Stories from
December, 2009

When he and his brother played doctor, it was tests and equipment and bureaucrats and complications. Always complications.

Once he told a girlfriend that the scars on his neck were from bites. His timing was good, and they snuggled for the rest of the movie.

He hinted to some guys in a locker room that there’d been a climbing accident, but they got technical, and he had to back off.

His mother says only that he had a central line when he was a baby. If he gets home late or coughs a certain way, it cues her watchfulness.

He takes three pills a day and gets a flu shot—not the mist—every year. He phones his mother to tell her he’s well. He’s lucky, really.

Ann Marie Gamble (@amgamble) likes finding inspiration for poems and thrillers and space operas in her soccer mom life.

She doesn’t talk to people like she should. Right now she’s talking to the sidewalk. Her mother leans out the window just to hear her voice.

She missed the bus again. Didn’t care. She was busy listening to the beating heart under the sidewalk.

He gave her flowers, and she cried. Horrid dead things ripped up by their hair. He returned with a paper heart. She taped it to her ceiling.

He’s not surprised she doesn’t cry, but the doctor wonders. “Don’t you understand, Ma’am? You can’t have children.”

He’s gone now, and she’s too weak to take his paper heart off the ceiling. She goes outside to watch the children climb on the school bus.

Ruby Welsh is an artist and writer who wants to create books for very strange children.

O darling, my precious one, love of my life, you’re making way too big a deal out of this.

Heart of my heart, mate of my soul. Honey: Don’t you think you’re being a little paranoid?

Sweetness. Gorgeous. Woman. Of. My. Dreams—how about you just calm down and put that thing down.

O my Angel, beautiful as the day we met…if we don’t open that door, they’re going to break it down.

Even through this milky plexiglas, you are so beautiful, even under these fluorescent lights, you in those orange scrubs.

Dale Wisely is a proponent of economy of language. He edits Right Hand Pointing and a new ezine for 1st person true stories, Left Hand Waving.

My girlfriend reads me short stories when I’m napping. She picks authors I detest, those who should have their hands bound.

My sister won’t fly home. She has kids, she says. Loud ones. Yeah, I tell her, I get it. I never hear them yelling. Or asking to say hi.

When I call and say “I’ll miss you,” my mother says, “Can you hear me shrugging?”

When I got busted for the hit-and-run, Dad smacked Mom with a pillow. The next day, he placed himself under house arrest.

Instead of prison, I will walk the Napau Crater. The crunch of black lava may help me forget an old man, his ridiculously turquoise bicycle.

David Erlewine (@daviderlewine) lawyers, writes, edits flash for JMWW, and blogs.

“It’s not your strongest,” said his patron, and he fell into an abyss of dark shadows and rum until rescued by that probiotic yogurt drink.

S. Kay (@blueberrio) enjoys tiny things saturated with flavor.

He wrote the poem out for her carefully and she folded it just as carefully and slid it under the short leg of the table.

Grove Koger is the author of WHEN THE GOING WAS GOOD and lives in Idaho.