String of Pearls – By Jennifer Walmsley
Micro Fiction / July 26, 2009

On her twenty first birthday, the same day as their first wedding anniversary, James presented Emma with a pearl necklace. They were picnicking in Fosters Wood and all around them dappled sunlight played through spring leaves down onto a bright carpet of yellow Celandines. ‘Formed by angels for an angel,’ he said, fastening the pearl necklace’s silver clasp. Then he kissed the nape of her neck and let her long, brown hair fall around her shoulders. Now more than six decades later, Emma touches those same pearls, remembering. ‘If I don’t return from the war, promise me you will find someone else to love.’ Horror filled her at that unthinkable thought. ‘Promise me, please, Emma,’ he’d insisted. She’d nodded, unable to utter aloud such a promise. James departed the following day. After he left, Emma wore those pearls as a reminder of his love. Like a rosary, she touched each pearl when, every evening, she prayed for her young husband’s safe return. Then one day the necklace broke. Pearls fell and scattered like small frightened creatures. While far away, on a beach in Normandy, James lay mortally wounded. Unaware of his life ebbing away, scrabbling about on hands and knees…

Recession Reverend – By K.J. Hays
Flash Fiction / July 26, 2009

Passing his hand over the masses from his height to hush them, he stood firm beneath a stone that will never roll away. A rock that will never move under a miraculous glow leaving a reformed whore to say: “Jesus.” The man of the collar projected his sermons lavishly to the huddled masses that reached up to him with hands blooming with blisters and puckered their lips for blessed rains and burnished idols of tiny gold things they worship in hope that he might lend them more symbolic clout. In unison the teeming grassland of filthy fingers below him seemed to murmur in a droning tone the one evident mantra that they all showed in their empty cups: “Save us. Save us. Save us.” He held up his hands and opened them so that they might see the Truth. He wanted them to know he had nothing and had nothing to hide. Then he gave a sermon on the suffering of Job full of pretty, pink words so that even a flirtatious sophist would lament the momentary death of Reason at the furtive hand of Aesthetics. When he finished the sermon he had them take meditation. Crows overhead scrambled through…

Confessions of a New York City Street Peddler (Part 1 of 3) – By Dr. Howard Karlitz
Offbeat Writings / July 19, 2009

This is Part 1 of a 3 part posting which will be published over the next few weeks It’s February, 1980, and David Gordon is standing in front of a class of delinquent kids in a South Brooklyn juvenile detention center trying to teach reading. While patiently guiding them through a short story called “Young Pablo Picasso,” his eye is caught by a reproduction of the artist’s flamboyant signature emblazoned across the top of the page. He puts the book down and stares at the lettering, then happens to notice a small blurb in a newspaper lying next to it on his desk announc¬ing an exhibition of Picasso’s work, a major retrospective, scheduled to soon take place at the Museum of Modern Art. It was strange, the signature and show coming together like that. His mind wanders. An idea is taking form. Suddenly it comes to him. Just in time too, because the kids are going bananas and a piece of chalk whizzes past his ear, powder shat¬tering against the green board behind him. That evening, in the safety of his modest suburban home, he announced his plan to his wife. “Jill,” he boasts, “this is it, the big one!…

The End of the World – By Rachel Chew Blakley
Flash Fiction / July 12, 2009

New Year’s Eve, 2999. For months I’ve been worried about this Y3K stuff – going as far as writing a one-page feature about our looming ruin in my self-published zine Fido, which sells for a dollar fifty to a grand total of six of my relatives down in Los Angeles – yet on the eve of doomsday, terror has entirely slipped my mind. The cause for distraction? A Back to the Future marathon on TV. The rabbit ears hoisted under our snipped-out skylight are only good enough to absorb eight channels out of the airwaves, and all but two are Canadian. Even with the loonies and black-eyed hockey and Folgers, to my parents it’s still more appealing than paying for cable. Our fourteen-inch set dictates that I sit no more than two feet away to actually enjoy anything. “Stop hunching over,” my dad says, offering a small bowl of frozen cherries. The bowl is blue and white, something probably picked up in Chinatown. We’d plucked the cherries during the summer from the slouching fruit trees in the backyard, sometimes lazy in the pitting process, and were now rediscovering the succulent dark spheres months after the outdoor thermometer dropped. Once I…

Dental Records – By A.M. Crenshaw
Micro Fiction / July 12, 2009

Charlie collected teeth from dead children and sucked on them and wore them in his mouth and smiled at parents across the street. He came into my house and stroked my sister’s teeth. I told him not to. I said, “I’ll shoot you, Charlie.” Charlie left and, later, did his thing to a dog. Charlie wore fangs for a weekend and haunted the neighbors with his barking and howling. Then one night when my sister cried and yelled for help, I blew Charlie’s head off with a 12-gauge. Took a dentist to identify Charlie’s body. That, eventually, made me smile.   About the Author A.M. Crenshaw A.M.Crenshaw’s work can be found in the “AGON Literary Magazine” and “Swords into Plowshares” publications.

Damon Hill, Doctor Kildare and me – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / July 5, 2009

This morning, due to lack of energy and a complete disregard for the creative process (I’m currently up a gum tree with my gumshoe) I sat down (well, laid down) to watch some old videos. I’m not a fan of DVDs – so shoot me – neither is Ninja, my cat. She can’t eject them from the machine with the same infinite ease she can a video. So, there was I, watching The Diverse Works of Shakespeare and Science Special: The Physics of Ultrasound as one does… what do you mean, absolutely! All right, in between episodes from The Love Boat and House Doctor, an orchestra began to play and lovely though it was it brought back some scary memories of eighteen months ago… Going to sleep while in the background the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is softly playing is a pleasant enough way of entering the land of nod, except, despite what sounded like the woodwind section gearing up for its climax it was far from pleasing and it woke me up with a start. I nearly passed out all over again and thinking about it… I wish I had. Where was I? Not in the circle at the Royal…