Sean Daly – Fiction

First Things First


For me, I try my best to get along. I don’t want drama. Even if I’m constipated which happens. It’s uncomfortable to talk about but it happens sometimes. This morning feels like an eternity since I went. I think I’m good to go….then… ahem… then the sensation is followed by nothing.  But today it will happen soon enough, I tell myself, for sure, you got this one.

Now I’m at a Costco parking lot.

“Are you okay?” my girlfriend says.  She knows there’s a problem.  Even though I’ve remained silent about the whole matter.

“I’m okay, why?”

“You look distressed.”


The morning is all light, no heat. I always go in morning like clockwork, so I’m kind’a heartbroken if you want to know the truth, but it doesn’t stop me from getting out of the car and trudging to the entrance.

“Do you have the list?” she asks.

I fumble in my pocket. Everyone moves in a general malaise. Get this, my girlfriend stops by a reverse osmosis system and becomes immersed by it. By water. Fascinated by water, which is a good thing in its own right. Clean water can help. I’ll admit it. I’m not crazy.

But, I say.

“Let’s just stick to our list, Hun.”

Then my girlfriend recites it without looking. “Tri-tip, lettuce, rice.”  She’s memorized it even though she just asked me for it.

“We agreed to stick to the list.” None of which is conducive to movement, I’ll agree, still I want to get the items for the BBQ and split. I reach for my pocket again, but my hand stops over my gut as if it were a magic wand.

“We could use a water system?” Her voice is all heat, no light.

“I dunno” I say.

I wait.


but I say nothing more.

No follow up from her, either.


“So were getting one now?” I say after a spell. As a matter of point, I catch myself observing the water moving through the charcoaled system, one cylinder to another, and it looks beneficial in all candor. It really does.

I grab her hand. I want to move along and get what we came here for. “What’s wrong with our water, anyways?” I say tugging at her, playfully.

“Chemotherapy, pesticides, heavy metals.”

Talk about nails on a chalk board.

And the entire store is populated with anonymous faces which is neither here nor there.

But she shakes off my grip – miffed.   She walks away – borderline fuming – the way she does. I pursue her while doing a quick inventory of the food I’ve eaten in the last 24 hours.  Then I review the list she’s memorized, the one rummaged for in my pocket. My girlfriend stops, again. Hands on her hips.

“So we can’t even entertain other things we might need?”

I hesitate. My thinking is this: sure we can babe after, but only after, I  go. I got to move my bowels, you have no idea, but no words come out.

No explanation in my defense, whatsoever.

Not a word.

Nothing at all.



Sean Daly


Glen Donaldson – Fiction

Falling Like Dominos


The senate inquiry into the reasons why pizza had been legislatively classified as a vegetable had been flawed from the beginning. In this part of the country, everyone knew that corruption was synonymous with government. As Shakespeare had written centuries before, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” When Alfonso ‘The Moth’ Esposito III – known equally for his frequent fashion faux pas (super deep v-neck shirts, Disney character ties, square toed dress shoes, unibrow) as he was for being the 29 year old President and CEO of tomato paste giant Grupo Bimbo Foods  –  was revealed as one of the five people appointed to the government commission tasked with unearthing the suspected murky deals that had led to the distrustfully leveraged ruling, many immediately suspected a dough-coloured whitewash.


In truth, among The Moth’s conglomerate of food manufacturing firms was a company that acted as the chief supplier of pasta sauce pizza bases to school tuckshops along the entire East Coast.  It was therefore rightly seen that Esposito had much to gain by the FDA’s reclassification and anointing of pizza as a nutritionally sound food staple considered suitable for serving on school premises to the nation’s growing children.


Grupo Bimbo was long suspected to have had links with the La Cosa Nostra chapter of the

Sicilian mafia. It was certainly no stranger to allegations of misconduct and using bribes and kickbacks to help secure government and private sector supply contracts and favours. In the 1930’s the company had reinvented bread as a variation on the marshmallow and named it ‘Submarino’, (later to become known as ‘Twinkies’) effectively sidestepping government agency food laws at the time which prevented nutritional tampering with provisions deemed primary food products.


More recently the shady corporate had come under the glare of official scrutiny when their

popular ‘diet pizza’ was found to contain toppings that included ear wax and bellybutton lint. They’d also been held to account by no less than NASA (National Advertising Standards Association) for misleading promotion of their $12.95 gluten free pizza (gluten being a protein composite found in barley, rye, wheat and all their hybrids). The company had been forced to clarify that the gluten component of the pizza was included at no extra cost and that it was the other ingredients that constituted the advertised price.


The head of this roily food manufacture and supply empire may not have looked  like he

came from central casting, but with his engorged sense of entitlement and what sections of the press had dubbed his ‘Machiavellian narcissism’,  in many other ways he was the perfect poster boy for the selfie/hashtag generation. With pale skin through which you could see the blue of his veins and his watery, unblinking stare, The Moth had a distinctly alien look and a definite air of intrigue about him.


