The thermometer rose to the young man's attention at one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The dog days of summer aren’t nice to creatures, including him, but especially orphaned altricial birds searching for water. He did admit, however, that savvy is what he thought of the bullfrog: it skulked like an alien from the pond to eat the maggots atop the dead little brown bird, and then sidestep-hopped back into the transformative water, the only place to be outside on a day like this. Thomas, he just walked back into the air conditioning and poured himself some refrigerated iced tea.
She was stunning, you know. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that face, that look it her eye that said, ‘I have been waiting for you’.
It was shocking really, how she seemed to anticipate my every move, how in sync we were.
You know, sometimes you go about your everyday life, just thinking that no one sees you, that no one cares, but then she came along.
Stopped me in my tracks, she did, when she shone her light on me, raised her taser and bang! Boy, did my heart missed a beat.
Frank Boswell had committed a crime against my best friend so heinous I can’t describe it.The police brought in a line-up of five middle-aged men and asked me to identify him. That was a little hard to do, being blind.
I asked the police to let me interrogate them individually, and they consented. I discovered which one was Frank.
You see, four of them would not give me a direct response to any of my questions. However, the fifth suspect always gave me a direct answer, almost to the point of being rude. Yes, he was definitely Frank.
After her husband died, Margaret moved to a retirement community where she decided, out of the blue, to join the swim team. She had competed in the backstroke and butterfly in high school and now here she was again, training each morning with a coach and others in their 70s and 80s.
Soon Margaret was traveling to nearby swim-meets. After she placed second in the butterfly at a regional competition, her daughter Cindy, happy to see her mother back in the swim of things, asked, “How did you do it, Mom?”
“I floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee.”
The early morning beach is quiet. The sun is barely awake. Gulf ripples lightly kiss the shore. The old man plods, and the sand sighs with each step. He totes a sack full of sins, but there is no one to speak with and listen to his apologies. To lighten his load, to nod and offer opinions. To be a friend.
He thinks someone is standing near the lifeguard station and shuffles faster, closer, and closer until he stops and wipes his eyes. The weathered sign says, “CAUTION: Rip currents today.”
He says, “Thank you,” and moves on.
A father and his four-year-old son went to a local stationary shop. The little one wanted to buy something to adorn the artwork, but the father refused. Proceeding with their shopping, the father collected the necessary items, paid, and left the shop. On their way home, the son showed the art item that he asked his father for during the shopping. The father realised he had been too harsh, went back to the shop, and paid for the art item. They both learned a valuable lesson that day. On their walk, they shared a cheerful conversation.
There’s a hole where I bury my deepest secrets. First blood and baby teeth, a letter from my long-gone father, a button I cut from the coat of the woman I kinda loved... When Russians came and people fled the village, I stayed behind in fear someone would set my demons free.
Quietly, I plant my shattered life, fragment by fragment, in the black soil of my garden. Just the other day, I buried a neighbour girl savaged by the soldiers. One day, they’ll come for me with their guns and Viagra, and then the hole will get it all.
I watch dad inspect the adder stone, approvingly placing it in my hand. It's smooth and solid, with a hole no bigger than a bead.
Only good things can come through this, he tells me, holding it up and spying into the eroded centre. Winking through it at me.
A parting memory before disappearing forever from the beach.
Mum restrains my distress in sandy embraces and I raise the stone, desperately squinting for him through glassy, salted eyes.
The words crash into me as I hurl the wretched thing out to sea. It quickly sinks. Fruitless and hollowed.
Shortly before she died, Mrs Neville Smith gave me a black velvet pouch. 'Please dispose of this for me,' she said. 'Throw it in the incinerator.'
She passed away peacefully during the night.
Only when she had been taken away did I open it.
'How cruel!' I cried, shocked to see the poppet with a carpenter's nail stuck through its heart. I removed it gently, and the doll seemed to relax in my hands.
The telephone rang.
It was the hospital.
'Are you Mr and Mrs Neville Smith's carer?'
'Please tell his wife that Neville's out of danger now.'
One night there was a massive wind and the swaying trees looked far too powerful and the sodden rain smelt of spice and I looked out the window and saw people running, yet those with umbrellas taking their time. I dreamt that I could cut people in half with scissors, see into their souls and then walk with them to church or the grocery.
In the morning we salvaged what we could, threw away splintered swerving branches and like the blind leading the blind, we worked until lunch, said grace and ate.
The day had only just begun.
“Can you hear me?” shouted van Gogh at the severed ear in his hand. Droplets of blood pooled in his palm, like blobs of paint on a palette. “I’ve listened to you for thirty-five years and now you’ve nothing to say when I ask your opinion.” He laughed madly. “Looks like one of us has lost his head.”
He wrapped the ear in paper, went to the brothel he frequented and gave the packet to Gaby, the charwoman. “Treasure this. It will be a valuable relic some day and make you rich after my paintings become famous because of it.”
We are the reformed party girls. We had office sex, barbecue weekend sex, last row movie theater sex. We married husbands as reliable as the six o’clock news. We have vanilla sex with our husbands on their birthday. We compare how often and what position while our husbands watch the football game. We wear black lace lingerie because we love the feel of silk on our skin. We think food is the sex of the old is a bullshit saying. We practice what we preach.
Shallow, moi? I don’t think so. I don’t judge by appearances. I judge by quality. It’s more reliable and I can test it.
So far my new owner is doing well. Okay, I call her owner, but the truth is I own her. She seems happy to do my every bidding.
My name is Rosie and as long as my pet continues to serve me good quality tuna I will be happy for whatever remains of my nine lives.
Just wish I could find a way of telling my pet though.
Humans are so awkward to communicate with.
