… Came Tumbling After

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By Sam Averis

We hauled the picnic to the tippy top. New World B&E, plastic cups, a tartan rug, the whole shebang. Even gingham.

“Come on Jill,” he said. “It’s supposed to be romantic.”

I’d hid a bottle of Jack under the sandwiches.

When he stood at the edge to check the view his hair caught the sun, and lit up gold, like a crown. A bit too dramatic for me, man.

When he sat I swiped his chair, for a laugh. He fell wrong, went over head first. Shit.

I wasn’t about to tell his parents. So.

Here we go, then.

     
Sam’s fiction has been published in journals including takahē, Geometry, Psychopomp, and elsewhere. He is associate editor at Flash Frontier.

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My Teenage Son Defining Words Just Before I Challenge His Use of Possessive Pronouns

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By Jan Kaneen

It’s not been ‘left,’ it’s deliberate. There’s no point in ‘making’ something you’re going to unmake the minute you use it. And you can’t ‘stain’ black sheets. Black’s an absence of colour. You can’t ‘stain’ something that’s not there. And ‘caked-on’s’ downright melodramatic. It’s just a bit spattered that’s all – dried-on at most. And mould’s the opposite of ‘filth’ actually, specially on bread. In the olden-days, they used to make it into moultices or poultices or something, to treat infection. And anyway, Mother, you shouldn’t even be in my bedroom, it’s my space, my mould, my ‘mess,’ not yours.

What He Said When He Came Home

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By David Cook

“Where the hell have you been?” she yelled. “You walked out of that door months ago and I haven’t seen you since. No one has! You could have been dead in a ditch for all I knew. And now you waltz back in here and expect me to take you back like nothing’s happened? Is that what you think? I’ve been going out of my mind with worry!”

“Meow,” he replied, and rubbed himself against her ankles.

     
David Cook’s stories have appeared in the National Flash Fiction Anthology, Spelk, Ghost Parachute and more.

Unsolicited Feedback

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By I. E. Kneverday

“You ruined it. All of it. An entire universe gone to shit.”

The director turns on the tap. Begins rinsing the dried, brown residue from the bottom of his mug.

“Your career is over,” I continue. “You know that, right? You’ll never get another project greenlit after this. Never.”

He maintains his silence as plumes of coffee-scented steam rise from the sink.

“Are you even listening to me?” I ask, my voice crescendoing to a yell.

The director wipes a swath of fog from the kitchen window.

Peers outside.

And finally notices me, crouching there among the purple verbena.

      
I. E. Kneverday’s first book, The Woburn Chronicles: A Trio of Supernatural Tales Set in New England’s Most Mysterious City, is available now.

Appropriate Flirting at the Workplace

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By Alex Colvin

In an age of reconsidering appropriate behavior at the workplace, how does one flirt at work? Well, I’ve got it down to a science.

1. Flirt.
2. Profusely apologize.
3. Run away as fast as you possibly can.

It’ll go something like this:

“Well, hello Nancy …”

Then panic. “Oh no! I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it!”

Turn and run away as if hell were unleashed upon you.

Nancy will gaze after you as you vanish into the horizon with renewed intrigue. “Wow,” she’ll think, “He’s charming, sensitive, and completely not-threatening. I’ll ask him for his number.”

You’re welcome.