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I thought it had been lost, these memories. Try as I might, I could barely remember my home while I was in America. My memories were all blurry visions and muffled voices. Now, as the automatic doors shuff open, a mere tickle to my nose has called them all stampeding back to my brain.

That. That is the dry air carried by the cold ocean air. That is the scent of maritime pines, the dry dust kicked up by car tires and foot traffic. It draws me to the markets, ripe with people browsing the selection, where we would get my favorite blood oranges. Down the street, the restaurant with my favorite paella, sizzling scallops warming up my nostrils.

I remember now the look on my mother’s face, smile that crept up the corner of her mouth even as her eyebrows said “go wash yourself, you dirty child.” I remember now my brothers playing tag and my sister always running behind, wanting to join in the game. Tomas and his bike. Father and his mustache.

All of these memories lifted from my brain by the scent of my city. If I were not so unarguably happy now, I would shed a tear. I can smell it, see it, remember it at last. The brimming, familiar breeze is sending a message to me: “You are home,” it says. “Welcome home.”


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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXIV

Live Schmoth: Warm and War

Welcome to another installment of the live schmoth, written by myself, Edren Sumagaysay, and Allan Aquino. I managed to “obtain” their stories again (tee hee). We had a ten-minute cap on our writing time. Our topics this time were “Warm” and “War.”


by Clint Pereira

“Dip your toe in! The water’s fine!”

Jake was kind of an asshole. He did asshole things. So, I did not put it past Jake to say the water was “fine” when it was actually fucking freezing.

“I’m not going in there!” I shouted, shivering in the cold wind.

“No! No, really! It’s fine!” he smiled, that shit-eating grin I knew so well.

“I’m going back inside.”

I’d only turned halfway ’round before I heard the word, “Pussy!” I turned around and saw Jake, looking like he’d eaten the best shit in the whole damn world.

“What?” I cringed, grinding my teeth. “What did you say?”

“I said,” Jake spat some water from his mouth. “You’re a pussy. You take dicks and don’t do nothing else!”

At that moment, I don’t know what I became, but the intent was to be the opposite of a pussy. I sprinted across the dock and did a cannonball right by jake’s fat head. When I surfaced, I shook the water from my eyes.

“Hey,” I said, “You’re right. The water is warm!” and I dunked his fat head under.


by Edren Sumagaysay

It felt like that last year
In between our palms
Walking down Santa Monica Blvd.
Hugging hello and let’s keep on
Saying Hello
As we fell asleep
Sharing the same pillow
Waking up
Tangled in fucking hugs
A year away
From last year
It’s pretty cold


by Allan Aquino

like the other mouth that holds me

like a warm friendly hand

like the quiver of her tendons when

she sashays and sways

like the valley summer’s tangerine

p.m. hours

i hold you, pretend-friend, like a talisman

to ward off lies and demons

a delusion i claim as my truth


as the tropic sea of an island

i’ll never see


by Clint Pereira

What is it good for? Famous words. Wise words. It’s the kind of question that begs a simple answer. I don’t know what war is good for. I can only speak from my own experiences.

I was never one of those front-line soldiers. But neither was I a medic. I didn’t help people. I shot them. In the nose. That’s what they taught us in Camp Sniper. Police officers aim for the chest for stopping power. Military snipers are nose guys.

For me, war helped me focus. It helped me meditate. I remember seeing a movie once with those monks that would sit down, focus on their breathing, and contemplate life. Then they’d kick ass with their monk fu. I’m not saying that was me, but… yeah, that was me. When I came into the armed forces, I could barely comb my hair. When I came out, I was a Zen Buddhist Shaolin fighting monk. I think I’m better for it.


by Edren Sumagaysay

At first
From youth/to a little after youth
There is no such thing
As riches/Just high fires/and hip bumps
Magic starlight/And love thy mother
Somewhere between/the beginning and end
Somewhere in the middle
Somewhere Now
Some fucking war happened
In between
Dude/That’s fucked up


by Allan Aquino

heavy with our finery, we plunged, thigh-deep into their cold savage tide. two of their battalions beat rhythms on their shields, screaming chants. we sloshed toward them, blades down, only to incite them more. just as one of our scouts began burning their huts, their arrows rained upon us, felling two of my comrades in one volley. captain mayallanes, grazed in his arm, bled into the seawater, yet kept striding forth. by the time we were near the shore, the savages rushed upon us. before my feet reached dry sand i retreated and in one glance back i saw my captain, felled by one of their spears before they struck him down with their scimitars.

