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Heavy Weather

by on Nov.11, 2009, under Flash

by Jay Stern

It was a zombie day. One of them sat on a branch of the old box gum across the street, eating his own entrails. The sky so grey, the streetlights so sulphurous. Night had not come. It would never come. The zombies on the porch next door were making a meal out of Mrs Baldacci. I remembered Mrs Baldacci’s nettle risotto. I’d never eat that again. So many experiences gone forever. Elaine lay still beside me. One half of her face bitten like a cookie, but that didn’t spoil her beauty. Not to me.

Jay Stern attends the University of Western Sydney.
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Life, Schmife

by on Nov.04, 2009, under Flash

By Jay Stern (with apologies to Ron Carlson)

What if Bigfoot stole my life? I mean, my wife. What if Bigfoot stole my wife? Someone in class came up with that, and they said it wasn’t original, but it ‘resonated’ more for them than the other idea being floated: What if a guy discovers a surprising tattoo behind his knee? That just didn’t do it for them. They’d first heard the Bigfoot idea from a previous writing teacher, and the class decided to go with it. What if Bigfoot stole my wife? Write for fifteen minutes, class, on what if Bigfoot stole my life? What if the earth running between my fingers was not my earth? Or if the night in this place where I stand not knowing how I got here or when, is not the night of dark earth and winter leaves, but in my flared and wary nostrils, the smell of lemon and dry dust? What if Bigfoot stole my night? Did my friends choose me, or did I choose them? Who abducted who? Where are my real friends? People I know. Places I’ve been. Bigfoot came along, honestly, and said, look! Up in the sky! And while I was looking the other way, he stole my child. I told them it was Bigfoot because he was the guy who was with her last. She was my angel. And now she is real. Really gone. I haven’t seen her for years. I follow her life on Facebook. All those pictures. Isn’t she beautiful? She’s the one with Bigfoot. The guy who stole my life, my night, my child.

What if he woke up one day to discover a surprising tattoo behind his knee?

Jay Stern attends the University of Western Sydney.
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Spider Time

by on Aug.03, 2009, under Flash

THE SPIDER LIVED in the cave. The days passed and time slowed and wound around the spider on the floor of the cave. It climbed up to the stone ceiling where it spun webs and then abandoned them. The spider was mateless. Alone, it forgot how to live and how to die. It wove a prison for itself and its abandoned webs hung matted and still. It kept busy, telling itself that it was weaving a way back into the world. But instead, each day the spider wove its way further into madness. It taught itself how to dig tunnels in the sandy floor of the cave. It could prey then on small vermin, as well as insects. The days passed as if in a dream, the spider times were all the one time. It grew. It stayed in the cave, guarding, playing dead. One day, some people came to visit the cave and the spider ate them. It jumped onto their faces and dug out their eyes with its legs. There was no way out of the cave. No way of warning the others that came looking for the ones who disappeared. The spider grew, but not to a prodigal size, just big enough to skitter up a human limb faster than fire, faster than time, there was no pain in being killed by the spider and the terror was short-lived.

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by on Jul.08, 2009, under Uncategorized

The moon rose on the second night and Turner was too tired to go on. He pulled into a motel off the highway and paid for a single room. He turned on the news. He watched the unemployed mother hailed as a working class hero and a spokesperson from the community organization that rallied around her. He read about the benefit concert planned to raise money to reattach the child’s arm using laser replantation surgery. Missy Higgins was on the line-up. And Eskimo Joe. Turner turned the TV off. He lay on top of the bed in the motel room listening to the highway and to the water drip in the bathroom. He slept until midnight and then he and Clint Eastwood were on the road again.

They took some side trips and passed through Albury at midnight of the following day. Turner kept driving west. He drove until he got to Glen Creek. His mother was up and watching TV and took no more notice of his arrival at dawn than she had of his departure ten years before. (continue reading…)

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