was dicey.
But Dinah arrived on a beautiful spring morning.
The meadows were alive with wildflowers, bluejays, bees and long grasses fringed with pale seeds.
She drove a borrowed truck packed full of camping gear and boxes.
Dinah showed him the same paperwork that the town lawyer had showed him a week before. She'd inherited two acres from their great-uncle and she'd come from some far away eastern city to claim them.
She was a pretty girl, educated way past
butane promisesi use to be such a scared little boy,butane promises4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
always running from nothing,
and screaming for everything,
and laughing and crying.
but now i am numb, sealed at the soul,
tapered at the seams, i no longer
have a pulse in rhythm or a hair in line,
i run circles around ant piles and lakes and large streams,
i want to feel alive for more than five seconds and it almost feels nice for once, but
it never satisfies what i lost, what was taken from me, what i never had.
for the last time, i am not going to count
or whisper, or scream out loud.
if i am going to die, it may as well be
silence, passion screeching against the upstairs wall,
i repeat my name over and over and over,
and maybe if i etch the letters into my skin,
maybe finding my emotions won't be as
hard as i thought it would be.
the reason i stole black pens was
to trace the lines that crack my hand
and spread the cuticles and break the cells,
creating maps of multi-continent story telling
nothings, maybe i will find a forest filled with
i'll refrain from confessionsi've grown fond of beingi'll refrain from confessions4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a three ring circus,
prancing around in
i took no part in
let's trade names,
wring someone else's
neck for once.
i've learned to
and all i am is one
down hill spiral
of a verb.
this is like
cindy lou who,
gives a fuck,
i've taught everyone
how to act like
it was so easy
Grandfather's BirdGrandfather had a pet bird. Just a small, yellow and white parakeet; he named it Georgie, after Grandmother. Every morning, he would wake up at 6 o'clock, make a pot of coffee, grab the newspaper, and feed the small bird a small pile of birdseed. And he would gently carry the birdcage, and place it on the table and talk to her as he drank his coffee and read the newspaper.Grandfather's Bird3 years ago in Scraps More Like This
"Gas prices are up again Georgie, geez, remember when we could pay 20¢ to fill up our car?"
And sometimes the bird almost chirped in response. Years and years went by, and Grandfather grew older, and he could no longer carry the bird off the shelf, but he would still feed and talk to her at 6 o'clock.
One morning, Grandfather found himself barely able to make it out of bed. He still made his way into the kitchen to feed his dear bird. His hand shook and some birdseed fell to the floor as he carefully moved into the tray into the cage. He slowly made his way to the table so that he could sit down.
Cellphones, Pay phones.Cellphones, Pay phones.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I wish you'd pick up your cellphone more often, but I heard you didn't pay the bill. I figured that's why you wouldn't pick the phone, no matter how many times I called. Where were you today? I thought you'd come by, like you said you would. Just to visit. Maybe you'll call me later today from the pay phone down the street from where you used to live. I heard you and him are living in your van now, but you said that now when you visit, I can really sleep with you. Even if it means sharing a bed with him, too. I haven't gotten a call from you in a while, so I tried calling your old cell phone number, just to see if you'd pick up. Of course, it told me the number had been disconnected. Why don't you get a new cell phone, or at least call me a little more for the pay phone? I know it's only twenty five cents to spend a few minutes on the phone with me. I miss you, you know. I want you to co
GrimTime hiccupped while Sasha was nursing a cup of coffee in the lunchroom of the office complex where she worked. It was a brief flicker but she knew what it meant all the same. She’d been gazing idly in Gary Piedmont’s direction -- Gary with his perennial tan and cobra-like grace -- when suddenly in his place was a bloodied and burnt apparition with bugs caught in its smile.Grim5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She watched, wide-eyed, fingers tightening spasmodically around the cup of coffee she held as the thing walked across the room in Gary’s well-tailored suit and sat down. Then she blinked and the ghastly image was gone.
Sasha took a deep breath and let it out slowly, fighting the wave of nausea and pity that rose up in her throat. Gary from marketing was going to die, sometime soon, and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it. She could try to warn him to be careful, not to take any unnecessary risks but as she didn’t know exactly how or when he would die, his fate was as g
GuiltyThe room was small and cold. Everything in the room was white. Sterile. There were two people in the room: a man and a woman. The man was tall, middle-aged, with short brown hair and rimless glasses. He wore a long white jacket and stood behind a tall white table. The woman was young, in her early twenties, with long mousy brown hair and a small nose. She looked frightened and small, standing next to the comparatively giant man.Guilty3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She turned to face the man. "Yes, sir?"
"You are not permitted to speak."
"You are hereby charged guilty of crimes against this woman," he said. He gestured to the frightened woman beside him.
"But I didn't-"
"Do not speak. You have caused unnecessary pain, suffering, humiliation, discomfort, inconvenience, hardship, and undesired responsibility to fall upon this woman. The penalty for such crimes is death."
"But what did I-"
The Cheshire SisterChristopher knew he must be seeing things. His sister, who he hasn't seen in six years due to their parent's divorce, was sitting at his desk. His laptop, which was usually open with one of his sketches waiting to be colored among thousands of other tabs and projects, was closed and pushed to the back. In it's place was the plate his sister was eating from with uncharacteristic zeal. His sister was different then she had been six years ago. Her eyes were no longer obscured by dark curls and thick glasses. A black turtleneck and jeans had replaced candy colored shorts and t-shirts,and a fringe of cherry red stuck out from under the black ski cap that had replaced the silver tiara her younger self wore. "Princess Abby" she would call herself.The Cheshire Sister4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Changes or not, this was his sister. "Abby, you haven't answered me." Chris commented when he returned from disposing of the empty plate in the sink.
Abby didn't turn to look at him, her eyes on
A Tangled LoveToo many people, I assess the second I am through the door. I shouldn't have come. But by then it is too late.A Tangled Love4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The moment my feet land on the arrival mat I am swallowed by a clump of relatives and in laws crowding towards me with teeth barring smiles. I scan them quickly. Some faces I know, most I don't.
"Merry Christmas!" Everyone says, not quite together, as I am bundled through the doorway and into the main room. I repeat those two words, smile and laugh obligingly as a distant relative beside me resites an old family reunion/Christmas joke.
"So, how's your love life?" Someone jokes loudly as I try to escape the attentions of the people swamped around me. Instantly everyone looks towards me, as curious as stir crazy neighbours.
"Great," I lie, biting back the ugly taste of uglier memories. More questions bubble at the lips of the mob but before any words can escape a loud knock on the door snaps their attention away from me once more.
Another person swings through the door with pres