Wednesday, December 26, 2007



Litsnack will be going on hiatus until early January to celebrate the remainder of the holiday season.

But when we come back in 2008, look for stories from Andy Henion and Spencer Troxell, as well as poetry from Andy Riverbed and more from James Lineberger.

Feel free to continue submitting throughout our hiatus, however. We'll need something to do in the new year!

And remember: at Litsnack, our motto is: Easy in. Easy out. Nobody gets hurt!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

AFTER HE'S GONE by James Lineberger

after he's gone
i find myself alone in a church i've never
set foot in before
which once belonged to the methodists
but has since been taken over
by the newly formed lighthouse tabernacle of god jesus
the door hanging open by one hinge
and i go to a scratched-up pew at the back and kneel
the way they do at calvary
lutheran where my wife attends
but there's no rail and i'm on my knees on the floor
barely able to see over
the pew in front of me when all of a sudden
i hear a mumbled petitioner nearby
his supplication rising in an tremulous echo to the broken plaster ceiling
and i pull myself up higher trying to see
who the voice belongs to but there's
no one there
only the prayer
and then as i'm trying to make out the words
i realize it's my own helpless orison
crying no more please god no more take me let me die
but in the bleak silence
that follows i hear my old self emerge again
adding a cold ps that trails
like the angry farewell of one woman or another
to the james
who used to be her lover
saying fuck you then fuck you just leave
me alone

James Lineberger is a retired screenwriter, sometime playwright, and full-time poet. His work has been widely published in both print and online.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


  • Great poems explode like fireworks
  • Great stories explore change--specifically in people, places, or ideas. There must be transformation!
  • In great language, syntax is lean, word choice economical
  • Use specific nouns and strong verbs
  • Kill adjectives and adverbs
  • Great stories use all of the traditional plot points (exposition, inciting moment, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion)
  • Or, if not, they at least answer all of their own questions (that's Chekhov, baby!)
  • In poems, create emotion through imagery, figurative language, and specific, evocative details
  • Same for stories, except add strong characters and vivid setting
  • Do the above, and theme takes care of itself
  • In short, good literature doesn't have to be long
  • Our motto at LITSNACK: "Easy in. Easy out. Nobody gets hurt."
See ya at the watering hole.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

VOICE by Stephen Lewis

I slid down her voice
onto carpet painted gold
from the window.

A vinyl couch,
antennaed television,
ten feet from her room.

the way her brass bed frame is layered
by the sun.

A dress falls simply,
the color clouded
by a halo of light
till her voice stopped.

Stephen Daniel Lewis lives in Lawrence, KS and works in a library. He edits a magazine at

Saturday, December 15, 2007

VEX by Timothy Gager

Robert’s friends
were surprised when he

started passing out
and doctors diagnosed him
with Syncope.

“You on anything?” his latest
doctor asked.

“You mean currently?”

“No. Immediately.”

“Oh, if this is some sort of hi-fi
to see if I’m taking drugs, I
don’t want any part of it.”
Robert loudly scratched
under his
rough flannel shirt.

“Just want to know why you are passing out.”

“I do, too.”

“Anything out of the ordinary happen, which lead to

this…stress? Not sleeping? Hmmmm, it says here that
work in construction. That’s a strenuous job.”


“Well, what?” the doctor asked.

“Well, I don’t know.”

“It is extremely important that you be forthcoming

with this information. If there is something you are
to tell me…”

Dr. Snickens was not young; he was old school, the kind of

doctor that carried a black bag. Crusty chicken skinned,
round-glassed, mean Doc Snickens. Robert felt weak.

“There is something you need to say,” Snickens asked.

“Well there is one thing.”

“What is it?”

“I can’t…”

“Spit it out!” Snickens snapped and shoved Robert back

on the examining table directing the office light off his
head mirror into Robert’s eyes.

“Spill!” he shrieked.

“Spill what!”

“Something!” Snickens yelled. “I smell something.”

“It has to do with Vex. VEX!” Robert wiped the rolling

sweat off his forehead.

“Vex?” Dr. Snickens’ eyes were points of a pin.

“Yes, Vex… It’s latex clothing. I ordered some stuff

from them, a latex bustier, some undergarments and
that was
the start of it.”

“The start of what?” Snickens squealed.

