Tracking A Nomad

This was my entry for the weekly Flash! Friday competition. The picture below was the prompt and the special challenge was a “missed deadline” to be incorporated somewhere in the story. As always, max word usage is 160. My story received a special mention for “use of language.”

mill-creek-watershedThey were getting close. Boots pulverizing snow. Lungs heaving consumed oxygen. Their grave pleas screaming at the white expanse, thunderous and primal. I kept silent and extinguished the small fire with a kick of dirt and slithered further into the cave. A chameleon the hue of rock and shadow.

There was no arbitrary deadline when hunting me down. Night would kill day but they kept searching, always locating me at some hideaway that wasn’t our home. My urge to vanish never diminished, nor did their prowess at rooting me out.

As they veered north, away from me, relief washed over me. Undiscovered and autonomous. I cherished and loved them but the father of their youth was gone. Dissolved. Solitude was my family now, my mute companion. I craved the quiet like a hungry vein begs for the sweet needle.

A faint echo of “Dad” bounced off the mountains and filtered into the cave. The arduous process of forgetting began. Again.

The Listerine Man

Wisp Of Smoke:

A big thanks to Ian Chung and Eunoia Review for publishing my story The Listerine Man. It was a dark time in my life but I felt it was important to share my story to shine a spotlight on homelessness. Plus, writing about my past has proved to be cathartic.

Originally posted on Eunoia Review:

He sat down at my table. More accurately, he crumbled into the booth, a disheveled mess of a man. I glanced up at him with fire in my eyes, a contemptuous look that I didn’t attempt to hide. He peered back at me with the eyes of a lifelong drinker: bloodshot, watery and blank. If the eyes are the portal into a man’s soul, then this guy had quit on life decades ago, alcohol and homelessness snuffing out his essence. I felt no sympathy for him. My icy constitution won’t be swayed by a vagabond who seems to share the DNA sequence of a wild dog. He sat at my table. I didn’t want him there.

McDonald’s is a homeless person’s mecca. Flat screen TVs tuned to ESPN, cheap coffee with free refills, warm air circulating throughout, a place to sit somewhat comfortably. I spent a lot of time there…

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Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 13: WINNERS!

Wisp Of Smoke:

Some really great stories this week and to get an honorable mention is pretty special. Amazing job by all the writers.

Originally posted on Flash! Friday:

It’s time to say thanks & farewell Her Extreme Judginess M. T. Decker . If I were more awake I would wax eloquent for several paragraphs on the depths and sparkliness of our gratitude. But rest easy, dear ones–I am not awake, which means you will only be compelled to read a few short lines: THANK YOU, Mary, for your time and dedication. What a blast it’s been having you aboard the FF judgeship. Thank you, thank you!


Judge M. T. Decker says: Wow!  What a long strange trip it’s been. When I signed on as a judge, I had no idea how much work I would need to put in, and no idea how much I would learn in the process.  I am, as always, amazed and humbled by the work, the art you all have created here, and if I have one regret it’s that…

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Here Comes The Orange

I want to to thank Victor Rohm, editor of Not Your Eyes literary journal, based in London, for publishing my story “Here Comes The Orange.” A glimpse into my gambling addicted past, this piece of nonfiction is important to me and I am glad it found a home. Here is the link if you want to take a look

Volume 4, Issue 22

Wisp Of Smoke:

An online magazine with some attitude? Yes, please. Check it out and let the dark and odd stories consume your soul.

Originally posted on The Molotov Cocktail:


Come for the siren song, stay for the tentacles.

Issue 4.22 will lure you in with offbeat flash pieces from three first-time contributors. We’ve got scarecrows stalking your sanity, the paranoia of nosy neighbors, and the kind of unrequited love that rips hearts from chests.

Only two more issues left in Volume 4. Make ‘em count and get your dark and offbeat flash submitted, if you know what’s good for ya.

