Who would you say are your major influences in regards to your work? Is it fellow authors, inspirational people you’ve met in life, or people who inspire you now? Or is it something else entirely?
Robert Frost is a constant source of pleasure. Among others: Ogden Nash, Richard Armour and a host of others with a sense of wit and rhyme and a focus on nature and humor and other denizens of this world.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far as an author? What would you say is your favorite piece/work you have completed so far?
My biggest accomplishment, though I have been published before, it’s not something that I have ever sought for myself. So I guess I will say twelve poems published in the Fairfield Scribes as this year’s featured contributor! That promised check is in the mail, right? Hello? Is this thing on?
by Aaron H. Davis
Upon the chance that words can dance
and each and every letter prance
I simply must devote more time
to each and every rhythmic rhyme
and try to turn and twist the flow
to stately… courtly… dances slow
the cotillion and the quadrille
a waltz would lead to shock and thrill
the lively dances two apace
half out of breath their lines they race
and lively and lightly step
with words a poet’s not inept
so dance with meter… dance with rhyme
set down some words to dance through time
* * *
Aaron H. Davis is approaching seventy years of age in as grouchy a manner as possible, as a proper curmudgeon should. He was born in Connecticut, adopted at one years old, and began composing poetry when he was five. He worked for the school system in East Lyme and was known as the “scrap paper poet” because of the scraps of paper used to jot down his poetry.
A Poet's Heart
by Mary Keating
* * *
Mary Keating is one of Scribes*MICRO*Fiction’s featured authors (Issue 18). In addition to Scribes*MICRO*Fiction, her writing appears in New Mobility magazine, Wordgathering, Sante Fe Writer’s Project, Poetry for Ukraine and Medium.com. She is a Pushcart nominee. Mary practices law as a real estate and probate attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut where she lives with her husband Dan.
Over the stubs
by David Henson
Our second grade teacher called us
to the window to peer
at him dirtypants,
dirtyshirt hunched on a curb
whittling a stick.
She told us about sleeping
in cardboard boxes had us
listen as she read
the definition of homeless.
Then the bell rang us loose.
He saw us coming, scooped
a fithy paw into his pile
of coiled shavings,
held it up so we could see them
tumble and slide
over the stubs of three missing fingers,
then laughed toothless
at us dropping our books,
throwing our hands over our eyes.
* * *
David Henson and his wife have lived in Brussels and Hong Kong and now reside in Illinois, USA. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart prizes and has appeared in Scribes*MICRO*Fiction and other journals.
by Jonathan Odell
The older my parents become, the more I find myself here, in this rural hospital waiting room. Strangers sit with me. We all wait for news.
“What’s your wife in for?” asks an overalled farmer fresh from the fields.
“Atrial fibrillation with RVR,” a mechanic answers, his chambray shirt oil-streaked, fingernails black with grime.
A stout woman in a dowdy housedress overhears. “My father had that. Multifocal atrial tachycardia.”
We’ve memorized the words that have fallen from the doctors’ lips, repeating them like charms, like they might hold the magic to bring a cure, where love and prayer hasn’t been enough.
* * *
Author of three novels, The View from Delphi (Macadam Cage 2004) The Healing, (Random House 2012) Miss Hazel (Maiden Lane Press 2015). Jonathan Odell’s essays and short stories have appeared in The New York Times, Commonweal, Publishers Weekly, and others. Transplanted from Mississippi, he lives, writes and freezes in Minneapolis.
by Tim Frank
Paintwork peeling. Stench of breath like foul flesh wafting through halls, infecting the damp floorboards. The walls are sick.
I’m eight years old and I grab another cold, sweaty Coke from the fridge. I take a swig and my stomach burns like a pool of venom.
In the next room, my father chokes on a cigarette and says to my mum, “You know you’re killing our boy with the junk you feed him—the endless burgers and Coke.”
“Let him rot,” she says.
I vomit in the kitchen bin and scrub the acid from my tongue. Blood stains my fingertips.
* * *
Tim Frank’s short stories have been published in Wrongdoing Magazine, Eunoia Review, The Metaworker, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Maudlin House and elsewhere. He was runner-up in The Forge Literary Flash Fiction competition ’22. He has been nominated for Best Small Fictions ’22.
A List of Dreams
by Matthew P.S. Salinas
The hardest thing for any of them to see wasn’t the noose or the body. It was a small checkered notebook. Every page contained the sloppy, misshapen words scribbled by Nicholas. The notebook which held all the dreams of a friend everyone had outlived. All the places he dreamed about visiting, all the things he wanted to do before he was too old, and all the people he wanted to meet along the way. There was a numbing irony in knowing more than those words about the decided fate of Nicholas.
There was still no solace granted from that fact.
* * *
Matthew P.S. Salinas is an author from Illinois who writes short stories in all genres and poetry. He has two published works and is continuing to publish two more books by the end of the year. He lives with his wife Jordana and their two cats.
