Short Shorts

Wow, San Antonio writers sent in some excellent submissions this month. The stories I’ve included here are about revelations — at least for the reader. Some of these characters realize things too late, or can’t make heads or tails of them, but we can. Loss and absence, ironically, make appearances in places people least expect. 

Keep submitting those stories to [email protected]. Remember, the limit is 500 words, but I’m really looking for stories around 250 words. As always, enjoy, and I look forward to reading more of your writing in March. — Lyle Rosdahl

At the Office

by Michael Veliz

Sure, it was funny at first. Everyone raced to the window of the second floor to see the bird on the ledge. It fluttered, cawed, and pecked at the window. It was surprisingly large for a raven. But there was something odd about its behavior. It was as if it was delusional or instinctually unstable. Someone tapped on the window and it flew off. Everyone joked that it was a bad omen.

But as she sat there, she reflected on the comment that she had made the day before to coworkers. She said that she was happy getting married, but that she had difficulty at first explaining it to her kids. She laughed when she said, he’s dead OK, I can have another husband now. ’Til death do us part, remember? Her kids eventually warmed up to the idea, she said. But when she saw the eye of the raven when it had turned its head to peer inside, she saw a sadness, a despondency that only a deep loss that is created by love can define. And she felt ashamed.  

you wake up

by Roni Castaneda

The man mowing the grass is not a man, but a red-back gorilla wearing a baseball cap and an A-shirt. He isn’t even mowing, but chopping shapes into green with a dozuki hand saw. Song 2, “Velveteen Purr,” is not on repeat, but skipping on two words; plush tigers. Your window is gone, but the bars are still there. Rent is due tomorrow.

you wake up

Her things are gone. Even the gifts, like the Sandy Koufax baseball cards she traded her class ring for and then gift-wrapped in pantyhose. She won’t sell the cards. She’ll trade them again for books, like Tropic of Cancer and A Spy in the House of Love, and read them aloud to the next professor she tries to confront in bed. She even cut herself out of our picture together on the fridge. That is childish. She took her mess, her questions about Nietzsche and Chomsky, and her all together wrong understanding of laissez-faire. She took her honest opinion of my poetry. “I think it is limp.”

you wake up

In a field behind a bar. You stroll past schools of pecans and crunching soda cans. You think the sky looks like a laminated sheet of stationery, the wind smells like construction paper. You look for the tower and walk that way into a public library and read about Sagittarius A*, the limpets clinging radula and Sulu’s bleeding heart. 

you wake up

I look like hell. I’ve always looked like hell. I can’t walk out looking like this. Everything is pushing through the first hour of wind. Yeah, then? Everything is pushing through the first hour of wind; the leaves break ahead of morning goodbyes. I really can’t walk out looking like this. There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.•


by Tomas Toro

He had made it a habit to take off his wedding ring before undressing completely.  Rather than leave it on the nightstand, he hid it in a shoe, so as not to leave it behind.

Erica thought the whole idea was absurd, but allowed him the moment. If removing the ring made him feel better about doing what he was doing, why not, what harm could it do? After all, he had hid her all this time, and no one was getting hurt. 

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