SWEPT AWAY TREASURE ISLAND SHIPPING NEWS RED SKY THREE BELLS PRINCE OF TIDES LOST SEA
SHIP SHORE HIGH WAVES OVERBOARD MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY WHISKEY DELTA RUMWALK THE PLANK THREE YEARS BEFORE THE MAST TWILIGHT FLEET WHARF SERPENT SEACOAST ON THE WATERFRONT STARBOARD HOME PORT OUT LOVERS WEIGHT OF WATER DEAD DRUNK SUNKEN SHIP OCEAN TALES BLOODY BRINKSMAN MERCHANT OF VENICE UNSAFE CAPTAIN'S TABLE MURDERER'S LANTERN COAST ADRIFT MYSTERY HARBOR SHARK INFESTED WATERY GRAVE SEAFARER PORTMANTEAU BLUE SUNSET


 

DIVERGENCE
By Aaron Housholder
Finalist

EXPRESS LANE
By Scott Jagow
Finalist

ON THE OTHER HAND
By Wendy Lestina
Winner of the Flash Fiction Award

LENT
By MaryAnne LoVerme
Finalist

CANNING DAY
By Mary McNulty
Winner of the TenTen Fiction Award


SMOKER:
A DESCRIPTION

By Chad Norton
Finalist

LOOKING FOR RABBITS
By Maryanne Stahl
Author of
Forgive the Moon


LA FLORIDA
By Michael L. Trombetta Finalist


You've just arrived by wooden skiff or rusty schooner to
Native Shore Fiction, where we link to writers who give us
a short trot through cultured minds and wayward settings.


These writers provide us with a specific circumstance. Between these pages are stories that may not contain simple circumstances. Interested in reading work by writers from around the globe, reporting to us from their own native shore? They'll report to you with familiar characters set in unfamiliar settings on remarkable topics. Pages and characters twining together while allowing "the willing suspension of disbelief" and giving us notions about how they live, and through idle conjecture, how we live.

Welcome to Native Shore Fiction.

This month we feature Flash Fiction, giving notice that you don't need a Porsche to have fast getaways or a ripping good time.

 

YOUR FRIENDLY HMO
By Rheana Rafferty
FLIRTING WITH DANGER
By Charles Dodd

THE TERRITORIAL IMPERATIVE
By William Lyell

Flash Fiction
Flash Fiction
Flash Fiction

 

 




YOUR FRIENDLY HMO
By Rheana Rafferty

Cloudy piss, yellowish brown and threatening to spill over the top of its receptacle, is lifted by its donor, a
man of twenty-six in a flannel long sleeved shirt with two buttons missing. After placing the cup inside a stainless
steel drawer, he simultaneously spits into the urinal and zips up his fly. He then briefly removes his Def Leppard
ball cap to smooth back his greasy mullet and return to the waiting room.

On his way out, he passes a couple, thirty-something, married and anxious. Mrs. Mary Johanssen is glancing
distractedly at a book of baby names while her husband stares at the pink and blue laminated chart on the wall
titled “Your Baby in Gestation” with a look somewhere between awe and disgust.

The cup of cloudy piss left in the hermetic steel drawer is then picked up and carried by a white-gloved lab
technician to the analyst’s table to begin its testing. On the way over to the analyst’s table, the germ savvy
technician, deep in thought about his lunch date with Nadia, the Latina nurse on 11B, glances quickly at his
watch, tipping the cup of cloudy piss and spilling a bit on his sneakers as he continues across the room.
The analyst then pours the urine into a variety of test tubes for processing. The first run of tests determines the donor’s
glucose and HCG levels. Another searches for sexually transmitted diseases and yet another will determine if the donor is using, what, how often and how pure. The analyst’s notes read:

“Johnson, Mark, donor #12691 – traces of marijuana,
methamphetamines and antibiotics, presumably for the
treatment of advanced gonorrhea.”

The analyst passes his report with a wink and a smile to an overworked nurse in a slightly see through uniform.
She makes her way past the unwanted stares of her male coworkers. The distracted lab technician, on his way to
meet his South American sweetheart, bumps into her so forcefully that she drops the stack of files she has been
carrying. In the shuffling and straightening of papers, Mrs. Mary Johanssen and Mr. Mark Johnson’s urine reports
have been switched.

Consequently, Mrs. Johanssen’s husband leaves her, convinced she’s been sleeping around and sneaking pills
behind his back, saying she’d be an unfit mother if they could have conceived. And the United States Postal Service,
with results of a clean drug test, has just hired the uncouth Mark Johnson to replace your usual Norman Rockwell postman.

As he comes up your driveway humming Slayer and playing the air guitar, Mr. Johnson hocks a moist green bolus of phlegm into your freshly planted flower garden. The hospital deeply regrets any trouble it has cased
the parties involved, but will not accept responsibility for your withering petunias.

 


FLIRTING WITH DANGER
By Charles Dodd

They were a young couple to make heads turn: tall, extrovert, with perfect teeth that glinted as they talked.

