Mirror, Mirror

By S.A. McKenzie

There was no use pretending anymore. That slinky pair of black pants she’d paid too much for last winter just did not fit anymore. Lorna sighed, giving up on the struggle to drag the pants past her thighs. She stared glumly down at herself. There was rather more self than there used to be, really.

“Right, that’s enough! The diet starts today,” she said to her reflection in the mirror. A movement caught her eye. “What the hell?” Lorna said, staring at the mirror. Her reflection was eating a bar of chocolate! That mirror had always made her look fat.


S.A. McKenzie writes offbeat stories featuring time-traveling rabbits, carnivorous unicorns and man-eating subway trains, because someone has to speak up for these misunderstood creatures.

Hours, Minutes, and Seconds

By Mark Tulin

I keep running along a trail,
down a narrow path,
up a steep hill,
around a high school track,
jogging and sprinting,
I need to run fast,
counting my hours, minutes,
and seconds on a stopwatch.

Don’t want to creep along,
crawling like an infant
in a loose-fitting diaper,
who doesn’t know the difference
from a 10K and a 100-meter.

I run to elude old age,
keep my body slim and toned,
to be a super-flash extraordinaire
that nobody’s going to catch
Like a lightning bolt from the sky,
I move through a slow-paced world,
across the final finish line.


“I write to document the stories in my head.” – the writer

Lost‌ ‌and‌ ‌Found‌

By Becca Yenser

I‌ ‌went‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌box‌ ‌of‌ ‌lost‌ ‌and‌ ‌found,‌ ‌specifically‌ ‌through‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌pockets,‌ ‌hoping‌ for‌ ‌money.‌ ‌But‌ ‌all‌ ‌I‌ ‌found‌ ‌was‌ ‌Charles’‌ ‌crack‌ ‌pipe.‌ ‌I‌ ‌put‌ ‌it‌ ‌back‌ ‌again‌ ‌in‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌secret‌ inner‌ ‌compartment.‌ I‌ ‌waited‌ ‌for‌ ‌our‌ ‌windows‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌dirty,‌ ‌so‌ ‌I‌ ‌could‌ ‌offer‌ ‌back‌ ‌his‌ crack‌ ‌pipe.‌ ‌He‌ ‌always‌ ‌refused,‌ ‌but‌ ‌would‌ ‌take‌ ‌a‌ ‌Diet‌ ‌Coke‌ ‌and‌ ‌fifteen‌ ‌dollars.‌ ‌He’d‌ write‌ ‌me‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌yellow‌ ‌receipt‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌stack‌ ‌he‌ ‌brought‌ ‌out‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌pocket.‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌always‌ happy‌ ‌when‌ ‌he’d‌ ‌come.‌ ‌When‌ ‌he‌ ‌left‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌amazed‌ ‌by‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌light.‌ ‌


“I write to make sense of the world.” – the writer

Little Flower of St. Frank

By Michael Neal Morris

“I thought you might be dead,” the astonished guard said nodding toward a large rat that appeared to be gnawing the fingers of the man meditating against the wall opposite the door.

The prisoner regarded his open hand, then raised it for the guard to see. The animal had crawled there for warmth and now lay stiff in his palm.

“Ugh,” the guard uttered and backed away from the outstretched arm. “You preach it to death?”

The prisoner laid the carcass in the cell corner and stood. “Nah,” he said wiping his hands against his pants. “Just heard his confession.”


“I write to keep myself safe. I write to keep you safe. I write because I look silly doing the safety dance.” – the writer

Bear Walks into a Burger Bar

By Raymond Sloan

I slipped in not wanting a fuss. Two in the queue, which made everything easy until some kid hollered, “it’s Blitz the Bear, Mommy.’’ Helen was home – depressed about the stubborn baby weight, up to her ears in diapers and debt, wanting a nice Christmas. Ordered me to man up.

I delivered my famous line, twirled my fluffy pistol for the boy. He left with a grin as long as the line now was.

I waited.

When it was my turn, I ordered all the twenty bills they had and a coke for the car ride home. Diet for Helen.


“I write because I love writing.” – the writer

She Sees Us

By Linda Chandanais

“Three o’clock? Okay.”

“They’ll do it in the van. She freaks at the vet’s … she can’t go in fear.”
Deaf, has tumors, and now her legs are done.
Her tail thumps, she sees us through cataract-clouded eyes.

The parking lot; vet joins us; needle in hand.
Words of love, thanks, apologies, given, but not heard.
Thump, thump, thump, she sees us. We’re here, we’re here.

We drive home, hold her close, caress.
“When we rescued her, she was the size of her head, remember?”
Rescued her? That’s not the way it went.
We bury her under the lilacs bushes.


“I breathe, I write, I breathe, I write again.” – the writer

Thinkers

By Lynn White

I wondered what they were thinking,
all those grinning people
standing around him
taking their selfies.
I wondered what he was thinking
but I don’t think they cared
or even noticed
that he looked strained
as if he had a problem,
looked uncomfortable
as if perched on the edge of a toilet
straining with effort.
Perhaps that was his problem,
ideas don’t come when you strain,
they float into your head dreamlike
glowing gold
as you stretch out your arms into infinity
dreamlike,
glowing gold,
with no one around
to take selfies.


“I write to let the words escape.” – the writer

Sir Francis Bacon’s Belated Vindication

By Michael Bloor

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Lord Chancellor to James I, was a pioneer of experimental science. Yet his report of one of his most famous experiments, showing that boiling water freezes faster than cold water, was scoffed at by fellow scientists for three hundred-odd years. Bacon’s experiment was unwittingly repeated by Erasto Mpemba, a Tanzanian high school student in 1963. Publication of the ‘Mpemba Effect’ led to further controlled experiments replicating Bacon’s finding.

Sadly, I can’t wait three-hundred years for Margaret to recognise the scientific fact that twigs and small branches won’t decompose any time soon in the garden composter.


Michael Bloor only discovered the exhilarations of short fiction after he retired.

If You Love Me

By Anne Silva

If you love me,
don’t leave a note,
don’t leave a reason why.

If you love me,
don’t close your eyes,
don’t even say goodbye.

If you love me,
you would wait,
through hell and water.

If you love me,
stay.


“I write because there is no other way to express all the messed up feelings I feel.” – the writer

Paint By Numbers

By Yash Seyedbagheri

I open windows to a New Year. Paint last year’s walls lavender. Rearrange books according to hopefulness, instead of most depressing. But credit card bills leap from screens. Student loans demand payment. They don’t recognize spaces I’ve finally tackled. People I’ve apologized to. Tempers I’ve combatted.

I close the computer. Pledge to pay X loan. Y card. Preempt numbers. But when I reopen the computer, they remind me I’m delinquent. A statistic who once withdrew into Merlot-induced euphoria. Discarded responsibility.

I clean, blast Tchaikovsky waltzes, polish my desk, open windows wider. But numbers dart out. I can’t paint over them.


“I write to explore human behavior, to ask questions, and to poke fun at the world.” – the writer