Category: Flash fiction.

One Last Sour Apple Split in the Lancashire Holiday Park by Lucy Goldring

The Leisure Plaza is full of cool shit. Fruit machines, American pool (hey guys, you’re welcome), tenpin bowling and interactive squash – but it’s all off-limits to lesser mortals like me. There’s a big red ‘X’ slashed through it on the map in the orientation room. I stared at that X so freakin’ hard, I’m surprised it didn’t burst into flames.

Dinner is Served by Elliot J. Harper

With a flourish, the waiter unleashed their steaks. Dan was hit by the smell first and his mouth watered accordingly. He braced himself for consumption, but rather than hand them their bounty, the waiter curiously knelt by the trolley and rummaged underneath, before popping back up again with something gripped firmly in his hand. Dan had no idea what was taking place and a peek at his wife, Susan, revealed that she was as bewildered by the whole process as he.

The Metrics of a Day by Alice Wilson

Today I walked six thousand and thirty-nine (6,039) steps which I appraised as ‘acceptable’.

I consumed five hundred and thirty-one (531) calories for breakfast in the eating of one bagel (254) with cream cheese (100) and smoked salmon (177).

I shed twelve (12) tears whilst crying on the phone to my dad about the fundamental question: “Am I willing to be hurt in the same way by this person again?”, which I resented but had to concede was #growth.

Karl’s Hellmouth by Jonathan Gourlay

The backyard s’mores party for the neighborhood kids on the last day of school was the perfect time for Karl to show off his new fire pit. The pit was tubular, silver, and more than a little phallic. Smoke got sucked into the sides of the contraption and kept it from the women’s hair and clothes. (Which, Karl thought, they would appreciate and compliment him for.) Karl could see his convex reflection on its’ shiny, perfectly smooth surface. What a man he was.

It was one of those backyard parties where, in a movie, everyone would start sex-swinging or be secretly in a coven or perhaps be complex robots unaware of their own nature. It was the way of the suburbs to imagine that the exotic and chaotic lurked beneath the quotidian surface. The blandness was sinister. Like, clearly sinister, evil, horrible, a desecration of the earth itself to live like they did — destroying large swaths of prairie to install big box stores, extra wide parking spaces, and identikit houses that wanly gestured toward an imagined, vaguely feudal, European, past that was pure fantasy.   Yet people fled here from the city because they felt it was safe for their children.

Warm Waves for Supper by nyoka eden

At first sight I thought it was some sort of exceptional moth. I had never seen anything like it. My husband’s best guess was an obscenely large bat. Neither had the ring of truth. I re-heated last night’s supper while we failed at calming each other down. It was all I could think to do. Perched on top of the microwave with its ovular, platinum eyes fixed open, the creature never once moved. I wanted to stop and inspect the down on its marbled wings. The texture of its skin reminded me of a mushroom’s gills. All we could do was chew and stare. Brian asked me sheepishly if we should keep it.

I suggested we call it Baby, short for Babylon. The weight of undying mystery seemed to suit it just fine. All day Baby sat perfectly motionless on our microwave. It became clear Baby needed to soak up a little radiation to survive.

Karoshi by Jaclyn J. Reed

TO: [REPLY ALL] Employees of Sand Star, Inc.

FROM: Allie in Advertising, Cubicle 2 (2nd Row) by the Copier from 2005

DATE: August 10, 2017

SUBJECT: RE: Our Culture: We Want Your Opinion!

PURPOSE

On behalf of myself, the ad. team, and my fellow worker bees, I’d like to inform the powers that be of the individual and institutional mismanagement, maleficence, and malapropism of Sand Star employees that has not only contributed to America’s middle class dystopia, but has no doubt also increased liquor sales and opioid abuse in Central Pennsylvania.

I Regret to Inform You that Your Former Hitman Can’t Take Your Call by Amy Marques

Dear RD,

I am writing to you from Fred’s Marina with a strong cup of coffee and a 6B pencil just like we used to do before emails took over. Call it nostalgia, if you will, but black coffee on the deck always puts me in mind of letters.

I heard you’d been asking after Lester.

Tea for Two by Alice Lowe

A tall, slender woman, fine gray-infused brown wisps escaping from her loosely pulled-back knot, walked into the coffee shop just ahead of me. When she turned to the side, I saw the unmistakable profile. For there she was, I thought, echoing the final line of Mrs. Dalloway. Standing side by side inside the door, we made brief eye contact as we took in the space, the buzz of student chatter and laughter, the piles of backpacks and bookbags scattered around every table. She stood out—I suppose I did as well—a middle-aged woman in a sea of youth. Not just any middle-aged woman, yet no one seemed aware that Virginia Woolf was in their midst.