I Was Raised

by Neil Crabtree
100 words

I was raised by machines that entertained me in exchange for my obedience. Put in front of a television, I surrendered free will for a chance to stare into the electric glow.

My parents disappeared into the shadows to either side. Their talking sometimes disturbed me as I watched my favorite shows. Eventually, they moved closer and closer to the glow. Then they became quiet too.

We stared nightly, bathed in radiation, awaiting instructions. We did what we were told, bought goods we saw displayed.

Family fighting stopped between us, since no one dared talk when the box was on.

Neil Crabtree's work has appeared in Verbsap and others. Links to his work can be found at his blog site, www.believablelies.blogspot.com

A Useless Bit of Advice

by Howie Good
98 words

Better stay on your meds. Or get some. Otherwise how will you ignore the pile of hacked-off limbs on the hospital lawn, the amputees limping or crawling away, as disability permits, their sacrifice worse than forgotten – misremembered? You’ll end up scribbling on napkins and the last remaining walls, and the scribbles, presuming they’re discovered, will sound when pieced together like a suicide note left to mislead investigators. Christ, you’ll end up like me, driving slowly over a bridge of bones, your face gray with exhaustion, while along the slatternly, post-industrial river, morning birds sing in the cadaverous trees.

Howie Good’s latest chapbooks are Last Words, available online from Gold Wake Press at http://goldwakepress.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/lastwords.pdf, and Police & Questions, available online from Right Hand Pointing at http://www.righthandpointing.com/howiegood/

Pop Tarts and Beastie Boys

by Sabrina Stoessinger
99 words

On the hottest days Debbie would lock us into her room. I'd always protest, predicting the outcome, but in the end I'd be the first to light up. We'd partake in grandiose schemes and while away hours, days.

The thermometer hit three digits that afternoon and I decided a ski trip was in order. Debbie set about creating a blizzard by tearing open her feather bedding. We danced among the flakes and successfully piled up snow banks, though our snowballs left much to be desired.

The Alps were paradise until the door frame split and ski patrol burst in.

Sabrina considers procrastination an art and perfects her technique as often as possible.



by Grant Hettrick
91 words

I emptied my bank account to buy my fiancé, Mary, the most beautiful engagement ring, quite sure I didn't deserve her.

"Look," the jeweler said. He handed me his conical glass and a small brilliant diamond. "See the flaw toward the bottom?"

I convinced myself I saw the merest cloud, but more than anything, I deferred to his expertise.

"If it wasn't for that flaw, this would be perfect," the jeweler continued. "And when I'm done with the setting, it will be impossible to notice unless you already know it's there."

Grant Hettrick enjoys writing fiction and enjoys reading fiction with his two children, Nate and Maddy. His work has appeared in Peeks and Valleys, Heavy Glow and Toasted Cheese.

Dumbing Down

by Kevin White
97 words

Maria watched her daughter chew on the triangle shaped aiglet as she gazed intently at the aquarium fish. At least she wasn't sucking her thumb, Maria thought. Still, the yellow-orange, wulfenite sometimes broke off and Maria wasn't positive her daughter hadn't swallowed some.

Years later, after countless doctors and even resorting to a West Indies shaman who practiced Obeah, Maria despaired that her daughter's mental deficiencies stemmed from this. A few misaligned teeth would not have kept her from being a doctor, engineer or even an Ichthyologist, but small amounts of lead ingested over time certainly would.

Kevin lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and three German Shepherds. His work has been seen in PenPricks, and next month will be in 55 Words. A link to more of his work can be found here: Horrificmusings.com


by Stephen Davis
95 words

Topher prides himself on being frugal. It’s a competition of sorts, established by his fraternity. The guidelines are simple: Have sex on a first date while spending as little money as possible. Topher holds the frat record at $8.35 (tax included). He spent the money on chardonnay and romanced his way to nudeness—under the stars and atop the beach.

He’d surpass that record within a month. For Selena he bought more potent vodka ($7.83 on sale) and followed the same cheap sex formula. But in his added drunkenness he failed to use a condom.

Stephen J. Davis teaches Kindergarten near San Francisco , California . He lives with his wife, daughter and two cats.