UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: May Edition

Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity.

Welcome to the first installment of LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown. This shall be a monthly bout of writing prowess, in which you'll be challenged to thrill us in 250 words or less.

And to the victor go the spoils!

How It Works

We give you something. It could be a picture, or an idea, or an STD. You write a flash fiction piece, using the thing we gave you as inspiration. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked, and awarded a prize. 

The Rules

  • 250 words is the limit (you can write less, but you can't write more)
  • Any genre
  • We're not exactly shy, but let's stay away from senseless racism or violence
  • One entry per person
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted (though don't start changing the whole thing)
  • We'll pick a winner on the last day of the month

UPDATE (5/14): The Judge

Today we're excited to introduce the judge for our contest. The winner will be chosen by Chester Pane, who facilitates a recurring flash fiction competition in our forums. And he has a message for the contestants: 

Flash is an elevator pitch. Cut the cables. Take us on a ride. Freefall with form and precision.

UPDATE (5/23): This Month's Prize

Since this is the inaugural contest, we're offering one month of free membership to LitReactor's writing workshop. If you're not a member already, learn more about that here

We've decided to throw another prize into the mix. The winner will also receive an ARC of The Last Werewolf sequel, Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan, slated for release on June 26 (and huge thanks to our friends at Knopf for the advance copy).

Your Inspiration

 

And the winner is... chrisdeal

Here's what our judge, Chester Pane, had to say: The dynamic, curious language and the transport to another place in a mere flash. Like a bolt of lightning illuminating a glimpse into another world.

Mictlan

From the nothing that is the world beyond the city's limits, Xocotl came roaring into existence like a bird from the flames. It started when the dealers out near Cancer Ally started ending up nude of product, their tongues pulled down through their throat in a coyote's grin. Then the fires started in warehouses up and down the river. Guns, with and without badges, roamed the streets with only that name, Xocotl, for a target.

When he struck closest to the seat of power, leaving bodies burnt and torn asunder, there came a survivor. His eyes had been plucked from their sockets and found in a glass of scorpion wine. His voice was made of velvet, the amaurotic witness said, and the shape of his form was that of a jackal.

When the city's Jefe, an old man with blood on his shoes, found the egg on his door step, crushed beneath an absent boot, he knew the day of his life was closing in on sunset. He consolidated what men he had that maintained the loyalty he required in his home, waiting for the man they called Xocotl to come for him.

Each creak of wood was an enemy blade slipping through the shadows. Each night held little promise of morning. The Jefe waited for his death while the streets were free for the taking. Product flowed once again, bodies sat unclaimed in the morgue. An egg hatched out in the nothing and the city was claimed.

Image of Talulla Rising
Author: Glen Duncan
Price:
Publisher: Knopf (2012)
Binding: Hardcover, 368 pages

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Keith's picture
Keith from Phoenix, AZ is reading Growing Up Dead in Texas by Stephen Graham Jones May 1, 2012 - 10:30am

PRANK


“Open your mouth! Wider!”

I’ve never cottoned to thievery. Mind you, there’s been a time or two when I’ve been so hungry that I would’ve stuck a shotgun in the face of anyone chompin’ on a sandwich, or shoveling French fries into their face.

But I didn’t do it.

Call it pride, call it bold face stupidity, but I would never stoop so low as to not work for my daily bread.

And if this boy was starving, instead of stealing eggs for some stupid fucking prank, I’d feed him until corn bread, potatoes, and roast chicken were coming out of his ears. But all this little shit’s doing is taking food out of my mouth, and that ain’t gonna fly.

I wedge the egg into his mouth, right on the flat of his tongue.

He gags a bit on my fingers and bites down.

“I wouldn’t be doing that, boy.” I say as I sit down a few feet in front of him, resting the shotgun in my lap. “’Cause if you bite down and that yoke spills, I’m gonna light your ass up.”

I line the barrel up right at his chest and watch him struggle against the mile of duct tape wrapped around his bony wrists.

I’m gonna catch hell from his mama once I let him loose, but fer now, I’m gonna get a few giggles by watchin’ him shit and piss himself.

Matt Ramsden's picture
Matt Ramsden from Wakefield, MA is reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath May 1, 2012 - 11:01am

Omelet 

All you really have to know is that you'll thank me later. I might not be as celebrated as I had once hoped to be but in the future, they'll recognize what I did.

I should explain.

I found a cure for cancer. I found if you inject testoterone into the cells fighting the cancer cells, they will fight the cancer harder and more efficiently. I tested this in a petri dish but I needed something more. Human subjects.

Georgia Wallace was an elderly woman who didn't have much reason to live. Her husband had passed and her family dreaded making visits. I was doing everyone involved a favor. I posed as an orderly in her nursing home to take her to my lab. I injected the testoterone and I found it sort of worked. A side effect was the mass amounts of testosterone made her act very aggressively. Think 28 Days Later agressive.

She has killed 30 people and it is spreading. The testorone has spread through the rest of her body and is multiplying. It works a lot like the disease in 28 Days Later. Zombie-like. But cancer is on the decline. They just need to put down the small horde of testerone induced people.

If order to make an omelet, you just have to break some eggs.

Oh and you're welcome.

 

Teri Skultety's picture
Teri Skultety from California May 1, 2012 - 7:30pm

Let’s Play House

They were in my basket. The Wolf knew. Round, supple, golden goose smooth. Imagining his fingers tracing the curved lines, fondling. Grandma’s quilt like a pup-tent, “All the better for you to crawl under, Red.” Subtle.

Grandma wasn‘t home. He wanted me to pretend she was shredded in the closet, act afraid. It was easier when he caught me in the forest on the way. But, he was an idea man, The Wolf, “Hey, isn’t there a bed up the road at your Grandma’s house? One of those nice feather jobs?”

I’d lure Grandma out of the house. Send her to brunch with the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, she needed to get out. But we always had to hurry, before the Woodsman showed up.

The Wolf, “I got your Woodsman, right here baby.” Sweet talker. The cloak, shoes with the red bows, black ribbons tied around the ankles, bustier in matching crimson, my golden tresses curled in ringlets, he just drooled over my basket.

“My eyes are up here.” I said. “I have needs.”

“Yeah, Sure you do baby.” He buried his nose in it. “Only four? You call this breakfast in bed? Four eggs, that’s it? I’m a Wolf. RayAnne, you have to put some effort into this, like the therapist said.”

“You said anything more than a handful is a waste.”

“But I’ve got big hands, and big teeth.” He grinned.

He knew I was a sucker for a happy ending.

 

 

Kathryn Soverane.

Kim Macias's picture
Kim Macias May 1, 2012 - 11:16am

She stepped up to his desk. It was her turn.

He reached for her egg, and marked it number 9. 

"It is now policy you are only allowed this one egg, so I will make sure that it's satisfactory, and mark it with my initials."

"I'll hold it to this flame and check. Do you want to see it too?" the man asks.

"No thank you, she answered. "I am not an egg person. They make me gag. Maybe I could take care of something else?"

"No, no.. You will be taking care of this egg like everyone else in this room. Unless you talk to your parents, we meet with the principal, we reconvene two days after our deliberating on your complaint slash concerns- and even then, you will have to take on the assignment if you hope to achieve the same merits as your peers."

"I see," she said, and took her egg. She walked outside and threw it against the window of the classroom where the teacher still sat grading the students efforts.

He looked up unstartled, already knowing some people really don't like eggs.

