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Monday, January 22

The Break-Up

"The Break-Up"
short fiction - Humor
by Rod Drake

Breaking up was never easy, never pleasant, but this time it would be even more difficult, Janie decided, since it was with a satyr. An actual satyr; half-goat, half-man, horned, pointed ears and scraggly beard. Theo, he called himself, hung around the university campus, playing his flute and chasing coeds. He was a campus character, almost the school’s mascot, at least half of him.

Somehow Janie, a pretty blonde sophomore majoring in history, kept crossing paths with Theo, who flirted with her something fierce; one thing lead to another, and suddenly they were dating, or at least keeping company.

Theo knew a lot about history, especially Greece during its Golden Age, which interested Janie, and he could definitely spin a tale when he felt talkative that captivated anyone listening (sweet young girls being his favorite audience). Before long the relationship between Theo and Jane got physical, real physical, and Janie had to admit that the sex was amazing if a bit uninhibited, along with being very frequent (actually too frequent and too public, truth be told). And that led to the problem:

Theo thought sex anytime, anywhere with anyone (or anyones) was cool; Janie, naturally, did not. And while they weren’t exactly exclusive, this was too much. After all, this wasn’t ancient Greece, she told herself; it was 21st Century America, Stanford University to be exact. And she was no casual nymph of the woods.

So it had to end. They were, Janie explained gently to him one spring day in a park near the campus, from two different worlds. Often said, this statement was probably never more fitting or true than it was now.

“Look, Theo, you’re a forest deity, an immortal spirit of the woodlands; I’m just a girl from Petaluma who likes shopping and dance clubs. I have to behave according to established human rules. I can’t keep seeing you as a . . . boyfriend of sorts, when you are so, well, unconventional is being kind, uninhibited is closer to the right word, but I guess amoral is the most accurate term.” Janie bit her lower lip and waited. Did she hurt his feelings with her honesty?

Theo had no rules of conduct, and why should he? He was satyr who spent his time frolicking, flirting, fluting and removing twigs from his beard. His thoughts were few and far between, usually focusing on sex, playing the flute, sex, chasing girls, sex, spinning stories, sex, drinking wine and sex. He knew Janie was saying something, but he was too busy peering down her blouse to listen.

With no response from Theo, Janie felt compelled to come right out and say it. ”It just isn’t working anymore.”

Theo knew that everything he had was working. Working well. Very well and very often. He was confused, so he decided to go with what he knew best. Leering, he asked, “Want to do it right here in the park?”

Breaking up with Theo was easier than Janie had anticipated.

Rod Drake used to think he was a fictional character in a story, but discovered he was the author instead. Check out Rod's other stories published in Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

Friday, January 12

Nasty Thoughts

"Nasty Thoughts"
Short Fiction - Crime
by Stacie Penney

Perhaps it's my Catholic school upbringing that makes me believe that the passing police officer will stop me. Does the imagination have far to leap when it's trained to believe that a supreme being knows everything about you? Could a human tell when you have sinned from the flapping plastic garbage bags in the bed of the truck?

I watch my rearview mirror, just in case, but the police car continues. No dramatic u-turns or flashing lights. No wailing sirens or amplified voice demanding I pull over immediately. Nothing about the rusted frame to catch his attention.

Quite disappointing.

Perhaps if my parents had chosen the public school, I wouldn't possess a misplaced sense of importance. But they choose the finest school the Church had to offer. It was easy to believe their teachings when nothing contradicted them.

The problem might not have been a by product of my fine religious upbringing. It was, after all, my parents' decision to send me there. My mother specifically.

I expect that after three miscarriages and eight years of marriage, it was easier to indulge her whims than fight. How does one fight against someone who has the backing of the venerable institute like the Catholic school? God commanded, "Go forth and multiply." She treasured the command in her heart but wasn't allowed to fulfill it. I was meager satisfaction for the promised blessing of children.

My mother enforced the Church's teachings at home while Daddy read the newspaper. Once I crossed that line symbolized by puberty and middle school, I heard nothing but how boys wanted to take advantage of girls and talk them into doing nasty things.

I was curious. Not about the boys so much, but the nasty things. No one could actually say what those were. Even when she screamed threats through the locked door, she was careful not to let it slip what might be so nasty.

I never heard my mother yell as loud as she did when I played hooky in seventh grade. Until today. But that day was just as thrilling. After that I heard about girls who had nasty ideas and unnatural thoughts and needed to pray for their souls.

My knees still ache when I think of the Hail Marys I did for penance.

Today my mother learned just how nasty a girl's thoughts truly can be.

