flash fiction: results 1–24 of 38
Sunken in the bulbous tower of the Belvedere, a waiter experiments with a gesture, swaying on his rotund and cushioned palm the wasted quiddity of a wine glass. Not overly long-stemmed, the glass seems to cling to the deeply inset dimples of his well-fleshed, roomy hand. The puttering small bubbles of the alcohol vanish slowly one by one, as he dithers with gravity.
They couldn't get her to stop doing it. Crusts of bread, leaves of boiled cabbage, twenty-six grapes, flour in small plastic bags choked with red twist ties. They couldn't get her to stop doing it until she stopped doing everything, and after that it wasn't long until the end. Half bananas browning in their peels, dollops of sour cream in drawers, potatoes in slippers under the bed, red beets bleeding through the pockets of her pale yellow bathrobe.
To him, the problem with a public library was that it had too much sincerity about it. Everything was so nonprofit and earnest. Even the posters showed a pacifist propriety. He felt judged by the public library.
She was sixty-two and widowed. Church people did not recognize her, but people at the animal shelter did. People at the shopping mall did not recognize her, but people at the library did. In this woman's life, there were more books than traffic lights, more cats than cell phones, more vegetables than credit cards.
The nurse pulls my legs one way and my arms the other, positioning me to her liking. Her face is beautiful, like a magazine cover, and I lie across the cold metal table like a wounded dog, my side pressed flat against the surface. A long-armed x-ray device hangs over my head. She smiles, and I lose myself in her face, imagine myself wandering into Candy Land; I walk over her gumdrop eyes.
My wife is beautiful too, but she's not here. When I told her I was going for some tests she said, okay—you're fine. She said nothing about my tendency to over dramatize or my need for attention. She didn't ask why she should care or if womanizing could cause cancer.
"I don't mean to be a dick," he said as she drove them west on I70, "but in this light you really look your age."
She was older by five years. Their ages faced off over the line between twenty-something and no longer twenty-something, but he looked like a boy still in college whereas she had matching but fading bath towels and a beaten-down couch in a home that she owned.
The first time I had intercourse with a boy I was twelve and he was sixteen and our union was consummated atop a station wagon, pulling out of a dirt road, accelerating down a paved highway, reaching a reported speed of 96 miles per hour.
I'd been sent to Florida by my brother and my mother with a wad of cash and a mission to set my dad back on the straight and narrow. He met me at the airport like he'd promised, but he hadn't even taken me to his house yet, and already I felt like we were neck deep in his new life.
Sir, I remain faithful that you will still grant this request to charge. My men and I are still waiting for the enemy's attack on this promontory in Batangas, but it seems they, too, have lost their strength. Every night, we keep watch over that part of Manila, Cavite, and Laguna that is engulfed in flames. We know, as the fire gets closer, your arrival also nears.
I sprinted towards the doors, without hesitation; Ian and Kate close behind me, pushing and shoving—propelling me forward. Once at the door, I crept in slowly, excited and relieved to feel the warm, humid air—mingled with the thick smell of chlorine. On the opposite end of the Olympic size pool, was our school motto, painted in large, sweeping, chirographic strokes: Scientia Auget Vires (Knowledge Increases Strength).
"Is anyone else in the building today?" I wondered aloud, suddenly nervous.
When Kev came home from walking Ruffo, the Shar-Pei, he noticed the sofa and easy chair were gone.
"I'm having them reupholstered," Tiffany told him.
The Oriental carpet was also missing. "Being cleaned," she said.
Sixty-two year old Paul McCartney, a bankrupt businessman of Liverpool, strolled down Penny Lane watching children laugh behind the back of a banker with a motorcar. He worried how he was going to pay the rent due next week on his flat across the hall from Father McKenzie. He carried an old transistor radio that he had pilfered from the junkshop down by Strawberry Fields.
"Don't look down."
The one in charge was the one who said it, though that changed depending on who brought the best toys. We started with rocks. Then bottles, plates, fly-fishing lures, paper airplanes and doll heads. One day we'd fling ourselves.
The day her husband died, her period stopped. It just shut itself off and left her, left the blood building and boiling inside, fermenting into this rage that she could only release at the piano. It wasn't supposed to happen like that…
You've always feared that modern art was a sham, that a bunch of apes with Crayolas could do the same, if not better. I can prove otherwise in spades.
In the morning her postcard lay in the mail safe, a little apart from the other mail, singing, "Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think."
My boyfriend is a helium balloon, way above me, gently tugging at my hand. His head tosses in the breeze, craning whichever way the wind blows, his neck long and flimsy. I tell my friends how jealous this makes me—that he's looking at other girls—and they say I am being silly.
Richard is an outcast. He has bony elbows and a face that's all nose.
Somewhere in New Mexico. The bar is almost empty and the sun cuts a pattern like a paw print across what was once a beautiful countertop, giving it length, making a confessional out of the tiny crevices of its beveled edges. The bartender is a man who used to be handsome—now he has to work for his living. He begins with a conversation.
In second grade I learned about abuse and the German language.
Club meeting, convened. Fluorescent lights shine candescent where once our faces were lit dimly red and blue by beer-sign neon glow. Captain up front, popping his gavel made from the antique walnut stocks of a Colt Peacemaker.
My friend says, "If you look for love you'll never find it." Then she tells me how she and her boyfriend take a shower together every morning.
This is an outsourced text. The authorial voice known (or, for the most part, unknown) as Ptim Callan has outsourced the creation of this short story to a multinational contracting agency whose name could not appropriately—tastefully—be given here.
I nod off? Listen. Call it a bell though it buzzes. More crackle than buzz. All my life, houses. Houses have bells. Apartments buzzers. Townhouse Georgia calls it. Shithouse. Listen.