Allium Makes One Wish Before the Shootout by Daniel Wolfert

Introductory Note From the Author

     A few weeks before I began writing this story, I was listening to the radio and an old folk song called “Lily of the West” came on. In the song, some men fight over a pretty girl who is colloquially called “The Lily of the West” because of her delicate beauty. This irritated me because it implied this girl’s only notable traits were her beauty and delicacy. The song did get me thinking, however, about what title I would want if I lived in a Wild West-style world, and after much deliberation, the answer I came up with was “The Onion of the West.” The following story is a result of that thought.

I. Hardy as They Come

     He laughs, just like all the others, just as I expect him to.
     “The Onion of the West?” he cackles. “What sort of podunk name is that, boy?” I shrug.
     “That’s just what they call me,” I reply, sliding my hands into my pockets. I rock back and forth on my heels. The sun glints off my gun holster. “I don’t make the titles ’round these parts. I’m just the sheriff in Heaven’s Bounty.”
     “Ooh, I bet you is,” he sneers, slipping his thumbs into his belt loops. As he does so, his holster glints, too. He smirks. “Ain’t you a little young to be playin’ sheriff, son?” I continue to rock back and forth on my heels. His smirk slips away. After a long moment of silence, he spits onto the ground, leaving a black tobacco stain on the dirt of Main Street.
     “Folks call me Dirty Dog Akimbo,” he growls, “But we’re so far out in the middle of nowhere, I reckon you ain’t got wind of me yet, ain’t ya.”
     “And why do they call you Dirty Dog Akimbo?” I say all polite-like.
     “’Cuz I play dirtier than a dog in mud, that’s why,” he spits angrily, “an’ you best keep that in mind when I stuff your chest full of bullets, boy!” I shrug again. He blusters. “Well, then, ain’t ya gonna tell me why they call you ‘The Onion of the West?’” I stop rocking on my heels.Continue reading →

Who Says Quack by Justin Teerlink

The Adventure Journal of Theodore Roosevelt
(Bound in panda-bear leather)
February 12th, 1911

     Since our guide has no command of the English language, we were left to puzzle over the meaning of his. Normally, languages are not my field, and I could feel my impatience rising like a bubble of indigestion in my rotund belly. But we all strained our ears and I checked my temper, for what our guide was hitherto attempting to communicate was the very name of our enigmatic quarry.
     “Seesitch,” he said.
     “Seasick?” I tried.
     “Seeeesaquik,” he enunciated.
     “Sneezelick?” said Kermit.
     “Sesqak! Sesqqak!”
     “I hear you, man,” I said. “Sasquatch!” He shook his head as though he thought my son and I were both low-grade morons.Continue reading →

Written Off by Rich Furman

Fog demands faith you typically do not possess. Peering over you the tops of your knuckles; you have perhaps ten feet visibility, which means those random hands and eyes you cannot know possess the same potential, and determine you as much as your own skill or volition.

What is this, clouds upon the earth? Earth revolving toward the atmosphere, forever spinning and seeking? It is always about where you stand, and the direction you cast a given sense.

But driving east on Pioneer Parkway, liminal between Tacoma, Puyallup and Weller, the volcano creeps upon you. You resist giving into another fog, this milky ghost of despair. Feel it. Take it in, but do not let it consume you as if you were an arid slice of airline coffee cake and a careless cup of burned coffee.

Breathe it all as you drive east, the direction she soon, your daughter, will leave to, and in all likelihood, never return. Breathe in the years. It has already begun. It is not enough that she will be airborne; you need to know the vessel. You search her flight.Continue reading →

Late Spring Barbecue by Erik Carlsen

Don’t use that kind of language
When the pig is on the spit

Did you see that ember
Clocking across the whole yard
Landing next to the mole on her arm
Exposed between slits in her fashionable dress

Who does he pretend he is with when she is getting ready
That man standing next to her
With his hair around his shoulders
Like he has no other optionContinue reading →