20211006

The Impact of Everyday Decisions

by Natalie Sack

If the bullet had hit the fleshy part of his arm instead of his shoulder he would have enjoyed throwing baseballs with his future son and hearing his daughter giggle as he lifted her high overhead. Even things like painting the shutters once a year and weed whacking the chickweed/ragweed/poison oak tangle around the gazebo would have had an element of fun with the dull ache of a healed wound as a reminder of how lucky he was. But he’d been running before the shot, providing a constantly changing trajectory between peril and safety, the same way simple decisions do upon our everyday fates. And so the bullet went from his shoulder to his lung, shredding the delicate cells into lace before sightseeing its way to his liver. There’s no doubt the shot alone was incidental, no matter where it traveled, but the bullet’s coating — that damned silver, the mundane stuff of flatware and filigree — exacted it’s price. One more werewolf is subtracted from his American Dream.

6S

Natalie Sack teaches yoga and writes short stories, novels and essays in a small, small suburb of Pittsburgh.

20211005

The Fast

by Alex Buckey

Gluttony was still a grave and vaguely goofy sin. She had the Young Adult Bible Study dinner to thank for that lesson. Alternate Tuesday evenings were spent at the Olive Garden, where she had to remind herself to keep her lust for free breadsticks in check. Last time she had gotten some smirks and raised eyebrows when she went for her third, even though it had been clear no one else was going to eat it. This brazen act had been made still more shameful and ridiculous by the strand of oily fettuccine alfredo that had snaked its way down her blouse. This time, she let the still-laden bread basket pass away without comment, and left a chaste, dignified amount of ravioli to push around her plate.

6S

Alex Buckey is a college student in Houston.

20211004

I Know I Can Do This

by Daniel Davis

As an emergency room MD who moonlights as a volunteer fireman and claims base jumping and extreme Sudoku as favorite hobbies, I’ve faced many challenges in my life, and have overcome numerous obstacles, but none so daunting as the latest hurdle – a requirement to write an entire story in just six sentences. Day and night for weeks, during every spare minute, I pounded my keyboard – and occasionally my head – in vain attempts at achieving completion in exactly six sentences, but the closest I could come was one story of five sentences and another of seven sentences, and the only tangible result was that my wife left me, and took the dog with her. Then, in the deep of one night’s wee hours, and after too much alcohol, too little food, and no sleep, a moment of desperation drove me to extract one sentence – chosen by closing my eyes and stabbing a finger onto the screen – from my seven-sentence story, and plop in randomly into my five-sentence story. I now had not one, but two six-sentence stories under my belt, and even though neither story made any sense, the requirement was to write a six-sentence story, not necessarily a rational six-sentence story. So did I meet the requirement? I’d say yes.

6S

Daniel Davis is a retired technical writer with two published short stories, a pile of unpublished stories, and the requisite unpublished novel.

20211003

Unplugged

by Helen Carmichael

It was a Monday, and the desk stared back at him, unblinking. The spreadsheet also looked at him and did nothing to add or balance itself or to respond appropriately to the emails pinging in the background. Thinking back to an ancient gorse-strewn hillside very far away in distance yet close, held so close in memory, he noticed that the coffee had no flavour, at all. A vision of his father’s ashes carried up above that landscape and held by the wind tenderly for a second before falling away across the vale like a sigh diminished and overrode the desktop documents affronting him with their arrogant claims of urgency. Pulling the computer’s power socket from the wall and crashing everything with a desperate, meaningless finality he backed away from the desk. Shifting uncomfortably in their office chairs, his frozen colleagues still had nothing to say.

6S

Helen Carmichael is a British freelance science writer and editor who has also had her poetry published in The Goddess Pages.

20211002

Intensive Care

by Todd Mercer

It’s a sympathetic quality. And also the hospital’s humming core of activity. It’s where twin ambulances deliver a Probable Shooter and Victim Number One. Too soon to call the outcome or the repercussions. At Mercy the innocent and the malignant alike get the surgeon’s conscientious effort. In Mercy’s hallway outside Post-Op, one mother accuses, a second pushes back, but using their eyes, both silent.

6S

Todd Mercer's short collection Ingenue was published by Celery City Press. Recent work appears in Fictive Dream, Friday Flash Fiction and One Sentence Poems.

20211001

No-Bake Cookies

by Jeff Harvey

Momma’s address book overflowed with school pictures, postage stamps, and Avon order forms. My sisters argued over who would get to keep it. As I flipped through, a page flew out with the recipe for No-Bake-Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies. I could almost taste the blend of chocolate and peanut butter with the oatmeal crunch. Momma made a batch at least once a week before she went to her nurse’s aide job at three p.m. leaving me to take care of my sisters until midnight. I stuck the recipe into my back pocket with plans to make these for our annual Thanksgiving get together.

6S

Jeff Harvey writes fiction and lives in San Diego, CA. His work has recently appeared in MoonPark Review, Bear Creek Gazette, and Queerlings, among others. Find him on Twitter.