Why I Did It

by Luisa Paganini
(Santiago, Chile)

I cut a giant chunk off my hair because it was getting in the way of my fun. I woke up on a December morning in the middle of the scorching summer in my hometown in Brazil, São Paulo, and I couldn’t find my sunscreen anywhere. Everyone was asleep and it was already noon, but I didn’t want to bother anyone. So, I figured a little while under the sun without protection couldn’t hurt. I lay down on the pool chair and felt the rays of the blistering sun collide against my dark skin. It felt absolutely perfect; all that was missing was some Bossa Nova to put me in the best mood. I turned my iPod on and let Gilberto Gil’s voice and the soft batucado fill my brain and consume my thoughts as I drifted to sleep. After what felt like five minutes, my aunt tapped me on the shoulder and I felt a painful sting zap across my arm. I looked at her frightened face and it took me only a moment to realize my skin had become the color of my bright red bathing suit. I jumped to my feet, feeling embarrassed and sore at the same time. I shook the worried thoughts off my mind, though; I wasn’t about to let this ruin my day. That night was my cousin’s medical school graduation party. I was sure I would look like the American flag with my dark blue dress and my tomato-red skin, but I did my best to not think about it and enjoy myself. As I attempted to channel my inner Carmen Miranda, it felt like my throbbing skin was pulsing to the music as well. Soon I forgot about my crimson complexion and finally started to enjoy myself, dancing to the music. Then, as I was casually running my hand through my hair, I felt an unfamiliar bump. At first it felt like a giant knot, until I took a closer look and saw it was actually a piece of pink Hubba Bubba bubble gum stuck in my straight auburn hair. I couldn’t even think of how that sticky substance had gotten there; I was in shock. As I was attempting to think of ways to pass the wad of gum in my hair off as a fashion statement and wondering how many jars of peanut butter it would take to remove it, I heard a familiar sound. My favorite Ivete Sangalo song started playing, “Então não me conte seus problemas”. Translated, the song means “I don’t want to hear your problems, today I want peace and I want love”. I had a sudden urge to let go and dance uncontrollably, and I wasn’t going to let my hair keep me from doing so. I ran into the kitchen and found a knife, and proceeded to chop off the gum and a hunk of my hair with it. I dashed towards my cousin just in time for the chorus, not the least bit worried about looking like a red madwoman; I was ecstatic. I sometimes find myself in similar situations, in which I can either choose to sulk in my own problems or live my days to their fullest. More often than not, I can chop off my worries just as easily as I chopped off the piece of gum in my hair.

Return to Very short stories.

Children At Play

by D.J. Egan

It was over before she knew it, before her brain had time to register what had happened. What had just happened? As she mentally replayed the scene, his words kept ringing in her head, repeating over and over as if stuck on an infernal loop. He’d said it only once, maybe twice. “Your wallet and your keys!” She stood there, jolted from the everyday comfort of a meandering daydream. The boy had leapt from a doorway to her right. He was stocky but otherwise nondescript, no different from any other child in the throng who jostled their way passed, unknowing, on the crowded high street close behind.

The boy said something else, more urgent this time, but she couldn’t hear. The ambient sounds of people and traffic around her had merged into a single, muffled drone, broken only by the arrhythmic staccato of her quickening pulse as it pounded against the walls of her skull. The confusion that had brought her to a stop was quickly replaced by fear; the paralysing dread of the unexpected that had enveloped her from the ground up and was now holding her firmly to the spot. She stared at him, unmoving. He was agitated, his eyes darting around for signs of a police presence or some other form of possible intervention. There was none. She had walked this laneway hundreds of times before, sometimes at night. Now, in broad daylight, the glare of the sun dazzled her as it flashed on the blade in his hand. In an instant, he lunged forward...

Everything after her silent scream was a blur, a disconnected series of sounds and images that swam before her eyes and made her dizzy. The struggle had been brief. He had run away, her purse in hand. Once again, she was alone.

