short fiction by Joseph M. Faria
one day, one night
([email]jmmf [at] msn [dot] com[/email])
Bob is an upstanding citizen. He smokes big, black cigars. He says they’re Cuban to those who don’t smoke cigars. Bob’s hair is gray-speckled white and on his upper lip he wears a slippery thin mustache that looks as though he painted it on with a magic marker. He says to those who don’t dye their hair that it’s naturally black.
Betty, his wife, is a blonde. Her eyes are stone blue and her lips are full and expressively red. She keeps a diary. She uses a tiny copper-colored key to open the clasp. She writes diligently everyday as if she were errantly snowbound. She is quite utterly alone until Bob returns from the office. The words in her diary are not the same words she uses in real life.
a short story by Marian Wilson
([email]pobdjw [at] nidlink [dot] com[/email])
Gerald dropped a box of rat poison into the hole and grinned. He was sure that stupid fox hid her babies there. “Damn varmints,” he muttered through his gapped teeth.
Gerald was a hunter and it didn’t matter for what: ground birds, squirrels, rabbits. He kept some of them for meat. It didn’t take much to get by, no wife or kids to feed. Some people shoot for the racks, then create furniture of balanced glass over a maze of antlers. Others say they like the taste of game. Gerald didn’t try to fool anyone with excuses. He just liked the hunt, the challenge of the kill.
It was before elk season ended and deer season began. He was polishing his rifle when he heard scratching. Through the window, he saw her. The fox! She was a scrawny thing, no bigger than his dad’s old heeler mix. He grabbed his gun. As he stepped outside, a little speck of gray tumbled over the knoll. Gerald ran with his boots unbuckled and his flannel shirt flapping in the breeze. He thought he saw her to the left, just a flash, a blur. He headed over a slab of granite, toward the field where a few stray apple trees grew.
There he saw her. Not the fox, not the little gray fluff-mobile, but something else, something big. The hump on her back and the massive paws told him this was no ordinary bear. She swatted at green apples that were nearly out of reach. Gerald knew he couldn’t shoot her. These bears were “endangered” after all. The forest roads around him had all been closed to protect the beast.
“Look at the size of that Momma,” he thought. “Grizzlies’ll be taking over the country if the tree-huggers have their way. They won’t be happy ’til the livestock’s gone and their women and kids are in shreds.”
He couldn’t shoot. Not like this, not unless she came after him. The bear went on picking apples as Gerald watched her feast.
“Come at me, bitch. I dare ya’,” he yelled. The bear raised her silver head for a second, then returned to popping whole fruit in her mouth with barely a chomp from her yellowing teeth. Gerald rested his gun on his knees. Movement in the corner of the field caught his attention. He turned in time to see the tiny fox dart away.
He looked back to the tree. It stood alone. He wasn’t sure from where the noise emerged, but it was a deafening groan. The first thing to go was the rifle. It flew from his arms as he was flattened on his back. The bear didn’t flinch under Gerald’s pounding fists. The pain was humane and brief.
Later that night, the bear finished her meal and waddled across the field. The fox waited in the wings, then crept out to examine the remains. There wasn’t much left: a blood-spattered leg of jeans, the laces of a shoe, some straggly hair. She didn’t see anything that she could really use, so she turned and trotted away.
Author’s Note: Marian Wilson is a writer and registered nurse whose stories, poems and articles can be found in Potpourri, RN, American Journal of Nursing, the Dead Mule, Cayuse Press Book of Remembrance, Moondance, L’Intrigue and the Spokesman-Review. Her neighbors in North Idaho include hunters and grizzlies, but she has yet to meet the latter.
short fiction by Kathy Fish
([email]mrsfish1960 [at] yahoo [dot] com[/email])
A hot breeze blows through the bedroom window. Jake Harvey looks up from his tattered Huckleberry Finn. The elm trees whisper. Their limbs bend, telling sign language secrets only he can decipher. People come and go from his little room but he doesn’t notice. He listens and watches and waits.
Swaddled in the moonlight that streams through his window Jake Harvey likes to imagine himself the offspring of ghosts. He closes his eyes and raises his fingertips to the ceiling but he does not levitate. He sleeps and dreams of his sister Emily.
Only his mother comes and goes from the little room. She reads Huckleberry Finn late into the night when Jake can’t sleep. A corner of the curtain brushes his cheek and he turns to see the elm trees offer up the full, fat moon to him like a communion wafer.
Author’s Note: Kathy Fish writes both full length and flash length literary fiction. Two flash pieces were published in the premier issue of The Painted Moon Review and her story “Cardamom” will appear in Vol. 18 of Thunder Sandwich.
I’ve got a streak of mean.
Yesterday I had to take the bus to work because the chariot was in the shop. I love to ride the bus because you meet all kinds of friendly persons from the lower socio-economic stratum. They’re far more interesting than rich white people.
Don’t ask me to play Uno
I saw my dog’s eyeball on the ground this morning. Okay, I didn’t but my brother did and he was so upset that he cried. He’s 10 and a big boy and isn’t supposed to cry so I knew I had to stay in the car. Mom hit Diamond with the car but I think he was okay. Diamond is our dog, and boy is he smart. We taught him to play Uno this morning. He sat outside the window of our house and we set his cards up in front of him and he points a paw at the card he wants to use. He gets it right usually, but he is a beginner you know and so I win most of the times when we play.
a short story by Joan Horrigan
([email]joanhorrigan [at] msn [dot] com[/email])
Every time I pull into the guest parking at Benson’s Tooling Company and walk around to the shipping entrance, I know that Tim is going to have a story about one of the employees that he just can’t wait to tell.
“Well, if it’s not old Mike from Mills Metalworks! Howya doin’, Mike? Makin’ a load of sales and a lotta money?”
“Fine, sure, and you, Tim?” Tim, who had been in Shipping for twenty years, always said he knew what really went on at Benson’s because of his vantage point here at the shipping entrance, close to the corner from the main lobby. He knew which people and what products came in and went out of the company, each and every person here involved with getting the product out the door and what each one did to get it out. He knew all their stories and all their troubles because, for some reason, everyone confided in him, probably since he’s the oldest guy here.