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Flash Fiction Friday

Flash Fiction Friday: Sun Kissed

by: Austin James

The man managed to find (logistically speaking) the worst possible location in the mud pit; too far from the center to gather any real moisture for rehydration, yet also too far from the edge to avoid getting stuck. I say ‘man’ because whatever it was, it appeared to be male…but I’m not an expert on these things. Mans are intriguing creatures anyway. Historians said they use to be bigshots once, which added to my curiosity. This one, imprisoned in muck and roasting in the sun, happened to be the first I could observe up close.

Resting in the sand just beyond the edges of the mud pit, shading beneath a mature sage and congratulating myself on the decision to divorce Eleanor, I watched the man, sun-bleached and wobbly, come out of the desert seeking water and get lodged in the mud. As a younger lizard I would’ve gotten closer and poked it with a stick, but at my age I found the whole ordeal to be simply fascinating.

I’d been having dreams where I tried to scurry for shade only to find the sand too slick, too deep, and no matter how fast I scuttled I could barely move. Almost as if my thin, green tail weighed as much as a rattlesnake. I presumed the muddy mammal knew exactly how that felt—it would’ve loved to dash around at that particular moment if it could.

Eventually, the man realized that struggling was useless. Its head, with hair the color of beetles; a prickly, bearded face; and an upper limb were the only body parts not suffocating in mud. Its dumb, feral eyes peered out into the desert, darting between the chaotic shapes of layered rock which ranged in color from pale, seasick green to day-old-sunburn (as if a giant once spread multicolored spackle across the desert and left it to dry like a sporadically textured ceiling). Looking into its cactus-green eyes, I suspected it knew that it was dying. Surely mans understood the concept of death—instinctively rather than intellectually, of course.

As the sun slithered across the sky, I watched as the primate’s hairless flesh shrunk and cracked into a thousand peeling pieces.

The man evaporated until it earned the trust of the thirsty dirt, ironically just out its reach.

Studying the creature led to pondering my dreams. Why couldn’t I scamper? What was weighing me down? Given that morning’s events back home, surely the dreams were my subconscious telling me that marriage held me back from experiencing life.

I imagined the man was capable of complex thought and contemplated the landscape’s origin as it died. It wondered if the mountains were all once massive cubes of rock, melting in the desert sun over thousands of years to form the cliffs and arches.

Its throat and tongue were sandstone. They had to be in that heat.

Plump blisters the color of wood ticks peppered the mammal’s skin. I licked the air and swabbed the roof of my mouth for a whiff of smoldering flesh, which kind of reminded me of Eleanor’s cockroach casserole.

After a while, its eyes slowed and relaxed, accepting the fact that it wouldn’t survive. It stared at a dead, shriveled sage brush not far from where I lay as if preparing itself for decay; the bush’s gray withered branches reaching out like tendrils infected with flakes of brittle orange lichen; twisted, fractured metal speckled with rust.

It’d still moan and wiggle a bit on occasion, as if struggling to decide what posture it wanted to become fossilized in. Maybe it thought this to be important, like some kind of final unity with the dust that birthed it?

As the sky changed to milkweed for the setting sun, the primate stopped resisting the mud’s tight embrace altogether. Its breathing became obviously more painful. It made some raspy choking noises and a weak whimper before its squinty eyes closed to unconsciousness.

Once it finally perished, I knew I just witnessed something beautiful and, quite literally, very dirty. In turn, I felt both beautiful and dirty…even my eyes seemed filthy from watching the man’s pre-death cremation.

I tongued my ocular turrets, slurping them clean, and began to dig my burrow beneath the familiar sage.


Austin James has caffeine in his blood, gypsy spit in his spinal fluid, and a collection of his writing called Regurgitations. You can read more of his work at Pulp Metal Magazine, Troubadour 21 (mobile only), Twelve Point Collective (print only), and Bartleby Snopes.


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Flash Fiction Friday: Hammer Time

by Christopher Lesko

I saw this asshole pushing a shopping cart filled with groceries down the road, about a mile away from the grocery store. I slowed my car and yelled out the window to him. “Hey! You can’t take that shopping cart home!” He ignored me, kept pushing along, rumbling over gravel and shit. “Yeah, I’m talking to you. That cart doesn’t leave the parking lot.” He flicked me off.

