Back in the day I was a fan of the Grateful Dead and one of my favorite songs was (and is) Sugaree. There’s another tribute inasmuch as the title character wears a GD T-shirt, but that’s as far as the nostalgia goes. This story is about headaches and a cure that’s pure speculative fiction. Published in Issue One of the Australian journal Curiouser Magazine.
Hypochondriac isn’t the proper description for the character in this story. He’s more an ignoraphobic when it comes to illness. 99 times out of 100, when he disregards an ache or pain, it will go away in a day or two. If it doesn’t, this fellow will ignore it and self-diagnose a likely, commonplace malady. Above all he voids websites such as WebMD like the plague.
Of course, every once in a while, if the symptoms get really bad, he is forced to go get it checked out. When that happens, the treatment can be far worse than if I had just gone to the doctor in the first place. I mean HE, the character in this story published by Flashes Lit Journal.
I was given the opportunity to submit audio for Micro, a podcast that features writers reading flash fiction that had been published elsewhere. Subject matter is quite heavy on all three of these pieces. My reading was Yesterdays’ Pictures which originally appeared in Reflex Fiction. Give a listen to this and all the other episodes.
Welcome to 2037. The future is not some bleak, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Oh, contraire. The world is exceedingly happy. Everything is good. All needs are met. Everyone is going to have a nice day. Originally published in April 2020 by Freedom Fiction.
Have A Nice Day
by DL Shirey
The cavernous assembly area is far behind me, but I can still hear the pleasant lilt of the repeated message, “Please face forward. Remove your hats. Keep the line moving. Thank you for your patience.” The voice isn’t robotic nor is it a recording. A live human is speaking with an amiable drawl, her words reverberating enthusiasm.
She is obviously enjoying herself. We all strive to be like her. It’s what I want, too. I look forward to my morning placement because I can’t wait to find my perfect job.Continue reading
Before she started proofreading this story, I remember cautioning my wife that this one was quite twisted. So when I saw that there was an anthology looking for “body horror,” to be named Twisted Anatomy, I had to submit. Please do not venture into this anthology unaware: there are more than two dozen stories, some of which should be labelled with warning stickers. My story, “Under the Avatars” is right at home among them. Available for purchase on Amazon.
And check out my author’s page for other publications in which my stories appear.
On The Nose was my first attempt at nonfiction and might still be my best CNF so far. I was starting to embrace this “writing thing” and toted a notebook and pen with me wherever I went. Perhaps that’s why “On The Nose” was good, because I was documenting my treatment of skin cancer as it happened. The subject was also approached with humor, which, I think, was why it was accepted for publication rather quickly.
Four or five years ago, on a trip to New Mexico, I went to a museum and saw an exhibit of paper clothing. Actually, there were more than clothes on display; many everyday objects were also represented—laptop, guitar, bicycle—all made from colorful crepe paper. They came from Vietnam, handmade in tribute to people for whom those objects held special significance. Now, I won’t reveal anything more, that would be spoiling the story.
Learning about this lovely tradition stayed with me and was the key to writing “Sunday Dress.” First published by the UK journal ink, sweat and tears in March of 2020.
by DL Shirey
Ileana loved to make clothes. Afternoons after school she sat at my worktable, arranging patterns like jigsaw pieces to fit a length of fabric. These skills I taught her, daughter of my daughter, because her mother was not around to do it. Ileana made better choices. Ileana was a good girl.
It pains me now to sew, my fingers stiff with age. I can abide with the ache for my granddaughter, imagining the light in her eyes when Ileana slips on the dress. Every year, come winter, I make her one for spring.Continue reading
If a road trip can be divided by the destinations visited then it can be further subdivided by those long stretches inbetween with nothing to do. Fingernails is a 50-word snippet from one such subdivision. Published by Vine Leaves Press in 50 Give or Take, available by email subscription.
Thanks to everyone who visited this site in 2020. You came from far and wide, according to my WordPress statistics. The top five countries viewing my blog were: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, India and, for reasons which escape me, Palestinian Territories. China also snuck in there.
My writer’s ego wanted to believe everyone came to read about the stories I got published, but most traffic came primarily to view The Short List, which now features 1,500 entries. There were 310 additions to the list this year, an average of 26 new publications per month.
Other than Facebook, Twitter and WordPress Reader, the top five referrers to this blog were JMWW, Sandra Seamans, Christopher Fielden and Scribofile. Many, many others contributed to the increased amount of views this year. Thank you.
The Short List is for writers of flash fiction and short prose. The list is organized by word count, providing links to the submission guidelines and potential publication. These were the top five publication links that were clicked this year: Black Hare Press, City River Tree, Flash Frontier and Unstamatic. I also keep an ever-growing list of departed publications. A moment of silence for those we lost this year.
Here’s to a Happy New Year and for more words in print in 2021. Please be safe.
This piece was bare-bones from its inception. It started as a 50-word story for another publication and 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 (RIP) published it in their second issue, back in June 2020.
by DL Shirey
The push of air caused litter to rustle. Brakes squawked, water splashed up the curb. I looked up and saw nothing, yet still stepped back from the sidewalk’s edge.
“Don’t you know the rules?” a foul breath voiced, “Make way for exiting passengers.”
I waited, then a cold grip cupped my shoulder and shoved me forward. “Well, what are you waiting for?” it said, “Get on the bus.”