A warm breeze swept along the water as the old lady and her hulking adult son wheeled the food cart onto the river path. A puff of steam rose from the cauldron as the old woman removed a sweaty lid and stirred the broth. Her gigantic son set up a folding table, and carefully organized several rows of empty paper cups. She ladled the hot soup into the small receptacles, and said a prayer. Continue reading All That Nighttime By Morgan Boyd
Keshav Singh was convinced that katars would be suitable for the task. Brass knuckles; kubatons; switchblades would not do the trick. On the other hand stilettos, karambits, or combat knives perhaps performed the job too well. Though they did not exactly fall under the category of “concealed,” he believed he had found the perfect compromise – a hybrid of stealth and functionality. The Singh family katars, rumored to date back hundreds of years to the Mughal Empire, would not only enable them to die with style, but it would be poetic due to ancestral support. Continue reading Mosh Pit Massacre by Dustin He
Gwyneth! Can you hear them, Gwyneth! Can you hear them scratching? They are so close, Gwyneth, and when they arrive, as they surely will, they will tear us into tiny pieces! That scratching, that scratching, THAT SCRATCHING below us is THEM! The plants! They’re coming for us! They are downstairs, right now, pushing through doors and walls. They have found the neighbors! The friendly, old couple, the Rothschilds, with the dog, they’re being eaten, right now, as we speak. The plants are tearing their arms and legs from their bodies and wrapping them with their branches and sucking them dry with their roots or dissolving them in the juices of their leaves. Continue reading Gwyneth by Matt Lang
“I’m not going to tell you what it is,” Jessica said into her phone. “You’ll just have to see for yourself.”
She slipped her credit card back in her wallet and mouthed a ‘thank you’ to the girl behind the counter. The clerk was the same age as Jessica but gothed up in a black tee, black nails and sleeves on both arms.
“I love your ink,” she said as Jessica turned to go. “It’s tre cool.”
Jessica threw the girl a wave and shouldered her way out the glass door and into the lingering heat of the summer afternoon.
“When do I get to see it?” Chris asked. “Is it someplace that’s going to be fun to find?” he asked the question with a certain lasciviousness in his voice.
Jessica laughed. “Maybe,” drawing out the word in a tease. “That is if you’re nice when you get home.” She turned north along Main street passing a glass fronted hamburger joint and an antique furniture store where a set of silver bar stools and a wooden zebra squatted in the long shadows of the sinking August sun.
“When’s your flight arrive?” she asked.
“Tomorrow. By noon,” he said. “Two if there’s a delay.”
Jessica’s phone buzzed in her hand. She glanced at the screen and saw she had a text:
I C U
Love the pink tee
I can C your nips
Jessica froze, unconsciously raising an arm to cover her breasts. She glanced down and saw her nipples were indeed raised, pressing against the thin material of the pink tee shirt. The creep who inked her must have sent the message. The guy had a look about him. It was freezing inside the shop. He probably kept the A/C cranked so women’s nipples would pop up. Well, she wasn’t going to stand around and be a victim.
“Hello? You still there?” Chris asked.
“What?….Yeah, yeah. I’m still here,” she stumbled. Traffic stopped at the light began to roll slowly past. “Hey, I gotta go,” she said. “Call me when you check in at the airport, okay?”
“Sure babe. Can’t wait to see the new tat.”
Jessica spun and marched back to the tattoo parlor. She was going to give that pervert a piece of her mind. Stepping up to the plate glass window she realized it couldn’t have been the tatto guy who texted her. He was deeply involved with a customer. The tatoo guy’s greasy yellow hair was pulled into a tight pony and he leaned over a man’s back, pen in hand, thick glasses propped on his nose.
Jessica watched for several seconds before he finally pulled away to adjust his equipment. She could tell from the casual nod he gave her that he had nothing to do with the text.
It had to be the girl. Yeah, that was it. The receptionist chick had her cell number on the receipt. The little dyke was getting her jollies sending creepy texts. But not today bitch, not today.
Jessica flung open the door and stomped in. “I didn’t appreciate your text,” she growled.
The girl looked up from a magazine staring at Jessica’s accusing finger. She glanced over her shoulder then back at Jessica. “Are you talking to me?”
“Hell yes, I’m talking to you. I didn’t appreciate your little text. It’s not funny and I’m not going to be coming back to this parlor.” The girl stared, open-mouthed, as Jessica turned and stomped out the door.
Feeling rather self-satisfied at having stood up to a jerk, Jessica crawled into her Toyota and headed for home. Traffic was light, for a Saturday afternoon, and she didn’t feel much like cooking. At the last moment, she swung into a Walmart parking lot to pick up dinner from the deli and some cat food for Mr.Kelly.
Jessica slid out of her car and was halfway across the parking lot when her phone chimed: Continue reading UNKNOWN NUMBER By Frank Quinn
Hello folks, step right in here. I’ll take care of you. Are you looking for anything in particular today? Got your hearts set on a certain model, or would you like some help choosing? Continue reading Upsell off I-94 by Simon Pinkerton
Krissy swerved back into her lane and shot a futile glare at the oncoming convertible as it whizzed past. Continue reading The Dashboard Dreamcatcher by Kimmy Dee
I nod and hold the photo of my boy tight between thumb and index as the bag of walnuts with a red smudge of a scar on his temple ushers me into Mr Shaw’s presence. Mr Shaw rests his elbows on a cheap table, lit from behind by the vending machine. He shows a hand to the empty chair and I lift it to avoid a scrape on the carpet-free floor. Continue reading Fag End by Jason Beech
It was raining the day I buried my step-father, Eddie.
I owned nothing in black, so I had to wear my work uniform: a crop top with the words ‘Slop Shop’ across the front in bright pink letters. By the end of the service I looked like the runner-up in one of our ‘Sloppy Sunday’ wet t-shirt contests. When I thanked the priest after the service, he almost had a shit-fit. Continue reading BLACK SHEETS OF RAIN By Tom Leins
Stacy held her black, stiletto heels in one hand, her new Coach clutch in the other as she weaved across the empty garage towards her beat up Subaru. The parking garage of the Ritz-Carlton was packed this evening before her cousin Jessie’s wedding reception. Now, her car stood alone among the echoing aisles. Continue reading BROTHERS by Jeff Dosser
Seatown train station was certainly a lot better looking than I remembered it but it still smelled of puke. And shit, And sweat. Well, it did now that Smiffy was there. He’d spruced himself up a bit, slicked back his hair, put on a double-breasted pinstripe suit. But his rancid stench still oozed out. I hadn’t really seemed to notice it when we were boozing together in The Cobble Bar but out here in the fresh air it seemed overpowering. Continue reading TRAIN IN VAIN By Paul D. Brazill