Inevitably, with Esposito’s appointment, the commission, only formed after a court overruled several previous efforts by council leaders to spike it, was itself the subject of questioning. By that November, both the flawed original legislation and the commission itself had fallen with the last of the autumn leaves. Police launched Operation Crispy Crust, carrying out 67 search warrants, ending in 15 arrests. The result was a noticeable (though some suggested temporary) disruption and downsizing of Grupo Bimbo’s supply chain and a loosening of its stranglehold monopoly on the pasta sauce and tomato paste industries.


Somehow managing to escape prosecution on charges of graft and corruption himself,

Esposito succeeded in airing one of the more memorable quotes in the wash-up to the

inquiry into the inquiry when he was heard to remark “Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.” The Supreme Court is still to hear appeals brought forth by Grupo Bimbo’s legal team but it is widely considered they are unlikely to change their minds. As one senator commented –“The happy ending has been delivered and the improper legislation is now a dead animal lying on the bitumen – what I understand in some circles is referred to as ‘road pizza’.”


Glen Donaldson wishes people had a brightness setting and longs to elevate small talk to medium talk.


He has had work published by Jotters United, Positive Words Magazine,, Tiny Owl Publishing, 101 Fiction, Tokyo Voice Column, Ipswich Life Magazine, Australian Writers Center, Lend Me Your Literacy, Into the Void Magazine, Fictuary, Octavius Magazine, Ether Books, The Binnacle, DesiWriters, The Flash Fiction Press,Cadillac Cicatrix, 81 Words, Wattpad and QWeekend magazine.


He is forthcoming in The Bombay Review and Horror After Dark.


Paul Beckman – Fiction 

May It Be Written

May It Be Done

I am the third son of the fourth daughter. For years no one spoke of this pairing—it was always the seventh son of the seventh son. How Orthodox—how sexist—how far-fetched, but none-the-less that’s what was palavered about. Until now, that is. 

I was tired of my family members not talking with each other at different times for reasons both remembered and forgotten so I took it upon myself to resolve it for once and for all and let them disagree and still talk—even though it’s goes against our DNA.

In a recently released but much earlier translated footnote in the Dead Sea Scrolls that only I had been privy to (since I created it), the third son of the forth daughter is the be-all and end-all in the family and in the community. 

Being that one, I was entitled to a life of leisure, multiple wives (if I choose), fresh baked goods galore, the decider of all disputes and a fresh young ox on my plate whenever the urge struck me.

To break the news, I called for a family picnic which is the only way to get my entire family to show up anywhere. Everyone comes—even if they’re not speaking to others. I’m known for my picnic spreads. A word of explanation: in my family any gathering where food is served is called a picnic whether it be Thanksgiving or Passover.  Don’t ask. Okay—tradition—that’s the best I can do.

I broke the news over the serving of the brisket which meant that only a fraction of the family actually heard me. My brisket is to die for. Word made it around the table after a bit and soon each person had their own interpretation. “How about the 1st daughter of the third son?” “The only child of an only child?” “The second cousin of a second cousin twice removed?”

As I had expected none got the true gist of the Dead Sea Scroll footnote.

So over desert; Babka, apple strudel and rugelach and decaf coffee with Sweet and Lo, I explained that nothing was going to change except that I was now titular head of the family. I wanted no ox, young or otherwise, no more wives and I planned to keep on working. My role was basically to settle in-family disputes. Period. I was to act as a mediator and my word was the word. I was to be the Supreme Court, the Ralph Bunche, and the Gandhi of the Mirsky clan. That’s all I told them—no big thing—no tributes—no major changes except that we will no longer have family members not talking to other family members for long forgotten or petty reasons such as we have today and have had so often in the past.

As the picnic wore down I stood packaging the leftovers for anyone who wanted whatever there was and by the time everything, including all of my Tupperware, was all gone so was my family—never to be heard from again; but who bonded as never before, only this time with a common enemy to scorn and talk about at their family picnics.



Paul Beckman was also one of the winners in The Best Small Fictions 2016!  published by Queen’s Ferry Press

His stories are published worldwide in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine, Thrice Fiction and Literary Orphans. His work has been included in a number of anthologies. Paul earned his MFA in creative writing from Bennington College. His latest collection of flash stories, “Peek” weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. Paul lives in CT and his website is



Terry Severhill – Poetry and Flash Fiction


Where there is no sadness I wonder. . .  .  .   .

 “Smothered in the arms of an aunt whose connection to me is vague. Is she my mother’s sister? Is she my father’s? She seems to know me. I have a hesitant moment in the arms enfolding me, telling me that things will be okay, that is was for the best.”

