FFM XVIIIShe thinks about her children and smiles.
Today, her boys Jack and Christopher have gone an "adventure" in the tree-grove behind their house.
They were pirates today, using long, wrapping-paper tubes as swords which doubled as telescopes. The two were running around, chasing each other through the trees as the day's air slowly turned to night and the sky grew pink, then orange, then black.
She hasn't yet called them inside for dinner. She's not quite ready.
She puts down her pen and rubs her eyes and she knows only one of them will come inside.
The DoctorWhen I was seven, I was diagnosed with emotions.The Doctor2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Poor girl." I heard them say. "She'll never survive this one."
I laid with my face towards the ceiling on the cold examination table, listening to them discuss my fate. I felt something breaking in my chest and something burning inside my throat. A small tear slipped down my cheek.
"Doctor! Look at this!" Shrieked my mother, "Something is coming out of her eye."
The doctor rushed over to me and wiped the tear from my cheek. He touched the top of my head as he whispered, "I am so sorry." And then he turned to my mother. "It's a tear. It means that she is sad."
"Sad?" My mother asked inquisitively.
"It's one of her emotions. This doesn't attack the same way that normal diseases do, there are all sorts of different symptoms. Right now, she is sad and the only way that I know how to explain it is that she is feeling down."
"What do you mean by down?"
"Her emotions can best be described as ones that are upwhen she is feeling good, and
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
ImpressionableYou left impressions in her skin and they sank straight down to her heart. You always told her that she was impressionable, but she never took it quite so literally.Impressionable2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She was holding memories so tightly that her hands started to burn. Each day a layer of skin would char and crumble. She swept the ash off and carried on.
Sometimes when she felt lonely, she would take old blankets and wrap herself in them. They smelled like the people who used them before her. They have absorbed their dreams, their feelings, their hearts. She liked to hear other peoples' dreams because she never had one herself.
She never felt quite at home. She worried about getting caught in a gust of wind and tossed down in a field somewhere, but secretly, she hoped for it.
She missed you. She wouldn't admit it, but I could see it in her face and hear it in her words.
She lost her right shoe one night. She walked a half mile in the rain without it and arrived at the front door with a big smile on her face. Sometimes I
I'm Just Waiting for the RainHe keeps his umbrella close, but never opened. Storm clouds roll in and out of his life, but they never stop to even wet the ground.I'm Just Waiting for the Rain2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
He wakes up every morning at 6:15, stays in bed for another five minutes, and takes a shower that lasts eight and a half minutes. He eats two slices of buttered toast and a small tumbler of orange juice. He dresses himself in a blue button-down with a striped tie and shines his shoes so that he can see his face. If it's cold out, he wears his black trench coat and if it isn't, he just wears his sport coat. He carries his briefcase every day, along with his umbrella. He can't forget his umbrella. The train leaves at 7:00 and he is at the station by 6:55. He hasn't missed a day of work in eight years.
His career isn't exactly what he hoped it would have been. If he were to think back on it, he would realize that it isn't even close. Thankfully, he never does.
At 7:45 he goes for his morning coffee runblack with two sugars. Provided the line isn't too
UnattainableThose who are lucky enough to have friends are lucky indeed. For not everyone is so lucky.Unattainable2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
It must be nice to have someone's shoulder to cry on. Someone you can bitch to; someone who'll hold you when you're hurt. Not everyone has someone like that.
Some of us just have friends, only a few, whom we call best friends, but they don't say such things in return do they? No, because we aren't their best friend, we're just a friend. Or worse that weird person they hang out with.
You see they have someone else that they uncover their heart and soul too. Someone they've known since they were children; or someone they met several years ago and became inseparable. I envy them. I envy all of them.
Some of us don't get those people; some of us don't get relied upon. We aren't all so lucky. Some of us are shunned, through no fault of our own, or perhaps through only our own fault. It's a mystery that will always escape me.
How do they do it? How do they make these excellent friends? How do they beco
I'm coming out: I'm straightMom? Mum? Can I talk to you?I'm coming out: I'm straight5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
My voice quivered. Both of them looked up at me. Moms head was in Mums lap. Mum was slowly stroking her forehead, leaning down to kiss her forehead while still staring at me intently. A satanic bible was placed in Mums lap, the thin, withered pages torn in a few places from continued reading. You know you can talk to us about anything, Mom said, smiling, sitting up a bit straighter. She leaned over to kiss Mum, who kissed her back. I took a seat on the couch and pulled my knees up to my chin, staring down at my cuticles. Even for a guy, they were pretty nasty.