Some people probably wondered why I even bothered to yell at him. It’s not like I work for the grocery store or anything. And even though I was on my way to that same grocery store, I didn’t even plan to use a cart. But I couldn’t stand the fact that this guy thought he could do whatever he wanted. I know for sure he wouldn’t be pushing an empty cart back to the grocery store afterward. The thing he was doing is the kind of stuff that’s wrong with the world. That and legalized marijuana. Yeah. First, you legalize marijuana, then you vote for Donald Trump because you are so high in the voting booth you accidentally voted for the wrong person . . . or didn’t even vote, and now your brain is so doped up you think you can just push a cart out of the grocery store parking lot, go home with it, and leave it there. For what? For it to end up in a ditch behind the apartment building that’s what. That cart will be back there with old tires, dirty diapers, aluminum cans of Miller Lite, broken television sets, and other shit. Then some hobo will eventually set up camp in the woods there, and then there will be a bunch more hobos coming to live there, and then all those hobos will have hobo sex back there, and then one day I might end up living back there with them. I’ll want to sleep but will be too afraid. I’ll have to sleep with one eye open, so they don’t try to lick me. Or … I’ll have to find the biggest hobo in the camp and lick him first. Show them all who’s the boss.

I pull over, get out my car, and jog up to the guy ready to push that fucking cart over if that’s the way I’m going to get him to stop pushing it any further. But before I do any such thing, the guy halts.

“U can’t touch this!” he yells.

“Watch me!” I grasp the side of the cart.

He reaches in one of the bags, pulls out a hammer and throws it down on my hand. He throws it down on my face next, right in my eye socket.

I go down seeing stars. One of those stars is I see is Mr. M.C. Hammer, dancing around in Hammer Pants. He tells me I need to use Command Strips and that I need to pray. Tells me I need to pray just to make it today. And that’s why we pray.

When I come to, I’m lying face down, outside somewhere in the shade, my cheek pressed to the cold, muddy ground. One eye sees happy green trees, and the other eye sees a mix of deep purple and bloody red trees, floating black dots, and that fucking shopping cart flipped over, missing a wheel.

I’m happy to be alive, but I know the hobos are coming … the hobos are coming.


Christopher Lesko is the author of The Grlz Like Vodka, Long Live Crazy, That’s My Ghoul, The Electric Lunatic, Fukced Up, and a handful of deranged short stories. You can follow him on Facebook and buy his books on Amazon.


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Flash Fiction Friday: CD-why

by J. Platz-Halter

“This will help you stay warm,” Michael said as he handed Kate a cup of coffee.

She was staring at the log in the fireplace, watching the embers recede into the wood, the light becoming fainter and fainter. “Sorry,” she took a sip, “a lot has happened today, and I, I don’t know how to process it.”

Michael gathered what paper he could find inside the cabin and threw it into the fire. Safety pamphlets, maps of the park, anything that could burn. “It’s rough,” he said. “You try not to think about everything you’ve lost, but…”

“My sister and my mother, I’ll never see them again. And my coworkers, the good ones at least. I don’t even know if my dog is still alive.”

“I didn’t want to believe it,” Michael sat down next to Kate, “but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll most likely never play the Philips CD-i ever again.”

“And everyone I graduated with last year, did any of them make it out of the city? I wish there was some way to contact- wait, you’re worried about some video game thing?”

“Oh sure, it seems like no big deal at first. What reason would the creatures have to destroy my CD-i? But then I realized that if those last emergency broadcasts were true, and the armed forces have disbanded, leaving the major cities unprotected, it’s more than likely that the people who manage the power stations have all been killed or assimilated.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Whether we live or die here, there’s not going to be any electricity back home! I would need to rig up some sort of battery system to power the console, and god dammit! I don’t have the knowledge or skills to do that.” Michael started to cry. “I’m just a regular guy, I wasn’t made for such trying times. I wish I was playing Mutant Rampage: Bodyslam right now.”

Kate walked to the other side of the cabin. “My best friend was ripped in half and then eaten alive in front of me. I watched my little brother shoot himself in the head. I begged him to just get in the car. Get in the car and we’d go somewhere far away, but he couldn’t cope with what he’d seen. So many people died today, but you lived? A loser obsessed with a stupid video game system no one cares about. What a fucking joke.”

“Hey! I get that you’re emotional, and you can take it out on me all you want, but I won’t sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the Philips CD-i! It was an industry innovator when it was released in 1991, pioneering the compact disc format. And I had its entire software collection. Everything from 1995: All the News and Views to Zombie Dinos From Planet Zeltoid. So don’t tell me I didn’t lose anything or that I don’t know your pain! If anything, it’s you who doesn’t understand what it means to lose something you care about.”

