by Dave Erlewine
74 words

Bleeding from his lip, his eye darkening, my son cowers in front of the door.

"Did you throw a hook, at least a jab?"

He whispers something I'd need to bend down to hear.

"The other kid, he explaining anything to his dad or high-fiving him?"

My son's eyes, especially the darkening one, look glazed.

"Get in," I say, moving my leg, not watching him pass, afraid a hug might turn into a strangle.

Dave Erlewine is a fiction editor at Dogzplot. His stories appear (or soon will) in Tuesday Shorts, The Pedestal Magazine, Word Riot, and a number of other literary journals. His sad little website is www.whizbyfiction.blogspot.com.

Check Out

by Noel Sloboda
100 words

Richard had hoped Mary wouldn't see Karli behind them in line. But Mary had sharp eyes, which darted at his former lover. Richard just looked down at the cart, pretending to inventory bran bars and mangos.

Mary radiated the same iciness that nearly drove him from their home after he'd confessed the affair. Richard kept his eyes lowered, but he couldn't ignore the chill coming from Mary.

"How are you going to pay?"

Richard had so many answers inside his head that the cashier had to repeat her question twice before he realized she was the one who'd asked it.

Noel Sloboda currently lives in
Pennsylvania with three dogs, two cats, and one wife. He is the author of the collection Shell Games (sunnyoutside, 2008).

Leaf Death

by Sean Ulman
97 words

As aspen leaf butter-based spades fluttered to his feet the welder understood that each leaf was touching-down its only time. He believed the leaves still breathed as they lay on the ground, fragrant pre-parchment, supple, smooth. The wind gusted. Besieged by the beauty of so many leaves lives ending, he focused on one leaf. As it shuttled toward him his hand involuntarily shot out. But thinking it best to not interrupt its journey, he returned his hand to his pocket. No event in his life matched the magnitude of each leaf’s life ending, and he knew it.

Sean Ulman received his Master's degree in fiction from the Stonecoast MFA program through the
University of Southern Maine. He has two poems forthcoming in the inaugural issue of the Main Street Journal at the University of Delaware. He is working on his third novel.

Chess and Clarabelle

by KJ Hannah Greenberg
97 words

Clarabelle took comfort in that youngster, regularly hugging the baby to her stomach and sipping in his gurgles or his bubbling saliva. She watched her hands in relationship to his face. While she toyed with ideations of not supporting the baby’s head and spine, she, nonetheless, remained careful. Sometimes, though, Clarabelle left him in a wet diaper until Alex came home.

She smiled at the thought of Alex lifting up a sodden child. Such delays kept Alex from reaching for her and from adding one more bruise. Such deterrents did nothing, though, when the baby stayed asleep.

KJ Hannah Greenberg’s layered language has been published/accepted in an eclectic mix of dozens of venues worldwide, including: Australia ’s Language and Culture Magazine, and Antipodean SF, Israel ’s Mishpacha Magazine, The Jerusalem Post, and The Shiur Times, the UK ’s Morpheus Tales, The Mother Magazine, and Winamop, and the USA ’s AlienSkin Magazine, The American Journal of Semiotics, and The Externalist. KJ Hannah Greenberg is a former National Endowment for the Humanities scholar, the mother of adolescent sons and daughters, and the caretaker of an entire hibernaculum of imaginary hedgehogs.

Sweet Tooth

by Shome Dasgupta
52 words

At the age of eleven, Cornelius tried to hang himself in the attic. The rope, made out of Glide dental floss, tore. He crashed through the attic floor and into the kitchen, where next to the sink, was a box of cookies. He stood up and fixed himself a glass of milk.

Shome Dasgupta holds an MFA in Creative Writing from
Antioch University-Los Angeles. His fiction and poetry have appeared in print and online magazines, including Word Riot, Cafe Irreal, MeadoW, DiddleDog, Sylvan Echo, Gertrude Press, Bartleby Snopes, Shelf Life Magazine, and Two Hawks Quarterly. Forthcoming publications include appearances in Mud Luscious, Dogzplot, Abjective, and Paperwall. He is a regular contributor to The Footnote.

Shelley Pulled Out of the Sea

by Willie Smith
81 words

Model airplanes make me fly. Provide the glue makes me wonder why. All the parts nowadays stuck on backwards. Model plane wrecks more like it.

I have become a champion of debris. Visions of cities burning. Babies napalmed. Vaporized hospitals. Daisies cut. The very worms obliterated.

Close my eyes and hell erupts.