I took a deep breath. Guys? I dont really know how to say this but, I think Im heterosexual.
The room went silent. Mum looked up from our satanic bible and pursed her lips. For a second, I thought she was going to reach out and slap me. In a tight voice, she said, You know how we feel about heterosexuals. We raised you to be
Teacup FriendsWe brew cups of tea and remember them thirty minutes later. The water is still warm when we pull out the teabag, but the liquid is thick and smells bitter. We drink it anyway;the syrupy liquid coats our throats and stains our stomachs. We drink it anyway, since we took the time to make it.Teacup Friends1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
We figure they are like that; bitter, forgotten cups of tea that we invested so much time in making. (We even give them names: Earl Grey, Peppermint, Breakfast Blend, and Chamomile.)
Chamomile was the first to go, clipping the hair above his ears, buttoning himself up inside a black pea coat, tying it all up with a noose-like scarf around his neck.
Inside we mourned, but outside we laughed about how silly this all was. As if the way he wore his hair determined his newfound spite. As if the pea coat was a rite of passage, a ticket to better things.
But then Breakfast Blend, Peppermint, and Earl Grey followed, sweeping locks of hair beneath the rug and buttoning four years inside their pea coats. (It
FFM XXVIIIf she screams the loudest that means she cares the most. Beneath her weak chest, her heart palpitates and her lungs expand to the point of near eruption. She waves her hands and stomps her feet just like everyone around her, shaking the floor with the weight of a thousand booming steps.FFM XXVII1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Now, if only he would look at her.
FFM II"Dreams are the best liars, they always know exactly what you want."FFM II1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"What makes you say that?" he asks, not looking up from the glow of his phone.
"Last night, I had a dream, and it was raining, storming, with lightning flashing through the sky and thunder booming so hard it shook the floor. I was in a store, one kind of like Walmart, and there were no windows or doors. And if I had thought about it, I would have realized that it was a dream."
"What do you mean?" he says, with the click of his iPhone.
"Well, if there were no windows, I wouldn't have seen the lightning, right?"
"I suppose not," he said.
"But then, I remember I was going through the books and a spider crawled out of the shelf. And I was so scared, it felt so real. You see, dreams know exactly what makes you tick, and they plant that in there so that you believe them," she said standing up from her chair.
"Do you ever think you are just over-analyzing things Mary?"
She shook her head. "Will you hug me?"
2When she gets on the bus at the station and the bus driver steps off for his five minute cigarette break, she feels like the bus has transformed into a room full of kindergarteners who’s teacher has left to get more juice for snack-time. The bus full of white collar commuters are too petrified to do anything. She is sure most of them were the friend in high school that would always tell the group that “you know, we really should get out of here now." But as they nervously look at each other, she knows that their minds are beginning to race with the possibilities, especially when they notice that he has left the keys in the ignition. A rogue bus, holding seven passengers as hostage has left the station, he is not armed, but he might be dangerous.25 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Please Don't Leave MeShe flutters her fingers over her skin, she smiles as she thinks of him. He only touched her once, and it was when she brushed up against him on the train. She smiles as she remembers the way he muttered an apology. Her heart feels light as her memories play though her mind, changing bit by bit as they pass through.Please Don't Leave Me2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Please don't leave me.
She rides the train on Tuesday afternoons, because she ran into him once, several Tuesdays ago. She waits patiently at the station, hoping, praying that he will see him. She has the lines worked out in her head, hoping she will have the occasion to use them. She rides the bus day in, day out sitting in the same seat.
Don't leave meever.
