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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The Cost of a Baby – By Yolande Pienaar
Micro Fiction / October 26, 2008

Jim walks down the long empty passage, the scent of antiseptics overwhelming in his nostrils. Number eight, number six. He glances down at the small card in his hand. Mrs. Robson is in room two. Three more to go. He walks past an open door and flicks his gaze inside. Four white hospital beds line the wall. A woman sits up, gasping for air while clutching a bundle to her ample chest. He forces his gaze forward. Number three. He is clo...

Love of the Game – By Mary McDonald
Flash Fiction / October 12, 2008

Whenever you smell leaves burning, your mind immediately thinks of autumn and the game. Sometimes, in the spring, when a neighbor burns off the winter’s accumulation of weeds and scrub, your heart beats a little faster as the adrenaline courses through your veins. It’s a Pavlovian response and you feel silly knowing that there are many months to go before your players will don their pads. But still, sometimes you find a pile of leave...

There’s Always Tomorrow – By Guy Cousins
Micro Fiction / August 3, 2008

So I guess I’m still alive, that’s the main thing. What is pain anyway? Surely no more than a state of mind – an internal reaction to an external action. I can handle this. I don’t have to say goodbye. You’re gone. Wiped. F*** off. But you don’t see my tears as I unfold your note and read it once more. You don’t see me sliding down the wall until I’m small in the corner, the note crumpled in my hand, your words breaking my hear...

The Tramp – By Daryl Baldwin
Micro Fiction / July 20, 2008

Bill looked like a circus clown; walking with a short stoop and slow shuffle in those oversize shoes made children laugh. Layers of clothes and the Columbo style coat hid his small frame from the world. I remember the first time I ever saw him. I came out of school; running to the gate where my mum stood waiting. It was a ritual to go straight to the sweetshop for a quarter of pink coloured bonbons. As we came out of the shop and tra...