The Edible Book Festival, 2008

by Phil Abrams
100 words

In Austin, Texas, of all places. Caption read, Judith Goldstein to judge - her picture leapt at him from the magazine article. Fuck books! All he could imagine was eating her! Taking her pen-like fingers, dipping them into her private inkwell, licking her writing off the wall, lying in bed devouring her like a great novel read late into the night. He must enter her contest and woo with culinary excellence wrapped in a literary masterpiece! Maybe a haiku on salmon colored soybean paper penned with squid ink? But what if she keeps kosher? Damn religion! Damn its archaic laws!

In alphabetical order, Phil Abrams is an actor, father, husband, shadow teacher, and sometime writer. Favorite Popsicle is Trader Joe's lime Fruit Floe.

Wish Fulfillment

by Noel Sloboda
73 words

Don decided he wanted to become a Pez dispenser. It wasn’t just fame he was after. He liked the idea of standing alongside the likes of the Lone Ranger, Darth Vader, and Shmoo.

Don resolved to demonstrate his worthiness by a shoving a world-record-setting number of Easter eggs into his mouth. He reached a count of 37 before he had to stop.

Then he tilted his head to release the bright bounty inside.

Noel Sloboda lives in Pennsylvania, where he serves as dramaturg for the Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival and teaches at Penn State York. His writing has appeared in venues based in the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Look for recent work in Chronogram, Vulcan, Keyhole Magazine, bottle rockets, Gentle Strength Quarterly, Poems Niederngasse, and Pen Pusher. He is also busy with a collection forthcoming from sunnyoutside.

A Pint of Blood

by Michael Kechula
100 words

Curious, Frank answered a newspaper ad: “Beautiful Vampire seeks donors."

A week later, they met in a restaurant.

“You’re cute,” she said. “What’s your blood type?”


“My favorite. Mind loosing a pint tonight? Makes me incredibly aroused.”

Frank couldn’t wait.

“Dessert?” asked the waiter.

“We’ll pass.” Squeezing Frank’s thigh, she whispered, “You’re my dessert.”

And he was. But he was also appetizer and main course.

Her ad was a lie. She was a man-eating zombie, not a vampire. Newspapers accept classified ads from vampires, werewolves, ghouls, but not zombies. That’s nasty discrimination. What’s a hungry, man-eating zombie to do?

Michael A. Kechula is a retired technical writer. His flash and micro-fiction tales have won first prize in six contests and honorable mention in three others. His stories have appeared in ninety-two online and print magazines and anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, and US. He’s authored two books of flash and micro-fiction: “A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales” and “Crazy Stories for Crazy People.” Both paperbacks available at www.amazon.com eBook versions of the former are available at www.BooksForABuck.com and www.fictionwise.com



by Jim Parks
100 words

Two tipoffs a kid wouldn't notice.

We went to the cancer doctor. I was twelve. Wearing a fedora and marching World War Two tall, he came out in fifteen minutes grinning. "Let's go to the zoo."

We didn't spend much time there.

"Place smells like cat piss."

For lunch, rye bread toasted, Spam fried, with mayonnaise. On the crackling radio, Eddie Fisher sang "Oh, My Papa."

He hugged me and cried.

At the airport, he said, "No tattoos." I asked why.

Your grandmother wouldn't like it.


Why? Can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

"I'm not Jewish."

"So, convert."

Jim Parks is a native of the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, son of a merchant and a bank teller from the black lands where they grow the cotton. Raised in Houston, he did his time in the Navy, college in California, newspapers there, Texas and Florida. Truck driver, deckhand on tugs, tuna clippers, oyster barges and shrimpers; a railroad bum and laborer, he can't remember ever not trying to work hard to tell his stories of sudden death, love, lust and life in print. Tagged as The Legendary Jim Parks by a less than complimentary police captain in Houston, he uses that moniker still to find out who among us has a sense of humor and who does not.
Copyright © 2007 Jim Parks

Ribs on the Run

by Kris Saknussemm
100 words

Slaughter-time at the bacon factory. Never forget the sounds.

I'm filling up at the truckstop when I hear those same desperate squeals again. A twin trailer loaded with hogs. Suddenly slats smash—one breaks loose. Crazed pig between the pumps—high octane panic—market-bound meat charging across the freeway. God, I'm thinking smoked ham and a five car crack-up but the creature actually makes it, disappearing in the derelict speedway where Guns N' Roses once played—pounding over the peeling asphalt toward a suburb where Blockbuster kids graffiti the display houses…as if it knew its way. All the way home.

KRIS SAKNUSSEMM is the Random House author of Zanesville published in 2005 and named by The Austin Chronicle as "the most original novel of the year."

His stories and poems have appeared in such places as Chelsea, Thieves Jargon, The Boston Review, The Hudson Review, New Letters, ZYZZYVA and The Antioch Review. His next novel is due out in 2008.

For more information:




Copyright © 2007 Kris Saknussemm


by Jim Tomlinson
100 words

For weeks after your hospital stay, I brought you roses, a dozen each day. Online you bought me an inflatable lady, named her 'Rose,' too, your delightful, sick-wife humor.

You unfurled Rose's vinyl skin, uncapped the plastic tube tucked into her back, and slipped it between your pallid lips. How long did you take, inflating her, pausing breathlessly, yet refusing help?

You're gone now. It's been one long, hollow year.

I find Rose in our closet. She's saggy and sad. I pull her close and uncap the plastic tube. On my cheek, my neck, I feel again your whisper-soft breath.

Jim Tomlinson's short story collection, Things Kept, Things Left Behind , won the 2006 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Check out his MySpace page and website.

Copyright © 2007 Jim Tomlinson


by Jacquelyn Mitchard
98 words

Any living Lorraine did from now on would be extra credit.

People would tell her to be strong. But she'd already been strong. She had lifted her dying, leaking, groaning little girl out of her sweat-and- pee-soaked bed. She had stayed awake for eighteen-hour stretches, lying or pacing on the carpeted floor, listening to the thump-hiss of the oxygen apparatus and Georgia's moans.

The pills had always had the power to move truths into the next room.

What would Lorraine's seventh-graders say to "Be strong"?

In your dreams, they would say.

They had the balls not to be fooled.

Author of The Deep End of the Ocean, Jacquelyn Mitchard's new novel, Still Summer, is out in August, 2007. Visit www.Jackiemitchard.com.

Copyright © 2007 Jacquelyn Mitchard