Another Mall Shooting by Angela Maracle

It had been five minutes since the last round of gun fire. Tambra breathed shallowly, concentrating to slow her heartbeat. Any noise she made might incite detection, any movement – death. She opened her eyes, lashes brushing against the carpet. From her position behind the counter, she had a partial view of the shoe store. Beyond, the stretch of visible mall appeared empty, but she wouldn’t risk getting up yet; it was safer to wait until police came.

A woman’s hefty legs sprawled a few feet away. One foot modeled a glittery red sandal….the other was bare. A sneaker display hid her upper body. Tambra had been handing her the second shoe when chaos erupted outside the store…running, screaming, a hail of bullets. She’d thrown the sandal and dove behind the counter. The customer hadn’t been as lucky.

Her phone vibrated with a text alert and she gingerly pulled it from her pocket. Slowly, slowly, she brought it to her face. It was her boss, Pauline, who had gone to the food court for coffees just before the incident. She was alive!

Are you okay Tam?

She texted back with trembling fingers. Yes. You? Is it bad out there?

Pretty bad. Any dead people in the store?

Tambra flinched at Pauline’s word choice. One customer, I think.

Shit. Blood on the rug?

Tambra didn’t reply. It sounded like Pauline was in shock. Footsteps echoed in the mall, coming closer, and she curled up tight, hiding her face. If she never saw her husband again she hoped he knew how much she loved him.

“Is anyone here?” a woman’s voice called.

The shooter had definitely been male, so Tambra raised her head and waved. She didn’t dare speak.

The woman hurried in, joining her behind the counter. “You’ve got a dead fat woman in your store.”


“A customer down, like a beached porpoise.”


“Haven’t heard any shots for a while, not sure what’s going on. I work at the hair salon three stores down. It’s a mess in there, so looks like we’ll have the weekend off. Thank God, I need a break.”

Tambra inched away until her feet touched the wall. “There are victims in the salon?”

“Yeah, staff and customers. All dead, or on their way. Hell of a way to get a mini vacation, but I’ll take it.”

“Are….are you all right?”

“Yeah, I dropped the hair dryer and ran like a rat shot in the ass…completely around the mall and back here. Can’t believe how many people got ripped up…it’s crazy. Feel sorry for the custodians.”

She wanted to tell the woman to go away. Her stomach knotted uncomfortably. Maybe shock was a common reaction after witnessing excessive violence. “Is there anyone injured out there that needs help?”

“Probably. Saw a few squirming. Not my problem though, right?”

Tambra sat up and squeezed back against the wall, putting as much distance between her and the woman as possible. She dialed 911 on her phone.

“Who are you calling?”


“I’m sure someone else has already done that. Damn, it’s quiet. Wonder where the shooter is? Hope he gets someone else instead of us.”

The phone slipped from her fingers and she fought back nausea. “What’s wrong with you?”

The woman stood up. “Nothing, why? I’m going back to the salon, get my car keys and get out of here.”

“What about the police? They’ll want to ask you questions. And the shooter…he could be out there….”

“We’d hear him.” She skirted around the counter and Tambra waited to hear her heels clicking on the mall floor. A loud popping sound erupted, followed by a triumphant shout.

“Who else wants a piece of this?” a man yelled.

The phone vibrated and she reached for it, shaking. It was Pauline again.

Crap. How am I supposed to get a coffee when the cashier’s dead? Lol. Hiding in the washroom now. Got someone’s blood on my new skirt.

It couldn’t be Pauline. It had to be someone else with her phone.

Are you there Tam? I should’ve stolen some donuts before I took off. Lol Check my Tweets.

Silence, dense and tactile, weighed down on her. Twenty minutes passed and her muscles protested their immobility.

More gunfire exploded, far off, like fireworks in a neighboring city. How many people would die in this act of violence? Cautious footsteps sounded outside the store and then softened as someone stepped in on the carpet. She strained, listening, and a man stepped around the counter, gun drawn.


She screamed, covering her face with her hands.