Elizabeth Heiser's picture
Elizabeth Heiser from Los Angeles, CA is reading The Beautiful and Damned May 1, 2012 - 11:22am

Rotten


She sits staring at the eggs and wonders why her own are broken.  Children are laughing and playing outside - she can hear them through the open window.  This much hate isn’t healthy.  She walks to the refrigerator and takes out the butter and milk.  Grabs a bowl and a frying pan from the cabinets next to the stove.  The children out the window get louder, her resentment gets stronger.  She cracks the first egg.  The yolk is green.  So is the next one.  And the next.  All four have green yolks, broken like she is broken.  She just laughs and laughs. 

Darrell Poe's picture
Darrell Poe May 1, 2012 - 11:25am

It was unseasoably cold that April morning. Walking back from the coop Allie sized up her take, a handful of fresh eggs, and decided she'd splurge by making herself an ommelette. Why not? Her hands full, she turned her back to the door as she approached and pushed it open. A practiced movement, she had done this hundreds of times before. As she entered the kitchen, her mind was on the ingredients of her forthcoming breakfast. Rounding the door she pulled up short, her path obscured rather unexpectedly. The knifepoint slid easily through her camisole along with the warm skin beneath it. She felt the hilt against her upper abdomen, the point of the blade pressing against her spinal collumn. Stumbling forward slightly, she allowed the eggs to fly from her hands. "There goes another breakfast ruined" she thought and, for a moment, cursed herself for making such a mess but. At this point a few cracked eggs were only the beginning.

With her right hand she reached up and pressed her thumb hard against her assailant's left eye. With her left hand she reached over, pulled her heavy cast-iron skillet from the counter and swung it hard, crumpling the large man with a single stroke. As he fell, she reached out and plucked a tumbling egg from mid air, deftly cracked it open against the side of the skillet, and was delighted to see that it had a double yolk. Her favorite.

The remaining eggs landed on the kitchen floor with a crunch.

She stepped over the man's still form to the stove and placed her skillet over a medium flame. Perhaps she could save some semblance of a breakfast afterall. The camisole, however, was beyond saving. Pulling it up, she inspected the knife wound and was pleased to see it almost completely healed.

Growing impatient with the eggs, she opted for sunny-side-up and served herself . As she sat alone at her kitchen table, she wondered how many more of these little surprises she could take beofre she got caught. Perhaps the time to move had finally arrived.

That was OK with her, as long as it wasn't befoe breakfast.

 

(just a draft, and my first time posting anything like this - please be frank)


 

Emily Thrash's picture
Emily Thrash May 1, 2012 - 11:27am

“Address me properly,” she said. 
“Stepmother Mary, please, I just can’t,” pleaded Charlotte, looking disconsolately at a poached egg over toast before her.
Stepmother Mary leaned her sharp hip against the corner counter.  “You know I do not make separate meals,” she plucked a bit at a stray thread on her pristine apron.  “And we do not waste food in this house.”
“It will make me sick.  It always has.”
Father, a faceless spectre behind the business section of the Journal, slurped coffee and hissed it down his throat.  It was hard to picture his mouth. 
Stepmother Mary moved with three clicks and rested a hand on Father’s invisible shoulder.
“I will not, in my house, suffer a daily insult.  Eggs are nutritious and do not make you sick. That is all in your head.” 
Stepmother Mary gestured with her eyes to Charlotte’s knife and fork.  There would be no more discussion.  Charlotte cut into the egg, and yolk, like iridescent pus, ran out over the toast, clinging in rivulets to the crust and char. Charlotte continued pressing until the bread buckled around it, and pulled the knife towards her.  Stepmother Mary winced at the sound the knife made against the plate.
Charlotte ate and Stepmother Mary watched.  It would be at the bus stop, Charlotte knew, and tried not to think of the hot, bubbling force that would bring the egg back from her stomach, returning to the earth as Charlotte bent over in the grass while the others watched.

Bobbi Lurie's picture
Bobbi Lurie May 1, 2012 - 11:47am

Eggs are the only things I used to make: scrambled eggs, omelets, soft-boiled eggs.

I never learned how to make hard-boiled eggs. I never could peel them properly. The yolk always stuck to the white and I’d end up throwing them away.

I never even got a chance to experiment with that method I read about. It said to make perfect hard-boiled eggs you must put at least four eggs in the pan together, let them boil fifteen minutes, then smash them against each other. The directions said you could peel them perfectly after they cooled off.

I never got to try that technique of peeling eggs. I don’t care. I can’t eat four eggs by myself.

Joe loved the mushroom omelet I made him once, after a fight, after make-up sex. He loved the goat cheese and the fresh mint taste, blended together.

Jacob loves food. Let’s face it. He’s an Anthony Bourdain fan. I watched those episodes with him, even though I’m the kind of vegetarian who only eats dairy, and eggs and Anthony Bourdain will eat anything that’s part of an animal. Jacob even alluded to us moving in together. He said, “Hey, if we lived together, you could make me an omelet like this every day.” It helped that we were watching Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel at the time.

But there weren’t any omelets after that. Joe and I fought while watching Anthony Bourdain faking an orgasm while eating the intestines of a goat.

Steve T's picture
Steve T from Chicago is reading Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth May 1, 2012 - 12:00pm

It’s something we either ignore or talk about too much.  The bikini full of band aids.  As Taboo as it is publicly prevalent.

As always, the lights at 11 PM were blurry and the floor was becoming familiar.  She made the rounds through the small town, went up and down, and all around but never found what it was she was looking for.  Someday, maybe.

That day, like all the rest before, wasn’t today.  They called her names and shunned her to her face but there was always one that was willing to give her his time.  It was as predictable as it was grotesque.

It had been hours since she had seen a familiar face.  What started as six had quickly dissipated to one until it, inevitably, became two.  Ambitiously, she hoped that tomorrow would bring her the start of a new duo but all she would share her time with was her familiar companions; guilt and regret.

The office was colder than last time.  Recognition filled the receptionists’ eyes.  For the fourth time.  She thought about a prescription.  She laughed and then her eyes started to tear.

The sunlight always looks a little different afterward.  Shining, almost, violently.  It looked more like normal this time.  Like it too had lost interest in being condemnatory.

For the fourth time she had to scramble an egg.

For the fourth time she had a bikini full of band aids.
 

InFiBigDaddy's picture
InFiBigDaddy May 1, 2012 - 12:04pm

There were four of them.
Sitting in a bowl, on the kitchen table.

Normally, there are oranges or maybe apples if the season is right. Typically Fall when the orchards near the marsh are flooded with dangling foliage; only a few granny smiths and delicious reds filled with bees on the grass below.

But this morning, for some reason, there were four eggs in our fruit bowl. Lightly brown and stacked, if thats even a word you can use for eggs, so delicately.

"Honey, why are there eggs in the fruit bowl?" I called out to my wife.

"It's good...Feng Shui." She shouted back from the bathroom.

"What the hell is... Feng Shui?" I said, poking one of the eggs on the table with my cereal spoon.
"I read about it LIVING," she said, "It's the latest craze. It brings good luck or something."

"Ohh..." Not knowing what to say next, just stared at the eggs which have replaced the colorful fruit; pondering how eggs bring luck? I've heard of eggs bringing salmonella, but never luck.

"Are you ready to go?" said my wife bringing me out of my daze.

"Yeah, let's go," I muttered as I slurped down the remaining milk resting at the bottom of my bowl.

