June Flash Fiction: Doors Indoors and Watermelon Bread by Faith Fulbright

Doors Indoors and Watermelon Bread

Faith Fulbright

After the show we go to a high-end grocery store. I go in alone. I try to find the bathroom but am already carrying the front of a bathroom stall: two narrow panels with a door between. I have to go through the swing door sideways, and once I am inside, to the largest stall where it is most likely to fit. I lock the door and start smoking. I remember the grounds with the hill, the bleachers, and the arena, the rail and the crowds where I’d get a leg up. I remember Rosa, the slick black saddle and long reins — never on the buckle — keeping a finger on her bob and drive. Yanepsi comes in. I let her into the stall. She worries that the length of my stay has made me suspicious. We agree to go but can’t get the stall-front back through the swing door. We leave it in the next-to-last stall, not visible from the entrance. We walk quickly through the store; we don’t need anything. A cashier says, “Aren’t you going to get anything?” “Watermelon bread,” I exclaim as though just having remembered it. It’s a cake really, Bundt shaped, and when cut, profiles laughably: it is three-quarters crisp golden brown, the lower left quadrant is green.

Faith Fulbright is a recent graduate of the Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in Leuven, Belgium, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in continental philosophy. She has since taken a break in the mountains of North Carolina to read, write, and pursue the visual arts. In addition to philosophical papers in Leuven, Canterbury, and the states, her artistic works include a reading with the Leuven Writing Collective, four poems in London’s Disclaimer magazine, and an avant garde piece with Bombay Gin (forthcoming).

May Flash Fiction: How to Roll a Cigarette by Jake Pritchett

How to Roll a Cigarette
Jake Pritchett
Meet a friend in the broken lot of Overland Foods. Get into his car and give him the money and thank him. Wait while he’s in the store. He’ll return with a bag of Bugler Tobacco and an extra stick of gummed Zig Zag rolling paper. He’ll give you the change. It’s cheaper than the two of you would’ve thought. Six for the Bugler two for the rolling paper. 

Go to the elementary school the two of you were at not a decade ago and the playground you grew up on by measure of scraped knees and bruised elbow and stand under the street light and struggle. Stand and smoke and feel that rush and be thankful you’re feeling.

You and he will laugh and say things like: “Shit olboy.”

Thank him again. He’ll start to say his sorrys or his condolences. Brush it off. Go home. Roll a few in that empty house and your sister is gone and that’s good because you still don’t know what to say to her.

Walk far from the house even though it’s cold. Smoke and watch the bright moon above scraggy sage brush and the translucent paper with the dark tobacco under it. The bright orange and towards the end red moving towards an ever present finish. Don’t think of how mom’d scream at you for it and despite it how she’d appreciate this art in its own right, but how she no longer can because that’s what death is. 

Jake Pritchett lives in Fort Collins, Colorado and has a short story forthcoming in the next issue of DoveTales: An International Journal of the Arts, as well as in Fewerthan500.

April Flash Fiction: The One by Robert Penick

The One

Robert Penick

They talked about how ashes from Marlboro cigarettes smelled better than those of generic smokes.       

“You wake up next to a coffee cup full of Doral butts. You feel like God took a leak on you while you slept.  It’s the cheap additives.  Marlboro makes you want to go on, somehow.”

They had met outside the liquor store.  She was coming out with a six-pack of beer as he went in.  “You want to help me drink these?” were the first words she spoke.  He bought another twelve and they walked back to his apartment.  Listened to the radio and sipped at the beer.  After it was gone, they took a shower together, steadying their tipsy bodies against the wall.  She had a tattoo, “Jim,” on her arm and told him it was her brother’s name.  She noticed that the tip of his left index finger was missing.       

“I tried to put my finger where my face wouldn’t go,” he explained.     

In bed, they made love clumsily, like high school kids.  He bonked his head against the headboard and they laughed, but it hurt, it really did.  After a time, her whole body tensed, and he felt proud of himself for her orgasm.     

“I’m not gonna make it.”      

“Whiskey dick,” she laughed.  “It happens.  Maybe you shouldn’t have drunk those last seven beers.”     

They slept, fitting into one another like two cats in a box.       

In the morning, he drove her home.  Jim’s car was in front of the house, so he let her out
around the corner.  She tucked his phone number into her jeans.  And that was that.     

He still thought of her years later, even after the name of her tattoo was forgotten.

Robert Penick’s work has appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, Plainsongs, and Gambling the Aisle. He lives in Louisville, KY, USA, with his free-range box turtle, Sheldon. More of his work can be found at www.theartofmercy.net

March Flash Fiction: Rhubarb Pie by Lindsay Haber

Rhubarb Pie
Lindsay Haber
Before she was given the cheapest grave stone from Thoughtful Memorials, and before her family members showed up on the damp day they lowered her into the earth, and before the stroke that reverted her to a state of infancy and left half of her face saggy and drooping, and before her left leg was amputated from the thigh down, and before her body bloated to twice its size and eight of her teeth fell out, and before the years everyone told her you know, you shouldn’t be eating like that, take care of yourself before it’s too late, and before the vintage Barbie collection was displayed on every shelf and table of her apartment, and visitors thought it was strange and even she was ashamed by it sometimes but couldn’t stop herself from buying more, and before the months she taught a class of first graders but couldn’t finish the year because they were making fun of her, and before she would have given anything to be her beautiful cousin as a teenager, and before she was an adolescent pulling out the hair on her scalp in swift tugs until there was nothing left, before all of this, she yelled, I hope you die to her father because he wouldn’t let her get the ice cream cone with the rainbow sprinkles, five minutes before the heart attack that killed him; she never knew he was thinking about other things: thinking about the Giants covering the spread, thinking about changing the clocks for daylight savings, thinking about rhubarb pie.
Lindsay Haber teaches in the First-Year Writing Program at Emerson College while earning her MFA in fiction. She is currently writing her second YA novel while working towards publishing her first. Her writing has appeared in Print Oriented Bastards and FiveontheFifth. In addition, she has a story forthcoming in the Fjords Review. She is thrilled to be a 2016 nominee for the Pushcart Prize. In addition to writing, she loves canines and the outdoors.

February Flash Fiction: The Overall Rhythm by William Doreski

The Overall Rhythm

William Doreski

Traffic skews right, then left, dodging itself. All I want is an honest cup of joe, but the cop on the corner waves me off, his hand on his pistol. Green sky threatens to sicken even more. The populace indulges sighs that make mobile phones weep. Chairs scrape across rooftops as witnesses compete for a view. Someone lies dead in the grass in front of the Baptist church. No, the corpse rises, stretches, grins. The cop questions me. Did I really think that fellow dead? What’s my motive? Stars bloom in the green sky. They
aren’t exactly stars but the buttons that keep us decently clothed. Or so the cop says. Who
am I, neutral citizen, to disagree? The infamous twilight descends at stroke of noon. Traffic halts in its honor. A skyscraper under construction sheds a beam that luckily misses everything living but stabs into the asphalt to become a monument to my folly. The cop laughs so hard he handcuffs himself and staggers away still smirking. Too bad the fragrance of honest joe has abandoned this city and gone to less pretentious sites. I should follow. I should abandon myself to the few primary colors left, and lilt myself into the overall rhythm, becoming intimate with my absence.

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various journals. He lives in New Hampshire and swats blackflies for a living.