All posts by Erika Raskin

Speechless by Peggy Schimmelman

Photo of open-beaked bird
 

In the small Appalachian town where I was born lived a squat, bowlegged, hairless doctor. Some called him a quack and a dope fiend, but in 1954 he delivered me on his dining room table, spanked me ‘til I cried, and thirteen years later laid his cigar in an ashtray as his flabby fingers probed my pubescent neck while he peered through Coke Bottle lenses down my throat, past my recalcitrant tongue, exploring the mystery of vocal cords that refused to function. I cringed at his questions, so on point that I wept, as one … Continue reading Speechless by Peggy Schimmelman

Bonfire of the Vanities: Coming to a School Board Near You by Deborah M. Prum

Photo of cover of Rats, Bulls, and Flying Machines
 

Twenty years ago, a reporter called me with bizarre news, so bizarre that I instantly wrote him off as a prank caller. He claimed he was from a town out West, maybe in Colorado? I am fuzzy on the details. I didn’t write down a word he said because I didn’t believe he could be serious. He asked if I was the author of Rats, Bulls and Flying Machines: A History of the Renaissance and Reformation. I replied in the affirmative, wishing he’d get to the point. At the time, I worked from home, a home … Continue reading Bonfire of the Vanities: Coming to a School Board Near You by Deborah M. Prum

Time Suck by Erika Raskin

Photo of old vaccuum
 

  Here are things that I have done to avoid writing: chase my recalcitrant dog around the house for an entire afternoon trying to clip his nails, read all the comments on an article I wasn’t even that interested in, and although the effect would be transient at best, close my laptop to reorganize the kitchen cabinets. Last week, as I was struggling with the same sentence for more time than is either normal or healthy, the doorbell rang. An enthusiastic man introduced himself and his assistant. ‘I promise we’re not here to change your … Continue reading Time Suck by Erika Raskin

Susceptible to Scratches by Nancy Ludmerer

Photo of key on string
 

Nancy Ludmerer is the 3rd place winner in Streetlight’s 2021 Flash Fiction Contest Before the pandemic, the desk had been his province exclusively since only he worked from home, but in their forced togetherness, they had to share it. He bragged about how he and Marnie, his ex-wife, rescued the desk during a snowstorm, when the Northwestern Law School Library replaced its wooden desks with metal ones. Had they not taken it, the desk would have been brought to the town dump, to be scavenged by humans or animals unknown. The desk was not without … Continue reading Susceptible to Scratches by Nancy Ludmerer

Places To Go, Things To See by Richard D. Key

Photo of viewing maching
 

Richard D. Key is the 2nd place winner in Streetlight’s 2021 Flash Fiction Contest In this episode of PTGTTS I’ll be talking about Earth, a little planet out at the edge of the galaxy, not to be confused with Erth-Ra, the much larger and more popular planet destination that you may be more familiar with. Earth (pronounced URTH) is off the beaten path, but worth the effort if you’re headed in that direction. Time on Earth is divided into “months” based on the one orbiting satellite, called “the moon.” Most of the inhabitants believe that … Continue reading Places To Go, Things To See by Richard D. Key

Free Swim by Marjory Ruderman

Photo of a person underwater
 

Marjory Ruderman is the 1st place winner in Streetlight’s 2021 Flash Fiction Contest   Phoebe was busier than ever, juggling depression and a midlife crisis. She dreamt of favorable circumstances becoming chaotic. A swimming pool displaced the boxes in her attic, its tiled bottom Escher-stepped and undulating. The water teemed with strangers. “Not serious buyers.” The Realtor at Phoebe’s elbow aimed her pen at the hordes of people there for the free swim in a structurally bewildering pool. Phoebe had never had a chance to enjoy the calm of a solitary swim, and now she … Continue reading Free Swim by Marjory Ruderman

Sliced by E.H. Jacobs

Photo of scar with staples
 

Jared lies in bed, propped up by his arms folded behind his head, a two-day stubble peppering his face and neck. One foot dangles off the side of the mattress. Dark, wiry hairs spring out of his leg, exposed by pajama pants hiked up mid-calf, bunched and wrinkled like old parchment because he doesn’t believe in ironing pajamas. You’re just gonna sleep in them and wrinkle them anyway. Besides, no one’s going to see them. No one except Lisa, who’s in the bathroom brushing her teeth with the door open. He half-smiles and says to … Continue reading Sliced by E.H. Jacobs

Like Savion by Bess Wiley

Photo of person on beach
 

He’s in one of my rooms. I pay attention to it now, because his window is closest to the nurses’ station and faces the automatic doors I push my cleaning cart through. I see him as soon as the doors breathe open and the negative pressure ruffles the gown’s paper against my clothes. Everything’s faster in here, no time to catch up on anything or anyone, other than the dying. I stay out of everybody’s way and clean wherever they aren’t. When I peek in his room, the machines and tubes are still at it, … Continue reading Like Savion by Bess Wiley

Honest Wedding Vows for Real Marriages by John Pavlovitz

Photo of couple standing by lighthouse
 

  I’ve had the honor of officiating many weddings over the past two decades. They’ve all been beautiful in their way, but more often than not the vows exchanged have been—naive, to say the least. I know mine were. That’s because for most couples these usually aren’t really marriage vows, they’re wedding vows: tidy little phrases designed for a filtered photo album ceremony—not for the messy, meandering, disorienting experience that is sharing life alongside another person. Based on twenty-five years of marriage and on my time counseling couples before, during, and far too often following their marriages—these are some … Continue reading Honest Wedding Vows for Real Marriages by John Pavlovitz

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