I wondered what kind of “closure” did Jean think she was going to get?
YOU ARE FEMALE & DRIVE
A RED CAR.
YOU RAN OVER MY CAT
ON WINGRA STREET
PLEASE CALL JEAN.
NEED HELP WITH CLOSURE
I came across this notice the week that Eric, my boyfriend-since-high-school, suddenly moved out of our apartment to follow an Edgewood College grad to Schenectady, New York. Apparently, someone’s cat darted into danger, a simple case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What was there to explain or describe—unless apathy meant the driver didn’t brake or she actually went out of her way to hit the animal. But who would fess up to that?
I pictured Jean barely out of her teens, just a few years younger than me, stapling laminated notices to phone poles outside of The Yellow Platter, a neighborhood café. I had started going there for breakfast so I wouldn’t have to start the day alone. I imagined her returning to an empty apartment where a catnip bunny lay under a chair, saw her reaching instinctively for fur among the bedcovers at 3 AM. I doubted that meeting the red car phantom would make 3 AM’s any easier. Continue reading “ISSUE 16: JANUARY 2018”→
As usual, Dad collected her after breakfast on Sunday and drove her to Dunstable downs. The hillside was already full of families.
“You first, Tracy.”
She held the bobbin of string while her father retreated with the kite. Then he threw it skyward. “It’s new!” she said, watching the dragon soar.
“Yes, I made it this week.” When she pulled harder, the kite spiralled and fell. “It needs a longer tail,” he said, “Oh well, let’s have an ice cream.” They sat on the grass, licking 99s. While he studied the other kites, which to her were heavy and drab, she watched the gliders taking off below. Winched up, they climbed steeply until they were higher than she was. She watched the cable fall away, as if in slow-motion. The ice cream finished, she stretched out on the grass and looked up at the kites against the bright blue sky. Without warning a glider filled her vision, flying very low and fast. She would always remember the wide wings, the silent surprise. Continue reading “ISSUE 15: SEPTEMBER 2017”→
Congratulations to Charles Rafferty, winner of a 2017 Write Well Award for his story, The Silver Smile of the Hatchet, originally published in the March 2016 issue of Brilliant Flash Fiction. For details, check out writewellaward.com.
The Silver Smile of the Hatchet
By Charles Rafferty
Magda was too tiny to kill a cow but her mother needed help with the weed-like tenacity of her daily chores. The chickens were put on Magda’s list. The worst one could do, her mother concluded, was to run headless around its pen.
Magda surprised her mother. With a succession of little kisses, she would persuade the chicken to her side. She let it peck the seed from her palm as it had done on a daily basis since the first time it left the henhouse. Then she scooped it up and took it behind the barn. Continue reading “BFF WRITER WINS WRITE WELL AWARD”→
I haven’t seen him in three days. Unless you count Tuesday, in the dining hall. Ah, there he was, in line with the tall ballerina with the beret tipped over her Lauren Bacall bob.
Good thing the roommate is in class right now. I wouldn’t want her watching as I stand in front of the mirror and finger the magenta streak in my hair I added the day he first kissed me. She was here last week when I was a sodden, shuddering ball on my crumpled bed, having just heard his sudden confession. She crossed her arms then and said I could do better, her voice rising to vehemence when she called him a “lousy boyfriend.” Which makes me think she might not endorse my getting all gussied up now, smoothing on China-red lipstick, pulling on black fishnets, dabbing my throat with the perfume Aunt Jeanine sent me last Christmas. No, I don’t need anyone frowning at me as I clasp a slender silver chain around my ankle or as I turn in front of the mirror again to check out the short tangerine-colored dress with the coral stitching around its hem. Continue reading “ISSUE 14: JUNE 2017”→
Brilliant Flash Fiction would like to thank Judge KJ Hannah Goldberg for suggesting our contest theme (the dubash), and for volunteering her time to choose the prizewinners. Thanks also to the 110 writers who entered this contest and shared their creativity with us.