The Ghosts Arrive While You're Sleeping
by Jessica Klimesh
The night, dense and already marred with invasive thoughts, welcomes them. They park their LeSabre behind your little Ford Fiesta and disembark, a collective of ghosts, each with ample baggage, hard-shell Samsonite. “Here we are,” they say triumphantly. Your grandmother used to visit with a carload of luggage too. At Christmastime, she even brought her own wrapping paper. The ghosts are similarly comprehensive. They enter through the walls and disperse to the attic, where they drink pale ale, play UNO, and dance on the creaking floorboards until daybreak. In the morning, you wake and yawn out the window, perplexed, wondering whose Buick is in your driveway.
* * *
Jessica Klimesh is a US-based writer and editor who holds master's degrees in both English and Creative Writing. Her flash and microfiction has been published in Cleaver, Atticus Review, HAD, trampset, Ghost Parachute, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter at @JEK_Writer.
The Last Time
by Stephanie L. Haun
A sigh escaped her lips as she picked up the pieces of the bottle she’d broken over the edge of the table. Blood and beer soaked into the deep-pile carpet.
He was late again. She stood in the doorway of the kitchen and saw him working on his second beer. She asked where he’d been, although she already knew. He passed her on his way through the dining room and set the bottle on the table. She saw the faint outline of lipstick on his neck.
She lit a cigarette and cried when she cut her hand cleaning the mess.
* * *
Stephanie L. Haun holds an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Creative Nonfiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Previous works have been published in The Smart Set, Drunk Monkeys, Beyond Words, The Centifictionist, and others. Stephanie is a Perry Mason fanatic, an avid knitter, and a sometimes trombonist. She can be found on Twitter (@shaunwriter) and Instagram/Facebook (@stephaniehaunwriter). Her website is www.stephaniehaun.com.
by Amita Basu
In the LED glare, I scrutinize myself. I must’ve got it wrong. They told me if I lost the blubber, tucked my bulldog chin, toned my batwings, and tossed the ’90s togs, they’d give me the green pill. But I still hate programming, and no genie has whisked me away to Broadway; my mother still says autism is an urban myth and I’m spoiling Declan; Ian is still fucking Jean from H.R.; and I still can’t time-travel and pick Juilliard, though Dad sulked ever so.
Now, in the mirror, I stand naked, no longer a fat loser. Just a loser.
* * *
Amita Basu’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in over forty magazines and anthologies including The Penn Review, The Dalhousie Review, Mid-Atlantic Review, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Gasher, and Fairfield Scribes*MICRO*Fiction. She lives in Bangalore, has a PhD in cognitive science, teaches undergraduate psychology, likes Captain Planet, and blogs at http://amitabasu.com/.
Call of the Wolf
by Mary Anne Mc Enery
The bell over the cafe’s door jingled. They recognized one another at the same instant. She’d never forget those almond-shaped, yellow-green wolf’s eyes. Smoothing her uniform, she asked a woman seated alone at a nearby table if everything was to her satisfaction. The woman smiled, replied it was.
He sat at a corner table, and she ignored his sign for service. Nodding to her colleague, she walked into the staff bathroom and locked the door behind her. She wiped her face with a tissue. Using a nail brush, she scrubbed her hands, finger after finger. The blood oozed a cheery red.
* * *
Mary Anne Mc Enery is an Irish and Dutch citizen, a senior living in The Hague, The Nederlands. She has fun writing micro, and flash fiction. Some of her words can be found on Friday Flash Fiction, Roi.Faineant, Worthing Flash and Fairfield Scribes MICRO websites.
by Alastair Millar
“I feel that it’s unfair to charge Dr. Wallis with murder.”
The prosecutor raised his eyebrows.
“Investigator, I have here your own report, which says that when the relief crew arrived for their six-month stint at the Deimos Research Facility, they found Professor Jackson’s body floating outside the airlock stabbed in the neck with a screwdriver! Wallis was the only other person on station. She’s confessed and given us her motive: he kept telling her the endings of the books she’d saved to read in her rest periods.”
“Exactly. So shouldn’t we call it justifiable homicide instead?”
* * *
Archaeologist by training and translator by trade, Alastair Millar lives north of Prague, Czech Republic, where he enjoys good books, bad puns, coffee and travelling. His short fiction can be found at https://linktr.ee/alastairmillar. He is @skriptorium on Twitter, CoSo, Hive & Post, and @firstname.lastname@example.org on Mastodon.
by Robert Runté
“So: are you a dog person or a cat person?”
“Really? That’s what’s important to you?”
“Dog people are all about loyalty and unconditional love; cat people are about self-reliance and grooming. So, yeah, it’s a good initial screen.”
“Kinda racist! Anyway, I’m neither. I’m a people person. Lineage traces all the way back to Earth.”
“Pure human! No dolphin? Not even some xeno lines? Impossible. And, no offense, but weren’t pure humans… monsters?”
“That was just the times. The meaner genes have all been edited out. Obviously.”
“Okay. Exotic’s good, maybe. Here’s my number.”
* * *
Robert Runté is Senior Editor with EssentialEdits.ca. A former professor, he has won three Aurora Awards for his literary criticism. His own fiction has been published in over forty venues, four of his short stories have been reprinted in "best of" collections, such as Canadian Shorts II.
