short story magazine

ISSUE 23: SEPTEMBER 2019

5627196B-20E4-4A95-A8A4-22BCB0209CB4Register 8
By Charles Rafferty

There’s a funny smell around Register 8 and none of the cashiers want to use it, but it’s Saturday, a couple of weeks before Christmas, and Maggie is stuck there.

Maggie is the cutest girl in Marshalls, and she worries people will think that she is the source of the smell. This is preposterous. The sight of her in the break room makes me think, unaccountably, of vanilla extract, of cakes leavening behind the little window of my grandmother’s oven.

A men’s wear price check comes over the PA, and because I’m in the pants section, I’m able to make it to the register more quickly than Adam, who is over in the dress shirts, straightening the rows. Adam has been hitting on Maggie ever since he got hired for the Christmas rush. Maggie and I are year-rounders, and the first thing I check on the schedule each week is when our times will overlap. To take a belt or a fleece jacket from her hand means the possibility of contact, of rapture. (more…)

ISSUE 22: JUNE 2019

31FBAC04-A176-41F4-8D0B-DD91BD484236Here We Are on Planet Earth
By Meg Pokrass

Today we are tanning near each other on bright red beach towels on the sand at Hendri’s beach. This time I don’t let my mind worry too much about Blythe’s exhibitionist traits. I’ve overcome my shyness, and we both have our bikini tops off. They’re lying next to us like useless rags.

Sometimes, there’s a language in her eyes that makes me freeze in my tracks, but my goal in this world is to become less uptight. We are thirteen, and happily, only one of us has an attractive face. The other one of us has an attractive body. My body has some potential but there is no way to know if things will turn out.

Driving around in Blythe’s brother’s SUV, we make weekend plans. We whisper in the back seat. Blythe calls him Jeeves and we hate his jokes. Sometimes he flips us off in the rearview mirror. (more…)

ISSUE 18: JUNE 2018

IMG_3368The Wild Birds
By Karen Schauber

Cormorants swoop and dive-bomb into the salty water, their trajectory stealthy and deep. The ravenous dog looks on, the birds out of reach. He paces back and forth, riveted along the water’s edge. Frothy waves tickle his paws, tracing wet impressions in the sand. He is prepared to wait. His stomach growls and bends.

The dog has been on the hunt for five days, lost far from home, disoriented since the electrical storm. He is managing quite well for a purebred: cozy cave, blankie, and binky, out of sight, out of mind. Foraging comes surprisingly easy for him, as if it were a daily hustle. He’s made friends too; first ever beyond the local fenced-in dog park. His master would be impressed, no, worried, both. He does not know that his human family has been busy plastering the neighbourhood with posters, leaving bowls of premium kibble and fresh water out on the veranda. The porch-light left on 24/7, beckoning him home. He is too far away to see the beacon. (more…)

ISSUE 2: JUNE 2014

IMG_7032You
By Madhumita Roy

My monologue is directed at You.

Because You sit on the other side of the desk with a smirk on your face, which makes You resemble my cat, Ludo, when she smiles. New research claims that animals can smile and, therefore, I believe both You and Ludo are capable of smiling.

On rare occasions your smirk evolves into a wide grin.

These occasions are as follows: when rain-forests burn; or tsunamis wreak havoc in Asian countries; or when two hundred girls are abducted and threatened with rape.

Your face is extremely annoying.

Although there is a halo around your enormously big head, I think it is an illusion you have masterfully created to cut an impressive figure for a credulous crowd. You are not God, Godhead, Godfather, Godly, God-like, or any goddess. (more…)

ISSUE 1: MARCH 2014

IMG_2527W E I G H T
By Dawn Lowe

I saw a Good Samaritan beside the road and stopped the car.

He held a sign: SPACE SUIT FOR SALE

He was old, thin and wasted. The space suit lay in the dust at his feet, white and shiny, a US flag on its chest.

“How much?” I asked.

“$1,500,” he said. “Cash.”

I put the space suit in the back seat of my car and the old man got in beside it. The suit, seated like a passenger, was three inches taller than the Samaritan.

“Where’d you get it?” I asked.

He shrugged. “I was an astronaut.”

“What’s your name?”

“Does it matter? Once you’re grounded, they all forget.” (more…)