#ThursThreads, week 505


Johnny got out of the car, tipping side to side as his non-articulated legs were moved as if he was walking. He leaned back at an impossible angle and said in an exaggeratedly-gravelly voice, “Well, it’s all uphill from here, Martha.”

Martha bounced out of the car, the spring where her legs could have been twanging softly. “The road ahead looks rough. It’s squishy and I fear the wheels will get tangled in the tall grass.” Her voice was squeaky and high.

“Nothing can stop us, honey! We’re intrepid explorers, and we mean to conquer this mountain, even though it’s the tallest in the world!”

(Under its breath, the mountain said, “I think that’s an exaggeration there, Johnny.”)

Johnny and Martha ambulated in their awkward ways back to the car. In the back seat of their Explorer Mobile were their friends – Roary the Lion, Giggles the Clown, and a penny.

“Vroom vroom!” went the engine.

“Let’s go!” roared Roary.

“Nothing can stop us, we’re intrepid!” cried Martha, and the car started zooming up the mountain.

(The mountain giggled. “Hey, that tickles!”)

The car jiggled up and down, and Johnny called out. “It’s an earthquake! Everyone hold on!” Everyone did – except for the penny. It bounced out and rolled away under the couch, lost forevermore.

“Ki-ids! Time for dinner!”

Johnny and Martha looked at each other. “I guess we’re camping here tonight.” Then footsteps, like a heard of rhinos.

(The mountain sighed. “Can someone bring me a plate?”)


The Mid-Year Solstice Project


Hello all! It’s been a long couple/few/many years around the world, and it’s time to do a little something fun and creative.

For anyone who’s seen their creative work published, you know what a thrill it is to open that book or journal or see a print and know that you made that. Before, that didn’t exist, and now it does, and you’ve added a little something of yourself to the world. When I started writing flash fiction, my excitement was spurred along by seeing my work in print, and I want to share that feeling.

I don’t have a catchy name for it yet, and I need to find a co-editor to help me put it all together, but consider this the official request for submissions for the “To-Be-Named-Later-Solstice-Collection-Of-Fun-Things.”

What you can submit: Anything that will look good rendered in black and white on the printed page – non-fiction, fiction, artwork – whatever your muse tells you to create.

Length: Written works should be no more than 1000 words. That should be about three pages. Artwork should be no longer – so a series of comics that takes up three pages would work.

Theme: The solstice. Whether it’s the summer or winter solstice for you, whether you see it as a time of magic or a very long, hot day, whether you’re hiding in the dark or dancing in the moonlight, there’s something about the longest/shortest periods of sunlight in a single day that captures the imagination. What you do with the theme is up to you.

Audience: Let’s aim for the PG/PG-13 realm here. What does that mean? Here’s the best way I can put it. When Disney+ released the film version of “Hamilton,” it had to fit company standards. In that case, it meant that they could use the f-word twice, but not three times, and it’s a story with murder, infidelity, and heartbreak in it. So kinda that – it can be dark, or have adult themes, but just keep it to a dull roar.

Submission deadline: June 21, 2022. If you’re almost done and something comes up and you need a little extra time, just ask. Late penalties are stupid.

Submission process: email your work to – put “Solstice Submission” in the subject line. Written works should be submitted in an editable form (not editing for content, although the teacher in me may reach out to see if you want a typo fixed or something) so that we can fit everything in the book. Also include a short bio/how you can be found online, if you want.

This request is for donated work – creators will not be paid for their submissions. Any proceeds from the book will go to help the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We may not be able to help the millions of people violently being displaced from their homes very much, but we can do something, at least.

If you have any questions, reach out. And please share this with anyone in your circles who you think might have something to contribute.


#ThursThreads, week 504


Noddy’s webbed feet slapped across the wet pavement, marching her way through the parking lot outside the 7-11. She had to hop up and down a couple of times to get the sensor to recognize her, but eventually the door opened and she waddled in.

Kevin was working behind the counter, and she scowled at him, at least as much as one could scowl with a beak.

Fucking Kevin.

He smiled at her, a hopeful but pathetic look in his eyes. “Hey – hey, Noddy. Stopping in for an Icee?”
Noddy raised her wing to him. Funny how hard it was to flip someone the bird as a bird. “None of your business, Keee-vin.”

He came around the counter, a single red rose in his hand. “I swear it’s not my fault. I love you, baby. I didn’t mean to miss the wedding.”

“Kevin, you doofus. That’s a pair of crotchless panties made to look like a rose. You think those would look good on my fine, feathered ass?”

He blushed and hid the offending item behind his back. “I-“

Noddy waddled over to him and pecked his shin with her beak. “I don’t care about the underwear.”

“I know. I’m so sorry.”

“Do you know how foolish I looked out there, alone, in that dress, surrounded by your family and my family and about fifty snickering squirrels?”

