Apr/May 2020

e c l e c t i c a
f i c t i o n


(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Night Work
(Spotlight Runner-Up!)

Reggie knows she's supposed to ask why it's ironic. Sometimes she allows herself to be drawn in by these dramatic invitations, but today she feels as if she's on fire with impatience, the hairs on her skin prickling, her feet tapping, her fingers twitching on her phone, and she remains stubbornly silent.

Mary Grimm


A special area of a Catholic hospital had been set aside for their deliveries and births. Lily Ann suffered through 12 hours of contractions while nuns scurried from room to room. She never felt so alone. She kept glancing at the door expecting to see her parents' faces, astonished that they would abandon her even now. A kind-hearted nurse let her hold the baby. Then they whisked her little girl away.

Marlene Olin

To Drink Around the World

Somewhere between "we all fall down" and getting back into the apartment, they realized all three of their names end in an 'E' sound. They determined it was destined for them to meet, and they declared themselves a sisterhood. Two months later, they still considered themselves inseparable, even though they rarely spent time together outside of their third-floor, one-bedroom apartment.

Kameron Ray Morton

The Eye of the Needle

But when the posters for the event came out on Mother's Day weekend, he was dismayed to discover that the Faster Pastor Challenge would take place not at the running track of the local college but at the Dark Corner Speedway. The picture he'd emailed to the TV station had been Photoshopped to include a flame retardant racing suit in place of his pulpit robe. His name topped the list of a dozen ministers—and Roger would be driving the Jesus of Malibu 888 car.

Gilbert Allen

The Stars Above Somalia

Maybe, thought Daniel, the word "take" is the operative one. These Somalis were rapacious... was that too harsh a word? He recalled Richard Burton's account of some Arab telling him, a hundred years ago, that Arabs called Somalis the "give-me-something nation." Perhaps their harsh environment made them that way. The thin boy in the bush with his camels learned to be hard and persevering—to survive.

Peter Bridges

Question Mark

We cremated him. My sister and I decided that was what he would have preferred, assuming he could make up his mind. Cemeteries took up needed space, and dead bodies didn't turn into daisies and tomato plants if they were sealed in coffins. But before he was cremated, the medical profession harvested whatever organs that might still be useful to someone else. He had indicated he wanted that by signing a statement on the back on his driver's license. I confirmed the signature was his by comparing it with other samples I found in his papers. How had he managed to bite that bullet? Did he figure what happened to him after death was a no-brainer, so to speak, or did a streak of altruism run deeper in him than his obsessive indecision?

Thomas J. Hubschman

Animal Truth (a novella)

Jo kept sneaking glances at Leo. She was proud of him. These were deep organizational waters though not over her head. Greg had flown them here in order to make an impression, which meant she had some leverage. Yet as the hours passed, the two scientists found that sorting out the details of excitingly useful plans from the details of unwieldy, wasteful, restrictive, or dodgy ones, while maintaining tact and aiming for compromise, was like hauling wheelbarrows full of gold bricks. Very inspiring it was, very grateful they were, and it wore them out.

Sharona Muir