STORYGLOSSIA Issue 21, July 2007
Taken Hostage by the Ugly Duck by Gretchen McCullough
Funeral Games by Kay Sexton
Darius shrugged into his hoodie. The old man must be really down. Shake Rattle and Roll meant he was too shaky to get out the door and Ko Ko? Who knew what was going on in that ancient head? At least the old man had got the message; it had been an easy one because he was fading away for sure. Darius gave him easier tracks every day now. . . .
Mouth Fulla Words by JSun Howard
All the other kids in this neighborhood think I am special because I don't speak to them, don't play with them, and don't attend any of their birthday parties. I have friends but only I can see them. They imaganary ones. cloud, cloud is the fat one and he knows how to disappear and reappear. He's tried to teach me but I know I could achieve it if I was a ghost . . .
The Movement by Amelia Gray
As they played, the quartet at Joseph Stalin's funeral wept for another man. The tyrant lay in state, surrounded by thousands of his closest oppressed, and the greatest string quartet in Russia sat beside his casket and played beautiful music, crying for a dear friend who had died within an hour of Stalin . . .
Sybil's Dream by Dan Capriotti
She's in a tall tree, too scared to move. She'll fall if she shifts even a little bit. It's dark, but she sees things; maybe the tree is glowing, or maybe there are lanterns—she's not sure. She sees people beneath, looking up. Some of them seem familiar, but she can't remember their names. Others are strangers. They call for her to come down . . .
Love, Anyway by Sung J. Woo
"Who's Debbie?" his wife asked.
Tony almost choked. Luckily he was able to force down a couple of gulps of juice while he gathered his thoughts. How did she possibly know about Debbie? And what did she know? And why was he so guilty, when he hadn't even done anything?
Stella didn't wait for him to answer. "You called that name out loud last night . . .
Desideratum of the Adjunct Professor by Terry White
He hated this house, this miserable life, everything about it nauseated him to the deepest core of his being. He had plunged from one mistake to another in a long dissolute chain that led to this sorry moment. The phone rang with a shrillness that jolted him and made his hands shake. I have too much past, no future. He heard the recorder kick in, then a familiar, unwelcome voice intruded . . .
Reading to the Blind Girl by Paula Bomer
Caroline listened at first, but as the weeks wore on, she mostly wanted to talk. Maggie felt rushed—she read quickly. Often, Caroline interrupted her. Maggie worried that she wasn't doing her job properly—she worried what Sonia would think. But Caroline was very aggressive. Very needy. She hated her roommates and wanted to talk about them all the time . . .
The Pet Palace by Clifford Garstang
Malik pushes. The cases crash to the floor and shatter in a blizzard of glass. The snakes slither for cover, the lizards and spiders shuffle out of sight, the crickets bounce away like BBs. With one arm still around Sandy's neck, Malik flings open cage after cage and the store is filled with dozens of parrots and parakeets, banging against the windows and ceiling, screeching and squawking. All the dogs in the store bark, deep-throated shepherds in harmony with soprano terriers, as the big man sets them free. Puppies yelp. Cats hiss and arch their backs. Malik pulls out the gun . . .
Fish, Chips, and Whips by Emily M. Z. Carlyle
She had found the ad in the classifieds, cut it out and put it in her wallet. The personal ads that caught her attention turned her off quickly with their promises of leather- and chain mail-clad kinkiness, but the large ad with the tastefully blurred image of two human silhouettes, one tied up, the other not, looked promising. Her first reaction upon seeing it was mild shock that such a dating agency should be advertising in a regular newspaper . . .
Beach and Ocean by Joel Van Noord
First came the gasp and then the scream. He knew the cause for the scream. But the gasp was from a dangerous place he had no history of. Then there was the sick slurp and the gasping release and collapse. The splatters made no noise . . .
Louder Gospel by Anthony Neil Smith
The Pentecostal youth ministers of the Gulf Coast district met at Shoney's in Biloxi to plan youth events for the school year. It was late September and still hot outside but chilly in the restaurant, arcs of condensation on the tinted windows. Less than half the tables were occupied. Brother Brian from Gulfport suggested the lock-in . . .
The Atlas of Our Bodies by Laurie Seidler
She was standing on the shoulder next to a Mercedes with California plates. The car had a flat, but she wasn't trying to fix it; there was no sign that she'd looked for the jack or even taken the instruction manual out of the glove box. When my headlight washed over her, she was leaning on the front door, looking into the blue-black distance, a wheeled carry-on beside her . . .
Ghost by Josh Capps
I peered out the blinds to see if the cabbie was still staking us out. The yellow car sat just below the window, smoke waltzing from the tailpipe. I went to the door and cracked it again, slow and discreet. An angry cabbie stared into my eyes. His bushy moustache was furious, and I slammed the door . . .