Found from The Life of Lenin by Louis Fischer — by Russell Evatt

There is a story of two Simbirsk landlords who used to meet regularly for hunting, card games, and vodka-drinking bouts. Each owned a large-caliber cannon. If one wished to invite the other he fired a cannon ball onto his estate. If the second accepted he fired back a shot. If he fired two shots he was inviting the first to come to his manor house. If each insisted on the other’s visiting him, they continued the cannonade until their ammunition gave out, when they met halfway to decide what to do.

Russell Evatt is the author of the chapbook, “We Are Clay” (Epiphany Editions, 2012) and the coauthor, with Jaime Brunton, of the chapbook “The Future Is a Faint Song” (Dream Horse Press, 2014). He lives in San Antonio.

Sophie — by Stefan Kiesbye

The small toe of her right foot was straddling the next bigger one as if hanging on for dear life. Two surgeries hadn’t been able to fix it, and the doctor had finally remarked, “Who says that we need five toes?” Sophie kept hers though. In the winter she had hairy calves. Her legs were short, her torso so long she towered over me when we were sitting together in a restaurant. Her front teeth were fake, her laughter a little dirty, and she used more make up than any other girl I knew. I didn’t masturbate for two years after we met, not to betray her with my own hand.

It seems childish now, childish too that now that we’re no longer young and have families, she should send me a sudden e-mail with a picture of her in Ray-Bans. Really, you can’t see much else other than Ray-Bans.

She cheated on me so many times I never felt enough courage to ask. She did it so obviously and my love for her was so ungainly that I couldn’t see anything else. My love was obese, all bent out of shape. White flesh in low-riders. And now that my love has become as trim as a runner, what’s left to love?

Sophie has a kid now, five years. She had him late. She has been married for fifteen. When I moved in with her in Berlin, her sleeveless shirts revealed that she didn’t bother with bras.

Stefan Kiesbye is the author of five novels, Next Door Lived a Girl; Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone; Fluchtpunkt Los Angeles; The Staked Plains, and, coming in October, Knives, Forks, Scissors, Flames (Panhandler Books). He lives in the North Bay Area and teaches creative writing at Sonoma State University.

The Fox and the Cat — by Mary Milstead

The fox and the cat lay curled in the exposed roots of the old maple. They’d been meeting like this for weeks, the cat slipping out of an upstairs window, the fox climbing gingerly out of the burrow. Meeting under twilight skies, talking for hours, and then lying together, purrs and soft breath. They only slept. One morning as the cat stretched her paws with a little shiver, the dawn sky above her turning blue, she turned to him. “I have to ask. Not that it matters. But are you more like a cat or a dog?”

“I’m a fucking fox,” he said, with a little growl in his husky voice. And as he nibbled on her ear, he allowed one of his sharp teeth to break the skin.
Mary Milstead
Mary Milstead is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She has an MFA in Fiction from Portland State University, and her work has been published in The Rumpus and Portland Review. She’s currently working on a collection of animal stories, and a novel set in Spain in the early 1940s.

On the Way to the Pushkin Hills — by Carol V. Davis

Night. A blue-black bruise expanding. Conversations shrink to staccato pricks row by row. We two Americans hurtling into the Russian countryside wonder only briefly if the bus were to crash, would we ever be identified? Another village. Small curls of smoke. Carved window frames. Snow falls, mounds rise from the roadside, as if they will soon meet. Nearing midnight we slow to enter a barely paved road through a dense forest. Branches scrape the roof. I half expect Baba Yaga to thrust from behind a trunk, stop the bus with a flick of her wrist. We pull beside a small wooden structure, more hostel than hotel, stumble out, bleary eyed. Light draws us in moth-like. We leave our passports at the desk and stumble upstairs. The room bare as a monk’s cell. I peer out the window at the white stripes of birch. This country so vast and we so far from anywhere. A young couple, newlyweds we are told, step out the front door. Fur tight against her neck, she raises an arm to light a cigarette, its tip red as a fox’s eyes against the night.
author photo (2)
Carol V. Davis received a 2015 Barbara Deming Memorial grant. She is the author of Between Storms (TSUP, 2012) and won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg.  She is poetry editor of the Los Angeles newspaper the Jewish Journal.

Meeting the President’s Gun — by Steven Grassel

The president is crying about guns. I write a story about a gun that smiles. I write a story about a gun that walks on two legs. I change the story so the gun walks on four legs, like a dog. Then comes the story about a dog holding a gun, a gun that the dog knows how to fire, like a man. Dog is man’s best friend.

A digital avatar shoots the president’s digital avatar. The president is crying because he is out of lives. The president has respawned enough times, so the game is over. Now, the president is crying because he likes the game, and the game is over.

My father buys a gun. I tell him I will go shoot across open fields with him. Where we are from, there are many open fields. We drive everywhere and find the open fields and look across at what is on the other side. We can shoot the gun, together, at what is across the fields. My father puts his hand on my shoulder, then I put my hand on his shoulder, and our other hands come together and we are holding hands. The gun is in the car. When we are done holding each other we will go and retrieve the gun, like the president wants.

I write a story about a gun that makes no sound. Then, a story about a gun that is always loaded, the forever-shooting gun. The president likes that one, or at least likes the concept when I pitch it to him. He stops crying for a second and laughs. Then, the president cries a touch more. I look at the president and he is holding a gun. He tells me the gun is not loaded. He tells me that his gun is almost never loaded. The president’s gun is pointed at me, by the president. The president is crying as he points the gun at my face. Now, I am the one laughing.

Every story is either about a stranger coming to town or a stranger coming to town with a gun. Sometimes, the stranger is unarmed and the town is the gun. The president tells me he holds a great gun, one of the best ever built. I listen, of course, there is a gun in my face.

My father calls me. He knows that I have met the president’s gun. What was it like meeting the president’s gun?

He sang to the gun, and to me.

How did he sound?

I get into the car, the car holding the gun. My father is there with the president. The car starts moving. Soon we will be across the field, the four of us, and we will be there together.
Steve Grassel
Steven Grassel is a writer from Pittsburgh. His work has appeared in Word Riot and The Turnip Truck(s). He lives in Brooklyn.

Flash in August: Enchantments, afflictions, and punk rock

Where to read, hear, and meet your favorite Flash Flash Click contributors:

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Hear Wendy C. Ortiz chat with Leigh Stein about Leigh’s new memoir, Land of Enchantment, on August 4 in Los Angeles.

The next Roar Shack reading happens August 14 in Los Angeles. David Rocklin hosts!

Mary Rechner’s interview with writer Katie Chase, author of fantastic story collection Man & Wife is up at Propeller Magazine.

The next Vermin on the Mount readings happens in Los Angeles on August 19 and in San Diego August 20! Jim Ruland hosts.

Lauren Eggert-Crowe reads at the Angels Flight • literary west, reading and launch party August 20 in Los Angeles.

Cathleen Calbert’s fourth book of poems, The Afflicted Girls, has just been published by Little Red Tree.

Celebrate the launch of Keith Morris’s memoir, My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor, with coauthor Jim Ruland on August 26 in Los Angeles.

David Rocklin’s second novel The Night Language (Rare Bird) has a publication date: August 2017.