person Sue Allison, story

Sue Allison was a reporter for Life Magazine; her writing has also been published or is forthcoming in Best American Essays, Antioch Review, Harvard Review, New South, Streetlight Magazine, Threepenny Review, Fourth Genre, The Diagram, River Teeth, and a Pushcart Prize collection. She holds a BA in English from McGill University and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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THE DUCK

        Every time he came home, he found the duck in a different place. It was a small, painted wooden duck his wife had picked up someplace, maybe even before he knew her; it just always seemed to have been part of their lives, and he knew he hadn’t given it to her, and she hadn’t bought it as a souvenir of a trip they’d been on. He didn’t like it much (he was into finer stuff), but it got his interest when it began to migrate. Sometimes, when he came home, he would see that it would be on the mantel, sometimes on an end table, sometimes on the other end table or on the kitchen counter, the bureau in the bedroom, her bedside table, his bedside table. What was with the duck? he wondered, but he was a little afraid to ask, so he didn’t, and after a while he found he couldn’t settle down for the evening until he had found the duck’s new resting place. He even used to think about it on his way home, imagining where it was going to be, what new spot to put it she had thought of, and he wondered what it meant that it was in the kitchen, say, or the hat shelf or on the magazine stack or the TV stand; he wondered sometimes what it was thinking. But he still never said anything, nothing at all, and neither did his wife. When, years later, someone asked him what the secret to his long marriage was, he didn’t say so, but he couldn’t help thinking: It was the duck.

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person Niles Reddick, one flash piece

Niles Reddick is the author of the novel Drifting Too Far From The Shore, two collections Reading the Coffee Grounds and Road Kill Art and Other Oddities, and a novella Lead Me Home. His work has been featured in thirteen anthologies and in over three hundred publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, and others.
Website: http://nilesreddick.com/

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SLUG

A slug poked its head and top portion of its body out of the light switch. As he inched this way and that, he left a trail of mucus. His tentacles swayed left and right and back, like a lone slow dancer after many drinks. I wondered how he came to be behind the light switch, if perhaps he had found his way through the outside socket on the porch, inching up electrical cords.

I got a paper towel, reached for him, and he latched on, pulled my hand, then arm, lifted my body, and pulled me into the light switch. He went into the living room. I felt like Mike, the shrunken boy in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but more importantly, I couldn’t believe the slug’s strength. I didn’t know how my wife and kids would ever find me in the light switch, and I imagined the slug might take over my life, wear my flip flops and cover them in mucus, use my toothbrush, and enjoy my new Tempur-Pedic bed.

“Help,” I yelled. “Somebody!” I heard the crunch of mulch in my flower bed by the porch, slid down inside the wall, peeked through the straight blade of the receptacle and saw a toad, its tongue jetting out, hitting the outside of the electrical outlet leaving a wet, sticky residue. “HELP!”

I pulled my way back up the cord and felt a stabbing pain. I whipped my head around, and the wasp’s stinger had gone clear through my abdomen, like a sword in a medieval battle.

My wife poked me several times in the back. “Why do you keep making noises?”

“I was being stung by a wasp.”

“Don’t be a slug. Get up and get your coffee. You’re going to be late.”

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