“The dizziness, the clothing, whatever…” Robert


“What? Are you still wearing them?”

“I don’t know.”

Snickens moved in for the kill, towering over Robert who

was slowly curling into a smaller and smaller ball. He
currently was a tennis ball. “What were you wearing last
night when you first lost consciousness?”


“You wore nothing?”

“No something. I wore something.” Robert squirmed

under the glare of Dr. Snickens interrogation.

“Yes, tell me what it was.”

“I was only thinking about it and that made me dizzy…”

“BULLSHIT!” When Snickens shouted the mirrored

apparatus fell off his head.

“I was just thinking…”

“You are slighting me. I cannot treat you if you won’t

be honest! Is there something in your shirt pocket? Show
it!” Snickens held out his hand.

“Okokokokok…it's THIS!” Robert’s shaking hand

unbuttoned his shirt revealing a small latex patch that
adhered to his heart.

“Oh, I see. I knew I smelled something.” Snickens

replied. “You have a case of bad juju. You'll be better
when you get rid of it.”

“That’s all I have to do?”

“Burn it if you must, but get rid of it and anything

similar.” Snickens yanked the patch off Robert pulling off
some of his chest hair.


Snickens spun hard on his heels to leave. “See the

receptionist on the way out. She’ll have some after-care
instructions for you.”

Timothy Gager is widely published on line and in print for
both fiction and poetry. His "Punchless Jimmy Collins" was
a notable story in the 2007 StorySouth Million Writer Award
and "reply to someone who said all my poems are sad" was a
finalist in the 2007 Binnacle Ultra Short Award. He runs
the Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Ma. and lives at

Thursday, December 13, 2007

WITH AN ON-MY-BACK SMILE by Christine Kiefer

like a school bus perched
on a warehouse roof
how did I get here
to climb on scaffolding
watch sunsets from castles
where stars line city sidewalks
I ride in elevators
dance for dollars
crush bottles on mosaic tile
cut my fingers on crooked
lipstick smeared mirrors
and stand at tops of hills
willing to throw myself down
tumble like Jill and break
my spinning top parts
I got here with clenched legs
crisscrossing over your heart
and I open them only
as if to say stay

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA by Sue Christian

some sad lost soul
from every city
on the planet
kissing his last dime
or tying a slip-knot
with some stranger
in the hot sandy middle
of nowhere

Sue Christian lives and writes in the shadow of
the Matterhorn in Anaheim, California.

Monday, December 10, 2007

JOY by James Pierce

“And the signs along the highway all said
Caution: Kids at Play.”

Joy parked her VW bug up near Cowles Mountain and, before long, we were both in the passenger seat, going at it while Springsteen’s “Thunder Road" played on some quiet FM station and a perfectly round, full moon watched over us in a sky devoid of clouds. She did this thing where she bit my earlobe and whispered that she loved me. It drove me crazy. Curved slightly on the right side of her mouth, her lips gave her a look as if she were always slightly amused. I wanted to touch her every time she smiled, put my hands on her body just to feel connected.

Months before, I saw her at an all ages club, and worshipped her while a band called DeadEnd covered Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face.” We’d been seeing each other ever since. She was smarter than I was, more experienced, and I still benefit, all these years later, from the things she taught me. Often while we were driving together, Joy would stop at a red light, and then—with a look of raw lust in her eyes--reach over and squeeze me on the knee. I realized over time that Joy’s every movement was intended so that I would learn.

During a pause, Joy turned her body to avoid the gearshift, her lips grazed my flesh (they felt like fire on my cheek), and she moaned a little in the back of her throat in a way that stopped my breath. I placed my fingers at the back of her neck, felt the soft intersection where her hair met her skin, and grew drunk on how her throat smelled like the cinnamon she’d had in a hot apple cider from Starbucks. I inhaled her scent, and then I pulled toward her me.

Gently, she rolled beside me and looked in my eyes. She seemed sleepy but content, as if I’d satisfied her in some profound and necessary way. “You’re so open to me, she said, almost sadly, “so innocent,” and then she touched my face with her outstretched fingers—her skin on my skin like a medicine, healing me.