How can non- life be for the best? Isn’t life what it’s all about? Not just mine or individually but in the whole scheme of things? We’re told that the universe is expanding. That it will eventually turn its cold shoulder on us and coast to a stop. Devolving, becoming less and less complex while life, rising to levels of incredible complexity, a counterpart to the cosmic death spiral. In the end, when all is dark, cold, not a distant memory anymore because there is no one or no thing to remember. . .  .  .   .

If no one is around do the falling tears of angels make a sound?



Dragon flies don’t breath fire, little men with big egos do. The expiration date is meaningless. Standup comics should sit down and shut up. Keeping the unicorns off grass seems to be more important than fact checking who killed Ben Gazi. The generators of conspiracies fuel up with half -truths from yesterday’s garbage. We all know that the CIA uses diminutive genetically engineered ponies with a single spiral horn to assassinate our dreams. Freddy Flintstone and Fred Kruger have the same mind set, the same IQ and the same socially insecure number. The left hand doesn’t give a shit what the right hand knows. Space aliens capable of interstellar flight never seem to opt in for roadside

assistance. Their insurance policy excludes coverage in near earth orbit. My god can beat up your god. Heck my little sister can too. If you can’t follow me then why are you close enough to read this bumper sticker?



A hundred buildings

A thousand corridors

Ten thousand unknowns walking towards an uncertain purpose.

Looking for validation, who if they were to be honest (so few are)

are emotional invalids with no rehab insurance.

So many unknowns, so many corridors,

Pacing, walking, running into dead ends.

Doubling back— climbing ladders, slamming their heads

Into invisible glass ceilings where the Chosen look down,

Snicker then go back to discussing mergers, the plight of the poor,

Holding solo cups filled with wine or champagne,

Disguised to resemble wine glasses or brute flutes.

Two Buck Chuck is a folk hero in the corridors.

The masses of unknowns toil in upward mobility and

just as rapidly filter back towards the bottom rung of the ladder to nowhere.

They genuflect in yoga poses and deposit their blood, sweat,

Tears and other bodily fluids as sacrifice on the altar of success.

Disciples of self-esteem claim that success is a state of mind.

A state with no leadership, lacking in resources, bankrupt,

Its boarders defended by assumptions,

Presumptions, and conspicuous consumption.

The faithful disciples hold monthly meetings dedicated to past and future

Inductees into the hallowed ranks of the Honorable Mention.

They pride themselves in their lofty status —

A rung above the Also rans –

Who hold fast — clinging to trophies emblazoned with “ Participant”.

No Name, no date.

No effort, no doubt.

The unknowns in the corridors

Those who own the corridors

All seem to forget that no one gets out alive.

That life is a sexually transmitted disease that is 100% fatal.


Terry Severhill 

Fiction Poetry

Diana Raab – Poetry and Flash Fiction



I glance over at your tree barks

standing like Bohemian soldiers

in your yard never touched,


hoping to find you wandering

on the same path as me,

or riding the water of ocean waves,


when I suddenly bump into your psyche

in the ethers which connect us,

as you quietly ask my name


and together we scribble something

undecipherable because

the world outside us


is of no essence—

what only matters

is your name in fantasies and dreams

we weave inside already planted roots.


You urge me to scribe and shape

what sleeps in my broken, lust-free heart,

what’s gathered upon its collapsed chambers,

but I glance up to waters which connect us,


in front of the table where

your wine was served

centuries ago when you promised

to strip the shadows of my mind


in the hope to give back

all that the world has taken away

on the water where you wrote

the word lust  for me with the sun’s morning rays.



In my face in your face in the world’s face

that’s where my dog’s butt was during every hour last night and I wish I could say that he thought he was protecting me from the Lock Ness monster or something, but it was just him telling me his deep-seated fear, probably established by some childhood trauma, which is what people do these days, blame shit on their childhood because they don’t want to take responsibility for who the hell they are, but while writing, I realize that there’s no way my dog, as smart as he is because he knows I am coming home even before I do, could possibly be so psychologically in-tune, but who knows, anyway, back to the monster wind and my eight hours of interrupted sleep, worse than the kind of my newborn babies who were at least consoled by me jamming my milk-swollen breast into their small innocent mouths to shut them up, but no this dog was inconsolable and thought by licking every inch of my exposed skin and making circles on every inch of my bed to find the perfect position parading back and forth on my still body trying to hold a book to read while wagging his tail back and forth upon its pages, just because he thought I could protect him from the monster wind which was only after him and the sleep which I wish I had. do they make ear plugs for canines? please send asap.


Diana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, essayist and speaker.  Her book, “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life” is forthcoming in 2017.  

Raab is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), and PsychAlive. More at

Diana Raab Ph.D.

Twitter @dianaraab