And as we walked out of the house, leaving to go visit her mother, the eggs still on my mind, I thought, "Boy, we'll be lucky if those don't smell by the time we're home."

mini_sidd's picture
mini_sidd from Los Angeles is reading Never Learn Anything From History May 1, 2012 - 12:45pm

The Egg

 

Am I?

Joel Higgins's picture
Joel Higgins from Nashville, TN is reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf May 1, 2012 - 12:54pm

                                                                                                                This Is It

 

I suppose we all knew it would happen. Me, Slim, and Pillbox gazed out at the purple, diamond-flecked sky with long streams of smoke echoing from between our index and middle fingers. We sat on the hood of my old beater and squinted as the mushroom cloud stretched toward space two hundred miles away – flattening out at the top, no sound but the cicadas whirling our doom on insect tongues.

Pillbox said it first, “This is it,” then fished the egg from his jacket pocket and cracked it on the hood. Me and Slim watched as, in spite of the growing cloud, the light plagued across the sky. Pillbox said, “It’s happening." The egg white bubbled and popped and Pillbox jumped up and down, whooping and cackling as greens became yellows.

“Yeah, this is it,” I said, taking a fresh draw. I put my arm around Slim and felt his dark, silent tears inching through the cotton on my shoulder. Once it got so bright we had to nearly close our eyes, Pillbox stripped off all his clothes and ran through the desert laughing. Then, Slim looked up at me, “Is this it?”

An annihilation roared from land that neither me nor my brother Slim had set our steel-toed work boots on. I think Slim was screaming, but I can’t be sure.

Then, everything was light. Then, everything was dark. I held Slim’s head against my chest as the wave crashed upon us.

Tonia Marie Harris's picture
Tonia Marie Harris from Illinois is reading George RR Martin Feast of Crows May 1, 2012 - 1:06pm

12 Large, Grade A

Each morning, Abby woke up and waited for his majesty’s request. His majesty being the troll she’d married in a desperate time. He sat at the kitchen table, beer in hand, and farted.
     “Good morning to you, too.”
     “What?”
     “How do you want your eggs?”
     He stared at her, no different than any other morning. “Woman, I don’t care. Just make my damn breakfast.”
     “Poached? Fried?” Abby continued. This was the tricky part. He might slap her for being pert, or laugh. But every damned day, he wanted eggs. And the way she cooked them depended on his mood.
      With all the alcohol he drank, she imagined his insides were nothing more than pickled eggs. She could see them, a dozen grade a large eggs, lined up like little rubber balls.
     And a smell, not unlike rotten eggs, wafted from his backside.
     That’s it. Twelve years is plenty.
     It was simple. She pulled the griddle off the stove and took a few practice swings. He didn’t look up from his beer and examination of the crud under his nails.
     Eggs still clung to the sides in slimy mutiny when she made contact with the back of his head. He wasn't dead, just out long enough for her to clean up the mess and go back to her day.
     But she wasn’t done until she’d thrown every last egg at him, even stuffed one in his open mouth.
     “Looks like scrambled today,” She said and left to get the mop.

taryl's picture
taryl from Atlanta, Ga May 6, 2012 - 11:01am

She can’t cook anything, even an omelet.  What she can do is break things. But still she tries.  She has four eggs, but there must be a fifth she can’t see.  Every time she screws up, there’s one mistake she doesn’t see coming. 

In the last week she broke every. Single. Egg. 

First is the one she broke when she walked away without any explanation, even to herself. 

Egg two? That one was her work and her life for the past seven years, original copies without backups, lost or stolen forever.

But the stolen egg is number three. All she can do is scream and throw it; that one cost her her closest friend because sometimes friends can’t stop themselves from standing next to liars, and more than a thief or a rat she hates a liar.

She picks up the fourth because this is one mistake she can’t let go. She didn’t know accusations could have such disastrous consequences.  This egg she throws in shell and all because it doesn’t matter anymore.

The last egg, the one she didn’t see…that’s where she told the secret she didn’t know had to be kept. When spies come in talking smooth, posing as family men, you don’t think you could possibly know something that might bring his whole life crashing down around him. But sometimes you do, and without even realizing it you drop that last egg to the floor, and the sound it makes on impact can break the world.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer May 1, 2012 - 2:36pm

Hatched

It started with an egg, one single egg.

Ronnie “Duck Lips” McMurphy had seen it coming, flung high and hard by Wes Tanner, but he had not attempted to avoid it. The shell exploded against his paisley shirt, splattering unborn chicken goop on his glasses. We laughed, expecting him to cry, just as he always had before.

Duck Lips’s cheeks remained dry of tears, his face clear of sad, sickening snot. He stood his ground, , eyes clear and forward, looking through Wes.

The rest of the soccer team laughed, but I couldn’t. I had before, don’t get me wrong. I still held the eggs, ready to throw. But my hand was still. I did not smile. I did not see the gun.

Warm, bloody brain sprayed my face. It tasted rubbery. Wes’s body dropped straight down, empty. Everyone else ran. I didn’t move.

Duck Lips stared at me, a vacant death mask. He raised the gun, black and square. The barrel loomed large.  I could fall in and plummet forever.

“I’m sorry,” I said, a two-word apology for all of the bruises and embarrassment, for mocking his deep, full lips that always stuck out too far.

The eggs broke. Yoke dripped between my fingers. Why was it warm and red? A wisp of smoke rose from the abyss. A silent-movie world swarmed.

I lay upon the ground. Tired. Cold.

Duck Lips placed the gun beneath is chin. He joined Wes.

The gun lay beside me. Knowing. Watching.

Waiting.

Shawn Lord's picture
Shawn Lord from Austin is reading Future Shock by Alvin Toffler May 1, 2012 - 2:34pm

“Eggs... a bowl of eggs... how?“

He knew the icebox had been empty.  Hand stuttering, eye peeking, he slowly reopened the door.  The glowing sliver widened.

 

Brown, matte, resting in a nondescript white bowl.

 

Eggs.

 

He began to calculate probabilities, knowing those magical numbers were all that had kept him alive so far.  Alive and secure in this little room.   Rapid cognition had never failed him.  She’d doubted him, and now he knew what failure looked like.  Her screams, now several doors behind, chilled him.

 

Probabilities.

 

The first option, one he’d come to consider more and more, was that he’d lost his mind.  But, that would be a mercy.  Maybe he could return from that.  No, no, he was sane.  The world might be missing, but he was definitely not crazy.

…and yet the eggs were not there before.

 

Option two: The eggs were placed into the icebox while he slept.  Like a gift… or bait.  But he knew the kitchen was now devoid of an entry point - a chair firmly wedged against the door he’d entered through; pantry held shut by the wooden table.

 

Shit.

 

For days, each door he opened delivered him into a different house, where more faceless horrors joined in the pursuit.

 

A factor he hadn’t considered before stood before him.  A realization. The icebox had a door.  Glaringly obvious, it was the only remaining door.

 

He slumped against the wall, and from within the icebox, he heard the bowl of eggs rattle.

strent's picture
strent May 1, 2012 - 2:39pm

Henney Penny:

“The procedure is completely painless, and we guarantee top-dollar for your sample, provided you meet all the requirements.”

The doctor had kind eyes, smile. Young, too young for my pre-menopausal self.
I arched my back slightly, the wonder-bra living up to it’s name, leaned forward and signed.

