Friday, July 31, 2009

Boating Friday--Meet the Range Light

Get yourself a short tower (with or without Ospreys nesting on the top):

Now, get yourself a tall tower:

Top them off with bright lights, then position them carefully, so the tall one shines over the short one (see below, except we're a bit too close for it to look right). You now have yourself a range light! Congratulations!! You can now safely navigate in the center of a channel by lining up the lights. If you get off course, just steer whichever direction will line up the lights again.

Happy sailing! May the waves be small and open water wide.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Of Clouds, and Not Falling

"Wouldn't it be cool to live on a cloud?"

"You can't live up there."

"It would be cool. Like living in someone's stomach. A snowman's stomach."

"That's water vapor. It's not solid."

"It looks solid."

"It's water vapor and something else. Particles of something. I forget. Dad said it. Go ask him."

"I know. But still.... You can--"

"It's not solid."

"Look! Can you see through it? No. If you can't see through it, it's solid."

"You'd fall to your death. It would be horrible."

"We see it, because light is bouncing off of it. If it bounces, it's solid."

"You're going to need a parachute."

"I won't need a parachute!"

"You'll fall like this. Arms and legs like this. AHHHHhhhhh....."

"Stop it!"


"Stop it!"


"Be quiet! Now Dad's mad."

"You be quiet!"


"No, you!"


"Well, I'm going to live on my cloud, and you can't come with me. So there."

[Dedicated to our two munchkins, aged 9 and 7.]

Monday, July 27, 2009

In Velvet

Winter-reaped antlers
Gnashed in January fangs
New strength will fall too

Friday, July 24, 2009

Live to Tell

I know where beauty lives
I've seen it once
I know the warmth she gives
The light that you could never see
It shines inside
You can't take that from me
     --Madonna, Live to Tell

"How far is it?"

"Not far."

"I can't see a thing."

"Yeah, it's pretty dark."

"I literally can't see the hand in front of my face. This is fucking crazy."

"They stopped coming up the mountain back in the twenties or thirties. They cut off this road when they built the new cemetery entrance."

"It's pretty damn windy."

"Don't worry."

"This is crazy."

"It's not much farther. Are you scared?"


"Watch your step."

"How far is it? Jesus."

"Okay. Right up here. Come on. I'll light the candle."

"God, that's bright!"

"We can sit here."

"When are we starting back? I don't want to be very late."

"Tell me something. Just listen a minute. To woods and night. Just listen."


"Do you feel that?"

"Feel what?"

"All around you. In the quiet. Do you feel it?"



"No. Now can we go?"

(At seventeen, I discovered this song and these lyrics. They still haunt me.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Winners Announcement - "In Vino Veritas" Short Fiction Contest

Three letters for you. W. O. W.

That's what this contest was. Heaps of wow.

First off, thanks to Jaye Wells for being a wonderful co-host. Much success to her debut novel, RED-HEADED STEPCHILD, and all the others to follow!! Secondly, thank you all for making this a record setting contest. 158 entries is astounding. There were more perfect scores, and near perfect scores, than any other Clarity of Night writing contest. Congratulations to all the new inductees into The Forties Club (see below if you are new to the Forties Club)!! You all have schooled us in excellent writing.

Without further ado, it's Jaye's and my pleasure to recognize the follow writers:

1st Place--JAMES R. TOMLINSON, The Sober Truth About Tyler & Zachary on Bickerstaff Street (#7)
[Prize: Signed copy of RED-HEADED STEPCHILD and $50 Amazon gift certificate]

2nd Place--WILLIAM WOOD, The Machinery of Self (#23)
[Prize: $30 Amazon gift certificate]

3rd Place--BETH HARAR, Age Ingrat (#76)
[Prize: $25 Amazon gift certificate]

4th Place--JANEYV, Drunken Semantics (#151)
[Prize: $20 Amazon gift certificate]

5th Place--STEVE SLATTER, Case of Merlot (#29)
[Prize: $15 Amazon gift certificate]

Honorable Mention--WHIRLOCHRE, A Full Bodied Red (#50)

Honorable Mention--CARRIE ANN RIDDELL, In Vino Veritas (#78)

Honorable Mention--MEGHAN SULLIVAN, Sub Rosa (#118)

Honorable Mention--STACIE MCELROY, Untimely Truths (#121)

Honorable Mention--STEPHEN PARRISH, Through a Wine Glass, Darkly (#123)

Honorable Mention--AERIN ROSE, Presage (#130)

Honorable Mention--MARK C. DURFEE, Wine the Great Tutor (#134)

Honorable Mention--CATRINA JOOS, Spouse (#141)

Honorable Mention--LIZZY MARTIN, Last Orders (#147)

Honorable Mention--JOHN DONALD CARLUCCI, The Sweetest Bouquet (#156)


Readers' Choice, 1st Place--JANEYV, Drunken Semantics (#151)
[Prize: Signed copy of RED-HEADED STEPCHILD and $30 Amazon gift certificate]

Readers' Choice, 2nd Place--PETER DUDLEY, Judgment Day (#97)
[Prize: $15 Amazon gift certificate]

Readers' Choice, 3rd Place--CHRIS ELDIN, Brotherly Advice (#1)
[Prize: $10 Amazon gift certificate]


As always, choosing was painful. You all deserve a massive round of applause.

Just how successful was it? Recording breaking!!! Your 158 entries have generated 41,582 hits from 11,589 unique visitors! I'm grateful for such a wonderful turnout.

Over the course of the next couple of days, Jaye and I will be adding comments on what we liked best about each entry.

Entries scoring at least 40 out of 45 in my scoring system are inducted into The Forties Club. Asterisks have been added next to the names of inductees. In my judgment, these writers have done their job excellently. Their strong, skilled writing brought their stories to life.

Don't let the community end here. I hope to see all of you back at The Clarity of Night and on your own blogs. Link to each other and give your insights and gifts freely.


Thanks again for a great contest experience and for all of the excellent writing. Give the winners a pat on the back for their outstanding work.

The Clarity of Night will now be powering down from contest mode and returning to normal content.

I toast you all with a glass of red wine and bid a fond farewell to "In Vino Veritas."

Feel free to contact me anytime. You will always find a welcoming place here.

"In Vino Veritas (Truth in Wine)" Short Fiction Contest


Click HERE for the winners announcement.

Click HERE for the contest announcement and rules.

Click HERE for an interview with Jaye.