I knew a lady who came from Duluth,
Josh Goller


by Joyce Chong

Moving Day

by Debra Levy

Check the Fridge

by Chris Milam

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Check The Fridge

This story of mine was first published here It’s an honor and a privelage to be published by the Molotov Cocktail.

There’s congealed blood in the grout between the ceramic tiles. I grab an old tooth-brush and start scouring. That’s one benefit of having dentures, scrubbing grout with an unneeded device.

I glance in the mirror. It tells me that my Abercrombie and Fitch T-shirt is drenched in blood. Damn. Need quarters for the laundromat.

Grab the bottle of bleach and go to work on turning my sink from its current reddish-brown back to it’s more proper sheen of dull-white.

Make a pot of coffee. Inhale a blueberry bagel with a smear of artificial butter on top. Still famished. Put a tablespoon of sugar in the cup, kill it in two gulps. There’s a note on kitchen table.

“Dear Psycho, I’ve moved on, so should you. Don’t send me anymore syrupy poems or pathetic mixed CD’s. No more texts about true love and fate. It’s over, Josh. It’s been over for a while. Check the fridge.”

Olivia. Memories forming. Fragments. Snippets of conversation.

“Just give me the box of clothes, Josh. I don’t have time for your woe-is-me shit. You need to grow-up.”

“I’ll do it, I swear to God, Olivia. You know I will. Please stay just five minutes or five years and we can hash this out. I love you. I can’t unlove you, baby. It ain’t that simple.”

“Really? I unloved you as soon as Brandon glanced my way. It wasn’t hard at all, you should try it. Or don’t, I don’t care, just leave me alone.”

The box is gone. She’s gone. Phone vibrates. Lance.

“How’d it go with Olivia, last night?”

“It’s still a bit hazy. Blood everywhere, an incendiary note. My body feels like I just finished a month on an oil rig. I’m spent, man”

“Not again, dude. Seriously? There are other women out there, Josh. This getting out of hand. She’s not worth it, eventually this won’t end well.”

“I’m caked in blood again, I wouldn’t call that a good ending. There’s no replacing Olivia, my love is her tenant, her prisoner.”

“No, your love is unrequited. You need the fishing filament, I assume?”

“Yes. Or the dental floss, either or. Thanks. See you shortly.”

I shuffle over to the fridge. Grab the Tupperware bowl sitting next to the skim milk. Snag the block of Colby cheese, my stomach is groveling like a vagrant fiending for a cigarette.

Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 leaking from the stereo. I wonder if Bono has cured worldwide poverty yet. Or if he wears retro sunglasses when sleeps with his wife. Probably.

A gentle knock on the door. Lance.

“You ruined a cool shirt, man. Maybe next time go with a NASCAR one or go shirtless. Just a thought.”

He hands me a small brown paper bag.

“You’re a sage, Lance. I’ll call you later.”

Turn the stereo off and the TV on. Pawn Stars. Degenerate gamblers selling off family heirlooms for another shot at the poker table. Sentimentality trumped by the allure of catching a flush on the river.

Plop down on the couch. Rip off a hunk of cheese and let my new teeth tentatively perform their only duty, chewing. Last nights conversation becoming more clear.

“Rip your own heart out, Josh. I’m not impressed. You could have just treated me better. A bouquet of tulips, cook me some scallops. Make love to me face to face occasionally. But this? I’ll just stick with Brandon and his gentle spirit”

“How are you not impressed? Would your new man have the courage to do what I have done? Love is about sacrifice. I’ve clearly met that threshold in the past. As I will again, tonight. I’ll keep doing it until your finger wears metal.”

I empty out the brown bag. Grab the needle and start threading it with the dental floss. Pop the lid on the Tupperware bowl. Lift out the fatigued muscle inside.

Desperate knuckles landing blows on my door. Jerry from across the hall. He’s wearing crocs, I let it slide. His shirt is a bloody Rorschach image.

“I told her it was my declaration of love. A statement of pain tolerance. She just yawned and left anyway. Left a note telling me to check the fridge. You have any fishing filament left, Josh?”

“Come on in, man. Let’s get you stitched up.”