Microfiction Monday – 177th Edition
by J. Harley McIlrath
The window slid open, and she crawled through. I never bothered locking it. I never imagined anyone coming in through it. It opened onto the roof. “Do you have heat?” she said. “Mine’s off.” She was already stepping out of her sweatpants. “It’s steam heat,” I said. “The boiler breaks down all the time.” She lifted the covers and crawled in beside me.
I made sure the window was not locked after that. I kept the shade up. I slept with the light on. But the landlord fixed the boiler, and the heat stayed on all winter.
by James Watt
The court was waiting for Jeremy to begin questioning the witness. Clinging to the lectern, he glanced at the opposing counsel, an experienced trial lawyer with a formidable reputation. Head bowed and breathing deeply he stared at his notes. He looked up, coughed, and then sipped some water. The awkward silence continued.
His co-counsel scribbled a note and handed it to him: ‘lack of preparation is your only foe.’ A few moments later Jeremy’s voice reverberated around the courtroom.
“You were drunk when you struck my client with your car, weren’t you?”
Now his focus was on litigating the case.
Exercise in Futility
by Ian Willey
When I asked what he did for a living he said I’ve spent the last thirty years trying to improve the Oreo. It’s no easy task. Change the cookie and it no longer goes with the cream; change the cream and it no longer goes with the cookie. Maybe, I said, the Oreo is evolutionarily perfect, like the cockroach or the horseshoe crab. It can stay as it is for millions of years and be fine. I wish I hadn’t said it. He spent the rest of the night crumbling. I offered him some milk, but it was no use.
by Pratik Mitra
The flyover* was inaugurated days ago. Shreya was maddened by the deafening noise vehicles made rushing through that flyover. Unlike her, Anil liked the hustle-bustle. In fact he felt its proximity was cool. It’s like they could shake hands with the passengers if they wanted. Soon reading, films, sex, and money were replaced by that flyover as their favourite hobby horse. They were obsessed with what to do with a flyover that so filthily symbolized urbanity. They were tossed up between committing suicide by jumping at it or making love on rooftops. Only breezy drizzle was needed.
*note: in British English, a flyover is an overpass
Microfiction Monday – 103rd Edition
This week’s artwork is by Christine Duncan.
Even Though I Don’t Believe in Such Things
The room is ghost white then black again and the sky cracks with such violence the bed frame shakes. The rain thwacking wet against the glass sounds as if God himself is throwing drumfuls of it. The dog whines like she is heartbroken we deserve such punishment. She buries her nose under my feet, coveting more of the duvet from my side despite the neat, empty plentitude on yours. She’s still waiting for you. And even though I don’t believe in such things, if there was a night for ghosts, this would be it.
The Loved Ones
by Pratik Mitra
The under construction skyscraper could be seen from her slum. Lockdown delayed it’s work. Nights were still left to stay dark and mornings echoing with birds’ chirp. Things would change soon into a cacophony of halogen lights, metallic clanks, and screaming of exhausted men. She wondered while peeing just outside her hut under open sky for how long that pee would be able to go and fall into that disputed marshland on which the skyscraper was being built up. The only thing that she loved besides her body was that marshland and yet…
by David Henson
As we drive through the Illinois farmland we pass a coyote sprawled roadside I want to pull over get out pick up the broken teeth rattle them shout this is all you’ll ever hear from me we might as well put our lips to this growl only the asphalt can hear exhale the last breath of our marriage over this slab of tongue and into the flat sacks that were lungs and call someone to haul this poor beast away.
But a dead coyote’s a blink at sixty. We have more to do with the corn.
by Angelo Aita
He was infatuated with her when they first met, but as soon as they slept together he pulled away, though not before he said he’d love her until the world exploded, which was not technically a lie; and although she didn’t much like him, she became obsessed with his pulling away, i.e., reading into the late-night text messages he’d send (seemingly at the precise moment she’d begun to accept his pulling away) in hopes of continuing their sleeping together at an emotional distance he was comfortable with, ad infinitum.
After Her Daughter’s Suicide
by Molly Clark
She burned the dinner. She had spent hours preparing it, chopping the vegetables, caramelizing the onions, marinating the meat. She was responsible for feeding her family and the failure burst out of the fire extinguisher with a blast of cool death. A finalizing air. Her husband was disappointed; the party was ruined. Everyone went out to eat instead; they needed a meal she couldn’t destroy. She stayed home and scrubbed the pan.
by Ana Gardner
On opposite sides of the Atlantic, two titanic women played ping-pong with a little girl.
“You can have her this summer,” said one woman, paddling the girl across the ocean with a backhand spin.
The other paddled back. “Take her for Christmas, but I want her back in January.”
A serve went awry, once: the little girl fell in the ocean and swam by herself, in any direction she pleased, and she never wanted to go back.