The ensuing argument was preempted by the loud thud of bodies mindlessly throwing themselves against the cabin door. The creatures had followed the two of them into the woods, driven by their insatiable lust for human cytoplasm.

Kate was already moving one of the tables. “Help me make a barricade!”

“This is just like the CD-i version of Tetris,” Michael said as he slid the bookshelf across the room, “except we don’t have the soothing, smooth jazz soundtrack by composer Jim Andron to listen to.” He had positioned it in front of the window but inadvertently left a small gap through which one of the creatures forced its slimy, green tentacle into the room. It struck Michael in his left arm and injected him with goo.

When she saw what was happening, Kate immediately stopped piling things against the door and got the cabin’s emergency fire ax. With one good swing, she severed the tentacle, but it was too late. The transformation had begun.

Michael fell to the floor in pain. All along his arm, his skin turned bright yellow and then curled up, tearing itself and exposing the blackening muscles underneath. “I’m fine, really! I don’t need this arm. With the CD-i’s paddle controller, I can play most of the games one-handed. It really was ahead of its time in terms of accessibility!” The goo hijacked his nervous system and mutated his brain to connect him to the creature hive mind.

“I can see what they see.” Michael stood up with the help of the pair of insectile legs that sprouted from his chest. “My mind, our mind is one. They have my CD-i, Kate. Join us. Join the collective, and we’ll play Hotel Mario…”

She slowly backed away, staying out of his reach until she was up against the wall.

“It has a bad reputation because of its low budget animated sequences,” acid poured out of Michael’s mouth and chewed through the floor, “but at its core it’s a fun action puzzle platformer with simple yet addictive gameplay. Join us! Become one with the overmind!”

Kate swung the ax into what was left of Michael’s head. Aside from the hiss of his body rapidly melting, it was quiet. The creatures outside must have moved on. For the moment. Kate removed the ax and took what supplies she could find. She would head north. There were rumors of a remnant human settlement up north. Half a mile up the mountain trail, and she looked back. The fires in the city were still burning, hazy clouds of alien smoke obscuring all but the largest of buildings. It was a scene familiar to her. It looked just like Cyberia for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer.


J. Platz-Halter is an aspiring author who has done nothing of note. Someday soon, though. Probably. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes. And here, have a twitter account to pad out this bio: @JPlatzHalter.


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Flash Fiction Friday: That’s My Seat

by John Bruni

“That’s my seat.”

Chuck looked up from his newspaper. A skinny, balding guy with glasses and a sweaty forehead stood over him, looking intently down. He trembled, and judging from the steel in his eyes, it was from rage, not fear.

“First come, first served.” Chuck went back to the sports page.

“I sit here every day,” the stranger said. “There are plenty of empty seats.”

“So take one of ’em.” Chuck didn’t bother to look away from his reading.

“I need you to take one of them so I can have my seat.”

Chuck glanced over the man. A shabby suit covered most of him, but it revealed enough. Just a pencil-neck geek. Chuck, on the other hand, worked construction. At six-two and two hundred and ten pounds of pure muscle, there was no doubt that he could beat the living daylights out of this guy.

“Let’s get something straight,” Chuck said. “I only have to give up this seat if a handicapped person asks for it.” He pointed to the sign near the front of the train car that stated what he’d just said. “The real question here is, how bad do you want this seat?”

The stranger snarled. “Are you threatening to render me handicapable?”

“That’s up to you, pard. I’m not looking to fight, but if you’re that riled up, I ain’t gonna back down.”

“That’s it! Stand up!” The man raised both fists like a boxer ready for action.

Chuck looked him over again. Was this guy serious? Anyone with half a brain—or even less—could tell that Chuck could wipe the walls with him. Maybe a little intimidation would end this without violence. He folded his paper and stood to his full height, pushing out his chest.

The stranger was not fazed. “Shall we take this outside?”

Hell, this guy was crazy. Chuck didn’t like being pushed around, but was it worth cracking this guy’s skull and maybe doing time again?

Nah. He didn’t need to do serious damage. Maybe one punch would be enough to convince this guy that he was out of his depth.

Chuck slapped the paper down on his seat. “After you.”

He followed the stranger down the steps and onto the platform. Pedestrian traffic was light, so they easily found an open space. The man took up his fighting stance again, ready for battle.

“You might want to take your glasses off,” Chuck said.

“Right. Thank you.” The man took them off and placed them safely to the side.

Chuck shrugged out of his denim jacket and dropped it behind him. He watched as the stranger took out a hearing aid from each ear. Odd. He hadn’t noticed those. Good call, though. Then it occurred to him: he’d never seen someone do that before a fight. It struck him as funny. Maybe absurdity could end this before it began.

