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Latest Stories

September 28, 2022
Poetry Paweł Markiewicz

Autumnal Sonnet

The mist heralds a dreamy, tender Apollonian dawn. I philosophize about wings of hawk or king – sparrow. In amazing grove at the Blue Hours – was born here a fawn. You should adore as well as praise charm such a moony morn. The beauty of world is indeed so…
September 28, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series, Chapter 3: Friendships

The Skirmish - 1991 This was the place to be in the city of Shortland. Anyone who wanted to be someone was there, as was the someone who was known by everyone too. It was a gorgeous hot summer afternoon, on a Sunday. The pub garden was huge, and scattered…
September 28, 2022
Poetry Paweł Markiewicz

Flower-Like Sonnet

I cherish the dreamy crocus. I love the moony cornflower. I make love to bemused cactus. I affect dreamed daffodil. You are fond of vague elder. You love back a misty dahlia. You dote on languorous heather. You idolize the faint freesia. We prize hazy…
September 28, 2022
Flash Fiction NT Franklin

Smitty Gets Away

Smitty was where he wasn’t supposed to be and saw it all. Diamond Bill and two of his goons roughed up a fella, but it was the boss that shot the fella once in the head and twice in the chest. It was at that time he stopped trying to pry open the back door to…
September 28, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series, Chapter 14: The Proposition

February 2004 Jason was very tempted to go to the ladyboy bar, named 'Jenny's'. The music was always very good, a buzzing crowd, and some stunning looking lady boy's were there as well. He looked up and saw a load of girl's, well men, dancing on poles and…
September 28, 2022
Poetry Paweł Markiewicz

The Flower-Like Second Sonnet

I conceive the brilliant lilac. I build admirable holly. I design pleasant marigold. I constitute pleasing lily. You devise outstanding iris. You discover awesome poppy. You establish fine orchid. You forge an amazing pansy. She forms surprising peony. She…
September 25, 2022
Fantasy Stories Peter Greenhall

Energy, Volume II

Summer 1992 "Mummy, when I see Graham Alexander play football, I see fire inside his stomach. It burns really brightly, it's very nice to see". Hilary could see her daughter picture the image in her mind, completely fascinated by what she had witnessed…
September 25, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series, Chapter 2: The Brookies

September 2000 JJ entered Angie's bar to meet his potential new supplier, in an area of Brookbourne he'd never been to before, called Rippon. He was confident his connection to this guy was safe so he wasn't nervous about the person being an informer, or…
September 25, 2022
General Stories Lawrence Hartmann

God: A Dating App Adventure

“I won’t be hard to miss,” He had said on the phone. Well, He was right. When I got to our assigned meeting place – a Burger King on the outskirts of town – I could see Him from the parking lot: this incredibly bright, white light, there in the corner of the…
September 20, 2022
Poetry Peter Greenhall

Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. RIP.

As you lay you to rest, in your final state, Westminster, UK, The World, Demonstrate, Your purpose, Your sense of duty, Was clear to see, Let's not forget, your family As time ticks towards the eleventh hour of the day, The funeral, The service, Melancholy. A…
September 20, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series: Chapter 8. Stamping Authority

 This was it, it was now or never. He knew this day was coming, he'd have to fight 'Big Ryan', the guy everyone said couldn't be beat. They all walked out of his apartment, all serious faced, not knowing if the fight would spill over and some of 'Big Ryan's'…
September 20, 2022
Flash Fiction Ava

Emotional Unstable

IS THERE ANY PLACE THAT I CAN STUDY IN? “Breakfast time.” White toasts with a slice of cucumber, a slice of tomato, half spoon of orange marmalade and a vegan sausage. A boiled egg. Granola with yoghurt with granola with yoghurt with corn flakes. A glass of…

I was so desperate I took a job attending funerals. It’s not as goulash as it sounds. I would open and lock up the church after the funeral. In between, the minister would officiate and comfort the family, but he couldn’t be expected to arrive a couple of hours before the funeral and stay an hour or two after. I was usually there five hours. The pay was decent enough.

The saying is that dead men tell no tales, but they do; and those who attend their funerals tell even more. The departed and the attendees tell everything. His obituary will say he was a faithful husband, but why is his girlfriend sitting on the aisle across from the wife? If he was such a loving father why didn’t his oldest daughter show up, and why doesn’t someone mention her name? If he was such a good husband, why is his wife nearly dancing a jig? I think she killed him. She has the look of someone who has been relived of a burden.

Family and friends, they try to put the best face on the corpse, but I can see it – he, or she, lies right there for all to see; to examine if his illness or age wore away his strength and vitality like his weight. Gaunt faces; sunken eyes; drawn lips, even before they were sown together. Old wrinkled fingers that squeezed pennies or let opportunities slip away.

People want to talk at funerals, especially to someone who doesn’t know. That way they can share it as news to a stranger instead of the gossip it would be to a family member or friend; and if you judge, so what? You’re just some guy waiting for the punch to give out so that the family will go home, never to be seen again. One person tells you the departed’s every accomplishment, but, sooner or later, someone else tells you his faults – maybe not directly, but they will tell. The particulars about the dead are like advertisements for houses, there is far more there than is revealed and the truth is concealed between the lines. She loved children because she had none, and that was because she couldn’t conceive; he riled against abortions because the one he forced a girlfriend to have so long ago still haunted him; he gave generously to good causes but cheated his partner and stole the business; she loved life, but committed suicide; he will be buried beside a wife he was forced to have instead of the man he loved. They will share a headstone the size of a small northern state: beloved wife; beloved husband, it says.

I’m afraid for my own funeral. Not because I’ll be dead, but because all my secrets will be revealed to the stranger sitting in the back of the room waiting to wash out the punch bowl. Who does he think he is?

THE END

Jamie C. Ruff is a former reporter, native of Greensboro, NC, and author of three e-books, the western “Colby Black: from Slave to Cowboy,” the contemporary tale of camaraderie and personal conflict “Reinventing the Uninvented Me,” and the coming of age story “The Peculiar Friendship.” All are available for download at Amazon.com.

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