The Devil's Eyes

by Dr. Sam Loomis

I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding - in even the most rudimentary sense - of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes. The devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil.


Dr. Sam Loomis, obsessed with the permanent incarceration of the evil Michael Myers, was a fictional character portrayed by the late Donald Pleasence in John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic, Halloween. His six sentences are taken from the film's original screenplay, written by Carpenter and Debra Hill.


My Wallet

by Peter Farmer

I lost my wallet. Have you seen it? This sucks. Where is it? What am I gonna do? Oh, there it is - nice.


Peter Farmer, author of My Dream, lost his wallet again. Have you seen it?



by Timothy David Hepner

So diffusion, huh? I'm trying to diffuse myself throughout the world by writing poetry, while tigers are killing cubs that sprang not forth from their loins and dye dropped in water spreads out until all is uniformly purple. I am a celibate, creative, romantic male, flowing over with creative energy, and I only want to burn myself up into another. Is this why I, like the tiger and the dye, cannot help but diffuse myself? Is this why I tend toward jealousy, and seek out with sniper-scope-narrow vision anyone who seemingly threatens to supplant my identity? I cannot answer; I'm studying diffusion, and this is Biology Class.


Timothy David Hepner, a college student from Illinois, is also a Roman Catholic seminarian.


Waiting Room

by Brian Davidson

As I watched the young couple expecting help, the man said he was sorry. His lips hadn't left her scalp, even when he spoke, and he spoke rarely, only to say sorry. The man's arms cradled the woman's head, pinning her ponytail to the top her back, which expanded and contracted below his arms. The woman's arms were tucked under the man's shoulders, and her fingers crawled about the fabric on his back. "I'm sorry baby," the man sighed into her ear, lifting his face from her head to prop his chin atop her bangs. The woman's face stayed stuck to his heart, and her feet were pressed into the rug beneath the overhang of his chin so that nothing could fit in the space that was between them.


Brian Davidson, born thousands of years late, is a nomadic hunter and gatherer who carves stories into cave walls, occasionally etching one onto paper.


Sometimes It's Better to Stay in Bed

by Victor S. Smith

The alarm clock bellowed at me to get out of bed, but I just wasn't ready so I turned over (after the hitting the snooze button and went back to sleep for another 8 glorious minutes). Morning progressed as it usually does: shower, shave, clothes, yogurt, door, lock, stairs, walk – but today was different, ominous. The pouring rain made the walk to work insufferable; drenched, and twenty-five minutes late, I made my way into my cubicle when the boss came from around the corner, "We... need to talk." Yes, I like my job; no, it won't happen again; yes, I have an umbrella, but the wind turned it inside out and I threw it away; sure, it makes perfect sense to give Johnson-from-marketing the promotion, what could I possibly do with all that extra money? The sun started to break through the clouds and I was convinced that the afternoon was going to shape up, until the passing delivery van hit that giant puddle that soaked me from head to toe, again, but this time in muddy stagnant water. The one thing I would have to look forward to was a hot cup of tea and a smile from my wife; but, waiting for me on the door when I got home: Dear John.


Victor S. Smith is a recovering economist, who caught a writing bug penicillin isn't clearing up. His two blogs are Like Pollution and Marlowe's Sketch Pad.


The Necessary Ingredient

by Victor Lembrey

We were celebrating something, I forget what, out at a restaurant with candles on the tables, and I made a joke and laughed, and the breath from my laugh blew out the candle, and I said, "Look, I just laughed out the candle," and everyone fell into hysterics. Me too. But it wasn't that funny. Which made me think everyone was phony, including me. But so what? Seriously - how can anyone get through the day without being phony?


Victor Lembrey is the author of Explaining My Cupcake Habit. He's all mixed up.


