Burned Boy – by Kevin Stadt
Micro Fiction / June 28, 2009

The man pulls in, parks, and takes the paper out from his bag again. A shiny hyperbolized character born of corporate imagination, all the eerier in its goal of children, ogles him knowingly. This is the only thing I’m good at. So what if turns out I suck at it? Why write “we need to talk” unless… He walks through the glass doors, brought home to learned smells long mastered, and stops to count money before taking his place in line. Damn. I can’t ask her for more, either. Worked full time with full time school and still had better grades than me. Cameras, computers, minimum wages, theoretical hierarchies, unguessed mercenary compliance professionals. He orders predictably nor does he feel good about it. Yeah, this’ll help a lot. Fatter’n hell. Fat and fucking hairy. And sweaty. Shit. Transporting this meal of value to the timed plastic chair and with a view of the parking lot full of cars redeemed for this very project, he checks his watch, the division and progression of change. She’s probably almost done moving out right now. Bet her mom’s there. Lovin that shit. He begins the tiny preparations left to him-the opening, pulling, poking, salting….

Incendiary Reunion – By David Siegel Bernstein and Susanne Shay
Flash Fiction / June 28, 2009

The explosion lit up the Philadelphia night sky for blocks. “Oh shit!” I yelled, not because of any fear of injury, (we’d gotten everybody off the boat at the first sign of flame below-deck, and Philly’s finest firemen were en route), but because my security deposit for the boat had just gone up in smoke. A couple of weeks ago, it had seemed like such a good idea-at least to my brothers. That makes it their fault. Right? Now before you answer, remember I’m the cute, naïve little sister (even if I do earn more than all of them put together. Corporate lawyer, you know). But still, cute, naïve, I’m sure there are a few more adjectives I could add. You get the idea. Now let me tell you what happened. They said, let’s rent a boat for dad’s 60th birthday party. I said sure. They said, let’s fly in his service buddies for a reunion. I said sure. They said, where’s your checkbook? I said, huh? But I paid. That was my first mistake. When my brother Jack (he’s the oldest, but not wisest of us) found the boat at the Delaware Avenue boat rental slips, he had called…

Duality – By RD Armstrong
Micro Fiction / June 14, 2009

Manx stared at the wall. The pictures of people and places and some things covered it like wallpaper. The pictures looked vaguely familiar but he wasn’t sure why. He liked the arrangement of them and there was a certain association that made them flow, as if there was an inherent, evolving theme to their arrangement. In fact, the whole room had a kind of accidental charm to it, as if the random placement of the items had a logical and subtle purpose. He realized that this room was really found art, an accidental architecture whose simplicity innocently disguised its pragmatic functionalism. He stepped to the center and appraised the room. This is nice, he thought. And it was. And then he realized why it was so nice. It was nice because it was his room, in his house, on his street, in his town. And very slowly, like a winter thaw, it dawned on him that he must be out of his fucking mind! Manx stood in the center of the room, a look of stupid wonder spreading across his face like gossip at a beauty parlor. How could this have escaped his attention. Was he really losing his mind…

The Porcelain Puzzle – By Larry Centor
Flash Fiction / June 14, 2009

Two of the three urinals had not been flushed. Naturally, I used the third, which happened to be on the left – and flushed. Then, acting from some sort of temporary compulsive neurotic disorder, I flushed the other two, something I would not normally do. Which got me to wondering. Who had used those other two urinals? Had two individuals walked in together, unzipped, urinated in unison, rezipped or not, and exited together? It was certainly possible. Or, more interestingly, had one man used both urinals, pausing in mid-stream to switch from one to the other? Then rezipping, or not, left the men’s room satisfied he had compounded the possibilities. It was also possible. He could also, of course, have used the lefthand urinal first, paused, flushed, then moved on to the other two, diabolically leaving the latter two unflushed. And then there was the question of which order the urinals had been used or not used. If all three had been used by one slightly noodled person, there were six possible combinations – left, center, right; left, right, center; center, right, left; center, left, right; right, left, center; right, center, left. All of which would have involved quite a…

Your Diner – Grant J. Bergland
Offbeat Writings / June 7, 2009

You know the place. It is a vintage diner with stainless steel on the walls, bright red vinyl booths, and a percolating jukebox. Or it has cracked leather seats, patched with spiderwebs of duct tape and laminated menus with prices whited out and redrawn with unsteady lines. It is in a bustling city with people marching outside like frenzied ants. It is alone by the side of the road as if the highway gave birth to it. It is a diner in the east that serves scrapple, or in the west with a breakfast burrito, in New England with fried clams any time of day, or in the south with grits and gravy. Wherever it is, every diner has a counter. That’s what makes it a diner and not a restaurant. You can sit alone there. Diners are made for eating by yourself, they serve you with no questions asked- there’s no “are you waiting for someone?” or “let me get this extra place setting out of the way.” Nope. Without a word the waitress turns over your coffee cup and fills it. You remember how you read somewhere that the oldest diners were born outside of twenty-four hour factories…