She sits in her drab little office doing the same mundane tasks every single day. When she allows her mind to wander off, she thinks of him at his own job. He's probably a curator at a museum or something exciting like that. She refrains from doodling his name all over her folder like a thirteen-yea
3She is drinking a smoothie in Panera Bread at ten o’clock at night when she realizes that she never loved him. She still lets him walk her to the bus stop and laughs when he tells the story he’s told three times before (in his defense, it is funny), and she looks at him the same way she always did. But she feels nothing and even wonders if that was what she always felt.35 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She felt as if she should love him, after all that they did together, like lovers without the love, telling secrets in the glow of the cell phone, stories that they wouldn’t tell anyone else. They took each other on dates, walks through the park, trips to the art museum, confusing breathlessness and lack of silence for butterflies in the stomach and spending time together because it seemed right. They never know which goodbye will be the last, or if any of them ever will be. She thinks that maybe they will become drifters, exploring their respective corners of the world, but always reporting back, and
Do you know the taste of the universe?One day, when you’re five years old and made out of fractured sunlight and mirror shards, you sit down on the bench of the MAX train. You’re dressed in your winter coat and boots that are too big and one of your parents has pulled your hat too close over your ears.Do you know the taste of the universe?9 months ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
You’re sitting next to your mother, and on the other side is a man that smells like loneliness, something that you’ll later know as cigarettes and alcohol and homelessness. He’s crying quietly into the top of his jacket and you’re scared to look because you’ve never seen an adult cry.
The train ride goes on for five minutes, which is a long time to you, and eventually you sneak a look at the crying man who smells like Portland and loneliness, and he sees you. He leans down until you can see the red lines in his eyes and he whispers to you.
“Do you know the taste of the universe?”
And you look up at him with your little-girl eyes and shake your head because you can’t
1.1. There are people who do not want an inch less of their fair share of the bus/airplane/movie theater/train/car/park bench/couch and do not hesitate to let everyone know. I do not like to sit in between two people on public transit for fear that I will spill into the space of not one, but two innocent commuters. I make a beeline for corner seats so that I can squish into the extra, empty space and pretend not to see people hesitate before sitting next to me.1.5 months ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
2. This extra layer between my skin and bones is like an armor, protecting my organs from the passing glares shot my way, the snickers, and the people I love calling themselves fatass when they eat too much frozen yogurt. My stretch marks are battle scars from the time something almost made it through.
3. When I was ten years old, my mother took me to the store to buy a new swimsuit, we went to seven different stores because we could not find one that was long enough for my five-foot-two frame, when I asked my mother why I could n
Day ThirteenI lost you long ago—Day Thirteen7 months ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
when you looked into my eyes
and saw someone else.
Day NineteenI.Day Nineteen7 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
This building will always
remind me of you.
You left your presence
in its walls and
it creaks like a
I hear you have a
I’ll never know if
it’s a he or she,
and that is surprisingly okay.
You are every cyclist
wearing aviator sunglasses,
which means that I see you,
six times on my way home.
that is the same number
of times that my heart stops
I have a friend with
the same name as you, it
feels weird saying it
I’ve written you
pages of poems,
hoping that your memory
will bleed from my fingers
like a pen
running out of ink.
The results of
this test are
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.
The Dream-Makers The clouds are beautiful today.The Dream-Makers6 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I watch them from behind someones eyelids as she sleeps beneath a tree with a book in her lap. For a while I imagine the way the trees must feel as the breeze sways them; I have not felt a true breeze in so long. And then I turn back to the depths of the girls mind and carry on with my work. After all, dreams do not create themselves.
I don my black shawl and turn to the little dream form of the girl. Falling into my character, I cluck my tongue and point at the forest that materializes in her subconscious. Beware the monsters that live within the woods, my dear.
But why? Her dream self looks puzzled and calm as only dream people canthey have no real danger to fear.
I shake my head, following whose directions I will never know, and merely say, Beware the monsters, my dear, especially the ones with pretty faces.
Take Me For a RideDarling:Take Me For a Ride3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Take me for a ride. Let me sit in your passenger seat, your partner in crime. Give me control of the radio, and let me find something we both can tolerate; or else something we both hate, and can laugh at, blasting it while we go. Let me be your navigator, getting us lost in the middle of nowhere. We can fight and yell and blame each other before we forgive and take it all as the grand adventure it's supposed to be. Let me get up to crazy shenanigans, making faces and distracting you. We'll be causing all sorts of trouble in the name of fun. And when it gets dark, let me sleep in the passenger seat, in my slumber entrusting you with my safety. Let me feed you food while you drive; holding your burger and soda while you keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the roads ahead.
