In my opinion, when you have a piece that is 101 words, there’s only one good place to send it. This story, though fiction, has a real character from my youth: a tree.
This story is one that never would have been published without a draft or two (or three) presented to my writing group. Thanks to Craig, Emrie, Mireille and Steph for the candid feedback and patience to sit through yet another version.
Blink-Ink‘s issue #32 came in the mail today. Postal, not electronic. This volume is called “Curbside” and I was fortune to be selected among the 25 eclectic, succinct 50-word storytellers. Click over to the site right now and subscribe. It’s quarterly, it’s printed and it’s fabulous.
True story. I volunteer my time at a bookstore. We sell lots of used magazines, so it wasn’t surprising to see a stack of the British royalty mag, Majesty, show up. As I was unloading the box, there was a lonely copy of Confingo, a literary journal. I read it and thought I had something appropriate to submit. Thrilled to report that my flash fiction was accepted and is now in print. Confingo is available in the UK and elsewhere.
In March 2018, I was fortunate to be among the contributors to the innaugural issue of NUNUM. This journal blends flash fiction and art, so each story has a unique graphic design and can only be appreciated via their online reader.
I very much enjoyed the artistic rendering, but it made the piece a bit hard to read. Here it is in story-form.
by DL Shirey
Verle was a man of routine. Each morning his eyes ticked open minutes before seven o’clock. He’d stretch, rub his chin to test the grit of day-old stubble and wait. Verle enjoyed the sleepy silence of his curtained room, eyes half-closed, waiting to hear the clamor. A succession of sounds would start his day: the alarm clock’s buzz, the automatic grind of beans from the fancy coffeemaker, insistent bawls for cat chow.
Verle was often tempted to stop the first noise to see if it would prevent the others from occurring. If that tree did not fall in the forest, would there still be other sounds? This temptation never converted to action; it would rob him of those precious seconds of silence. At the buzz, Verle would roll across the blank expanse of Evie’s side of the bed and slap the clock silent.
I’m so glad Fictional Pairings published my story last December. Such a cool idea to publish fiction and pair the stories with music, so it was quite a treat to have these folks provide a soundtrack to my weird tale. And I must say, the selected tune fits the piece, as they say, like a glove.
Hand of God
by DL Shirey
Day clicked on and the city was about its business. Perpendicular streets, buildings in workaday beige, multistory windows with gray reflections of smudged, flat sky. Block upon uniform block, an automatic map I followed from here to there without thinking.
Then came a movement from above; two movements, from opposite edges of sky.
Tyler Malone, editor at madswirl, wrote an afterword for my piece when it was published in December 2017: When we wonder what we’ve become, the next thought will be when will we become more, then it becomes the last breath that we take. Thanks, Tyler. June 2018 update: The story is also available in a madswirl anthology.
by DL Shirey
Griffin liked to arrive early enough to cruise by the parking lot until a 15-minutes-only space opened. There, he would sit in the car for half an hour, rearview mirror tilted at the coffee shop. The seat belt could be undone in an instant, but first impressions couldn’t.