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Before Bebe goes to bed, she reads a book. When she wakes up, Bebe reads a book then, too.

Most people tell Bebe not to read so much. They say it will hurt her eyes or that she’ll get flabby from sitting around all day. Her mother says reading in the morning is just an excuse to be lazy. Bebe kindly disagrees.

“Mama,” Bebe glances over the spine of her hardcover, “I really don’t see what the problem is with my reading at the table.”

“It sets the tone for the day. If you want to read to go to sleep, fine. But reading when you wake up? Your head’s always somewhere else.” Bebe’s mother is not at the table. She’s pouring coffee into her favorite black mug to drink before she leaves and into her granite travel mug to take with her to work. Her spoon clinks a few times against the side of the mugs and then clatters loudly in the sink.

“I like the tone I’m setting.”

“You have to speak louder, Bebe!” Bebe’s mother was running her hands under the faucet. The handle squeaked back off and she was on to frying eggs and fresh salsa into a hot pan.

“I like my routine! It’s calming.”

Her mother scrapes the spatula round the spattering pan. “Mija, I know. But your teachers say you read during class. You’re a smart girl but you need to apply yourself.”

Bebe’s book clamps shut. “Mama,” she frowns, “Do you remember how I used to be? How I used to spend my mornings?”

She could see her mother’s shoulders rise and fall. Bebe returned to her book.

Quietly, her mother sneaks a plate of huevos and tortilla under her nose. “It’s a quick breakfast, but you need to eat.”

Bebe pushes her book aside as her mother sits at the table with only her coffee.

“Mama, aren’t you going to eat?”

She blows at her coffee. “You go ahead. I’m trying to diet.”


“Okay, give me your fork. I’ll have a bite.” Her mother scoops up some egg and washes it down with a little coffee.

Bebe blew at her food. “Have you ever tried to blow on ice cream like it was something hot?” she said, dishing some egg warm egg into her mouth. “Mr. Reyes says we do it because we’re trying to get the ice cream the same temperature as our breath.”

“Is Mr. Reyes the only teacher you listen to?”

Bebe blushes. Her mother cackles.

“I’m sorry, baby. Go ahead. What is this about ice cream?”

“Well… I was thinking… that reading, is a lot like that. When I get too hot or too cold, reading helps bring me up or down. That’s why I like to start my day that way. I don’t know. Does that make any sense?”

Her mother sips at her coffee. “No. Not really. But I’m just happy for you that you’re not skipping school anymore.” She sighs, looking at the microwave clock. “If being a bookworm makes you happy, then I’m happy.”

Bebe smiles with her head down and eats faster. Her mother slides her chair out. “But do me one favor, Bebe?” She leans over and kisses her on the forehead. “Mr. Reyes isn’t the only teacher that is trying to make you smarter. Keep your books in your backpack, okay?”

Bebe rolls her eyes. “Okay.”

Her mother kisses her on the cheek. “Oh. You taste like huevos.”

“And your breath smells like coffee.”

Bebe’s mother swats the back of her head. “Vamos, bookworm. You have a bus to catch.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII


“It’s done,” the writer breathed. He wouldn’t dare inhale. He wouldn’t dare spoil this perfect moment by doing something so base as taking a breath.

The writer sighed a big sigh of relief and release. He laughed and put his palm over his eyes.

“Oh my Gaaawwwd,” he moaned, pulling his palm down across his face. His eyes were itchy. His face was greasy. He looked like Ren from Ren and Stimpy, all hunched over and emaciated. The only hygienic thing he’d done all last week was clip his fingernails so he could type faster.

He was spent. The writer wanted to take his laptop into bed with him, light up a cigarette, and just stare at the ceiling for a while, contemplating what just happened. He’d wake up the next morning, of course, and then he’d start remembering things and regretting them. He’d look over at his story and start looking over all the things he’d want to change about it: “This part’s too big, that one too small. I don’t know what that guy saw in that girl. Maybe I should just start all over and write a new story.”

