:: Flash Fiction

Fag-Ash-Man published 07/02/2013

She cups his lung and he squeezes out a breath, dragging, scraping, draining a way through and out. He coughs. Grey clouds. Yellow moon. Sulphur pools. The rooster carries his collarbone to hang in the sky. He inhales his last, bonfire, crackle and spit. An ashtray collects the ash. His smoke circles, his grey lips smile, and he’s ready to take his first step.

By Alan McCormick & Jonny Voss.

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KAFKA Cosmetic onabotulinumtoxinFranz For Facial Rejuvenation published 04/02/2013

At a certain point, turning back becomes impossible. As nervous and forlorn as a child in the woods, your glory has greatly declined in recent years. The wicked and accursed bug of criticism bites down on your moderate to severe frown lines and nasolabial folds. At this moment, between the ages of 18 and 65, you must be conserving your strength to act – but doubts have invaded your waking moments and anxious dreams in a great tide of unrest. Unfortunately, there is little comfort to be had as you direct your gaze to the mirror.

By Louise Phillips.

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Perfect Crime published 08/01/2013

Some solutions to his little problem were only available to those with the fortitude and determination of the completely insane, like the eleven-centimetre nail which one man succeeded in driving into his brain with a mallet, or the woman patient who had simply forced her head into a washbasin, breathed deeply, and drowned. One of the points made in the book was that in some ways suicide could be seen as the perfect crime; an unlawful act which requires courage and ingenuity. The idea appealed to him and he contemplated his own death with this in mind, no longer content to just pick one out of the book, intent now on something original, effective and painless, something to be remembered by.

An exclusive extract from Simon Crump‘s My Elvis Blackout.

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Drinkers (Overheard & Misheard) published 31/12/2012

The thing is I try and keep a mental count of how much I’m drinking.

And it’s only when you lose count that you get in trouble?

You know what I mean.

It’s just mathematics.

Trouble is I was never any good at maths.

By Alan McCormick & Jonny Voss

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The Bad News First published 27/12/2012

This is no waiting room, no trauma unit, no place here for your piebald squatting and lipsticked obscenities. We know where to start with these steel cutting things. Josephine Scudder’s name lighting up the place in bloody, transient scrawl – the strings of her anatomy. Her cues to move and yours to leave. She is stealing chunks of chandelier from DIY store departments still in her slip and slippers going the long way round stalling at the lights and running faster in the rain. You’d find that gall rare these days.

By Julie Reverb.

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Christmas spirit (by the River Lea) published 24/12/2012

It’s Christmas Eve and down at the anchor of hope down by the river Lea, Leonard the hopeless disabled Santa is on his seventh Pride. Melancholic Mike whose eyebrows dance for a local ska three-piece offers some advice: ‘There ain’t no Christmas spirit no more, Santa, it’s about advertising, capitalism and exploitation. Kids these days would fall behind Pol Pot and mow you down without a blink for the sight of a Moshi Monster.’ Tiny Hat Pete chuckles and says the best Christmas spirit is found in a full Tequila bottle.

By Alan McCormick & Jonny Voss.

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The Idea of the Mouse published 21/12/2012

With another serviette I swept the mouse up into a plate and dropped it into a plastic bin behind the bar. I thought repeatedly about the desirability of a universal system of justice that applied equally to all living creatures and wondered what sort of sentence I would receive from a tribunal based therein. I had committed an act tantamount to unintentional manslaughter but knowing this did not free me from my guilt, in the same way as I had decided that it was better to put the mouse out of its misery despite having no access to the longings that comprised the mouse’s inner life or the agony it had undergone, so this hypothetical tribunal would relieve me of responsibility without having a clear idea of the private texture of the mouse’s existence. In any case I did not believe in responsibility, therefore I did not believe in the divestment of responsibility.

By Adrian West.

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Redemption published 07/12/2012

The Kombi bus came to a stop by the side of the motorway, and its passengers disembarked. Titi pried her raffia bag from the cubby where it had been cramped under the seat, and dusted off her dress. “CMS Lagos Island CMS Lagos Island last chance last chance!” The conductor banged the top of the bus, and it sped off in search of its next crop of passengers. It was almost seven in the evening, yet the sun hovered over the city like a school child, cross-armed and unwilling to go to bed. The man who had been sitting next to Titi on the bus cleared his throat, spat, and set off in the direction indicated by the signs directly across from her. She watched his spit bubbles drain off in the shallow gutter by her feet, as a hawker peeled off green plantains and threw them on to roast, discarding their skins on the ground. It was Titi’s first time at the camp.

By Frances Uku.

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Tennessee Stop published 28/11/2012

Astral had missed the name of the city, or the town. One run-down area of the country had bled into another. Was she in the South yet? Plants here wanted to grow through concrete, cracked it apart with their pale fingers. The sun too had split the earth to help draw the flimsy weeds up tall. Glass shone painfully bright in the windows of the bus station. This is not the end of the world, this is a temporary extension of the end.

By Helen McClory.

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In Great Leaps published 22/11/2012

We never bring back crickets. Dad says we’d make bad frogs and rolls pellets of bread between his fingers to bait our hooks. The boat is small. Dad says, jump in, bad frogs. Even bad frogs can jump. Our knees touch as we sit with our poles. We hunt crickets too big to catch. We reach for them and they leap mountains and lakes, crush houses beneath barbed feet, rafters crashing through the beds, the bath shattered, water pouring from torn pipes, rubble shaking to their giant song, touching other stars while we close our hands on air.

By Will Kaufman.

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