I decided that since I was turning 50, my clock would soon run out and, well, I wanted to cash in on what I still had. Whether they got used for IVF or Eugenics or whatever else was irrelevant. I didn’t want kids, I wanted money. If they got lost or given to the wrong family, it was no skin off my nose.

The procedure was painless, a one-nighter. I felt a little empty afterwards but substituted the void with ice-cream and vodka. It felt freeing, in a way, nothing inside you to take responsibility of.

I tried my luck at S4 that weekend. A rave club for homo’s and friends of homo’s. I sought out the friends and took home some stud with CZ earrings and a fake tan, his spikey hair poked me in the face as we had sex.

I still felt empty.

Every month I went back and had my eggs removed. Got used to feeling barren and empty.

A year later menopause came, the hot-flashes the bitchyness the loathing for any woman younger than me.

I took a husband who was my age, no kids either, sold his love-juice on a regular basis. 

But at least he could keep making more money.

poppamatic's picture
poppamatic May 1, 2012 - 3:17pm

“Greetings from Chickaluma!  Egg Capital of the World!”  He glared at the postcard.  The giant plaster chicken in the picture was smiling at him.  He flipped the card over.

The handwriting on the back was hard for him to make out.  “Chicken scratch,” he muttered to himself and followed it with a soft chuckle.  He sparked up a cigarette and opened the fridge to grab a beer.  He examined the card under the light from the fridge.  On one side he found his address.  On the other: “Petaluma, California.  They have brown eggs here!”

He tossed the card in the drawer with the others.  There must have been two dozen by now.  He settled into the chair in his dark, quiet living room and flipped on the TV.  “Six months,” he thought.  “Six months and she's still screwing with me.”

He flipped through the channels.  When was she coming home? Nothing on.  When would she forgive him?  There's never anything on.  Why did her postcards always seem so damned chipper?  A swig of beer. What the fuck is a brown egg?

He glanced at the lighter lying on the side table.  Maybe he should burn the postcards.  Maybe he should burn down the whole apartment complex.  He turned back to the television.  His game show was coming on.  Maybe tonight there would be a question about Chickaluma and the brown eggs. “Just once in my life, I'd like to be right about something.”

gravelface's picture
gravelface from Knoxville, IA May 1, 2012 - 3:28pm

Over Easy

The blinds are up and the sun is shining through the diner windows, making it very hot. Lynn and I are seated at the booth closest to the kitchen, absorbing all of the smells as staff pass through the swinging door. For us, the night ended only a few hours ago, and our hangovers have started to kick in. Our stomachs are turning and our mouths are dry. We’re waiting for our order. Aside from the sound of Lynn’s spoon stirring her coffee, we’ve been sitting in silence for ten minutes.

“Lynn,” I say; my voice weak but somehow startling at the same time. “We’ve known each other too long to sit like this. Last night was weird. We should just air it all out and get it out of the way. Then we can get back to normal.”

Lynn takes a drink of her coffee and goes back to stirring, looking at the floor. She’s sweaty, her make-up is a mess, and she’s wearing my old jeans. But she isn’t the kind of girl that is worried if she looks like a mess, and I love that about her.

“Right, it was a mistake. I think we both know that.” she says, slightly emphasizing the word ‘think.’ My stomach takes a dive, but I recover and start to form an answer.

“Who had over-easy?” interrupts the waitress.

“That’s her.” I answer.

“Then you must be scrambled.”
 

Catethulhu's picture
Catethulhu from California is reading Cat's Cradle May 2, 2012 - 7:51pm

The year Annie began ballet, she and her mother took frequent trips to the park- as a treat. Her mother would nod; never looking up from her book, and Annie would wander toward the pond. She hopped down from the gravel path and frightened away some small birds and lit down in the mud. She didn’t have to hope her mom wouldn’t notice her shoes. Her small hands probed the brackish water, past the algae and duck crap. As she did so, her peripheral was drawn to the edge of the water. A little off-white ball sat in the weeds there.
“Neat.” She tilted it gently and held it up to the sun.
Her mind wandered and she imagined taking care of it and hatching it. She saw a cute little duckling crawling on her bedroom floor; fluffy and yellow with brown spots. It could sleep on her pillow and swim in the bathtub. After some deliberation, she decided “Michael” for a boy or “Alison” for a girl.
Finally, she focused her eyes and blinked.
“I’m sorry.” The shell crumbled in her fist and she watched as a tiny bill opened and then clasped shut for the last time. “You wouldn’t like it either.”
She pushed it down into the water and shoved it deep into the mud and wiped the green and brown slime from her arms on the grass. She then rubbed her face before heading back to her mother.
“I’m done.”

Zackary Elliott's picture
Zackary Elliott May 1, 2012 - 6:04pm
Our First Enemy

 

Mama usually bought the plain white eggs but these were brown. If it had not been a full moon on this Halloween, I wouldn’t have noticed. I guess it didn’t matter sense they were all going to end up in the same place.

Jed had always said that I thought too much. He said thinking got you into trouble. I could hear him breathing hard beside me as we sat behind the hedges. I could barely see him through the eye-holes of my ape mask. “Let’s go,” he hissed.

I watched him walk into the street, his goon face paint seem to glow in the moonlight. The gym teachers house, the first enemy in our young lives, sat in front of us. The only light coming from a jack-o lantern on the front porch. I followed Jed, we stood in the street, my breath was hot inside my mask, in our hands we both held a carton of eggs.  

“Just hit the van, we don’t want to wake him up,” he said, “I want you to throw the first one.”

The oblong sphere was cool in my hand. I threw it hard, and then all hell broke loose. For a few moments, the only sounds were hard thuds mixed with splats. The moonlight sparkled off the yoke as it ran down the van. The flash of the Polaroid camera, then our footsteps, running down the street.  All this comes back to me when I find the picture in the shoebox. 

istika's picture
istika from a low income country is reading sejarah kecil "petite histoire" indonesia May 1, 2012 - 8:11pm

she thought about the blood she just flushed down the toilet. those could be her eggs. her unfertilized eggs.

her first period was when she was eleven years old. a bloodlike stain was on her underwear when she was about to pee. she knew that it was ‘getting her period’, because one of her friends had already experienced ‘getting her period’. she remembered because she asked about it to her uncle. both of her parents worked.

her mother seemed pleased that she finally got her period. she made her sweet red and plain white rice porridge to celebrate her ‘entering adulthood’. yes, her parents were very much traditionally brought up. they were javanese.

since then, she never had a regular period, which worried her. but, she never wanted to go to gynaecologist. she knew that something was wrong. so, she preferred being oblivious about it.

now she stood before the toilet. she thought of the possibility of those 'bloody stuff' to become her babies. she just flushed down her possible future offspring. but then she thought even if those were her eggs, who would want to fertilize them anyway. nobody had ever wanted to have a future with her. let alone with babies in the picture.

she closed her eyes and sighed. it is hard to admit. even to an empty bathroom where there was only herself. she shook her head to get rid of the thoughts.

being a woman is too complicated for her.

then, she took a bath.

Gordon Asskicker's picture
Gordon Asskicker May 1, 2012 - 8:38pm

Recipe For Success.

You will need:

6 large eggs
1 lb. bacon
black pepper
hot sauce of your choice
coffee
1 bottle freezer-chilled vodka (any brand will do)

Throw bacon into large skillet over high heat.  Cook until burnt. Crack eggs directly into flaming hot bacon grease. Cook briefly. Dump contents of skillet onto large plate. Cover with black pepper and hot sauce. Eat entire plate in ten minutes, accompanied by liberal amounts of hot coffee. Slam half of the vodka in one long gulp. Try not to vomit. Fail miserably. Clean up vomit. Drink the rest of the vodka. Sit down at typewriter. Write.

