Category Archives: Fiction

A House at the End of the Street by Jordy Lynch

Lewis Arnold had always hated his father’s name. Not his father. No other trait of his ever bothered Lewis; just his name, which in most cases is decided by forces distant to the person who is to don said name. Lewis knew this and held no grudge towards his father.

Yet if there had been anything he could have changed about his old man, it was his name. Arnold. Lewis couldn’t ever justify his dislike with a specific reason, and truth be told, he probably didn’t even have a good reason. It was like a bad taste or a rancid smell, a base reaction to something foul. Something foul sat in front of Lewis, and Lewis displayed his disgust like a mask.

Sitting across the kitchen table was Lewis’s father. His skin was drawn tight around his face, his teeth peeking through his slit of a mouth. He was wearing a black suit, a suit that looked like a good one to be buried in. A red tie and white undershirt complimented the rich darkness of the coat. Through decayed lips and teeth like gravestones, his father started singing, and from somewhere nearby a band struck up, accompanying the dead man’s vocals.

Continue reading A House at the End of the Street by Jordy Lynch

The Last Stand by Shelly Davis

Brenda looked forward into the mirror with all of her vigor and intensity. Apparently, she possessed her own personal self bias because the convoluted figure standing before was not what she thought she resembled. This past year had been the year which defined her life. She had been diagnosed with ALS and subsequently entered into the severe stages warranting complete body paralysis. The myelin isolating her axons was deteriorating with every passing second of each day and there was not a thing she could do to stop this indelible force. Even if she desired to form a plan of attack there would be not a soul willing to help her, but just a hearth to surrender her fight on.

When she was first diagnosed she strategically placed a picture of herself when she was twenty-five years old and she was in her prime on her wall so the spirit of her pat would still remain inside her even through the worst of times. Right beside her picture was her PhD in Biotechnology from Columbia University. Before the onset of her ALS she ranked among the five most successful scientists manipulating stem cells to cure neurodegenerative conditions in the U.S. She once again turned her attention toward the mirror which reflected not herself, but a victim who society had failed. She had lost her identity and ultimately herself worth in this colossal pool of wires and tubes which extended her life. They would not extend her life to the point where she could execute municipal activities, but she survived only to remain trapped in the hellish vessel of her body until the next day. She intensely eyed her voluptuous figure underneath her black satin dress which was very risqué. That Satin dress despite being overzealous beat the hell out of the flowing white spotted gown which probably could have been uncovered in a junkyard for all she knew.

Continue reading The Last Stand by Shelly Davis

Discarded, by Chaz Anderson

His right hand strums out a complicated rhythm while his left dances up and down the neck, forming complex shapes. A low hum rumbles up from his throat, a counter-melody to the throbbing voice of the guitar. Eyes closed, he sits cross-legged on the moist grass, rocking back and forth, trying to give birth to the melody rolling through him.

The instrument screams in dismay. Sorely taxed by the man, it fights the strain of the contorted chording. The pick in his hand ravages the wooden body, making it shake, bend, and fall out of tune.

When the two first met, the man had been a young boy. His lap had been much smaller, and the stroke of his fingers had been soft and clumsy. In those days the guitar had been placed carefully on a stand when not in use, frequently re-stringed, polished and buffed daily. The boy had loved the instrument, had treated it gently, with care and respect.

Continue reading Discarded, by Chaz Anderson

Gray Rock by Seth Luther

Grandma likes her rock garden to be neat and orderly. She doesn’t have to water it or have it mowed, and those pesky neighborhood kids can’t run and play all over it. A trip and fall and a skinned knee will teach them that.

The kids like to take a single gray rock from the outer section of the garden and carefully place it into the center circle full of all white rocks. They run and hide and wait for Grandma to come out. They watch and listen. She bitches and moans as she struggles across the garden of rocks with her bad hip, slowly bending over to pick up the gray rock and put it back with the others.

