Flyleaf Journal's Literary Lunch features exceptional fiction that is distributed to our e-mail subscribers on the first Friday of every month. They are just the right length for taking a break during your hectic days at work (off the clock, of course). Here you will find the archive of all the stories featured in our Literary Lunch segment. If you'd like to submit stories to be considered for this extension of Flyleaf Journal, click here.
Literary Lunch #5
October 21, 2016
The hot sun beats down from a pale cloudless sky on the dusty scrapheap where derelict automobiles arranged in haphazard rows, stacked on top of one another, await further cannibalizing or decimation into fist-sized chunks by the baling press and the hammer mill.
An unkempt man, tucked under an old army blanket Battledress, Serge, lies in the backseat of a rusty V6 Chevy Camaro. Nearby, in the backseat of a crumbling 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible is a salt- and pepper-haired woman. Unaffected by the heat, she is also shrouded in a worn red shawl, humming to herself.
They look old and wrinkled, but a closer scrutiny will reveal they are only middle-aged, and have worn badly.
"I can't see," he says in a loud whine that carries over to her.
"Try opening your eyes," she replies. Her eyes twinkle for an instant, and she twirls her thumbs.
Literary Lunch #4
August 5, 2016
Janine could sense that Ms. Caldwell, Clay's third grade teacher, had something unpleasant she wanted to discuss. In their previous meeting, the young teacher had been all smiles and had made only positive comments about Clay's progress so far and his outlook for the rest of the school year. Today, Ms. Caldwell had to force a smile, and her fidgety hands revealed underlying discomfort. Like a taut rubber band reverting to its natural state, the smile soon faded.
"Clay is a bright child, Mrs. Armstrong—"
"It's Ms. Armstrong," interrupted Janine. She noticed a minute scrunch in Ms. Caldwell's eyebrows. Was it judgment, or was Ms. Caldwell only bracing herself for a serious conversation?
Literary Lunch #3
July 8, 2016
The nurse’s scratchy penmanship indicated it had been a night like any other: one spent suffering the drip of the old man’s congealed humors, his tepid kicks and lashes from the bed. The old man always shrieked at the I.V., spit and cussed when it was time to be turned. They told tales of his constant abuses: the goddamn clicker, faggot this, cocksucker that. The detective sighed and put down the clipboard by the vacated bed of the now dead old man.
The detective imagined the nurse standing over the old man, staring down at the product of his labors, the breathless body before him, haranguing him no more. Yet the eye was open, dead and blank but staring accusingly.
Literary Lunch #2
June 3, 2016
When Frankie comes into the kitchen, ask if he wants to see your thong. He’s soaked in sweat. Pieces of grass stick to his sneakers. He pockets the cash your mother left for him on the kitchen counter, then scratches his head.
“Thong?” he asks.
Say, “It’s like underwear.” Unbutton your shorts.
He looks at you, proud. “I wear boxers,” he says.
“And I wear a thong. Want to see?”
Literary Lunch #1
March 25, 2016
It was a marvel how they got any ashes into the necklace at all. It was a dainty thing with a square amethyst stone on a cheap chain. If you flipped it over, you could see the tiny screw at the base where they poured it in. Sasha turned the necklace over in her hand to show it.
The kids were sitting around the lunch table after school, watching the cross country team come in, shaking rain and sweat from their ponytails. Sasha, Timothy, Nilofar, and Nilofar's boyfriend Chad or Chaz or something. They were all former relay runners on academic suspension, except for Nilofar's boyfriend, who went to an overpriced Catholic school across the river.