Archive for January, 2011

Primary Colors by Kyle Hemmings

Jan 27 2011 Published by under Stories

This is what I don’t remember: bluebonnet Sundays under Southern elm, girls whistling through tall grass, a frog, a simple cobbler, a street the width of a song. My mother in a sundress, her skin smooth as a shaved peach, a kid’s vague theory about the alignment of stars. Then the nights grew cold and other moon-ly. The door opened a creak. A man as big as a space ship. The tall shadows interrogated my father and took him to a world without cables. By morning, they returned for me and my mother. They were Green men or men with Green ideas. Green being the color of what wasn’t the temper of my blood. Then weeks stuck in the waiting rooms of the Green People. Is this how they play games? I thought. Mine were simpler and more fun. And at least you could win something. What I don’t remember: My mother filling out forms, scratching out answers, asking questions, a Green Man telling her in Broken Green what to write. In our language, my mother whispered into my good ear, “Why don’t you try to sleep. Just close your eyes and pretend you’re home.” But I never saw home again. I cursed that Green Planet of Tall Shadows. My father calling to me from some crater, from some cell at the bottom of it. Growing up, I cheated the Green Men of lifelines, I taxed whatever could be declared as Green, I rolled from one Green Woman’s bed to another until I couldn’t recognize my true color anymore in their mirrors. This is what I don’t remember: Why some colors fade to grey.

Kyle Hemmings lives in New Jersey. His work has been featured in Elimae, Thunderclap Press, Nano Fiction, Used Furniture and elsewhere. He is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Fuzzy Logic (Punkin Press), Avenue C (Scars Publications), and Amsterdam and Other Broken Love Songs (Flutter Press).

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H & R Block Pen by J de Salvo

Jan 20 2011 Published by under Stories

“So, your idea is, we let them keep the pen, huh? I don’t see how that helps us.”

“Really? You don’t see it?”

“No. It seems to me they use it until it runs out, or they lose it. Either way I don’t see it making it through to next tax time; at least not without ending up in the bottom of some drawer somewhere; out of sight, out of mind.”

“But that’s where you’re not seeing it. Look at this pen for a minute.”

“I can see it just fine right here.”

“Pretty nice, isn’t it?”

“Not really. I’ve got tons better pens than that.”

“Ah, but that’s you. To you it may be just average. But somebody like you probably hasn’t so much as touched a stick ballpoint in years. Trust me, to most people this is a step up. It’s not a pen they want to lose. By the end of the year, they’ll almost feel bad if they don’t come here, without really knowing why. ‘This is stupid,’ they’ll say, but they’ll end up coming here anyway. When the critical moment of choice arrives, they won’t be able to think of anywhere else off the top of their heads. That’s the power of our brand.”

J de Salvo is the editor of the Bicycle Review. His stories and poetry have appeared in a kajillion little magazines, and his articles have been published on the front pages of independent newspapers for ridiculously low rates. He is a native of Los Angeles, and now lives in Oakland, CA.

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The Egg by Doug Rice

Jan 13 2011 Published by under Stories

So much depends on this married couple standing in their kitchen looking out the window at the rain falling on their rose garden. An egg floats in midair between the two of them. Not a real egg. A metaphor. This married couple, however, refuses to stand for anything else. They are real. The salad they are making is real. They both have dreams and hopes and fears. He keeps the yard perfectly manicured in ways that frighten his friends. She buys groceries. She always uses canvas shopping bags. They both have suffered. They both speak barely above a whisper. For years, neither husband nor wife has actually heard what the other has said. Earlier in their relationship one of them heard the other say: What? But that was long ago. Years forgotten. Years that have fled out windows, slipped through doors. Years afraid to stay locked away in this house, this gated community. Now they are too tired. They know too much about each other that they wish they did not know but that they cannot forget.  They do not question each other. They no longer question themselves. He wanders dark alleys during his lunch breaks. She no longer surprises him in his office. She has not returned a phone call in years. Decades. Friends have stopped calling. Her family has forgotten her. Both husband and wife continue to talk to each other. They have always been civil. She remembers lost children. An empty womb. Barren. She does not accuse him. Nor does she accuse his family. He leaves each morning wearing shoes he found in the hall closet. She lingers over her coffee and worries that refined sugar kills.

Doug Rice is the author of the forthcoming Between Appear and Disappear and of Dream Memoirs of A Fabulist. He was the author of Blood of Mugwump, Skin Prayer and  A Good Cu/tboy is Hard to Find.

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First Stop Status

Jan 06 2011 Published by under News

First Stop Fiction is currently seeking submissions. We will begin publishing a very short story every Thursday when we are confident we can do so for the foreseeable future.

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