This one night in her car, while we were parked on the mountainside, staring up at a moon that was bright, but offered no answers or insight, was long before the sky above us fell, long before I knew what was down the road, long before Joy pulled her car over to the side of the street not far from where we first made love just to tell me that there would be no more parking, that his name was Michael, and that, eventually, I would get over it.

James Pierce's work has appeared in various print and on-line journals including Flashstory, lingo, and The Dirigible. He calls Dubuque, Iowa his home, and wants you to know that the important parts of this story are true.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

DID YOU KNOW. . . by Christine Kiefer

of the roads I walked
along barefoot or the vines
I swung from with weak arms
and a sunburnt face?
have you seen me
with my little knack,
point to north, south
east, west in a foreign town?
Have you thought of me wanting
to be good at you, enough to
never find the breaking point
that place where the red wine runs down
the wall after the glass shatters and the stem
lies quietly twinkling on white carpet
while there’s an ache in the stomach
like way back at the beginning when
you starved yourself to feel human
and celebrated your blood, your sweat
and every damn pain to know you were alive

Christine is an attorney in the Midwest. Her work has been featured in various e-zines, including Thievesjargon, and can be found here:

Monday, December 03, 2007

SNOW JOB by David Carver

When Fat Tony Corona pulled the gun, the cocaine was still on the table.

“Well, Chico,” he said, grabbing the blow and shoving it in the dufflebag. “It’s coming home with me.” He coughed one of his patented throat-full-of-mucus coughs. “And so is the money.”

“And if I try to stop you?” I said, not really scared as much as pissed off. I sat down in a chair at the dining room table. I watched him grab the cash and pitch it in the bag on top of the drugs.

“I’ll send flowers to your funeral.”

“Compassionate,” I said, oily with sarcasm.

“I’m thoughtful that way.” Finished with his packing, he took a seat opposite me at the table.

Fat Tony and I had been doing business for years, but lately he’d been using more of his own product, which had only made him nervous and sketchy. For example, I knew on good authority that he’d shot up an arcade, thinking that the bleeps and blips of the games were the oncoming sirens of law enforcement. He had also gone into debt, and was in big time to the usurers downtown. Rumor had it that if he didn’t pay, they’d soon be greasing the chassis of their Lincolns with his innards. And now here he was, taking my money to get himself out of his own scrapes.

But what was I going to do, tell the cops that I was robbed by the guy who sells me my blow?

Not hardly.

I’ve never looked good in prison orange.

“Can’t we work it out?” I said, as I dropped my hand beneath the table and worked it around the .45 I kept strapped to the bottom of the table.

“Not this time, Chico.”

My palm was sweaty, but eyes never left him.

I had a choice to make here, the kind you can’t take back.

Fat Tony laughed. “And what’s so funny is how life has been treating you lately. First I screw Sheila, then I screw you.”

My wife Sheila and I had only been separated a week.

Her idea.

“I didn’t know about Sheila,” I told Fat Tony.

“Sounds like there are a lotta things you don’t—“

Suddenly, the air exploded and my ears rang.

Tony’s eyes shut immediately, too soon to realize I’d made my decision.

David Carver enjoys flash/micro fiction almost as much as reruns of Happy Days. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is his first published story.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

LA CRESENTA AVENUE by Jean Northwood

The August
the picture window
flutter in rhythm
with the pianist's
I lie on the couch
half-empty beer
in my hand
eyes at half-mast
the baby asleep
in a room down the hall
classical music
on the CD player
a wind whispers
down the mountain
one day death
will find me
but right now
this afternoon
sifts itself
through an hourglass
of peace.

Jean Northwood lives and writes in Albany, New York. She longs to someday see the West Coast.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CARLOS 'N CHARLIES: 1989 by Dylan Petty

black sky on sunset blvd.:
sandi and I dance

in a night club on the strip.
red and green neon pulses

thru the los angeles night:
an echocardiogram of light.

Dylan Petty resides in Studio City, CA, and struggles to find gigs as a professional drummer. His poetry has often saved his life.

COFFEE SHOP by Lee Terrace

the dark woman
gestures defiantly &
speaks in french
passionately, as her hands flail.

her two eyes
black as seeds
race & probe
until her energy is spent.


her gold bracelet
collects the light
as she leaves.

he hesitates, then follows.

Lee Terrace's home is in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and her work has appeared in The Antidote Review, shambles, and My Left Hand.