Mrs Murchison met the man from Vienna on a train. She was leaving the city where she had spent the day at her granddaughter’s fourth birthday party, and the train had just pulled away from the station. She hadn’t said anything to her daughter, but she wasn’t comfortable on trains. It wasn’t a physical thing – the jolting motion she rather liked – it was the sense of being trapped there, hurtling along at a terrific speed, but held still, at th...

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Bean, a nickname which has stuck longer than its origin, sits in front of a small black laptop lying on the kitchen table. An empty bottle of Gilbey’s gin lies on its side in the window sill, aimed at a silhouetted spider plant. The spider plant shoots stems and leaves relentlessly at the hapless bottle. Past the glib Gilbey’s bottle and beyond the window pane, sits an empty football stadium. Bean stares blindly at the computer screen and then...

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Lorna didn’t want to be an apartment mom. Not in Birch Point. Tommy, her ex, started this whole thing. There was a woman they would see around town that he started calling Apartment Mom. They both thought of her as a bit of a fuck-up. Although they knew nothing about her, except somehow Tommy knew she lived in an apartment, a rarity in Birch Point.   After the divorce Tommy confided reluctant lust for Apartment Mom. His not so reluctant lust w...

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Nick sat in his usual booth by the window that overlooked the highway. He watched the the cars race past each other while he sipped his coffee and ate a raisin bagel. The newspaper in front of him had the usual trash of headlines of crime and car accidents. This one murdering this one. That one robbing that one. What a bunch of losers in this town. Time to stand up and take charge just like a true spartan warrior, Nick thought to himself. Nick...

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We’re at the doorway to her apartment, her key entering the lock. And no, I’m not going to make the obvious double entendre quip. But this is do or die time. It’s now or never and all that jazz. God, I’m so nervous. I can’t believe I’m actually going to go through with this. As she opens the door, I move in closer than I’ve ever dared invade her personal space. “It’s been a nice night,” I say. “Yeah, it has been.” Inside her apartment now. “To...

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Perry got the slip for where the next Pizza Palace pizza was getting delivered: Jackson Raynor. His old high school principal. Principal Jackson Raynor, who wouldn’t let Perry attend his own high school graduation last year because of his poor attendance record. That bastard Principal Raynor. And his bastard family. The Pizza Palace had a rat problem and kept rat poison in the manager’s office. Perry sprinkled some poison on the Mega Meat pie ...

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Pablo grips a bottle of booze he managed not to drink last night. A block away Miguel and Niña trail pre-school kids who are joined by a tether and are blocking the sidewalk. The children are noisy and joyful. Their smiles glitter under cloudy skies. This is Pablo’s favorite time of day, a modest slice of time when he’s drunk from the night before, but not drunk enough. Bright sun breaks over the Verranzo Bridge, southeast light making its way...

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“You might feel a little pinch.” That’s how it starts and I turn my head to the right. I never can watch the needle go in, but I look back as soon as she snaps the band free of my bicep and tells me to unclench my hand. The blood fills the glass vial in steady waves of thick pumps. It’s so red, so final and I know. This test will determine it. Pass or Fail. Live or Die. Like the thumb of an emperor, it comes down to this. “I didn’t even study,...

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I take the pizza box out of the bag. I hand it to Man #3. He opens up the box. He looks at me suspiciously. He ordered pepperoni and pineapple and if it isn’t just how he likes it, he’ll blame me. I know the type. Man #3 seems satisfied. I smile. I even got the pizza to him early this time. He digs into his pockets. “How much is it, again?” he asks. “13 bucks,” I reply. He takes out $15 and puts it in my hand. “Keep the change.” He walks insid...

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It was such a lovely dream, too. My first dream about Sadie, how could it be anything but? So rife for pseudo-Freudian psychoanalysis, everything a metaphor for my fears and desires, my excitement and my frustration. The dream started with me at work, caught in a playful argument with my fellow workers about whether or not my dream girl actually had any interest in me, especially seeing as she hadn’t shown much. Then to the amazement of myself...

