Archive for FLASH FICTION

Burning Flags by D.B. Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on August 25, 2017 by Scot

 

Down in Jackson-town a sweat-stained street preacher dances along cracked concrete and prays over abandoned cotton mills, boarded store buildings, and one defunct movie house—stone-dead illusions that can never be raised from the ground. Holy invocations ride the evening heat waves on a feeble breeze.

Sunset drains crimson remains from gray clouds. Thunder rumbles in the distance and night comes down like a gate on a chain. As Blood Dixon moves along the downtown sidewalk, he can sense wary eyes shifting in his direction. He’s back home in Jackson, Louisiana—land of underworked citizens and overworked churches. Hopelessville, where it’s easier to find a place to rob than it is to find a job. A closed circle where fear accumulates like dust in every dark corner.

Bobby Lee “Blood” Dixon is a bad hallucination: clean-shaven head, mean black moustache drooping over the corners of his mouth, a long scar down the right side of his face that looks like a river marking on a Louisiana map. He’s wearing jeans and a short-sleeve, black T-shirt. On his prison-developed right forearm he has a tattoo—a confederate flag. The caption below the “stars and bars” reads “White Makes Right.”
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flash fiction by by Sarah Russell

Posted in Sarah Russell with tags on July 13, 2017 by Scot

Figure Drawing at Community College

 

I’m getting goosebumps from a draft, though the class doesn’t notice. Most are open-mouthed, charcoal scratching paper, concentrating on the weight of my breast, curve of hip, sag of buttock. I bite my lip, think of the rigidity of a villanelle, try to compose one in my head while the old guy in a beret for god’s sake, studies the cleft, the pubic mound, then meets my eyes.

I want to yell, “I just want to earn enough to get cable,” but I look away, try to show disgust without showing disgust because the woman who will pick up kids from school at 4 is drawing my face. My arm is falling asleep. The instructor said to tell her when I need a break, but the young man by the window is so intent, I hate to interrupt him. I start to tremble, try to shift but not throw off the line. The villanelle becomes a limerick.

There once was a nude on a table
Who couldn’t afford to get cable…

Trembling. Can’t feel my arm at all.

She posed for a class
Where an old man was crass,


Ah, the instructor is announcing a break. I raise my body off my arm and feel electric shocks as blood starts to flow. I reach for my kimono. The old guy sidles up to me.

“Coffee later if you are able?” he asks. Shit, he’s finished my limerick. I walk away rubbing my arm. “Maybe tomorrow?” he calls.

D NER by Sarah Russell

Posted in Sarah Russell with tags on January 20, 2017 by Scot
Wish it had been the R that fell, she thought.  Then it would say DINE, like the food was good, like it was more than runny eggs and meatloaf.  But it was the I, and everyone called it the DEE-ner, like some hillbilly joint.  Jake said it gave the place character, didn’t even know where the I had blown to after all these years.
She hated waiting tables.  Her mama said she was uppity.  “Worst thing we did was name you Chelsea after that foreign place,” her mama said.  “You get off your high horse and make peace with staying here.”  But she never would.  Never!  She’d get a little money ahead and clear out.  Go where Chelsea was an OK name, and DINE was what folks did, and tips were more than a quarter.
“You gonna stub that smoke and get back to work? I ain’t paying you to be on break all day.”
“When you gonna put the I back, Jake?”
“No time soon, Chelsea girl.  No time soon.”

Unaccustomed Mercy by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on December 25, 2016 by Scot

 

 

A crumbling house hugs the side of a junkyard fence. A single lamp-lit window tools a hole through the middle of a Mississippi night. An old man sits alone at a kitchen table, bent over a cheap guitar. Spent ashes fall from a neglected cigarette jammed between metal strings where they run over the headstock. Open chords stumble & stagger behind jagged bottleneck riffs—a driving blues. His left boot pounds the wooden floor like a hammer as he sings in high lonesome moans…

Thought it was a nightmare,
Lord, it’s all so true.
They told me, “Don’t go walkin’ slow,
‘Cause Devil’s on the loose.”

Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Whoa, don’t look back to see….

Outside the window, on the other side of a chain-link fence, a midnight mockingbird rests on the rusty frame of a 1964 Mustang and sings along with this resident composer of twelve-bar concertos—small truths concerning drinking, rambling, gambling, and the devil.

A Vietnam veteran, an unknown blues man, lost in waves of cheap whiskey, washed up on this island of broken things—a castaway locked in the sweet release of addiction, a prisoner standing on his own chain.

Luther Whiteside stops playing, grabs a fifth of Kentucky Deluxe from the table, and takes a swallow.

Years ago, he traveled all across Mississippi and into Louisiana playing juke joints and roadhouses. Now, he plays for tips outside the Coffeeville  Greyhound station—too stoned to peel his back from the wall, singing his own secret sorrow into the concrete—broken lines caught between cracks in the sidewalk.

Lately Luther stays at home—behind locked doors. He sits. He drinks. He plays guitar. He stares out the window—mind floating, disconnected in time and space. To keep from disappearing, he sings to himself…

Over on the mountain,
Thunder magic spoke,
“Let the people know my wisdom,
Fill the land with smoke.”

Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Whoa, don’t look back to see…

He is scared, afraid of the things that go on outside his door. He used to have a television set. After dinner, he’d watch the 6 o’clock news. Then the stories started to terrify him, so he heaved the TV over the fence into the junkyard. Not knowing makes him feel safer.

_____

 

Thunder rolls in the distance. Luther, guitar case in hand, moves along the shoulder of a two-lane blacktop, headed for town. He hasn’t had a drink in two days. He needs one bad.

Someone is coming up the road from behind. He turns and sees a red pickup truck. The driver seems to be slowing down. Maybe today, he’ll get lucky and catch a ride into Coffeyville—a little unaccustomed mercy.

The truck comes alongside where he’s standing. Someone rolls down the passenger-side window and fires one shot. Luther is hit. As the truck moves away, someone shouts “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The bullet passes through the left side of Luther’s chest. He drops straight down to a sitting position, then slowly lays back into the wet grass. There’s something about that word, “America,” that echoes in his brain. Something from way back in grade school. He slides the palm of his right hand over to the left side of his bloody chest. What was it? The whole class repeated it every morning. He tries to remember, but can only recall the last line… “with liberty and justice for all.”

As he stares up through the rain, he is startled by the breathtaking splendor of a multi-fingered lightning bolt. Overwhelmed by the beauty, Luther Whiteside weeps.

The thunder speaks. Luther slowly closes his eyes.

“Don’t look back to see…”       

 

_____

 

*Song “Run Through the Jungle”—lyrics by John Fogerty

 

Last Chance Motel by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags , on April 25, 2012 by Scot

A rundown motel clings to the shoulders of a narrow highway. A blinking neon sign shoots holes through the middle of a Mississippi night. Enfolded in the semidarkness of a lamp lit room, a young man leans over a table etching straight-razor phrases into the pages of a motel notepad.

Mind overturned and burning somewhere near Kamdesh, Afghanistan. Lost. Can’t find his way home. Past the possibility of finding things to count on: like the orbit of the earth around the sun—like moon-swung oceans guided by gravity’s hands—like a lucky star to steer his feet past lonely streets that lead to places like this Last Chance Motel—where he sits with pen in hand, a pistol on the table, and a bible in every room.

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Lunch at the Castle by Henry Denander

Posted in Henry Denander with tags on October 24, 2010 by Scot


Every summer when I was a young boy we stayed in our summer house in the countryside outside Eskilstuna, a wonderful place for children, with a nice, long sandy beach not far from our cottage. Near the beach there was also an old castle, an enormous building, a huge house all in white where once the Swedish prince Eugen had lived. It was now also a restaurant and a museum.
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Nightmusic by MP Powers

Posted in M.P. Powers with tags , on June 2, 2010 by Scot

On a dingy corner across from the Moulin Rouge, this little beautiful madam takes my hand and draws me into the sadistic darkness of her strange ambrosial cave. S’asseoir.” I sit down on a fat sofa. “Something to drink, monsieur?” “Heineken, please…” Smoke tingles in a soft blaze of soiled lights, walls aquiver. A big, buxom African whore in clinging semitransparent lingerie moves under the chanting red globes. Something  begins to diminish. The decomposing dribble of a moment jiggles via the infallible hands of timelessness, perhaps?

Here, the dead have dressed up in their oral traditions, god plays grim his violin, light fails, and the prostitutes hit the floor, shoving precisely though the pushandpull of orchestral despair, their bounding feet transfigured on a steep current of swollen logic. It sits at the end of some foreign tongue, volumes of dirty eroticism slowly expanding until the keen queen-of-all-kings coyly emerges. She hurls a handful of lilacs on the floor, spits, and as she begins pouncing on them with her happy jouncing feet, I observe the glad awful screaming of her profane flesh; the sweaty waves of palpitating flab among whose largeness even oblivion would be feign to blush. My beer arrives, green and glowing. It’s handed to me by some Turkish pimp of the dime-a-dozen kind, donned in large white collars and a black bullying blazer stuffed with shoulders, his gold tooth and earrings emitting sharp glints from the hellish neon, his face a dull retching of perfect
evil, like a serpent, or a toadstool. His loafer slightly pronounces itself, he pirouettes, one arm does a fat sweeping gesture, and the big African whore descends upon me, pink drink in hand. The pimp nods, nods again. “For the lady,” he says. “Merci…” she says. “On me?” I ask.

But he’s gone.

A cloud of silence covers her face. Immense, beautiful, perfectly insipid. She takes a sip from the straw. Two hungry thighs squirm before me and she unleashes her top. She cups the roundness of her heaving breasts and gives them a good upward squeeze, lets go. Plunk. Then her fingers find my thighs and I feel like all the others, hooked in the gill, waiting to be dragged along the wake and then eaten. The room spins its fuzzy red syllables. A purple curtain parts. A man in a cape begins to sob. Or sing. Or something. And I am the man in the cape. I have no home. Just this perverse little cave of a room, in my soul, or across from the Moulin Rouge, where a purple curtain closes, and gods play grim their violins.