Chuck started by taking off his shirt. The stranger surprised him by taking off his suit coat, yanking his tie away and removing his own shirt.

Chuck grinned, kicking his boots off. The stranger glared at him and stooped to untie his loafers and set them aside.

Their socks came next. Chuck unbuckled his belt and shoved his pants down. The stranger did the same. Chuck wondered if he would balk at the next step. Chuck had nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe the stranger wouldn’t go so far.

Chuck pulled his boxers down and kicked them away. Now he wore nothing except the exceptional amount of body hair that his genetics had cursed him with.

The stranger didn’t hesitate. He whipped his briefs down and stepped out of them. “Now can we fight?” Holding his fists up.

Jesus Christ! This guy just did not know when to quit. He was barely aware of the other commuters, some stopping to watch, others slowing to get a picture. Most ignored them, rushing to get to their homes.

Chuck was no longer amused by this situation. He felt anger flush his face and neck. The sudden urge to beat this man within an inch of his life nearly overwhelmed him. But no. He couldn’t do a thing like that. No one would see things from his perspective.

“You know what? No, I’m not ready to fight yet.” Chuck forced pressure to build up in his head until his eyes popped out. He caught them and gently placed them among his clothes. “Don’t want those to get damaged.”

He couldn’t see it, but he heard the popping sounds of the stranger removing his own eyes.

“Certainly don’t want this bruised.” Chuck plucked off his genitals, carefully placing them by his eyes.

Another pop from the stranger. Wow, that guy wasn’t afraid of a single thing in the universe.

When Chuck took his ears off, so did the stranger. When he took his legs off one by one, so did the stranger. When he popped his head off, so did the stranger. Finally, he put each hand into his armpits, and at the same time, he disconnected his arms.

So did the stranger.

They floated on the platform, two invisible spirits glaring at each other. Though no one could see it, each felt like their fists were clenched.

“You still wanna fight, pard?”

“It’s my seat.”

Chuck sighed. “Don’t you feel kinda silly? We took off our bodies, and you still wanna dance? Are you nuts?”

“No. I am a man of regular habits. I can’t allow you to disrupt my world.”

“Hell, man. It’s yours. You’re willing to take your body off like that, I guess you earned the seat.”

“Thank you.” No smugness or bad-winner tone.

Just as they started willing their bodies together again, the stranger glanced up and saw someone at the window of the train. Someone in his seat.

“That’s my seat!” he yelled.

Chuck saw the stranger only had his chest and arms on. He ran for the train like a giant, mutated spider. Just before he made it, the door closed. The stranger watched helplessly as the locomotive crawled out of the station.

Chuck got dressed and picked up the stranger’s head. He put it back together and brought it to the chest and arms. He plopped it down on the neck and then patted the man’s shoulders.

“Sorry about that, pard. I’m sure you’ll get that spot on the next train.”

“Yeah, but it won’t be on that train.” Pointing.

“Some things you just can’t control.”

The stranger sighed. “I know. It’s just that I control very few things, and I hold onto those with all my might.”

“Forget it.”

Chuck helped the stranger get together. “Say, you have a name?”


“I’m Chuck. Whaddya say we get a drink while waiting for the next train?”

Len nodded. “Sure. Why not?”

“That’s the spirit, pard.”


John Bruni has been known to gnaw the throats out of people who steal his seat on the train, and when he’s not pimping his new book, AND JESUS CAME BACK, he is busy collecting hair samples for science. Yeah, science.


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Flash Fiction Friday: Gag Reel 2

by Sean Kelly

The beach was littered with decayed corpses and charred, human-sized loofahs.

Some loofahs were still alive, rolling around on fire. Squealing.

An old man, with a beard down to his feet, stood behind a vintage camera. He sighed, slow panned across the carnage.

Two people stepped up beside him. One wore a gas mask, held a flamethrower. The other wore formal attire, was scrolling through her phone.

“We done here?” The woman asked, sounding annoyed.

“I suppose we are.” The old man slumped his shoulders. “So much time wasted.”

“Yeah well. At least it was the studio’s money.” The woman’s phone vibrated. “Talk to me.” She walked away.

The man shut his camera off and turned to Gas Mask. “Can you give me some privacy?”

Gas Mask said nothing.

The man looked out at the beach. The last of the loofahs were quieting down, going still as the flames burned out. The humans were long gone, skeletal, gross. The man shook his head and started packing his stuff. He reached for the camera. The woman motioned to Gas Mask. Gas Mask grabbed his arm.

