Mar 7, 2011

"Temptation Drive-Thru" published today at Every Day Fiction

My short story "Temptation Drive-Thru" was published today by Every Day Fiction, an online literary magazine that publishes one short-short story each day. Subscribe to this great publication for free, and every day they'll drop a new story into your inbox.


I was napping on the couch when the phone rang. In the background I heard metal clanking, men huffing and grunting in anguished release. My wife Pauline was on the line, laughing with a man whose voice I didn't recognize. I interrupted them when I said, "Honey?"
read the complete story at

Jan 5, 2011

"Alternate History" earns Judges' Pick in Fiction 101

My 101-word story "Alternate History" earned a Judges' Pick in this year's Fiction 101 contest hosted by Boise Weekly. Read all the winners here. You've got to scroll to the bottom for mine, but along the way enjoy another masculine winner from my friend Michael Prenn, as well as the contest's first international winner, a luminous little tale from Jesus Silveyra Tapia.

Many thanks to Boise Weekly for continuing this contest into its second decade, and to Rediscovered Books for hosting a reading of the winning stories on Feb. 3rd.

Dec 2, 2010

"Temptation Drive-Thru" takes top honors at 450 VOLT

Author Alan Heathcock's "450 VOLT Reading Series" is a monthly literary slam at which local writers read a 450-word story or poem in competition for big, big prizes. I'm pleased to announce that my story "Temptation Drive-Thru" took top prize at tonight's event. Besides carting off an armful of nifty stuff, I'll return as a guest judge at January's competition, and then compete in the Grand Championship in March.

Alan Heathcock's book VOLT will be published in March by Graywolf Press. For more information on the "450 VOLT Reading Series" click here.

Jan 6, 2010

"Lost Connection" wins 3rd place in Fiction 101

Boise Weekly's annual Fiction 101 results are the perfect cure for the new year blahs. My 101-word story "Lost Connection" placed 3rd in this year's contest. Read all the winners, including another great 1st place story by Luke Felt, here.


I'm boiling noodles when Christa calls. In the background I hear metal clanking, men huffing and grunting. "I'm staying late at the gym," Christa says. "Eat without me."

I tried the gym; we used to meet after work and discuss our days, lounging side by side on recumbent bikes. But Christa needed something more exhilarating--she straddled the elliptical trainer one night, pumped dumbbells the next. I couldn't keep up. At home now, an apron cinches my gut.

"Lasagna tonight," I say. "I was hoping--"

"Listen, Kyle. I'm spotting my new partner. I've gotta run."

"Partner?" I ask the dead connection.

Jun 2, 2008

"Cavedweller 2.0" published today at Every Day Fiction

My short story "Cavedweller 2.0" was published today by Every Day Fiction, an online literary magazine specializing in flash fiction.


I'm running late, negotiating mergers across three lanes of freeway traffic, when my father calls. "Do we know a Richard Thruster?" It's the third time he's phoned today. During breakfast, he called to report sparks in his oatmeal. ("Pull your spoon out of the bowl before it goes in the microwave, Dad.") After lunch, he wondered what possessed his television to change channels by itself. ("Your dog is lonely without Mom there. Don't let him chew on the remote.") ... read the complete story at Every Day Fiction

Jan 2, 2008

"Water into Wine" earns judge's pick in Fiction 101

My 101-word story "Water into Wine" was selected as a Judge's Pick in this year's Boise Weekly Fiction 101 contest. Big, huge congratulations go out to Luke Felt, who took the top two prizes this year. You can read the winners here and the Judges' Picks here.


The Black As Sin Coffeehouse serves this town's tastiest cup. But those who took offense to the name were truly outraged when the Sin opened Sundays.

What they don't understand is this: After hours each Sunday, the Sin's staff of goth girls and black-lipped boys launch into a racous worship all their own, pleading for the townspeople's souls, openly weeping, collecting their tears in carafes and cans.

Mondays, parched for their morning fix, the townspeople rattle the Sin's doors. They covet those beans like manna from heaven, though it's the water, sanctified by the love of neighbors, that satisfies their souls.

Jan 4, 2006

"Life with You" wins 3rd Place in Fiction 101

Sweet. My 101-word story "Life with You Ain't Worth the Money" took 3rd Place in this year's Boise Weekly Fiction 101 contest. The Weekly now posts the winners online, and there are some incredible, tiny tales by Michael Prenn, Adrian Kein, and others, with great illustrations by Erin Ruiz. Read all the winners here.


