Wednesday, January 25, 2012


By T F Rhoden

Head Coach Patterson leant into the crowbar, heaving his weight against the bar of iron until the drywall loosened slowly before yawing open. Flecks of chalky plaster clouded the stillness of the small, emptied-out bedroom. Wiping the sweat from his brow with the back of his arm, the man ambulated to the window and released the latch to slide open a pane of glass. Patterson looked up from the second floor of his newly bought house to see the stadium of Southern Methodist University. Thoughts of the previous weekend’s soccer game loss were rekindled.

Below a crash, a yell, and laughter sounded through the house. He could hear his wife’s voice reprimanding their two daughters. He laughed as well, wondering what the girls had broken. The sound had reverberated from the kitchen, through the halls, and up to the second floor. The coach hoped they were making him lunch.

Again Patterson doubted whether purchasing the fifty-year-old house was sensible. He liked that he could walk to the locker-room offices now and visit home during the lunch hours, maybe see more of his elementary-aged daughters.

With attempting to save money by making modifications himself, however, his free time was being chiseled away with remodeling. The coach was already regretting promising his wife that he could expand their bedroom. He surveyed the destruction he had wrought thus far. Patterson admitted that he would need to incur the cost of real carpenter at some point—but not today.

The coach could not help looking at the stadium again. The complex appeared more monolithic than it really was, overbearing from his vantage point. On fortuitous weekends, when Patterson was able to command the varsity team toward a win, the architectural tribune of tubular metal and blocked concrete was a welcoming sight. On weekends like the last, the building never escaped his view, suffocating his mood every time he dared turn toward a window. Every glassed orifice of his house offered a perspective onto the terrible structure.

Leaving the window, the coach brandished the hook end of the bar, hovering the iron in the air as if it were a bat. He swung violently at the wall. Bracing his foot against the crumbling plasterboard, he pulled at the crowbar recklessly. Too much leverage caused the man to place his foot through the aged wall. Losing his balance, he fell awkwardly, slipping to the floor. The crowbar, with a sizeable chunk of drywall, fell with him, showering the coach with a thousand snow-white particles of plaster.

Peeved, picking himself up, the man espied his daughters staring at him blankly from the door. The older girl held a bologna sandwich in her hand, the younger cupping a glass of water carefully so as not to drop it.

—Daddy, you’re white! his youngest yelped.

The girls giggled.

Patterson shook his head, shoulders, and body, spattering the room with dried plaster. The girls screamed playfully, running away from the flying specks.

—What are you two laughing at, their mother asked, halting them at the end of the hall and turning them back around to the room.

—Pat, the girls have your lunch. We have one more beer left in the fridge from…

The coach’s wife stopped speaking when she saw her husband. When she started to laugh, the girls followed.

—You look like a black ghost.

Patterson smiled[, mischievous]:

—Honey, I’d love a beer.

Copyright ©2012 T.F. Rhoden. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



An American, T F Rhoden is an avid traveler. He enjoys good lit, cold beer, and learning new languages. Past publications include the literary fiction book called The Village, two languages guides on the Thai and Burmese languages, an edited epistolary account entitled Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border, and most recently a travel guidebook entitled Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand (Other Places Travel Guide). Rhoden is currently pursuing a PhD in PoliSci. He can be contacted at

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New weather

By Sarah Gamutan

My soul escaped, wanted another blast - a party animal which hailed from a stag party that had happened two nights ago. I guessed married men didn’t exist. I just shrugged, sauntered with Jen as we carried the luggage, brought it to the dresser, locked the closet and breathed deeply after such a day. I had met a man next door who was so laid back.

I just recalled how he brought it up. “Didn’t you ever get sick of it? The fuck- ups?!” he had exclaimed when I threw the wedding ring into the sand that same night I had arrived. He had preached like I hadn’t gone to a counselor in my five years of marriage. I wondered what I had missed.

I’m glad Jenny was here with me, in her party pants and red stilettos. “Here, take your pills. This will make it less painful,” she convicted.

“Thanks, Jen.” I paused, then asked “Is there something fucking wrong with me? I know I was a bit under the weather these past few days, but wouldn’t be it more painful to see your husband slowly going away, getting colder?”

She just sat holding her glass of wine and asked for a light. I made a monkey jump to hand her a lighter.

It was an addictive night, but it didn’t make me better. Though the room was warmed by the fire in the fireplace, a gust of wind from the window made me cold. If I were the mistress, I would be so lucky. I had to argue that sometimes things didn’t work out for the good.

