Bad Taste - Steve Finegan
Warden Said - Cathryn Shea
Kitchen - Gloria Garfunkel
She will not be constrained by the word “Mom,” with those lines hedging in the O like a trapped breath. She prefers one M with an E like a whipping kite. She constructs a tiny house in the field behind the reservoir. She has one set of silverware, and her closet rolls out from below her sleeping loft. She has sex with a taxi driver whose erratic hours keep her from getting bored. Her house is built on wheels. She feels alive like a soaring kite and ignores the pull from far below, as if someone were tugging the string.
Lara Ehrlich's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Normal School, River Styx, The Hairpin, Writer’s Digest, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. She has received fellowships from the Glen East Workshop, the Midwest Writers Workshop, and the SLS Summer Literary Seminars, and attended the 2015 Bread Loaf and Tin House Writers’ Workshops. She was also a semi-finalist for the 2010 Dana Awards for the Novel. She has a BA from Boston University and an MA from the University of Chicago, and lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she is an editor of alumni magazines at Boston University.
Brother’s in prison. End-to-end sentences. We buried Mom with her guilt and hope. He tapped our parents for primal-scream therapists—Christ, they were easy targets. He writes what he needs. A $300 suit? Please, for my hearing. The parole hearing’s moot. He calls collect at $20 a pop. Another check we’ll send for clay, or paints, or pills. He’ll get certified in some skill. Now he’s born again, wants to preach. Bad enough he was born once. (I played with his chubby-baby self, loved his gooey face to death.) We try to shut out what he did. He’s never getting out.
Cathryn Shea’s poetry is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Eunoia, Gargoyle, Gravel, Main Street Rag, Permafrost, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Snap Bean, is by CC.Marimbo (2014, Berkeley). Cathryn is in the 2012 anthology “Open to Interpretation: Intimate Landscape.” She is a past editor and adviser for Marin Poetry Center Anthology and is the author of dozens of software and database manuals (sometimes confused with creative non-fiction). Cathryn lives in Fairfax, CA and spends part of each day watching over a covey of California quail.
“You bastard! You’re breaking up with me, aren’t you?” shouted Stephanie, turning heads. Ross ignored the gawking couple next table over. “Look, it’s not you, it’s me. This… this thing…” “You mean your messed up brain?” “My synesthesia. I can’t help it. Frankly, your name just tastes, well, awful.” Stephanie carefully folded her napkin, air-dropped it on her plate, said acidly, “At least you’re original.” “Seriously, I tried saying it sweetly. When that failed, it was Altoids and Double Mint gum, but it still tastes like…” “Like what?” Ross paused. “I’ve really tried.” “Like what?” He sighed. “Like bile.”
Steve Finegan scribbled his first drabble on a legal pad during a mind-numbing meeting. One drabble led to another, and before long he was writing them at his desk, on his computer, where he does serious work. He revels in the economy imposed by the 100-word structure, which, he says, unleashes his creativity in the most extraordinary way. Steve cut his fiction-writing teeth developing movie concepts, treatments, and scripts under the aegis of Mike Richardson, founder of Dark Horse Comics/Entertainment. He is author of an indie-published YA novel, and is currently working on a collection of short fictions set in his home town of Portland, Oregon. For more, check out About Steve, Into The Mist, and The Alameda @ stevefinegan.com
"Here's how you start a story,” said the mild mannered writing teacher of domestic fiction. “Two characters talk at a kitchen table."
At my kitchen table there would be a massacre with a butcher knife, stabbing an eye with a fork, poisoning the coffee with bleach, pouring boiling water over a head, smashing a skull with a skillet, choking a throat with an apron string, breaking a neck with a push down the basement stairs, tying the friend to a chair, then setting the house on fire.
But the real question remained: What would they talk about in the interim?
Gloria Garfunkel has a Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University and was a therapist listening to stories for thirty-five years. Now she is writing to tell her own stories.