Trouble is, could I trouble you a sec, get you to say – are my eyes open? If not – this somnambulation got a plug on it a saint might pull?

Willie Smith is deeply ashamed of being human. His work celebrates this horror. His novel OEDIPUS CADET is available from amazon.com. Please visit: www.youtube.com/wsmith49 to see him further embarrass himself.


100% Proof

by Culbin Forrest
97 words

And didn’t the Scots knock all the duty off whiskey after they got independence?

And didn’t the Whitehall redcoats slap it right back on?
And wasn’t that the Solway smugglers back in business, after three centuries?

Now Willie Nobutt was a double-dealing, two-faced liar.
Didn’t he tip off the excise men?

Mind you, Logan Carr was no better.

Hadn’t he filled all but one of the bottles with tap-water, and that the one they drank on the beach to seal the deal?

Sure, and there’s no law against running tap-water, and nobody mentioned the Trades Description Act.

Culbin Forrest mostly writes short stories, but also poetry, and he’s tried the odd play. He’s won a few prizes locally, has been published here and there (mostly there), and had been featured on the Liars League website from time to time.

Beautiful Broken Things

by Mercedes M. Yardley
94 words

You think that your role is to destroy beautiful things. She thinks her role is to support your ugliness.

My role is to stand between you and the things that you hurt. Your nails get caught in my clothes while I hold The Broken Things in my hands. They mewl and sigh and heal while you scrabble at my skin and snarl your fingers in my hair. When The Broken Things aren’t broken anymore, I let them fly away while you shriek.

Your scream is the sweetest sound on earth. I smile every time.

Mercedes M. Yardley often wears poisonous flowers in her hair. You can learn more about her at www.abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com.

firing hope

by E. Miller
100 words

cloaked by clouds and the green-grey sound of silence, your eyes flickered farewells that were beyond syllables.

time blurred clarity, but as i climb years like mountains, i remember that gaze - fearless though inevitable, unbroken though incomplete.

when you returned, you opposed memory. i tried to find yesterday buried with the bones of men you killed or did not save (what's the difference, anyway) but your innocent irises have decayed with sun.
reading engraved names, my tears mix with whispers. i recite the losses that they do not list:

your heart, your spirit, your love
and god, those eyes

e. miller is fifteen years old and just now learning to breathe. Her previous publications include Boston Literary Magazine.


by J. A. Tyler
100 words

There was a baby, at some point, born as it should not have been. That baby was taken care of. That baby was rectified, adjusted. And there was another baby too, never born at some point, unliving in the air, in the sky, flying. So there were these two babies at least, both girls, existing where they shouldn’t have. And one is flying now, pointed in an unknown direction, while the other, the one of two babies who became where they shouldn’t, that one was set down on a stump and adjusted, rectified. That baby was easily unborn at least.

J. A. Tyler is the author of the forthcoming novella Someone, Somewhere (ghost road press) and the chapbooks The Girl in the Black Sweater (Trainwreck Press) and Everyone in This is Either Dying or Will Die or is Thinking of Death (Achilles Chapbook Series). He is also founding editor of mud luscious / ml press and was recently nominated for a Pushcart. Find more info here: www.aboutjatyler.blogspot.com.

A Boy, Falling

by Alex Keegan
93 words

Today, as we flew kites, as we ate ice-cream, a boy fell from the sky. A ploughman ignored the crashing plane, the boy, falling.

I thought, God, let the boy fly. I want more than I have ever asked, I know, but at any moment things will strike the ground. It will be horrible. Is this so much to ask, God, that a boy can fly? I am only suggesting, this, but let the boy live, let him become a man; allow him to smell a woman’s hair, to taste her skin.

Alex Keegan is widely published in print and on-line including Atlantic Monthly Unbound, Mississippi Review, Eclectica and Archipelago. He runs an on-line writing group called Boot Camp Keegan. In December 2008 a collection of his prize-winning stories was published by SALT Publishing, Cambridge, England.


by Paul Griner
99 words


Your incompletely trashed “I’m leaving you” draft.

Leaving first.

Believing that, far enough away, I couldn’t be ditched.

Eight hours, twenty-seven Mai-Tais.

Meeting Sulani on number twenty-three.

Proposing to Sulani.

Marrying Sulani, wearing borrowed blue shorts and a new, painful nose ring on a Bali beach.

The one-eared priest.

The bible-holding, iridescent green monkey.

Calling you, exultant.

A hangover, with open windows and clacking palm trees.

My useless heart, which contracts and expands.

