The House Plant

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By Ian Fletcher

House plants are odd
for though some thrive
relatively neglected
others will not survive
despite the attention
administered to them.

Who’d have thought
for that matter
the one we bought
to adorn our balcony
whose flowers faded
according to the season
but whose leaves then
withered without reason
to languish out there
with stems so bare
winter through spring
despite our tender care
would prove to be the latter?

So it is with our love, my dear,
which like the plant outside
howsoever it is now tended
can never be revived.

     
Ian Fletcher’s work has appeared in Tuck Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, 1947 A Literary Journal, Spillwords Press, Dead Snakes, Literary Yard, Your One Phone Call, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me, Anotherealm, Under the Bed, A Story In 100 Words, Poems and Poetry, Friday Flash Fiction, and various anthologies.

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I Confess

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By Christine Goodnough

“Mrs Derringer?” Officer Menzies flashed her badge when the woman opened the door. “Guess you know why I’m here.” She’d found starting this way could elicit some interesting reactions.

The old lady gasped. “How did you find out? I’ve been so careful.”

Menzies raised a questioning eyebrow.

“You don’t know what it was like living with that man. He was cruel in every way. I just couldn’t take any more.” Her eyes teared up. “I suppose one of the neighbors suspected …?”

“Mrs Derringer,” Menzies interrupted gently. “I’m here to tell you your driver’s license is expired. Time to renew.”

The Line

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By Maura Yzmore

I am that woman behind whom you hate being stuck in the checkout line at the grocery store. My cart overflows, filled with produce and meat, bread and milk, snacks and drinks. You ask if we’re having a party. I smile. No, there is no party, but three boys will eat all this in a week.

You ask, and I feel joy. I am so lucky to have someone to feed, to love.

You ask, and I feel sadness. Soon—far too soon—they’ll all be off, and you’ll no longer hate being stuck behind me in the checkout line.

    
Maura Yzmore’s short fiction has appeared in The Fiction Pool, Microfiction Monday Magazine, 50-Word Stories, and elsewhere.

Say It with Flowers

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By Hombrehompson

The flowers arrive without a message or recipient.

The husband accuses his wife of having an affair. In turn she accuses him of having the same. This soon escalates into a vicious argument, with years of unsaid truths hurled at each other in unison.

He wants a divorce. She wants a divorce.

As if prompted by this, their daughter enters the room, woken by the argument. She wanders past them both and finds a card on the floor.

These flowers are for next door, she says, before getting a glass of milk and returning back to her bed.

“They Knew What They Signed up For”

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By Robert Krenzel

They knew what they signed up for.

The young man signed up to protect and defend. He knew there would be a price to pay. He knew, perhaps this would be the day.

The young woman signed up to love and support her man. She knew he would go away and perhaps not return. She knew the knock on the door might come that day.

They knew what they signed up for.

You wanted loyalty. You wanted adoration. Who knew you were supposed to care?

They knew what they signed up for.
Did you?

     
Bob Krenzel is a veteran of the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He has been the soldier who knocks on the door to bring the news.

A Friend Drops By

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By Christine Goodnough

I made camp by a wilderness lake to enjoy some solitude. Almost. I did make friends with a curious skunk who found my frypan drippings appealing.

Next evening a motorboat roared in. Three hunters unloaded their gear, made camp, guzzled beer. Finally crawled into their tent to snore.

Later I heard sneezing; the skunk was nosing among the ashes. When he headed for the newcomers’ tent, I whispered. “Wrong way, Moufette.”

His visit incited shouts, then three splashes as our reeking visitors hit the lake.

I fried extra bacon the next night. It’s nice to have friends drop in.

The Finger

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By Maura Yzmore

When I met Jenny, she worked as a waitress at the diner where I often ate after my shift.

The day I fell in love with her, she gave me the middle finger—the whole middle finger, with the telltale writer’s callus and both knuckles. It floated alongside chunks of chicken in the creamy soup that she served me.

I was more curious than appalled. “How does one get the whole middle finger chopped off?”

“By flipping off a ninja,” said Jenny, deadpan. At that moment, I knew she was the one.

The settlement I received paid for our honeymoon.

    
Bio: Maura’s short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Fiction Pool, Storyland, Microfiction Monday Magazine, The Dirty Pool, and 50-Word Stories.