Author: Idle Ink

For a Brighter Day by Mark McConville

Slender moments

Slender touch,

Blue eyes seeing red

A freckled face in the mirror

In a battered apartment room

Where tears are commonplace

Where aromas of sex and wine

Intertwine.

The Wastelander by Martin Webb

A single teardrop draws a bright line down the old man’s dust-smeared cheek. Its slow passage further marks a face weathered by time and toil. This dystopia, this burning Earth, has claimed his kin. It seems that now, finally, it is his turn to die.

Baker coughs, his raw throat screaming for relief. He’s on his knees, this once proud man, and the tear he sheds is not born of the pain or the humiliation that he’s being subjected to. It is for his friends, the two young travellers who not so long ago accompanied him, the two who were killed instantly by the band of raiders who’d ambushed them.

Dog Days by Kate Lunn-Pigula

The first week of the summer holidays was wonderful. I finally had some much-needed alone time, time to read books that I had accumulated since September. I lay down in my sunny garden with my dog, Fred. He’s half-Westie, half-poodle. A Westie-poo, the woman at the rescue place said when we bought him. He’s a mutt, said my now ex-partner.My ex didn’t like Fred.

My ex also didn’t like that I worked in a rough school. By rough, he meant “state”. He said I didn’t have enough ambition. I had ambition, I told him, I want to be a great teacher. I’d like more money, who wouldn’t?, but I was comfortable earning what I was on now. You need to get your life together, he said towards the end. I can’t go on living like this, as if we were destitute.

The Inner by Emily Harrison

He tells the customer on the other side of the counter that I’m “good to stand and look at when it’s quiet, helps pass the time.” He says it like it’s nothing and hands over the boxed-up pizza. The customer stifles a laugh, scuttling out the door with a reptilian backwards glance.

I stay still and silent. He turns to the ovens and lifts a stack of greased black trays towards the sink, dropping them in. The belt that pulls the pizzas through is still rotating.

INTERVIEW: Joseph Sale, writer and editor

Joseph Sale is a writer, editor, content-creator and writing coach. I first came to know him when he submitted a wonderful short story, “The Heaviness of All Things” to Idle Ink in 2018, and since then I’ve followed his work (and there’s a lot of it). In addition to working with The Writing Collective and STORGY Magazine, he’s written a slew of novels and offers his services as a writing coach and editor. He is, in short, many things all at once.

The Weary Malevolence of RuPaul by J.L. Corbett

Back in 2009, season one of a late-night reality show called RuPaul’s Drag Race first aired on cable television. It presented a familiar talent show format: each week, a group of drag queens competed in a zany challenge and the weakest amongst them faced off in a shared lip sync performance, which ended with one of them being instructed to sashay away from the competition. Ultimately, the final queen standing was crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar.

It was a fun show. The footage was fuzzy, the runway was rickety, and it was all a bit tongue-in-cheek, a send-up of its more serious contemporaries such as America’s Next Top Model and American Idol.