Category: Fiction

How Ashton Kutcher Destroyed the World by Joseph S. Klapach

This Morning

Harold Fribble was sitting dutifully behind his desk at the corporate headquarters of Occidental Peripherals in Snedekerville, Pennsylvania.  He had just finished reviewing some irregularities involving a shipment of mobile devices to a prominent California university when he was interrupted by a man who burst suddenly into his office. 

The man was breathing hard.

Lake by Phoebe T

Over on the other side of the lake there was a huge family celebrating. They had big rose-gold balloons saying 40!, and disposable barbecues. Their smoke floated over to us on the hot breeze. 

Rose led me and Hazel down towards the lake. Around us, children rushed around with an orange frisbee. Kids vaped in the shade and couples drank prosecco. Dragonflies were hooking up, green with blue, in the shallows. Ducks were leading their ducklings across the water.

Last Flight of the Passerine Brigade by Rick Hollon

I had just sunk at long last into my easy chair, pipe in hand, glass of palm toddy at my side, when my door fell victim to rapid-fire tap-tap-tapping.

I fluffed and sputtered but it did no good. The tapping came again, insistent as a woodpecker. I made a severe face at my pipe. “That’ll be those squirrels again, I expect. Tut! Still fixed on the idea that their grandmother left nuts here twenty winters back.” I tamped out the pipe and set it beside the toddy as the raps rattled through the tree once more.

Moving Paper by Tyler Plofker

My first day at the company was spent moving paper. One stack, about five inches thick. From my desk, to the table in the hall, to the floor near the table in the hall, and back. Over and over. The paper was to rest in each spot for five minutes and no more than five minutes. Nothing was printed on the pages.

I had interviewed the day before by accident. Intending to apply for an admin position at a nearby accounting office, I’d gotten the addresses mixed up.

Digging It by Diana Devlin

My dad told me when I was, like, seven or eight that if I dug long enough I’d eventually reach Australia. And I believed him. I mean, why wouldn’t I? He’d worked on building sites all his life, knew about that kinda stuff. Ryan, he’d say, you dig hard, son and I tell you, you’ll strike gold one day but you gotta put the effort in. He was big on effort, my old man. Work ethic, he called it. Refused to accept that jobs weren’t as easy to come by nowadays, especially for people who came from shitholes like Dilly.

Last week of the summer holidays and the sun was still splitting the sky. Amos and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves it was so damn hot. None of the girls wanted to hang out – probably worried their make-up would melt or their hair would go frizzy – so we decided to head for the beach. May as well make the most of it before the big exams. We’d soon be locked in our rooms for the best years of our lives, extracted by our parents for dentist appointments or lectures on fuckin personal hygiene.

Cherry Pie by Rina Song

Richard cursed softly at the state of the parking lot. Piles of rubble and broken bottles covered the asphalt. Shards of glass glittered menacingly, concealing the lot striping. In no mood for punctured tires, he inched his beaten gray SUV around the edge of the lot. By some miracle, a bare spot remained near the curb. He stepped out, massaging his cramped legs, and didn’t bother to glance at the object that loomed overhead.

The dollar store’s windows had been smashed, leaving holes big enough to step through. Richard, eyeing the jagged edges, went for the door. His shoulders slumped with relief as he looked upon racks of laundry detergent, party hats, and off-brand mustard. Perhaps the vandals hadn’t found much worth taking. In any case, it was best not to linger. He hurried down the aisles.

Voyager 1 Redux by Michael Ellman

As the Secretary-General of the United Nations, an organization of 147 member States who represent almost all of the human inhabitants of the planet Earth, I send greetings on behalf of the people of our planet.

Kurt Waldheim, as transcribed in the Voyager’s Golden Record

VOYAGER 1 REDUX

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is in holiday mode. Christmas is around the corner and I’m the evening monitor of the Voyager’s transmissions. Fifteen billion miles and 44 years from Earth, the Voyager 1 is past the heliosphere and magically able to sing to the JPL despite digital power that is 20 billion times weaker than my cell phone.