All posts by Erika Raskin

Maan Singh Gabbar by Reeya Banerjee

Photo of sunset
 

    It was about 2:45 a.m., and Sherin George sat miserably on a ratty sofa in a cabin in rural Uttarakhand State in North India. She was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep, but she forced herself to stay awake. She was waiting for a knock on the door. She was hoping to hear it soon. It would be much easier to proceed with the plan if it happened before her boyfriend came home. Earlier that night, around 9 p.m., Richie had left, after whining petulantly for a half … Continue reading Maan Singh Gabbar by Reeya Banerjee

We Need to Talk by Erika Raskin

Photo of snarling black dog
 

  People have lost their minds. Seriously. They’re comparing masks to yellow stars and saying vaccine passports are signs of tyranny, refusing to comply as a sign of resistance. Please. My dog has to produce a vaccine passport before getting his anal glands expressed. Asking for evidence that he’s up-to-date on his boosters is hardly symptomatic of a dictatorship. It’s proof that as citizens we care that the groomer is not exposed to rabies if bitten while performing an unenviable task. Our fellow citizens are being manipulated into believing that Democrats are manufacturing a pandemic, … Continue reading We Need to Talk by Erika Raskin

Pink Peonies by Alexis Kelleher

Photo of pink peonies
 

    Aunt Maggie laughs with a Marlboro Red clamped between her lips. A metallic party hat sits atop her matted, white hair, fastened with a cheap elastic band under her turkey-wattle chin. Today she’s eighty, and while sitting in the shade of the big farm house, has overheard people say more than once they can’t believe she’s still “kicking”. They say it with astonishment, they say it with disdain. Somehow, she was forgiven by her siblings for selling the surrounding acreage, the family legacy, to a developer who put up McMansions with lightning speed. … Continue reading Pink Peonies by Alexis Kelleher

Word Play by Colette Parris

Photo of old red typewriter
 

  “I’m going to tweet about this, and I need every single English-speaking celebrity on the planet to retweet my tweet. This is monstrous.” We are stopped at a red light. Devon, my husband of ten years, looks at me indulgently and says, “Good luck with that. Also, not sure monstrous is the right word here.” I emit a low growl. “People have seriously got to stop butchering the English language. I’ve already written the tweet in my mind. Listen.” Devon makes his fake “deep-thinking” face, causing me to roll my eyes. “Actual meaning of … Continue reading Word Play by Colette Parris

2021 Flash Fiction Contest by Erika Raskin

Photo of Venn diagram with winners' names
 

Once again we have had the good fortune to be invited into other worlds, each unfurled in just 500 words. The skill involved in presenting backstory and insight—with minimal description—is great. And, as always, trying to rank submissions to Streetlight‘s Flash Fiction contest was very difficult. In terms of the mechanics, Suzanne Freeman and I present each other with our subjective responses to the narratives. We then take a Venn Diagram approach, winnowing down the entries by those that overlap in our respective hierarchies. It’s interesting (and difficult!) to see how many stories fall by … Continue reading 2021 Flash Fiction Contest by Erika Raskin

The Tree by Betty Moffett

Photo of hole in tree's bark
 

There’s this Tree. It’s a Cottonwood. It’s been there longer than forever, a gentle, generous tower on the long green lawn in front of the dorms. Three decades ago, when I was still teaching at the college, I recruited a few of my students to help me measure its trunk—not in feet but in arm-spans. It took six of us, holding hands, stretching our arms, and pressing our faces to its rough bark to complete the circle around the tree. I invited them to imagine what the tree had witnessed—protests against Vietnam, intense games of … Continue reading The Tree by Betty Moffett

Martha Woodroof by Liz Gipson

Photo of four cameras
 

Monday for Mom was splat day. She was working on splats up until her last few days. We talked about the splatforms a lot in her last few months. About a week ago she asked if I would write a splat about what it is like to be splat adjacent. This is what I came up with and she scheduled it for today not really intending it to be a last splat in this format. I’m posting it today in her honor. One thing I tell my students is, it’s not the mess we avoid … Continue reading Martha Woodroof by Liz Gipson

Pesthouse by Katie Anderson

Photo of rooms filled with sand
 

  The first year of the pandemic lockdown was the worst for Frankie and PJ. Most of their time was spent worrying about the health of Frankie’s Mom and then PJ’s Mom and then as it turned out all that worry was for nothing because they both died anyway. Due to the pandemic there was no funeral service, but both moms had been fiscally savvy and left considerable sums of which eased the pain a little. Not surprisingly, PJ’s mom went first. Her smoking and general laziness made her a prime target for this strain … Continue reading Pesthouse by Katie Anderson

The Kidney Hoarder By Bess Wiley

Photo of lit matches
 

That’s actually me. I have four kidneys. I joke about it, but with great feeling for what they each signify. Two are native, gifted by my parents. The others are from two donors who saved my life with their own flesh and blood. I’m not a religious person, but the brotherly parable holds. I fell ill towards the end of the millenium when my kidneys failed. My brother volunteered to donate one of his. We matched blood types and four out of five tissue types, delighting the transplant team at Cedars, who then performed the … Continue reading The Kidney Hoarder By Bess Wiley

Seagulls by Clyde Harkrader

Photo of seagull on railing
 

It will be a year, he says. The sun behind her covers the barman and his wall of drinkery in rosey light. A ceiling fan stirs fry-oil and lemon around them, but she still feels slick with sweat on her face and arms and between her thighs. She wishes she had chosen a different dress, or had put her hair up, or that they had chosen to eat at a more comfortable distance from nature. She sips her pina-colada, nods her head, and listens to the lazy waves. He takes a gulp of rum punch. … Continue reading Seagulls by Clyde Harkrader