Dr. Mettels

“Dr. Mettels, as my great-great-grandfather told you when he was the chair of this committee, you have not discovered the cure for death!” said the current chair of the International Science Verification Committee. Dr. Mettels sighed. It would probably take another 85 years to...

Blessings

“Bless you,” the stranger said. “Take it back!” was my response, as I sniffed and wiped my nose on my sleeve. Her eyes widened. “What? Why?” Her disgust and disapproval at my rudeness danced in her eyes and voice. “It burns,” was all I...

The Language of Biology

Every tick of the clock reverberated throughout the vast lecture hall. The biology students stared blankly as the lecture dragged on—monotonous drivel about clinical study results. Post hoc, ad hoc, quid pro quo… Twenty minutes in, only the snores made sense, and the rumbling...

The Lie

Mary, terminally ill and delirious, opened her eyes slowly, looked at me and smiled when I called her name. “Is the bridge being built?” she asked feebly. I knew that the work was about to start. Mary used to ferry people across the river...

846

So many illusions died that day on the overpass. Looking down on the passing cars, he realized that UPS trucks aren’t brown on top. Ben Roth teaches writing and philosophy at Harvard. From: Nanoism...

847

The day before my grandmother died, I believed in snow, in its ability to cover all that is unkind in this world if only for a single night. Audra Coleman writes a little of this and a little of that in the mountains of...

844

I pretended to be asleep when we got home, so Dad would carry me up to bed. He knew, but carried me up anyway. Tom Velterop likes writing flash fiction and the beginnings of novels he never finishes. From: Nanoism...

845

A second date was fine. First Turing Test: inconclusive, but the pasta here was good, and she liked him anyway, and perhaps that was enough. Katherine Knight is watching the rain. She hides at @codaevermore. From: Nanoism...

840

The old man on the bench fed his bread to the geese because he couldn’t read the sign telling him not to. Elizabeth Moura lives in a converted factory in New England. From: Nanoism...

841

I let the call from my wife go to voicemail. It was seven, I should have finished at five. I should have finished a lot of things by now. Emma Wilson lives in Scotland where she researches, writes and drinks lots of tea. From:...

842

She liked to spot constellations. Soon after she closed her eyes, the stars went out, the phosphors around their plastic cores depleted. Xinwen Zhu (@xinwinner) is a biologist who generates too many fleeting thoughts and half-ideas. From: Nanoism...

839

My dad collects mugs. For years, everywhere he goes he swings by a gift shop for one. Today, we’re headed to LA and getting him a fourth. John Murphy is recently graduated and lives in Virginia. From: Nanoism...

Supply and Demand

Trading is difficult. Markets are changing constantly. To win you must predict everything. It pushes you to move fast: confidently, decisively. Competitors won’t spare you. What are their intentions? “I rolled 7! Everybody who has more than 7 resource cards should discard half.” What...

Piece of Cake

Sometimes we treat ourselves to Starbucks coffee, sitting outside to people watch. “You’re so inspiring, Mom, teaching me to fend for myself. My kids are driving me bananas! Growing up, you made it all look so easy.” “It will get better,” she insists, smiling...

848

We overwatered plants. We fixed un-broken furniture. Ours was nothing spectacular: small things died in the effort. Nicholas h Politan loves the man who whistles his dog back inside early each morning. From: Nanoism...

Last Words

We sat by dad’s deathbed, my sisters and I. He opened his eyes and stared at us with urgency. “You only ever got to know my shell,” he said. “Quick; I gotta show you!” Curious, we all leaned forward on our chairs and waited....

Full Circle

As an adventurous toddler, I was a little unsteady. Dad held my hand, guided me, protected me from falling. Fifty years later, he’s a little unsteady. I hold his hand, guide him, protect him from falling. He smiles at me, a grown woman to...

In The Beginning

‘If you think about it, everything has a beginning and an end,’ Raj declared out of the blue. Unlike Raj to philosophise thought Sabrina, intrigued, but while he was in the mood to initiate a debate she just had to encourage him. ‘Yes, but...

Upside Down

At the park, my daughter whines. Too hot, icky sunscreen, more juice. “Four-year-olds,” I say. “Not mine,” another mom says, her face smug. “We parent like gravity.” “Gravity?” Her daughter screams, dangling by one foot off the monkey bars. “You’re fine!” the mom yells....

The End of the Watch

By the Angsana tree I sit, waiting for her arrival, but reading becomes dreaming once the Angsana’s crown starts weaving a lullaby with the breeze. In dreams, gliding, she surpasses my wake and I, receding, cannot reach her pace. I awaken to remember that...

Clockwatching

My beeping alarm clock has a smiling face. I keep meaning to get another one because waking up to that’s starting to irritate me. I usually wake before the beeping starts, though, like my mind knows exactly when to send a message to my...

The Garden

In June, she was a vision. Straight, even rows of tiny, green shoots reaching toward the sun. In July, she blossomed from summer rains. A familiar anticipation began to set in. Then came August, and she was ripe with bounty. Now, the fruits of...

The Mettle of Life

Shutting off the television after another Stranger Things binge-watching session, she couldn’t help but feel nostalgic. Not for the terrifying, family destroying monsters portrayed. And indeed not the fashion. Bright geometric patterns and splatter paint? Good heavens, what were we thinking in the 80s?...

Salad Anyone?

‘The human body is 90% water, so basically we are just cucumbers with anxiety.’ Mine? I wish. It’s just the sort of thing I’d say, though. Like the startling thoughts and ideas that just come out all of their own accord, surprising even you?...

SPF

We lie around the pool, melting, burning, toasting, marinating. Nobody speaks, except for one woman berating her husband for not using sunscreen. Later the waiter tells us they’ve been coming to this same hotel for twenty years. Well, twenty-three if you count the years...

Sheapard’s Church

We wandered down the avenues of leaning stone, where whispered prayers floated up to the heavens. Where vanished souls of yesterday stood in heavy silence. Now the empty graveyard speaks in hollow tones, inhabited only by a ghostly wind or the beleaguered cry of...

Guy Time

Four, five times a year, Dad and I went on fishing trips. “Guy time,” he told my mother. There was more than fishing. At both motels and campgrounds, Dad often found female companions. I slept in the bathtub or truck. I disliked stabbing worms...

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