Short Story (flash fiction) of the Day – The Tired Day by Benjamin Woodward

And in an empty parking lot, Louis, a junkie, dropped his syringe before the heroin could enter his vein, saving his life, if only temporarily.

—-Benjamin Woodward, The Tired Day

Downtown Square, McKinney, Texas

 

Today we have very short piece of flash fiction –

The Tired Day by Benjamin Woodward

from Craft.

I enjoyed this simple little piece of unique fiction. Like all good flash fiction it asks many more questions than it answers. Maybe I liked it because I feel like that all the time.

The Author’s Note is interesting too – he talks of writer’s block and bringing abandoned work back to life.

Short Story of the Day, The 37, by Mary Miller

I was living in a city now, a city with many buses that could take you many places you might want to go and many places you would not want to go and I had to figure them out because I was afraid to drive for the same reasons and some additional ones: I didn’t know how to get to where I was going or where to park once I got there or if I’d have the right parking pass, if one was required, or whether the meters were active, if there were meters, and whether they took coins only.

—–Mary Miller, The 37

Downtown Dallas at Night, (Click to Enlarge)

Another Short Story available online:

The 37, by Mary Miller

From Joyland Magazine

The Author:

Mary Miller grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. She is the author of two collections of short stories, Big World (Short Flight/Long Drive Books, 2009), and Always Happy Hour (Liveright/Norton, 2017), as well as a novel, The Last Days of California (Liveright/Norton, 2014).

Her stories have appeared in the Oxford American, New Stories from the South, McSweeney’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, Mississippi Review, and many others. She is a former James A. Michener Fellow in Fiction at the University of Texas and John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at Ole Miss. She currently lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and is on faculty at the low-residency MFA program at Mississippi University for Women.

The Story:

A woman from Mississippi quits her PhD program and starts anew, alone, in Austin. A common story. It isn’t easy for her – transportation seems to be a particular monster.

I remember when I first moved to Dallas. I was about the same age, I suppose, as the narrator in the story… I never went to graduate school and had been working at a salt mine in Kansas for three years. This was 1981 – the economy was in the dumpster and the only place in the country where you could get a job was Texas.

I stayed with friends until I had enough money for an apartment. I moved into a cool, but extremely dated small apartment complex off of Lower Greenville (The Turtle Dove – it’s still there today). When I wasn’t on the road (Superfund toxic waste sites, chemical spills) I worked downtown. I rode the bus to work.

It was the Belmont #1 bus. Very easy to recognize. I could go to happy hour downtown (this was before the happy hour laws and they could offer three for one) and all I had to do was recognize the #1 bus and I was home. One evening I looked up as saw the Belmont #1 bus on its way. I looked down, fished my pass out of my wallet and made sure I had some punches left. When I looked up, the open door of the bus was right in front of me. I boarded and slumped into the seat.

Unfortunately, it was the wrong bus. Some other mystery bus had passed mine and stopped, with the number out of view overhead. By the time I realized it, I was somewhere in far East Dallas and I didn’t recognize anything. I waited for a while to see if it entered a familiar neighborhood but things kept getting sketchier and sketchier. I had no choice but to get off and wait at the stop across the street, going back the other way. This was decades before the internet and smart phones and definitely before Uber, and there wasn’t a pay phone in sight and it didn’t look like the kind of place I wanted to go exploring especially now that the sun was setting.

It took about an hour (which, of course, seemed like days) for a bus to come and take me back downtown. By then all the buses had stopped running and I had to find a pay phone and order a cab. Luckily, I had the cash on me.

From then on, I learned to be careful about the bus that I jumped on. You learn something every day.

Short Story of the Day – Three Friends in a Hammock by April Ayers Lawson

We lay in the hammock at the end of summer. The uncomfortable sense of feeling pressed into the body of my friend by the slope of the hammock was also very pleasurable. I hadn’t chosen to sit that close. She and I had slid into that position as we submitted to the physics of the hammock situation.

—-April Ayers Lawson, Three Friends in a Hammock

I have been very busy with some things I can’t write about… and that makes it tough to keep cranking these entries out. So today… an online short story. Read it at Granta here:

Three Friends in a Hammock by April Ayers Lawson

 

A well-written and finely crafted story about… well, three friends in a hammock. The dynamic of this troika is examined in detail. One of them (The one in the middle, of course) is best friends with the other two – though the other two were not best friends with each other and… “but I knew from day to day and even moment to moment alliances shifted. You can’t be equally close to two people at the same time.”

I enjoyed this story. However (well, not really however however, this may be why I liked the story so much), I have trouble relating to the characters in the story. They seem like alien life forms to me. They think too much. I feel the same way about people I see (either on TV or in real life) having long lunches during the week at sidewalk cafés. I mean I would really enjoy doing that – but who has the time? There are horrible disasters that have to be averted, Herculean tasks to be undertaken… how can you get away with spending your life at a sidewalk table gossiping with friends?

I feel more than a little jealousy towards the three friends in a hammock… though their lives are very far from perfect. They might not be spiraling into disaster, but they definitely are closer to that than they imagine.