“Ma’am, it’s all right. It’s law enforcement. Get up, and put your hands on your head please.”

She stood, legs quivering, and the officer patted her down.

“Did you catch the guy?” Her voice wavered.

“We took the shooter down, and believe he was acting alone. We’re looking for witnesses.

“There must be a lot of people wounded.”

“Yeah, we’ll get to them. First things first. Come with me please.”

She followed him out of the store, sparing a quick glance at the customer she’d been selling red sandals to. “Are ambulances coming?”

“Probably. Had to happen at lunch time, right? Should’ve at least brought my sandwich with me, I’m starving.”

‘I must be dead,’ Tambra thought. ‘Or seriously injured and in a coma. No one would really act like this.’ She pinched the back of her wrist, and it stung. A curious smell of smoke and copper filled her nostrils and she wrinkled her nose in protest.

The woman from the hair salon hung face first over a bench, her feet dangling a few inches from the floor. A small, scarlet puddle darkened the tile beneath her head.

“Oh my God.”

The officer laughed. “Get used to it, there’s lots more.”

And there was. She started straight ahead, but horrors lurked in her peripheral vision…families, elderly couples, employees, all strewn on the floor in frightening montages. A man crawled out of a clothing store dragging his legs behind him, seemingly unaware that one side of his face flapped against his shoulder.

“Help me.”

The cop kept walking. “Ambulance is on its way buddy.”

Tambra rushed toward the man, but the officer grabbed her arm. “Sorry, all survivors are being taken to the restaurant. “

“But that man needs help…”

“He’ll get it.”

She swiped at tears and followed him to the restaurant where a waitress unlocked the sliding door to let them in. Cheers erupted from a small group of people at the bar.

“You made it,” a girl shouted. “Good job.”

“My… boss Pauline is out there, in the washroom by the food court.”

“She’ll be fine,” a guy behind the bar said. “Gunman’s dead now. What’ll it be? Drinks are on the house today.”

“Selfie!” the waitress announced, holding up her camera. “Hey, I should make a Facebook group for us. We can call it ‘Living Legends’ or something.”

Tambra studied the animated faces. Didn’t they realize what was going on? “There are dead kids out there. Are you all crazy?”

The cop touched her shoulder. “Calm down. Have a drink. Everyone needs to chill here for a while until we get a chance to ask questions.”

The waitress let him out, and Tambra turned back to face the survivors. Sirens escalated in the distance and she hoped to God it was ambulances.

The bartender set a glass of ice water on the bar and indicated she should take it. “It’s a good day to be alive,” he said. “The guy behind me in the bank got shot square in head and pinned me under him when he fell. Not cool. Yeah, I don’t actually work here, but what the heck right? I’ll give it a go. Now we just need a volunteer to fry up some burgers in the kitchen.”

‘Don’t go back there,” the waitress said. “Blood everywhere. I slipped in it. It took me five minutes to get it off my hands.”

Tambra found a table in the corner farthest from the bar. Everyone ignored her and proceeded to behave as though they were celebrating someone’s birthday.

She texted Pauline. Police are here. Gunman is down. Survivors are at the restaurant.

Thanks. Will head up there. Can’t believe all the people asking for help. Wow. Help yourself, right?

The waitress let Pauline in when she knocked, and Tambra scrunched down in her seat, trying to be invisible. A few minutes later several policemen arrived.

“Okay, people, we need to take statements quickly. I think I can speak for all my men when I say we just want to wrap this up and go home.”

She slipped over to the bar, and Pauline turned, drink in hand. “There you are girl! Sorry I couldn’t bring you back a coffee.” She laughed, and ran a crimson hand through her hair.

“Are…are the paramedics here?” Tambra asked.

“Yeah,” one of the cops said. “Poor bastards. Would’ve been easier if people had just died, but now they gotta deal with all these screaming, torn up victims. Not fun.”

“What is wrong with you? With everybody? There has just been a massive mall shooting. Are you on drugs or something? Do you even care? You are the most selfish, heartless people I have ever met in my life.”

