Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A hint of wind

By Erik Svehaug

The young priest cut the outboard engine half a mile from Horseshoe Bay off the Marin Headlands. He had no fishing pole, no crab pots. He spent most Mondays off from his stagnant ministry in this rowboat.

He tipped the engine up and back, put the oars in their locks, let the blades hang in the water. He waited, bow pointed across open water toward old San Francisco. Outside the mouth of the Bay, the barren Farallons called and the immense Pacific offered to take him. The boat drifted dully.

He closed his eyes. His seminary enthusiasm had met polite tolerance. He just couldn’t engage these natives with roots as old as the Bible. Power-Points were useless.

Small waves licked the side of the boat; the hungrier ones slapped it.

He had to do something physical. Every time he opened his mouth, platitudes came out. Tom, Rosa and the others knew it without saying so. They had learned something key, without schooling. He blushed. He had introduced Peter, the New Testament fisherman, certain the story would resonate with them. So wrong.

Eyes tightly shut, he pulled on one oar and pushed against the other, turning the boat again and again, until he lost internal count. He sat still. Where was he pointed now? Toward the shipping lanes? Toward home? Up toward Angel Island or out through the Golden Gate?

He had to give his mind away and trust his body to learn what these Miwok reflected in their calm, their touch, their eyes. He suddenly saw Jesus and His father Joseph in a new light. God Himself had put aside everything He created: Relativity, photosynthesis, amniotic fluids, angels and souls, to learn woodworking from a human carpenter. Before He ministered, He made furniture; before He gathered His disciples, He sharpened chisels. Joseph had shown the God of the Heavens, the I AM, something central about being fully human.

The priest had discovered that ages ago natives in reed boats had crossed the fog-filled Bay at night without getting lost. Eyes closed, he waited now as though in storm darkness, to sense the pull of the tide and the push of the currents, to differentiate the slap of the wind wave from the shove of the ground swells. Let me get this, he begged. Lead me to Lime Point. Show me.

The incoming tide was slacking. Since he was a quarter mile from the Point, the tide would eddy counter-clockwise. The wind had been out of the Southwest, so that would tend to take him landward. He felt the breeze in his hair and on his jacket, sensed his movement in the water.

He unfurled his tense brows without opening his eyes and rowed with deep strokes. Idiot priest runs into lighthouse, he thought.

After five minutes, he suspended his oars. The sea was trying to turn him from the bow. The wind was at the back of his head. Was that a rebound wave, starboard, off of the cliffs at the point?

He rowed again. His mantra was: Empty Me, Empty Me.

For ten more minutes of dip and pull, he was surrounded by blow, thump and sway. He suddenly stopped, shipped his oars and opened his eyes. He looked left quickly. Not too much open water separated him from a small rocky beach, a cliff, and Lime Point! He caught his breath; his eyes bulged.

He fished his cell phone out, wanting to tell somebody. After many moments, he slipped it back in his pocket. He could think of no one to call.

Copyright ©2011 Erik Svehaug. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



Erik Svehaug works a day job at a picturesque Santa Cruz lumberyard and writes when he can seize the time. He loves his wife and two inspiring daughters. He was recently on patrol with Spanish leatherjackets in an anthology called Villainy, in ancient Greece with The 22 Magazine, and soon will be in Qarrtsiluni, Vagabondage Press, 2011 Binnacle UltraShorts, a Hall Brothers series, and on a Tales of Old podcast.

Contact him at or

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

**One of my stories, Trust, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site

Trust, a noir-nasty sex tale inspired by the work of Jim Thompson, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site.

Trust was originally published on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association site in June 2001, under the nom de plume “Qi Fear”. It was later republished under my real name in my 2010 anthology Charge of the scarlet b-sides: microsex stories & poems.

Monday, November 28, 2011

**Richard Cody’s poem, Haunted, was republished on the Phantom Kangaroo site

Richard Cody, whose microstories – Alice and Lisa - appeared on this site, has republished another powerful poem, Haunted, in issue 13 of Phantom Kangaroo.

This poem was originally published in one of Richard's poetry anthologies, This is Not My Heart.

Check out his work, and these sites, if you’re so inclined and have the time!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The wizard of the airport

By Matthew Dexter

Ever since we lost our son, my wife won’t let me touch her sexually, so I have to satisfy my urges with pat-down body searches at the airport. Grabbing men’s junk all morning makes the hours pass so fast, like delicate flowers hungry for sunlight; I peel back the layers of each petal, longing for the peak holiday travel season as grown men bitch and moan about not using the metal detector instead. Ever since the TSA implemented these fancy machines that show the contours of the naked body, the number of daily searches has multiplied exponentially. This makes me more than happy to come to work on time.