The End

Gray Rock, fiction by Seth Luther

© Copyright Seth Luther

Protected by Copyscape

 

 

“Bukowski” by Kristine Nodalo

Bukowski

by Kristine Nodalo

Charles Bukowski is one of the most prolific and vulgar writers out there. He stood at five feet eleven, often wearing a collared button-down shirt, with a chest pocket consisting of a few pens peeking out of it, covering a beer belly that hung over his waistline–a reminder of his romance with alcohol. His large, bulbous nose shadowed over stained nicotine yellow teeth. His ravaged face was marked with scars and blemishes, resembling the hard life he lived. He sauntered his way to each of the bars he made his second home and wrote at his first when he wasn’t. Nobody would have expected the success he had by just looking at him and his lifestyle, for Bukowski’s prose and poetry has been translated into twenty-one languages, sales for his books rise every year, and a great amount of avid Bukowski readers live all over the world. Charles Bukowski’s unique life experiences made him a successful writer, as they enabled him to color his writing with the kind of simplicity, tough, vicious honesty, and straight forwardness it bears that makes it different from others, revolutionizing literature and poetry, also providing consolation and representation, specifically for the underdogs of society—blue collared workers, prostitutes, and drunks—at the same time. Continue reading “Bukowski” by Kristine Nodalo

Mostly Harmless and May 2nd

by Ayo Khensu-Ra

May 2nd has long held a sort of special aura for me. Improbably I reckoned some years ago that this was the date I picked up a certain book in the Hilo Public Library. While I wouldn’t say that book changed my life, it’s still one of my favorites — a strange mixture of science fiction, humor and gloom.

Anyone familiar with the series of which the book is a part will probably have guessed by now that I’m referring to the late Douglas Adams’ Mostly Harmless which was (amazingly) published some twenty years ago. I say amazingly because I was in middle school around that time an awkward, uncertain kid (it might be argued that I’m an awkward uncertain adult but that’s another story.)

The book is Adams’ final chapter in the series that began with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy , a novel that was based on Adams’ own BBC radio program of the same name. Three books sit between the first and Mostly Harmless. They all center around the misadventures of Arthur Dent a fairly ordinary Englishman who just happens to be the last male survivor of the destruction of the Earth. I’ve enjoyed all the Hitchhiker’s books quite a lot but Mostly Harmless was the first I read and so is extra significant but something else I think draws me to that book in particular.

There’s a certain brilliance in Adams’ style. In each of his books he referenced and played with science fiction conventions bringing a kind of order through craziness. The books are very funny. Adams’ narrative voice is often calm, almost dry while discussing something completely absurd. But beyond that, Mostly Harmless has a rather intricate, intriguing plot. There are a number of threads to the story and there is a certain bigness to it that one might not expect from humorous science fiction novel. The elements of the story tie together wonderfully, everything falling right into place for the conclusion. It must also be said that the conclusion is far from a happy one which is something else that intrigues me about the novel–its mixture of comic and tragic. That mixture is something I later came to appreciate in the work of writer and director Joss Whedon (Whedon is probably best known as the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the much-praised and oft-analyzed TV series; his take on Marvel’s The Avengers just arrived in theaters). While Whedon’s work is certainly more serious in tone, humor is one of his trademarks. I don’t want to get too carried away with analysis or overstate what Adams was trying to do but I do think Mostly Harmless and the other Hitchhikers’ books are more than mere light entertainment.  Mostly Harmless is wildly entertaining and it is extremely well-written, smart, witty and yes, a little grim. But if the arts are always on some level an attempt to make sense of life, the universe and everything then the comic and the tragic must inevitably meet.

Douglas Adams died in May of 2001, he was 49. I’ve often wondered what he would’ve written had he lived longer. He indicated that he might write another Hitchhikers’ book, that perhaps he might’ve liked to end the series on a happier note. A sequel to Mostly Harmless has been penned by Eoin Colfer. I haven’t read that book yet and while I probably will at some point, I can’t imagine it will be quite the same as reading Adams. At any rate, when May 2nd rolls around, I’m still reminded of picking up that book that evening in Hilo 20 years ago, the days and months afterward as I read through the series.

