The Sweet Crocodile

By Doug Jacquier

That skinny German tourist’s leg didn’t really agree with me yesterday. Mostly gristle and I’ve still got lederhosen stuck in my teeth. Parked the rest of him under a log for a few days to mature.

Still feeling a pit peckish. Saw a mother duck and brood floating past. I thought ‘Yum, baby ducks’. Ate my lunch and had a nap in the sun on the river bank. Later, mother duck came back searching for her ducklings. She looked so distressed I put her out of her misery.

Sentimental, I know, but that’s just the sweet guy I am.

––––––––––
“I see my writing as sea shells which, when placed against the ear, whisper cryptic messages from an Other Place, just in case other people are in an Other Place, too.” – the writer

Darkness

candle-2038736_1280

By G. Allen Wilbanks

“Why are you afraid of the dark? Darkness is the natural state of everything. It’s the light that’s unnatural. When God said, ‘Let there be light,’ he was imposing an artificial reality on a universe that had previously only know known total darkness and emptiness, and every force in nature is currently trying to drive us back to that original point of neutrality. Everything around us is temporary, and at some point in the future we will all return to that initial state of nothingness. It’s inevitable.”

“Maybe,” his wife admitted. “But, I still want you to replace the lightbulb.”

           
G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and has published over 60 short stories in Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, The Talisman, and other venues. He has published two story collections, and the novel, When Darkness Comes.

Heads Up

By Lee Hammerschmidt

The executioner put me down on the chopping block, just short of where my neck was supposed to be. Another head still occupied the front.

“Listen,” he whispered. “You’re being spared. But the King is not to know. He’s super pissed about your dalliance with Queen Valerian. But she wants to continue your relationship. When I bring my axe down, the other head will fall into the basket. You will be whisked away and taken to her country hideaway.”

“Why are you doing this?” I asked.

“I am the Queen’s illegitimate son. My Momma told me I better chop around.”

–––––––––––
“(Writing is) my gift to the world.” – the writer

Lies! All Lies!

By Todd!!

“If it smells fishy, eat it,” read the novelty bumper sticker on the car at the stoplight ahead of us. I read it aloud, as was my habit, to impress my mother with my reading skills.

I also remember my mother pivoting when I asked her what it meant, saying something about how everyone loves delicious seafood.

A few years later she also told me that Santa was real and that his spirit lives in our hearts, or some such bullshit.

My mom was a liar.

Water Bottle

By Rebecca Lee

Name: Aquarius

Age: Forever

Looking for in a partner: I want someone as deep as I am. Someone who can hold a conversation about love and hatred at the same time.

Perfect date: Beach and sunshine.

Favorite song: 100% Pure Love – Crystal Waters

Deal breakers: Anyone wearing suede anything

Lifestyle: I go with the flow – not into routines. Beauty entices me. I find it wherever I am. Not up for anything serious.

Favorite book: Domesticating Drink by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Favorite saying: Do the next right thing.

Who I’m looking for: Tall. Employed. Over 18. Thirsty.

––––––––––
Rebecca Lee writes for A Word of Substance. Her book about personified objects, Object Relations, is now available here.

Yon Silv’ry Moon

By Fiona M. Jones

“Look,” said the judge. “You can’t just assault someone for writing ‘thee’ and ‘thou’.”

“But he did it WRONG,” the defendant insisted. “And he said azure and stuff. I HAD to do it.”

“A poem can’t harm—”

“Just read it, please, your honour.”

The judge gulped.

His eyes rolled in different directions.

He struggled to breathe.

“Case dismissed,” he said hoarsely. “Let the defendant go. Clearly this was reasonable self-defense.” He dropped the paper and wiped his hands.

“Thee,” said the poem, crumpled but unabashed, “art the yon silv’ry moon, Whom scaleth the azure stare case of nights room.”

––––––––––
“Well, this particular story was inspired by some people who post their poetry on Twitter.” – the writer

The Way You Get Worked Up

By John L. Malone

The way you get worked up towards the end.
I can hear you, the noise of your coming, three rooms away.
Are such outbursts necessary?
Why, even the walls vibrate,
Now you’re really going.
Hope you don’t bust anything.
You’re not that young anymore, remember.
There’s no doubt you give it your all.
Do you enjoy it?
Sounds as if you do.
Now you’ve gone quiet, can I come in?
Yes ! The clothes are done.
One hour, twenty. Wish I had your stamina.
You must be exhausted.

––––––––––
“I get my material from the every day: an inexhaustible supply.” – the writer

Where Does the Time Go?

By Chris Hewitt

“Sorry, I’m late. Where does the time go?” said Dr Ed, walking into the examination room. “I’m surprised to see you, Mrs. Walters. Is there a problem?”

“Yes, Doctor,” said Susan, rubbing her side. “Since the operation, I get this terrible pain if I walk too far.”

“Are you in pain now?”

“I wasn’t. But just as you arrived—” Susan doubled over.

“Oh, dear,” said Dr Ed, pulling out his buzzing phone. “I think I’ve found the problem and my missing smartwatch.”
Swiping left, he held up the smartphone. “If it’s any consolation, you’ve done twenty-thousand steps this week.”

––––––––––
Chris Hewitt lives in the beautiful garden of England and in the odd moment he’s not walking the dog, he pursues his passion for writing fiction.

There Must be Something Nice I Can Say About You

By John L. Malone

Let me see.
There must be some nice things
I can say about you.
Like I stay indoors more often when you’re around,
get in touch with my inner recluse.
I get to read more,
post six or seven poems a week
rather than the usual four.
Less of a slacker.
Red wine tastes better with you.
So too a good roast.
I get to write haiku again on frosts and ice,
shivery, shivery three liners.
And I get to wear my exotic Mongolian beanie everywhere.
Winter I embrace you.

––––––––––
“I wrote this on our coldest day since June 1922.” – the writer

100 Words Is All You Get

Andrew Atkinson

My name is ‘Pinky’ Rutherford-Gilbert. That’s not my real name; I’m a character in a drabble story, therefore I’m reliant on the author for, well, everything.

Pinky straightened his bow tie in the hall mirror and checked his central parting. Replacing his monocle he addressed his host, “I say, Old Thing, what time do we attach the nose bags?”

Good grief! I’m an imbecile; an upper-class twit in a story that P.G. Wodehouse could have written. Get me out of here, fast!

Clutching his chest, Pinky collapsed at his host’s feet. Dead as a proverbial—

Not that quickly, please author.

––––––––––
“I’ve been writing drabbles for several years following a lengthy career writing and editing technical and professional reports, which were a great deal less fun.” – the writer