Someone told me you’re still pretty.
-Adapted from “Trapeze Swinger” by Iron & Wine.
Eschew the monumental. Shun the Epic. All the guys who can paint great big pictures can paint great small ones. Hemingway.
Someone told me you’re still pretty.
-Adapted from “Trapeze Swinger” by Iron & Wine.
“Forget it, Charlie. Forget it, god dammit.”
Charlie didn’t move. He stayed on his knees and leaned over a twitching, female form.
“Charlie, fuck, let’s go.”
“Don’t use my name,” he said. He was crying.
“Listen.” The other man looked out the 8th floor window. “This happens sometimes. We made enough noise. We can’t do anything else. You knew what you were getting into, didn’t you? We need to go.”
“Then fucking go.”
“You’re the one who messed up. I’m not going to wait anymore.”
“I’m not asking you to.”
“Fuck.” The man opened the apartment door. Voices were swarming like bees somewhere below. “I’m sorry, Charlie.”
“Don’t use my name.” His voice was a whisper. His breath was heavy. Then it stilled. He raised a gun to his temple.
“I’m sorry I brought you here,” the other man said. “Just put that down.”
“Just go. I don’t want you to see this.”
Two bangs came almost simultaneously. First, a gunshot and then a slamming door. The voices had quieted downstairs.
Here is one of the earliest examples of flash fiction, Aesop’s Fables. Aesop was a writer from Ancient Greece, and his stories–generally tales with animal protagonists and clear morals–have since formed the backbone of an entire folkloric tradition. Enjoy and check out www.aesopfables.com for more.
The Eagle and the Fox
An Eagle and a Fox formed an intimate friendship and decided to live near each other. The Eagle built her nest in the branches of a tall tree, while the Fox crept into the underwood and there produced her young. Not long after they had agreed upon this plan, the Eagle, being in want of provision for her young ones, swooped down while the Fox was out, seized upon one of the little cubs, and feasted herself and her brood. The Fox on her return, discovered what had happened, but was less grieved for the death of her young than for her inability to avenge them. A just retribution, however, quickly fell upon the Eagle. While hovering near an altar, on which some villagers were sacrificing a goat, she suddenly seized a piece of the flesh, and carried it, along with a burning cinder, to her nest. A strong breeze soon fanned the spark into a flame, and the eaglets, as yet unfledged and helpless, were roasted in their nest and dropped down dead at the bottom of the tree. There, in the sight of the Eagle, the Fox gobbled them up.
Sorry for missing a post or two back there. Let’s get back to the stories.
The Stunt Pilot
Engine failure and the aircraft crashes to Earth. Conrad suffers multiple fractures.
“The force of compression shattered vertebrae,” the surgeon explains. “You’ve lost three inches. I’m sorry.”
Conrad examines the X-ray. “You think anyone will notice the difference?”
His wife kneels and rolls the cuffs of his faded jeans.
Angel Zapata was born in NYC, but currently resides just outside of Augusta, Georgia. Some of his flash fiction and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming on Flash Me Magazine, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Every Day Fiction, Every Day Poets, Membra Disjecta and Flashes in the Dark. He is husband to his blond goddess and father of four boys obsessed with all things ninja. Please visit his blog at: http://www.myspace.com/angeldzapata
Tall for my age, I was able to punch my mom in the arm as she made dinner and talked on the phone.
“It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play violin.” That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.
Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) was an American writer of novels, short stories, and poetry. This story comes from his collection Revenge of the Lawn. Check it out.
Also, head over to John F. Barber’s website www.brautigan.net to learn more about the author. Definitely worth a visit.
The old lady had asked for my window seat on the train, said she liked the scenery. She kept talking, rambling, really, after she sat down, cupping one arthritic hand in the other. I kept an eye on my backpack, making sure it wouldn’t topple off the seat and onto her foot.
“What are you reading?” she asked.
I closed the cover carefully and put the book in my bag. “Oh, nothing.” It was late afternoon and the sun was pouring into the train. “It’s nice weather we’re having.” I figured one conversation was as good as another. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was As I Lay Dying.
Living in London, there is always something new to see, some unique quirk of architecture to discover. Forgotten tube stations lurk beneath the pavements; angels and lions lambast the sky in crumbling graveyards; Art Deco palaces press themselves against Edwardian elegance. The eye never wants for something splendid.
Yet sadness lives alongside the splendid. An abandoned pub sits quietly beyond the hustle and bustle of the high street. Forlorn and stripped of glory, the Ralston Arms looks desperately lonely amid the expanse of empty, puddle-stained tarmac. Faded white chipboard covers the ground floor windows and doors, though it hardly deters the more persistent drifters; jagged holes punch through the dusty windows on the upper floor, yawning like demonic mouths. The early morning daylight does not reach the upper rooms. The darkness inside looks thick and menacing, yet it taunts me all the same. “Come, look inside, and see what treasures I hide,” the darkness says.
Staring at this relic of a shrinking pub culture, I wonder for how long the Arms has stood empty. Advertisements are tacked to the outside walls, promising sweet abandon at the bottom of a bottle, but they look reasonably new. The signage bears none of the flaking sadness of other forgotten pubs, still gaily proclaiming its existence in burgundy and gold. Perhaps it closed recently, another victim of the dreaded economic meltdown, a ‘good time hall’ cast aside when the good times became too expensive.
I think about all the celebrations once held inside; birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, or wakes. The passage of human life witnessed by walls that now stand silent, quiet observers struck blind by the departure of the pub’s occupants. If I listen carefully enough, I can hear the laughter, the drunken sing-a-longs, the good-natured rowdy banter, and the clanging bell marking Last Orders.
For a moment, the doors burst open; a party is in full swing inside. Older men clutching glasses slop their pints across the bar as they sway to and fro, singing victory songs peppered with expletives and slanderous accusations. Younger boys in football strips mimic their movements, spilling soft drinks on the sticky floor in celebration. Even the pavement comes alive as crying girls stumble out of the pub, jostling for kerb space; they wail about infidelity, betrayal and lost purses.
A sleek sports car roars through the mist and shatters the illusion. The lonely ghosts disperse, shuffling away from the pub into the cold grey morning. The doors swing closed, the lights flicker and go out, and the pub stands empty once more.
- Icy Sedgwick
They honeymoon in Venice. Helen’s exhausted from the flight. Brad’s been waiting two years to see her naked.
“What’s one more night?” He’s smoking on the balcony of the hotel.
Down below, the gondolas offer him a prelude of cleavage and bare thighs. While a tenor voice croons out an Italian opera, Helen snores uninterrupted.
Angel Zapata was born in NYC, but currently resides just outside of Augusta, Georgia. Some of his flash fiction and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming on Flash Me Magazine, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Every Day Fiction, Every Day Poets, Membra Disjecta and Flashes in the Dark. He is husband to his blond goddess and father of four boys obsessed with all things ninja. Please visit his blog at: www.myspace.com/angeldzapata
I don’t remember exactly what happened or what was said, but it was something like this. My dad was in the hospital, had been for quite a while. This was one of his better days, but it was also one of his last.
“It’s funny, ain’t it?” he said.
“Just the way it turns out, I guess. Fifty years, you’re fine, then, slowly–but not too slowly–your legs go, your eyes go, your ears go. By the time you’re my age nothing works. You can’t move anywhere. But you know where they get you, don’t you? It’s the pissing. Stuck in bed? I could handle that. But for the first time in my life, the water flows through me like fucking castor oil. I used to get up and go, but I stopped being able to see the damn pot years ago. Now all I’ve got is a bedpan and a forty-year-old male nurse.”