My Newest Lover

by Kimi Goodrich

I sit so long at my computer, it has become my newest lover, it knows me better than anyone and I trust it with all of my heart. The keyboard caresses me, my favorite letters are worn from use, it feels which ones I like the best and tap the most. A sexy, simple flatscreen proves to be a mirror of my inner worlds, connecting me to the world, displaying with certainty what my mind fancies, proudly flashing the pages with pride, and when I go idle, it keeps thoughts of me nearby; a quote of mine looping, keeping the screen busy, dancing across in some wavy, crazy, silly font, or sometimes a picture of my favorite memory... it's really very aware of my needs. My speakers, my beloved speakers, they are so confident in their ability to communicate with me and the sure, firm and steady way they pulse with my favorite songs shows me how much they love my songs too; I can tell because they would never dream of skipping or fading anything that I request. A strong memory drive contains, cherishes and sweetly organizes the past 5 years of my life: a portable diary, a photo album, an amazing music collection and my volumes of writing all rolled into one neatly labled container, it is the backbone and history of me. My computer and I are so compatible it worries me, but not quite as worried as I get when I re-read this and realize that I really need to get out more.


Kimi Goodrich, author of Take the Money and Run, really needs to get out more.


Microscopic, Edible, and Delicious

by Ralph Anthony William

Nothing's impossible. Oh yeah, it's completely impossible to eat the entire world. No, not if maybe there's some invention that shrinks things down at the molecular level to make everything microscopic, edible, and delicious. But at some point, all that's left is just you and the machine, so how do you eat yourself AND this shrinking machine? I'll quickly shrink the machine with the machine, then shrink everything on my body except my mouth and pop the tiny shrinking machine down my throat in the "on" position so it keeps shrinking the shrunken me for infinity, until I digest myself and disappear. Alright I'll give you that, but even you have to agree that it's DEFINITELY impossible to do it twice.


Ralph Anthony William's initials spell "raw." Backwards, they spell "war." Too cool.


Blind Date, Part 2

by sandshovel

The sun set low in the late summer sky, painting the cotton ball clouds pastel shades of pink and purple. My date was of Hungarian descent with golden wolf eyes, a ski jump nose and nervous hands. Touching his arm gently, I urged him to tell me what happened the day he killed a blind woman crossing the street. He lit another cigarette, ran his slender fingers through his thick black hair and said, "I wasn't speeding; it was just another day at work. She came out of nowhere and it almost seemed like she jumped towards my truck; it doesn't make any sense. I remember the sound of hitting her body but the strangest thing was, I heard a voice whisper in my right ear just before I turned the corner."


sandshovel, author of Blind Date, loves the outdoors. If she's not running, biking or climbing a mountain, she's at the beach: pail and shovel in hand.


A Dog Meat Dog World

by Harry B. Sanderford

By 1962, her beauty faded and her promotional appeal diminished, Hellevi in an odd twist of fate found it necessary to seek employment in the factory that produced the very franks she’d helped to popularize back in her spokesmodel days. She started in lymph nodes and nostrils and after only seventeen months was promoted to the cartilage and organ meats division. In no time at all she’d been through knuckles and spleens, and was well on her way in colorings and preservatives. Her rise was meteoric. "Unprecedented," remarked Tube Steak Today, the industry journal that again and again profiled Hellevi’s accomplishments. She was it seems a natural, a term not tossed freely about in either the spokesmodeling or the Red Hots biz.


Harry B. Sanderford, author of Honey I'm Home, is a Central Florida surfing cowboy who'd sooner spin yarns than mend fences.


Under This Cover of Quiet

by Amy Guth

In a family of many hushed secrets, only so many years could pass before the cracks would begin to show, and usually started with the creative girls. Though her aunt had been dead for two years, Shifra knew the cracks the family silently covered just afterwards were beginning to resurface and felt them heavier on her shoulders as her wedding day loomed ahead of her. The moments since Shifra spoke thudded on with painful, tense silence as the women kneaded and chopped, sliced and boiled, all of them ignoring the obvious, trying hard to cook it out of their minds. "You can't cook all of this because I am not going to marry Daniel so there will be no wedding and I don't care what any of you tell me or each other or the rest of this crazy neighborhood." The women, all pulling nervously at the edges of their long skirts and looking alternately at the floor and then at each other, let out a collective sigh and shifted nervously as her mother prepared herself for words to come. "Shifra, look what became of your aunt when she refused to marry."


