• Christmas,  Short Story

    A Backwoods Christmas By Titus Burley

    Poppa spit chaw into his little Sanka can and told ma and the two progeny, “Put your thermals on. We gonna trek to the woods and haul back our Christmas tree.” Momma rubbed the breading for the okra off her fingers and sniffed them once before wiping them clean on her checkerboard patterned apron. “Snow likely by evening. You sure ’bout this?” “Might’s well.” Daughter Amy smiled a big gap tooth grin. “Let’s get the best one, Daddy. Missus Merton letting us make ornments during free time.” “Dress like you mean it,” reminded Ma. “If the squall comes early, lil’ brother gonna have a hard time keeping up.” Lil brother…

  • Fiction,  Short Story

    Cheaters Never Prosper by Titus Burley

    Manuel Enrique Ramos spun the AM dial to the sports super station. “Broadcasting from Baja, California to the Canadian Rockies” proclaimed the host, a man named Hacksaw who argued with callers from 8 p.m. until midnight. Manuel listened to escape, to hide from the sadness of Maria, her mourning of little Alfredo, lost to a fever that no amount of cold water soaked rags could put out; three years old, their frail middle child, four years younger than strong Alberto, two years older than sweet baby Lucinda. There would be no fourth child. Maria’s grief saw to that. He tuned in the American stations as much for Alberto as himself.…

  • Fiction,  Short Story

    Approval Rating By Titus Burley

    Jerry ushered the aide and intern into his office gesturing for them to sit in the two leather chairs that had been placed in front of his mahogany desk. He hated afternoon meetings but his chief of staff had been adamant that he block fifteen minutes for these two. He appraised them as they moved to the seats, his eyes roving from the shorter young man with his Caesar cut bangs and lingering on the slim-waisted blonde in the teal mid-thigh skirt that accentuated her impossibly long legs. If it had been a morning meeting, he would have held court formally, ensconcing himself behind the desk in his throne-like, though…

  • Fiction,  Short Story

    Matterhorn by Titus Burley

    Screams from inside the mountain. Distorted in pitch because of the speed with which they moved. Grimacing faces flashing in and out of view as the carts of death careened along a doomed circuitous track. A passage of courage or some collective form of voluntary madness? The unearthly wails from within suggested the latter. Surrounding him, looming monstrous, were stinky bodies scorched red by the afternoon sun. Glistening visages and limbs slick with sweat, stifling in their proximity, moving in a slow, forward shuffle, dragging him along with them like some unrelenting human riptide. Click here to continue reading Matterhorn

  • Fiction,  Short Story

    Slipping Under the Rope by Titus Burley

    Wind and rain lashed the streets of downtown San Diego – a rarity, even in the middle of winter. I had cranked the wipers to their highest setting and they danced across the windshield like a couple of stick figures jitterbugging on speed. Today was Thrift Store Friday for the little woman and I, and no typhoon, monsoon, or arctic blast was going to keep us away from our treasure seeking quest. I had drawn up a mental itinerary for the morning which took us all the way from the Goodwill and St. Vincent De Paul’s in El Cajon to the Purple Heart and Salvation Army in Chula Vista and…