Category: Flash Fiction

A Scaffolding for Five

By Israela Margalit

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            I see him during the day. His back to the street, on the edge of the curb, he’s positioned as far from the building as he can be while still under the scaffolding. On sunny days the wooden planks shield him from the heat. When it rains he moves inward, far enough to protect himself from getting drenched, but not so far as to disturb passersby. There are two battered shopping carts beside him, each filled to the brim with obscure items wrapped in plastic bags. He’s dressed in black, layered according to the dictates of weather. Often I see him comfortably seated in a chair. Sometimes he’s reading a book. At mealtimes, he unfolds a small table, places plates and utensils, and eats. He doesn’t look at me when I walk by, doesn’t solicit, doesn’t confront. Quiet and organized he protects his dual-purpose turf: the day station with a semblance of a home and the sleeping corner. It’s not exactly a corner, but a narrow patch of cement that hugs the building’s outer wall. Come evening, he moves his possessions to that space and goes to sleep. I’ve never seen him change from one domain to the other, but by the time I’m returning from a show or an evening out with friends, he’s there stretched out in his coveted spot, with four other men in black like him forming a row of desolate humans in makeshift beds.

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Lost and Found

By Michael Pikna

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He wakes to the assimilating weight of his wife on top of him and the sound of Portuguese blooming in his head, her lips feathering his ear, pouring in a steady stream of sinuous vowels and indulgent consonants.  They glide down his spine and enter her, creating an elliptical rhythm duplicated in every one of their cells.  He wonders how this woman can still surprise him after so many years and if it is a sin to be so happy before he has thanked God for another day.  What would his congregation think if they knew their minister’s faith, shaken by the absence of God in his daily rituals and devotions, is revived so readily by a conjugal act that, at this point in their marriage, has nothing to do with procreation?

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I Knew

By Ronald Pelias

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I knew when he said, “I told you I didn’t want any damn books in our house,” and I replied, “I know you don’t like having books around because they make you feel dumb, and I’ve told you a million times that you’re not dumb, that I wouldn’t have married a dumb man, but this one is different because it’s a book about what I should expect during pregnancy, and what to expect after our baby is born,” and he just said, “Just get that thing out of here,”

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Laconic Rant

By Ryan Dunham

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…sitting in her chair, well it’s not really hers, but the way her left ankle, embraced by an over fluffed cotton sock, flirts with the poorly waxed front left post and her creamy right leg, somehow finding a way to glisten and glow like the sparkles of a setting sun on the Atlantic despite lying underneath cheaply manufactured and cheaply installed florescent lights, caresses the ill-sanded front rim of the seat as her right heel, peek-a-booing between the heel of her sandal and the strap confining her ankle, toys seductively with the hardened gum and dried snot many failed to noticed and few left behind,

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Lunch with Mom

By Rita Shelley

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“See this knife? Maybe I’m going to stab you,” Sylvia’s mother said as she set the table for dinner. Then her mother swallowed a whole bottle of pills and the ambulance took her upstate to the mental hospital. They called it The Nervous Breakdown.  

Sylvia’s father kept her home from school and drove them in the ancient Studebaker to visit Mom. He swore at the other drivers, words Sylvia had never heard before. “That guy’s tailgating me,” he hissed and stomped on the brakes in the middle of the freeway.

The hospital looked like a castle with patients calling to her in witchy voices, “Come here, little girl, come on.” Her father got her mother and they walked on brittle leaves golden, deep orange, red. They sat at an empty picnic table.  Her parents kissed.

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