“What?” The old man raised an eyebrow.

Gas Mask released him and took the film reel out of the camera.

“Wait! What are you doing!?”

Gas Mask dropped the reel and pointed the flamethrower at it.

“What!? No! You can’t! Why!?”

“Studio’s orders,” the woman said, hanging up her phone.

Gas Mask incinerated the reel. The man dropped to his knees and wept.

“Said the footage would make them look bad. Best to forget this whole thing ever happened.”

“I could have finished it…”

“Yeah? When? How long have you been working on this thing now? I didn’t even exist when you started.”

The man stood and wiped his eyes. “It was almost done.” He glared at her.

“Wasn’t it always? Maybe if you could have controlled your cast. Studio didn’t ask for a gag reel.” She returned to scrolling through her phone. “Don’t beat yourself up over it. You can always go indie.” She snort-laughed and walked away. Gas Mask followed. “We’ll be waiting in the car! Get packed! I’ve got a meeting to get to!”

The man stared down at the smoldering pile.

“I could have finished it.”


The man gripped the steering wheel tightly. His eyelids were twitching.

“So are you gonna shave the beard now?” The woman asked from the passenger seat, nose still in her phone.

The man didn’t respond.

“Aw, will you stop being pissy?” She rolled her eyes and put the phone away. “It was just a movie. A stupid movie… about talking loofahs. What were you expecting to accomplish? If you ask me, even forgetting all the screw ups… I’m sorry. They were doomed from the start.”

The man gulped hard. “I could have saved them. I could have finished it.”

“They’re dead, Archie. Accept it.” The woman lit a cigarette and looked out her window.

A finger tapped Archie’s shoulder.

“What!?” Archie snapped. He looked in the rear-view mirror. Gas Mask was pointing at a red convertible barreling towards them. The brights clicked on.

“Hey, who’s the asshole!?” The woman turned around and squinted into the light.

Bam! Car hit them in the rear. Back windshield exploded. Woman slammed her head on the dashboard. Gas Mask wound up in the floor.

“What the hell!?” Archie struggled to maintain control of the car. “Are you alright!?”

A stream of blood ran down her face. She mumbled incoherently.

“Damn it! Don’t die on me! I still need you!” He reached over and shook her shoulder. “Stay with me!”

Gas Mask climbed back up and looked out the shattered windshield.

“What are they doing now?” Archie asked.

Gas Mask ducked. Gunshots. Bullets whizzed through the car.

“Shit!” Archie ducked and swerved. “What do they want!?”


Natalie sat in the driver’s seat, hair blowing in the wind. Pop music blasting. Justin stood in the seat next to her, squeezing off shots at the assholes. Natalie hit the accelerator, slammed them again. Justin stumbled and landed in the seat.

“Damn it!” Justin bitched. “Warn me when you’re gonna do that shit! I could have fell out!”

“Yeah, fuck you. Cheating fuck-face.” Natalie replied.

“Cheating!? Natalie, that was a movie! Remember!?”

She thought for a moment. “Oh. Right.”

“I can’t hit the bastards.” Justin reloaded his pistol. “They keep swerving. We gotta get them off the road.”

“What do you think I’m trying to do?” She rammed them. Their bumper fell off. “Now shoot the damn tires!”

Justin stood, fired some shots, sat back down. “I can’t do it! These things are way harder than they look!”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Natalie sped up beside the car, swerved into the back end. The car spun in front of them. T-boned. Justin went flying over the windshield and the other car.

“Damn it, Natalie!” He yelled from the pavement.

Natalie hopped out of the car, whipped out a revolver. She glanced over at Justin who was pulling himself up. Leg was definitely broken. He limped over, spurting blood from his shin.

They stood at each side of the car. Pointed their guns.

“Hello again, Mr. Director sir.” Natalie smiled. “We’ve waited a long time for this.”

“Natalie!? Please, you don’t understand.”

“Shut up. Get out of the car. All of you.”

Archie stepped out with his hands in the air.

“Think this one’s unconscious!” Justin said.

“Who the hell is she?” Natalie aimed at Gas Mask hiding on the floorboard. “You too. Out.”

Gas Mask got out and stood next to Archie. Justin dragged the woman over and laid her down, then took aim at Gas Mask. Natalie kept her aim on Archie.

“Natalie. You have to let me explain.”

“Explain why you kept me as your slave? Brainwashed me? Turned me in to a tool for your stupid pro-loofah propaganda bullshit! Yeah, go right the fuck ahead. Explain, Mr. Director.”