Aaron, Ashwin, A Lost Love (#101)
*Absolute Vanilla, Truth And Justice (#59)
Aditi, Remorse (#111)
*Aerin Rose, Presage (#130) Honorable Mention
*Akerman, Linda, The Blood of the Gods (#116)
Ansari, Sameera, The Savior (#145)
*Avila, Esther, Toasting to a Fresh Start (#150)
Banerjee, Ranee Kaur, Finally Godess (#142)
Barnes, Ann, Morning Sun at the Lake (#58)
Bea, Kimberly, The Look In Agave’s Eyes (#99)
Beal, Christina, Prick of a Thorn (#96)
*Bebo, Truth in Wine (#89)
*Beetner, Eric, Pinot Noir (#41)
Bendre, Gargi, Remembering Wine (#114)
BernardL, Stalker (#75)
Bhatia, Amrita, The Misgiving (#136)
Blackwater, Jade Leone, Dharma Remembered (Thanks Kerouac) (#144)
Blanton, David, The Beautiful and the Damned (#44)
*Blog Gore, Drinking to Death (#143)
Brown, Cormac, In Vino Veritas, In Tequila Mors (#120)
*Browne, Quin, To Top it Off (#157)
Bush, Rebecca, The Portal (#148)
*C J, Chilled Glass of Heaven (#102)
*Caffrey, Angelique H., Exit Strategy (#54)
*Camptown, Dottie, Moussa’s Stop (#115)
*Carlucci, John Donald, The Sweetest Bouquet (#156) Honorable Mention
Carvel, Joaquin, Veritossed (#103)
*Cenni, Alexandra, Dust in the Wind (#38)
CharlesProgrammr, Prodigal Son (#73)
Charron, R.K., The Cup (#109)
*Chong, YL, Wine Sublime, Truth Divine (#84)
*Cilia, Tanja, Wine, Woman... and No Song (#8)
Clevenger, Carrie, The Wine Speaks (#15)
*Collins, Patsy, You Used to Buy me Wine (#128)
*Collins, Ryan, Identity (#83)
*Cormier, Sandra, How Will I Tell Him (#20)
Cozine, Herschel, Illusion (#56)
*Cummings, Amy, The Interview (#77)
*Davidson, Peter, Fingered (#51)
*Dhanke, Prashant, Truth in Wine (#146)
*Diaz, Melissa, I Chose the Wine (#154)
*Dickson, Donna, The Chalice (#40)
*Dudley, Peter, Judgment Day (#97) Readers' Choice, 2nd Place
*Durfee, Mark C., Wine the Great Tutor (#134) Honorable Mention
*Eaton, Loren, Claret (#21)
Edwards, Dean Clayton, What’s Wrong with Suzy (#131)
*Edwards, Tessa, Vermilion Reflections (#17)
Eldin, Chris, Brotherly Advice (#1) Readers' Choice, 3rd Place
Ellis B., Civility (#68)
*Ennis, Scott, Dilutions (#16)
Evans, Jason, Creation Your Co-Host
Farough, Amanda, The Consumption (#132)
*Four Dinners, Red with Wine (#57)
*Fox, Gef, Liar's Glass (#119)
*Furie, Ken, No More Lies (#122)
Gillam, Christine, Verre De Vin (#2)
Gotch, Briony, Dinner with Wine (#33)
Green, Rachel, Beyond Words (#49)
Greenberg, KJ Hannah, Spelling New Neighbors (#39)
Gughan, Sangrine (#129)
*Harar, Beth, Age Ingrat (#76) 3rd Place
Heidle, Eric, Terroir (#153)
Hendricks, Kurt, Fetch (#94)
Hickman, Michelle, Seeking a Deadly Foray (#87)
Hood, Rohan, In Vino Veritas (#30)
Hoodie, Midnight at the Office of Stevens and Albright (#112)
*Irons, Will, Secret (#133)
*Isik, Suzan, A Good Night's Sleep (#108)
*JaneyV, Drunken Semantics (#151) 4th Place & Readers' Choice, 1st Place
JimmieVee, Vintage (#31)
Jones, Jennifer D., Intervention (#91)
*Joos, Catrina, Spouse (#141) Honorable Mention
Kassa, Place Setting (#65)
*Kramaric, Jackie, Megan Rose (#13)
Kunjal, Truth in Wine (#98)
*La Violette, Rusty, Social Drama Queen (#125)
Laine, Aimée, The Messenger (#25)
Laughingwolf, Lux in Tenebris (#11)
*Laurenson, Sarah, Wine, Blood Red (#66)
Liadis, Liz, White Wedding (#70)
*Liadis, Paul, A Matter of Taste (#24)
Lindstrom, Dianne, Fortune (#36)
Logic, Lucy, Crystal Melody (#69)
*Mansfield, Bekki, A Taste of Ecstasy (#90)
*Martin, Lizzy, Last Orders (#147) Honorable Mention
Masters, Will, A Lost Age (#155)
McAlpine, Lindsay, A Moment In Time (#6)
McClellan, Leah, Not Wine (#110)
*McElroy, Stacie, Untimely Truths (#121) Honorable Mention
*McKenzie, Tyler, Obedience (#92)
*Miredinconfusion, Entry #140
Monteleone, Merry, Foofy Coffee and Other Maladies (#5)
*Montgomery, J.C., Fate’s Impatience (#62)
*Montgomery, Laurel, One Last Drink (#27)
*Morocco-Clarke, Ayodele, The End Marks The Beginning (#127)
Mukherjee, Mithun, Eating Out (#46)
Murty, Yamini, In Vino Veritas (#137)
*Mystico, Let’s Talk Business (#81)
*Nagel, B., House Red (#107)
Napier, Katherine, The Veritas Arms (#3)
Neuhoff, David, Companion (#80)
*Norton, Angela, Nerves and Secrets: A Confessional Tale (#158)
*Nothingman, Everyone Is Dying (#126)
*Nowviskie, Karen, Showtime (#64)
O'Connor, Oscar, The Pussy Cat (#67)
Oh, Ellen, Plum Wine (#79)
Pandey, Vinay, Vice Wine (#32)
*Parrish, Stephen, Through a Wine Glass, Darkly (#123) Honorable Mention
Pelle, Adina, Gypsy (#88)
Pires, Vic, Memory (#53)
*Poirot, J. M., You Never Call Me (#152)
*Powell, Dan, It's Okay To Drink Wine 'Cause It Don't Have Any Feelings (#82)
Precie, Intimacy (#37)
Puresunshine, The Game (#138)
Rahman, Mona, Chalice Of Life (#48)
Rickel, Danielle, Little Red (#28)
*Riddell, Carrie Ann, In Vino Veritas (#78) Honorable Mention
*Robertshaw, Hilary, The Last Glass (#93)
Ropi, In Vino Veritas – A True Story (#72)
Rosario, Blany Ashwin Francis, Alter Ego (#19)
Sagri, Margaret, "Our Father Who Art in Heaven..." (#22)
Salas, Alexander, Red Life (#14)
*Scheer, Wayne, The Wine Tasting (#34)
Scott, Craig, A Single Glass of Red Wine (#47)
*Seamans, Sandra, Ashes To Ashes (#42)
Shadow, Farewell (#10)
Singh, Adisha, The Artist (#60)
*Slatter, Steve, Case of Merlot (#29) 5th Place
*Smiley, Lee, To See One (#135)
*Smith, Kim, Good Night (#106)
Smith, Penny, Enigma (#139)
*Smythe, Deborah, Guild of Daggers (#124)
Sonia, Fame and Wine (#100)
Stevens, Hadley, Devine Truth (#52)
*Stitzel, Jim, Conventus (#55)
*Sullivan, Meghan, Sub Rosa (#118) Honorable Mention
Suryanarayanan, Entry #9
*Taylor, Dottie, One Little Drink (#74)
Taylor, Illyria, The Price (#149)
*Thakkar, Aniket, Wine Girl (#45)
*Therese, Epitaph (#18)
*Tomlinson, James R., The Sober Truth about Tyler & Zachary on Bickerstaff Street (#7) 1st Place
*Tre'von, One Wonderful Day (#104)
*Vachharajani, Tanushree, Ruby Throbs (#113)
*Valentine, Jaye, Hot Under The Collar (#43)
*Vibert, Catherine, Joan's Debut at The Met (#12)
*Vogt, Josh, The Tasting Room (#26)
*Watson, Tara, The Toast (#85)
*Watters, Charlene, Koolaid in Cut Crystal (#86)
Watters, Kim, The Mix-up (#4)
Wavemancali, Patience (#35)
Weary, Kenneth, Who Ya Gonna Call? (#71)
*Weeks, Richard, The Last Gasp (#95)
*Welch, Terri, The Socialite (#105)
Wells, Jaye, Blood Will Tell Your Co-Host
*Wert, Carla, Sunday Wine (#61)
*Whirlochre, A Full Bodied Red (#50) Honorable Mention
*Wiley, G.S., True Colours (#117)
*Wood, William, The Machinery of Self (#23) 2nd Place
*Wrigley, Sylvia Spruck, In Vino Veritas (#63)

(*Members of The Forties Club. Entries which scored 40 or more out of 45 points.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Voting is Closed

Readers' Choice voting for the In Vino Veritas Short Fiction contest is now closed.

Thank you to the 74 participants who cast votes!!

Jaye and I are hard at work judging and scoring. Look for the Winners Announcement at noon on Thursday, July 23rd. (Eastern Time, U.S.) Good luck to everyone!

Commenting has been fabulous. I haven't made it out much beyond these walls, but I hope you all are visiting and sharing more of your writing. There's a treasure trove out there. Truly.

See you all Thursday!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Last Day for Readers' Choice Voting

Contest participants: Cast your votes for the Readers' Choice Award by 8:00 p.m., Monday night. (Eastern time, U.S.) As of this posting, 45 people have voted.

Because of the high number of entries, I'm expanding the Readers' Choice Awards to include a 1st Runner-Up and 2nd Runner-Up. These awards will come with prizes of $15 and $10 in Amazon gift certificates, respectively. So get those votes in!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blood Will Tell

Blood Will Tell
by Jaye Wells

The virgin corpses hung from hooks like grisly angels. The Dominae stood below, their moonbeam skin bared to our eager eyes. They lifted their arms and faces. Blood rained down, coating their hands, their lips, their breasts.

Beneath the coppery tang of blood, the spicy incense permeated the air. The perfume made my pulse quicken and my fangs throb. I licked my lips in anticipation. Tonight, the shroud of shame would finally lift, and I'd take my place among the sanctified.

Lavinia's voice boomed like thunder through the Temple. "Lilith, Mother of the Lilim, accept these acolytes into your arms and help them know your path."

Priestesses caught the blood in goblets. The Dominae waited like crimson statues to judge us. The high Priestess began calling names of the new acolytes. As each female was summoned, she rose and went forward to receive the sanctified blood.

I tried not to fidget for my turn. I dared not.

"Sabina Kane."

I stepped up to the altar, my head bowed. From the corner of my eye, I saw grandmother move. The first flutters of hope beat in my chest. Would she honor me by offering the goblet herself?

"No." The single word burst through the temple like a gunshot. "Not her."

