Backhand Stories is a creative writing blog that publishes new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers. Submit your own short story!

The Saxophone Man by Roy L. Pickering Jr

What am I going to say to Ellen? How will she react when I tell her I’ve been fired? I suppose there’s no point in asking myself rhetorical questions. I know exactly what she’s going to say. “Howard, how could you let this happen? How are we going to pay our bills? I’m extremely disappointed in you. You’ve always been such an underachiever. You always settle for second best from yourself. I bet you’ve been daydreaming, or hallucinating, or whatever you want to call it, instead of focusing on your work. Didn’t any of what Dr. Seagram had to say sink in? I suppose not. To think of what I gave up for you. I could be married to Barry… Continue >>

Men In Black by Tony Phillips

Ross Wells always was a bit crazy. Not in the “Woo-hoo!! Road trip to Tijuana!” way, but in the Lithium, child-psychologist way. That was, of course, the reason he was treated the way he was in high school. But when he starts coming to me in dreams, it’s going too far. Even for him. The phone calls had been bad enough. The dream takes place in a diner – all-American. I’m sitting at the counter on one of those blood-red vinyl stools they have. I can’t get comfortable and keep slipping and having to readjust myself, worming my way back up the sleek, sheer plastic. The diner is lit so brightly that its walls seem to be throbbing. The spotty,… Continue >>

At the Window by Martin Bell

The lights caught her first. They made the window glow with elfin colors, warming the foggy glass, spreading soft light out into the cold street, pulling her in, grabbing her attention, widening her eyes. She pulled her face up against the wet glass, her weight pushing down through her straight arms on to the sill as she balanced on the tip of her toes, resting on the edge of her heavy shoes’ rubber soles. The cold and the snow and the ice seemed to disappear as she peered inside. The lights were stars in a display of old toys, wispy glints in the sky above a circus parade getting ready to board a huge rust-dented steam ship. Elephants lead the… Continue >>

The Empty Road by Jeannie Mobley

The highway here goes on and on. Even in the twilight I can see a vast emptiness in all directions, with only this thin ribbon of pavement cutting through to assure the traveler he is tethered to earth. In mid-day, the heat rises off these flats with an intensity that makes you think you’re in Hell’s furnace, and at midnight the Milky Way sweeps so close to the road that you think you’re on Heaven’s doorstep. But right now at twilight, there is just emptiness–an uncertain color in the uncertain light–and the highway slicing through on its way to nowhere I shift down and slip my Jaguar off the pavement, turning down the radio so I can hear the crunch… Continue >>

For Tom by F Lee Miller

At my age I find that memories die much faster than they were made. Every day that I add to this end of life, I fear that I lose forever many more days of my youth. I miss them, those long forgotten days, but I suppose if I live long enough, I’ll forget that too. Still, some of those days return like old friends, as regular as August, and as welcome as sleep. These precious few, bidden, or as often not, gladden my heart and are strengthened by the remembrance. They will visit me forever; long after the names of teachers, friends, and lovers have left for lands unknown, never to return. My mother, gone these 30 years, still visits… Continue >>

The Tango by F Lee Miller

We danced the Tango on newly-cut grass and across the white-gravel driveway, hopping more than gliding, stumbling and trying not to hurt each other. I was eight years old and she was my best friend. There was no music, of course, except what we always heard in each other’s company; the music of friendship. I held the dandelion in my teeth – she wouldn’t even try. She shuffled and hopped over my feet, her skinny legs trying desperately to keep up. We fumbled through the mechanics of the dance; she with one arm out stiff with mine, the other draped over my shoulder; my hand pressing into her lower back and pulling her along. My mother watched us from the… Continue >>

I Wish There Were Giants by F Lee Miller

I wish there were giants. Real, human giants. You know. Twelve feet tall. I was watching a program on the history channel the other night and a gentleman was showing his magnificent collection of antique guns and swords. He was most proud of a sword from the 19th century that had been made for a man described as “a lighthouse among lamp posts.” The sword was so long that the six foot tall collector couldn’t unsheathe it in one pull. It had belonged to a Kentuckian that was seven feet, nine inches tall. I would very much like to have been that man’s friend. I am a non-hugger and I come from a long line of non-huggers. Growing up, I… Continue >>

Lessons From Bill by F Lee Miller

Bill was my best friend from college, where we were both studying to become High School Math teachers. We were both in our late twenties, we both had wives and small children and were struggling to get through college and on to a better life. We met in Calculus class and hooked up the first day because it turned out that we were in the wrong Calculus class and shared a bonding moment of embarrassment. For the next three years, until we graduated, we were Ray-and-Bill, never just Ray, never just Bill. I tutored Bill in all his math classes and dragged him through his ignorance to graduation. Bill tutored me in life. A quiet man, Bill taught me that… Continue >>

How To Make a Baby by Robert Levin

I was, I suppose you could say, in a PREpartum depression. It started when my wife, Connie, decided it was time to have a baby. I was thirty-one and she was twenty-eight, a circumstance which I reminded her in my argument against the idea was no cause for alarm. But after she’d voiced her ambition–and thereby made it real to herself–the achievement of motherhood became an obsession for her and she would not leave me alone about it. Finally, after several months, my reluctance to enlist in her project compelled her to resort to a not so veiled threat: “Steven,” she said. “Either we have a baby now or I’m going to leave you.” All right, I told her, get… Continue >>

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