They stared at her, eyes dull, and she realized she would say no more. She was afraid. After giving her statement an officer escorted her from the restaurant, and then outside. Reporters pushed their mics over police barriers. A hoard of people milled behind them, snapping photos on their phones.

“Did you see anyone actually get shot?” a reporter asked. “What’s the aftermath like? Can you detail the scene inside?”

“How soon do you think the public will be allowed in to shop?”

“Did you witness any looting? I would think that would be the first thing on everyone’s mind…what can we grab and get away with?”

One reporter shoved her mic directly under Tambra’s nose. “Were there dead children?”

She ran to her car, fumbled the key in the lock and fell in. More survivors emerged from the mall, and her pursuers scrambled back to the entrance. The phone vibrated….her husband. Finally, someone sane in the midst of insanity.


“Honey, are you okay? I just heard the news.”

She exhaled, clinging to the safe familiarity of his voice. “Yes. In shock though. It was terrifying…”

He cut her off. “Okay, great. Hey, there’s nothing to eat here. Can you stop and pick something up for dinner on the way home?”

Angela Maracle is a dance studio owner and mother of two. She was placed second in the flash fiction Chest Writing Contest, sponsored by Mike C. Paulu and is currently one of six finalists shortlisted for the 2014 short story contest at She has been published in Microfiction Monday and will be appearing in the September issue of The Rejected Writer. You can follow Angela on Twitter.

man with eyes like a robbed liquor store by Scherezade Siobhan

he will always try to touch you
like he is 8 and pawing
his busted toy soldiers
peeking from a silverfish-scuttle
inside a shoe-box sitting terrified
behind a stack of wrapping
paper and forgotten family albums
he will always dream of you
in shapes smaller than
the tiniest airplanes he crashed
under the tepee of his bedsheets
he will draw your face out from a crowd
– you are his bittersweet, flashlight sun,
when he pulls you close you bruise
your ears against his heartdrum
it sounds akin to a chorus of trashcans
played softly at the hands of early
morning homeless shoveling
dregs of false steps for a loaf
of bread that still crackles a little
his happiness is a piece of cinnamon
toast, a bicycle ride to a lake draped in a poncho of the last snow
he tells you how he thinks his
whole life has been two dogs
breathless in a barking spell
he tells you of the graves he dug
beneath the clay of his own wrists
he looks at you and remembers
a childhood he never had
this is why every night you lie
next to him and watch the phantoms
of those two dogs slowly disappear
inside an unstirred sleep
this is why when he puts his hand
on your chest, you learn that love
is a moment of inflection at which
the vastness of air turns
into smallness of breath
and how much you need to live
and how quickly you could die

and desire is more than a waiting room

between departures

Scherezade Siobhan is a Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry and her work has been published in over two dozen magazines including The Newer York, Danse Macabre, Whalesound, Looseleaf Tea, Mixedfruit, Bluestem Magazine and Gutter Eloquence etcetra.