Amy Guth has written about blaxploitation, Judaism, feminism, media literacy, bandwagonism, art, cult films, racism, hate crime and social irritants for all sorts of places like The Believer, Monkeybicycle, blah blah blah. She's toodling around at the moment promoting her novel Three Fallen Women and having a very nice time, thanks. She blogs Bigmouth Indeed Strikes Again. Come say hi.


6 Sentences

by David Gianatasio

The first sentence was suspended (above a pit of rosebuds, which despite the symbolic significance, quickly grew tiresome and painful). The second sentence was thrown out; it hurt like hell crashing through that glass and squashing those lawyers who'd gathered to smoke on the courthouse steps. The third sentence was home detention -- but it wasn't MY home, and I didn't recognize any of the people in the photos on the mantle, which only exacerbated my agitation and unease. The fourth sentence was exile; that was cool, I'd always wanted to visit Bavaria to indulge my taste for bratwurst. The fifth sentence was death, and the bailiff giggled as he whispered in my ear, "If you're lucky, you'll come back as a clam." The sixth sentence was life: I'm doomed to wander with roses sticking out of my ears, stinking of bratwurst and scampi, with no memory of what I'd done to deserve such a fate.


David Gianatasio's first book of fiction and commentary, Swift Kicks, was published this year by So New Publishing.


When the Earth Disappears

by Richard Ford

Nothing in the world is as hopeful as knowing a woman you like is somewhere thinking about only you. Conversely, there is no badness anywhere as acute as the badness of no woman out in the world thinking about you. Or worse. That one has quit because of some bone-headedness on your part. It is like looking out an airplane window and finding the earth has disappeared. No loneliness can compete with that.


Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his 1995 novel Independence Day. His six sentences are taken from The Sportswriter, the Prizewinner's prequel.



by Eric Nathaniel Ferencz

Elbow grease, gnashing teeth, and an intensely furled brow would be little match for the contents of a misplaced wine glass, once filled to the brim. The bloodstains on the carpet. Mme Velise swooned, arching her swan spine as her delicate palm caught the single, perfect bead of sweat that rolled, no, fell from her hairline. Perhaps the tears of a bun tied too tightly. A collective gasp pulled the heavens but an inch closer to the earth. "Enough of this" I brazenly announced whilst turning towards the band, my hands becoming those of a conductor, beckoning the band to play, play on.


Eric Nathaniel Ferencz is a handsome young author with a moustache that would put Tom Selleck to shame.


Hawking Loogies

by Shonali Bhowmik

As I was picnicking on a sunny afternoon under a sprawling oak tree with my friends, a cute little grey squirrel scurried past us. When I got up to throw away the trash, the squirrel stopped directly in front of me and stood up on his hind legs. He was wearing a look of disgust and as he propped his claws on his hips, he leaned back and hawked a loogie straight on to the middle of my forehead. I was in shock, laughing nervously, hoping to make it clear that he was not to do it again. The squirrel was clear that I would be his muse and at every step he hawked loogie after loogie, making them all bulls' eyes. When I awoke I was relieved but now I am stuck on that rascal and can't seem to figure out whether he was my friend or my enemy.


Shonali Bhowmik is the leader of the band Tigers and Monkeys and a member of the comedy group The Variety Shac. She pays her bills working as a temporary attorney.


Time to Celebrate?

by Diane Sparks

It was easily the strangest wedding reception I’d ever attended. My family sat at a table full of retired ministers. Over there was my high school English teacher, and over there my principal. I had to keep reminding myself that I'm 30 now. The toast her father gave was mostly about his own marriage, and she invariably looked like she was going to throw up. I suddenly understood why they got married on another continent.