“How to Tell a True War Story” by Ava Stewart

How to Tell a True War Story

by Ava Stewart

Ava Stewart is a student at CCSF from Santa Cruz, CA. While spending a year in a half in Tucson at the University of Arizona, she studied the works of war author Tim O’Brien during in an English class over the course of a year. Shared below is a review of one of her favorite literary pieces, “How To Tell a True War Story,” a reflective piece O’Brien wrote to illustrate the rogue beauty of the  trauma and devastation he experienced during the Vietnam War.

O’Brien paints a stunning visual in “How to Tell a True War Story” that seeks to investigate the truth in war stories being told by Vietnam veterans. Whether exaggerations or fact, the narrator seeks to guide views as best as he can through his experiences in Vietnam when he was serving during the war. The narrator bases a majority of the story around the death of a close friend of his who was killed suddenly by a small land mine as he was walking in the forest of Vietnam. He follows this with other stories that occurred (or did they?) because of his passing. Continue reading “How to Tell a True War Story” by Ava Stewart

Right on the Money: One Dollar Stories by Jessica Garrison

Right on the Money: One Dollar Stories by Jessica Garrison

by Howard Brad Halverson

We met at bar in LA. She was introduced to me because I was caught conversating about Georges Bataille the night before, the hostess of the party being so taken aback by this, exclaiming in shock “someone is talking about books at my party?” She subsequently had to introduce me to her writer friend. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and I shared my cigarettes with Jessica, rolling one for her and one for our liaison too.  Ms. Garrison had such  a quiet composition, placid, and let me talk at her about my ideas of writing. It was so casual the thing called networking didn’t seem to apply. But we exchanged emails, sent a few brief messages then she all but disappeared from my conscious until a year or so had lapsed and I was gutting out my inbox and stumbled across an old message for a reading she was part of. I followed the link in the email, vaguely recalling her to discover she recently published a collection of stories. One Dollar Stories is the title. I ordered a copy immediately intrigued to learn more about the aspiring author.
Continue reading Right on the Money: One Dollar Stories by Jessica Garrison

It Takes One to Solitaire

By Ellie MacBride | 

It’s a Tuesday.  I only know this because my cat knocked over a glass of water on my nightstand, waking me from a dream in which I ate six bacon cheeseburgers before walking a red carpet at some Jewish Film Festival.  I’m not Jewish.  I disregard the diverging rivers of stale tap to look at my phone.  It’s noon on a Tuesday.  I could have gotten a few more hours in if it weren’t for that damn cat.  I call her some name as if she understands me or even knows how to take offense, and she jumps on the bed to spoon.  I scoop her up like an infant and throw her across the room Shaken Baby-style, and she slides across the floor on her overgrown nails before darting into the closet.

I spend about twelve minutes looking at the ceiling and wondering when my motivation will come to shift my legs to the left and let them fall onto the hardwood floor.  I think about what I might do once my feet make contact. Go to the kitchen and fix a bowl of cereal perhaps?  How full is my bladder?  Should I go to the bathroom and then get cereal?  Or maybe condense my tasks and pee in the shower?  I’m suddenly overwhelmed with options and resort to staring at the ceiling some more.

It’s 12:45 and my bladder has decided my first plan of action.  I slide out of bed much like the spilled water’s journey from the nightstand to the floor and pick myself up to piss.  The cat follows me in and we pee in unison, which slightly grosses me out but I’m too lazy to really care.  I sing “Happy Birthday” while washing my hands; it’s not my birthday but somewhere I learned that the duration of the song is how long you’re supposed to wash your hands.  I don’t do this often; sometimes I hum “The Macarena” instead.

I spend another five minutes looking at myself in the mirror.  Do I look older than yesterday?  Am I aging faster just thinking about it?  I’m twenty-two years old but if I pretend I’m looking at another person rather than a mirror, I see my forty-six year old mother.  People say we look similar.  I think my mother is beautiful but I still tell those people to shove it.

“Laura, you can’t eat pickles for breakfast every day,” I hear her say somewhere in the crevices of my memory.

Suddenly, I crave pickles.  I sneak into the kitchen as if I don’t live alone, and mark another task done: pickles for breakfast.  I suck the juice out of a big fat one and sit on the windowsill.  Bikes wind by, picketers protest mattresses, and the same homeless man urinates in the alley below for the third day straight.

