Issue 9 / January 2018

“If you can write about how you feel, you can publish it. No dream is too big and no story too small.” – Farrah Fray

Short Story Issue Nine

The Houseman

Brian Lombardi

Every morning Harry scrubbed the kitchen sink. Dishes were carefully rounded with a sponge, massaged clean and dried quickly. He brushed at an old stain, hunched over, pushing into the ceramic with window light behind his ears. He tried to wash away the little birthmark in his imperfect kitchen. He’d make a second cup of coffee after neglecting the first, replaying memories in his mind. Each memory was something to fidget with, to make the next day come faster, hopeful that he was on the cusp of a better one. ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Small Comforts

Lauren Diethelm

Okay, she says, with only a little sigh as she shifts her weight around on her tired knees, turn around, let me see. She touches the small of my back softly, softly, propels me in a circle so I am facing her. The quiet, familiar touch of a parent. The instinctual response, son obeying mother. Her hands rest for only a moment on my tiny shoulders, one on each side, brush off dust that was never permitted to land in the first place, squeezes a little—small comforts, collecting me into ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Rose-Tinted Spectacles

Ian Packham

He yearned for the onset of winter, a real winter, a winter from his childhood in the Normandy countryside with snow and rain and wind so strong it threatened to steal away the tiles from the roofs and the very breath from your lungs. There was none of that here in the white city, the Algiers of the holiday posters and steam packet boat advertisements. Here there had been weeks of ceaseless sun and a spiteful unrelenting heat that drove its occupants either to the cooler climate of the hills ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Road To Nowhere

Jared Varava

God, you haven’t even been out five minutes and you can already feel the sun burning your shoulders. That’s got to be cause for concern. Six miles of this kind of exposure and you’re probably looking at some serious, lasting damage. Really, what good is running if, in the end, you’ve got melanoma. There’s not a single cloud in the sky, and your mom’s SPF 200-something is apparently worthless. Look at it washing away with your sweat, like water off a dirty paintbrush. There’s no question it’s going to make ...

Short Story Issue Nine

One Chance

Maria Savva

As Hilda stepped off the train, it caught her eye, gleaming like a star misplaced on land. She felt drawn to the gold pendant, as if an extrinsic force were compelling her to pick it up. It was shaped like an insect—not quite a beetle, more of a scorpion without the tail. Commuters hurried past, no one appeared to be searching for anything. The pendant seemed strange but familiar, as though she’d owned it before in a thousand former lifetimes: Hilda marvelled at the fantastical thought and how this little ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Of Pinot Noir and Shams of Tabriz

Kabir Mansata

It was midnight and Katju was exhausted. He owned a quaint little Italian restaurant at Ashwem beach and had spent the entire day waiting tables. Raju, his only waiter, had been dipping into the till and Katju had recently sacked him. With a glass of Pinot Noir and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich at his elbow, he opened ‘Forty Rules of Love’, a book that described the relationship between a wandering dervish and the famous thirteenth century poet, Rumi. He had about fifty pages to go and decided to ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Gangsters and Wise Guys

Timothy Smith

Blood was spurting all over Lenny “The Bruiser” Gigliotti’s clothes. He was not happy about the blood, but he was even less happy about Ray “Skippy” Delano having his knuckles crunched and twisted with pliers. Ray had been holding out on the boss, Vinnie, and Vinnie wasn’t happy. That was what brought about Vinnie ordering Nicky “The Claw” Ragoni to twist Ray’s knuckles with pliers in the first place. Vinnie Taducci was the undisputed boss of the entire west side of Chicago now that Al Capone and Frank Nitti were ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Complicity

Reyna Marder Gentin

May, 2015 There was always a moment, right before she entered the clinic, that Hannah had an almost unbearable urge to turn and run. It was some combination of revulsion for the neediness of the women and dread of taking responsibility for their welfare that nearly propelled her in the opposite direction each day. It wasn’t rational. Hannah was relieved when she saw that all the chairs in the waiting room were empty. There were Monday mornings when there were three or four women waiting to file for restraining orders ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Blurred

Aunya May

“Wakie-wakie, time to get up sunshine.” A husky voice is present in the room. A door slams shut. The sound waves vibrate through the entire room making the inside of my head spin. Keys jingle as they thud against something firm; getting closer the jingle suddenly stops very near to me. There’s a tapping above my head. It gets persistently louder. Every sound is like a needle to my eardrum. Please just make the tapping stop. And as soon as I think the thought, the sound stops. Thank you. Once ...

Short Story Issue Nine

Anaphora

Amy Jones Sedivy

Today I decided to read Waiting for Godot. I read four pages. I believe it runs about eighty pages. Perhaps I need someone to read it to me. Or with me. Or I need to watch it performed on stage by a couple of actors who really know how to read lines. Chances are slim that I will read seventy-four more pages. Ever. Today, also, Wren came to see me. I am not fond of Wren, nor is she fond of me, but we have known each other all our ...

Essay Issue Nine

Kampuchea

Tristan Durst

January in South Korea, without enough snow to close schools but just enough icy pavement to make walking treacherous, broke my spirit. For three weeks, the sun never cracked through the grey cement of the sky. I visited a tanning salon adjacent to the U.S. Army base in the hope that some vitamin D might break my foul mood. My co-worker Katie, from Wales, handled the frigid dishwater sky better than I did, and she often let me wear her winter coat as a blanket in the unheated office we ...

Essay Issue Nine

How to Be a Writer

Anna Doran

If you want to be a writer, distinguish yourself as the last child in your first grade class to read. As a kid, you must reject every printed word that your parents dangle in front of your face and shrug your shoulders in response. Your parents will worry, and they’ll question whether your inability to read is related to your hearing loss.