“Oh, but before you do!” Justin interjected. POP! He fired a bullet through Gas Mask’s head.

“I don’t even know that person.” Archie replied.

“Oh.” Justin leaned against the wrecked car and yawned.

“Well?” Natalie poked Archie in the chest with her gun. “Go ahead.” She smiled. “Explain. So I can shoot you.”

“Okay,” Archie took a deep breath. “Listen. The loofahs? They were no different than you or I. But the government… They set out to eradicate them all. One loofah assassinates the president, so we have to wipe out their entire race? Everything in the media is bullshit. Lies. I set out to change that. I wanted to show the loofahs in a new light. Show people the truth so that we could band together and save them. What better way to do that than a Hollywood picture? Make them movie stars! People love movie stars!

“Except no one would ever believe me. Not without the film. Loofahs!? They’re murderers! Thieves! Would you have ever willingly agreed to be in my ‘propaganda’ film? I had to brainwash you. And all the others. The studio, the sponsors. Hell, even the loofahs. Everyone. It was the only way…”

A tear ran from Archie’s eye. “But then something went wrong. The brainwashing… It… It turned everyone in to fucking idiots. They couldn’t act worth a shit.” His lip quivered. “Always goofing off. Missing the point entirely! It was supposed to be a serious film! But no! You guys wouldn’t have that! It wasn’t funny! It was stupid! LOOFAH! LOOFAH! LOOFAH! Oh, I loofah you, Justin! Why I loofah you too, Natalie! HA. HA. HA.”

Archie scowled at Natalie. “Now they’re all dead. Every single loofah. Did you know I married one? Yeah, she was brainwashed too, but I loved that broad. Dead. And the footage? That’s gone. Natalie, if you kill me, no one will ever know the truth. You have to forgive me. I used you.” He glanced at Justin. “Both of you. And for that I am truly sorry. But I had a point to make. And I needed you guys to make it.”

Natalie looked at him coldly. “Can’t you see what a hypocrite you are? How is what you did any better than what you claim the government’s doing?”

“Because… I had a good reason.”

“We don’t care about your reason. We don’t exist to make your stupid points.”

“Then what is the point of you, Natalie?” Archie shrugged, wide-eyed. “Do you have a point? What good is existing if you never do a single meaningful thing?”

Natalie grinned. “Well I’m glad you asked. First off, what’s the woman’s name?” She pointed at the unconscious woman on the ground.

“I uh…” Archie thought hard. “I don’t… think she ever had one.”

“Perfect! Justin! Come over here.” Natalie put a hand on her hip. “How about you get to know the real us, Mr. Director, sir? And unlike you, we’re not gonna need a 300 word monologue of bullshit.”


The woman awoke, screaming as Natalie buzz-sawed her feet off.

“You getting this, Mr. Director?” Natalie giggled, blood slinging off the spinning blade.

Archie stood next to the camera man. “Keep rolling.”

The camera man nodded and did as he was told.

Justin popped the trunk of Archie’s car. “Woah! They have a fucking flamethrower in here!”

“Well, bring it the fuck over then!” Natalie tossed the saw aside.

The woman attempted to crawl away. “Archie! Please!” She cried, “Don’t let this happen!”

Justin passed the flamethrower to Natalie.

“You have to stop this!” The woman begged. “You can’t let them kill me!”

Archie looked down. Natalie lit a cigarette with the flamethrower.

The woman rolled on to her back and closed her eyes.

“Don’t let me die… Not like this.”

Justin placed the gun against Archie’s head.

Archie sighed.

“Keep rolling.”

Limp Bizkit plays over end credits.


Sean Kelly writes Bizarro stories. Read the first Gag Reel here.


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Flash Fiction Friday: Honey

by Avichai Brautigam

There is a fly drowning in a puddle of honey on my kitchen table. Why? Because, with full knowledge of what would come of it, I left the golden brown for the catching of flies like this one. Alas, I think my fly…my prisoner…is dying. Buzzing, not quite as loud as a bee’s, yet not as quiet as the vibrator I keep in my bedside table, rises from the fly’s shuddering body. I do not think it will be long now.

The fly has beautiful legs, long and plump, without very much fat…do flies have fat? These legs are much to my liking, terminating in pretty pale pink feet with exquisite toes. I should very much like to kiss along the two gorgeous legs of my benighted friend. Following up from the base of this fly’s feet, I would let my lips travel up towards the round thighs. What a wonderful buttocks! By god, I’ve caught quite the fly!