I’m that creepy guy watching you take off your shoes and place them into a plastic bucket. Don’t forget that watch, I might remind you. TSA is a decent job, with good health benefits and manageable hours. The salary for airport screeners is not great, but I do the full-body searches. My standing is a step above those cretins. Stretch out your arms, I tell them. Advising passengers about the procedures often doesn’t make it any easier. There are rainbows and butterflies between their legs.

Sometimes little boys are a necessary part of my job description. They need to be patted down too. I’m not a pedophile. This doesn’t interest me. Only the older men do. I check under their arms, running my hands against their shoulders and backs. Lower, I creep, my hands upon their ankles, in the waistband of their pants sometimes, always running my palms up their inner thighs and I go nuts when I get the center of paradise.

Those new scans are real bad for your health. The radiation is harmful. My hands are innocuous, always clean and ready to go. I’m a professional. As soon as I snap on those blue rubber gloves, you know I mean business. Those x-ray machines are intrusive, but the person reading your results in that little room can’t touch your scrotum through the computer like I can. Sure, he can see whether a man is circumcised or a woman is menstruating…but so can I.

I’m the airport wizard waiting for you at the airport. My name is invasion of privacy. My name is lonely hardworking man whose wife is recovering slowly. I’m the future of air travel. See you inside.

Copyright ©2011 Matthew Dexter. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.


Like a nomadic PericĂș, Matthew Dexter lives on a hunter-gatherer subsistence diet of shrimp tacos, smoked marlin, cold beer, and warm sunshine. His short fiction has been published in hundreds of literary journals and dozens of anthologies. He lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Monday, November 21, 2011

**One of my erotica stories, Asia’s seasons, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site

One of my older microfiction-quadrilogy stories, Asia's seasons, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site. It was originally published on the Erotica Readers & Writers Assocation site, May - June 2003.

This sex-heavy, fast-moving, prose-poetic work is about a couple who engage in sexual experimentation, and learn their practical limits – as individuals, and as a couple.

This story also appears in my erotica story/poem antho, Charge of the scarlet b-sides: microsex stories & poems.

Check the story and/or the book out, if you’re so inclined and have the time. =)

Friday, November 18, 2011

**John Flynn’s poem, “Olneyville,” was published on the Gutter Eloquence site, November 2011

John Flynn, aka Basil Rosa, had one of his poems, Olneyville, published in issue #18 of Gutter Eloquence. (Great job, John!)

John, by-lined as Basil Rosa, also published a story, He held on and she kept saying time to go, on this site in October 2011.

If you have a moment, and are so inclined, check out John’s work!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Big cats

By Walter Campbell

“Oh please.”

“What, Jason?”

“These mountain lion warning signs. They’re completely useless.”

“How so?” I was digging through my backpack for my lunch. With more than ten miles of hiking left, my hunger was more important than a sign, and even more important than the mountain lions that the sign warned us about.

“Well, first, it’s entirely pointless to tell us there are mountain lions here. These aren’t burglars getting spotted by the neighborhood watch; they’re masters of murder, and if we see one, it’s only because he wants us to. All this sign does is unnecessarily scare us.” I turned back to my bag in an even bigger panic than before because I still couldn’t find my lunch and I had only two zippers left.

“Maybe mountain lions make mistakes. We all make mistakes; why can’t they? And if one does, and we’re on our 'A' game because of this sign and see him early, then the sign worked, right?” I argued. I needed more time to search my pack. Jason sighed heavily.

“No, it didn’t work. First, you’re wrong, they don’t make mistakes. Second, let’s say you’re right, and we catch the Dudley Do-Right of the mountain lion world. Even then, he’s still got us. What does this sign tell us to do? Look big? Don’t run? If attacked, fight back? Are you kidding me?”

“Why? What’s wrong with that?” One zipper had proven to be a bust, but I could feel something in the remaining pouch, and my spirits rose. Jason sighed even more heavily than last time; he refocused his predatory gaze on me, and not the sign.

“Uh, everything. Everything’s wrong with it. First, look big. Really? I’m going to scare a mountain lion by looking big? He has teeth, and claws, and the ability to jump twenty yards in one bound, and me, an overweight twenty-five-year-old white guy from the burbs, is going to scare him by looking a foot taller? No. Second, don’t run? Of course I’m going to run if this thing moves on me; it could kill me. Finally, fight back? That’s a losing battle if I’ve ever heard of one. ‘Oh man, this mountain lion better watch out, I’ve got a mean right cross.’ Please, Cliff, please.”

