Posts Tagged humor

Flash Fiction Online, #4 March 2008

Back again, with another issue of Flash Fiction Online. No PDFs offered this time around, but that’s not a problem. The HTML versions work just as nicely. As usual, FFO is a nice e-zine. The flash fiction always makes for quick reading, and the layout and other stylistic decisions never get in the way. I do hope this ship keeps on sailing for many a months…

“Just Before Recess” by James Van Pelt is the story of a 3rd grade student and the sun he keeps hidden in his desk. How it came to be, how it yearns to fed, how it can be stopped altogether–these are questions Parker cannot answer. Unfortunately, his teacher, Mr. Earl, investigates the situation a little too closely.

It’s a fun piece of fiction, light-hearted and not, and the descriptions rang all too familiar for me. I can, for the life of me, remember sitting at those uncomfortable desks, keeping our books and pencils and note paper inside, as well as anything neat or gross found outside during recess. Those were the small things that you kept hidden, kept pushed back in the corner. Is a small sun more absurd than anything else? No, and it is this pulsing ball of light that keeps the story interesting even if its parturition goes unresolved. Very enjoyable, as well as innocently charming.

Rating: 9 anonymous stars out of 10

The narrative structure in “Downstream From Divorce: A Drama in Three Acts” by Glenn Lewis Gillette is something I think, or I’d like to think, Harlan Ellison would appreciate. It is a story of divorce told in three disassembled acts, mostly being of talking heads. Facts are revealed, questions are asked, and hearts are broken. It’s emotional and layered, but hard to absorb. I by no means hated it, but found myself hating the fact that I could not connect with it like I think a number of other readers could.

Rating: 7.5 anonymous stars out of 10

In “The Desert Cold” by David Tallerman, our nameless narrator tells us about the difference between the desert during the day and the desert during the night. Oddly enough, it is not the heat that can kill you, but the cold. Yet so long as one has water and a good guide they can survive the trek, and our talkative chap has both those items. Yet he is still afraid, and the reason why only becomes clear at the last sentence of the story.

There’s some lovely descriptions in the piece, which really help bring out the scenery. Since we can’t get to know our leading man, we must instead know our leading land. They say that Mother Nature is a bitch, and if that is so then the desert is her quietly creepy nephew lying in wait to steal some poor fool’s life. Not surprising, it’s a bleak tale, and does not shy away from the unhappy ending. I’d have liked for more though, and even though the protagonist admits that he is no philosopher it would’ve been nice for a bit more introspection on the why and how of his chilly findings.

Rating: 8 anonymous stars out of 10

Another solid issue for FFO, even if it only had one entry of flash fiction that I’d consider speculative. The other two were a bit more literary, still just as rewarding.

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The Town Drunk, January 2008

The most current issue of The Town Drunk presents two very different yet equally humorous stories: “Panko” by Zdravka Evtimova and “Naked Revenge” by Sonya M. Sipes.

We’ll start with the story about a donkey. “Panko” is both the story’s title and donkey’s name, and what a beast he is! The twenty-something-old donkey is dying and his master, Uncle Pesho, can’t stand to see his cart-puller suffer. Rather than let death just take the animal he decides to cut the poor thing up into minced meat. And then sausages. Evidently, the meat turns out to be magical, and good fortune abounds for all that take a bite. Men begin throwing themselves at the ladies, asking for hands in marriage, and greed quickly sets in as a business venture is soon revealed.

Fun, fun, disturbing when you really think about it, and lastly fun. That’s how I’d describe “Panko” to one of you chaps on the sidewalk. And it didn’t end in the way I thought it would. I worried it was going to set itself up for a “learn a lesson” curtain drop, but it didn’t. Still, the idea of women hungry for magical donkey meat is both out there and enjoyable. Give it a read, and see for yourself if you like the taste too.

Rating: 7 anonymous stars out of 10

Now, “Naked Revenge” by Sonya M. Sipes is a quick piece of flash that deals with some cliche subjects all while retaining its charms. A woman/man seeking refuge in an upperclass community has come down with a…sickness, you might say. You know, the kind that makes people late for work the day after a full moon. Anyways, the change is approaching and for Mrs. Cuthbertson, a leering neighbor, revenge is on its way. The last line of the story brought a chuckle out of me. Which was surprising. This is funny stuff.

Rating: 8 anonymous stars out of 10

One thing I feel worth mentioning about The Town Drunk is that I love that they offer work-safe ratings in terms of content, as well as PDF versions of the individual stories in each issue. Overall, this was time well spent on two light-hearted and entertaining stories.

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