Published, Shorties

Incensed

In January, 2020, A Story in 100 Words published my Drabble. (That’s a story of exactly one hundred words, folks.) It can be quite challenging to craft a beginning, middle and end into extremely short prose. At the time, I was struggling mightily with another microfiction piece and my frustration inspired me to write this:

Incensed

by DL Shirey

crumple
image : stickpng.com

The crumpled notebook paper can’t be hurt, no matter how hard it’s thrown. An anemic crackle sounds at impact, a lazy, pointless attempt to uncurl is its sole achievement. The lopsided wad sits atop the unburning end of a Duraflame log. Mercifully, black char ashes the paper’s edge, further loosening the ball until gravity pulls it down to hearth. Still misshapened, I see blue ink, evidence of the second worst opening line in the history of writing. The winner is in my fist, ready to toss to the flames. It’s the only way to bring fire to my words today.

END

Published, Shorties

Terminal

terminal
image : lynn friedman : foursquare.com/user/60280588

This piece was bare-bones from its inception. It started as a 50-word story for blink-ink as a submission to their “Ghost Bus” issue. Although they published a few of my micro fictions previously, this one was rejected. So, I took a hard look at a revision, added a whopping 14 more words and voila. The good folks at dreams walking published it in issue #2.

 

Published, Shorties

Pathological

MRI-750x500
image : europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com

This Drabble, a story exactly 100 words long, was published in September 2018 by Friday Flash Fiction. It’s a tale of an unnecessary medical procedure. Unnecessary because, well, that would be a spoiler.

Pathological

by DL Shirey

The MRI hums to life and the technician says, “don’t move.” I do. I smirk. The thing that nests inside my head isn’t easily fooled. It doesn’t move very fast but is always a step ahead of the doctors.

The machine clanks and chirps in earnest. Too late. The soft, warm bed atop my left parietal lobe is empty. No telltale traces will be found where it slipped down my brainpan, nor handprints on the ladder of my spine.

I can feel it now, spidering to the back of my ribs where it will stay until the test is over.

END

Published, Shorties

Leavings

leavings
image : Pinterest

In my opinion, when you have a piece that is 101 words, there’s a great place to submit it. First published in June 2018, this story, though fiction, has a real character from my youth: a tree.

Leavings

by DL Shirey

The dreamy, slow circle of the overhead fan. The sound of a fly making lazy pivots on this hot afternoon. “Sweltering,” Mom would have said, “But the lawn won’t mow itself.” A push mower leans against the maple we named Old Man. His leaves cover the tall grass. The rake is just outside the screen door. So are the grass shears. Mom would have made iced tea, jangled cubes in the sweating pitcher to tempt me, to show my reward for doing her yard. I’m nursing a beer instead, satisfied, having trimmed around her headstone and raked up all the leavings.

END

Published, Shorties

The Night Before Trash Day

windowguy
image : ucg.org

Blink-Ink‘s issue #32 featured this story in May 2018. The volume was 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.

The Night Before Trash Day

by DL Shirey

I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and chuck the apple core to the street below. It spatters on impact, bits of fruit glisten under the streetlamp. A stray dog trots up and sniffs. I place my rifle on the scarred windowsill and wait for rats

END

Published, Shorties

In-laws

blink29a25pMy second 50-word story was published by blink-ink. This is a subscription-based quarterly publication, and I urge you to sign up and support it. Twelve bucks a year for a quartet of nifty fifties. What, that’s like three lattes?

Time to cut down on caffeine and start the day with more microfiction.

Published, Shorties

Will Haiku for Food

homeless-crop
image : pixabay.com

Masters of the art of haiku will poo-poo the stanzas in my piece. They will scoff, “not nature-y enough or in the Japanese tradition.” A rejection from another mag had words to this effect. A Quiet Courage (may they rest in peace) saw the 5/7/5 format and recognized the title for what it was: a reflection of the character who was writing the verse. They published it in June 2017.

Will Haiku For Food

by DL Shirey

Quite cold this morning.
Someone stole my shopping cart
with my heavy coat.

Don’t move or intrude,
never meet eyes, sit meekly,
raise cup, jingle coins.

Continue reading

Published, Shorties

Limbs and Misc.

mine2
image : thedrabble.wordpress.com

My 100-word story was originally published by The Drabble on January 25, 2017. This journal’s slogan is “shortness of breadth” and what they publish proves that tiny storytelling can be an art. This story is about a mining disaster, a news story I read about. The part about Limbs and Misc. is complete fabrication.

Limbs and Misc.

by DL Shirey

Afterwards, they called themselves the Dead Gang. Survivors, covered in dust, still on the clock, piling intact bodies onto pallets. Parts tossed in two bins labeled LIMBS and MISC.

Once the elevator started again, the job went quicker. It didn’t get easier. At end of shift coveralls and work gloves were burned, the Dead Gang given an extra day off.

Conversations at the bar that night were slurred, but grim flashbacks were not. All those hands, fleshed and unfleshed, aimed every direction, alleging blame. Some fingers pointed to heaven, others hell, most at the mineshaft. Never at the Dead Gang.

END