How would you like to win hundreds of dollars for a story of 90-110 words? Now's your chance to enter The Scribes Prize and win big cash awards, receive an award seal for your fabulous writing, and also be published in a special issue of Scribes*MICRO*Fiction. Check out the rules HERE. Opens May 1st!
by Aaron H. Davis
If I could find it where it lies
no lies I’d ever have to tell
but never once did I espy
in rocky craig or leafy dell
that fountainhead where youth regains
roll back the years with but a sip
without it then all that remains
is hair of white and infirm hip
the Greeks had heard of such a pool
or was it stream or river
but find it and you’d be no fool
and cure that failing liver
the Spanish searched for it so bold
each thinking that they had the proof
but all they ever found was gold
a worthless substitute for youth
* * *
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.
by Lisa Lynn Biggar
My first memory of my grandmother
is standing between her legs while
she drove the big blue tractor at
the top of a huge hill, the baler
birthing babies behind us onto
the wagon where one of my uncles
or cousins or neighbor boys would
stack them like a house that
won’t topple over, the air swarming
with gnats, the sun beating down,
but I have never felt more happier,
more content, tucked between the
legs of my grandmother, singing
my heart out above the din of the
engine to no one.
* * *
Lisa Lynn Biggar is currently marketing a short story cycle set on the eastern shore of Maryland. Her short stories have appeared in various cool journals, and she is the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review. She and her husband live on a flower farm with their three fabulous felines.
In Between Chapters
by Mary Keating
After his heart broke and just about mended
he placed it atop the living room bookcase--
Above his poetry collections and photos
from their honeymoon in Aruba
Above the ceramic turtle from Cayman
and the pink conch shell from Eleuthera
Above dog-eared Irving and DeMille
novels they read side by side in bed
Above a parade of motley penguin statues
collected from worldwide travels
But just below two dreamcatchers
she bought for them in New Mexico--
before they let dust settle on their love
and obscure their forever vows
His chest, a cold chamber now, houses
fading echoes of a duet once permeating
the air with such intensity, daylight shimmered
* * *
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.
by Cheryl Snell
Tumbling from the fold
of a fitted sheet—balled-up silk,
some foreign lace. Things come and go
in this house. Calls dropped, the hang-ups,
receipts crushed into the bottom of trash cans.
Last night, an earring tangled in the wrong color hair,
everything bloodshot and damp.
The man’s non-sequiturs circled the whorls
of his stranger’s ear: Let lovers go fresh and sweet
to be undone.
How else to go with a come-on like that--
innocent as soap, pink bubbles bursting like an alibi
always on the verge of coming clean.
* * *
Cheryl Snell's latest series of books is called Intricate Things in their Fringed Peripheries, comprised of a volume of flash, another of poems, and a novelette. Visit Cheryl at www.facebook.com/cheryl.snell/.
by Ken Poyner
Still, there are some people
Who dry recently washed clothes
On a line stretched
Across open land. Not
Those square townhome
An actual line pulled out
In one direction to its limit.
You can see them often
On Pleasantville Road, usually
Strung in the cavernous spaces
Between roadway-facing homes.
Shirts and dresses and underthings
And slacks and socks all by the wind
Tossed to imagination. Imagine
The girls or women who wear these;
Imagine the men who prize one
Less device to drive up the electric.
A family dressed from length of line,
A driver going past, bemused.
* * *
After years of impersonating a Systems Engineer, Ken Poyner has retired to watch his wife break world raw powerlifting records. Ken’s four current poetry and four short fiction collections are available from multiple bookselling websites.
Biography of a Psychic
by Judith Shapiro
Kris sees things. She’s telepathic, intuitive, clairvoyant. Dragonflies chase her car. Dandelions fly by in the middle of winter. Moths alight on her hand, vanish. Initials appear in syrup on pancakes at IHOP. Names etch into trees. A whisk jumps off a table, rolls across the floor, lands at her feet.
She conjures dead people she’s known and strangers in her dreams. She sees people she's never met, hears conversations she’s never had. She drives a Honda, eats Taco Bell, drinks chai, just like the rest of us.
We beg, plead, implore--Kris, please, what are the winning lottery numbers!?!
* * *
Judith Shapiro spends half the year on the opposite coast, confused about which way is north and marveling at the sun that sets over the ocean instead of rising. When the novel she’s writing looks the other way, she secretly writes anything else. Her work has appeared in The Citron Review, Moss Piglet, Pigeon Review, The Sun and elsewhere. See more at PeaceInEveryLeaf.com.
True of Bananas
by Jim Latham
My Spanish-speaking friend queries the difference between roost and nest. I explain the divergent sleeping arrangements of chickens and songbirds.
Flor asks if she can ask another question. Go nuts, I say. A pause, a wrinkled brow. Go nueces? Walnuts?