But the writer’s getting old. Maybe it’s time to commit to one story and actually finish it. He’s written so many stories and none of them have given fruit, that lasting pang of success. Always just that perfect, fleeting feeling of “It’s done.”

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII


Ginny and I killed our baby today. I wasn’t there, but I was in the waiting room, pacing around. It never existed, not really, but I don’t think that’s what really grips my insides and shakes them around. No, it’s what that child could have been. It was a clean slate, an innocent. But at the same time, I keep thinking, she can always make another someday. That one will be a clean slate, too. So, really, it’s a blessing and a curse for the child to be created so innocent. Really, we should all just be born adults, jaded and no longer hungry for the world. Maybe that would be a kinder fate than bringing a child into a society where innocence is a commodity.

But maybe I’m overthinking this. Like I said, it wasn’t the death that bothered me. Instead, what bothered me the most was the image of that child I created in my head. She was a girl. I don’t know why, but this bothered me the most. She liked dresses and dolls and her daddy. She hated broccoli but loved strawberry and chocolate ice cream mixed together.

It was those thoughts that broke me. If Ginny wasn’t there, in need of support, I would have torn everyone apart outside with their signs and their empty words. Who are they? They didn’t lose a daughter today. They don’t matter. All that matters is there was a fetus who could have been a girl who could have loved ice cream.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII


You are in a deep, dark forest. The animals cautiously surround your group. They are not used to seeing people and you may be the only humans to enter so deep inside and live to tell the tale. You cut through the overgrown brush and come across the moss-side of a rock. The illustrious ranger, Darkfang, remembers from his experience tracking that the moss always points north. However, underneath the moss is also a cluster of tiny mushrooms. The mushrooms sparkle with intensity, as if warning you of some impending danger.

Darkfang fails his spot check and you and Alastair both fail your will saves. You are encased in a cloud of sparkling glitter, spewed out from the tiny mushrooms. It gets in your clothes and your eyelashes. You’re both sparkling  so intensely that you can’t even see anything at all. You both count your blessings that there’s nobody here to see how gay you look. You fail your spot check again and are surprised as suddenly, a swarm of tiny magic missiles fly at your sparkly bodies. A swarm of pixies fly at you with daggers drawn, whooping high-pitched little war cries.

Roll for initiative.

The pixies surprise you a second time as you are too sparkly to notice anything but the blood oozing from your magic missile wounds. The pixies stab at you, their little daggers coated now in your blood and glitter. You try to counter-attack with your own weapons, but you are blinded from the glitter clinging thickly to your eyelashes, so much so that you look like bioluminescent drag queens. The pixies flutter out of the way of your attacks and then move in for the kill. As the swarm of pixies wrestle you to the ground, the last and only thing you see is the sparkle of glitterdust.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXI

Clint Pereira

Clint. Meaning: “fenced settlement.” Also synonymous with westerns. Word of advice: don’t laugh around his mule. Mule doesn’t like it. Thinks you’re laughing at him.

Pereira. Meaning: “peartree.” Pereiras got around, like really got around. “Pereira” is like the “Smith” of Portugal, only the Portuguese couldn’t stay in one place. They took a ship, sailed around and banged a bunch of people and/or made them read the Bible. There are Pereiras in India. There are Pereiras in Brazil. There are Pereiras in China. The Portuguese may have almost single-handedly invented the term “coolie,” which was kind of a dick move, Portugal. Kind of a dick move.

Clint Pereira. Meaning: ?. He’s probably a cyborg from the future. They say he has artificial eyes and his right arm turns into a gatling gun. His left hand has magical powers, like how his thumb and index finger can squish people’s heads. Clint Pereira takes pie seriously. He’ll shank you for it and blame it on your dog. And then you’ll be dead and your dog will be arrested and spend his life in prison, whining and looking all sad halfway through his eyelids. All because you got greedy. People like you are the reason Clint Pereira formed a secret society to destroy the world with the right amount of love and hate and laser beams. The process probably involves sex, but who would know? All the good pickup lines are taken by the people who don’t want to blow up the world.



Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXI