To contradict the accompanying photo, this story takes place during UNhappy Hour. A bar, yes. Happy, no. This tale has one of the more disgusting scenes I’ve ever written– in a good, horror story kind of way. You’ll know it when you read it. And you can read it at Idle Ink.


Behind Schedule

Blink-Ink #52 is out. If that wasn’t exciting enough, my 50-word microfiction “Behind Schedule” is in it. 25 more tiny tales are also shoeboxed in this peewee publication. Subscribe today, that way you won’t miss out on a single mini masterpiece.

Be sure to read the excellent interview with Blink-Ink editors Doug and Sally on Chill Subs.


The Harv

As horror goes, this story is rather tame. There is no gore, there are no grisly monsters. There is the Harv itself, but it’s just barely hideous. The real horror comes when one realizes that a story like this is possible.

And then there was the writing of it. I first concocted the plot and submitted it to a few journals with no takers. The rejections were understandable, the creature was abhorrent in the abstract, but needed to become real. In a major rewrite, I objectified the Harv even further by giving it a number (H3JJDx617) while showing glimpses of the creature’s emotion, curiosity and love of mangoes. Published in December 2020 by Teleport Magazine.


by DL Shirey

Dillon Baumgartner stopped before a portrait, one in a row of two dozen along the wall. Each was spotlit, in a thick, ornate frame, yet none had nameplates. Identification wasn’t necessary; Baumgartner recognized the faces. They were among the most affluent men and women in America.

“I thought these were photographs,” he said as he fussed with straightening the visitor’s badge pinned on his lapel. “They’re oil paintings.”

The young man, Cooper, according to his official badge, slowed his walk, but didn’t stop. “Photographs of oil paintings, actually. The originals were gifted to our benefactors, to show our appreciation,” he said, “This way, please.”

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Published, Shorties


One year ago, my 50-word story appeared in 50 Give Or Take.


by DL Shirey

One-two-three-four-five-six, blow. One-two-three-four-five-six, blow. The same rhythm every time. Each rasp of her emery board makes me grip the steering wheel tighter.

At arms length she studies her work, spots a flaw and attacks the inexactitude in cadence. She splays five fingers, nods and begins the other hand.

One-two-three-four-five-six, blow.