Diane Sparks is a born-again writer living in Chicago, with an M.A. in English and a day job in HR.



by breakylegg

One day Norman found a car half-submerged in a swamp containing a sleeping woman in its trunk. His mother was old, tired and cranky but decided it best to give the woman a nice, hot shower; however, the muck from the swamp was caked on so thick she had to get a butcher knife from the house to chisel it off the young woman’s body. Chiseling did the trick, Norman noticed staring through the peephole, for the woman seemed alert and refreshed as she dressed. Yet traces of her previous malady remained, and as he and the woman—Crane, Marion—discussed avian taxidermy, she began regurgitating bits of sandwich onto her plate. So embarrassed was Marion that she paid for the room, drove off into the rainy night, traded her white car for a darker model the following afternoon, and headed east until a cop pulled her over and convinced her to sleep for the night. Phoenix was further than she remembered and she arrived at dusk, stopped home to exchange her black brassiere for a white one, dropped off $40,000 at the office, before meeting her lover, Sam, in a motel at 2:49pm for a seedy lunchtime tryst.


breakylegg, author of Momma's Boy, would like to continue spending his days watching Alfred Hitchcock's films backwards, but he is now officially employed and doesn't have the time.


Giggle Juice

by Cheryl LaGamma

As soon as it drips, she starts to giggle. We double-check, but so far none of the nurses has ever seen such a silly side-effect. "Mostly, people get tired and quiet. This is way cuter!" they say, marveling at this balding woman, the only one cackling and giddy in this somber place. Through her alleged tears of joy, she manages to lock eyes with the kind RN and ask if this uncontrollable soul-laughing is something to worry about. She just wants to make sure the chemo isn't doing her harm.


Cheryl LaGamma plays poker and drinks tea with her sweet husband, Ralphie.


Honey I'm Home

by Harry B. Sanderford

Pushing the back door open, Doc was relieved to see the bluish flicker that meant Beth would be watching television. If he played it right he could thaw out in a warm shower and collect himself a bit before engaging in more than cursory conversation with her. It was not that he wished to avoid Beth; he'd become fond of her on his previous visits. She of course knew nothing of him, but her smile was his to keep whenever he manned the controls of her husband's body. "Gonna take a quick shower to warm up Babe," he shouted down the hall. Safe, he thought and gestured with hands already beginning to feel familiar as he watched them close the bathroom door.


Harry B. Sanderford is a Central Florida surfing cowboy who'd sooner spin yarns than mend fences.


Random Band-Aid

by Diane Bossotti

You usually see them floating in public pools, having lost their adhesive grip from the elbow or knee they once covered, and bobbing abandoned upon chlorine waves. Or you'll see them cemented to the grimy New York sidewalks as you walk to work avoiding eye contact. Oh, why do these band-aids taunt me so? Maybe because I know they once covered open, oozing wounds. Wounds on body parts on strangers I don't know. Random pieces of plastic that are tainted for life...


Diane Bossotti hates random band-aids, as well as wads of spit in the middle of the sidewalk and people who swing those metal-tipped, pointy umbrellas as they walk, threatening to poke and jab the people behind them.


Killing is Easy

by Joe McCool

The world is full of people walking around blissfully secure in their untested virtue, hiding behind the thin veneer of propriety we wear like halloween masks. Sure, we all like to think it's someone else who's ready to snap. It's some stranger who's going to lose their ability to reign in the killer instinct. But we all have that primal urge to kill. And killing is easy when it's programmed into your DNA. You can thank your Gods for that one.


Joe McCool (yes, that's his real name), author of Office Mate, is a freelance trend spotter in New York City (and no, that's not his real job).