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BoyFriend Coming

by Dorsey Baker
(NLR, Arkansas(US))

Rebecca is excited and full of anticipation!
She'll quickly jump in and out of the shower,spray herself, her panties, bra and nightie with some sweet smelling perfume. Just out of the shower clean as can be! smelling sweet and sexy,just for him!

She'll check her hair to make sure that it is soft and touchable looking-just for him!

She'll check herself out in the mirror-over and over again! She wants to make sure she looks her sexiest ever!
just for him!

She'll put on some music to get herself in the mood-just for him!

She'll feed him,and for dessert, she'll be his aphrodisiac!

Her boyfriend will be walking through the door,shortly!
"Will he dominate the stage?!
Will he put on a magnificent performance, tonight!" she asks herself.

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Some Say

by Dorsey Baker

Some say, Jim Jason was the meanest man ever!
Some say, he had a wife.
but she had run off!
Some say, she'd went off to New York.
Some say, she'd run off with another man!
Some say, Jim Jason was a braggard!
Some say, constantly, he bragged about being unfaithful
to his wife!
Some say, constantly, he bragged about beating his wife!
Some say, belittling his wife in front of all his friends
was his favorite past-time!
Some say, Jim Jason was unfaithful and the cheatingist man ever!
So when he woke up and found his wife was gone, it didn't bother him at all!
And he vowed to himself that he would never attempt to find his wife...ever!

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The Rule

by Dorsey Baker

The mother and her son, they have a love for each other beyond any stretch of the imagination! They have an accumulated years of bonding,and thats what make their bond so very strong!
Mother watches son and son watches mother move slowly as they move about in the small rooms of their small house.
They tell each other to be careful each and every time one or the other moves around within their small house.

They've lived together for such a long time now, they seem to act and move just alike!

They live together, just themselves, two small dogs and one fluffy cat. And they provide for themselves, their two small dogs and fluffy cat on a very modest income! And the two small dogs and fluffy cat are not considered animals, they're family!

The mother lives by the rule: she says, "Good follows good! And bad follows bad!" And her son lives by that rule, too.

And the mother says, "I live by another rule, too. The more you give, the more you gain!" And her son lives by that rule, too.

They wake up this morning to the sound of loud thunder and heavy rain, and they are aware that God is talking to them and they know exactly what he is saying to them!

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by Tabbatha Barns
(Nocona, Tx, USA)

A match flairs to life, creating a dim circle of light. Dust hangs thickly in the air, making me cough with every breath I drag in. I twist and pull against the ropes binding me to the chair, but it does nothing. The match starts to fade before someone lights a candle, and bringing more light to the dank room and revealing the man who did this all.

"I've won" he says with a self-satisfied smirk. I let out a short laugh.

"You will never win" Anger mars his near perfect features before settling back into a serene smile.

"But I already have. Your people have bent to submission" he points out. I raise my head in defiance.

"But good will always rise again. It doesn't matter how hard you push down, people will always regroup, no matter how long it takes or who wins. It could be in a thousand years, but they always will. You may have won this battle, but the battle of the Lord is already won" I declare. The man glowers and stomps towards me.

"You will pay for your insolence!" He shouts. I raise my eyes to meet his.

"Do your best"

Return to Very short stories.

Making Fire

by death-in-the-orchard

We are learning how to make fire, or that must be what is happening. I smell smoke, a smell made so distinct by the decades of burning homes and lives that had filled my lungs - all of the darkness sucked in, captured, with cleaner air leaving me. I hold in the ashes of the burnt dead lives. I hold them here, deep in my chest. The ash has built up, choking my heart and stopping my lungs. Here I sit, an urn. I contain their ashes, those, so many of the dead. For ending their mortal lives, they have taken their revenge and ended my immortal life, the one beyond.
That is why I have been left here. That is why I am dead but aware. A corpse that is conscious. They, the moving footsteps - the bodies that press on the air and stir the smoke, leading a waft into my face that invades me and pulls the past from the regions of my brain, dusted with regret, covered in numbness – they, the men that bound me here, who have bound my sight within a cloth. I feel the tight knot in the back of my head. The weight of it pulls my consciousness down, dragging it, though I struggle, I scrape at the present to hold me still. I grasp reality only to have it explode around me.
I feel the fire! Pain! -immediate. I smell the burning, the smoke, the sizzling, the popping of the oils of my flesh – I hear this in my ears with the agony, oh so consuming – this reality! Now I throw it back. I flee! I try to hide! I try to jump into the deeper crevices of my brain to gauge out a haven in which I may store my vital consciousness. I protect it because without it, I cease to be. …But it is also the cause of my drawn-out suffering. Oh misery!
Burning fire eating me! Fire, smoke, some new memories... But the old…the old evade me…
My past is punishing me, as those, the presences with hearts of beating passions, throw their own wrath upon me.