Copyright ©2011, 2012 Sarah Gamutan. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



Sarah Gamutan's poems have been published in many online literary journals including Carty's Poetry Journal, Western Australia Poets Inc. , The Beat, Literary Kicks, Haggard and Halloo Publications, The Camel Saloon, Rainbow Rose, Voxpoetica and The Sound of Poetry Review. She lives in Philippines where she works as a Customer Support Associate by night and a poet at heart by day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

**One of my microstories, Magnolia crows, was published on the Leodegraunce site

One of my older mainstream microstories, Magnolia crows, was published on the Leodegraunce site.

This 121-word story about corvine shapeshifters, love and betrayal will appear on the site from January 16 – 22, 2012 (after that it will be replaced by another microstory - Leodegraunce doesn't archive stories).

Check it out, maybe leave a comment, if you’re so inclined and have the time. Thanks!

**One of my stories, Splatterdays, was published in the Best Gay Romance 2012 anthology

I just received two copies of the Richard Labonté-edited anthology, Best Gay Romance 2012, which contains one of my stories, Splatterdays. (Splatterdays is about two guys who fall in love at a thrash metal concert.)

Not only am I thrilled to see this story published (and get paid for it), I'm also thrilled to be sharing anthology space with C.C. Williams, whose distinctive work I've continually admired since I read it in the Erotica Readers & Writers Association online writing group! (C.C.'s excellent, tender story is called The Prisoner.)

This anthology is scheduled for January 17, 2012 publication, for those readers who are inclined towards the erotica genre, and arent' (strictly) hetero in their reading habits.

Here (again) is the home site for the anthology, which can also be purchased at

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The crawfish boil

By Alvin G. Burstein

The sultry south Louisiana afternoon was buffered by the shade of tall pines and oaks that dominated the lot. Scattered under the trees were rough-hewn tables, eight foot long plywood panels supported by sawhorses that elevated them waist high. Clipped to the two holes in the center of each table, and hanging down from it, were black thirty gallon trash bags. Some kind of feast had been carefully anticipated.

People began trickling in, at first in twos and threes, then in larger crowds. The guests were varied: men and women, young and old, some bare-legged in shorts, some in chinos, some in gaily flowered dresses, some bare-headed and some in floppy sun hats. As the crowd increased, the clamor of talk, punctuated by bursts of laughter, got louder and louder. The humid atmosphere got warmer and warmer.

The food arrived, cascade upon cascade of hot boiled crawfish, their mottled red bodies setting off steaming paler red new potatoes, three inch cobs of shiny yellow corn and speckles of gray-green bay leaf, darker allspice and fire alarm red cayenne, all puddled in liquid boil. Bellying up to the tables, the crowd began to grab for the shellfish, twisting off and sucking heads, peeling open the armored bellies, squeezing out gleaming, moist tails, and, ignoring the black dorsal blood lines, fingering the white meat into their mouths. The laughter and talk didn't subside. It became a cacophony, a jangle, punctuated by the sound of fingers sucked, smacking lips and exclamations of approval: "Man, these mudbugs are some good!"

Mounds of spiny, multi-legged shellfish disappeared to be replenished by new cascades, welcomed by gleaming eyes and grasping hands. Mastication clotted, but did not diminish, the increasing clamor. Ejaculations of pleasure, shouted words and eruptions of laughter spiraled into the muggy atmosphere. Liquid boil and fish juices coated snatching fingers, and slathered hands and forearms. Oily stains splashed clothes and besmeared chins.

Suddenly the ground began to rock. Tables spilled their contents. Feasters staggered and fell, screaming. A monstrous basket of metal netting broke through the ground. Scooping up a squirming mass of people and broken debris, it dumped the collection into a huge steaming caldron watched by gigantic crustaceans looking on with expressionless ebony eyes.

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


This story was originally published in Dark Valentine magazine in June 2011.



Burstein is a retired psychology professor and psychoanalyst. He currently volunteers at the New Orleans-Birmingham Psychoanalytic Center where he teaches and serves as librarian. He is a member of the Inklings, a group that meets weekly at the local public library to read and critique its members’ writings. He is a committed Francophile, unsurprisingly, a lover of fine cheese and wine, and an unrepentant cruciverbalist.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

**One of my stories, Love, Loud as a Bomb, will be published in Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories

One of my erotica stories, Love, Loud as a Bomb, is getting published in Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories, set for a June 2012 release.