Charlie phoned his insurance agent from the hospital. "Pay up, sucker," he growled. "You owe Bernice a hunnerd grand." Bernice, his wife, straightened the tubes and wires snaking along his chest, until Charlie smacked her hands. "Them papers said 'pay upon death,' and I was dead almost three minutes. Wasn't nothin about 'dead and stays dead.'" He grumbled at Bernice to go find him some coffee.

Bernice wandered the hospital instead, replaying that horrible night. Charlie's collapse. The ambulance. The medics pounding Charlie's chest. And that terrible voice--had it come from her own throat?--shrieking: "God, just let him die!"

Jan 5, 2005

"Exchange Student" earns judge's pick in Fiction 101

My 101-word story "The Exchange Student's Guide to Dating" earned a Judge's Pick in this year's Boise Weekly Fiction 101 contest. Here it is:


Smile, but not too big--not with those teeth. Hike your skirt up to here. Laugh at his jokes, even the ones you're too stupid to understand.

Here's how to flirt, and here's how to make a married man think about you when he's at home. Don't waste your time with boys--you need a cell phone, CDs, clothes. Married men with crushes will buy you everything you need. Comprehend-o?

I know you foreign girls are easy, but don't even think about screwing him. You're young, and we have laws in America. Anyway, everyone hates a slut. Even stupid girls know that.

Jan 6, 2004

"Sucker" and "Glue" take top honors in Fiction 101

Cool. Two of my 101-word stories did well in this year's Boise Weekly Fiction 1o1 contest. "Sucker" took 1st Place, with "Glue" earning a Judge's Pick. Here they are:


Inside Blimpie's I nudge Carl. "Her, the sandwich artiste. I'm getting her number."

"Her?" Carl laughs. "Dude, I think that's a guy."

"Nah, too pretty," I say. "Those smoldering eyes, those pouty lips." Carl stares, reconsiders, cuts in line. I protest with fake outrage: "I saw her first."

Carl, the 'friend' who's stolen my last three crushes, flirts shamelessly, disregarding the square jaw, the flat chest, the muscled arms assembling his meatball sub. He pays, walking away with free chips and a phone number.

"Don't hate me," he begs outside. "You know I'm a sucker for a pretty girl." Sucker, indeed.


Grandpa's stories to Reader's Digest went unpublished. When he accused the mailwoman, Virginia, of losing his mail, she sassed, "Takes the right kind of spit to make a stamp stick." Grandpa didn't appreciate her insinuation.

He mailed more stories. In one, a mailwoman was ravaged by skunks. Grandpa left that envelope unlicked--some on the job reading for Virginia.

The night she knocked late, Grandpa kissed the certified check from Reader's Digest and then, absentmindedly, Virginia.

Next spring, it rained on their wedding. But we knew from the way Virginia kissed Grandpa that nothing, rain nor bad saliva, would unglue them.

Jan 8, 2003

"Blue Uniform" earns honorable mention in Fiction 101

My 101-word story "The Blue Uniform" earned an Honorable Mention in this year's Boise Weekly Fiction 101 contest. Here it is:


I hated my stepdad Phil--it was his uniform I loved. At dinner, Phil belittled me for chewing loudly; the uniform politely passed the meatloaf.

One day the uniform drove Phil to pick me up from school. A kid called them Robocop and I shoved his nose with my lunchbox. Phil nearly pummeled my ass; the uniform stopped him.

Then the uniform stepped into the closet forever. Phil's new job, Phil explained with tears, was safer, gave him more time with Mom and me. I knew he missed the uniform too, and worried about the void it left us to fill.

Nov 22, 2000

"Flight" earns runner-up in Fiction 101

So I thought I'd take a shot at writing a 101-word story. The Boise Weekly hosts this contest each year with the challenge of telling a complete story in 101 words. My story "Flight" earned a Judge's Pick (sort of a runner up, with the privilege of seeing your story in print without the benefit of payment). Anyway, here it is:


A woman flits about a room plucking laundry from the floor. She draws the clothing to her bloodshot eyes and breathes in the briny scent of her departed visitor. She tacks the clothes to her wall, a sort of comforting scarecrow. But the clothes will not be bound; they billow and break free in a mocking dance that reduces the woman to tears.

A boy perched in the doorway soothes the woman, but even he is unnerved. "Mommy?" he chirps, drawing near.

"Baby, meet your father," his mother squawks, as the last leg of the trousers slips silently out the window.