Repeat daily.

Natale Anne's picture
Natale Anne from New York is reading The Morningstar Strain May 26, 2012 - 9:12pm

It's Not Me, It's You.

Jen married young. She was in love with the idea of him; he was in love with the idea of a maid. It was a fairy tale marriage, but that was before the alcohol, and before she wanted to work. That was before he wanted her pregnant.

Every day, he tried to make her conceive. He liked it more when he had to force her. It was all her fault, anyway.

She wondered why she ever wanted to work. It would have been too hard to explain why she deserved her bruises. Every night he told her the same thing.

"It's your eggs that are bad!"

Every night she dreamt of eggs. She cracked them open and dropped the chicken fetuses into the hot pan. She wondered if they screamed as she served them to her husband. She watched him eat them all, one by one. She woke up every morning before his last bite.

He ran out of beer one night. On her way back, a man assaulted her. He did the things her husband did to her. She wondered if her husband did these things to strangers, too. Then, she was thankful for infertility.

Jen’s husband found her in the bathroom a month later. Her blond hair turned pink beneath the water. There was no breath to disturb the pristine surface; red ribbon decorated her wrists. A pregnancy test sat on the sink with a note.

“My eggs weren’t bad.”

Sean's picture
Sean from McHenry is reading Feast of Crows by George RR Martin May 1, 2012 - 10:36pm

"Where are we going for breakfast?" 

"How about IHOP."

"Won't work, Randy hates IHOP with passion."

"How can you hate IHOP?  The service didn't kiss his ass? Wait was it the cooks were looking at him squirrelly again?  Pancakes are his favorite."

"It's none of the usual crazy, they screwed up eggs benedict."

"It's IHOP, not international house of eggs.  You've got to be joking right?"

"Come on you know him, dude is like mmmmrrrrrrhhhhh, 'that's not how you make eggs benedict!' He went postal over eggs.  Swears they're out to get him.  Thought maybe it was just a 1 time slip - but no - we go the next week different IHOP.  You'd think he'd learn we're at freaking IHOP right? Wrong. Orders the eggs again!"

"Let me guess rages and storms off refusing to pay?"

"Something like that, here's the kicker.  We're driving down to the Waffle house and muthafuckers all, 'the pancakes were fantastic!' ranting-raving about pancakes and being pissed we're going to a waffle house, wants pancakes - not any pancakes - IHOP ones."

"Seriously?"

"You think I could make this up?  Randy could love part of the meal and be ready to throw down with the minimum wage staff who doesn't give two shits."

"He's pissed at me though.  I sat there finished my food, then paid/tipped generously. While I had the keys to the car, so he just stood outside."

"It was a blizzard last week, you made him stand outside? Dude that's some cold shit."

"Luckily he's the size of a house, had nothing to worry about."

Monica Fay's picture
Monica Fay from Los Angeles is reading The Satanic Verses May 4, 2012 - 4:17pm

Not An Egg Wasted

We bounced in the backseat of my mother's ‘84 burgundy station wagon down the gravel backroad toward my grandfather's farmland. I sat as still as I could, my six year old knees squeezed together tightly. Riot bounced uncontrollably, slamming his elbows into the window and into my skinny, proud shoulders. He never sat still. 
Riot bolted from the Volvo before we completely stopped.
I solemnly placed my shoes into the red Virginia clay and shadowed my parents to a crowd gathered inside the feathery embrace of a weeping willow. The casket parted them, leaving tears in its wake. 
Squawking from the chicken coop indicated that Riot was euthanizing the chickens, inducing little hen heart attacks.
I tried to ignore him, instead trying to breathe in my grandfather, summoning memories of his tales of beetles and Beatles.
Sage! Riot called out to me. My brother was crouched in front of the hen house, poultry flapping around him angrily, with his pants down and an egg between the cheeks of his buttocks, squawking and pretending to lay an egg.
My cheeks rouged. The crowd turned, my mother and father horrified.
Riot didn’t hear my steps rounding the coop. I reached around his neck dragging him downward. I smashed the egg with my open hand into his skin then commanded him to raise his pants. Riot acquiesced, sullen for the remainder of the funeral with a wet, sticky stigma permeating the back of his khakis.

The crowd turned back to the casket.

It Isn't Slutty If You're Wearing Pearls Blog

ramiy63's picture
ramiy63 from Ohio is reading Wool May 2, 2012 - 5:41am

Vibrations from the machine rattled the old warehouse, causing dust to fall from the rafters high overhead. The fluorescent lights buzzed and dimmed as their power was sucked away.
 

Mollie stood, pale and afraid, as Stewart stepped toward the bizarre monstrosity they’d built. At the last second panic set in and she reached for him, fingertips lightly brushing his arm.
He jumped, spinning toward her, alarmed.


“You almost made me drop them,” he nearly shouted, now holding the small carton in both hands.


“I’m sorry, but… but, what if something goes wrong and you never come back?”
 

Concern replaced alarm on Stewart’s face, then gave way to resolve.
 

“I have to go,” he whispered. “The question made me what I am. I’ve considered it - we’ve all considered it – for far too long.”
 

Abruptly he turned away and walked into the time machine… into the past. Immediately the machine blinked out of existence.
 

Tears trickled from Mollie’s eyes and she wondered why she was crying. She looked down, at an old science book in her right hand, frowning at the note on it that read “Page 132.”
 

Uncertain, she opened the book and found a photograph of two old, broken egg shells, with a caption below it that read: “With the discovery of these two fossilized egg shells and the bones of two nearby chickens, scientists were able to prove conclusively that the egg did indeed come before the chicken.”


Mollie sighed, confused, and wondered why that even mattered. 
 

Mary Barley Hurley's picture
Mary Barley Hurley May 2, 2012 - 7:31am

Not one spot anywhere.  It didn’t matter how closely you looked.  She was perfect.  You couldn’t even detect an accent  thanks to that revolutionary vocal cord replacement that was the big thing out here.  Evidence from that nasty divorce in 2004?  Not on her face.  It would be impossible to tell from her body if she had ever given birth, or breastfed, or fallen off a bike even. None of those telltale signs of life here.  She asked him what he would like.  I’ll take a couple of eggs, side of depakote.  It doesn’t matter how they serve them anymore.  The yolk is gone thanks to the genetic engineering.  It’s just habit.  He’ll get over that one day.  He ate quickly and wiped the sweat off his brow.  He wasn’t from around here.  It was obvious.  No one else had any sweat glands so it was just one of several signs he was an out of towner.  You would see the sympathy if they could express it.  He got the check.  He thought it was a different waitress but it was impossible to tell.  He left a tip, no telling what that would go towards.  Perhaps the new brain washing so there is no recall of anything at all…just fifty shades of nothing.  That’ll take care of that pounding head.  Problem is, there is always some reminder.  No matter when you think you got it, just one wrong move and the whole stack comes down around you.

 

Kevin Wallace's picture
Kevin Wallace is reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson May 2, 2012 - 7:39am

War's Hell

"It seems so savage, eating embryonic chickens that way," she said.  Her Scottish accent made every word she spoke seem more pure and real to me.  "Could you see the chickens drinking white wine in their high-society parties, eating fertilized humans with little spoons like caviar?"