The master of my soul, my Punisher…his mercy is the only mercy which I may ever hope to rely on, for he is a truthful man – he had warned me that he would burn my body with his hatred, that he would cut me, mutilate me, dig into my brain and take slices of my organs to analyze them as I watched, show me my ugly self – all to torture me. … Cruel! Cruel, painful, and terrifying! Yes, so disgustingly cold, horrible! One I should loathe and detest and blame! One I would rip to pieces once the faintest gasp of freedom returned to me! Oh, burning hatred! But he had told me the truth each time, and each time he had eventually ended the pain… No other has ever done the same.
His cruelty lives with my refuge.

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A Beautiful Spring Night

by T La Tourtette
(Virginia Beach Va)

It was a Saturday night and a young couple was strolling hand in hand; discussing the movie they had just seen. Seeing Johnson's ice cream store they decided to split one of the overpriced but delicious banana splits.

The night was beautiful and the scent of lilacs was carried on the soft wind. The young couple decided that eating their ice cold creamy repast indoors would be wasting a beautiful night. So they walked to the town square and chose a bench away the lights and hidden in the shadow of the night.

Placing their cardboard container filled with the delicious flavours of ice cream and hot chocolate syrup between them they started taking dainty portions so the sweet treat would last longer. The boy plucked a cherry and the girl knocked the cherry off his spoon. "I want the cherry." She said laughingly.

"No it's mine." The boy said and reclaimed the cherry. This started a duel of plastic spoons between the two laughing teens. Suddenly their intimate moment was shattered by the sound of violent yelling. Looking up they saw a couple they both knew well; a tall boy with wild hair loudly arguing with a pretty girl with a blonde ponytail.

The boy reached over and took the girl's hand. "You know it's funny how things work out."

"I agree and they so badly wanted to be together. All that sneaking around behind our backs when we were dating them. You can never tell can you?"

The boy squeezed the girls hand gently. "You're right you can never tell. I love you Linda."

"I think it is ironic that we found each other in our darkest moments. I love you Brent.”

Their joyful intimate moment ruined by strife; the couple picked up their container and walked away.

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Within the Desert Mountain

by Emily Ng
(New York City, New York, US)

The heat was a killer as Joe walked up the desert mountain. "I think I need some water" he said as his friends handed him a bottle of water but his friend took a sip of it first. He gave him a glare. "That's my bottle you idiot" he said. "Too bad, everyone has to share sometimes" he said. "Not like you do" he scowled at him. Joe quenched his thirst as he took the last sip of his second bottle of water. "That's refreshing!" he said out loud.

"I think that was our last bottle" he said. "No" Joe shook his head as he flung his backpack towards his side and opened the zipper to see that there were two more bottles left. "Two more" he said. "If those run out we're dead" he said. His friend nodded his head in agreement.

Joe spotted something black while climbing up the desert mountain. He stopped for a moment and squinted in the distance to see what it was. His eyes widen when he told his friend to stop and look at the cave. There was water dropping from it.

"Arnold, look, it's a cave with water!" he shouted towards his friend. "Indeed it is" Arnold said. Joe opened his empty water bottle and went towards the cave when he heard a sudden shake of the ground. "What was that?" he asked. "I don't know" Arnold said. Suddenly, out of nowhere something appeared behind Arnold, something mysterious grabbed him from the back and within seconds his heart stopped beating. Joe looked behind him, terrified. “Your heart and your soul” said the monster. “I want it” it said as Joe made an attempt to get away from the monster but he was too late as for his life was taken away.

