Just Like Magic

Candy's pyjamas were yellow goldfish on pink flannel. She sat on the edge of her bed, a cigarette dangling from her lip, two drinks down, and painting her toenails as best as humanly possible. The clock radio on her nightstand flipped a digit. A fishbowl sat near the bathroom sink where an endless drip stained the porcelain. The bowl was surrounded by crumpled squeeze tubes and scented bottles in a state of hygienic disarray....

December 31, 2021 · 2 min · Warren R. Smith

A Christmas Mission

It was a standard letter-sized envelope. Sarah handed it to David and sat down beside him on the floor. She resumed untangling a massive pile of Christmas lights. David gave her a suspicious look before pulling two official looking forms from the envelope. He glanced at the titles and squinted at Sarah again. "You've got to be kidding, right? You want us to be a part of the Mars colony mission?...

December 30, 2021 · 4 min · Warren R. Smith

The Revolutionary Cookies

Summertime in the South Texas' hill country, dusk falls like the skin of ash on charcoal. The rattling dissonance of cicadas reverberates and swells from the darkening trees, and a Mexican bat swirls between sentinels of pale stone. Barefoot and in a floral cotton dress, Kate sat halfway down the back porch steps. Her anklet was a keepsake of braided colored thread. Knowing where to find her at this time of day I walked around from the driveway, sat down and gave her a kiss....

December 26, 2021 · 11 min · Warren R. Smith

Troder of the Mish'dee Orb

A Troder is the least promising of all things that live in the hills. Even a rock has more pizazz and huzzah. Troders know nothing of how they came to be. They have no sense of family history. They simply wake up one day — a Troder. The Woman of the forest, ever faithful to her senses, can smell it anytime a Troder is in the neighborhood. And she is seldom long in finding out its business....

December 11, 2021 · 4 min · Warren R. Smith

There Came a Knock

A wreath of nut-bearing branches hung on the door, and bundled stalks of corn stood on either side. A carved pumpkin sat patiently at the bottom of the steps; a master of ceremonies waiting for nightfall. These were the kinds of old-fashioned homespun decorations Hazel took pride in—joyed in—in the hope that their authenticity would speak for her. "Lord save me from myself. Is everything done?" said the old woman. She worked her broom down the front steps, right up to the sidewalk in front of her house....

December 9, 2021 · 9 min · Warren R. Smith

Getting to Know You

Like molasses and butter, poured over a mess of buckwheat cakes, her grin spread in warm recollection. Hazel Smith, who was ninety-eight years old, relished a historical fact: When she was young, you couldn't find a more adventuresome girl in all of Hope County. And if you know anything at all, that says a lot. She drew herself up in the tattered arms of a green chintz recliner. And though shifting her gaze to the window lace I knew full daylight was little more than an indistinct glow full of vague moving shapes....

December 7, 2021 · 6 min · Warren R. Smith

Jerry

Geraldo pushed his lawnmower down the street where the homeowners tipped best. He didn't mind that most lawns he passed were professionally mowed, combed, and swept by men in white jackets. Those lawns, too, were as smooth as a golf course. He kept his mind on the right side of things. A man like himself can still contribute to the fight against the jungle in his own small way. The soil is promiscuous....

December 5, 2021 · 2 min · Warren R. Smith

Organized Scorpions

When you see spiders or scorpions (especially scorpions), you can't help but believe they'd be a force to be reckoned with if they marched in a phalanx. Alternatively, dinosaurs! According to some, the Jurassic will rise again. So, what's next? Because spiders and scorpions can't organize, I admit this is just speculation. Dinosaurs with small arms on the other hand may cause some havoc. However, their operating systems do not support holding onto two ideas at one time....

December 4, 2021 · 1 min · Warren R. Smith

Dotting Tigers

What about you? What about them? What about me? Swings the chimp from tree to tree. Dotting tigers with fruit below, who jump and bite at every throw. Oh monkey, monkey, please take a look! You do no math, never open a book. Hanging up there scratching your tail. Some day your grip must surely... Dotty dot dot! What about you? What about them? What about me?

December 2, 2021 · 1 min · Warren R. Smith

Entertaining Magpies

"Eat an iguana egg. It will keep you strong." I was introduced to a man who worked in the fresh produce department. Denise and I went to the store to get me an over-the-counter cold remedy. Denice is a social person who enjoys hearing the latest gossip. And that's fine with me. I'm all for cultural events like that, but keep in mind that I felt terrible at the time....

December 1, 2021 · 6 min · Warren R. Smith

Purple Hippo

Be it near or in a land far, far, away. Be it short or long ago, as once-upon-a-time ever was. Purple Hippo grew bored with the generous circumference of her purple-ness. As a result, and thanks to second-day free shipping, she had a slew of packages delivered to her door. Purple Hippo turned this way and that in front of the mirror, surrounded by open boxes, tissue paper, packing peanuts, and other intermediary stuff....

November 30, 2021 · 5 min · Warren R. Smith

Let Us Never Say Goodbye

Midnight on a smooth stretch of two-lane the air was crisp, the stars shining bright. Parked in the middle of the deserted country road, Jake's truck engine lumbered and loped through a restless idle. The gages beneath the dash glowed warmly, and the headlights gleamed over a center line that faded straight into the black velvet horizon. The chrome intake jutting through the hood glistened in the moonlight. It was a perfect night to see what she could do....

November 30, 2021 · 4 min · Warren R. Smith