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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Price Increase – By John Bruce
Flash Fiction / January 25, 2009

Digital Discipline Technologies, which everyone refers to by its abbreviation DDT, has, like most such places, a company cafeteria in its world headquarters building. It’s proud of its cafeteria. It has a variety of ethnic foods, and it’s been designed to give employees little alcoves where they can eat with a sense of privacy and thereby reduce the stress they build up while working at DDT. In fact, it’s been cited as one of the fac...

Helicopters, Volcanoes and Lakes – By firefly
Flash Fiction / January 18, 2009

*This story won the SSL Writing Forum – Contest #3* “Not another cloudy day to be flying this bloody helicopter for the sightseers,” growled Jose. “Seems to me, every time we have one of these tours lately, the weather is foul.” He had worked for a major airline and was one of the top pilots for many years and his income had been one to envy. The sacrifices he made far outweighed the advantages of the job. No wife or children f...

To Am-Bush Or Not To Am-Bush – By Jean Blasiar
Flash Fiction / December 28, 2008

In 2005, out of a senior class of 30, Jennifer Torres was one of two voted “Best Debaters of the Year”. The other one was her twin, Sam Torres. Debating had always been a family pastime in the Torres household. Mister Torres had encouraged differing opinions since the children were very young, sometimes to the extreme, at the dinner table. Though never among Mister Torres worst nightmares did he dream that this innocent family pastim...

Body At The Beach – By Christine A. Kirchoff
Micro Fiction / December 28, 2008

*Winner of the SSL Writer’s Forum – Micro Fiction Writing Prompt* The long walk through the park was serene. Coming upon the beach at the bay was even better. I sat for hours at a time here. Watched the waves crash, the boats sail by, my book seemed to always be forgotten and left as I watched the sights. Today however I stumbled across something a bit shocking. A dead body lay in the sand. The blue lips of a beautiful woman th...

The Christmas of 1933 – By Grace Gannon Rudolph
Flash Fiction / December 21, 2008

I’m seventy-five-years old and live in a nursing home but I remember 1933 and that week before Christmas as though it was yesterday. Men huddled in empty box cars or stood in breadlines, hobo villages sprang up and hungry people knocked at back doors in search of food. Today people jump out of offices with golden parachutes. Back then people just jumped out of office windows. My parents thought the Great Depression was the beginning ...

Christmas Eve – By Andrew W.B. Smith
Micro Fiction / December 21, 2008

I’m in the top bunk because I’m the oldest and a boy. My sister sleeps in the bottom bunk because she’s a girl and a year younger than me. I’ve got a stone hot water bottle and push it to the bottom of the bed to warm my feet on. Mummy says I’ll get chillblains doing that. My sister hugs her rubber hot-water bottle. I turn over and pull the window curtain to one side. I can’t see out the window because of the frost flowers on the gla...

Rudolf and Rebecca – By stonefly
Flash Fiction / December 14, 2008

“Rudolf, do you love me? Do you really love me?””Of course I love you Rebecca. Oh Rebecca, why haven’t I told you more often? I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…tell me when to stop…I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…” Rebecca laughed with glee. “Don’t stop, don’t ever stop.” “Actually I have to, ‘cause I gotta get back to the North ...

Older Women – By Joshua Scribner
Flash Fiction / November 30, 2008

“To answer your question, yes, I am gay. Why not? I mean, aren’t you so hot no straight man could resist you? So why don’t you just believe what you need to believe and go away. You’re probably scaring away someone I might want to be around.” The little blonde with the massive chest hopped off the barstool and scampered out the door like a field mouse retreating to a hole in the ground. Tony ignored the glares of several men, w...

The Nude In The Bathroom – By Mary J. Breen
Flash Fiction / November 16, 2008

I’m not sure I remember where their house is. I know we go along 12th, and then- I know where we turn. I’ll tell you. Good. So Jane, before we get there, I heard you on the phone telling Margaret that you hate that painting in our bathroom. Is this true? All this time and you never said anything? So, tell me: why do you hate it? I told you I wasn’t keen on it when we had the bathroom renovated. I told you the colours were wrong, and ...

Belly Timber – By T.R. Healy
Flash Fiction / November 9, 2008

“You about ready to get this rascal out of here?” Irv, the manager of Wolford’s Piano and Organ Company, asked his lead mover. Clyde shook his head as he walked around the enormous Steinway, which was wrapped in three thick moss green blankets. Its legs were removed and also wrapped in blankets. “You know you’ve got a good forty-five minute drive to the cruise boat?” “I know,” he said, making sure the straps were secure. “The sooner ...