I Have a Little Secret
by Zylla Black
I have a little secret. It lives behind my bed, under my head.
My secret is a key, all glossy and green, made from malachite. It locks my dreams up tight.
One day, far away, I’ll take my key in hand when I walk into dreamland. You’ll never see me again, then.
But you’ll see what I see, the sprawling lea, the tentacled shadows that reach from trees, the unearthly glow of the emerald seas.
One day, I’ll unlock my shadowed spaces and set them free, instead of being just plain old me.
I have a little secret, you see.
* * *
Zylla Black (she/they) is a fiction author with two short stories published in Elegant Literature Magazine and a YouTuber whose channel is Zylla's Athenaeum. She loves genre fiction, the ruins of beautiful things, and cats. You can find them at @zyllable on Twitter and Twitch, and @zyllable @wandering.shop on Mastodon.
by Paula Cappa
The ninth hour. Julietta carries her violin up the darkened stone bridge. “I seek Varlok the music falcon, a blind creature of the ninth chorus.”
Julietta plays her sulky étude to the vale of sky, squeaking such discord she fears the black falcon will flee. “Dearest Varlok, I give you my perfect green eyes. Please grant me your immortal sonatas.”
The music falcon flies the Dusha River. He pecks her eyes, releasing glittering harmonies. Julietta breathes in the triumphant notes and grows dizzy, splashing into the river like a coin. Varlok soars the stars, consuming her lustful soul like a tasty fish.
* * *
Paula Cappa is a multi-award-winning author of supernatural and mysterious fiction. She is the author of Greylock, The Dazzling Darkness, and Night Sea Journey. Her short fiction has appeared in The Lorelei Signal, Coffin Bell Literary Journal, SmokeLong Quarterly and others. She writes Reading Fiction Blog and is co-chair of the Pound Ridge Authors Society.
On the Nightly Duties of a Feline Companion
by Shelly Jones
Bast had expected the tentacle that inched its way out of Sonia’s head, slithering across the pillowcase, leaving a greasy sheen. Sonia had been depressed all day, her face hollow, eyes drab. Even when Bast cuddled with her on the couch, a storm brewed in Sonia that Bast could smell: like burnt dust when the heat kicked on in winter.
Now the bedroom smelled of brine and Bast growled before striking, claws piercing the rubbery flesh of the nightmare. She tugged, pulling it from Sonia like a loose thread.
In the morning, Sonia smiled, watching Bast lick her paws clean.
* * *
Shelly Jones (she/they) teaches classes in mythology, folklore, and writing. Find them on Twitter @shellyjansen or https://shellyjonesphd.wordpress.com/.
by Scott Bogart
They’d been working the site under a strict veil of secrecy for decades. Having reached a depth of one quarter mile, their level of astonishment rose daily, like mercury in a thermometer with no upper limit. Early on, they’d unearthed ancient relics and ruins. Dinosaur bones came next, followed by a dark layer of charred earth, which tested positive for nuclear isotopes. Years later, having removed the contaminated earth, the war machines were discovered. Most notably a nuclear sub. Electric vehicles were unearthed next. Then, entry was gained to a cavernous facility filled with defunct electronics where skeletons slouched over their controls.
* * *
Scott Bogart is a retired police detective. He lives along the South Carolina coast.
The Whelping Ceremony
by RA Haskell
Owen, the Minister’s son, was sprawled out, naked before the whelping sanctuary. This, his third attempt at a match, would be his last. He didn’t want to let his father down.
The third generation genome-enhanced Great White Pyrenees bitch howled as the third puppy came. The other two, cleaned by her sloppy wet tongue, were nestled against her, whining.
The third pup, mid-cleaning, stumbled away and staggered, unsteady but determined. The bitch tried to prevent the escape, but the fourth pup was coming. The third pup, blind, sniffed its way to Owen’s spread legs.
Owen had a sentinel.
* * *
Besides his aspirations for storytelling, RA Haskell is a father, a husband, a runner, a U2 fanatic, and a lover of single malt scotch. He has a worldly perspective having flown over one million miles and visited more than a dozen countries.
Free Book Publishing Consultation
If you've written a novel or memoir but are struggling with getting it published, how would you like to have a chat with our associate editor, Alison McBain? She's a freelance editor whose recent novel was published through When Words Count's Pitch Week, which you can read about in Medium's The Writing Cooperative: "How I Jumped the Line & Got a Book Deal."
Email Alison at email@example.com to talk to her about nontraditional methods to get a traditional publishing deal, such as the contest that gave her a leg up in the field. If you send her the first 10 pages of your novel, she'll give you a free evaluation.
The Poets' Salon
If you're looking for more poetry, including a place to read your work, receive critiques, and explore poetic forms, check out The Poets' Salon. Two editors of Scribes*MICRO*Fiction, Edward Ahern and Alison McBain, run this free poetry workshop.
Meetings take place on the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon EST via Zoom. More info, including how to sign up for the poetry workshop, can be found on The Poets' Salon website or via Meetup.