Lovers Manqué, by Eric J. Smith

“Hiya, Frenchie. Coffee please.”

“There you go, Oscar. What’s new?”

“I’ve been wondering that myself.”


“You know, you wonder at night if your eyes will open the next morning. Know what I mean?”

“Why would I wonder something stupid like that?”

“We aren’t getting any younger, Frenchie. It’s like maybe God is following us around getting ready to tap us on the shoulder. You know?”

“Speak for yourself, Oscar. If I felt that way, I wouldn’t bother getting up at all. I figure you and I still have some things left to do.”

“Like what?”

“You have to ask?”

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, by Ann-Louise Truschel

“I want a bench trial.”

“Allen, you’re accused of killing your wife. With a jury trial, the prosecution has to convince 12 people you’re guilty. With bench trials, one person decides – the judge.”

“Bench trial! No argument!”

The defense reluctantly agrees, and Allen Grey appears before Judge Laura Peabody on a first degree murder charge.

The trial lasts three weeks, and Judge Peabody renders her decision four days later.

“Not guilty!”

“I want to thank the judge personally,” as Allen walks down the court hallway.

In the judge’s chambers, Allen takes her in his arms and whispers, “Thank you, Darling.”

The End of Jackson, by Marilyn R. Freedman

A challenge from the beginning, he threw up in his box on the car ride home.
He didn’t agree with his kitten food and farted so much he made the kid’s room unlivable.
He had no respect for his elders and drove Sam, the senior cat, from his favorite places.
At 6 months old, he challenged the 60-pound lab mix for her food. He did not win. He did not stop trying.
Nothing in the house was safe from the little boy. Would he use the litter boxes in the laundry room? No, he preferred the newspaper recycling in the hall closet.
Would he sleep with you at night? No. No legs and feet were safe from his friendly predation.
Food was the final frontier. One Sunday, I tussled with him over my eggs. When it was time to take my morning medication, everything was gone.
I found two vitamin D soft gels on the floor, rejected.
I saw the dog swallow the probiotic before I could get out the words “drop it.”
The antidepressant? Nowhere in sight. Neither was Jackson.

The Disappearance, by Russell Conover

And now for a bonus from me this week, about an item Eric suggested a while back.

The Disappearance, by Russell Conover

“Sheesh–where’d everybody GO?”
“No idea. They used to be here every week, but now? Nothing.”
“Well, I heard that Tom decided to explore Pluto.”
“Wow. Exciting! That must be scary.”
“Yeah, but he’s a brave guy.”
“Oh, yeah. Jill decided to write full-time.”
“Perfect for our group!”
“Except she stays in her writing Bat-cave 24/7. That can’t be healthy.”
“And I think Roy is off battling vicious sea creatures.”
“Man–this is great material for Friday Flash Fiction, isn’t it?”
“Especially when it’s all based on fact!”
“I miss our longtime writing friends. I hope they come back soon.”

* * *

To quote Eric: “Anyway, someone should write a story–fiction of course–about the missing people [in F.F.F.] (not by name) and what’s become of them.”

Party Prep, by Russell Conover

This one was inspired by a blog entry by Emma (located at, along with an idea of my own.

Party Prep, by Russell Conover

Andrew was preparing for the big party. “What will I wear?” he moaned. He went into his closet and tried on a casual and colorful ensemble. Putting out his hands, he modeled for his pet frog. No response.

Sighing, Andrew decided for a change. He restyled his long hair, put on a dress and makeup, and said to his pet, “Meet Andrea–the party queen!”

The frog let out multiple ribbits. Delighted, Andrea dashed out the door.

The frog shook its head. “I wish he knew I said he looks ridiculous,” it said aloud. “But, who’d believe a talking frog?”

Council of War on Proxima Centauri B, by Gordon Lawrie

A little surrealism from the news this week …

Council of War on Proxima Centauri B, by Gordon Lawrie

The toilet roll, the lightbulb, the bottle, and the sock each sat motionless facing their commanding pencil, Djium.

“Here we go again,” the latter sighed. He signaled to the bottle. “Report, please, Boanz.”

“It’s life, Djium, but not as we know it. They’re pink and brown blobs of blubber with calcium inserts.” Everyone laughed uproariously. “But they’re just like all the rest. They think they’ve just discovered new life here.”

“And they must be dealt with! We rule the universe!” chorused everyone. “Exterminate!”

And so it came to pass: the Earth was obliterated by a giant golf ball. Titleist 3.

Judith, Heroic Temptress, by Marlene Goldberg

Judith, sultry temptress, stole into enemy soldiers’ tents, servicing them at night. And then returned home. Thereby she developed their trust and was allowed to come and go as she pleased.
One evening, as the commander lay in his tent, lulled into a snoring, deep sleep, Judith drew his sword and chopped off his head. Hiding it beneath her robe, she walked out of the camp.
The battle the following day was won by the Israelites. The enemy forced into retreat.
The severed head was buried separately.

Zilpah the Invisible Mother, by Marlene Goldberg

Four mothers. Matriarchs.
I gave birth to Jacob’s sons; their names were given by my mistress.
But destiny’s mine. Rachel’s buried in Bethlehem, Leah in Machpella Cave.
Reuben, Leah’s son, cohabited with my sister, Bilha.
So now I’m Jacob’s wife. Disappearing at night, my ebony skin enveloped by darkness, I lay, my black curls still wet from immersion in the Mikveh, waiting for Jacob, my husband.
Dawn. One bird chirps. Jacob has left for prayer. More birds sing. I don’t.
The baby suckles at my breast. I wipe away my tear from her cheek.
Jacob returns. We eat in silence.

Doesnotexistentialism, by Gordon Lawrie

Eric, I’ve decided that you need cheering up, and this story is especially for you. Containing some nice metaphysical concepts to chew on, its origins should be blindingly obvious.

Doesnotexistentialism, by Gordon Lawrie

His new discovery caused Eric-Gordon Sârtre to breathe heavily: this, then, was doesnotexistentialism. He defined it thus: that which has value only when it cannot be seen; the verbal equivalent of anti-matter.

New questions now arose. Could verbal anti-matter created by the Large LinkedIn Collider be stored? Could its mass be calculated? Could visible versions be created?

Excitedly, he fed sentences into his laptop, followed by some previously-memorised verbal anti-sentences. The result was astounding. Sentence and anti-sentence collided with devastating power, the laptop exploded and the great man himself vaporised.

Accordingly, the concept of doesnotexistentialism remains undiscovered to this day.