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.
I set the small slide down and settled nearby.
She climbed, slid down, climbed, slid again.
On her fourth climb, she stopped and said, “Thank you, Mama.”
A first; I had not expected spontaneous gratitude to appear as a cognitive milestone, or to bring me to tears when it did.
Patrice St. James
writes creative nonfiction. She is from California, but lives in Massachusetts with her husband and daughter, where she enjoys most of the seasons.
The little girl skips into the jewelry store, arms flailing. “We’re gonna buy a necklace! We’re gonna buy a bracelet! We’re gonna buy a tiara!”
Her father looks around. “You Break It, You Buy It,” the sign says. He grimaces.
“We’re gonna not touch anything. That’s what we’re gonna do.”
Dustin Petzold is a recent graduate of George Washington University and a resident of Washington DC. He co-founded Crooked Scoreboard
, a blog focused on humor and culture in sports. He thinks this bio should be shorter than the story, so he’s ending it now.
The Tooth Fairy had visited and left $5 for that first tooth. Later, Chloe wrote this note, all phonetically:
“Dear Tooth Fairy,
You took my tooth, but you didn’t leave any money. Please leave it tonight.
She winked me a smile. “Tooth Fairy’s so busy, she won’t remember!”
Barbara Comstock teaches English Language Arts in middle school and is easily amused.
Mom told my older brother and sister to let their little brother have one more year of believing. Could they be kind teenagers for Christmas?
We laugh now, all adults, over wine.
My brother died last year. My mother ruined Christmas for him when he was just 13 years old.
Chris Dehon is a child and adolescent psychologist living in upstate New York with his wife and daughter. Although he’s been in New York for nearly 10 years, he considers himself a New Orleanian for life.
Mom, Dad, I promise that, from today, I will study every day. I promise you that I will pass my exams and I won’t smoke. I promise that I will come back before 6 AM on weekends. I will go to church every Sunday.
With my fingers crossed.
Olga Pendones Olmos wrote this story.