Published

Marine Corps Chow

poodle
image : today.com

Published by the Oregon-based journal Cascadia Rising Review, this story can be categorized as creative nonfiction because it’s written about actual events. Truth be told, though, liberties were taken to enhance the drama. Since these characters are based on my relatives, but not 100% pure, their names have been changed.

I must give a shout out to Alle Hall, whose editorial prowess helped shape the story. Even though I withdrew it from consideration for her journal, the rewrites she requested definitely made the piece better. Thanks Alle.

 

Published

Fivers

fivers
image : smithsonianmag.com

The publisher of this tale wrote a nice “dust jacket” description of the story: A young man is out spreading the word of the Lord, despite the heat and his own weariness. He comes across a strange couple at a strange house, and finds his faith faltering as their oddly calm demeanor and intimate knowledge of things catches him off guard. Determined, he redoubles his efforts, only for them to offer him a deal – they simply want to play a simple game…

A digital copy of FIVERS is available for purchase, so please support this small, independent publisher who provides opportunities for writers to get their stories out there.

 

Published

Gunslinger

gunslinger
image : biznews.com

Ever wake up not knowing where you are? The character in this story does and the good folks at Fiction On The Web brought you the tale, originally published in November 2018.

Gunslinger

by DL Shirey

I flinch awake. My shoulder blade sears, the afterburn from a dream. Everything but the pain evaporates, leaving half-remembered threads: a horse thief, face pressed in dirt, a boot on the back of his neck. My neck. Arm wrenched up an instant before feeling the red heat of metal; a branding iron hissing skin.

The dream is displaced by another unreality: I don’t know where I am. There’s a trail of ants on a bedside table converging on an ashtray and a half-sucked peppermint. Alongside it an empty Jäger bottle, a lighter and pack of smokes. The first inhale tells me this isn’t my brand. When I kick away the ratty blanket and curl my legs off the bed, the floor comes too quickly. The mattress and box spring have no frame beneath them. Between knees I see my nakedness, cement floor and a spent condom.

Continue reading

Published

Dental Casting

dental
image : ortodoncia.ws

There’s something inherently creepy about dental castings, but this story is not scary. What drew me to writing this was where the tale takes place and trying to integrate some of the tools a technician uses to make castings. The story was published by Scarlet Leaf Review in October 2018. Hope it makes you smile.

Dental Casting

by DL Shirey

“You right-handed or left?”

The woman jumped at the voice behind her. She had been concentrating on her work and would have been as easily startled had it been Ray or Yvonne, but the other technicians had left promptly at five. She took a deep breath and did a slow spin on the stool to face the man.

Why is he dressed like he works here? What is he up to? she thought. Her eyes darted from side to side as if in her mind she was flicking through a playbook, trying to decide how to handle this.

Continue reading

Published

Told By Clouds

clouds
image : pinterest.com

This flash fiction was originally published by formercactus in November 2018. It is about one possible future of our planet. Quite a few of my stories have this theme, in one form or another. Hard to avoid the subject given the news reports about how we harm the environment.

Told By Clouds

by DL Shirey

From here the neat rows of apple trees look like corduroy covering the roll of hills. You can’t tell the leaves are lifeless from this altitude, only gray-brown. It’s January, but not winter. There are no seasons any more, no storms or snow or wind. Not since the low clouds formed three years ago and never dissipated. Our daylight world is now perpetually dim, the sky covered in thick frosting. The only observable change is told by clouds: day or night, dully backlit or dead dark.

Continue reading

TSL

The Short List

smallThanks to everyone who visited this site in 2018. You came from far and wide, according to my WordPress statistics. The top five countries viewing my blog were: United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and, for reasons which escape me, Palestinian Territories.

Visitors came primarily to view The Short List, which now features 950+ entries. There were 360 additions to the list this year, an average of 30 new publications per month. Other than Facebook, Twitter and WordPress Reader, the top five referrers to this blog were: Wikipedia, Sandra Seamans, Christopher Fielden, Alex J. Coyne’s article in Author’s Publish and 805 Lit. I appreciate you spreading the word.

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: Folded Word, Antimatter Magazine, Degenerate Literature, Down in the Dirt and Fairy Tale Magazine. This last one may or may not be defunct at this writing, but that’s why I keep an ever-growing list of departed publications. A moment of silence for those we lost this year.

Other than The Short List, a few other of my blog posts received top clicks: Barbarism, 6:58, A Fortune, Night Before Trash Day and Forget-Me-Pops. It is no secret that these posts are for stories I wrote. In fact, 21 stories of mine were published in 2018. Click on over and give them a read.

Here’s to a Happy New Year and for more words in print in 2019.