Even now, decades later, I can recall how my dreams choked me as they disintegrated. How the air hit my lungs like wet cement. And how, even as my cheeks burned in shame, she smiled.


by Jason Evans

Time clicked sideways. Like an itch. An insect whirring, but without fangs.

Never fangs.

The god of all things dreamed of delicious, fatal fangs.

But time clicked sideways like an itch. An itch. Or an insect whirring.

The god thought colors, and the universe lit and patterned with colors. It thought about crystals painted with endless dimensions, and the dimensions were. Then, the god bored of painting, and the dimensions that were, were not.

And the insect whirred.

And the god sat. Tired. Listening.


te n i n g

The god woke from a never-slept, and it felt the wind of wings. The whir had gone into the nothingness. No colors patterning. No crystals. No dance of dimensions.

The god gazed out, and edges hardened where edges had never been. Black and cold. Forms the god could not un-form.

A yawn sighed through the universe. A quiet drowsing toward sleep.

"This is my body," the god whispered.

The edges now knew a center, and from the center, the god bled. Red. The only color. Pooling in a glass of left-over crystals.

"This is my blood."

When the last drop rippled, and the glass of crystals fell, the body of the god hovered, hard and still.

The glass shattered.

A cosmic light.

Shards sprayed into the reaches of now-directions. Heat roared on the straightened wings of time.

Harmonies wove where the god sang alone, and the crystals sparked and slowed, igniting the first sea of stars.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Readers' Choice Award Voting ("In Vino Veritas")

The "In Vino Veritas" Short Fiction Contest is now closed.

Thank you everyone for a wonderful week! Amazing turn out!! Just amazing.

But we have WAY more fun in store!

Voting for the Readers' Choice Award is now open!

This portion of the contest is open to everyone who submitted an entry. Here are the rules:

  1. Contest participants are invited to vote on their top 5 favorite entries by emailing me their votes to jevanswriter at yahoo dot com.
  2. Please vote by entry number and list your votes from 1 to 5 with 1 being your top vote.
  3. I will award 5 points for your 1st vote, 4 points for your 2nd vote, 3 points for your 3rd, 2 points for your 4th, and 1 point for your 5th.
  4. You may not vote for your own entry. Please specify your entry number at the beginning of your email.
  5. At the close of Readers' Choice Award voting, I will tally the points. The winner will be the entry with the most points.
  6. I guarantee at least one Readers' Choice Award; however, depending upon the results of the contest, I reserve the right to award additional Readers' Choice Awards in the order of their rank. Additional awards, if given, may be with or without a prize.

As you read, please keep the comments coming. Feedback and appreciation is the fuel along the lonely road of writing. If you find folks whose writing moves you, visit their blogs or ask where you can find more. Enjoy your own judging, and above all, have fun!

Cast your votes before Monday, July 20th, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.). At that time, Jaye and I will let you know when the winners will be announced.


Tomorrow, Jaye throws her hat into the ring. Stay tuned for her own take on the "In Vino Veritas" picture! Enjoy!! (I hear Sabina Kane, our red-headed stepchild, may make an appearance.)

And finally, in the tradition of Clarity of Night contests, I will also share my own vision of the contest photo.

Have a great night!

Entry #158

Nerves and Secrets: A Confessional Tale
by Angela Norton

I can’t wait any longer. I have to tell her. I was sort of hoping it would just go away, but it’s obvious now that won’t be the case. Will she be willing to try and work through it? Is that even possible? The thoughts pulse in my head as I walk around our dining room table, and with trembling hands set down plates and silverware. I try to calm down by taking some of those yoga breaths she’s always talking about, but not knowing what that really means I end up half choking, half hyperventilating.

“You okay in there?” my wife calls from the kitchen. The aroma of garlic and oregano fill the air, and I look up to see her staring at me with concern on her face.

“Fine,” I squeak in a higher than normal voice, indicating I’m anything but fine.

“Dinner’s almost done. Will you pour us some wine?”

I grab the first bottle I see and set about uncorking it. Guilt catches in my throat. At the very least, this news will be enormously upsetting and will shock her stable existence to its core. At the very worst, oh god, I can’t even think about it.

She joins me at the table. It feels like there’s a jackhammer in my stomach. To steady myself, I take a long gulp from my wineglass and decide it’s now or never. It’s ironic, I picked a red wine.

“Honey,” I begin a little shakily, “I’m a vampire.”

Entry #157

To Top it Off
by Quin Browne

So, I just talk into the microphone?

Right. We’d met via the internet, the shadkhen for the 2000’s... who needs a person? You use the internet for dating, hooking up...marriage. We met, we courted.. we had our first sexual experience . On computers. A year of talking, emails and a lot more virtual sex later, he flew to Chicago from Los Angeles, I’m at baggage check, holding a sign, in case the real me didn’t look like the virtual me. We had the initial greeting, our faces not sure which way to go as we moved in for the hug/kiss--awkward, right?

So, off to a great place that served famous pizza in a town known for pizza. There, it all started to crumble. I noticed when he spoke to me, he moved his fingers on the table as if typing. I ordered a beer (with pizza, you have beer, right?) and he chose “...a nice red wine, not too earthy”. Then, then, he did something that proved this had become a momentous FUBAR. I could have lived with the girth I’d never seen before, his staring at my chest when he spoke, even the fuckin’ pretentious wine. It ended when he eschewed my suggestion of sausage and olives, choosing ham and pineapple.

Ham. And. Pineapple.

Okay, granted, sending him back to L.A. was a smarter choice than the one I took--that whole stabbing him in the eye with my fork.

But, really, ham and pineapple?

Entry #156

The Sweetest Bouquet
by John Donald Carlucci

I'm not a greedy bastard, I only kill once a year.

The Arabs prepared a medicine they called a Mellified Man. Old men would be fed nothing but honey. No water or food; just honey.

After a month, these men would excrete only honey. Death came quickly for these lucky few and their bodies were entombed in dated stone coffins filled with even more honey. After a hundred years, these were opened and the liquid consumed.

After I heard this I thought, why not use this wonderful confection to brew a very special stock of mead? A mead from the best local honey and clearest spring water.

Since mead is considered a wine, I sometimes add a bit of cranberry for a blush.

Oh yes, my mellified man is usually a homeless person I find...someone who will never be missed. On rare occasions, I've chosen a friend or acquittance for this special honor.

After the month of preparation, I force the weakened ingredient into a honey-filled cask. I seal it with the date, and allow the process of liquefaction to complete. One year from the date of sealing, the cask is tapped and the liquid is processed by myself to produce our unique mead.

The rest is discarded into our fine compost heaps here at my vineyard. Waste not want not.

My very special clientele pay handsomely for this extremely limited black label edition. This year, the demand has been so great that I'm considering doubling our output.

Entry #155

A Lost Age
by Will Masters

Phillip sat, having finished his cleaning at the end of another day at the museum. He was out of breath, the physical exertions of the job getting too much for his frail form. Sighing, he looked around at the exhibits, alone with his thoughts and his daily desperation at the state of the world. Nothing here should be in a museum; they were all commonplace, everyday things. Or they had been, in his youth.

It had seemed that they were doing everything they could to curb global warming. The temperature was only going to rise by a four or five degrees, the scientists had said. They'd never said what a difference that would make.

England stopped being the country he'd grown up in, with its lush green hills and beautiful woodlands. The land changed irrevocably over just a few short years. The waters rose, flooding areas where people should have been better prepared for it. Plants began to flower in unusual seasons, animals stopped hibernating and living in their seasonal cycles, even the squirrels stopped burying their nuts in the ground. Many species didn't survive; the changes to their environment too fast for them to adapt.

Standing, Phillip rubbed his back to get the feeling back and the blood flowing. He took one last look at the exhibits. Cold, carefully controlled gases rose preserving the foodstuffs, saving them from rot. Wine, honey, strawberries; these were things his grandchildren would never know.

[Will Masters is a 28yr old from England, who has a passion for writing but has never done very much with it before this piece.]

Entry #154

I Chose the Wine
by Melissa Diaz

I chose the wine. Nothing fancy, just a sweet something to sip on while we were hanging out. Something perfectly suited for girly conversations about men and fashion, light and airy and not very rich.

Sherry was supposed to show up with a movie, one of her favorites 80’s chic-flicks that I’d never seen before. When I answered the door to her knock, all she had in her hands was a half-empty box of tissues. Her eyes were red and tears flowed freely down her cheeks.

“Oh, honey, what happened?” I asked rushing her into the house and kicking shut the door.

“He…he said…he can’t…he doesn’t love me anymore!” Sherry broke down on my couch, clutching a throw pillow to her chest as she spilled her story in broken sobs.

I moved the pile of bridal magazines off the coffee table and sat, trying to stay close and still give her space. Eventually, the tale of her fiancé’s cold feet and indiscretion faded into silence.