FIRST PRIZE: Stephen Lodge, AXE THE QUESTION SECOND PRIZE (tie): Claire Lawrence, Amitay Dubash SECOND PRIZE (tie): Faiza Bokhari, Chicken Tikka Sandwich
Judge: KJ Hannah Goldberg
Theme: the dubash
First Prize: AXE THE QUESTION by Stephen Lodge
Judge’s comments: I’m a sucker for a playful tale. Our literary venues are brimming with doom and gloom, with proscribing darkness as the new “sexy” in short fiction. Thankfully, this writer’s piece was perky. The bit of groaning that results from this work’s bad puns and other low brow humor, too, helps readers get through their days.
AXE THE QUESTION
By Stephen Lodge
This is a thankless job, thought Aaron Schultz, as he made his way to the Presidential Palace atop the Boulevard Of Heroes in Ringstad, the capital of the Republic Of Belzon. If only I could get out of this country. But Belzonians are not allowed passports unless granted by the President and he never travels outside Belzon for fear of a coup attempt if he left the country. So, for the foreseeable future, I am tap-dancing for idiots, translating stuff from one side of the desk to the other that no one wants to hear, which I mostly make up anyway to appease their easily bruised egos and maybe prevent a war or two. Continue reading “LOST IN TRANSLATION – WRITING CONTEST RESULTS”→
Pants and shirt pressed, tie tucked between the third and fourth buttons, he pedaled into the March wind. Once around the town Square, he dodged traffic and cut down a side street that would dump him onto the main quad in plenty of time to turn in the work he’d spent the weekend compiling before his 2 PM Calculus I lecture. His advisor had warned him not to go down the rabbit hole of Rajnipal’s Third Theorem, but after two years of proofs and equations, he was about to come out the other end. He’d be famous—reasonably so. Not cover of Time famous, but well-known enough to snag one of the ever-dwindling number of tenure track jobs on offer at flagship institutions.
Just as he squeezed the handbrake in preparation for the turn onto University Avenue, a car door swung open before him, followed by the chatter of a cell-phone-holding coed. “Can you believe she wants me to pay for the dress myself? I mean—oh my God, something hit me!” Continue reading “ISSUE 13: MARCH 2017”→
Our deepest gratitude goes out to Judge Kirby Wright, who volunteered his time to choose three prizewinners from a shortlist of ten out of a total of 175 writers who entered this contest.
FIRST PRIZE—Nod Ghosh, A Day to Remember SECOND PRIZE—Serena Molloy, Leaving THIRD PRIZE—Tom Hazuka, Nowhere Station
First Prize: A Day to Remember by Nod Ghosh
Judge’s comments: This story is marred by several clichés, yet overall I found the interior world of the narrator compelling. He reflects on Gretchen, perhaps the love of his life, and the things he did with her and wished he’d done before losing her. Certain lines and thoughts are stunning, such as “His hands look like they are made from china.” I enjoy the idea that memory can defeat photographs by remembering those moments when light and shadow dance upon a lover’s face. I also like the line about catching a friend’s sorrow if you hold him or her for too long in an attempt to comfort—a great way to close.
A Day to Remember
By Nod Ghosh
The monsoon air hits me like a brick wall.
I don’t enjoy protracted goodbyes, but wish I’d spent longer holding Gretchen’s face close to mine, absorbing her perfume.
‘You go, Shane.’ She’d dotted a handkerchief on her face at the airport. ‘Our guests need you.’
The gritty scrape of metal against pavement woke Ted from a way-too-short night of sleep. Due to heavy snow he and his wife, Priscilla, had arrived late last night and it was barely eight a.m. He went to the bedroom window of his wife’s childhood home to find Priss, as he affectionately called her, shoveling the front sidewalk. She wore a red cap and scarf, recently knitted by her mother, and her green eyes squinted against the winter glare and her entire face looked hurt. It’s the kind of look that made Ted’s heart cast out to her.
Ted slipped into a pair of jeans and pulled on a wool sweater and hurried downstairs. The morning air was as cold as Priss had promised it would be on the heels of such a big snowfall.