She sported a mink coat—possibly a good fake fur—with a huge collar. The coat clung tenaciously to her body, conveying the disconcerting impression that she wore nothing underneath. It came to mid-calf, and below it shapely nylon-clad ankles accompanied classic, court shoes with heels so high one had to give her credit for not tottering. She certainly did not totter. She shimmied.

He wore a black cape with a deep blue silk lining, a waistcoat in vivid blues and greens, tailored pants, and Gucci shoes. They looked good and they knew it. At the hotel’s lobby desk they received immediate attention.

"We’re looking for a double room. One with a view."

There was a hint of the aristocrat about the man’s voice. He was clearly accustomed to getting what he wanted, and he was British.

"Certainly, sir. For how many nights?"

"Two. But we have to see the room."

A porter led the way to the second floor. The couple stood in the doorway, scanning the room, seemingly undecided. The man said, "Just leave us alone for a moment, so we can discuss it, would you?"

Ten minutes later one of the lobby clerks inquired, "So what’s happened to the wannabe Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley?"

The porter’s mouth sagged, and he scurried back to the room. The door was locked, and rapping on it, at first gently and then loudly, elicited no response. He hammered on the door so that it rattled in its frame but without success. He had the niggling suspicion that he could hear muffled giggles.

He went down to reception for the master key, raising his eyes to the heavens in reply to a colleague’s questioning look.

This time the door was open, with the man waiting to usher him in. The woman was lying face upwards on the bed, and she was showing a generous expanse of leg, including stocking tops and a hint of white thighs beyond.

The man was keen to explain, declaiming in a voice that brooked no contradiction: "Fainted. But she’s coming round."

The porter tore his eyes away reluctantly from the shapely legs and suggested, "A glass of water perhaps?"

But the Elizabeth Hurley look-alike suddenly sat up, shaking her head and saying, "No, no. I’m fine now, really."

She stood up, and the disheveled state of the bed became apparent. She had not fainted. She could just conceivably have had a violent, limb-threshing seizure, but there was a more likely explanation.

Did they want the room? No, it didn't seem to agree with her, and the hotel obviously had builders working there because she had heard dreadful hammering noises.

With sunny smiles for the porter, they left arm in arm. The porter stood at the hotel entrance, watching them go, and the sound of their laughter drifted back to him as they strutted—almost skipped—up the street.




THE TERRITORIAL IMPERATIVE
By William Lyell

My interest in the murders later attributed to Jack the Ripper started months before the press named him the Ripper. Most accounts of the Ripper credit him with five victims between August 31, 1888 and November 9, 1888. There were several more victims beginning nearly a year earlier.

Murder in Whitechapel, that teeming poverty ridden slum, were all too common. Generally, they attracted little interest from the press. A cutpurse handy with a knife and discreet in his cups could escape capture for years. The Ripper’s early murders did escape notice.

On September 9, 1888, I met with Inspector Lestrade as intermediary and Inspector Chapman who was one of the detectives in charge of the Ripper killings. "Inspector Chapman, this is Mr. Jones, a sometimes associate of Sherlock Holmes." Lestrade knew my real name but Holmes always referred to me as Mr. Jones.

"I hope you may be of some help to us, Mr. Jones," Chapman said. "You have followed the Ripper murders, I presume?"

"All of London is following the murders," I replied.

"Yes, of course. Terrible things these murders. Inspector Lestrade tells me you have your own sources in Whitechapel and your own interest in keeping order there."

I smiled. "Order in Whitechapel is an unusual notion. But yes, the Ripper’s activities have become annoying to me."

Lestrade and Chapman looked at each other. Despite my association with Holmes, as policemen they must have been wondering if the Ripper or I was the greater danger to London. After several moments’ hesitation, we proceeded. Comparing notes, I discovered to my surprise that Chapman knew as much as I.

"Our concern is that this madman appears to have lost control. The murders are becoming more savage and more frequent," Chapman said.

"Yes, you are quite right. But why have you come to me? Holmes is making his own inquiries and will surely capture him."

Again both policemen looked pained. Lestrade spoke, "We don’t want him captured. We want him killed. All evidence points to a titled killer. A minor member of the Royalty. Capture and trial would be an embarrassment to Her Majesty."

It was now my turn to be embarrassed. Two policemen were asking me to commit murder. Well, strange bedfellows and all that. I agreed of course. I turned down their money. This was to be pro bono. A favor among friends. We shook hands and each went our own way.

It wasn’t Royalty after all. Three more murders occurred before I found the Ripper. But I bested the police and Holmes who were chasing their Royalty premise. In the end, it wasn’t Jack but Jackie, a lesbian procurer. While covering up botched abortions of her whores, she developed a taste for the knife and for blood and mayhem. I couldn’t really blame her. I, Dracula, had acquired the taste myself. But Whitechapel was my hunting grounds, and Jackie was poaching. I have kept her identity a secret. The world loves a mystery.


 


Editor's note:
If you are wondering, the bird pictured above is one type of a shore bird species known as the curlew. Worldwide, only fifty of the slim-billed curlew remain. We chose this elusive and rare bird as the mascot for our Native Shore Fiction department because as a talisman, a Jungian symbol, it represents this site's Zeitgeist, our native spirit for this decade. Think about it. We could have selected a zucchini.

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