“I think that’s the point. All the advice is counterintuitive, and that’s why they need to put up the sign. It works even though we think it won’t work, so they have to spell it out for us.” The promising bulge in the last pocket had turned out to be a box of matches and a first aid kit, not lunch.

“I still don’t buy it. These mountain lions are hungry. It’s a dry summer, their food is dying off, and we’re replacement food. This sign’s not going to change that.”

“Well, maybe. But speaking of food, I forgot my lunch, so we should go back. I can’t go another four hours without any food.”

“Yeah, let’s go back,” he agreed a bit too readily. “Oh no…”

“What?” I said, trying to hide my frustration at having forgotten my lunch, and having him give up on our hike so easily.

“A mountain lion, Cliff,” he said, pointing to a spot about 20 yards up the ridge that extended from our trail. “Don’t run. Raise your arms to look bigger. If he comes at us, be ready to fight.”

“Jason, that’s just a bobcat.”

“Just a bobcat, Cliff? Do you have any idea how dangerous bobcats are? Any idea what…” Jason began as my stomach rumbled and the bobcat slunk away.



Walter Campbell is from LA, which you shouldn't hold that against him. He went to college in New England, which you should judge him for. And he currently lives in Philadelphia, and if you can figure out a reaction to that, please let him know, because he's failed to for the last three years. You can find some of his other work in Jersey Devil Press, Static Movement, and

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

August at the Fair

By Natalie McNabb

August limps past the Ferris wheel, a cotton candy wisp stuck to her cheek. She stops, licks her dusty lips with a snow cone-blue tongue while deciding how to spend her sister Summer’s last dollar bill. Ring toss? Animal balloon? She squints at a cloud puff caught between the sky and bronzed hill.

Yes, Mom’ll blame the missing babysitting money on her brother, Patrick.

Or, Dad will.

They always do.

August limps off toward the tent of the two-headed boy instead, and when she sees him peak out from behind the red- and white-striped curtain—first his one head and, then, the other—she knows his parents would never blame anything on him either because they’re still too busy blaming themselves.

Copyright ©2011 Natalie McNabb. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



Natalie McNabb lives and writes in Washington State. She loves red—red dragonflies resting on bamboo stakes, red wine in her glass, red flip-flops on her red-toe-nailed feet—and words that caress, tickle, irritate, or beat against her soul. Natalie has been shortlisted for several awards, including The Micro Award and Glass Woman Prize. Her writing appears in Norton’s Hint Fiction anthology and various other literary publications. Please visit her at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

**Several of dani harris' pieces will be published on the Spark site, November 8 - 29, 2011

dani harris, whose prose-poetic stories have graced the Microstory A Week site, has had two poems, moonlight sonata and passionflower, published on the Spark site recently.

Her verses work in conjunction with Ainsley Allmark's colorful photographs.

If you're inclined, and have the time, check them, and dani's website out!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

**One of my stories, Wreck room, was published on the Every Night Erotica site

One of my less plot-oriented erotica pieces, Wreck room, a trashy, fun tale about a lesbian church quickie, was published on the Every Night Erotica site.

If you’re so inclined and have the time, check it out, and leave a star rating/comment!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The good lie

By Jim Harrington

My mother sits across from me, a sliver of white slip visible beneath the hem of her wool skirt. She looks out the window of the single room that’s now her home, a question forming in her mind. It’s the same one she always asks.

My answer is the same each time, too. One she struggles to process, but eventually accepts. I can tell her the truth. She won’t remember what I say any longer than she remembers what she eats for lunch. But I don’t. Ignorance is less painful than truth.

I used to regret lying to my mother. Not anymore. The truth might do more damage, like when she shut down after my older sister, Susan, died. I tell mom the truth about Susan, though. A tumor the doctors found too late is more acceptable to a woman of mom’s upbringing than carbon monoxide poisoning, in Germany, in a car, with a married man, while serving in the army.

“Do you know how Kathryn died?” she asks.

I glance at the picture of my other sister, Kathryn, part of a family montage pinned to a corkboard hanging on the wall.

“No, Mom. They never told us what happened.”

I look her straight in the eye, sincere, remorseless, and thank God she’s the way she is.

Copyright ©2011 Jim Harrington. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



Jim Harrington discovered flash fiction in 2007, and he’s read, written, studied, and agonized over the form since. His recent stories have appeared in Flashshot, A Twist of Noir, The Short Humour Site, Thrillers, Killers N Chillers, and others. Jim's Six Questions For . . . blog provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.”