“Could I get you something to drink?” I asked awkwardly after a bit, getting up and walking to the ‘fridge.

“Yeah,” she replied, “that might be good.”

I opened the door and stared inside, debating what to bring to her, to quiet her tears. I chose the wine.

Entry #153

by Eric Heidle

Professors Harpole and Drake stared at the single shimmering glass they’d poured from the only unbroken bottle in the tomb, their boots scraping in stony silence. Both had been children when the last wine had been made, before the virus burned through the vineyards of Europe, the Americas, everywhere. Now each in his seventies, they stared at the fruits of their chance discovery, surely the only drinkable glass of wine left anywhere on earth. Crimson refractions played on the sarcophagus lid, an altar for this final sacrament. Neither man had ever tasted a drop, and now before them lay the summation of five thousand summers of sun falling on green leaves and curling vines. The whole of history distilled in this remnant—blood tinting Greek speartips, sanguine jets from Caesar’s wounds, a scarlet tear trickling from Christ’s brow. How many such glasses had been raised in victory, squandered in revelry, plied the lips of lovers, tainted parchment, stained the soil in desperate libation?

Their gazes rose and met above the glass. There was enough for only one to have a taste, a final sip, to savor the last draught of humanity. They drew their knives, circling the goblet’s fateful cargo. Harpole’s blade found its mark, but in slitting his colleague’s throat the blow struck the glass from the stone to shatter on the floor. He watched the earth stain red, then slowly knelt to lap it from the dust.

Entry #152

You Never Call Me
by J. M. Poirot

Three hours later, I poured myself another glass of red wine then sat in the darkness staring at it. The crystal glinted through the shadows, beckoning. I was reaching for it when I heard the door opening. Then I dropped my hand. It was futile. The glass seemed a mile away.

“Nice of you to show up,” I said, blinking as the hallway light hit my eyes. I didn’t even look up as the keys hit the dining table.

“Are you sulking again? You know how stressful my job is,” came the snippy reply.

“Dinner got cold so I dumped it in the trash,” I shot back.

There was no response to this. Finally, I asked, “What is so difficult about returning my fucking phone calls?”

I heard a muffled “sorry” behind me as she pulled her cashmere sweater over her head. Yeah, it didn’t sound like a heartfelt apology to me either. Then, she rubbed my shoulders.

“No, I’m not in the mood,” I pushed her hands away.

“Jim, I’m really tired of this.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“I already apologized. What do you want me to do? Go crucify myself?” I rubbed my jaw as I considered this.

“Yeah maybe,” I said then looked at her. She was so incredibly beautiful. She grabbed her stuff and knocked over my wine with her bag. The wine splattered against the new khaki pants I bought just for tonight. As I heard the door slam, I covered my face with my hands.

Entry #151

Drunken Semantics
by JaneyV

“In vino veritas. Bollocks innit?”

“Whad’you mean?”

“I’m sayin’ that people just blurt out uncomfortable facts when they’re shitfaced - like stuff they regret…but that’s not…Truth.”

“Still clueless.”

“Let’s say just coz I’m drunk, I admitted to bonking the new temp when I was bladdered at the office party. That’s just a snapshot in time. It doesn’t tell you how meaningless it was and how desperately sorry I might be. Important facts like how deeply I love you and how shit-scared I now am, might be overshadowed by such a revelation. So even though it might be a fact – it’s not really the whole truth is it?”

“Ah - I see what you mean. It’s an aberration of truth. Like looking through the bottom of a glass that makes the bit in the middle all huge and all the bits around - um - blurry.”

“That’s exactly what I mean. Truth should be whole, don’t you think – for it to be really truthful?”

“Damn right! And because I’m currently squiffy I might tell you that I shagged the stripper at my hen party after doing 15 shots of tequila, but that in no way reflects the truth of how completely I love you and how I would never jeopardise our relationship by doing anything that stupid again.”

“Right! - So it’s just bollocks innit?”

“Absolutely. But - for our marriage’s sake -I think we’d both better give up the booze.”

“Ain’t that the truth.”

Entry #150

Toasting to a Fresh Start
by Esther Avila

April looked around her new bedroom. It was perfect.

“Everything had to be white. That’s what I told him,” she told her best friend Nicky as she let herself fall on top of the white down’s comforter on her white wrought iron bed.

Across the small room, lit candles reflected two sad faces off the mirror of a white dresser.

“I still can’t believe you said yes? You don’t love him,” Nicky said. “It’s not too late. Call your parents. Tell them you want to go home.”

“I have no family,” April answered quietly as she looked at long-stem white roses adorning the bedside table. “They threw me out. He saved me. I owe him this.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to marry him.”

Nicky tried to talk some last minute sense into her friend. In a few hours it would be too late. The wedding was scheduled for morning.

April looked at her maid of honor – her only real friend – the only person who really knew her.

Removing a bottle of wine from under the bed, April poured red wine into a single goblet.

“Some things have to be red,” April said, sharing the wine with Nicky who sobbed quietly.

“Don’t cry, my love. I’m not going to marry Jack,” April said, brushing her wine-tasting, arsenic-covered lips against Nicky’s. “Don’t be scared. In vino veritas. No one can ever separate us again.”

Entry #149

The Price
by Illyria Taylor

The door to the ancient structure, a mansion from ages gone by, was ajar. “When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar!” she thought to herself, (she was famous for making jokes when nervous). Another blind date, how she hated them. Her friend promising, “this is the One”. Hesitantly, she stepped through the door (jar). “Hello” she whispered to the cobwebs and long dead residents, trying to muster up courage for what was to come. She checked herself in her mental mirror she was both intelligent and beautiful. “I’m not a helpless child, I’m a goddess” and with that, her next “Hello” came out like a war cry, and she received a quiet “Good Evening” in reply.

She was on her knees in an instant, “God forgive me” escaping her lips. “What have you done?” purred the man, a symphony in black and white. “Not what I’ve done, what I will do” she smiled. “And if He doesn’t…forgive you, that is?” as he breathed into her ear, the wineglass in his hand, her reply was simply “No matter.” For she already knew that she would do anything, everything, he asked, even if he was Lucifer himself. “Wine?” he asked as he put the goblet to her lips. “I never drink wine,” she said as she drank the heavy coppery garnet liquid. ”So this is the Price,” she thought, his fangs sinking into her neck. “The Price for everything is just a soul. Not much of anything, really.”

Entry #148

The Portal
by Rebecca Bush

I remember the portal - an enormous, ragged piece of weatherworn boulder precariously held in place by the abraded long lost leg of Captain Hook. Intrigued, I walk over to see what lay on the other side. I ascend the rocky mound leading to it, painfully bleeding my tender feet. As I pass through the arch, a surge of electricity sends my body into paralytic spasms.

~ ~ ~

I awaken. I am lying prostrate on a floor in a room full of people. Smartly-dressed guests drink wine and champagne imbibing themselves into giddy oblivion.

The room’s walls are made of tempered glass and I walk over to see what lies outside – a black ocean crashing loudly against a white virgin beach.

The loud cracking of thunder announces a storm. Quite suddenly, torrential rains begin to pelt down onto the tempered glass walls and the guests laugh at their impregnable condition. The angry rain pummels the glass trying to obliterate the mocking laughter inside.

As suddenly as it had started, it stops. The crowd cheers in victory. It is now day and light filters through the glass walls fracturing faces into tiny little pieces.

A surge of electricity passes through me again.

I open my eyes. We are floating. We are in Space. Two moons standing sentinel - Phobos and Deimos? We have been abducted. We are alone. We are no longer part of life.

~ ~ ~

I awake. more tequila shots for me.

Entry #147

Last Orders
by Lizzy Martin

Lucy’s heels clicked across the linoleum floor of the bar. Let them look, she thought, ignoring the curious stares of the clientele. They were of no consequence to her.

‘A large glass of Merlot,’ she said, her eyes not making contact with those of the barman.

She climbed upon a stool, her long fingers wrapping around the stem, finding comfort there.

She lifted the glass to her lips, the sweet scent of dark cherries and plums seducing her nostrils, the familiar raw desire catching in her throat. God, she needed this. After the day she’d had. To face what was coming tonight.

‘Stood you up, has he, love?’

Lucy turned to the man at her side; late twenties, wayward hair, kindly eyes.

‘What? No, I’m not waiting for anyone.’

‘You up for some company then?’ he asked, one corner of his lip upturned.

Lucy put the glass down, the moment spoilt.

‘No. No, I’m not. Thanks.’

‘Hey love, don’t go. I didn’t mean anything by it. What about your drink?’

‘You have it,’ she called over her shoulder, eager now to leave the place.

Outside, she breathed in the cool night air and dashed across the road to the building with the red peeling paint on the door. She climbed the stairs, eased open the door and took her seat, acknowledging with a small nod of her head the others.