Cantaloupe by Greg Letellier

Years after ol’ Georgie boy finally went through with it, you find yourself roaming around his house with a soft-footed step so as not to scare yourself by the wheezing floors as you penetrate the rooms with a kind of feline steadiness you never possessed when you and George were seven and you used to dash down the halls into the parlor because the bulb in your room gave out and your father left John Carpenter’s Halloween II playing in his bedroom while he left to check on the pastrami and sautéed onions in pans on the stove and all you saw, the image that stuck with you, was Michael Myers’ bone-white face taking over the whole screen like a close-up photo of the moon. That face stayed with you for a long time. When you first masturbated, tiny pearls of your own come nestled in the dark blue shower mat, you saw his pale, prosthetic skin staring up at you. When you graduated, and Grandma L came to see you, you saw his knife glinting in the May sun. You were once too drunk in the haze of a college Halloween party, and across the room, Michael Myers in a short dress tilted his beer bottle at you and said, “You’re in my Chem class, right?” Memories are assholes in the way that they haunt and give hope and scare and repair then scare again just as you think you have forgotten about how when your parents found ol’ Georgie dangling and bloated like fleshy chandelier your mother dropped the paper bag of groceries and cried and your father cried and scrambled into the kitchen to find a note, but only found the grocery list that they left behind, remembering that the one item they forgot (because he knew they forgot something) was the cantaloupe. Can’t: the inability to do. Ah: a sigh of breath after a gulp of lemonade. Lope: to run in long, bounding strides. Those three syllables are murderous in how they remind you of George: how he never liked to eat that glossy dusk-toned melon and how he never had a sudden marriage because he never really fell in love because he was always too paralyzed with anxiety while you left home for a life of roaming which didn’t stop even at the white door as you make your way through into his house and realize that it is you not him that haunts and the realtor follows you and makes a [click click click] sound with his pen and tells you about the house although you aren’t listening because you know it is a house heavy with absence and silence and dread and the only thing that makes it alive is the [thump thump thump] of your boots against the wooden stairs as you make your way back down through the house to the white door and out onto the lawn where the realtor like a shadow follows you to your car and smiles at you and asks you the final question he will ever ask you and you turn and look at his skull and whisper, “I’m not interested.”

Greg Letellier is the author of the short story collection Vacationland. His stories, essays, and poems are featured or forthcoming in DUM DUM ZINE, Bartleby Snopes, Extract(s), Poydras Review, Luna Luna, and elsewhere. 

Follow Greg on Twitter.

Meditations of an Aging Whore by Shannon Barber

“Call me a pig.”

I hate this guy.

He is just like every other shit fuck dudebro I see.

“You are a filthy fucking pig.”

At least the dirty panties he has on are cute.

“I hate your pink porcine shit fuck face honkey.”

I boot him in his lace covered ass. Now I’m on autopilot, a few more swats, epithets and he’ll jizz in his drawers and I will be 700 bucks in the pink.

Later, after he’s gone, I have the hotel room to myself. I’ll order some Chinese food, balance the books and zone out on cable TV.

Two servings of extra spicy pepper beef, one beer and two reality shows later I’m ready.

Two more White guilt fueled domme sessions, one sissy, three more Bad Mommy scenes and I’ll be able to breathe for a couple of months.

I’m so close.

With my rent paid up for another few months by Daddy Moneybags I’ll be golden and in new shoes.

When I was just a little hard scrabble ho, I wish I hadn’t been so afraid of the weirdos with deep pockets.

Oh well, shit in one hand wish in the other.

Sometimes when I clock my ever downward heading tits and the start of crow’s feet around my eyes I worry.

Am I too old?

Or, am I just getting to be perfect?

Before I can drown in self-pity my phone chirps.

Daddy Moneybags texts me begging for titty pictures and letting me know he dropped a hefty deposit into my account to “help with my lady problems” – his code for PMS and my need for meat and new shoes.

My worries about aging and my own marketability dissolve away as I peel off my jammies to reward my patron.

For right now, I’m okay. I’m safe. I’m perfect.

Shannon Barber is an author from Seattle, Washington where she lives with her partner and a small collection of oddities. She is an avid writer, reader and blogger. She has a new self care book out and can also be spotted at Luna Luna Magazine, on Facebook and Twitter.

The News by Andrew Collard

A word is written underneath her naval. I bend to see clearly but my head is blocked by phantom corners. Squinting only smears—I reach, restrained, and know the neckline pull of fingers on my pulse, the vertigo of wanting.

The word is five weeks long, but it’s rumor. I echo what’s pronounced and stumble over growing syllables. The ink won’t dry though; it spreads to palms, needs reading. She rests on elocution like an undiscovered bone.

She is whole where I remember less warmth, hovering unseen like a painter over canvas. I press myself against her blindly like a wall against the wind, waiting for a word to make my own.

Andrew Collard lives in Madison Heights, MI with wife/cats/Outrageous Cherry albums. He attends Oakland University and kind of wishes he had a pet lobster.

