flash glass 2015 anthology
We are pleased to present our first flashglass anthology! Comprised of all flash works originally published online at rowanglassworks.org in 2015, this anthology is available for online viewing, digital download, and for purchase in print.
Thanks to all our contributors for allowing us to present their work this year!
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Moura McGovern's work has appeared in journals such as BlazeVOX, Camera Obscura, the Chattahoochee Review and others. She has an MFA in creative writing from The Pennsylvania State University, where she taught writing for five years. She works as an editor.
Cheryl's mother didn't call her. Instead she sent an email. Cheryl didn't know her mother emailed. Did she buy a computer? Probably went to the library. Cheryl closed her eyes and imagined the endless line at the library while her mother demanded the librarian's attention, taking up the allocated time of two or three people, just to get what she wanted. Her mother always got what she wanted. Cheryl could see it now.
The subject of the email was This is from your mother. Looking back, it was worse than any virus, worse than any malware a Korean psychopath could have dreamed up.
Your father, said the email, is back in my life. After fifty years! Do you believe it! The wedding's Saturday at noon. St. Christopher's. Hope you can make it. Love, Mom
Cheryl was sixty years old. The last time she saw her father she was ten. They were in the kitchen of the only house Cheryl ever lived in. White shutters. Blue paint. A calendar with kittens on the wall. She remembered her mother crying, her father screaming, chairs being upended. A vase with limp flowers crashed to the floor. Cheryl hid in the corner with the cat. Then the front door slammed shut and he was gone.
Every day when she came home from school she expected him back. She'd walk from the bus stop hoping and not hoping, fearing and not fearing her father's return. Past the O'Malley's house. Then the Lopez's. Looping the corner she'd swipe her hand over the big blue mailbox. Then she'd kick a pebble and watch the pebble bump along the sidewalk. Right. Left. Stop. Then again. Right. Left. Stop. Finally lifting her head and seeing the empty driveway, relieved and not relieved at the same time.
For fifty years not a birthday card, not a Christmas present. Her father's name became a curse word. If the disposal was clogged, he was the grit in the drain. He was the misplaced key, the swallowed pit, the filthy puddle that ruined their shoes. The incubus. The bogeyman. He was bad luck in a suit.
A year went by. They moved to the apartment on Kendall-who could afford a house-and lived paycheck to paycheck. Her mother went back to the community college and learned bookkeeping. Each night when she came home her lipstick was smeared, a button undone. The boss had me stay late, she told Cheryl. Each year a different boss.
As soon as she could, Cheryl got her own apartment. She adopted a cat. She wallpapered the kitchen. She bought fresh flowers and placed them in a vase. But like the pattern on the walls, her life repeated itself. Cat. Flowers. Tears. Cat. Flowers. Tears. When her children were born, she told them that their fathers were dead. It was kinder that way. They could skip the sidewalks unencumbered, their chins high.
Glad to know you're happy.
Then she pressed delete.
Thief! - by Chase White
Sid slid through the crowd ‐ over the dirt path of the market ‐ with a girl he had by the arm.
First, to find a sucker. The new mother with a loose grip on her clutch. The target wore a flower‐print dress and wicker sandals. She was begging for it. Practically, she wasn’t the beggar.She was the new mother. Old bag with a new clutch.
He made off with it. Initials were printed in gold color on the faux leather, hers along with the initials of some romantic type; N.M. + R.T. Inside the clutch were two fives.
Sid handed one to the girl. He took another and said, “we’ll split this one,” before he tore it in half.
Now to the table where there sat some know‐it‐all type with ratty books for sale. Sid wanted the biggest one. Sid inquired. He talked the man down because the book was so ratty. “Those stories have been retold often,” the know‐it‐all said. Sid knocked over the whole stack, and offered to help the man collect them. He then stole the ratty old book ‐ Arabian Nights ‐ and left.
“What’s that for?” the girl asked.
“You like makeup?” Sid asked as they walked by the Mary Kay lady. He dropped vanishing cream into the clutch the the girl now carried.
An officer, with three missing item descriptions and two suspects, attracted Sid’s attention. “Show time,” Sid said. He lit a match and held it to the book. It caught and was tossed in the trash. The law man became the fire man.
The girl’s parents found their daughter, and asked about her accessories. The girl turned to Sid, who slipped away just in time. Sid sauntered toward home and casually flipped a classical Greek coin he had made disappear.
From between two chicken shacks a jewelry maker called to Sid. “I can tell that you are a man of taste.” She wanted to know what he thought of her work. “Too easy,” he thought. His fingers grazed over the jewels. He dropped the largest stone into his sleeve.
The jewelry maker grabbed his hand and turned it palm‐up. He laughed, there was nothing there, but she worked her bony finger in his hand and then said to him, “You’re playing the part, don’t you see.”
“We are all predestined for something. I was compelled to read your place in our story.”
“Are you supposed to be some fortune‐teller? You want a quarter?”
“What are you supposed to be, young man?”