She steadied her breathing, waited, and then she stood up and said,

‘Hello, my name’s Lucy and I’m an alcoholic.’

Entry #146

Truth in Wine
by Prashant Dhanke

A life’s work continues to conjure questions well past the funeral. Take Arthur’s case. His son was convinced that trash-can is the rightful place for his late father’s poetry while his wife didn’t see any harm in keeping the papers till the winter; the pile was large enough to keep the fire-grate burning for two nights.

Up in the sky, his afterlife trial began.

“My Lord, Arthur wrote too many lies. Take his poem ‘Post-Big-Bang Symphony’:

Eve had to eat the apple really soon
Adam was keen to sleep with the moon

Liar is a sinner. He belongs to Hell.”

“Romanticism needn’t be a sin. He was a kind fellow. Didn’t even pluck a flower after he turned ten. Let him be in Heaven please.”

Romantic souls were always hard to place. God adjourned the court for a break.

Post-break, God announced, “I’ve put Arthur’s words in that locker”.

The locker was labeled ‘Truth In Wine’ and carried five glasses of red wine atop it.

“To open, drink the glasses in a magical sequence. Else the wine gets refilled”.

No one, who managed to read his words, judged them lies.

Statistics reveal a 65% rise in romantic population in heaven after the T.I.W. constitutional amendment was established.

Back on earth, Arthur’s poetry was rescued before getting burnt. His grandson smuggled the stack to his school. That year, second-graders had paper boats whenever it rained, or as Arthur would have put it, whenever Juliet shed tears in heaven.

Entry #145

The Savior
by Sameera Ansari

“You are some woman!”, he panted, his eyes bulging like they had when she first walked into his studio.

Lying beside each other, sated, they made an odd sight. He, old enough to be her grandfather, wheezing and bald, with skin like a shriveled fig. She, Venus in human form, radiant and glamorous.

No, please don’t!

“More wine?”, she asked. “Sure!” His greedy toad like eyes followed her every movement. The full moon framed her bare silhouette as she refilled their goblets with Chianti.

None can stop me tonight!

“To many such wonderful nights”, he winked. Her practiced smile was coy as she watched him drain his goblet, while daintily sipping her own.

In the name of the Lord, please let me go!

“I guess I am getting old, feeling sore already”, he chuckled. The smile she returned did not reach her eyes.

“Aaaaaaaaaargh!“ His grin froze as the goblet slipped from his suddenly quivering fingers.

I’m an atheist, you foolish woman!

“I can’t breathe!”, he gasped, “My inhaler…please…”

“You need to sleep…eternally.” Her eyes were mere slits as she watched him splutter and choke, those exquisite features stone cold.

“But why…?”, he croaked.

In vino veritas! I’m your savior, ha ha ha!

“You! You cannot be…” Comprehension spliced the fear in his eyes after she had echoed his own words. “I always…felt…you looked…familiar”. His skin was mottled with blue now.

Not in front of my daughter!

As he heaved for the last time, a single tear traversed her cheek.

Entry #144

Dharma Remembered (Thanks Kerouac)
by Jade Leone Blackwater

The summer of ’56 my folks packed me and stuff Ma deemed critical into our woodie for the long ride south to our new home in California. Pa drove quietly with one sun-scaled hand on the wheel while the other dangled its habitual cigarette, the adjoining arm’s elbow planted firmly out the window, calluses cutting the wind.

Ma ground her teeth while engaged in her favorite pastime of merciless-stranger-speculation: “See how she’s limping? Drunk! That child she’s carrying? Gonna meet a sorry fate with the business-end of a trailer truck!” “Look at that toothless old fool. Bet he had it comin’ with an ugly face like that!”

Occasionally Ma would punctuate her hypotheses with a swift and penetrating jab of her index finger, usually into Pa’s steering arm or one of my hapless legs. With each poke I would retreat to consider my five-year-old’s-eye-view speculations of the roadside specters: “That lady looks determined. Maybe she got away from somethin’ sad. She’s marching with her baby to a new life.” “That old man looks happy. Maybe he’s a silly granpa who teases kids with crazy stories.”

Twenty miles inside California we spotted a leather-skinned man thumbing opposite traffic along the shoulder, his left hand hooked around a poorboy of red wine, his gaze empty, knowing. Pa slowed; maybe he was curious about the stranger. Ma receded into silence; we coasted past the man walking stiff as a mountain as he babbled like a river, his mouth twisting in a saintly smile.

Entry #143

Drinking to Death
by Blog Gore

Two young sweaty bodies in the throes of passion on top of a water tank of a high-rise rooftop - an inch away from a sheer fall and death. Bodies coloured and illuminated in blue fluorescent light cast by a neon advertising signboard.

He enters her with his tongue – exploring the woman inside her. Slowly, feeding her desires. She moans as he pulls out and bites the inside of her thigh, an inch away from where she wants him. He moves up. His hands replace his tongue. Fingers finding love.

He kisses her. Tongues find each other and dance.

His other hand reaches out, groping in the dark for the knife.

“Are you ready” he asks. “Yes” she moans.

He kneels between her legs and very slowly, he enters her. She feels him inside her. As she moans, he takes the knife and slashes his wrists.

Blood Drops On Breasts.

She closes her eyes and whimpers as he cuts her wrists.

He finds her wrists in his mouth while he takes his to her lips. They drink of each other. The taste of blood and sex – intoxicating the senses as wine never can. They keep stroking and drinking – immune to pain.

They had been planning this for days.

The stars shine down on their bloodied faces. Ruby red coupling with fluorescent blue.

The stars give way to the morning sun. He looks down at them with sadness and hides behind the clouds to curse and cry. Young. Horny. Stupid.


Entry #142

Finally Godess
by Ranee Kaur Banerjee

Brought fresh to your doorstep, I curdled at your cruelty.

Caged between the stove and the bed, I began to knot secrets in my poison-red, vermillion-streaked hair. I embroidered myself plots of intricate web-like mehendi. I boiled noxious, fuming thoughts.

I wanted to become Scheherazade and tell you 1001 tales to put you to sleep. Instead, I found Styx in a bottle.

That monsoon night, I stood outside under the Banyan’s gnarled roots looking at the temple on the horizon where yet another sun had been killed, pierced by the spire.

I stood until the moon, impaled on a twisted branch bled tortured light.

I stood until you came and took the bottle away.


“Don’t!” I cried. But you did.

I fell. I saw the shape of my lips in a blood-kiss on the cold marble floor. You grabbed my hair and made me kneel between your knees.

Drunk on the sun’s blood and the moon’s tears, I became Kali. My tongue hung red, thirsty, ready, dripping pinot noir.

As you pushed my face down, I bit hard and sucked and tasted your blood mingling with mine.

Then you were the one screaming “Don’t!”

Entry #141

by Catrina Joos

"George, sweetie, don't you think I look lovely?"

George did not look up from his crossword puzzle.

"Of course, Dear."

Fifteen across. Ten letters. Clue: The man with all the answers. Answer: Alex Trebek.

On the bedside table was a pair of thick spectacles, an empty bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, a single wineglass.

"Georgie-poo, you're not looking."

George reached for the wineglass instead of his glasses. What was there to see? It was only dwarfish, dowdy, dumpy Loraine. Baby weight, she says. What a crock. All five of them miscarriages, but she never stopped eating for two.

On three-inch stiletto heels, Loraine spun slowly. It was a crimson sheath-dress that pinched and puckered around her bloated belly. The sequins shimmered in the lamplight. George, bleary-eyed, saw what looked like a blood-sausage, shiny with grease, being rotated on a spit.

Loraine prattled on. Didn't George just love the dress? It had taken months to find. For the first time in her life, she felt glamorous. She wanted to dance at Lisa's wedding; she hadn't danced in decades. In fact, she'd become a real hermit after James, miscarriage number-five. She wanted to surprise everyone, especially her sister.

Gracious, gorgeous, gazelle-like Grace.

George said nothing; he returned to the confounded puzzle. Even though it was only the Wednesday edition of The Times, sixty-four down was proving troublesome. Six letters. Clue: Better half.

"George, sweetie, do you think I look fat?"

God willing, let my hearing be the next to go. "Of course, Dear."

Entry #140

by Miredinconfusion


When we met last, Red between us.
Words hung in mid-air, some commited, others abandoned in resignation.
Too tired to argue, too limp to care, twenty years of commitment in the balance
You walked away and only came back once a minute later.
To claim the rest of Red.

What was left then is what is left now.
A reminder of your sweet and rich aftertaste
drowning in the approach of imminent loss.
Residue without body. Shadow without form. Memory without hope.

Your question hangs in the air now as it hung then – what do you want from me?
I look at shimmering Red for answers.
What do I want?
Affirmation of fantasy? Relentless optimism? Infinite second chances?
All of the above. All the time. Without fail, without doubt.