I looked around the diner with its black and white checkerboard tiles, and back to my plate, where the yolks from two eggs ran out over a piece of toast.  "I say white wine suits the chickens well.  You know, here in Alberta, there are more cows than humans, and they're not raised for pulling plows."

She rolled her eyes and hooked a long lock of red hair back around her ear in that accidental, sultry way of hers that drove me wild.  I said, "So, you'll kill an adult human without a second thought, but you get all bent up about chicken eggs?"

Her face became serious.  "War's hell.  Training is such that thought is not involved.  Soldiers defend themselves, and chickens can't.  Have you ever held a baby chick in your hand?"

I leaned back in the booth and looked at her, puzzling.  "I can't say I have," I said.

She grinned.  "You better hope that these chickens you're eating never evolve into something that realizes what you're doing."

I laughed, and my eyes settled on the drab green duffel bag on the floor beside her.  It had been a wild weekend.  I was going to miss her like a bad habit. 

Angela I.P.'s picture
Angela I.P. May 2, 2012 - 9:38am

It took Mama Hen exactly five seconds to figure out which one was hers.  She shuffled into the store, looking for chocolate sprinkles for her Friday afternoon tea cake (different decorations each day of the week) and stopped short at the dairy section, peered through her greenish gold frame spectacles and let out a huge squawk of despair.


It was not to be borne, the horror of seeing her as-yet-unborn baby on display at the refrigerated six-for-three section, right under a flyer announcing the benefits of an egg-healthy breakfast. Simply not to be borne.


With grim determination, she leapt onto the display and was about to gently settle right atop her baby, when she was tackled sideways into a pack of yoghurt cartons. Dazed, she looked up to see a brown and red bustle of feathers hover protectively over the same egg. Mine, mine, screeched the newcomer, who she vaguely recognized from church.


It took Mama Hen exactly three seconds to realize that she was no longer sure. She picked herself up, smoothed her feathers, straightened her glasses and went back to her pursuit of simple Friday afternoon delights.

kentwoodlands's picture
kentwoodlands May 2, 2012 - 11:34am

Essential Nutrients

He suspected that they thought he was a Republican but he was okay with that, mostly because he hated the sideways glances you get when you live on an organic vegetable farm and bring home McDonalds for diner. Anyway, the rent was cheap and he could fry steroidal white eggs for breakfast in peace while the others were out tending to the free-range chickens that made the driveway smell of ammonia.
He wasn’t a Republican.
The simple fact was that he didn’t much believe in anything anymore besides the giant gears of machinery that operated entirely outside and above the small-minded and petty altruism here. Someday he hoped there’d be nothing left but the superstructure.
“You left the ironing board down after you used it the other day,” Carl said to him as the whites of his eggs bubbled up and hissed around the edges. They were as white as a vacuum, the whiteness of pure absence.
“Sorry,” he said with a purposeful lack of affect. At some distant edge of his psyche he was afraid that the dirt from Carl’s shirt — rich in essential nutrients — would contaminate the negative space in his frying pan. He wished his own body could become completely unbiodegrable.
“Make sure you clean up after yourself,” said Carl, who didn’t understand anything about anything. Carl was a worm.
He cut the yokes out and threw them in the plastic pin marked “landfill”. He didn’t want to think about what a yoke could mean.

goodfella007's picture
goodfella007 from Cleveland is reading 11/22/63 (Stephen King), The Big Bang (Max Collins), Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James) May 2, 2012 - 12:04pm

Eggs

 

You can hear us, can’t you? 

In the end, it won’t make any difference. 

You can tell them, but they’ll never believe you.  Tell them about the signs, how you’ve pieced it together.  From Humpty Dumpty to the Alien movies, the Egg by Sherwood Anderson, the Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells, and the Hen and the Golden Eggs by Aesop.  It’s right there!  Right in front of you, all this time! 

I’d smile if I could. 

They’ll call you mad.  And you’ll yell, and you’ll scream, but no matter what you do, it won’t make any difference.  And then you’ll sit alone and sweat out these last few days you have left. 

Be patient. 

We’ll come for you last. 

That way you can see how it all ends.

 

Watson Brown's picture
Watson Brown May 2, 2012 - 2:24pm

Oh I don’t know, maybe because the eggs are beige! I was quite clear with you Milton I distinctly told you to procure, five perfect white eggs, five oval alabaster gems.
But they were out of white eggs governor. Interrupted Milton , in his timid British accent.
No no no, Milton enough already with the excuses, excuses are about as good to me as these filthy eggs. You have until sundown Milton, you get me those eggs, or so help me god Milton you and everything you love will be but a memory !

Kenz's picture
Kenz from Auckland, NZ May 2, 2012 - 4:10pm

They say blood in your mouth tastes like copper. It’s not copper, it’s iron. Haemoglobin contains iron. Sometimes, your blood will taste more like iron than someone else’s, depending on your haemoglobin levels. Try this: bite someone hard and whip your head about so that one of your teeth gets ripped out. The blood from your extraction mixes with the blood from their wound, making it difficult to guess whose blood has more iron, but you can usually tell.


After you’ve done this a few times, you’ll start running out of teeth. That’s where the eggs come in. Scrambled eggs don’t need much chewing. Not like meat and chicken. Meat and chicken are great, but they’re difficult to chew without teeth.


She hates the fighting, but I just can’t help myself. I’m not the typical violent type, other than fighting. I don’t break things or smash the place up. Just fight. And bite. I know that it upsets her, but afterwards she always takes care of me and makes sure that everything’s okay, medically speaking.


Then she feeds me the eggs. Sometimes they taste like iron.


She tells me that if I carry on fighting, I’ll have to go, but I know she’ll never make me. She doesn’t have the heart. She ruffles my tattered ginger fur and I purr and suck the scrambled eggs from my plastic bowl. Sure beats cat food anyway.
 

jennydecki's picture
jennydecki from Chicagoland is reading The Foreigners May 2, 2012 - 4:26pm

What would it be like to be a chicken? Egg-laying would be a bitch, but what a small trade-off for grass to peck through and at least some sense of freedom. Freedom is what everyone wants, she thinks, but no one knows exactly what it looks like. A homeless man with a fifth of vodka – was that free?

The slimy feeling between her fingers brings her back from her daydream. She stares at her hand and slowly feels the increasing pain from the broken shell piercing her skin, meshing into a web of slime and pain and the man in the dining room. He waits for a perfect breakfast, but she has broken one of his eggs. That is not perfect.

She wants so badly, in that moment, to be a chicken. She can almost smell the grass. Feel her beak as it pecks fleas from feathers. She wipes her hand on her pants, getting some of the slime and shell off, and takes the other two eggs into the dining room.

He is splayed against the wall, blood pools and dries beneath him. She throws an egg at him. It hits to the far right of his head and oozes down the wall toward his shoulder. She stares at the last egg. The last egg she will ever lift for him. “I’d rather be a fucking hobo.” She says to the corpse. She drops the last egg and walks away as the yolk spreads from the crack in the egg onto the lace tablecloth.