And when the ride is over dear heart, do to me as others have done. Push the pedal till we're going over a hundred kilometres an hour. Without warning push open that passenger side door, unbuckle my belt,
2nd person fiction and YouYou like fiction written in the second person. You may not admit it to yourself, but deep down, you really do. It teases you with its confrontational otherness, its flamboyantly displayed post-modernism, its teeth.2nd person fiction and You3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Do not look at its teeth. You do not want to look at its teeth.
Fiction written in the second person and you have a long history of denial. At first, you were sure it couldn't be done. Then it was done, and it was done to you, and you liked it, too, but it was only the one time and you were kind of drunk. It was an experiment, and it was interesting as an experiment, but that was all it was.
Only, of course, it wasn't.
Fiction written in the second person has invaded your dreams, and what's worse, your sexual fantasies. You'd be picturing a luscious blonde, rubbing her rubbables, yearning for your touch, when suddenly a voice would pop into your head, calmly narrating what you were doing: "You are picturing a luscious blonde," the voice would say, "rubbing her rubbables. Hey
TrojanI sprint like a rogue virus through the city of ash-grey streets and neon-lit slums, the buildings looming out of the landscape like silicon blocks on a motherboard while roads dart and entwine between them, little channels of information and bursting light in this world of concrete and metal.Trojan3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
My transport was destroyed three blocks back so my feet rush across the road among swerving programs and protocols that yell at me with a chorus of horns as they tilt dangerously near to the pavement. But my mission's more important than these people: it's a poorer district and nobody in those is truly useful to the functioning of the city replaceable by another dull worker, some flittering plod that will do the same inspid job day after day.
An especially stubborn program frittering through the ground hits my side, a ragged beast that cuts the air into pieces as it roars along, and it goes into a spin and lifts me up into a nearby shop peddling run-down pieces of software and hand-me down
Drowning in Reversex. I still have your phone.Drowning in Reverse2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
ix. The boardwalk carnival was shut down a few months later, roped off and boarded up like a condemnation of joy. The ferris wheel still rose high above the skyline, towering in silent reminder.
viii. The funeral was on a beautiful, balmy, sunny day and somehow that made it all the worse. The wind would pick up a little and ruffle your goldspun hair and I could hope, just for a moment, that you were still here.
vii. It was a cold, white room. I don't know why hospitals are so cold. Or maybe it was just me - maybe it was just me trying to siphon out all of my warmth and channel it into you.
vi. I didn't see the crowd that gathered on the beach - I barely registered the flash of red and blue lights - I only saw you, skin pale as the stretcher they were loading you on to, blue shirt stained black like a death sigil.
v. Someone was drowning. You cast an arm out pointing - there was someone out there in the dark water drifting further and further from shore.
Porch Swingi. It's December,Porch Swing1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
the warm part of winter
snow is a blanket
and the fireplace crackles.
We eye the elephant-package
covered in crumpled birthday paper.
The paper flies
beneath it we gasp,
and the boys and girls
smile and take our picture.
ii. We're safe
from the April showers
beneath the roof of our porch.
We swing back and forth
for the first time.
I place my head
in the crevice
between your shoulder
and your neck.
We talk for two hours
about the azaleas.
iii. Our daughter's
runs through the sprinkler
watering the dry August grass.
She sits in the middle
on our cheeks
iv. You were the one
who wanted the apple trees.
We eat Honeygolds,
though we ought to wait
You stand up
to get another one,
from the lowest branch.
I stay on the porch
and pick at the peeling paint
on the arm of the swing.
v. By February,
has gone and passed,
and I didn't get
Runner's DeathRunner's Death4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
In other words, the time of the year my parents put their everything's-alright smiles on and Anabelle fills the toilet with puke so that she can pretend to be filling her stomach with food when all our relatives come over--the time of the year we all pretend to be normal.
It's also the anniversary of Runner's death. But, like they always do, my family has covered the events of December twenty-fifth, one year ago, the same way they did the cracks in our living room wall--in a layer of bright paint and wallflowers.
Like usual, my mom will make an excuse: when my beautiful Aunt May asks in that discreet way of hers why the space in the corner of the dining room beneath the three-pane window is empty, my mother will reply, "Oh, poor Runner contracted kidney disease. We decided to pu