“I know you by a less dynamic title. You rely on your hands. In the fingers you are dealt luck, in the palm, destiny. You are not free to choose what you take. You must take these things.Your part in the story is necessary.”
“You sound like a hack to me! A story‐teller, not a fortune‐teller.”
“This isn't for you to interpret. You are not a hero in this old story, thief."
The Son - by Kevin O'Connor
Rich stood by the tree, his hand gripped to the high end of the trunk. His gray tennis shoe balanced on the shoulder of the shovel’s blade, its face stabbed between roots. His father Stanley labored beside him, bent forward at a right angle, his shovel held in both hands childishly close to the business end. He sliced the metal through the dirt, the repetition like the sound of the earth breathing.
“I asked you out here to help me.” Stanley complained.
“You asked me nothing.” Rich said, letting his shoe leave the shovel and plant onto the dirt. “I came out here to make sure you don't wander off into the street.”
Stanley stopped his digging. Still bent over, he looked up to his son caught in an absent glare.
“I’m not the one always lost in space.” Stanley started. “I’ve known this home since I was a child. Hell, it’s why I’m digging.”
“You’re digging because you’ve grown senile and you need something to fill the gap.”
Stanley went back to his work. The shovel only picked up enough dirt to fill a sandwich bag, but piled on the patchy grass near the sidewalk, he had himself a mound calf-high.
“My father bought this place when I was three years old.” Stanley began.
“I know. I know. Bought it before the town had a single stoplight. Bought it before Main was Main and before the factories came and went. Everyone made fun, until LIFE magazine named it a top 25 town to raise a family. Way back in ‘63”
“Right around the time you were coming up.” Stanley added.
“We lived in Fresno then, pop.”
The shovel stopped and Stanley shrugged. “Guess so.”
“You know pop, you still live here, and the neighbors are going to wonder what you’re doing.”
“That’s why I thought you’d help. It’d go a lot faster if there were two shovels moving.” He stopped his work and clanked his shovel against his son’s.
Rich lifted the blade from its shallow earthen pocket and stabbed it between roots on the other side of the tree.
“When I hid them,” Stanley started. “I thought of it as a game, but as time passed, it became an investment. You’ll be shocked, boy-o. Some as big as quail eggs.”
Rich sighed. “There are no diamonds, dad. It’s a false memory, or a dream masked as memory. Regardless, there’s nothing to dig up, just the tree and its roots.”
Stanley stopped his shovel and stood almost strait. “You don’t know. You think you do, but you don't.”
Rich stood silent.
Stanley eyed him aggressively. “I buried them.” He shouted, pinning his thumb his chest. “I buried them, and they’re here.” He lifted the shovel and stuck the blade downward with all his might and struck a root. The reverberation sprung his rickety hand open and widened his eyes. The shovel fell from his hand, its wood shaft bounced to rest on the sidewalk. Stanley’s head trembled staring through his son at his pain. Tears filled his eyes.
Rich bent down to pick up the shovel.
“Leave it.” Stanley snapped, freezing Rich mid crouch. “Don't help me, if you’re not going to help me.”
Stanley clenched his hand into a fist before opening it slowly, repeating the act until the movement settled the pain.
A child works fiendishly on all fours. He has stolen a gardening shovel from the garage. If his father catches him, he’ll get the belt. His seven-year-old hand grips half of the tree trunk he works under. His father told him that he and the tree will grow together, but the tree seems so big already, the boy can’t imagine how he’ll catch up. He turns the garden shovel around in his hand, lifts it up over his head and begins stabbing the earth again and again, forming soft clots of dirt before tossing the little shovel aside and using his hands to form a round cradle for the diamonds.
Two Dogs - by Joel Wayne
“I never sit when I can lie. I never walk when I can run.”
This from the man who uses an upturned putter for a cane. But the trooper ignores him and swings his flashlight from the backseat to me, waiting.
“He has a bad back,” I explain, blinking in the belt of light.
“Any whiskey tonight?” the trooper says.
“My father,” I say. “A few. Earlier. Not in the car. We were just...”
“I got an award tonight, a medal,” Dad calls from the backseat, Pendleton blanket draped over his legs. “Hey. Why can’t he hear me?”
“Just make sure he’s buckled,” the trooper says, returning my license. “Go home, chief.”
Up goes the window. The trooper’s headlights disappear into the night and we’re alone again, freshly debased. Two dogs tossed in their own shit. I finger the key but don’t pull onto the road yet. My throat burns with something sour and grimy, a familiar taste – god, is it embarrassment? – and I feel ashamed.
“Ho,” Dad coos. “I might as well be a little boy again.”
This from the man who cracked his spine in Saipan, who grinded knives before returning to school at 42, who put his grandkids through college, who buried wives, a brother, children.
“Forget him,” I say and pass back the bottle hidden under the seat.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cats Flowers Tears
Denise Mostacci Sklar
Edge Of One Place Edge Of Another
If They Sparkle And You Believe
Letters No Address
Stone Heavy And Immaculate
Cover Image: "Spots"
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