Short Story (flash fiction) Of the Day, The Outing by Lydia Davis

…an attempt to be friendly…

—–Lydia Davis, The Outing

Chihuly glass sculptures in the creek, Dallas Arboretum

Only a few words can, in the hands of a genius’ pen, outline a long, sad, and wondrous story.

Read it here:

The Outing by Lydia Davis

Short Story Of the Day, I Can See Right Through You by Kelly Link

It’s hard for the demon lover to grow old.

—-Kelly Link, I Can See Right Through You

Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

I first read about Kelly Link and her fiction when I read that Salon had named her collection of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, a book of the year. I tracked down the paperback and read it – and it was as good as advertised. I’ve been a fan of her work – a weird melange of oddly modern adult stories told as twisted fairy tales – ever since.

I’ve linked to two of her short stories before – Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (unfortunately, no longer online) and Catskin. Buy some of her books – and visit her publishing house – especially since she offers so much that she has written and/or published under a creative commons license.

So today I’ll link to I Can See Right Through You – it starts out fragmented and jumping around and then settles down and then veers into something a little unexpected. Worth it… genius, really.

Read it here:

I Can See Right Through You by Kelly Link

from McSweeney’s

Kelly Link Homepage

Small Beer Press

Kelly Link’s Twitter

Short Story (100 words) Of the Day, After a Heartless Winter by Juliana Gray

An animal, I said, when the tiller turned up bones.

—-Juliana Gray, After a Heartless Winter

(click to enlarge)


Read it here:

After a Heartless Winter by Juliana Gray

from 100 Word Story

Short Story Of the Day, The Island at Noon by Julio Cortazar

The island was visible for a few minutes, but the air was always so clean, and it was outlined by the sea with such a minute cruelty that the smallest details were implacably adjusted to the memory of the preceding flight: the green spot of the headland to the north, the lead-grey houses, the nets drying on the sand. When the nets weren’t there, Marini felt as if he had been robbed, insulted.

—-Julio Cortazar, The Island at Noon

Reflecting pool, Art District, Dallas, Texas

I have flown in airplanes often for well over a half-century. But still, even now, I act like a curious little kid in that I like to sit in a window seat and stare out at the land passing beneath. I always wonder exactly where we are. When we cross the center of the country  I look at the shape of lakes, try and memorize them, so I can look them up on maps. I look for well-known rivers, and highways. If we go over the Rockies I look for familiar peaks. When we cross the ocean, like the protagonist of today’s story, I look for islands – again, memorizing their shape.

My favorite thing is to spot someplace I have been before, that I recognize, and that I enjoy seeing from a new, unique, angle. It makes me happy.

Read today’s story here:

The Island at Noon, by Julio Cortazar

from Electric Literature

Short Story (flash fiction) Of the Day, Filler by Ben Segal

I started with a matchbox of sugar. I told Ray, “I will fill one thing with something else every day this year.” I’d been doing nothing for too long and Ray was there for the smoothness of my lack. He was handsome, too, which I still like in a friend. He was tall and charming and on a stool. He drew a small circle in pencil and passed it to me. “You can start with this.”

—-Ben Segal, Filler

Deep Ellum

Many years ago I had a job interview scheduled. The company offered to put me up in a nice (if not luxurious) hotel. Even though the interview was in the same town I lived in, I accepted their offer of a room for a night. I thought to myself, “even if I don’t get the job – I’ll come out ahead one night in a hotel.” Usually I would be nervous and have a hard time sleeping the night before a job interview. Being in a room, that big comfy bed, paid by someone else – I slept like a rock.

Read it here:

Filler by Ben Segal



Short Story (flash fiction) Of the day, Bedside, by Dan Ryan

“Then I’m definitely going to let Ma find the glass menagerie on her own!” I cried, and stormed out of her house—cut deep by this future she’d imagined without me.

—-Dan Ryan, Bedside



It’s hard right now to not think about what you leave behind. I need to clean my office room (the dogs have been in the trash). And don’t forget, there is digital now. Would you be comfortable with the people that follow you scrutinizing your hard drives? Your tablet? Moving through the directories, guessing at the filenames.

So you could password protect the things. But then you think that when you are gone, so is everything you collected. And that might be more frightening.

Read it here:

Bedside, by Dan Ryan

from Electric Literature

Dan Ryan Twitter

Short Story (flash fiction) Of the Day, The Barracuda in the Pool by Cecilia Kennedy

I’m suddenly aware that I’m smiling. I’ve finally made it here, to summer—after such a long winter—and I’ve treated myself to a dip in the pool.

—-Cecilia Kennedy, The Barracuda in the Pool

Mural, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Good writing will bring back memories. Flash fiction can artificially extend its length and value that way – by tacking strong memories onto the end of the text itself.

Today’s flash fiction brings back a couple to me (maybe spoilers… maybe read the story first).

One was (maybe 1972) swimming inside the shark netting in the ocean at Fort Sherman (now long gone) on the Atlantic side of the Canal Zone. I remember the taste of salt, the sweltering heat, and the primordial green of the neighboring rain forest. There was a large active crowd in the water and I put on my mask and dipped my face below the surface to take a look. There was a barracuda, a big one, gliding smoothly between the writhing bodies. Minding his own business. He looked so streamlined, so powerful, so prehistoric… like something from another world. I felt embarrassed because I dared contaminate his ocean with my pitiful presence.

The second was… maybe two years later and 500 miles northwest of there, diving into a pool in a country club in Managua. I mistook the shallow end and plunged my face into the rough gunite bottom. It hurt but the worst was when I stood up. A young woman standing in the pool looked at my face and the gore pouring down and let out the most blood curdling movie scream I have heard in my life. I was ultimately fine, the worst wound was the sound of her voice and the terror on her face. That remains after a half century has passed.

Read it here:

The Barracuda in the Pool by Cecilia Kennedy

from Flash Fiction Magazine

by Cecilia Kennedy

Cecilia Kennedy Twitter

Short Story (flash fiction) Of the Day, Partition by Susan Carol

Here, in the Pink Zone, we are safe, but we are sad. Once a week carts arrive with provisions: rice, beans, tea. Sometimes there are fruits. Mangoes, apples, persimmons. The youngest of us rush at them as if to quench a longing for our fathers’ arrival.

—-Susan Carol, Partition

Ravens Drug Store, Oak Cliff

I keep reading about dystopia, refugees, or the end of the world. Should read about something happy – but it doesn’t read realistic right now.

Partition by Susan Carol

from Reflex Fiction

Short Story (Very Short Flash Fiction) Of the Day, “Give It Up!” by Franz Kafka

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”
― Franz Kafka

St. Vincent’s Guest House, New Orleans

Tough days – tired days – days where you are not sure what day it is or where you are or where you’re going or why you’re going you don’t know where. Franz Kafka days.

There are several translations of Give It Up! scattered in many places across the web. It’s so short, though, instead of a link I’ll past the whole thing in here – one abbreviated paragraph of despair.

“Give It Up!” by Franz Kafka

It was very early in the morning, the streets clean and deserted, I was walking to the station. As I compared the tower clock with my watch I realized that it was already much later than I had thought, I had to hurry, the shock of this discovery made me unsure of the way, I did not yet know my way very well in this town; luckily, a policeman was nearby, I ran up to him and breathlessly asked him the way. He smiled and said: “From me you want to know the way?” “Yes,” I said, “since I cannot find it myself.” “Give it up! Give it up,” he said, and turned away with a sudden jerk, like people who want to be alone with their laughter.