Josh stopped at concessions for two orders of cotton candy, strolling to their rendezvous in penny loafers and bowling shirt.
Sixteen minutes passed before she texted, canceling. But cell phones hadn’t been invented yet.
Ghosted, he waited another hour, gave his blues to a bobbysoxer, and slowly slumped home.
Raised in Chicago and residing in Nashville, with a B.A. from DePaul University and M.Ed. from Belmont University, Doug Hoekstra is a working wordsmith whose short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in numerous literary journals through the U.S. Hoekstra has two book-length collections to his name: The Tenth Inning (2015) and Bothering the Coffee Drinkers (2007 – winner of an Independent Publisher Award Bronze Medal for Fiction). He lives in the Music City with his son Jude.
Hoekstra is also a singer-songwriter troubadour who has released eight “critically acclaimed” albums of original material on labels on both sides of the pond, touring throughout the U.S. and Europe, performing at bookstores, coffeehouses, clubs, libraries, pubs, festivals, radio stations, and castles; solo and with combos in tow. Highlights included Nashville Music Award and Independent Music Award nominations, lots of Top 10 lists, and many groovy times. As the pundits used to say, “a lot of people write songs, Hoekstra writes five-minute worlds” (Wired Magazine). See more at doughoekstra.wordpress.com.
“Computer, retrieve memory AF-278451.”
The tablet fills with dream-like images of the first time they met, her curls, smile that lit up the room. The wine spilled deliberately to mark her as his own.
That night became every night, became 20 years. A galaxy of silence since death took her.
Jim Doss lives in Sykesville, Maryland, and earns his living as a software engineer. He has previously published two books of poems: Learning to Talk Again and What Remains. In partnership with Werner Schmitt, he also published a book of German translations entitled The Last Gold of Expired Stars: The Complete Poems of Georg Trakl 1908 – 1914. In his spare time, he is an editor for the Loch Raven Review.
Her croft was almost inaccessible.
They’d met at a church fete. The congregation crowded around her innovative confectionery.
He’d hovered over her Dunesslin Pudding.
“Aye,” he’d acknowledged.
She laughed as rich as she baked. They’d had tea.
Now, he fingered the ring as the quad bounced along the track.
Irish writer Perry McDaid lives in Derry under the brooding brows of Donegal hills which he occasionally hikes in search of druidic inspiration. He even finds it on occasion.
The A/C crashes and I am alone, wishing for love. The heat creeps in. I sigh, knowing sleep will be difficult.
My head hits the pillow and I stick my foot out for relief. I hear from under the bed, “I’ll always love you.” And then claws tickle my foot.
Lucas Chapman studies English and History at Saint Louis University. He enjoys eating toasted ravioli and running unnecessary distances.
Deadline is only some hours away.
His writer’s mind is obsessed with other thoughts.
He unsuccessfully tries to focus on the given assignment.
Eventually he gives up.
Sleep still eludes him.
It reads, “You are my first thought each morning.”
He doesn’t respond.
He simply smiles.
Vijai Pant is a language teacher in a school in India. He is also a freelance writer.
The Ferris wheel’s gigantic blue neon star looms. Waiting in line I feign delight, but I shudder when the bar clicks shut, locking us in our swaying rickety seats.
He hugs me. “I’d better tell you now,” he says, “heights make me queasy…”
Before I can answer, we swing skyward.
Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University. Her collection of short fiction, Country Music (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2017), joins a novel, The Real Deal (Brick House Press 2012), and a collection of flash fiction, Just Desserts (Star Cloud Press 2010). She is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently, Debris Field (David Robert Books 2017).
I barked and barked… and the sun came up.
His coffee, my biscuit.
Toast and a treat.
He’ll read the newspaper,
I’ll dream of slow, inattentive cats.
When he reaches down to ruffle my fur,
his hand feels like the afternoon sun.
This must be what they call Thanksgiving.
Paul Bluestein is a physician by profession (OB-GYN), a self-taught musician (guitar and keys), and a devoted Bridge and Scrabble player (yes, ZAX is a word). He is also a writer of poetry whenever the Muse unexpectedly calls him and rings insistently until he answers (even if he doesn’t want to talk with her just then).
A middle-aged man and woman sit in movie theater seats with broken hinges. Distortions of an animated film flicker in the reflection of their eyes, accompanied by the laughter of children ringing in their ears.
The woman clutches a tattered teddy bear to her chest. The man squeezes her hand.
Taylor Stuckey is an English major at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She started dabbling in writing short fiction less than a year ago, and hasn’t stopped since. This is her first published sotry.
We clung to each other in the dryer. Spinning socks became whirling dervishes in a passionate dance.
Unceremoniously thrown onto the hard surface. I was the only one left. Widowed now, and no one else can be my mate.
I’ve resorted to cuddling up to a lint ball.
Making people laugh, especially while they’re swallowing big spoonfuls of soup, is one of Diane Malk’s goals. She is a writer from Colorado who shudders at the sight of snow every winter and is certain she lived in the tropics in a previous life. Diane has been published in Mad Swirl, Hackwriters, and Scarlet Leaf Review. She is working on her first book and always has a craft project in the works.
Ellen’s cat got out. He finally figured out how to open the screen door. His name is Whiskers. He’s friendly for a cat. Always rubbing against people’s ankles. He’ll answer to his name. I haven’t told Ellen yet. We live on Longview. The traffic’s heavier since they widened the road.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, despite severe vision loss, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.