Love, Loud as a Bomb is a light, fast-moving, theme-tasteful story. Its elements include: prescience, a natural disaster and a hetero date. It's fluff, but it still (somewhat) reads like one of my oddball works. I'm looking forward to reading the other authors' stories, as well, especially Remittance Girl's Proof of Desire (hi, Rem!).

Quick correction to the anthology promo site: Love, Loud as a Bomb is not set in Hawaii - a point mentioned in my story.

This anthology was edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, who’s snipped, expanded and otherwise put together forty-plus other erotica anthologies.


Rachel Kramer Bussel is offering copies of Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories to you, the reader, for no charge, if you're willing to read and review the anthology on its Amazon page (link below) by June 30, 2012.

Here's the details, from her email to all Suite Encounters contributors:

“The official pub date is June 12th. . . I'm definitely in search of Amazon reviewers (must be in US and must have an account they've made a purchase from) if you know anyone who wants a free book (and a chance to plug your work!). They can just send me their mailing address with "Amazon" in the subject line and they will get a signed copy hot off the press from me, before books are even in stores. I just ask that they review it by June 30th.”

Rachel’s email address:

Check it out, and take supportive advantage of Rachel's offer, if you're so inclined - also, per her request, please click the Facebook "like" on the anthology's Amazon page if you find yourself agreeing with that button!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Behind the shed

By Janet Yung

It would be easy not to tell anybody about what happened behind the shed in the overgrown backyard of the next door neighbor. She was old, should’ve been dead by now the way the kids reckoned and, yet, here she was plodding along scaring everybody even when it wasn’t Halloween.

“Do you think she saw anything?” Jasper asked. Rachel shook her head.

“She’s as blind as a bat,” she said, confident the rumors the old lady had x-ray vision were completely unfounded.

“But are you sure?” His voice quivered slightly at the notion they would be discovered, the news spreading along the block with lightning speed the way most bad news did in the small community.

“Yes,” she laughed and darted away from him, towards her own house where her mother would be putting supper on the table.

“Do you know what the problem is with summer vacation?” her mother constantly asked after the Fourth of July. Rachel never needed to ask “what?” because her mother was quick to reply, “you have too much time on your hands.” A whiff of what had transpired behind the shed would only confirm that long held belief.

“What’s the matter with you?” her mother asked the minute the screen door slammed behind Rachel.

“Nothing,” Rachel smiled, her flushed cheeks causing her mother to quit stirring the contents of the pot simmering on the stove, heating up an already warm kitchen.

“Your face is all red,” her mother stood directly in front of Rachel, eyes boring into her flesh as if she could penetrate the deepest regions of her soul.

“It’s hot outside,” Rachel responded, brushing aside both her mother and her comment.

“Not that hot.” Her mother returned to the stove. “Where are you going?” she asked her daughter’s retreating back.

“To take a shower.” She didn’t bother responding to the admonition not to take too long, dinner being served in twenty minutes.

Cloistered in the confines of the bathroom, Rachel stared at her reflection in the mirror. “You can’t tell anybody.” She barely recognized the image staring back at her. What did it matter anyway? It wasn’t anyone’s business but their own, feeling less confident now within her own four walls. “No one saw anything.”

They’d barely sat down at the kitchen table when the phone rang. “Just ignore it,” her father said, scooping an extra helping of mashed potatoes on his plate as his wife jumped up from the chair, responding to the trilling.

“I see,” Rachel heard her mother’s voice from the hall. A shiver ran up her spine. “Thank you for calling” ended the conversation. Returning to the kitchen, her mother sat down and spread her napkin across her lap.

“Who was it?” her father asked.

“Mrs. Hill.” Her pursed lips didn’t bode well. Without waiting for her husband to inquire “what about” she turned to Rachel. “Is there something you’d like to tell me?”

Rachel wished the floor would open up.

Copyright ©2012 Janet Yung. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



Janet Yung lives and writes in St. Louis, MO. Short fiction has appeared in several on-line publications including, Sparkbright, Milk Sugar, and Record Magazine.

Monday, January 2, 2012

**One of my stories, The Woman on the Grass, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site

One of my older stories, The Woman on the Grass, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site.

This story was originally published on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website in December 2001 (and later in my anthology Charge of the scarlet b-sides: microsex stories & poems, available through – Woman is a romantic “strangers in the night” homage to the works of Anaïs Nin.

Check it out, and leave a star rating/comment, if you’re so inclined, and have the time. =)