Scott Clelland's picture
Scott Clelland from Denny is reading whilst pooping May 2, 2012 - 4:28pm

Robert and the Receeders 

Phil’s was first ti go; ah hink he was still a teenager even. Poor wee cunt. Brush’s was next. That fanny hud snared himself an apprenticeship at BP back in the day, but aw the fancy shampoos and pishy light treatments in the world cudny stop that penalty spot fae widenin’. Barry’s was trickier ti notice cause he always hud that fuckin’ skip hat oan his napper, or his fenian tammy if it was cauld. He wasny foolin’ anybody though, baseball was fur poofs. As soon as the monk-chic look was exposed by a cheeky tug fae big Mick doon The Bull and Bush, the Yankees were never supported again.


Sooner or later, yuv jist got ti man up and deal wi it; a 0-gauge or a Bic, take your pick.


So here a stood in front of ma old friend once again; the bathroom mirror. Ah’d pocketed the kitty, the old gentleman’s agreement fae times of spikes and side-sheds. But two hunner banger and the least abuse cudny save ma locks. Three parts wet-look gel, one part bit polish would huv ti suffice, for now.


Skip furrit three years and am bald as an egg. Fuck it though, saves me a wee fortune at the barbers and ah still get ma hole every other weekend. Life could be worse. Least am no ginger.

melrosie69's picture
melrosie69 from Dallas is reading Deadfall hotel May 2, 2012 - 5:56pm

Prince Charles is a perfectionist about his eggs. I read that somewhere. I  respect that. I once screamed at a waiter for serving me runny eggs. Quality counts. I live with a woman I met at Job Corps. I don't trust her to make eggs and she can't cook anyway. Her name is Betty.It sounds like a waitress name doesn't it? But Betty isn't a waitress. Betty doesn't have a job. Betty can't cook. I have a ritual about the way I cook eggs. I play sitar music while I melt the butter in the pan. I send Betty out for cigarettes because I don't like the distraction. She talks too much. It's toxic. So I send her out to the convenience store and I play the sitar music and melt the butter in the pan and then I start whisking the eggs and I lose track off time but then I pour them into the pan  and Betty walks in the door smoking. "Don't smoke inside, Betty," I tell her. She just stares at me and she has ruined my concentration and the eggs are ruined. Betty is running off at the mouth about what a lousy boyfriend I am. "You ruined my damn eggs, Betty," I tell her. I borrow one of her cigarettes and leave. I walk towards the hiking trail where I can get some peace. I walk and walk and wonder what to do about Betty.

Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy's picture
Pretty Spry for... from I'd prefer it if you didn't know. So would you, only you don't know it. is reading whatever he makes time for this week May 3, 2012 - 9:20pm

The Rooster Came First

Rodents gnaw at a corpse. The village lies in ruin. Dozens dead. The corpse has no lower half. Just a torso with singed hair and a vacant stare. An eyeball pops out and is immediately eaten by a wayward crow.
 

The beast writhes still, though its chest no longer heaves. The spears stopped that. Smoke billows from what used to be their homes, but the villagers cheer. They haven’t seen sunlight in days. The sky casts no reflection in the pond.
 

Off in the bushes on the other side of the pond, just across from the cheering villagers, concealed by reeds and smoke, sit four eggs. For the first time that week, a rooster caws. The beast writhes still.
 

Dino Parenti's picture
Dino Parenti from Los Angeles is reading Everything He Gets His Hands On May 20, 2012 - 8:17am

Souffle

          Jenna’s final meal was a soufflé. I’d make them for her every Thursday because Fridays she didn’t work and she could sleep in and not worry about feeling bloated while on her feet for ten hours a shift at the hospice.
          She enjoyed watching me cook, often lauding my food handling skills, which though I thought nothing of, the dichotomy of being an ex-military roughneck who played amateur chef thrilled her to no end.
          I haven’t made one in two years. Not until today—a misty dusk similar to the one she was abducted and slaughtered on while jogging. It was the ex-husband. He even confessed before his greenhorn lawyer, in trying to crack a legacy for himself, killed the plea gambit deader than my wife.
          What Jenna especially admired was how I’d fracture the eggshells using only the scythe of my thumbnail, the whites oozing from the gash like sclera from a punctured eyeball before dumping the vermillion yokes into a bowl and later burying the crushed shells for compost. The whole time she’d gaze at me like I was father, son and husband rolled into one body.
          The ex eventually beat the rap on a technicality, and today the lawyer’s a legal analyst for Fox. I got him now. The ex, that is. He’s in the bathroom strapped to a chair in the tub. I took the weekend off. This time I kept the eggshells. Before I finish him, I intend to grind them into his eyes.

Ranulfo Sosa's picture
Ranulfo Sosa from México City is reading what happens to me in my mind May 3, 2012 - 3:55pm

please help me. who says that? hey! you are an..you´re an egg. if you happened? i´ve fallen in love and broke my Leggs

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like May 3, 2012 - 5:20pm

Does 0/1 Still Count As A Ratio?

"You actually expect me to read all these stories before submitting one?  That'd be like naming these eggs before I crack them open over a shallow pool of sizzling oil.  Okay, then:  Jerome, crack, Minnie, crack, Franz, crack, Dorothy, crack, Stefan, crack."

She scrambles the eggs with a plastic fork so she won't scratch the pan-coating.  Only a few bits of shell crunch between my teeth.

"It's true," I say.  "The more eggs you cook at once, the less you need to add milk.  You didn't add any milk to these?  They're great.  Fluffy."

She washes the dishes and leaves.

Aw, man...

I didn't win.

J.Dulouz's picture
J.Dulouz from New England is reading The Sirens of Titan May 4, 2012 - 4:20am

The Trooper:


I remember like it was yesterday. The horror of it all. That mid-May morning at dawn.
The crack heard round the world. There was no turning back. Brown speckled orbs filled
the skies, raining freshly-laid death from above. Concussions on every side sending
yellow tendrils leaping into the air, as they tried to push back our lines. We were ordered
not to shoot until we saw the whites of their eggs. And so we waited.


They'd held us this way for weeks. Until one day, the decision was made. The tide
would change. We poured from our trenches, intent on taking back that hill, the ground
around us slick with putrid yellow grease. Their machine gun ceaselessly sputtering out
the wretched product of Henhouse Z, cutting down my men left and right, and filling our
infirmary with yolk-stained bodies.


Lost my best friend, Jimmy, that day, as he tore off ahead, filled with false bravado, his
vest lined with six dozen, grade A Jumbo's. He dove selflessly into their foxhole, taking
out that damn machine gunner, but also sliming himself beyond recognition.


He did it for us.


Taking up his bayonet, I led the charge, my brothers and I scrambling to the top. Our
tenacious fight eventually winning the battle for Benedict Hill.


We earned the Farm Fresh Medal that day.


We did it for Jimmy.

Heather Constantinescu's picture
Heather Constan... from Indianapolis, Indiana is reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman May 4, 2012 - 8:04am

“Put that BACK, this instant!” I told my son. Dylan screamed. It was an oversize bag of candies. My 7 year old daughter rolled her eyes. A mother embracing a docile infant sidled past, muttering ‘excuse me’ as my son wailed. I picked up his struggling figure and put him in the cart, forgetting that eggs were there already. CRUNCH. Transparent goo squirted from the broken Styrofoam package. Dylan’s beige pants darkened instantly. He stopped crying and put his hands in the raw seeping egg.
 

“Yuck!” my son said, clapping his hands. Other shoppers were pretending not to watch us. I fought down my desire for public respect. It was already a much neglected thing. 
 

At the checkout line, a woman with tightly curled gray hair, in a green nylon suit, approached me.
 