The 56th Key

by Swann

There are 56 different keys to the private student dormitory I manage at the University. My predecessor showed me all the doors that went with each key, except that one key was left over. "It goes to a door in the basement that only exists sometimes," she explained, and wouldn't say anymore except "It's not here now." Oh, she did fling "Don't alarm the girls and don't lose the key" over her shoulder as she left. I thought it was a joke, but it turns out it's the truth: I've seen the door four days out of the month I've worked here. Next time it shows up, I'm opening it and will describe what happens in six sentences.


Swann is not a graceful, long-necked water fowl. She's named after a character in Marcel Proust's novel "In Search of Lost Time," of which the first volume is "Swann's Way." Both Swanns are charming, erudite, and invited everywhere, from the mansions of European royalty to peasant hovels in the Andes. Both Swanns are also essentially alone. (And just in case her bio needed to be six sentences, which it doesn't, she added this one. And this one.)


Instructions for Saving the Day

by Davis O'Connor

Pay close attention. Trust your intuition. Snap into action. Take control. Plan where you're going. Remember where you've been.


Davis O'Connor lives and works in Aberdeen, Washington.


Take the Money and Run

by Kimi Goodrich

I liked him, I thought he was so nice, told him he was nicer than most of the pompous jerks in the city, and touted him as my "nice young man" to my family and friends. But he led me to nothing and here is another dude that has become an expired number to crumple up and toss away. He signed off, signed out, cashed the check, took all of my money and ran. It must be easy - I guess - for some people to just go on with it, moving along like an express checkout line, never admitting anything happened, or anything existed. No words to explain the drop off, no actions to make it clear, traces of confusion and bewilderment remaining stale in their wake. I should have believed him when he said he was mean.


Kimi Goodrich, author of The Unborn Kiss, is brilliantly observant. She enjoys music immensely and knows the lyrics to many, many... way too many songs. She's been having a love affair with her computer for awhile now, spending many hours with the only one who understands her to the core. (Yes, she knows that is rather depressing.)


New Year's Eve: Thailand

by John Stone

We are sequestered next door to the ancient Buddhist temple; a grizzled old structure thriving with orange-draped holy men, living and praying together. In their proximity, a certain reverence comes upon our crazy little blues band, and this holiday in a foreign land is expected to be subdued if not non-existent. It never occurred to us that the monks would get roaring drunk; banging on any convenient metal object, and creating a general anarchy until dawn. We cower on the balcony, bewildered by a chaos normally taken for granted on any Saturday night. At one point, two monks in their traditional robes engage in a heated argument on the street outside our quarters. It's a sight we Westerners never thought could occur: the Middle Way took a hard left turn.


John Stone is fascinated by small, shiny objects in the form of contemporary Japanese short form poetry. He can be found lurking in the pages of Simply Haiku and Contemporary Haibun.


He's Been Around the Block

by LorriAnn Sanchez-Torres

It was my third night on the island. As I was getting ready for bed, I heard a light but persistent thud on the door. I opened it and before I could say “no,” he was sprawled across my bed. The next morning, he obviously had plans and left in a hurry. Later, I saw him at a restaurant where people gathered around, patting him on the back and offering to buy him dinner. I realized at that moment that he was a loner and as I looked away I wondered, “How much steak can a Great Dane eat?”


LorriAnn Sanchez-Torres, a not-yet-recovered journalist whose novel, "The Mobius Loop," should be complete sometime in THIS millenium, lives in New Jersey with a basset hound, two birds and a man who answers to the name "Flip."


Blind Date

by sandshovel

His internet picture revealed a man with broad shoulders and an intensity in his eyes; he reminded me of a man I was obsessed with years ago. Although he was twelve years younger, I felt compelled to meet him and so we met. He shed his broad shoulders by peeling off two jackets and a vest; I felt deceived. My profile stated I am a non-smoker; I pulled a package out of my purse and asked him for a light. Just when I was about to rate this date as dismal and deceptive, he told me he recently hit a blind woman crossing the street and killed her. We sat huddled together like conspirators at the North Shore Quay and I listened to his story as the gulls hovered and the tug boats chugged across the bay.


sandshovel loves the outdoors. If she's not running, biking or climbing a mountain, she's at the beach: pail and shovel in hand.


