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Flash Fiction by Rochelle Ratner
Slip Redux (Extemporaneous) by Ben Tyree
'View From The School Bus' © 2007 X-8
'View From The School Bus' by X-8
Bus driver axed for playing games at the wheel

So okay, things have changed since she took the bus three times a week. They didn't even have VCRs fifty years ago, let alone video games, or play stations you could wedge between your knees. The driver, who she knew only as "Junior," would make sure to save the front seat for her. During the ninety minute ride they'd be talking – he'd point out places as they passed, recalling what used to be where those new buildings were, telling her stories about passengers he'd driven years ago. The first time this happened was in the middle of a blizzard, and she was with her mother. Every other time she was alone. She was very young for fifteen. She had no clue as to where these games were headed.
Pa. Vet Accused of Faking Dog's Death
'Midnight At The Vet's Office' © 2007 X-8
'Midnight At The Vet's Office' by X-8

A German Shepard is not a lap dog, but she holds the two year old Annie on her lap for the eight-mile drive to the vet's, stroking her, scratching under her collar, whispering the whole time that it will be fine, she'll barely feel the shot that will put her to sleep, end the horrible seizures once and for all. It's better, she whispers, than if you choked on your own tongue. The seizures were getting more and more frequent, more and more violent, and she and her husband couldn't watch over her every moment.


Heartless the vet calls these people. Heartless trash. They don't deserve a pure-bred dog to begin with. He and his staff tranquillize Annie, sign a death certificate, then find a better home. Six months later, the new owners will give up as well.


Heartless, the teenager calls her parents. They don't begin to understand what she's going through. Her only true companion was the Scottie. But that was before she met the Older Man, just in town for a few weeks. He had a Scottie, too, he told her. Then he said he understood her. The day after her sixteenth birthday she got on the bus to meet him in Florida. His Scottie was at the vet's, he said. It had developed a kidney problem. A week passed, then another week. Finally one night he told her they'd put the dog down. But she was working the streets, smoking crack, and couldn't have cared less by that time.
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last update: June 25, 2007