Willpower & Shame

Our first flash fiction event featuring stories by writers Jean Rover, Laurie Sandra Davis, Todd Davidson, Rebecca Haas, Elizabeth Danek, Beth Fernandez, Amreen Ukani, Marc Cozza, Anna S. King, Omie Wallace, Betsy Porter and Raymond Mitchell; performed by actors Aundré Barnes, Kim Bogus, James Dixon, Megan Katherine, Karen J. Moore and Deanna Wells. This event was hosted at Literary Arts on May 20th, 2017.

We are excited and honored that some of the stories were chosen to air on the radio as part of The Archive Project, a collaboration between Literary Arts and Oregon Public Broadcasting. The full event was included in The Archive Project podcast and aired on OPB radio. Enjoy!


by Jean Rover

Keith awoke early that morning after sleeping in his gray Taurus by remote Quarry Lake. It had been a long, muddy drive. The sky was overcast and dull, making the water on the lake appear dreary. He liked it when the lake looked like that. A murky lake knew how to keep secrets.
The sun, trying to break through ominous purple and gray clouds, was not having much luck. 

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Last Rite
by Todd Davidson

My father died by his own hand. He held his breath, closed his eyes and ripped the cutting edge of an eight-inch Mark 2 combat knife across his throat. He had walked six days through mud and shit and bamboo to find the girl he chose to abandon as fire devoured her village. 

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Lunch Monitor
by Elizabeth Danek

From her assigned area near the gym, Caroline could see that the little boy, perhaps a second-grader, struggled with the outside vending machine. He reached the selection button easily, but he could not extract the ice-cream bar, which was set at least two heads higher than his own.

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by Amreen Ukani

It’s the night of our high school graduation and Marina and I are, as usual, at a party. I don’t know whose party it is. Marina finds the parties, and I go to them. We are great at parties; we are beautiful and young and drunk and slutty. Or maybe we’re terrible at parties, and we just don’t care. We don’t need anyone else.

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by Anna S. King

She found the room, slightly regretting that it couldn’t be tracked by the stink of nicotine. Not that she smoked anymore, but back then cigarettes had been a shared stubborn hold on an acceptable addiction, along with guzzling sour urn coffee made thick with spoonfuls of sugar. In those days of Styrofoam, she’d score the minutes into her cup as she’d sweated through the rituals, the stories, the fear of her telling her own.

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A Tragedy, A Process, An Adjustment
by Betsy Porter

Did you pay the gas bill, he says: a sentence, not a question. The lampshade is dusty. And, where’d you put the car keys? He is always surprising her with his dissatisfaction.
One time, he comes home from work to find her drinking a glass of wine and his mouth turns down.

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G-String Grind
by Laurie Sandra Davis

Sylvie slid the window open as a blast of cold wet air slapped her with U.S. 30’s diesel fumes.
“Yes, sir, what would you like to drink today?” She smiled.
In a black Lexus, a businessman, fumbling for his wallet, turned toward the G-String Grind coffee shack and seeing Sylvie, frowned. He thrust his credit card at her with downcast eyes.
“Just a small coffee,” he said.

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by Rebecca Haas

The station wagon’s engine’s going faulty. We’re driving 20 MPH on the right side of the highway, half in the slow lane, half on the shoulder. Mom’s got both hands clenched on the steering wheel, leaning over the dashboard like she’s urging the car forward with sheer will. 

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Sunday Fun-Day
by Beth Fernandez

Dale is sitting up reading the news when I wake.
“All discipline is self-discipline,” he tells me over his reading glasses when I moan I drank too much the night before. My head feels like something too large is growing under my skull and can’t get out.

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The Errand
by Marc Cozza

First, we headed downtown to Joseph’s Market for sopressata, canned peaches, Heinz Ketchup, bananas and some ground chuck. In the ketchup aisle, my eyes landed on a shiny glass jar of French’s Mustard that looked like candy. It hung over the front of the shelf and I reached. Bright yellow shattered across the linoleum.

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Weekend In Duck
by Omie Wallace

Our last time together, you were hunched over a sandcastle, shoulders burnt and miserable, your nose bright in the North Carolina sun. That night you had the chills: shivering in the sheets, spilling your feet out and then tucking them back in again, threading them between my thighs.
“Hot, cold. Hot cold,” you whispered, and we laughed, but you were sick. Sun poisoned.  A wreck the next day.

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Inner Leaps
by Raymond Mitchell

Big Martha just did it. And without a lot of fanfare. Listen, if a five foot four inch, 235-pound woman in her late 40’s can do it, then so can I. Right? Besides, if I don’t do it here, I’ll never do it anywhere.
For three days, that’s been my mantra. Along with endlessly perseverating over how the hell to make my jump look good.

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