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The Panhandler

by Hans Guttmann

I was walking down the street when a bum cut me off and started to ask me for money.

I said “son, you don’t need money.”

He looked at me.

I raised my voice and continued “What you need in your life is Jesus Christ.”

He looked startled.

I cried out, attracting undue attention “Accept that you are a sinner and go to him, and you will taste the wealth of heaven.”

He looked confused. I got to my knees and prayed loudly “Lord accept this wastrel, this wanton lost soul, this hypocrite, this thief, this lover of wine, the lowest of the low, the foulest of the foul, accept him and redeem his soul.

“Join me”, I implored, “Get down on your knees and beg forgiveness. For what is filthy lucre compared to the riches of eternity?”

With a little coaxing he got to his knees, closed his eyes, and commenced to pray.

I waited a moment, got off my knees, and went on my way.

When I looked back from a block away he was still there.

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Track Season

by Alex

There have been a few events that have helped define who I am. The most important one to me would be when I did track in my senior year in high school. There were a lot of situations that happened during the track season that I struggled with. But there were also many things that made me feel really good, like when I broke six minutes in the mile. The first big obstacle was actually doing track. My parents had been telling me to do it for two years. I got some new friends in my senior year. All of them did cross country and track. They pushed me to do it, but not in a bad way. If they never pushed me I would never had done it. I started training about three weeks before track season started. I tried to run three miles every day. Some days it was easy because I had more energy but some days I didn’t want to run. Some days I was just not feeling it. But I ran anyways. No matter how bad the cramps were or how sore I was I did it. By the end of my training I could run the three miles without stopping and barely getting tired. Track started that next week and man was it tough. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. We had practice every day of the week. Only one of those days was an easy day, Wednesday, it was a recovery run. Our meets were on Thursday. We had about four weeks of practice before our first meet. I was so incredibly nervous for that first meet. During my mile one of the kids from the other school stopped mid race. He dropped to his knees crying because he was having trouble breathing from running too hard. All I could think about when I passed him was that I hope that never happens to me. I finished with a personal best of 6:15. I was so happy about that. The hard work from practice paid off. Each practice after that I pushed myself harder and harder. My goal for the season was to break six minutes. At the next meet I cut three seconds off, getting 6:12. I cut one second off at the following meet. Then we had spring break. We had practice two days over break but they weren’t mandatory. I went anyways. I was determined to meet my goal. There were two more meets before the end of my season. At the second to last meet my mile time went up by five seconds. I was so upset when I crossed the line and saw the time. At this point I didn’t think I was going to meet my goal. There was one week left of practice before my final meet. I was still upset that my time had dropped by that much. I didn’t try that hard at the first few practices. When it came time for the meet I really didn’t think that I was going to do very well. One of my friends came up with the idea of writing down what time we needed to get after each lap in order to break six. I did it. I met my goal and broke six by getting 5:55. After all the hard work and training I did it. Track taught me to work hard and persevere. It helped me respect myself, body and others. This is why track changed who I am and defines me.

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She will not be missed

by Rebecca North

She met up with Sean. “Hey, Sean, what’s up?”she asked. “Well, you know how on the pact, we promised we would do anything for each other?” “Yeah…” “Anything?” “Yeah, why?” “Promise? ANYTHING?” “Yes, absolutely, positively, anything!” “Ok… will you help me kill my wife?” Out of shock, She started laughing really hard. “That…that…that’s… hilarious!!!” “But…I’m not kidding.”She shook coldly. Kandy Bain knew about her. Knew her secret. Kandy Bain knew she had had an affair and got away with it. She blinked twice. “But… why?”she asked. “Because” he said, “She was having an affair!” her mouth gaped. In their Providence, affairs are completely illegal. A person could be killed for it. Other people could kill her and not get in trouble. “Oh… with who, might I ask?” He sighed angrily and grumbled, “Mike Adams.”she gasped in utter horror. Mike and Sean were absolutely worst enemies. Sean hated Mike! A lot. “That… that…” She didn’t know what to say, “Okay, I’ll help you.” Sean smiled deviously, “Okay, here’s the plan,” he started.

