50 MM Microfiction Contest

Issue Nine

Garden of Saturn

One day in May the whole household woke up to loud wails in which little Brinda had at last communicated. The shrieks and drones did not last long. When they spoke of it next morning they found some differences in their accounts....

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You can live all right

I tried learning the language of plants to liberate myself in this post-earthquake era.  I took lessons from the creak of the sunflowers revolving.  It is hard to follow, how they stretch their muscles in the weird and strong ways that they move. They were...

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Giants

For you, the best part of our honeymoon was the Giant Tortoises. You’d collect lettuce leaves off the hotel’s buffet table in your handbag then go to the tropical gardens that surrounded our bedroom veranda. You’d feed the tortoise’s Neanderthal faces and stroke the...

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Knock, Knock

You know I find this “joke” incredibly tiresome, right? Badly timed and creepy? Ask yourself, Ethan: what exactly are you trying to convey? Because if the point of folding your arms and grinning at me is to communicate to me that I am all alone in the world, believe...

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Saint Foy

Moving the bones is what woke me.
Jostled in my reliquary,
carted from one monastery to another.

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Euro Disney

I never told you what it was like, after they yanked me from peewee Saturday for dick wagging. Funny thing was, I don’t remember you there. My wife. My thoughts were for the strangers around us—all our wonderful friends. What if? What if everyone took a tiny photo of...

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On the Run, Returning

A few months back, I caught your goateed grin while thumbing through the “People You May Know” list on Facebook, a reality decades distant from our fragile, long-haired skulls in that time when we knew each other best. I’d searched for you before, in those moments...

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The Art of the Paris Review Interview

The interview was conducted over the course of multiple sessions during a cold, hot January dusk at the Paris Review office in New York City. The Paris Review insisted on revising several drafts of the interview before it went to print. The publication had a peculiar...

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All that was left

When I was twelve my mother gave birth to my sister. She lived for six weeks. Then one night she died. Silently. When no one was looking. After the funeral we made a pilgrimage to a little village where every year a fairground was held on the village green. I heard...

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The Last Time

Inside a nightmare of cold sweats and invisible centipedes just like the first time we kicked together, watched Pat Buchanan on TV, mumbled about how we were going to change the world as soon as we could get up. On another channel, we watched her body bent over,...

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After John Hawks/After Lydia Davis – Two Imitation Series

After John Hawks (Second Skin) I will tell you in a few words who I am: concubine of the Manx stealthily moving through the cat grass beyond the bubbled pane where my rump anchors in its ergonomic chair; concubine of shrouds and the shady toes of giddy prepubescent...

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Upside Down in a State of Torpor

If I were a hummingbird, this IV would drip up, into my median metatarsal vein. That’s the highest logical venipuncture point for my current position. I’m awake, yet not; alive? Eh. I’ve been here all night, since servicing the ladies at Eagle Grove Care Center. Those...

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The Goolabong Man

The Goolabong man is real and waits under the overpass of I-70 and State Highway 178. He wears his heart on his proverbial sleeve and slurps mildewed coffee from weathered Starbucks cups that he finds on the ground next to used condoms, wads of Kleenex, and empty...

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Lady Bugs

When Dexter talks, all the adults listen. ‘Gee, he’s so smart our boy’, whispers May, just loud enough to make sure us kids will hear. He hovers by her side, all polished white teeth and retainer smile. ‘Emily, why don’t you take your cousin outside so you two can get...

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Daily Dose

            It took me hours to figure out how to press Mom’s ashes into pills. Not because it’s particularly hard to find a pill press or research how it’s done but because the internet is a distracting place....

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The Side Show

When you step off the path trod by billions you think: Never trust someone who daydreams of unicorns and those who define their desires in those who do. Once inside, you witness those who take dreams to their extremes. They break your heart incessantly with their...

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Tessellate

Huge, tent-like, a curve of mirrors and empty offices overshadows a small steel fountain and its artificial concrete pool, encircled by fast-food restaurants and cafés and an IMAX cinema. The fountain is illuminated by slowly-shifting mood lighting, and replenished by...

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Rainbow

Let's say you're wandering along a tree-lined road in South Kensington, feeling the warm, afternoon sun on your face and thinking about your date with whats-his-name that evening. Say your mum calls and you say, 'what, what, I can't hear you?,' move away from the...

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Dots, and Ilium

Dots The waves curl and crest. Churn and break. Again and again. Like our breath. Escaping into summer air. We were so young then. Our bodies, Rushmore and Everest, to the ants crawling the grass beneath us. We were giants watching stars and under-bellies of planes....

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Short Encyclopedia of a Marriage

BEHR Casual Day T18-13©: Paint chip color in his hand when Clare confesses in the middle of Home Depot she’s been unfaithful. Mergers & Acquisitions: Department at the firm where Clare and the man who’s fucking her work together. 702 N. Bridge Street, Apt. #8: The...

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Phoenix’s Orangutan

She was putting together a poetry manuscript about putting together a manuscript. She needed a break from line breaks. She needed to know how one decided capitalization. Poetry had its own rules. She used to be someone who followed the rules and then she broke a rule...

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Rattlesnake Around the Moon

In Carnadine, a shithole somewhere west of Phoenix, along a dry gulch of an old arroyo carved in some flash flood before he was born, Rapper emerges from the rusted trailer he inherited from a long-gone trucker. His molar’s shimmying; his face is hanging like a...

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Intemperance

I clutched the beehive, its honey dripping inches from my lips. The little bastards swarmed me. Their wings fluttered like cocaine hearts. As their stingers ripped into me, permanently detaching, leaving behind their abdomens and digestive tracts, I lamented—but only...

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Mother Earth Is a Necrophiliac

Mother Earth truly doesn’t care if you live or die, but she prefers you dead. She lets you think you’re in control, but you can tell when she’s getting randy. The air is laced with the smell of rain. The wind blows through her trees, making the leaves whisper and...

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Neighbor

He strangled her on the grass out front. Anyone could see, though he’d never thought to hide it. He acted out, mindless of the consequences. She wasn’t going anywhere. Neither was he. It had been a clash of wills. He won. At least he thought he did. Her overwhelming...

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Fragments of us, burning

Dear B— —come back to the village, we should get together. We’ll unwind, rewind. Loop the time between then and now. Forget it ever happened. I’ll cut us out like paper dolls, let the world burn. You remember, right? How it used to be? Just two boys from the...

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Then You’re in Kansas

Your therapist says Myhusbandcheatsonmeandyoushouldtakealover, and it takes you a second to break down the words as you stare past her newly highlighted hair to the family portrait displayed on her desk. Her cheating husband looks smug, and her admission isn’t really...

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Gravity is to Helium

Have you ever dreamed that dream of staring at a painting of a boy in shorts with his chin pointed at a cumulus cloud? Wind catches his hair and tugs it. The boy holds on a string, a cerulean balloon tinted to match the sky. One foot is off the ground? He is rising....

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