I Never Said I Wanted to be President by Moneta Goldsmith

Yuputka, noun. A Japanese term of endearment meaning ‘the phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.’

In my life I’ve been with two Lindsays, one Kendrick, two Sarahs. I’ve heard oh yeahs and ooh babies, let me turn over, let me be on top of you. I’ve had one Jessica, a Shulameth, four Katelyns/Caitlins/Katies. Or some variety therein. I have screamed out ‘mother’ once (that was a mistake). I’ve let her turn over or be on top of me. Once I almost let a girl turn me over.

I never said I wanted to be president when I grow up.

I’ve been slapped and pinched until I was dizzy, and swung at harder than I was ready for. I have finger-banged girls who were scared, fondled dry clothes until they were wet dishrags. I got drunk and didn’t get up, and lied that it never happens. I got naked and yelled at on the streets of Denver; bird-dogged in the rain on the streets of Denver, in a lake in Maine with swimming fireflies. Under a skirt with a flashlight once—that was second grade.

I never said I wanted to be president.

I’ve had it in a movie theater, in a hammock, a Taurus, a Rav4, a pair of Priuses – that was a party. I’ve been with white trash, heard words like mean-mugged and motorboat and popsicle-raid. I’ve had three actresses. All of them rich, and melted into the same person.

I met the first lady once. She wasn’t so great up close.

I heard her make stirring speeches about kids and food and jazz.
I watched her give tired hugs and smiling handshakes.

When it was my turn to shake her hand I gave it a big squeeze and whispered,

‘Sheraton room 766.’

I told her, ‘I know what it’s like to want to be a man.’

Moneta Goldsmith was the 2013 Grand Prize winner of Spark Anthology’s poetry contest. His prose & poetry can be found in such places as Sparkle & Blink, Under the Influence, & Best New Writing 2014. Most recently, he co-founded the popular lit mag & reading series ‘When in Drought‘, which is based in Los Angeles.

The Lovely Fire by Katharine Wheeler-Dubin

He came out to let me know it was okay, that everything was cool. He said it wasn’t such a big deal as he first thought, despite the mess, despite the ash. He looked at me smiling, told me to go clean up, go home. My face was covered in soot. I had been sitting on his steps all night, waiting for him to come outside, waiting
and waiting. I didn’t know you were still here, he said. Aren’t your parents worried? Told me he had stuff to do, things to take care of, maybe he’d call me later. I stood, one foot on the cement, the other on the grass, watching him go. My parents don’t give a shit.
The first thing I did yesterday morning was count the lines growing from the corners of his eyes. I pretended to be asleep once he woke up, watched him move around the room kicking aside cans from the night before, getting dressed. He didn’t look at me, and he forgot to kiss me goodbye and I sat up from the covers only when he was gone. I was feeling shy that morning. I took a sick day from school because I thought he’d be back
but he didn’t come back until seven. When it was getting dark, I got an idea. It would be lovely, lighting a fire, lovely for him. He works too much, but you can’t tell because he hardly shows it and never complains. The metal grating covering his fireplace took a couple minutes to yank off, but I knew how much he’d appreciate it. Men appreciate small favors.
A fire takes a flame, breath, and fuel to make it grow. I had a lighter in my pocket and he had plenty of newspaper lying around, plus wood from the set he had been building for the musical. It was easy, getting the fire started in that old fireplace. The smoke filled up the room so sweet, like it was a campfire, the flames dancing and dancing. He came home, his car making a crunching sound in the driveway, and as he opened the gate, I ran out to meet him. Welcome home! I flounced into his arms. Men love girls who flounce.
You’re still here? You didn’t leave? I stood there smiling and he walked with me into his house, getting ready to relax with his favorite girl after a long day. Then he was yelling and cursing and beating at the fire with his shirt. What the fuck! What the fuck! He ran to the kitchen and grabbed a half-empty can of beer, threw it over my lovely fire. Get the fuck out! Get the fuck out!
I went outside and sat on the steps, waiting for him, waiting for him to let me know if
it was alright, if this was alright. I look old for my age, and my parents don’t give a shit.
Offer me a drink, I asked him quiet, like you did last night, after rehearsal. When
everyone had gone, and it was only me and you.

