All posts by Erika Raskin

Another Plastic Buddha by James William Gardner

Streams of headlights along highway
 

The truck stop parking lot reverberated with idling big diesel engines. The air smelled like sour urine. Randal Whitley stood by the open door of his cab smoking a cigarette and drinking his morning coffee. A stick of beef jerky and two chocolate donuts was all he’d had for breakfast, but that was usual. He seldom sat down to eat in the mornings. When he awakened he was wired and anxious to hit the road. It was drizzling rain in Tuscaloosa, a cool morning for the time of year. Usually it was already hot in … Continue reading Another Plastic Buddha by James William Gardner

Self, Expression by Anne Holzman


 

Anne Holzman is the 3rd place winner of Streetlight‘s 2020 Flash Fiction Contest   I hear you before I see you. I start working on arranging my face. There’s the ding-ding of the elevator, the door opening, your father’s voice. Your father is a good husband. He visits me every day, except once in a while he doesn’t come. On those days, the elevator doors open, and it isn’t him, and they open a while later and I can smell the supper cart and I know for sure he’s not coming. Those are hard days. … Continue reading Self, Expression by Anne Holzman

Erebus by Patrick Christie

Light barely penetrating through darkness
 

The Captain had not been himself ever since we extracted the frozen bird carcass from the ice. He had become withdrawn, seeking solitude, showing disinterest in his duties even as four of his men resided in the makeshift infirmary, coughing up blood all hours of the day.   The expedition had begun without incident. We departed from the Port of Bluff in New Zealand on the 3rd November and spent only five days caught in pack ice in our passage across the Ross Sea. We entered McMurdo Sound under sail and landed on Ross Island … Continue reading Erebus by Patrick Christie

On Being Threatened with Hellfire in the Second Grade by Martha Woodroof

Silhouette of someone jumping in the air
 

My father was an atheist; my mother, an agnostic. My parents preached conscience and character to their two daughters instead of dogma. I grew up in Greensboro, N.C., a city with seven colleges. Outside of academic circles, however, society was rigidly constrained by the Bible Belt. Pictures of a blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesus were omnipresent. The judgmental Yahweh of the Old Testament thundered from a lot of Christian church pulpits on Sunday mornings. All my school friends went to Sunday School and church. As far as I could tell, the primary goal of their religious experience … Continue reading On Being Threatened with Hellfire in the Second Grade by Martha Woodroof

Next to Godliness by Sheila Longton

Bird's eye view of tractor
 

Sheila Longton is the 2nd place winner of Streetlight’s 2020 Flash Fiction Contest     What I remember of my mother is this: She is down on her hands and knees, crawling backwards along the hallway, scraping old wax from the hardwood boards with a hairpin. *** John Thompson lies in a bathtub. He lies in a bathtub, without water, and waits. He is eighteen. He lies in a bathtub thinking help won’t come in time, that he will die. Without finishing high school, without going to college, without ever becoming a rock star like … Continue reading Next to Godliness by Sheila Longton

Mayim by Nancy Ludmerer

Silhouettes of women against sunset
 

Nancy Ludmerer is the 1st place winner of Streetlight‘s 2020 Flash Fiction Contest   The Lubavitch Hasidim are sending two teen volunteers to spend time with our daughter. I resist at first, but Mattie’s Special Ed teacher explains that it’s a mitzvah for the girls, who are sixteen—a special program started by a rabbi’s wife. She says I should let them come; it might be good for Mattie. She hasn’t seen Mattie smile in the eight months since her mom died. If Kayla were alive, she would have fumed: “We’re not religious. What will they … Continue reading Mayim by Nancy Ludmerer

Flash Fiction Contest Winners by Erika Raskin

View of window above couch
 

It is no easy task to provide a peek into a textured world, with backstory, present and possibility —in only five hundred words. The writers who submitted to our Flash Fiction Contest took on the challenge and we are so grateful they did. The first prize goes to Mayim by Nancy Ludmerer, a story that has history, loss and a beautiful splash of hope. Next to Godliness by Sheila Longton pulls back the curtain on dual childhood tragedies and Self, Expression by Annie Holzman reveals the loneliness of the last chapter. On behalf of Suzanne … Continue reading Flash Fiction Contest Winners by Erika Raskin

Trash Day Harry James

Photo of large sculpture of gun with barrel tied in knot
 

Once a week a Sergeant and a Driver were detailed to take the garbage from the Camp mess hall and dump it at the impromptu garbage dump out on the far end of the runway. In a country where much of the rural population lived at the subsistence level, our garbage was a massive boost to their dietary fitness and soon became the center of a makeshift town. So there I was, on the Detail and getting the brief from the Mess Sargent. “There are twenty cans and twenty tops on the truck. You will … Continue reading Trash Day Harry James

Ear to the Ground by Erika Raskin

Mold of Arthur Ashe's ear
 

The ascent of the Black Lives Matter movement and the overthrow of apartheid symbols in the Capital of the Confederacy made me think of some of the things I heard when we lived there: –The South will rise again., –The Belly-button is where the Yankee shot you., –Robert E. Lee was a gentleman.*, –The Confederate flag is heritage not hate., –Private clubs (schools, businesses etc.) can exclude whoever they want—because they’re private. The observations worked their way into my novel, Best Intentions, which was set in Richmond, Virginia. Started way back when my husband was … Continue reading Ear to the Ground by Erika Raskin

Under the Parking Lot Moon by Bonnie E. Carlson

Photo of road leading to mountains and blue sky
 

“I told you we should have made reservations,” Maya said. “But this trip was supposed to be about spontaneity.” Maya and Zephyr were driving across the country in their new used RV. They were celebrating Maya’s retirement after thirty-five years of teaching high school science and Vermont’s passing Marriage Equality. Finally, Maya no longer needed to worry about getting outed at school and she felt a new freedom. Zephyr had never had that worry. As an independent IT contractor no one gave a damn about who she slept with as long as she fixed their … Continue reading Under the Parking Lot Moon by Bonnie E. Carlson