She pecked at him again.

“I’ll bet you looked beautiful.” There were tears in his eyes now.

“You’re goddamned right I looked beautiful.”


#SwiftFicFriday – Week 114 


The fireplace popped; an orange burst refracting through the brown in my glass. I was three drinks in – or four – but the answers still weren’t coming.

The shape on the couch snored softly, a mess of hair poking out from a blanket. I’d taken him from his home. He came willingly, trusting through fear that I would protect him in this new world. But he’ll wake up and his mom won’t be here and his dad won’t be here and this won’t be his bedroom. What will he say then? Will he cry? Will he pretend that it’s okay to try to please me?

What will I do then?

I can’t stay in this room any more than he can. For one thing, it isn’t real. It’s a refuge that I can escape to – and apparently can bring this kid to – but it’s transient. If I blink, I can see the world around me, what most would call the real world.

I’m trying not to blink.

My chest tightened at the thought of what happens to him when the life I’m actually living intrudes as it inevitably will. I’ll go back to my job and house and family, and those are good things, even when the world around them is a nightmare. But where will he go? Will he go back home, to a life where he can’t remember the last time when he felt safe? I told him that it can get better, that it will get better, but will that be enough? He’ll have to go back to the dark places that we grew up in, and my words are just words.

I looked again at my younger self and took another drink. He has no one to protect him except me, and none of this is real.


#ThursThreads, week 503


I cannot see her. But I can smell her, her perfume, her shampoo, her arousal. I can hear her, her bare feet slowly stepping across the carpeted floor. I cannot feel her. But I can feel the blindfold she put on me, a little too tight, and the restraints she attached to my wrists and ankles, a lot too tight.

There was a time I would have begged her to release me. There was a time I would have begged her to chain me up. All I wanted now was the end, though I did not deserve it.

I cannot taste her. But whatever she’d drugged me with to get me here left a sour taste in my mouth and an erection so powerful it hurt.

This had once been a game to her, watching me follow along like a puppy dog at her heels, letting me catch just a glimpse of forbidden skin or feel her breath, hot against my ear, just enough to make me think that someday, if I played my cards right…

But I’d run out of cards, and all that I had left was my inadequacy. I wasn’t too inadequate to cut the brake lines in her husband’s car, though.

She knew it was me as soon as she saw my face, and she slapped me. Then she drugged me.

I can feel her on the bed with me, mounting me.

I cannot see her, but I know that she is smiling.


#ThursThreads, week 502

Catching up…


The car ride was only five hours, but it felt like 500. In this part of the country, the only radio stations were shit-kickin’ country or God’ll kick the shit out of you, and I was in the mood for neither.

I don’t know that Cassie would have heard anything, even if there was a live band in the back seat. She was staring out the window at nothing – it was a cloudy night – and every so often muttering the only word she said these days. “Why.”

It was more a statement than a question for her, but no one knew what had happened to her to cause her brain to go haywire. She left for school one morning, a chatty, smarter-than-the-world sophomore, and then we got the call from the hospital. Physically, she was unhurt, there are other ways to get hurt.
We’d tried everything the local docs could think of, but every day we heard her telling us “Why” over and over. She’d move when instructed, and she’d swallow if you put food in her mouth, but the rest of her was gone.

The text I’d gotten – from a blocked number – had simply read “Bring Cassie. I can tell you why.” The address it gave was in central nowhere, but after years of trying, a random straw was worth grasping.

The gravel crunched under our tires as we pulled into the drive. As the headlights illuminated the featureless stone building, Cassie uttered her last “Why.”

“Are we here?”


#ThursThreads, week 501

Catching up from the last couple of weeks…

“You gotta shut them up, Tommy! Those dogs wake your momma up and no cookies for you tonight!”

I sure as heck didn’t want to miss out on grandma’s triple-chocolate-with-extra-chocolate cookies, so I grabbed the leashes off the doorknob and went outside. It was cold and the sun had just come up over the horizon, but the dogs didn’t mind. They were barking up a storm at a squirrel or raccoon or shadow. Who knew with these two?

“Monkey! Goldfish! C’mere!” Why we’d let my little sister name the dogs when she was only three, I had no idea, but they came running over to me as usual when I called.

They about tore my arm off at the shoulder as they dragged me to the dog park, and it didn’t take that long to get there.

We weren’t the first ones at the park this morning – Janie was here with her three mutts, and she smiled when she saw me. “I was hoping you’d be here today.”

“R-Really?” I wondered if my cheeks were red enough from the cold to hide my blush.

She laughed. It was a very nice laugh. “My dogs love playing with yours, so it’s nice that they get this treat today.”

I laughed too. “Yeah, they do look like they’re having fun, don’t they?”

“They do.” Janie reached into her pocket and pulled out a small, wrapped box. Now it was her turn to blush. “Merry Christmas, Tommy.”