Katie Wheeler-Dubin (aka Hot Wheels), enjoys watching, from her front window, young women twerking on cars. Having moved to New Orleans for the summer from the Bay Area, she is learning how to move in the heat, chronicled in her forthcoming memoir, I Went to Sleep Drunk and Woke Up Hungry. This spring of 2014, she directed Quiet Lightning’s first short, Combustion. Read and watch Katie’s work on her site.

Someone To Tell It To by Jean-Luc Bouchard

“I looked him right in the eyes and said, ‘You’ve got to be honest with me. I can take all the jabs in the world but I won’t take you being dishonest.'”
“I looked right at him and said it. Do you know how many cigarettes I found in his coat?”
“How many?”
“Haha oh God.”
“And I think to myself, ‘How long has this been going on?’ Because, you know, he quit way back before—”
“Right, I know.”
“Well so this whole cigarette situation was just the final straw. I said, ‘That’s it.’ I went into the living room and he’s just lying on the couch facing the TV and I’m standing there just looking at him like, ‘Hello?’”
“Haha, yeah.”
“It’s ridiculous. I looked him right in the eye and said it was ridiculous.”
“It is.”
“This cigarette thing, the lying, and he has the nerve to complain about the house. I get it, he works, I don’t expect him to help much. Give me a hand when he can, you know, little stuff?”
“Of course.”
“And so he’s been giving me crap lately about the house, and I’m telling him, ‘Listen, if you want the house a certain way, you do it, okay? Because I’m doing what I’m doing, but if you want it done differently, then you do it.’”
“‘Be thankful for what I do already before you start complaining to me about the damn shower drain.’”
“Do you like your coffee?”
“Do you?”
“No, it’s woody. Doesn’t it taste woody?”
“Yeah, it’s not very good, is it?”
“It tastes like when you leave soda for too long in one of those cheap fast food cardboard cups.”
“It does!”
“Try to flag the waiter down if you see him. But anyway. All this comes up when I confronted him about the cigarettes. That he has the nerve to complain to me and act like I’m the bad guy and he’s the good guy when he’s being dishonest.”
“Like he’s always in the right?”
“I’m fed up. And I’ll tell you something else that’s been a problem: he’s getting fat.”
“Is he?”
“Oh yes. Tremendously fat. He’s gained 70, 80 pounds in the last couple weeks, at least.”
“He’s eating enough for a small army and refuses to admit it. I try to tell him nicely that he should watch what he’s eating but he won’t listen. It’s making him slow, though, all the weight. I see him huffin’ and puffin’ going up the stairs we have out front.”
“Oh no, really?”
“He is! And we only have two steps out front, so…”
“Mm right.”
“I don’t know where it’s coming from. You know me, I’ve always been perfectly content with my cup of coffee and bowl of saltines for dinner, but he’s been demanding we eat more and more elaborate meals. Goodness knows where he even heard of Chicken Kiev in the first place. And…”
“And I…oh, I don’t think I should…”
“No…haha, no…”
“Oh you have to!”
“Well…haha, well his weight’s really making him sluggish…in the bedroom.”
“Ha! Oh!”
“Yeah, haha, I’ll ask him, you know, oh come on, you know, every now and then, ‘Hey, how about coming to bed with me?’ Haha right?”
“Haha! Well?”
“And he’ll grunt, ‘Eh, sure!’”
“And it takes him about an hour to roll off the couch, and then another 30 or 40 minutes to get up on his feet, and the walk to the bedroom damn near takes him half a day.”
“And in all this time I’ve gone to sleep and woken up and dropped the kids at school…”
“So there’s that!”
“Ha, my goodness…”
“I’m saying…”
“It’s all of this, it all adds up, you know? And it really gets to me, it wears me down. And then he gets the nerve, with all of this going on, the nerve to look me in the eyes and lie about the cigarettes. And oh! Oh! On top of all this? On top of this? Do you know what else?”
“He hits me! He hits me mercilessly!”
“It’s true! Last night he took a bat and caved in the side of my head.”
“I was going to say it looked different, but I wasn’t sure.”
“No, it is! It’s from the bat! He thinks this relationship is all take and no give, that he can just keep asking for more and more and more and I’ll just do whatever he wants whenever he wants it. And then he gets mad when I say how I feel?”
“Ugh…so unfair…”
“Very unfair! And it’s not like I didn’t have to make sacrifices for this marriage, oh no no no! Three months ago, when his legs began to fuse together and swell like a balloon, did I complain? Did I tell him, ‘You know, hon, the bubbling sound your skin makes keeps me up at night,’ or, ‘You know what, dear, it’s a big pain in the butt trying to squeeze you through the door now,’ did I?”
“No you didn’t.”
“No! I didn’t! And meanwhile he’s smoking again and he’s cheating on me—”
“Oh, didn’t I mention?”
“Oh, you’ll love this.”
“I can’t even…”
“So it all starts when I was washing the toaster. I was having a hell of a time getting it clean. I mean, it was taking me four times as long to clean it as it normally would. I had to get my arms like this just to reach around it, and then I’d have to bring them all the way back to spritz the rag with cleaner. It was a pain.”
“Well then I realized, ‘Hey, this isn’t our toaster.’ Do you know what it was? A brand new dishwasher, chrome plating and everything, sitting right in the middle of my kitchen.”
“So I inspect the thing, because I had no idea where it came from, and I find this envelope taped to the side of it. And it’s addressed to you-know-who.”
“So naturally I tear it open—”
“—and inside is this disgusting letter from someone named Nikki.”
“Oh it was terrible, the dirtiest thing…And pictures!”
“Oh yes! Hundreds of Polaroids, spilling out onto my floor. I had to swim into the living room for air.”
“Oh how awful.”
“She had breasts like watermelons, out to here! And maybe eighteen years old. Maybe. At the oldest.”
“And she signs the letter with, ‘Because I remembered, last time we were in the throes of mind-blowing sensual pleasure, that you said you needed a new dishwasher. Until next time, Nikki.’”
“So you can see why I’m in the state that I’m in.”
“Of course. I’m amazed how well you’re taking all of it. I’d be a mess.”
“Well, thank you for listening.”
“Oh of course, anytime.”
“I know it was a lot of ranting and venting.”
“No no it’s fine.”
“This coffee tastes like sawdust.”
“Yes, it’s not very good.”
“Wanna pay and then we’ll head outside for a smoke?”
“Yeah sounds good.”