Kandy was home alone. Sean opened a window slightly, one next to his bed, and another next to the couch. “She’ll fall asleep on either.” He said. He gave her the gun. Four bullets. The gun didn’t make a sound. Not one. Silent. That gave a whole new meaning to “Silent but Deadly”.

Kandy finally fell asleep on the couch. Shelby entered the room through the window. As she walked over to her, she smiled and said, “I’m a good person. And a good killer. Now nobody knows my secrets.” and then, one, two bullets in Kandy’s chest. And two holes appeared in her own chest. Right before she died, She whispered, “I’m a good person. And a good killer. Now nobody knows my secrets. Nobody at all.”

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The Dentures

by Sophia Carlin
(Oak Park, Illinois)

What the fuck are all these dumb ass strangers doing in my house?!! Rosemary was all a blur as unfamiliar faces packed into her very tiny home. Even though she had ½ an inch thick glasses, the faces were completely unrecognizable. Everyone clapped and cheered as Rosemary was shoved into the dining room. As Rosemary hobbled to the front of the table, it was obvious she had become extremely uncomfortable. On her way there, Rosemary tried to forge a smile, but her dentures began to wobble due to the fact she had misplaced her denture glue earlier that morning. It was the least she could do: forge a smile. She had on her best pearls for Christ’s sake! The last time
While she made her way to the head of the table, the crowd somehow managed to clear, and Rosemary took a giant swig of the champagne she had been saving. Damn bastards, Rosemary thought. Who steals an old woman’s champagne? After her enjoyable swig, the cranky Rosemary snatched the bottle. When the elderly broad finally made it to the head of the table, it took her five minutes to sit down. She kept refusing help because well, old people are just plain stubborn.

Before the confused, and now slightly tipsy, Rosemary was probably the biggest freaking cake she had ever seen in her 102 years on this planet. Somehow someone managed to stick 102 candles on the thing, and the whole cake was covered. Rosemary could feel the heat from the candles entrance her pores. Holy mother of God, she thought. I’m gonna have to tell Charlotte to let out my trousers ‘cuz this bitch is gonna eat this whole thing! She put down her prized champagne bottle, and she leaned in to blow them out, unaware the guests had begun to sing “Happy Birthday.” Rosemary didn’t care. She was 102. She could do whatever the fuck she wanted to.

When Rosemary opened her eyes, expecting to see at least five of the candles blown out, only two were unlit. She figured she had used too much spit, and tried again, and again, and again. Rosemary was just too stubborn to ask for help.

When she was finally done, a gigantic grin spread across her face. The crowd cheered, but then a loud gasp was heard. Rosemary was seen face down in the cake. When her face was picked up by one of her granddaughters, her dentures were left smashed into the cake’s center.

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by Dorsey Baker
(NLR, Arkansas(Palaski))

She's an early morning jogger and while she is out jogging, she is aware of the fact that, she might be raped, kidnapped or killed! But she does not fear.
While she is out jogging, she is aware of the fact that, vicious blood thirsty dog might run out and attack her! But she does not fear.
While she is out jogging,she is aware of the fact that, she could become the victim of mistaken idenity! But she does not fear.
While she is out jogging, she is aware of the fact that, she might come in contact with a deranged mental patient! But she does not fear.
While she is out jogging, she is aware of the fact that, she might be hit and run over by a motorist whose brakes have failed!
But she does not fear. She does not fear because she knows that she is fully protected; armed with much mental alertness! and much physical toughness!

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A Visit To Santa

by Charlie Whittaker
(Shenandoah Junction, WV)

A mother and a six year-old boy named Nelson were walking down the shopping mall the week before Christmas when he spotted a large holiday display in the center of the mall. And there in the middle of all of the tinsel, ribbon, and lights was Santa Claus, his elves, and a cameraman ready to capture the joyous moment of the boy meeting Santa.