Tears, after Sulani, ear pressed to my chest beneath her warm fanned hair, listened to that two-beat rhythm and asked in accented English, Who’s Sarah?

Paul Griner has published two books with Random House, Follow Me (stories) and Collectors (a novel). His third book, the novel The German Woman, will be out with Houghton Mifflin this June. His work has been translated into half a dozen languages and appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Southeast Review, Bomb, Zoetrope, Story, and Juked, among others. He is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Louisville.


The Matrix Never Stops

By C.C. Petersen
100 words

Race along the corridors of ones and zeroes, moving at the speed of light, never stopping, always searching for meaning, for words, thoughts, ideas, questions, answers, always finding answers and ideas and thoughts and more questions buried in words and images that move evermore across a web of meaning and thought and translight chambers where memes and themes and ideas and thoughts battle it out for space in front of the eyes of users who, in their infinite curiosity, send out more spiders to search out more ideas and images and words and thoughts and themes and memes without end.

C.C. Petersen is a science writer by trade and specializes in astronomy and space science and blogs at: http://www.thespacewriter.com/wp


By Thomas Dean
76 words

My mother went once and never came back.

My father took me there and I prayed, while he sat in the car, his window cracked, and smoked cigarettes. I’d imagine him asleep, the car on fire, but when I returned he was always alert: cigarettes scattered among the gravel beside his door. A smile playing on his lips, he’d always ask, “Found the secret of life yet?”

A breath of ash before I’d say, “Still looking.”

Thomas Dean is a MFA candidate in fiction at the Queens University of Charlotte Low-residency program. He has been previously published in Pens on Fire. He is currently working on an untitled short story collection.

She's Gnawing Solo

By Kent Oswald
99 words

It wasn't bad enough she missed out on love. Sheri Lynn didn't get any barbecue either.

If only she had chosen quicker between the pre-prandial mint cacao chip and the peanut butter swirl there would have been time. (A double dip would have done it.) Instead, she arrived too late at the reunion to bump into high school sweetie Stanley Aaron, who'd given up looking for her. And there was nothing left to eat but cauliflower dip and carrots. An odd metaphor for gluttony or indecision. Or something that could have been a teaching moment in Sheri Lynn's life.

Kent Oswald is a freelance writer (have pay, will write ... anything) and also the producer of The Whinydad Chronicle, whinydad.blogspot.com.

The Penis Has a Muscle

By Alex Keegan
29 words

It is a mistake to think the penis has no muscle or a brain. It wasn’t working out. You stopped loving me, and my penis knew, before I did.

Alex Keegan is widely published in print and on-line including Atlantic Monthly Unbound, Mississippi Review, Eclectica and Archipelago. He runs an on-line writing group called Boot Camp Keegan. In December 2008 a collection of his prize-winning stories is published by SALT Publishing, Cambridge, England.

All Consonants

By David Erlewine
100 words

Will from next door always glances as he strides by.

He glares at Mom’s friend, Amos, whenever he comes to party. Then Will sighs at my closed window and says things like “your mom blows.”

Here he waits for my two decent fingers to assemble magnetized Scrabble letters onto the little device affixed to my chest. It was the oldest model they had; my only gift for stroking out on Meth.

I know he has to get to work bagging groceries but I’m having trouble.

Last week my younger brother stole another letter, the final “u”.

I’m all consonants now.

David Erlewine’s fiction appears or is forthcoming in Tuesday Shorts, Pedestal Magazine, decomP, Monkeybicycle, and a variety of other print/web journals.

His sad little website is www.whizbyfiction.blogspot.com

Surfing the Solar System on an Elliptical Plane

By F. John Sharp
100 words

I'm moving to Pluto. Yes, I'll suddenly be two and a half months old in Pluto years. I'll need a new watch, and my Rigid Tool calendar will only be useful for masturbation, but I'll save money on sun block and cable TV. I'll take a comfortable chair so I can watch as we buzz by Neptune on our jauntily angled orbit. I'll yell "Up Uranus" and giggle. Every time Jupiter gets between me and the sun I'll do a shot. And the nearest I will ever be to you is 2.6 billion miles, which will still seem too close.

F. John Sharp lives and works in the Cleveland, Ohio area. He has been published online and in print, but since his hard drive was wiped and the list of credits is on an external hard drive in another location, he'll leave it at that. If you're dying for the list of credits, email him at fjsharpjr@gmail.com. He is shopping a novel for young adults that he is co-writing with a friend. He is also the fiction editor at www.RightHandPointing.com.