The Inside Scoop

By Dianne Moritz

So you sold your first book.

You are thrilled and eagerly spread the news to family and friends.

I’ll plan a book party, you think, then quickly send off press releases to the local media. The evening of the event you decorate a table at the bookstore, set out wine, cheese, crackers, and fresh sushi.

You wait nervously until a few people trickle in, exactly five. A few folks drink some wine, no one eats. You sign one book.

After an hour of this fiasco, you pack up and leave. You vow to never do this again.

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“I write to capture indelible moments in time.” – the writer

A Good Conversation

By Andrew Atkinson

“Hello. Not seen you since that party down Trafalgar Street where I got really drunk and went home with that Mike from the foundry. Good to see you. Have you seen our Barry? He’s home for the hols and was asking about you. Told him you’d split with Wayne. I’ve got a new job at Jenny’s on the High Street. It gives me more time to look after me mum. Her sciatica is worse. I’m on the way to get me hair done and then I’m off to bingo. Anyway good chatting with you and having a catch up. Bye.”

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“(I write because) every now and again the urge creeps up on me.” – the writer

Aristocatfishing

By Jeff Hill

The girls and I have a system
They are the beauty
I am the brawn
But we are all the brains
We don’t go against anything or anyone who gets hurt
And we don’t do it to anyone who doesn’t deserve it
We aren’t vigilantes
We aren’t modern-day Robin Hoods
Because we don’t kill
And we don’t share our wealth
But we do take their money
And we do hurt them in the place that has the most impact
Their wallets
We match
We chat
They book the hotel
I show up
We collect
And we eat the rich
Together

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Jeff Hill writes stories and helps others write their stories.

A Fresh Angle

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(Originally published December 9, 2015)

By Nick Dunster

The elderly tenant called me up to make a formal complaint, insisting that I visit him in person that cold, December morning.

“It’s that immoral young woman over there,” he explained, gesturing toward a window in an adjacent block. “Every day she wanders around in her apartment with no clothes on.  It’s really not acceptable.”

I peered across. “Well,” I said, “I can’t see anything.”

“Ah no,” the tenant explained. “You can’t see anything from there. You’ll have to stand on this table and then lean your shoulder against this wall. Then you’ll have the right angle.”

Chambray

By Barry Basden

I went to the store earlier today when it was cool. By myself, the wife was feeling poorly. I walked around and picked up a few things: a loaf of bread, baby spinach, three bananas, some ambrosia apples, a huge Pecos cantaloupe — they’re the best. Felt odd all afternoon, like my shoulders weren’t on right. Noticed in the bathroom mirror that my collar wouldn’t lay straight. Kept shrugging my shoulders. No dice. Then I noticed my shirt was buttoned crooked. It had been that way all day. I saw a lot of people but nobody said a thing about it.

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Barry Basden lives in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and Bean, their little rescue terrier. He writes because, well, because sometimes it seems like the thing to do.

It’ll Happen Eventually

By James Rumpel

I turned on my TV so I could watch the press conference. Representatives of every movie studio, broadcast television company, and streaming provider were seated on a large stage. Each had a dour look on their face.

One of the CEOs stood and slowly walked to the podium. She addressed the cameras and crowd of reporters, “We regret to inform you that, as of last night, we have now filmed and produced every story possible. There are no more new stories to be told.”

I turned to my wife and said, “You know, I think I’ve seen this one before.”

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James Rumpel is a retired high school math teacher who enjoys trying to turn some of the odd ideas in his brain into actual stories.

I’ll Be Staying, Thanks

By Patrick Higingbotham

Name’s Mortimer Brontide. My family’s been on this land for generations. I don’t know how you came into possession of the place. Regardless of what the law says about current ownership, I’ll not be removed. So, kindly put away the candles and the incense. And didn’t anyone ever tell you that Ouija boards don’t work?

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“I write because I love it and it’s cheaper than therapy.” – the writer

Honest Job Ad

By Karen Southall Watts

Help wanted. Needed: someone with advanced degree who will take the same wages they earned flipping burgers in college. Also helpful: a lifetime of experience, but please be young and attractive. Bubbly and outgoing in the interview, but be willing to join a team of defeated people who hate this place. A master of empathy and soft skills to help us deal with customers, but don’t expect us to treat you like a human with value. Unwavering company loyalty a plus. Please upload your resume and then retype all the same information into our system. We might contact you.

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“I keep writing as a tonic to modern life.” – the writer

Give a Man a Chicken

By Lisa H. Owens

There’s a saying that goes something like this: Give a man an egg, and he’ll eat breakfast. Give a man a hen, and he’ll build a chicken-coop, nurture his hen’s hatchlings—fending off predators with his new shotgun. Incubate the baby chicks with heat lamps, ensuring they have high-end feed and spring-water. Repair the coop, keep the run spotless—naming the hens as they mature—the roosters becoming roasted Sunday Suppers. He’ll jump for joy once the hens start laying—rising early to gingerly collect the eggs. By then, he’ll be broke, exhausted—sick of eggs—choosing cereal for breakfast.

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“I write to fill in the gaps.” – the writer

Turning a Deaf Ear

By Peggy Gerber

His hearing faded like an old photograph, so slowly and imperceptibly he didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. Little by little he began isolating, spending less time with family and friends, in complete denial of his affliction. When his children began begging him to get his hearing checked, he would shout, “Stop treating me like an old man. My hearing is just fine.”

Eventually, his family staged an intervention and he reluctantly went to his doctor to be fitted with hearing aids.

Next holiday dinner his grandchildren cheered, “Hooray, Grandpa’s back.”

Grandpa laughed, “Kids, please keep the volume down.”

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“I write for relaxation. It is the best therapy in the world.” – the writer