Jean-Luc Bouchard is a writer living in New York whose short fiction has appeared in Specter, Umbrella Factory, 100 Word Story, Eastlit, Danse Macabre, and Blotterature. He is a graduate of Vassar College, where he studied English, Music, and Asian Studies. You can check out Jean-Luc’s website, or follow him on Twitter.

My Life and Medieval Times by Howie Good

There’s a new exhibit at the museum. Many odd items are on display – hair from the heads of madmen, baby clothes that were worn by a miniature pinscher, a jar of eyeball jell. The visible has become fugitive, taking a cue from the language that birds invented to preserve their secrets. Those of us waiting in line avoid any discussion of what is art. We all must share one handkerchief. It’s like watching TV with the sound turned off. The real content lies elsewhere, perhaps with the falcons that feast on the crows feasting on the bodies of hanged criminals.

Howie Good’s latest book of poetry is The Complete Absence of Twilight (2014) from MadHat Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely, who does most of the real work.

Transmogrification by Bruce Harris



War changed him. Alcohol and drug abuse, petty robberies, assaults, run-ins with
the law too numerous to mention comprised a police record intestine long. He
returned commutated. That was the plan.


That was the plan. He returned commutated. Alcohol and drug abuse, petty
robberies, assaults, run-ins with the law too numerous to mention comprised a
police record intestine long. War changed him.


No war.


No plan.

Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type.