By John Malone
I’m being interviewed today
For a job.
A cleaning job.
I shave, shower, put on good clothes.
Tidy the place up.
Ten minutes later his car pulls in the driveway.
He comes in, casually dressed, introduces himself.
Looks me over.
Asks questions. Probing questions.
I wince a little.
Relax, he says as he stands up, shakes my hand, smiles.
Now let’s see the house.
I take him through. Show him the vacuum cleaner, the mop, the bucket.
Now, he says, when would you like me to start?
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.
By Benjamin Davis
Once upon a time a man named Ingvar sold his soul.
When his debt came due he asked the devil if he could buy back his soul.
The Devil said, “for 1,000,000 years of labor.”
Ingvar asked if he could transfer the debt.
The Devil said, “only to willing souls.”
And so IKEA was born.
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.
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.
By Hákon Gunnarsson
James had one hobby, food. Sometimes it seemed to be his entire life. He was always falling for the latest trend, one day a vegan for the animals, and the next a carnivore. “Only meat. That’s the way to go,” he said to Lisa on their first date. She surprised him when she said: “I couldn’t agree more.”
On their second date he went to her place. He sat down on the sofa to wait for the dinner. The last thing he heard her say was: “I’m a cannibal for the animals, and the plants,” and then everthing went black.
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.
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.