Nelson patiently waited his turn to meet Santa. Before he got to the front of the line, one of the elves whispered to him, “Now you make sure to have your list ready when you get there because Santa is a very busy man.” The little boy replied, “I know exactly what I want.”

Nelson’s turn finally came and the little boy eagerly climbed up on Santa’s knee. Santa asked Nelson if he had been good the past year, obeyed his parents, and done well in school. Nelson replied, “I have been very good this year, worked hard in school, and done everything my Mommy and Daddy have asked, even though it has been hard at times.”

Then it was time for Santa to ask the big question. “What do you want for Christmas?” Nelson quickly replied, “I want my Daddy to play ball with me, but Mommy tells me that it is not going to happen.” “Why not?” Santa asked. “Do your Dad and Mom live together?” Nelson, without batting an eye whispered, “They use to, but Daddy had to leave.” Santa remarked to Nelson, that maybe someday soon his Daddy would come home. Nelson quickly exclaimed, “Daddy did come home last week.” Santa now puzzled inquired, “Then why can’t your Daddy play ball with you?” “Santa, you don’t understand. My Daddy is a soldier, and he came home in a wooden box.” There was nothing left for Santa to say except, “Nelson, I am sure that your Daddy is in Heaven, looking down today, and loves you and your Mom very much, and is very proud of you.” As Nelson scampered down and ran toward his mother, he turned to Santa and said, “If you can, will you tell my Daddy that I love him too, that I miss him, and that I trying my best to be the man of the house and watch after Mommy.” As Nelson grabbed his mother’s hand, he said, “Santa told me that he was sure that Daddy loved us both.”

As his mother glanced up, she noticed that Santa, the elves, and even the cameraman had a tear in their eye. The mother then turned to Nelson, put her arm around him and said, “I know your Dad loved us very much and is watching over us.” Nelson’s last words as they continued on their way were, “Maybe someday I will grow up to be just like him.” She turned to him, smiled, and said, “I truly hope so. He was a wonderful husband and Dad.”

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by Hillary

“Brittany,” I screamed, “Brittany! Where are you?” No answer. I’ve been yelling for her for half an hour. It’s so like her to leave me alone in the woods. I could die, I could get attacked by a bear or something.
“Brittany, this isn’t funny!” I scream again. It’s getting dark and it’s all too quiet and I can’t trust anything now. The woods are beginning to come alive with the sound of animals. I hear a wolf howl.
I’m no good at navigating the woods. I’ll never get out of here. I’m starving, parched, and my throat is sore from yelling for Brittany. If I ever get out of here she’ll get what she deserves.
As I walk through the forest and plan my revenge I hear a rustling in a bush. “Hello. Is anyone here?” I say. Another rustle. I slowly, nervously walk to the bush and move branches out of the way.
I sucked in my breath and waited to die. My screams must have carried a long way because out of nowhere a boy came and saved me. It was love at first sight and I realized I could never leave the forest and I could never leave the love of my life.

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Paulie's Pencil

by Jonathan Lee

Paulie received a remote control car, some clothes, and a collection of action figures for his birthday. But what he really wanted was this video game he had been asking for. Only Granddad's present was to come, so, with two fingers on each hand crossed tightly, he hoped.
‘Here you go you little whippersnapper.’
‘Thanks,’ said Paulie, ripping the wrapping clean off the present.
His face dropped; all he got was a drawing pad, and an old, used, wooden pencil.
‘Now that there is a magic pencil,’ said Granddad.
Paulie looked sceptical.
‘It brings imagination to life,’ said Granddad, prodding his nose secretly.
Later that night, Paulie was sent to bed. But he couldn’t sleep, probably due to how much cake he ate. He wished he had his game to play, but he didn’t. So he got up, took out his pad and ‘magic’ pencil, and started to draw.
Paulie drew a monster. He then drew a castle for the monster to attack, and he added a princess, as they are always in castles. Paulie figured the monster wanted to eat the princess as her dress made her look like a birthday cake.
Then he drew a knight, as knights always rescue princesses.
Then something magical happened. Paulie was sucked into this paper world.
Paulie now stood looking down at the castle. A knight was charging at him. So, with his mighty arm, he walloped the knight right out of the picture. Then he ate the princess.
Paulie soon found himself back in his bedroom. He looked at the paper; on it was a drawing of the monster. It was licking its finger, with a big smile. Paulie smiled back.
Paulie didn’t want his game anymore. He realised this stubby pencil and paper could take him anywhere.

