“Cats are Stupid”


By Pat Brunson

By Mrs. Jerry Wilson
Jerry Wilson said it a thousand times, “Cats are so damn stupid.” White Socks had nicked herself on a tuna can three times in the last eight years. All minor lacerations.

His wife said, “Then don’t give her a sharp can!” She rushed Jerry to the emergency room. The cat oblivious to all the drama.

“Yes Mr. Wilson, your fingers will need stiches,” the ER physician said. “Aren’t you the same guy I stitched up his fingers six months ago?” Jerry nodded.

“It’s essential only your wife operate the can opener.”

“I write to make people smile, whether in a journal article, short story, or cartoon.” – the writer


The Guest Book


By David Hartley

I have learned fifteen different styles of handwriting. I have composed fifteen different messages in the Guest Book dated across an 18-month period. It’s all: local places visited, days of rain and sunshine, wildlife spotted, that kind of thing.

I now have my first real booking. I’m watching from the attic as they read out the entries in comical accents. They are cozy by the fire but not yet used to the shadows. It is an old cottage. It creaks, embalmed in the silence of uninhabited miles.

The night is drawing in. My guests are looking sleepy.

David Hartley writes strange stories about strange things for strange people. He likes it when things are a bit strange.

The Remedy


By Tara Campbell

Liv suspected her husband was having an affair. To find out, she consulted an herb she’d kept hidden in a box inside a pouch inside a drawer. It looked like dried broccolini, and if both of them took it, she’d be able to read his mind. She swallowed half, then put the rest in his soup.

After dinner, Liv washed the dishes and wondered how long the herb would take, what it would feel like, whether her fears were true.

In her head she heard his voice: “Sorry, baby.”

Liv tried not to think about where she kept the gun.

Tara Campbell is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. She’s the author of a novel, TreeVolution, a hybrid fiction/poetry collection, Circe’s Bicycle, and a short story collection, Midnight at the Organporium. She writes because there are too many “what ifs” not to.

Days Off


By Alexina Dalgetty

Ella and Alfie ate sandwiches on the beach. They paddled. Ella squealed and her lips turned blue. Alfie kissed them with warmth. Her heart sang. Alfie snored beneath a newspaper, Ella crocheted. She hid the doilies when he woke, didn’t want him thinking she was thinking …

* * *

The sea salt cut through Ella’s flesh. Alfie rubbed and kissed her blue fingers. Slobber glistened on Ella’s hands. Would he anger if she cleaned it away?

Ella glared at the sea and slowly, imperceptibly, wiped a lifetime of kisses into her blouse.

“I write because the stories are there to be written.” – the writer

Flash Flood


By Brad Rose

My clothes are exhausted. I’d like to throw myself out. I don’t need a second opinion. All those buildings in town, under so much pressure – wind, sandstorms, earthquakes. They lie to themselves about their strength. If the clouds moved any faster, the hawks wouldn’t stand a chance. And the fading trees—Willow, Acacia, Hackberry—thirsty in the August heat. Their roots desperately crawling toward the saltwater sea. Yesterday, from high up on the levy, I saw a body floating in what’s left of the river. There was no one to tell. I am my own future, until it’s too late.

Driving Down a Gravel Road, Thinking About Bud Powell


By Mark W. Jackley

the potholes
and the ruts
bring to mind
Bud’s skull,
cratered by a Philly cop
in ’45 and yet
it guarded
Tempus Fugit
and Un Poco Loco
to spill one day
like rivulets
of melted snow
in April
hills in
morning sun,

Mark Jackley’s poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Sugar House Review, The Cape Rock, and other journals.

The Other Me


By Toni G.

the other me

wears her hair slicked back

in a tightly woven braid

about three feet long

it swings fiercely as she walks

it tells folks to beware of this dame

the other me

wears 5” heels like a boss

has great legs

looks great in a mini skirt

and has power lunches at midnight

the other me

holds doors open for men

slaps them on the ass as they walk by

winks at them when they turn around in surprise

I don’t think I’ll ever get to meet

the other me

Toni G. writes because there’s just so much that needs to be said. She believes that everyone is a poet.