Diminishing ever further, the buzzing is starting to trickle. I do fear my friendly fellow sufferer shall soon be at its end. Crystalline and ensconcing, the honey does its dread work. Soon it will be done and I, in my own way, will have become death, destroyer of worlds.

Yet my reverie is forever interrupted! Look at the aedeagus on this fly! Who could deny its exquisiteness? The shaft, made tumescent by death…leave that one to the psychoanalysts…is no more than six inches, its head mushroom-like. Cut as beautifully as a diamond, too! I wonder who the moyle was? Below sag two bright coral bullocks, which contrast wonderfully with the aforementioned legs, just as enticing…perhaps more so. The navel sports a patch of blond pubic gold…no, I do not misuse that term, I can see it now: Rumpelstiltskin spinning gold thread from the pubis of my dear old fly.

The fly has more joie de vivre than previously supposed. It has, for a few minutes now, denied death another victory. Was it Nietzsche, then, who claimed that hope was the worst of all evils? Siri says yes. I am starting to believe that I should not have been so cruel as to leave my trap. What good has it done, in any case? It was immature of me, for certain.

My eyes are now transfixed upon the fly’s body. The pubic forest trails a while upward, as if the very image of a flame upon the trunk. How pale! How delicate! Its belly button is enough to send one into raptures. On the chest, there is only the hint of hair, a promise which need not be kept. Two rose areolas culminating in a perky-pointed nipple. Sublime. I could spend a year on each. Its back is lined with small spinal bumps. My breath catches.

What is the worst a fly can do? I dare say: little at all. Surely there must be a more logical reason for the way we treated the besotted creatures, who, after all, do us a favor. Correct? The state dieticians and experts…those oddly buzzing bunch of bureaucrats who hand down diktats like bubble gum…are always telling us to eat less sugar, to not waste food, and so on. Who but flies would punish us, disincentivize us? Surely, being good Americans, we would balk at the State setting ordinances on what we eat! I say, god bless the flies!

The arms of my fly are perfectly formed, a light slab of fat undergirded by barely apparent muscle. Flexible fingers, the sort needed to enter orifices and to plumb depths. Manicured nails of proper shape, not too wide and flat…I despise how wide and flat the nail of others are. No signs of having bit at them are apparent.

Hell, flies do god’s work! Certainly there are references in the Tanakh! Isn’t there a story of that sort somewhere…I cannot fathom the hubris of my fellow humans. Am I to be but a bystander to this…this murder? Yes. That’s what it is: a damnable homicide. A sin. I would not have been in this situation, I think, but for my boyfriend, who decided that “something” needed to be done about “all these flies”! He would have had me in the camps, the bastard…no concern at all for the sanctity of life.

Under the honey, the fly’s face is becoming clearer. Pale, with brown eyes and an aristocratic nose, a golden brow and rouged cheeks. A holy androgyne, something like Donatello’s David, with thick golden hair…though not as long as the statue’s.

I will not be a handmaiden to death.

I grab the fly from the honey puddle, screaming for its…his…life. I am praying now. Praying like I haven’t since I last stepped foot inside a synagogue. I’m crying for my fly’s life. I have forgotten how to cry, how to pray, yet I relearn these skills at the very moment when I have found a fly.

Manna descends from heaven.

He opens his his honey-covered mouth. There is a shuddering as breath…life!…moves through him, into his lungs. A few moments of hyperventilation, then a calm as his breathing steadies. Looking about the room, he sees. First he brings his hands near his face. Then he sets them down so as to look at me. As the last of the gears rattle in his head, he blushes. You must pardon me, he says, I try not to appear nude before strangers. I tell him it is all okay and that he god’s blessing unto me. This confuses him, but he has recovered his dignity. He introduces himself for the first time. His name is Remy…he’s French in origin…I offer him coffee, which he takes with a great deal of sugar. We are on speaking terms, becoming friendlier, and before long we are in my bedroom…I have joined him in his nudity.

That evening, I tell my boyfriend to get lost.


Many months later, I am eating dinner with Remy: steak. He spitting on his steak, well done and covered in ketchup, with his proboscis. All throughout the house are flies. Swarms of flies, perching everywhere as if the building was itself a corpse covered in them. One cannot step anywhere without killing a patch of fat gray ones. How cheap life becomes in its multitude! Remy is eyeing me with obvious desire…or at least, as much as a compound eye can make clear. Tonight, his aedeagus will fill me with his seed and I will birth.