My rear view mirror isn't large enough for me to watch the police car drive over the bridge that leads to the bad side of town. I'm sure that's where he's headed, though.

Probably answering a call of domestic abuse or a child playing with a gun.

No reason to suspect that the lumpy garbage bags in the bed of my truck are anything other than lawn clippings.

Stacie Penney resides in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with her husband, two sons, two dogs and possibily a pair of ducks, should they decide to return this year. In between dishes, laundry and researching Oshkosh's night life, she's stealing time to finish her next novel. is the best way to catch-up with her.

Tuesday, January 9

The Real Genesis Story

"The Real Genesis Story"
Short Fiction - humor
by Rod Drake

So after creating the heavens and the earth, light and dark, the sun, moon and all the rest of the solar system, plus fish, birds and animals, God created Adam and Eve in His own Image. He put them in the Garden of Eden, and gave them only one rule: do not eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Satan, disguised as a serpent, deceived and manipulated Eve into eating an apple from the Tree, which she shared with Adam and then Big Consequences took over and none of them were even remotely good.

That’s the story that ancient Hebrew scribes and storytellers were told. But it’s not what really happened. Here’s the straight scoop.

Eve was a lot sharper than in the original tale; she was also the only woman in the world, so that gave her an enormous edge. She realized her feminine power and started using it immediately.

She wrapped the snake around her little finger, and he became her obedient pet. Eve made apple martinis out of the fruit from the Tree and coaxed the beavers into cutting down the Tree of Knowledge. Then she flirted with other animals, apes and monkeys in particular, until they all agreed to build her a lovely split level with a nice picket fence out of the Tree for Eve and Adam to live in.

By the time God came to visit Eden, there was no Tree of Knowledge for Him to find, and Eve was too busy to answer God’s questions. Adam, as usual, knew nothing about anything.

Eve ordered the animals to fix up Eden as she decided it should look. Less jungle, more cultivation, the rise of feminine style. The animals were too much under Eve’s dainty thumb to speak up, so God left, shaking His head.

By the second day, Eve was wearing a smart-looking, nicely tailored silk business suit, short skirt and low-cut, to keep Adam on a short lease. She spent most of their time together in the split level pestering him to go talk to God about getting a better job, something in management, maybe director of the tides or vice president of sunshine. And when were they going to take a vacation?

By the third day, Eden was no longer a paradise but a fascist sorority of one. Adam just tried to stay out of the way and find something to repair so that he would look busy.

God realized that He had made a mistake, which was quite a surprise to Him, so He created a dimly lit bar just outside the Gates of Eden, peopling it with other downtrodden working stiffs for Adam to drink and commensurate with about women, work and life in general.

The snake decided Hell was better than this estrogen paradise and slithered out of Eden, now renamed Eve’s Home & Garden. God decided to just stand back and let events take their own shape. And so the world began.

Rod Drake often wishes he were someone else. This is not one of those times. Check out Rod's other stories published in Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

Friday, January 5


Short Fiction - Fantasy
by Randall Pretzer

“You don’t really love that guy,” I said.

They both stopped and looked up at me.

“I do too," she said.

“No, you don’t," I said.

Eddie got up from the bench and walked over to me. I didn’t know what else to say.

“This is none of your business. Now beat it.”

He pushed me but I didn’t budge an inch. He was perplexed. I stood still.

“You are making a mistake, my dear,” I said to her, overlooking Eddie.

“I am going to give you five seconds to leave or I am taking you down.”

He raised up his fists. I didn’t budge.

“It will only help both of you in the end.”

He threw a punch at my face, I didn’t even feel it. He grabbed his hand and screamed in pain. Eddie kicked me between my legs and the pain caused him to fall on the ground.

She ran up to him and hugged him. She looked up at me.

“Why are you doing this? Can’t you see you have hurt him?” She was crying.

“I didn‘t do anything to him, but here let me help.”

I kneeled down and grabbed his hand and foot. He felt no pain in a few seconds. He felt his hand and foot. Eddie looked at me astonished and she got up slowly and backed away a bit in fear.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Just a friend of humanity. I am sorry for the trouble.”

I was about to walk away, but then she came up to me. Eddie slowly got up to his feet.

“How do you know if I love someone or not?”

“Because I can see right through you.”

She turned to Eddie. Eddie went up to kiss her but she pulled away.

“No, Eddie. I am sorry. I don’t love you.” She started to cry again.

“What do you mean? Of course you love me. Why are you listening to this guy? He is no one.”

He went up to her again and put his hands on he shoulders. Angela removed his hands gently and backed further away closer to me. “I am sorry, Eddie.”

Eddie walked away. Angela turned to me once more.