“Please come to our class,” she said. She tucked a pink flyer into my sticky hand, then rubbed her own hand against her blouse in subconscious disgust. I glanced down: “Effective Parenting!” was the paper’s headline.
 

“What was that?” asked the checkout clerk, a freckled teenager with sandy brown hair. We saw him here often.
 

“For a parenting class,” I told him.
 

“Ah, what does she know,” the clerk said. He smiled at my son, who was sniffling quietly from my arms, and loaded bags in my cart for the trip outside. My daughter smiled shyly at him. He tweaked her nose; he had a younger sister at home, too, he’d told us once. 

 

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading Zombie Bake Off by Stephen Graham Jones May 4, 2012 - 8:53am

Soldiers


Angry war faces. Snarled teeth and furrowed brows.
Camouflage. 
Born to Kill.
That’s what we drew on those eggs.
Whole eggs fished from the white plastic swing bin, maybe three days past their use by date.
Felt tip pen smudged against our eager fingers as we lined them up along the window sill. Four fat soldiers.
Me and Sam in our cramped flat, Mum looked harassed, said, “Behave,” and went to lie down.
But Sam never listens.
Pushing the window open a crack, Sam’s on reconnaissance.
“The target’s in range. Arm yourself Sergeant Davey.”
Old man Foggerty.
Always tapping his window and yelling when we played football on the lawn. Told us we’d ruin it. The same turf peppered with his Lucy’s dark brown dog-turds, coating your football, wedged in the cracks in your trainers. Trailed across our kitchen floor.
  Missile in hand I hesitate.
“Chicken shit,” says Sam and drops the first egg.
It falls short, an explosion of yolk on beige nylon trousers.
A furry lightning bolt charges through his legs to lap up the fetid puddle.
Lucy.
Sprawling, falling backwards. Grasping at air, he tumbles. His head cracks, a soft boiled egg, on the hard paving.
“Davey?” Mum calls from the bedroom, woken by the cacophony.
The moment there’s trouble, Sam’s gone.
“It was Sam.” I say, small voice trembling.
Mum’s voice faint and sleepy, sighing, “Aren’t you a bit old for imaginary friends now, Davey?”
In my ear Sam whispering:
“Soldier: K.I.A. Requesting back-up.”
 

Mike Adam's picture
Mike Adam from Toronto, Canada is reading Wytches Vol. 1 May 4, 2012 - 9:56am

Four Eggs

“That’s it for today?”

“Today? Boy, that’s it for this week”.

Heath cast a morose glance over the paltry yield resting in an old ceramic bowl on the table.

Four eggs.  Each had a sickly tone to its regular brown hue, and even without touching them they seemed extremely fragile; as if too hard a gaze might itself shatter this meager façade of a harvest. And then, worst of all, there was only four of them.

Four eggs. Heath drew himself a chair and sat down, staring out the window at the coop, it’s red ramshackle walls glowing dully in the light of the dying sun. The old weather vane swung lazily in the wind, in concert with the bare branches of the dead maple trees that surrounded the chicken house. Used to be that you could find nary a chip in the fine red paint of the coop, that red paint that so well complimented the bushy maple’s that rested on either side of it.  Used to be they had more than four eggs, too. Now though; now there were more dull grey spots on those red walls than anyone cared to count, and with each spring passed it seemed like more and more beautiful red maples came up dead. Heath sighed, and as he watched the bare branches bend and curdle in the wind like so many ancient appendages, he felt a wholly sinister energy creep up his spine.

Whatever it was, something scared those chickens good.

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Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books May 4, 2012 - 11:11am

Scrambled

He had thought the end of the world would come with a bang, not a whimper. To be fair, he wasn’t really whimpering, he was wailing and moaning between retching and shitting—and it wasn’t really the end of the world. Just his.

It was a really un-fucking-dignified way to go. It would be a headline. The drugs didn’t kill him. The alcohol didn’t. Not even the years of shady deals in dark alleys had killed him. He had spent over a decade with his hand hovering over the gun on his hip, and the bitch who had convinced him it was all too dangerous had killed him so easily.

He had burst a blood vessel in his eye on the second day. The strain had caused a headache so bad all he could see was white light. Today there was blood in his shit. Or he thought there was. The only light came from a small rectangular window above his head.

His life wasn’t flashing before his eyes. Maybe that only happens when you die fast, rather than rotting from the inside out. He only saw her. Saw her in a red dress on their first date, crying the day she asked him to get out of the business, glowing and draped in white on their wedding day. He saw her with a plate of scrambled eggs the morning his stomach had started bothering him. She was smiling.

Janae Green's picture
Janae Green from the Pacific Northwest is reading Liberty's Excess by Lidia Yuknavitch June 25, 2012 - 2:41pm

"The Old Egg" was published in Poetry Quarterly's "Tricky Issue" (Winter 2011/Spring 2012).

Thanks for reading!

Love, Janae

 

Updated: June 25, 2012

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz May 4, 2012 - 2:45pm

Whoa. It is only the Fourth? 

This flash Eggstravaganza™ is really startin' to heat up. Great work people. I think this guy is singing a Beatles song...

kester651's picture
kester651 from Dallas is reading Sugar Frosted Nutsack May 30, 2012 - 1:16pm

Persistence

"So baby, what's your preference?" she asked.

Samantha kissed his neck, and continuously stroked the Seaman Recruit's shaved head as she inquired.

"Wanna do it on the couch?  How 'bout in the bed?  We could get kinky and just bang on the coffee table if you'd like."

The Recruit's mind briefly traveled back to 5th grade and the inaugural sex talk.  He sat cross-legged on cold linoleum with the guys from his class, slowly zipping and unzipping the pockets of his parachute pants as the guest speaker divulged the secrets to procreation.  Anxiety from the subject matter made him fidget, and pop a sizeable boner.

Samantha was a whore, and did nothing for his wood.  He would later learn that the Navy was to blame.  The green tinted eggs and unnaturally tangy ham served during boot camp chow were heavily laced with potassium nitrate, which by design suppressed his chubby.

Feeling supremely lonely and ineffective, he quietly wept into the whore's cleavage.  She pulled him in tight and breathed heavily into his ear during the emotional release.

Her kindness was unexpected and, despite a heavy dose of dick meds, somehow inspired stirring in his dress blues.  She smiled softly, and lay back across his lap.

How ironic, that kindness inspired horniness?  Not really; more like Morrissettian Irony.  However much better than heavy traffic for the less punctual.

"Come on, Admiral," she said.  "Do you want to fuck right here?"

Maybe he liked whores after all.

 

 

JackieMR's picture
JackieMR from Illinios is reading something interesting May 4, 2012 - 9:47pm

The Still Life

"That will never sell," Liza told him, as she contemplated his latest still life. "Why don't you paint something that will sell?"

"Do you like it?" asked Greg, ignoring her question.

"I mean, what gallery would even show it? It's not like there's a museum dedicated to pictures of eggs."

"I think it's my best study yet," Greg said, admiring his own work.

Liza sat down on a corner stool. "I wish you'd get over this egg craze. You should paint flowers instead. You know the cafes would display those."

"Something about the light, I think. Better light today than normal."

"Or how about landscapes? You used to paint some good landscapes."

"Think I should paint them in the nest next time. I'm sure the farmer won't mind."

"Yes, you should do landscapes again. They were always you're best work. Remember the one you painted for me?"

"I'll ask him in the morning." Greg stretched, then turned from the canvas. "What's for supper tonight?"

"Eggs," said Liza.