Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Fiction’ Category

What’d They Call You That For?

by Jeffrey Paolano

“That your name?” asks the one the bartender welcomed with “Hey, Galucci, how you doin’?” Galucci swipes a handback across his foam-filled mustache after a satisfying guzzle from the frozen schooner and thrusts his midlife belly against the bar, rubbing with his marqued polo the ancient wood massaged to ruin by thousands of such bellies.

Read more

Dolphins and Kite

by Thomas McDade

I had a bit of a scare. The Leadership Exam was much more difficult than I expected, hadn’t studied worth a shit. I thought I might have failed but lucked out with a seventy-six. I worked steadily after, caught up with commissary ledger postings. I wanted to get off the ship but didn’t want to take a taxi or bus trip up to the Naval Air Station at Sigonella. Around one I showered and threw on civilian clothes. Wore for the first time a madras shirt I’d bought at the Norfolk Naval Base Exchange. Close examination revealed no irregularities that were common in threads purchased there. Morgan, the uptight Jack of the Dust, caught me as I was leaving the Supply Department berthing area. “Hey, Bill Dean, there’s a #10 can of peanut butter gone missing.” I returned to the office to make a note of it. Was it mischief, tossed over the side, or love of the stuff? Morgan would be pounding on the Commissary Officer’s stateroom door next.

Read more

America, Diagonally

by Megan Woods

Twenty-two a day. By gunshot, car, hanging, poison, blade. Sometimes alone, draining away in a hidden place. Sometimes in full view, daring anyone to stop them. Sometimes in a dark corner of the night, amidst tears and vomit. Sometimes in a red haze. Our hero’s life didn’t end in any of these ways. At least not outwardly. Oh, he made a few half-hearted attempts, but his heart was never in it. He didn’t have one particular death. He started dying on his last deployment and never stopped. There are many people within one man, and the ones inside our hero died one at a time, a few at a time. Some died on raids and ambushes, some from IED’s and others from gunfights in Sadr City. He had many people in him waiting to die.

Read more

Tommy Can You Hear Me?

by William Lapham

Tommy and I had been living more or less together in a trench dug in the earth in France for going on two weeks. We didn’t dig the thing; it was waiting for us when we got there. Tommy had just turn eighteen but he looked twelve, freckles, red hair. Not that anyone could tell, two weeks after getting there, no bath, no shave, no hot food, he looked old.

Read more

Captain Jack’s

By Matthew Burrell

Isom stood six foot two with arctic blue eyes. He carried seven point six two millimeter non regulation high caliber rounds. Regulation was five five six but regulation had a habit of pinholing ribcages without settling on vital organs.

Read more

Cleansing

by Scott Beard

Thunder clapped loud as the black Z-71 lumbered up the incline and into to the rusty shed. Bill let out a sigh as Powell put it in park. They crawled out of the cab, bodies aching from a long day of fishing down on the Cache La Poudre River. The mercury struggled to hike to sixty and gray clouds had thwarted the sun’s attack on the foothills of the Sawatch Range.

Read more

The Arkansas

by Cornelius Coleman II

Green Country

His return to the individualized and lonesome trappings of private civilian life had become a pendulum of anchorless abstractions: a changed man’s thoughts wandering aimlessly through an alien environment. Sergeant Josiah Betancourt’s homecoming from Operation Enduring Freedom bore no resemblance to the ticker-tape deluges of welcome home parades or the iconic still-life photography that immortalized Lucky Strike puffing American G.I.s’ embracing starry-eyed pin-up girls. These romantic celluloid mirages, for him, always captured that generation’s collective need to simply appreciate survival as the zenith of all joyful moments; the precursor of all great things large and small. Now, Josiah foraged for these sentiments through the thick brambles and thorn-laced briars of combat related stress However, his subsequent findings could only be described as disillusion as he looked directly at the final deposit for a veteran’s service – the confounding disintegration of a once-unvarnished faith.

Read more

The Last Army

by Will Sweger

 

I eased along the jagged surface of the rock and peered along a crevice trying not to show too much of myself. The vantage point that we had climbed all morning for was worth it. Small scrubby trees clung to the sides of the mountains as they dropped into the narrow corral of a valley. At the center, just offset from the dry creek bed that carved the place, was the walled compound that was our target. Its mud and stone walls rose above the dusty ground around it as if the place had been hewn from the earth itself. Like most Afghan country enclaves, it was arranged with a high outer wall and several inner buildings huddled around a courtyard. I strained to see the entrance of the valley, to see if the cav troopers were set up there with the cordon. Standard procedure was simply to roll up the valley and take the compound, but I had argued with command to let me take infantry through the high pass in order to cut off the escape of anyone who tried to run.

Read more

Rabbit’s Foot

by Brian Kerg

John Butler didn’t think he’d be asked to make such an unfair promise.

He didn’t know how to feel when he managed to keep it.

He was terrified when he was asked to make it again.

Read more

Quittin’ Time

by Shannon Coghlan Reiss

Dad’s impending retirement had worried me for years. “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” my brother Bobby asked. I figured he’d sit around drinking beer and watching television all day. Work keeps people alive. Everyone knew that. Recently, my friends’ parents started retiring, and one by one, they got sick.

Read more