Colette grabbed her bag, heading to her apartment.
Cigarette smell in the lift.
Locking her door, she greeted her cat but Minou wasn't co-operating.
She sensed a presence in the flat and her mood changed. Cigarettes again. A sound from her bedroom. A phone?
A man smiling menacingly, on her duvet.
A scream was trapped in her throat, her efforts to release it pathetic. She ran to her door, realising in despair that it was locked.
Screaming now. A rough hand on her mouth, a cloth with strong chemicals.
Colette lost consciousness. No hope of escape from this nightmare!
She walked slowly into the Police station.
She could feel the blood running down her legs.
She knew that her face was beaten and bloody too.
She was half dressed, ropes on her wrists, and no shoes.
She wished she had shoes.
She struggled to stay upright.
The female officer behind the counter lifted her head and looked past the person that she was dealing with. She screamed, there was a scramble from the next room as other officers ran to help.
Megan's last thoughts, as she crumbled to the floor, were, “thank God, I made it”.
The sound of laughter he used to raise himself, ringing, or stinging, in his ears, he joins the steady throng of expectant punters, over cobblestones, from one show to the next big thing everyone will be talking about south of the border (perhaps forgotten by the following spring).
He weighs the same as a moderately sized chandelier these days, he reckons, With or without shades, no one recognises him. Were he to set himself alight in the middle of the market square, would anyone rush to put him out? A joke in there, somewhere. If only he could find it.
Tom having spent the day at the coast climbed onto the tram home, he sat down for two minutes when he felt something stirring in his shorts.
The 'something' in his shorts dug its pincers into his lower regions, he shot out of his seat and undoing his shorts he thrust his hips into the slipstream.
The more he thrust, the more the small crab clung on, trying to avoid being spilled into the rushing panorama.
An elderly lady sitting next to the door tutted and under her breath muttered "disgusting!"
“We are victorious! I am declaring victory in our war against this world. The real celebrations will take place on our home planet when the news of our success reaches them.
“Whilst we occupy this world, a warning. We must not become complacent. Our defeated enemy…this is when they are at their most dangerous.
“Do you think they have lost the will to resist, rebel…or fight? Be vigilant.
“My plan, cull the leaders. Bring me their leaders.
“How shall we know leaders, some of you ask? Leaders are easy to identify. Leaders do not have tattoos. You can slaughter the rest.”
Her wet kisses devoured me before I could even greet.
“The supper will be ready soon.”
She took my hands and gently placed me by the fireside before hurrying off to the kitchen.
The noisy wood crackled its fumes even as the kids converted the dining table into their imaginary battlefield behind me.
Their jabber turns into screams even as the dark smoke engulfs the house.
It leaves me with the charred remains of a place I once called home.
The last memories of a time lost.
No triumph in surviving the horrors. Only a haunting void.
He plated the lobster thermidor, poured the Chardonnay, and called to his wife. As she raised her glass, he stared at the garden soil ground into the skin around her nails. She shrugged. “Sorry, I did scrub.” During dinner she addressed how to handle blight and listed the new wildflower seeds she had planted. “You should come and see the roses!” she said. He explained how to select a lobster. He kept glancing at her nails, waiting for her to tell him how he had outdone himself with this meal. Late that night he crept outside and beheaded her roses.
Curling through hexagons of chain-link fence, tendrils of flowering vine curtain tipping gravestones, whose old-fashioned names are filled in with grey-yellow spatterings of lichen: Ruby, Pearl, Aubrey, Beulah. How still the stone and stories therein. All around, the vine is alive with busy life. Scarlet trumpet flowers lure hummingbirds, who chase off competitors of their own species but impatiently permit honeybees to share. One bee, legs laden with golden pollen, backs out of a blossom as a beak edges its way inward. She zig-zags away home. The stories she will tell her hivemates, and how sweet that honey will be.
Last night I woke up with the perfect response to Todd Lowe calling me a fat slob in the ninth grade.
After a nap, I crafted the meanest comeback to Sue Ferguson when she said she only went out with me because I had tickets to see Madonna.
While dozing during church I constructed the most savage verbal takedown of my business partner who betrayed me ten years ago.
So here I am today; healthy, married to a brilliant goddess, and incredibly rich.
If only they could see me now. Of course, they’re all dead, so no.
The magician cannot pay for the groceries; the bills, the change and the credit cards are gone from his wallet. Call up memory.
I lock wallet in glovebox, put key in jacket, hang up jacket in weight room, work out for an hour.
Only one other guy’s in weight room, he works out hard, leaves only once (probably bathroom break), comes back right away.
I go back to car, key’s still in jacket, glovebox’s locked.
After replaying it again, the magician breaks into a grin.
Slimy little fingersmith, he pulled it off, with me watching him getting stronger and richer.
Can you fall in love with someone you've only just met? Lose your heart to sad blue eyes, and a smile? I was young and didn't know it was possible to fall so hard or for so long. You were mine for three short years. Well, I thought you were. But I was wrong. When I turned sixteen you left condemning me to a lifetime without you. I still think about you, dream about you. I'll never believe what they said about you. I put flowers on your grave. When I breathe my last breath, maybe I'll stop loving you.
“I miss the gnomes,” said the cherub.
“You had gnomes?” exclaimed the goddess. “But it was a National Trust property!”
“They were a secret. She hid them in the rhododendrons.”
The goddess snorted. “I had Zeus leering at me for decades. At least I never have to see him again.”
There was a commotion nearby.
“Don’t look now,” the cherub whispered, “but I think he’s right be…”
Two humans approached, carrying something heavy.
“Yes, these two go as one lot.”
They propped Zeus against the goddess’s shoulder, staring at the cherub.