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Circles – By T. Paul Buzan
Flash Fiction / December 20, 2009

On some nights in the lambent, moonlit air shadows of tall pines and burial mounds seem to dance and move volitionally all along the mountain. They tumble and chase one another like children or young animals at play. There are stories that tell of those who long ago tended the warning beacons for which this mountain is named now wandering here after death – restless spirits waiting to be reborn. On nights when the shadows tumble and ...

Parlez-vous Deutsch? – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / December 6, 2009

As a language, German doesn’t do it for me. I think it’s both ugly and guttural. I didn’t speak German as a child despite growing up in a household consisting of one parent originating from north London and the other, Berlin. I might look upon it more favourably if I could speak it. I’m just miffed because I can’t. My vocal dexterity is fair to some my written German is non-existent I can write my name and that’s your lot. Although, ...

Damon Hill, Doctor Kildare and me… still? – By Rosemary Bach-Holzer
Offbeat Writings / November 22, 2009

Part One I’m supposed to enlighten you with an update? My fault, I suppose, for leaving my previous account on a real cliffhanger. What do you mean, not that you noticed! Hmm… I’m no longer in hospital. I made my escape, that is, I discharged myself after one night. Not on my list of my most favourite places in the world especially when having to share a room with the woodwind section of not the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Did I ev...

The Gorilla – By Adam Graupe
Flash Fiction / November 22, 2009

It was my first day on the job as a clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the line stood about twenty people deep. I looked over to a Gorilla who sat at his desk. This Gorilla was at least fifty pounds overweight and wore glasses that constantly slipped down the bridge of his nose. There was one other worker in our branch, a chimp of about 30. I never figured out what the chimp’s job was as he usually sat in a corner next to...

Winds of Change, Inc. – By Omar Gheith
Flash Fiction / November 8, 2009

Yesterday, a young man came by my house and asked if I’d like to participate in a revolution. His organization had been going from door to door in all of the significant neighborhoods, he explained, collecting signatures. He asked me if I was outraged. “I guess I could be happier,” I mused. At this, his face beamed. “I feel your woe, friend, I feel your woe.” He handed me a clipboard, which was attached to a good thick stack of paper...

Confident Bastard – By B. Collette Davis
Flash Fiction / November 1, 2009

I introduced my co-worker to a prying website dubbing itself as a public search engine. The virtual nuisance supplies addresses and telephone numbers of almost anyone who is unknowingly in demand. My co-worker began her exploration: a lost class mate, an ex-boyfriend, finally, her father. She delayed her enthusiasm, saving the person she desired most in this world for last. The website humiliated her. It provided the general public w...

Swingle Limes – By J. Keegan
Micro Fiction / November 1, 2009

Go out for poms. Drivers license. An only family graduation party. Crappy grassland university. Communications major. Want ads. No job and having to live at home. Having to waitress forever. Marrying a dud. 1200 square foot house. 2.2 children. Sorority sisters on Facebook. Husband’s affair at the office with a younger, thinner woman. Trying to pluck out gray hairs. Root canal. So Virginia Slims, this is postmodernism? Spaceship land...

Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard – By Thomas Gray
Flash Fiction / October 25, 2009

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness, and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds: Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower The moping owl does to the moon compla...

Sucking In Magic – By Carolyn Belcher
Flash Fiction / October 18, 2009

I walk down the empty street. The house is in darkness. The windows stare back at me as if to say, ‘Go now. Don’t be a ghost, haunting these rooms.’ I am an unloved, unlovely woman who… who… Gina wouldn’t have understood that her words were as good as a punch in the belly, a punch that doubled me over, and left me gasping for breath, for all she had done was suggest that I throw away the earring board, and sell my earrings at a car b...

When the Phone Rings – By Sydney Rende
Micro Fiction / October 18, 2009

She knows it’s him when the phone rings. It’s the redundant, sing-song tone she’s been dreading since the last time he called. She doesn’t want to answer; but she knows if she doesn’t, it won’t stop. The painful tune will clog her ears and permeate the veins in her brain until finally, she gives in, because he never does. So she picks it up, but she doesn’t say hello. That, she leaves to him. “Mommy,” she hears him whisper. She sighs...