Is that too much to ask?
Red shivers with reproach.
It is too much to give. It is too much to expect.
Faith has limits. Hope has an end.
People are not Red.

The remains of our life are in front of me.
As evening folds into dusk, I examine the entrails.
Love. Lust. Solace.
Memories. Longings. Ghosts.
Pain. Isolation.


Entry #139

by Penny Smith

Her glass is filled with wine.
He asks "Will you be mine?"
She, bashful, pale and shy,
lifts glass, and drains it dry.

She hears his words, so false,
spin round her, like a valse.
The Devil's Advocate
has left his help too late.

"You will not be in charge
once truth is set at large!
Beware what comes to pass -
In Vino Veritas!"

Entry #138

The Game
by Puresunshine

Alaska Junior High School was only minutes away but it took Jack longer today, as he dragged a container of strawberry crush and a bag of sweets in the snow. He fumbled and fell over a rock bruising his knee. The bag began to leak like his body, as he rushed inside the gate.

Jason couldn’t control the anxiety. He wasn’t sure of this but he had no alternative. As he sat 50ft underground in the dark room, he wished he could buy time, only if that were on sale!

He quickly put his cloak on, painted his face and reached the center of the room. The rest of his school was around the stage in a circle, their glasses full of red liquid. He knew it was time for the ritual as the boy sitting across him screeched: Are you ready? Let’s play Who Wants To Be a Vampire!

It was a simple process: The Bite, The Drink, The Hunt

He grew nervous and his teeth came closer to his body. The last he saw was the white face.

Waking up from the daze, he tried to control his anger and angst. He picked up the glass of red liquid, the smell was appetizing to his newfound senses.

The crowd cheered. Jack wanted to give them something in return and he remembered he had left his sweet bag outside.

He wobbled and reached the rock and found a beautiful man waiting. “I smelt you in the snow,” he said.

Entry #137

In Vino Veritas
by Yamini Murty

A troupe of four young, worthy men
Decent, handsome and best of friends
Went out for an excursion to their favourite place
To a beach where emotions found solace.

“I remember in our college days
When sun shone bright and fortune played
The girls were a joyous treat
Our spirits were high, passions upbeat”

“Indeed”, candidly said one of them
“I wish our parents wouldn’t condemn
Our idiosyncratic approach to life
Where without booze we wouldn’t survive”

“And why do we talk of the censures of the past
Let’s celebrate the moment under the azure so vast
Let the Old Potrero have its way”
“I’d prefer Jack Daniel’s”, the silent one did finally say.

The spirits went up as spirits poured down
One of them wept while the others frowned.
“What is with you, what makes you cry?”
“I wish I knew, I wish I had an alibi”

“I loved my wife like I loved no one
She is cheating on me, she is having fun”
But women are never faithful, I know”
“This is the fourth deceit for him in a row”

All four looked at each other, as sadness ruled
One of them started laughing as the alcohol fuelled
“You don’t know, how to love your mate
She loved making me merry on a monsoon date”

Startled, the three gawked at this friend
As his words became difficult to comprehend
Thought they would enjoy, but they had to regret
Because in came wine and out went a secret.

Entry #136

The Misgiving
by Amrita Bhatia

“Honey, I’m home!!!”

Mariah? Honey???

“Oh! There you are. I brought your favorite bottle of wine baby”

“What’s the occasion?” She said frowning.

“We are together, and that’s reason enough to celebrate, isn’t it darling??”

“Okay, if you say so”

What a liar. I can smell her perfume on his shirt.

“So how was your day?”

He was sounding so unlike himself.

“Umm…. The usual”

“Well I had a pretty good day. I’m getting promoted next month. Todd says once we are through with the Zeta deal, it’s just a matter of days.”

“Oh well congratulations then. I’m happy for you” this sounded so unconvincing and shallow even to her.

“You didn’t get the wine sweetie??”

“No I kept it for later, let’s have it on the patio after dinner”

“As you say baby”

He was waiting on the deck, thinking about Mariah, and how happy she made him. She seemed a bit off colour today.

Well that would change in a while, he thought, a faint smile appearing on his face.

She took the bottle from the kitchenette, and crept her way to the terrace.

“Hey!!... I …… Ahhhhhhh!!!!!”
He fainted, blood oozing out of his head.

“You think you’ll cheat on me and I’ll never get to know? You scoundrel!!!” she screamed and pushed him down the verandah.

The ring gleamed with all its brilliance midst broken glass and the wine on the floor.

Entry #135

To See One
by Lee Smiley

“You’re sure this will work?”

Art looked at the glass on the table, watching the way the light from the neon above the bar rippled across the liquid like a chill. He reached out toward it, hesitated, picked it up. It felt heavy, as though the wine inside carried the weight of his decision.

“If you prepared it just as I instructed,” the old woman said, her words soaked in Hungarian, “then it will work.”

“I’ll be able to see her then? See her and . . . ask her why she did it?

“You will be able to see her,” the crone assured him.

Art lifted the glass to his nose and inhaled. The bouquet was cloying, and tinged with subtle hints of the other ingredients—assorted powders and herbs—that the woman had given him. He swirled it, watching the vortex he created and wanting to dive in, to drown in that wine until he knew why Lisa had jumped from their balcony with a rope tied around her neck.

He opened his mouth and threw down the wine in one gulp. At once, his throat contracted as though it was he who now had the rope strangling him. He fell of the chair, the sound of his body crashing to the floor the only one he could make.

“Funny thing about the dead,” the woman said, leaning over the table with a toothless smile. “You have to be one to see one.”

Entry #134

Wine the Great Tutor
by Mark C. Durfee

Normally I knew I would never make it over the cyclone fence. I’d never been able to climb the damn things before. But the stolen bottle of Boons Farm Apple. It makes the wary, bold and the timid fearless. I don’t know what it makes you when you’re hung upside down on a six foot cyclone fence puking out lunch.

That first time was from the cheap wine but the next two were because of the liquid smell of my own vomit crawling up my nose. Struggling, sweating, puking wine and digested lunch; all things a fat kid of 16 should not get caught up in publicly. I may have been drunk but my biggest fear was if the neighborhood pricks found me like this, along with everything else, it was going to be new shit to throw at me.

God I was tired of being the neighborhood joke, the one destined for eternal fat kid bullshit from the pretty people. Just having the same old images painted in apple wine colors made me struggle even more. The fighting stopped only when my belt snapped and I fell into the puddle of muck below. I couldn’t even remember what the hell was on the other side of that fucking fence I wanted bad enough climb it in the first place.

I learned after that to only drink with my friends; which is why after forty years I always still drink alone.

Entry #133

by Will Irons

He swigged the liquor. It was his last. It was the first time he became sober.

As he hit the notes on the piano, his fingers danced. Like the many sessions before, his wife and daughter were captivated. They could name Mozart and Chopin as the greats. But in this musician family, he was THE GOD.

His tears began to synchronise with his music. His mind searched his recent past…

From the day he laid his eyes on her, he felt the need to be human. He struggled with it. He did it. It was not easy. The sophistication tagged with human relationships was beyond his imagination. They faced objections from her family and friends. They were pushed to poverty. They almost gave up their lives for what humans called love. They overcame the odds and kept together. He realised it was worth it…

That instance he carried his baby, he felt the need to remain rooted. Those little eyes, fingers and toes created that admission that maybe the master was right; that he had been so wrong. The kisses, hugs and words made him savour every stage of his child’s growth…

Thirty years was puny against his existence. He knew his humanity had broken down every ounce of hatred within his nature.

Yet, he must leave and the truth must be told.

He finished the last sustained note and looked at them.

He whispered, “I love you!”

The music consumed Lucifer in flames.

He was gone, forever.

Entry #132

The Consumption
by Amanda Farough

His brush strokes danced relentlessly across the canvas. His brown hair hung limp at his shoulders, the shorter pieces matted against forehead and cheeks. They would notice him now, thanks to the palette and technique that had been laid before him. This was the pièce de résistance of his life's work; the greatest creation and the lowest moment of his existence. There would be nothing after this painting was finished. He understood that the inevitability of genius was to perish in the pursuit of perfection.

He picked up the brush and dipped it in the thick, dark-red substance. If he waited, the medium would dry and there would be nothing left to satisfy the canvas. And so, he continued. His sweat served as a paint-thinning agent, allowing the brush to move more fluidly in its fevered rush to finish. But his emerald eyes were drawn to the colours of the splattered studio corner.

A willowy young woman was crumpled against the far wall, her blood creating pools and rivers of sticky-red. Her life began to falter. She went limp. His eyes returned to the canvas and he suddenly realized what had been missing. The edge of the palette knife glinted seductively in his periphery. He stood directly in front of the canvas and ran it across the fragile flesh of his throat. The arterial spray and its movement across the painting had proven to be the perfect ending. He smiled and gurgled a laugh: yes, they would notice him now.