I can't explain why hard-shelled edible kernels connote extreme excitement or anger or why it's also true of bananas.
What’s the word, Flor asks with a soft sigh, for a dog leaving his hair on the couch? Shed, I say. Flor frowns. Like the little garden building? For tools?
English, Flor tells me, is not a serious language.
* * *
Jim Latham lives and writes in San Pedro Cholula, Puebla. His stories have appeared in The Drabble, Spillwords, Better Than Starbucks, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere. He publishes free flash fiction every Wednesday on Substack at Jim’s Shorts.
by David Henson
“A dozen eggs… that’s four hundred dollars.”
I slip one of the bills from my wallet. “I have only ten bucks.”
The cashier scans the carton, gives me change. As I’m leaving, I text Lucy. Out of eggs at Brudwell’s. Going to Franklin’s. Home in an hour.
OK. I’ll start supper.
During the short drive home from Brudwell’s, I catch a report about the president making six holes-in-one.
I park a block from our house, walk the rest of the way, and find Lucy’s not there. After a while, she comes in, whispering on her phone. Seeing me, she hangs up. “Robocall.”
“Love you,” I say.
“Love you more.”
* * *
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.
And They All Lived
by Charity Tahmaseb
Let me tell you a love story. It’s about a girl who went to war and the boy who didn’t.
You’ve probably already guessed the end. There’s no happily ever after, even though she didn’t die.
And neither did he.
But the distance across an ocean stretched their love taut. Their passion grew pale beneath the weight of months, and the sand scoured it into shards. Time kept the vigil for her.
But not for him.
But most of all, in the end, their love could not abide the combat patch on her shoulder.
And the empty space on his.
* * *
Charity Tahmaseb has slung corn on the cob for Green Giant and jumped out of airplanes (but not at the same time). She spent twelve years as a Girl Scout and six in the Army; that she wore a green uniform for both may not be a coincidence. These days, she writes stories (long and short) and works as a technical writer for a software company.
Visit her at https://writingwrongs.blog.
by Birgit Solvsten D'Alpoim Guedes
It was our first wedding anniversary; we were totally taken with one another. Next to us sat an elderly couple. The contrast in our ages could not have been more different but their attention to one another was just as intense; they bickered angrily throughout the meal about what the other had done or not done, complaints as far back as their wedding day. I leaned forward and whispered, “I hope we never end up like that!”
“Do you remember that old couple in New York fifty years ago?” I asked.
“Here you go again, bringing up the past,” he replied.
* * *
Birgit Solvsten D’Alpoim Guedes was born in the northern tip of Denmark where two seas meet. Her parents moved to Africa when she was three and she has since moved and lived in several cities on four continents. She now resides in central France and visits her children in Paris, San Diego and Brisbane. She writes because it's good company.
Mr. Salinas's Scary Stories
by Matthew P.S. Salinas
Tyler was a young boy who gave a gift of companionship. A small little gesture of kindness, which evolved into something unfamiliar. An arts and crafts project, which gave birth to an entire universe of beings and ideas. The inspiration that came from that small gesture was to never be wasted. The lives and hopes of many were born and destroyed that day.
None of it was planned or expected. Maybe that’s why it caused so much commotion inside the mind. It was a natural act of creation born from a natural act of kindness. Yet it bore unrelenting nightmares.
* * *
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.
A Posthumous Paternal Petition
by Jason P. Burnham
James wrenched the calamus pen from the angel statue’s grasp and dropped to the cold floor of the mausoleum. From the swirling maelstrom around him, he plucked a sheet of yellowed parchment paper and held it firm against the granite so it wouldn’t blow away.
Shrieks of banshees filled his ears. From beneath the altar where his father was interred, a dark portal to the afterlife had blossomed, fearsome gray dust wafting from it.
In hasty scrawl, he wrote:
Dear Father, I sincerely regret that during your life I doubted the veracity of your proclamations on the nature of magic…
* * *
Jason P. Burnham loves spending time with his wife, kids, and dog.
Two-Star Yelp Review of Mermaid Lagoon
by Nicholas G. Marconi
She was so bloated and sickly, I honestly thought she was dead. It happens all the time; nobody heeds the “Don’t Feed The Wildlife” signs. But when I poked her with a piece of driftwood, she started snoring, so I figured I’d relocate her before some drunk tourist could make things worse.
It’s hard to drag anything through wet sand, let alone a popcorn-glutted mermaid. It’s harder to keep your footing when said mermaid thrashes awake, shrieking. It’s impossible to recover your childhood wonder after a fairytale creature flops away, honking like an elephant seal.
The room was nice, though.
* * *
The Man. The Myth. The Mustache. The Marconi. Nicholas G. Marconi’s stories appear in publications all over the world. You can keep track of them on Twitter @MarconiNicholas, and at NicholasGMarconi.com.