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Make Me Perfect

by Celine Tee
(Beijing, China)

The alleyway was narrow, and led me to a door three quarters my height. Above the rotten door hung a lopsided sign; on it was a messily written “WELCOME”. I squatted on the floor and knocked on the door thrice. I waited about a half minute before the door was opened by a dwarf, clearly in his late 60’s. I was surprised when I saw that he wore a fitting business suit, his hair was neatly combed back, and his hands washed clean. Judging by his front door, I would have expected a more scruffy looking old man. He gave me a once over and spoke in an elegant, yet demonic tone.

“Please, do come in.”

He watched me try to squeeze into the doorway of him home, making no attempt to assist me. Finally, I was completely in his living room, squatting as not to hit my head on the dim ceiling. He handed me a small bottle.

“Shrinking potion.”

I started to sip it slowly first, testing the taste in my mouth. With every sip that travelled down my throat, I felt my body shrink more and more until I was half my size; just a few inches taller than him. The Dwarf moved around his home, and finally settled down in his arm chair, then gave me a questioning look and leaned back.

“What is it that you have come to me for? I rarely get visits anymore. Your people seem very satisfied with what I have given you.”

“I have come, great sir, with hopes that I may purchase a medicine of some sort to fix my imperfections.”

“Imperfections? Ah, I see. You would like to have in your possession the great Fix-er Up-er! A best seller, that once was–even despite the price!”

I straightened my back and gasped hopefully. They had said it was impossible. I had heard that they destroyed the recipe for the Fix-er Up-er years ago, for whatever reason. This was my last hope, after travelling the world to find the recipe, to find what would make me indescribably flawless. There is nothing that I would not give for this magical item. Nothing.

“What will the price be for such a one of a kind medicine?”

“Twenty-thousand self-luvs.” He grinned and looked at me with one eye-brow raised.

A big price, but I was ready to hand it over to him in exchange for what I wanted. He left the room for a few minutes and returned with a dusty bottle. He blew at the bottle, forcing out the dust in clouds that drifted away, and wiped the rest with a cloth, revealing a small, but very intricately painted bottle. The designs on the bottle depicted three women, all thin and tall, with blood red lips and curves in all the right places. I felt the aroma of perfume that it gave off, and even in its smell, I felt satisfied and beautiful. Without taking my eyes off my new prize, I handed over the payment and hurried out the door, without even realizing I had grown back to my original size.

As I studied the perfect pink bottle that held my perfume to perfection, I found that on the back, it had a note.

Read Carefully: This perfume contains chemical content that will ultimately make you flawless, and everyone who greets you will not be able to resist your absolute perfection. In such perfection, it is in the magic’s best interest that you are sure it is what you truly want.
This perfume is non-refundable, and its effects irreversible.

I sprayed the perfume all over my body, and heard my husband come through the door.

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Temporary Insanity

by David Paul
(Methuen, MA)

“Noreen says it ain’t my kid,” George, the bank guard, pronounced bitterly. “She says it’s yours.”

Frank Galvin, the bank manager, smiled maliciously. “Jobs are hard to come by, old man. So don’t ever say that again. Not to me, or to anyone else.”

George squelched his fury and walked away from the handsome, arrogant scumhead who, George absolutely knew, had fathered the child that George’s young and pretty wife was soon to birth.

That afternoon, two men with guns came bursting into the bank.

“Nobody moves! Nobody gets killed!” one of them shrieked.

Not since Vietnam had George’s life been threatened.

He swung up his .38 Police Special and blasted away the heads of both bandits.

Then, while Frank Galvin’s hands were still in the air, George shot his wife’s lover in the heart.

A few days later, Noreen had her baby.

We all thought the boy looked just like his father.

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