Avichai Brautigam is a philosophy major and a local of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In his free time he writes fiction and talks Marx with friends. You can find him on Twitter.


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Flash Fiction Friday: The Pub Fight

by James Burr

“You, sir, have spilled my pint!”

All eyes in the pub turned at the sound of breaking glass, a pool of foaming ale rapidly spreading out at the feet of the furious Academic.

The Professor eyed his accuser angrily. “And I contend that I did not spill your pint, as all property is theft. Ergo, if a pint was spilled, it was certainly not yours.”

The Academic jabbed the Professor in the chest. “But a pint was indeed spilled, as we can see from the shards of glass and pool of beer at my feet.” His companion, an elderly man in a tweed jacket tried to restrain him, weakly muttering, “Leave it. He’s not worth it.” The Academic continued. “And the pint was indeed mine for does not First Occupancy theory proceed on the basis that it does not particularly matter how I took possession of it or what sort of use I intended to make of it; what matters is that I am acting as the owner of said beverage.”

The Professor snorted at him. “Well sir, I could proffer Liebniz’s contention that everything is contingent: that is that, logically, it is quite possible for the pint to not even exist!”

“But something can be said to exist if it has a place as part of objective reality?” the Academic replied.

“But what is ʻreality?’”

“ʻReality’ is real existence, what is real, what underlies experiences.”

“But what is ʻreal?’” the Professor asked.

“Something can be considered real if it exists as a thing or occurs in fact. I can determine the existence of the former pint through my eyes and the stickiness under the soles of my shoe. A pint has been spilled. Such a fact can be undeniably determined through the sense organs. The fact that the pints exists – or at least did until you spilled it – is an undeniable, objective fact.”

“Very well,” said the Professor. “I shall accept your objectivist observation that the presence of an ex-pint before us means that a pint was spilled. However, I counter your assertion that it was I who spilled said pint as that would require conscious agency on my part. Without such deliberate intention, the very best that can be said is that your beer was spilled – the result of mere accident or act of God.”

The Academic puffed out his chest. “Pah, but God does not exist. A claim that is further evidenced by the fact that if He did exist, His omnipotence and omniscience would ensure that He did not go around accidentally spilling pints.”

“And yet, my slippery-fingered friend, you contend that God does not exist when the adherents of scores of faiths and religions would argue that their personal experience of God is very real. Billions of souls have experience of whatever deity they worship, so by your own definition, God must exist and so be real, as is evidenced by the fact that we are talking about Him.”

“Rubbish! Liebniz believed that it is possible to describe the essence of a person or thing whether they are real or imaginary. God has an essence, in that his qualities and personality and station can be described, yet he does not exist. The fact that an entity has an essence does not necessarily imply existence! The pint was not spilled by accident or through some act of God. Ergo the pint, if not spilled by a non-existent deity, must have been spilled through some agency, and I contend that that agency was you, hence my original assertion!” The Academic angrily pushed his face into that of the Professor.

His companion turned and cried, “Someone, call the Police!” to the other patrons.

“Nonsense!” said the Professor. “We may have determined that there was a pint and that it has now been spilled. We may have even decided that it was not spilled through some act of God. However, I cannot yet be sure of your existence, as your existence is integral to your belief that it was your pint that was acted upon. Just because you may, as proposed by Liebniz, have some essence as an argumentative, small-minded buffoon, the fact that such an essence can be described does not necessarily mean that you exist. Using your own argument, you, like God, may not exist, and so it was not your pint that was spilled.”

The Academic’s companion tried to feebly pull him back by the arms. “Leave it” he muttered weakly. “He’s had enough.”

“Indeed,” said the Professor. “Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. I can be certain of my own existence but not of your own.” The Professor smiled as he sought to end the barbarous altercation with a brutal strike. “And of course, as Spinoza believed that everything is ruled by an absolute logical necessity, there is thus no such thing as ʻFree will’ in psychology, or ʻchance’ in the physical world. As such, the pint was simply spilled – not by accident and certainly not through any intention of my own.”

The Academic rounded on him. “Yet you argue there is no free will! If there is no free will, there can be no independent thought. Thus, if you cannot think, using your own philosophy, you cannot exist!”

The pool of beer on the floor spread across to where the Professor may, or may not, have once stood.

The Academic cracked his knuckles, nodded at his companion, and went to the bar to buy another pint.


Jim Burr wrote Ugly Stories for Beautiful People and is working on a second collection, State of the Nation. You beautiful people can read more of his writing here and here. Ugly people can follow him on Twitter. Do either or both, depending on your mood.


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