The Wrong Kind of Death
by Adam Breckenridge
The ground was coming too slowly. Instead of the death I craved, it seemed I was doomed to live another life between now and the pavement. Time stretched to eternity as I slowed to a stop, and I stood in the air. I tested my steps and found I could walk on the nothing. So I walked, sensing the cushion of space between me and the world I hated, a cushion now impenetrable. If I ever fell again, it would be me who would break the ground, I was sure. But the ground was beyond me now, forever beyond me.
* * *
Adam Breckenridge is an Overseas Traveling Faculty member of the University of Maryland Global Campus where he travels the world teaching US military stationed overseas and is currently based in Japan. He has thirty-seven story publications to his name and has most recently appeared in the Fantastic Other, and Lucent Dreaming and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Granny is a Pole Dancer
by Niles Reddick
My granny said old people who broke hips didn’t live long, so when she slipped on the wet concrete carport outside, she grabbed a hold of one of the supporting roof poles with both hands and gyrated, undulated, and dipped until her flat-footed feet were safe from slippage.
“Woo-wee,” she yelled.
Daddy said, “Wait till I tell the choir members at the Baptist church that not only can my Mama sing, but she’s a pole dancer too.”
“That’s a good way for you to lose weight.”
“That’s right. Cook your own supper.”
* * *
Niles Reddick is author of a novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in twenty-two anthologies, twenty-one countries, and in over four hundred publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, BlazeVox, New Reader Magazine, Citron Review, and The Boston Literary Magazine.
Feeding the Garden Birds
by Yvonne Lang
It started innocently enough, feeding the birds in my garden. My favourites are the corvids. I loved watching how they tackled the feeder—you could see they were intelligent creatures. They would often leave a shiny trinket on my windowsill as a token of their appreciation. One day it was a 50p piece and I put out some extra peanuts for them. They have just brought me a five-pound note. If I didn’t train them to do it, surely it doesn’t class as stealing? Now, I wonder how to teach them that a tenner is worth more than a fiver?
* * *
Yvonne Lang’s work has featured in a range of publications, from Your Cat Magazine to Siren’s Call. Her flash has featured on Trembling with Fear, 101 words, Blink Ink and Fairfield Scribes. She has been published in anthologies by Café Lit and Schlock with her debut novelette published by Demain.
by Tim Dadswell
Cecil stood spellbound by Leonora’s glacial revelations.
In a familiar velvet coat and an unfamiliar diamond choker, she spat a derisive farewell and headed for a waiting cab.
Visions of his former apprentice, waiting to welcome her into his home, sent shockwaves through Cecil’s nervous system.
Another truth dropped like lemon sorbet onto a broken tooth. The properties he owned, the businesses he ran—all had passed the Leonora test. Wasn’t his entire empire built upon her psychic divinations? What now? What judgement did he possess?
Alone in his study, the future loomed like an impenetrable fogbank.
* * *
Tim Dadswell is a retired civil servant, who loves writing short fiction.
by Amita Basu
Up and down the condo tower mid-desert, pipes dripped, taps leaked, and toilets dribbled. The residents, paying a flat-rate water bill, whistled about their days. The background water music trickled gently on.
The activist/artist watched, then began a performance piece at the streetcorner. She held up a water bottle, uncapped it, and poured a libation into the gutter. In one evening, she wasted eighty-nine liters, a fraction of her fellow residents’ daily prodigality. The lowering sun gilded the steady stream.
The condo residents convened. They raved and foamed about the activist/artist’s criminal irresponsibility. At midnight a delegation of fists broke down her door.
* * *
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/.
by Scott Bogart
He pulled the photo from his pocket, smiling for a moment, before tossing in his backpack and climbing into the open box car. It would’ve been easier in his younger days; still, he managed. He breathed in the creosote and pines as the train shuddered and lurched westward, gaining speed until wind rushed through his hair. Lost in the clickety-clack rhythm and gentle sway, his eyes and soul were fed with a beauty he’d never before seen. Several states away on a high trestle, straddling a picturesque, blue lake, he whispered softly, kissed the photo, then slowly released her ashes.
* * *
Scott Bogart is a retired police detective. He lives along the South Carolina coast.
What a Way to Go
by RA Haskell
The falsified credentials had cost him every last credit he had. But, after the diagnosis, he didn’t care.
He entered the building and approached the counter. The young woman scanned the card with her cybernetic eye.
“Level seven clearance? Impressive. I don’t see many men of your,” she smiled, “age, with that kind of stamina. This way.”
The level-seven escort had significant upgrades. Enhanced pelvic muscles. Boosted pheromones. Inhuman flexibility.
She fucked him like he’d never even imagined. During his third, understandably explosive orgasm, he shuddered, fell to the floor, and his heart stopped.
Nobody ever knew it was suicide.
* * *
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.