Flossie’s a lovely little dog. Dead-friendly, like. A rescue dog. When she was a pup, she’d got a great big hernia all along her tummy and they dumped her on Bidston Hill to die, poor thing. But someone got her to the vets, and because my dog had just died, they said did I want her, so I said all right. She’s fine now. Real lovely. Keeps me company and I’m on my own now, you know, like.
Just when I thought it was over, that irritating sound begins again! I groan and flip over in bed, squeezing the pillow tight around my ears to block the noise. I can’t possibly fall asleep like this—as soon as I relax, the pillow will be released and the humming will return.
The faintly luminescent hands of my battery-powered travel alarm clock tell me it’s approaching two in the morning. I unplugged everything in this room earlier tonight. I know I did.
I’ve been hearing the hum from plugged-in electronics for as long as I can remember.
By Rush Eby
Dad used to play poker, and he wasn’t bad, either. He’d play, and he’d win, and sometimes he’d lose, but he always knew when to throw in the cards.
He’d tell me the most important thing in this world was to know when to fold. He’d say to me, “Knowing when to quit is more important than any win, no matter how big.”
By Richard Gregory
My right hand throbs in pain with every step. I likely need stitches, but it’s not like I can afford it even if I cared enough to go in. I could have done better than wrapping it in duct tape until a ridiculous club was formed, but oh well. It’s not like it will matter soon.
I probably deserve a little bit of pain, anyway. The only reason my hand’s in such rough shape is because I couldn’t stand the loser looking back at me in the mirror this morning. I didn’t hurt that 32-year-old failure where I was aiming, but I hurt him, all right.
By Clare Diston
Ijemma waited for the day she would return to the sea.
She had seen it only once, as a baby, but Mama had told her about it so many times that Ijemma was sure she remembered. “It was a hot day and you were crying,” Mama said, “but the moment you saw the sea, you stopped.” Ijemma could see her baby-self, hands clenched into fists, wildly kicking and then falling still, the tears drying as salt-stains on her cheeks at the sight of that vast stretch of blue.
By C. E. Stokes
Among the old buildings converted into apartments and small cafes stood the park. A perfect square block, with trees and greenery to hide people from the straight lines of the city.
Stone walkways cut through grass, dotted with simple wood benches. All the paths led to a small brick square in the center of the park, lined with short walls. The simple pattern of bricks, dark and light, matched the inlaid checkerboard on the table in front of me.
Damn John, he was running late again.