My phone rings some tone similar to that of a techno Christmas Carol and I regret answering immediately.

“Hi, is this Laura?” the mysterious voice interrogates.

“No, sorry, this is Ellie,” I try to save myself from affirmation of myself.

You see, if someone’s to ask me if I’m Laura, I’m not.  This is actually one of the reasons I started to go by “Ellie” three years ago.  People from my past might accidentally call me “Laura,” but if someone from my present does, it probably means I owe them money.   I think everyone should be whom they want to be and not whom their parents thought they might have looked like covered in placenta, three minutes after meeting them.

“Is Laura there?” the voice persists.

“No, she left awhile ago,” I existentially declare, before pressing the “End call” button as hard as I can—the cell phone equivalent of hanging up a receiver is not as powerful.  Stupid technology; it’s made it harder to express anger tele-communicatively.  Where’s that cat? I wonder.

It’s 3:30, and somehow I’ve wasted two hours on Facebook, looking at profile pictures of friends and relatives twice removed.  I’ve deleted these people twice, yet I still end up practicing the art of contemporary stalking.

“My, how the time goes,” I sigh, as seven o’clock sneaks up on me as if trying to cure my nonexistent hiccups.  I reacquaint myself with the ceiling and project the movie of my life onto it.

What a boring piece of crap!  The titles are in Helvetica and I’m in Hell.  I fast-forward to the credits and confirm that it was in fact Robert De Niro playing my father, and yes, I think he did a better job.

Something about Robert De Niro’s mole reminds me that I have somewhere to be and so I go to my closet and dig out my fishnets.  Every now and then, I dress up like a hooker and sell cigarettes and lollypops out of a tray to drunken club goers.  I almost get off on the fact that people think it’s a despicable job, and find amusement in the eclectic array of irrelevant business cards and catcalls I receive.  I just purr and tell them to tip me because it’s my birthday.

Unfortunately, people only like birthdays when they’re their own.

I get home around 3am, slightly tipsy, thanks to the bartender who I sold a $4 pack of Skittles to.  I take off most of my clothes and stumble into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water, not because I want to, but because my last piss could have lit a Vegas street sign.  I raise my blinds and hopefully a neighbor or two as well, due to my shrinking ensemble.

I attack my bed like a flying squirrel…or some similar animal as determined and unable to fly and fall into a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors I couldn’t name.  Before I’m asleep, I awake.

It’s a Tuesday.  I only know this because my cat knocked over a glass of water from my nightstand, waking me from a dream in which I dressed up as a sexy bellhop and sold random novelty items from a tray.

Ellie MacBride is Forum’s general editor.

“These Words Are For You” by Aria Backe

These Words Are For You

by Aria Backe
a public service blog

These words are for you, no matter who you are, if you are reading this with your own eyes these words are yours.  Unless you’re blind, no blindies allowed.

What are you going to do with this vast inheritance of thought?  You’re probably a little slow, it’s ok, I’ll give you time.

Time’s up.  What, still nothing?  I don’t know why I even bother.  People like you would eat the words right out of an alphabet soup, not even stopping to see they were there.

It makes me sick.  Not you guys; alphabet soup.  Gross!

But let’s not stray too far from the topic, no matter how disgusting those vile letters they try to pass off as pasta are.  Soaking in what could only be fermented scab juice.  Let’s not talk about the fact that alphabet soup has the consistency of puke, and when puked up (which it inevitably is) its quality actually improves.

No, those things are for the great philosophers of the robot-future to discuss, not my humble mind (and especially not yours).

Are you counting your word dollars?  Even if you have been you were doing it wrong, but that’s what I’m here for.  You currently have enough words to retire from speaking for the rest of your life!  As your word-advisor, I highly recommend it.  A life without talking is a luxury normally held by only the most prestigious of mimes.  Congratulations!

You don’t have to thank me, and if you’ve been paying attention you wouldn’t have considered it.  I’m just glad to help the under-privileged, under-educated, and ugly people such as you.  I do it for the sake of doing good for society, and your silence is all the thanks I could ask for.

You’re welcome.