Entry #131

What’s Wrong with Suzy
by Dean Clayton Edwards

Suzy was convinced there must be something wrong with her because she hadn’t ever had a boyfriend. She admitted to being old-fashioned, because she was raised by her grandmother.

I slid my hand over hers and for once she resisted the urge to pull away.

New Year was a time for new experiences; a time for change.


It was five to midnight.

I went to the kitchen to get more wine. When I went back to the bedroom Suzy was perched on the edge of the bed in a simple nightdress, looking up at me with a tremulous smile. She was beautiful.

Crouching behind her was a dwarfish, old woman in a dark-blue smock. Her hair was cropped and coal-black in contrast to her thin, blue lips. She was gazing at the back of Suzy’s head with a sad little smile. She then turned to me, her features stiffening.

The bottle of wine hit the ground.

Then the wine glasses, one of which shattered; the other only cracked.

The old woman spat at me. “You’re not to touch her!” She returned her heavy, black gaze to Suzy and made as if to reach for her. “She’s my little girl.”


We were one minute short of a year when Suzy ran away from my flat. She told me that she knew I would reject her. She said that if her grandmother had been alive this would never have happened.

“I know, Suzy,” I said. “I know.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Entry #130

by Aerin Rose

Twenty-two hours from San Francisco to Kathmandu. Four hours until the layover in Hong Kong. Caelin will have finished grading papers by then. She arches her back, stretching, then wiggles her toes, and catches the eye of the flight attendant.

“More, please.” She indicates the travel-sized wineglass. The remaining ruby droplets glisten in the spotlight of her reading lamp. The attendant nods from the galley.

“You realize that’s basically grape juice?” Chloe peers around the headrest as her business class bed reverts to its upright position.

“It’s a second growth Bordeaux and you know it, O Queen Food Critic,” Caelin retorts. “How’d you sleep?”

“Not well. Looks like fourteen bottles of questionable Bordeaux didn’t help you sleep, either.”


“And nervous. What if she hates us?”

“Sweetheart.” Caelin strokes her wife’s cheek as Chloe unfolds the passport she’s been clutching. A little girl with dark eyes and copper skin gazes at them, unsmiling and unafraid. “She liked us well enough before. Any kid will hate her parents at some point. Let’s just focus on getting her home.”

The flight attendant materializes with the bottle of Château Cos-d'Estournel 1989, which streams like scarlet silk into the stemware.

“Like the orphanage is going to let her come home when you show up drunk,” Chloe teases, leaning close. Caelin smiles into her spouse’s black curls. Points of light play on the surface of her wine, casting images against the back of the seat in a rosy haze.

Entry #129

by Gughan

The lone fire showcased the swirling silent ballet of the blood red content of the fiasco. A sip would be nice. He mustered all of his remaining energy. In a few moments, he had broken into the sangrine passage.


“Never.. Ever..”

“leave his side”, he cut his brother’s sentence.

“And remember..”

“I will.”

..the real battle is tonight.”


In one precise swish of his sword, he found his first battle victim. His blades raged swift and sure through the sea of aerble fighters, snuffing out lives.


He snaked down the passage carefully. His heart was thumping.


His powerful tongue flew five feet forward, to move the bush out of view. At the first sight of the flower, he sprang forward. His father needs medicine.


The half made skeleton of the cathedral loomed large over the insufficient number of plytens building it. When the caged cart passed by, they all came together to look. The whiplash cracked through their murmurs and sent them back to work.




“You’ll talk... prince.” he hissed.


His tongue reached the end of the passage, carefully wound around his heart. And squeezed.
He savored every one of the infinite flashes of pain. His heart thudded against the tightening alien constraint.

He watched the swirls slow down… until the liquid was completely still. He released his grip and closed his eyes.


Glass clanking...

Cork popping...

A sip would be nice indeed.

Entry #128

You Used to Buy Me Wine
by Patsy Collins

You used to buy me wine.

You smiled and asked what I'd like. All I wanted was you, but I accepted the drink.

In winter it was rich and red, mulled with sweet spices. Warm and promising as a lingering kiss.

During spring we braved the cool air for that first taste of sun and of love. Crisp rosé, pink as a valentine's card.

In summer the wine was white and chilled. Poured into cocktails, topped with fruit and ice. As light as our mood.

Autumn was full-bodied and generous. Claret and burgundy, reflected in the fallen leaves we walked through as we made plans.

But you're gone now. The wine has drained from my life, the dregs bitter and dark.

I drink spirits, but they don't help me forget the pain or recall happy memories.

I drink beer, but do not feel the sun's warmth or winter's chill.

I drink cider, but don't taste the fruit or promise of the future.

The drink doesn't help, but I beg and steal for the money to buy more.

You used to buy me wine.

Entry #127

The End Marks The Beginning
by Ayodele Morocco-Clarke

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” the priest intoned as he sprinkled bits of earth on the wooden coffin lying in the grave.

Yvonne looked on completely numb, wondering how fate could have dealt her such a cruel hand. Her brain could not process the fact that her vivacious little angel was gone forever. No more patter of tiny feet running through the house; No more tight cuddles and wet kisses; No more sweet smelling hair; No more… No more….NO MORE!!! her mind screamed, and for the first time since the accident, she broke down and wept bitterly; Great big wracking sobs which emanated from the core of her being and shook her tiny frame.

What sort of monster gets behind the wheel of a car completely inebriated? How can someone just wipe away another person’s life in a single reckless irresponsible moment?

Danielle’s agonising, dying screams reverberated in Yvonne’s head and she knew that though it was too late for her daughter, she was the only person who could ensure that this drunk driver never hurt anyone else.

That same evening saw her standing outside a non-descript building, determined to put an end to the drunk. She took a seat in a room and waited for her turn and when it did, she got to her feet slowly with tears streaming down her face and let out the truth; words that formed the basis of the wreckage in her life.

“My name is Yvonne Flemming and I’m an alcoholic.”

[Ayodele Morocco-Clarke is a Nigerian of mixed heritage currently living in the United Kingdom. She likes to describe herself as a stubbornly unconventional individual determined to push the conservative boundaries of society. Some of her work has been published in literary magazines and others are forthcoming in anthologies of short fiction.]

Entry #126

Everyone Is Dying
by Nothingman

The bottle of wine feels heavier with each step. I clean the blood from my hands with a rag and wipe the bottle clean too. I also catch my breath. With so much radiation in the atmosphere, it takes something out of me everyday. But it’s ok. Everyone is dying.

I stop five more times before I reach the roof. The door to the roof is broken and a lone Clawgger eats the metal with a hypnotic hunger. I stick close to the wall and hope it will ignore me. I don’t want to spend my time fighting off a biomechnoid bird that even hell spat out.

I pass the bird and see Yas sitting on the other side of the roof. Her hair, once black, has grayed prematurely. I feel a twinge of sadness in my chest. I walk over to her and sit on the ledge. Our feet dangle 36 stories above the ground. Yas looks at me and takes out a dirty glass goblet from her overcoat. I smile at her and show her the bottle. Her sad, sleep deprived eyes light up and a smile slithers over to her lips. I pull the cork of the bottle and one tooth comes out with it. I hide it in my hand and pour her the wine.

Together, we watch the black smoke rise from the cities as a sick egg yolk sun sets on whatever is left of the planet after World War III.

[Nothingman writes short stories at A Story A Day. He listens to metal that is very heavy and drinks Mountain Dew that is spiked with Vodka.]

Entry #125

Social Drama Queen
by Rusty La Violette

She was a drama queen and liked to drop a good line now and then, especially when a new person joined our social group. Her life wasn’t run of the mill, and if the truth were known, she actually watered it down a bit.

“My first husband was a convicted murderer,” she would start. “Spent seventeen years in prison. I married him three months after he got out. He was nice enough but ran whenever things got tough. He said in the joint you didn’t have to think. But, he was a flagrant womanizer, so I divorced him. Then he died.”

“The next one was different,” she would say as she sipped from her wine glass. “What seemed at first firmness and stability became brutality. He was a child abusing bastard and a flagrant womanizer, so I divorced him. (She’d pause.) Then he died.”

The next was studying to be a minister, he’d said. A secret drinker at first, he then openly flaunted his drug and alcohol use. Also, he was a bigamist with six kids. Besides, he was a flagrant womanizer, so I divorced him. Then he died.”

“I was single for ten years after that, but married again.” Then she lowered her voice almost to a whisper. “My current marriage is my last. We’re in this for the long haul. He is honorable and has integrity, and you know what? He doesn’t womanize. Guess he heard about my nickname, ‘the black widow’. Nope! He doesn’t womanize at all.”

Entry #124

Guild of Daggers
by Deborah Smythe

I was a dead woman.