“Thank you. You stopped me from making the biggest mistake in my life.”

She came up and hugged me. I hugged her back and let go.

“You’re welcome but, really, you did the work.” I smiled.

“What is your name?” She let go of me.

“Just call me Clark.” I fixed my glasses.

“Nice to meet you, Clark. I am Angela.”

She put out her hand. I took it and we shook gently.

“Nice to meet you Angela.”

I let go of her hand.

“Well, want to go for a walk?”

She put out her hand again.

“All right.”

I took her hand.

Randall Pretzer has been writing since the 4th grade. He has written a few screenplays, plays, several short stories and poems, and had a few poems published in the National Library of Poetry.

FM Bulletin: Contest @ Clarity of Night

Jason says...

Using the photograph above for inspiration, compose a short fiction piece of no more than 250 words in any genre or style. Send your entry to me by email at jevanswriter at yahoo dot com before 11:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 10th (Eastern Time, United States). I'd prefer attachments formatted in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, but if you have something more exotic, you can paste the text into the body of an email. Each entry will be posted and indexed.

Check here for the rules!

Monday, January 1

I Resolve

Short Fiction - Crime
By BJ Bourg

Paul Rutherford leaned across the narrow table and kissed his girlfriend’s soft lips. “Happy New Year, baby.”

“We still have fifteen minutes.” Darla smiled, dimples accentuating her sculptured features. “But don’t you mean ‘Happy Anniversary’?”

“Yeah, hard to believe it’s already been a year.”

“Feels like I’ve known you forever.”

“I agree--”

“Hey, everybody,” Rex, the old bartender, called to the handful of patrons scattered about the lonely saloon. “Care to share y’all’s New Years resolutions?”

“I plan to make love to Darla more,” Paul bellowed.

“Me, too,” a stranger slurred from across the room.

Paul felt his face redden. He stood to see who said it.

“Okay, Paul,” Rex soothed. “It was a joke.”

Before Paul could respond, a stranger in the shadows of the room called out in a raspy voice, “In 2007, I resolve not to take any more crap from my husband.”

Something shattered against a wall. A belligerent drunk bellowed, “And I’m gonna break more beer bottles than I did last year!”

Amidst the raucous clatter that followed, Darla stood and grabbed her purse. “Let’s go to the room. It’s getting too wild in here.”

Paul nodded and escorted her to the door. Unable to secure a designated driver, they’d decided to spend New Year’s Eve in the hotel across from Rex’s Watering Hole. If Paul had his way, they would lock themselves in Room 210 and not come out for two days.

Once they were settled in the room, Darla flicked off the lights and tackled Paul onto the bed. “I’ve been waiting for this night forever,” she whispered.

“Me, too.” Paul pulled her face close to his in the darkness and rubbed her back.

Just as their lips met, the door rattled from the force of a heavy knock. Darla jumped in his arms. “Who could that be?”

“Can’t be the manager, we didn’t start making noise yet.”

“Well, no one knows we’re here.”

“Probably some drunk at the wrong room.” Paul rolled from the bed and padded to the door. He peered through the hole, but couldn’t make out the figure in the darkness. Leaving the chain in place, he opened the door a crack. “Can I help--”

The door burst inward and smashed Paul across the face. Something struck his chest and he fell backward, onto the floor. The door slammed shut, lights flooded the room. Darla screamed.

Paul lurched to his feet, blood oozing from his nose. A large man stood before him in a trench coat. A black Glock, equipped with silencer, protruded from the man’s right coat sleeve.

Paul took a cautious sidestep toward Darla, who was huddled at the head of the bed, a pillow covering most of her face. “What…what do you want?”

The man’s face twisted into a wicked smile. “In 2007, I resolve not to take any more crap from my husband.”

That raspy voice--the stranger from the bar!

The man pointed the gun at Darla.

Paul lifted his hands. “Whoa, whoa, mister, wait, stop! What the--”

The gun bucked in his hand. Once, twice. Darla screamed and struggled briefly, the life slowly leaving her body. Paul dove onto the bed and cradled her, tears streaming down his face. “Jesus, God, why? Why are you doing this? Who are you?”

The man calmly shifted the muzzle of the Glock to Paul. “It’s what Cynthia told me.”

Paul’s heart stopped beating. He stared wide-eyed at the stranger. “What did you say?”

“The New Year’s resolution. It’s what your wife said when she paid me to kill you and your girlfriend.”

As Paul slowly stood to his feet, fireworks exploded outside the room in celebration of the New Year. It was the last thing he would ever hear, his lifeless body thumping to the floor long before the echoes of the first volley had faded into history…


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