Every day was the same.
Soon as Mom got home they started.
Back and forth they went.
Around and around they went.
The volume of their voices fluctuated, depending on which room they were in.
Dad wasn’t working, wasn’t looking.
He talked about the life-changing phone calls he was expecting.
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.
“I’ll take her around,” volunteered little Jayati, wheeling the spastic Anna out. Ten years separated the two.
“She, too, yearns for your love,” commented my wife.
At bed time, I explained why Anna needed more care. “She’s a ‘special’ child,” I said.
“I also want to be ‘special’,” Jayati replied.
Vijai Pant is a language teacher in a school in India. He is also a freelance writer.
I watched him grow.
A fern leaf opening.
A curious child.
His face searching for… reflecting the sun.
“What’s in the schoolbag!” I gasped at its weight.
“Rocks,” he said.
I thought his wit a bit dry for six.
Only… it was rocks!
“I’m collecting them.”
Mary Sheehan wrote this story.
“Choklat,” he demanded, his eyes glistening.
She was buying him ice cream. Again. Because she adored the way his little tongue twisted into the cone, chasing down the last oozing dregs.
And because, when he gleefully wiped his sticky fingers across his cardigan, she knew her suppressed resentment was justified.
Tamsin can currently be found poking writing with a stick, and then running away scared.
At each corner, she read the street sign. She studied the shops and houses, examined the faces of passersby, searching for someone or something that looked familiar. She squeezed her brother’s hand. He was too young to remember anything except their mother. Maybe the next one, she said each time.
Over the years Bob Thurber’s work has received a long list of awards and prizes. His most recent book is a collection of brief stories titled “Nothing But Trouble.” His first novel, “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel,” was recently rereleased. Visit BobThurber.net.
Sue Ella Brennen stood in front of her mother’s bathroom mirror. Green, glittery dust coated the counter. Globs of mascara below her eye.
Her mother walked into the bathroom. “Susie, what are you doing with my makeup?”
Sue Ella looked at herself in the mirror. “Mama, help me be pretty.”
Gretchen Gales wrote this story.
He was never much for talking,
but he must have felt
our youthful lack of questions
as a wound: when
we asked him, later—
when we were old enough
he’d never told us
of who he was,
his answer flared
quick and sharp:
Jennifer L. Freed usually writes poetry but likes the challenge of micro-fiction. She recently had a 100-word story (“The Lesser”) published in The Citron Review
. Her website is jfreed.weebly.com
You were the tomboy next door. We played children’s games: raced, wrestled, bickered. One day, suddenly, you were grown up. Poised, complicated, spellbinding.
You left for the city. Texted me that you were in love.
I suppose we’d known each other too long and too well ever to be lovers.
Alex’s story is what it is.
Nursing home conversation:
Is that Myrtle? I thought she went to live with her daughter.
It didn’t work out.
Why? She was so excited since her kids never had time to visit her here.
She discovered something that broke her heart worse than being an afterthought.
Being an obligation.
Cathy is a temporarily out of work bookkeeper, taking a little time off to play in the fields of words and exercise the other half of her brain.
“Eat like this!” Mama demands, nibbling the bagel like a caged gerbil with a toilet paper roll.
The boy giggles, takes his like a harmonica, raising it like a singer reaching for that final high note. Cream cheese squirts out for the audience’s enjoyment.
She rubs her expectant belly. “Kids…”
Jennifer L. Smith lives in Eagle River, Alaska. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Cirque, Yellow Chair Review, Eunoia Review, and Alaska Women Speak.