There was no aftertaste of flower or metal on my tongue, no pain twisting my gut, but it was done. I saw it in Philip's expression.

Eyes half-lidded, he watched as I set the wineglass back on the nightstand. His body was exquisite, limned in moonlight from the window, his face ethereal. He leaned over and kissed me, warm and lingering, but on the neck. A prudent man, my beloved.

"Sorry, Sian." His eyes were sad, but he shook his head and I knew what he was thinking. The fault was mine.

We all had affectations, those of us in the guild: a rose left upon a breathless chest, a faux-gold chain 'round the victim's neck. These were our calling cards, and often our weapon as well. Philip and I had been lovers for six months, I knew his method. I'd gotten careless.

"It was a no-name contract," he explained, hands warm on my body. "I didn't know you were the target when I accepted. You know I love you." His kiss, on the lips this time and deep, told me all trace of poison had left my mouth.

I kissed him back and we both enjoyed it, up until the finish. His eyes popped open, wide and startled. I smiled bittersweet. "I love you too, Philip."

His calling card was poison in a glass of red wine. Mine was a stiletto in the back. I slept with one under the pillow. He knew that.

Entry #123

Through a Wine Glass, Darkly
by Stephen Parrish

The train rolled along an iron ribbon that cut through hills packed crisp with snow. The train's wheels CLANK-clanked every few seconds in an unerring rhythm, like a mechanical heartbeat.

Inside the dining car the passengers toasted their good fortune. The atmosphere was reminiscent of an orchestra tuning up: clinking wine glasses and the distant clatter of cooking utensils punctuated the static noise of hushed conversations. Shards of light sprinkled down from chandeliers and bejeweled the crowded car.

The maitre d' himself poured the wine. The vintage? Thirty-three. A good one? Never better. One to offer a lady, he said, on a cold winter night.

Now the train rolled out of the hills and onto a plain. The plain was map-flat, as if a giant, oppressive thumb had pushed the hills down and smoothed the valleys over. And with the change of landscape came a change of season. The snow was gone, the trees were dressed in green, and grape vines were assembled in orderly rows for the vintners who pruned them.

The train slowed. Waiters cleared dishes and passengers gathered bags. Outside, guides waited along the tracks to escort the passengers through an arched gate and deliver them to the buildings beyond. When the train stopped and the passengers disembarked, the vintners avoided looking up from their pruning. It was just another arrival. They did not want to admit they had seen it.

Entry #122

No More Lies
by Ken Furie

Charlie paced the kitchen in his plaid boxers. He could summon no magic words that would cushion what was sure to be a horrible jolt. “Luisa, my dear, I’m awfully sorry, but I’ve been banging the sweet daylights out of your sister for six months and I think I’m in love.” Right. Absolutely. That’s breaking it gently.

He peeked into the bedroom. Luisa slumbered on, still as a corpse, unaware of the oncoming bus about to demolish her world. He hated doing it, but he couldn’t keep going this way.

He filled a glass with the Oregon pinot they’d opened last night. Six a.m. wasn’t too early, right? He tossed his head back and newborn sunbeams crucified him as he drained the glass. The wine had a nice lingering tail, so he poured another glass.

Give me the strength to do this, he whispered to the wine.

Luisa appeared at last, thick and muzzy. She saw the bottle, looked him up and down. He expected a scold but she plucked a clean glass and held it out for him to fill.

Charlie poured. Luisa gulped the pinot and blurted, “Charlie, I have something to tell you and I can’t find the right words, so I’m just going to blurt it out. I’m in love with your father. We’ve been seeing each other secretly for over a year. Charlie, I’m so tired of pretending. I just can’t lie anymore. I’m sorry.”

He gawped, thunderstruck. “My father? You whore, how could you?”

Entry #121

Untimely Truths
by Stacie McElroy

“You’ve never mentioned that before.”

“Sure I have; I told you years ago.”

“I’m pretty sure I would remember my best friend telling me he was in love with me.”

“Like I said, it was a long time ago. You probably forgot.”

“Women don’t forget things like that, Rob, no matter how long ago it was.”

“It doesn’t matter now anyway. I’m sorry I brought it up.”

“You don’t think we should talk about this?”

“No, Abby, I don’t. I think you and I have had too much wine and I need to get you home to your fiancé. We can’t have you hung-over at your rehearsal.”

“Right… I think I need a minute.”

“Are you okay? You’re such a lightweight.”

“It’s not the alcohol.”

“Abby, don’t make a big deal out of this. I got over it a long time ago. Everything’s fine. I’m not going to make a scene and crash your wedding screaming ‘Marry me instead.’ I promise.”

“You’re not?”

“No, of course not. I like Jeff. He’s a good guy and you two are going to be very happy.”

“Right… it’s just that…”

“You’ve had too much to drink. Come on. I’ll get us a cab.”

“No, it’s…”

“You’ve got cold feet? You’re scared of change? What?”

“Shut up! Just shut up! I have been waiting 10 years for you to say that you love me, and you wait until 2 days before my wedding to finally say it. What am I supposed to do now?”

Entry #120

In Vino Veritas, In Tequila Mors
by Cormac Brown

I am undone.

I am undone by a pair of lips.

By a kiss.

By a whisper.

I believe that Adam was just an allegory. Because if he were a real man, he’d say “all that from just a rib? Well, God, why don’t you take out the other one and even me out?”

I wanted it all, and at least in terms of money, I could afford it. Something about her was different…I still don’t know what it was. She wasn’t exceptionally beautiful or intelligent…or even charming. Yet she had enough of each of those qualities to keep me intrigued, just like my wife did when we first met in college.

It was a casual friendship that turned into something else before either of us knew what happened. We meshed together. I felt like a new man, and I expanded the horizons of her future. Our relationship took on a life of its own and soon discretion went out of the window as we traveled together.

Eventually, reality reared its ugly head and this “second honeymoon” was over. Things became too intense and I wanted out, and to buy her out. We drank; we fought…until we were exhausted. Finally, I asked her to leave the love nest we made…

…and I kissed her.

I whispered, “Goodbye.”

I thought she went to pack, but she went for a gun instead.

I am undone.

Now we won’t worry about fidelity…our future…or anything, because we’re going to sleep for all of eternity.

[Cormac writes: I’m Cormac Brown, an up-and-slumming writer in the city of Saint Francis. Some of my stories have appeared at Powder Burn Flash, Six Sentences, A Twist of Noir, Astonishing Adventures Magazine, and Crooked Magazine. You can find me at Cormac Writes.]

Entry #119

Liar's Glass
by Gef Fox

The flesh of my hand sang with pain. Tendrils of smoke wafted along the bottom of the glass, as Cassidy smirked from across the dining room table. Liar's glass. I had under-estimated her.

I expected the truth elixir, but she was still new to potions. I had drank enough in my lifetime to develop an immunity, anyway. Liar's glass, though—clever girl.

"So, you did kill my parents," she said.

I shrugged her words and the lingering pain. "As well I should have, my love. So long as they lived, you would remain rotting away under their rule. And we could never be together."

Her soft blue eyes turned hard, and she rose to her feet.

"My parents were tyrants, I grant you." She walked towards me. "But, you, Allesandro . You are so much more. So much worse."

I smiled and started to rise from my chair, to meet her halfway—as I had the night I cauterized her parents from her life—but I was frozen.

"What have you done, Cassidy?" I asked, unmoving. The unseen restraints held me.

"What you wanted of me, my love. I learned. Prisoner's Throne, I believe it's called." She plucked the knife from my plate.

"Cass, please. There's another way—"

"No more lies, Allesandro. Give my regards to my mother and father."

The cut was slow and deep. My life bled away. The smoke from the Liar's glass carried me to Hell like a chariot. Clever girl.

Entry #118

Sub Rosa
by Meghan Sullivan

"Beautiful," I murmured. Kanji raised an eyebrow at me.

"What is?"

“The wine,” I lied.


Kanji picked up his glass. Scarlet liquid gently flowed and ebbed over his lips.“It’s good.”


"'s made from special grapes and stuff, right?"


"Is that like...French or something?"

"It’s a region in southwest France."

"Wow." The crystal made a soft clink as he set it down on the faded mahogany table. "Hey, Kirin.You sure you wanna waste this stuff on me?”

“It’s not a waste.”

“Yeah, but…I guess you think I'm pretty stupid. Punk like me don't know nothin' 'bout wine. I mean, here we are graduating from college and already you’re one of those wine carnivores”-


He grinned sheepishly. “Yeah, one of those. A sophisticated dude like you...” Kanji shook his head. “Sometimes I wonder why you waste your time hangin’ around someone like me."

"Do you like it?"


“The wine,” I lied again.

“Oh. Yeah. It's like, real fruity." He looked at me uncertainly. " Is that the right word?

Grapey, maybe?"

I smiled sadly. "Grapey is good."