Beating the Odds and Society

by Shawn M. Hetz

When I was born the doctors said I might not walk. Guess what? I’m walking - I beat the odds. I play sports and I’m great. I’ve been playing a game against society and its rules, and since day one, I’ve always won, I've always beat the odds alone with not much support from anywhere but the game, and the game was once in control of me and now I’m in control of it. Many have tried to make me fall or give up on myself, and I let them try, only to triumph over their feeble attempts to gain back control, but I will never fall, so get used to me being around for a long, long time.


Shawn M. Hetz wants people to realize they can do anything they set their minds to.


I Don't Feel Tardy

by Starstruck

The rapidfire drums of Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" just started playing in my headphones. I contemplate climbing up onto my cubicle table and prancing around like a giddy Phys Ed teacher turned go-go girl. However, I quickly realize that I'll look ridiculous since no one else can hear the music except me. I tuck my beauty pageant sash and foil streamer curtain back in my desk drawer and sulk. Instead, I suggest to my officemates that later the four of us bust out of our building's front doors in a headbanging rage like the kids in the video. However, the success of that operation depends on whether or not David Lee Roth is available to pick us up after work.


Starstruck is the author of Septemberfest. She's from Connecticut and spends her free time defending Tommy Lee to haters.


The Ancient Churchyard

by Sting

It feels different being married, as if we have suddenly become strangers again, shy with each other, a little afraid and tentative, where in the church in front of our families we had played our roles with such surety. We will spend the afternoon walking around the ancient churchyard, marveling at the ancient weathered gravestones among the lilac trees, calculating the lifetimes of the dead. Some lives had been cut tragically short, others lived well into old age, then there were couples who had died in the same year, one after the other, as if life was no longer worth living alone. Life seems so random, so temporary. We both realize that we are no longer playing games, and that marriage is a frightening commitment, and that we will have to be careful with each other. A cloud briefly obscures the sun, just as a chill northeasterly breeze picks up and shakes the blossoms from the lilac trees, and drives us inside.


Sting, whose birth name is Gordon Sumner, was the lead singer and bassist of The Police. His six sentences are taken from Broken Music, a memoir. He's referring to his first marriage to Frances Tomelty, the collapse of which was the inspiration for "Every Breath You Take." Today is his 55th birthday.


Momma's Boy

by breakylegg

Sonny is her fourth Great Dane, an enormous faun that could easily be Marmaduke’s stunt double. I am not exactly sure how tall he is, but I am 5’10” and his spine rivals my beltline. Thankfully, these dogs are of a gentle nature and not easily riled, though Sonny takes his breed’s innate kindness to the extreme end of the Dane spectrum. Why he is such an utter wuss escapes me. Certainly his skittishness does not derive from his treatment 'round here, because it’s obvious Mom’s favorite pastime is to lavish her giant with bones and baby talk and hearty leftovers. In fact, it’s kind of become a joke, that sudden schizophrenic shift her voice exhibits when delivering our goodbyes: from the exaggerated, E-note “you-be-good-sweetie-heart-sugar-pie-baby-Mama-will-be-back-soon-and-give-you-bonies-ok?-bye-bye-honey-Mama-loves-you…” cooed in loving delirium as she stands bent, hands locked on his black jowls, their noses close, to the blunt, nearly monosyllabic “’night, breaky,” directed at me as she shuffles past my room heading for the garage.


breakylegg, author of Lightfoot, Julius and "Night of the Bloody Clown," is currently working on "Bloody Night of the Elderly Detective," his second unpublished novel. When not playing second fiddle to an enormous canine or typing in his mother's shady den, he prefers to float in her pool eating Totino’s 3-cheese Party Pizza.