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Stories is a creative writing blog that publishes new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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

Untitled by Tyson Perry

My legs feel heavy and I want to go home. My ass is numb, and I want to go home. Alcohol and nicotine pulsing through my brain, and I want to go home. I wonder if anyone’s ever overdosed on nicotine. It seems unlikely but not impossible. I’ve been sitting on this curb for 3 hours, trying to sober up, and I want to go home. People still shuffling in and out of the house from where I’d just come, still trying to reach the mystical plateau. That tiny cliff at that top of the giant hill that is just enough but not too much. Everyone chasing the light while hanging out in the dark. Everyone on the same fabled… Continue >>

Up the Garden Path by Avis Hickman-Gibb

Janice wasn’t ready; and she’d been sure she would be. So far, she’d stuck precisely to her plan. “Make a plan, have a countdown list to check-off. Work through it steadily. You’ll do it Janice, I’m sure. I have faith in you.” Her therapist had told her that last visit. And now: Oh, God! Why is it always like this? Panic… sweaty palms. Look! Just look at my hands. Shaking like a leaf, they are… oh Christ! I’m going to be sick, I can feel it. Breathe in… one… two… three… and out…one… two… three. Wait…one… two… three. Ok, Ok, I can do this. Who can do this? I CAN. YES, I CAN. The sunny spring morning beckoned to her.… Continue >>

Jamaica Preacher Man by Jason D Hill

It is 1975. I’m sitting with my father in the sofa-like front seat of his father’s car which he’s borrowed to take me for a ride. Just the two of us. It’s a red car of some make; a 1960-something Vauxhall. I’m ten years old. My father smells of coconut oil. He always smells good—fresh, earthy and natural. We’ve just come from a long drive where he told me to just be who I want to be. “You were cut out to be a writer and a poet. Don’t get sidetracked into thinking you have to be a lawyer or any of that nonsense,” he says. He’s been on this mission to save my poetic soul. His mother has been… Continue >>

The Last Birdsong by Graham Murray

Weeks afterwards, she thought about something he had told her one day. He’d said that his mother was convinced that he could charm the birds out of the trees. She knew this was just a silly expression. And yet . . .Perhaps his mother had recognized something in him that no one else had. Her three-year old daughter had been tired all day and now lay sleeping on the sofa with her new Barbie backpack clutched tightly in her hand. On the day she received it, he had taken a photograph of her wearing it, almost as large as she was. Her first backpack.They had laughed at the image of her attending her first day of school not too many… Continue >>

The Understudy By Kelley Eberhardt

No one congratulates the understudy; the role given to the individual who could not make the cut for the lead. Just right for the part, but not as right, not as good, as the chosen actor. An acceptable backup; but not ‘the one’. Sure, while their name is printed in fancy font on the play bill it is only under the bold clear print; the main character’s name. Overlooked, overworked, over-committed; the understudy is no place to be. Being with you, is being the understudy; the girl behind the scenes. I am the lines, I play the part, I dance the dance, and I feel the feel. I give to the production as much heart as the main character, but… Continue >>

First Contact by Koe Whitton-Williams

Our child, Jilly Nines, will be starting kindergarten in September and last night we participated in our first parent’s night at school. We, and about eighty other parents, met the principal, the school psychologist, all five kindergarten teachers, the administrative director, two first grade teachers, the librarian, the art teacher, the physical education teacher, the night custodian, the director of the PTA, the PTA fund-raising coordinator, the director of bi-lingual education, the director of transportation, the speech pathologist, the director of the PTA communications office, four teacher’s aides and someone else. Almost all of the teachers were endowed with a charming, youthful silhouette. None looked like they could deliver the thunderous reprimands of the Sister Christopher of my youth. The… Continue >>

Visitation by Jennifer Walmsley

When the preachers came, they embraced you. When they entered your home, they smiled pious smiles. Then they said in reverent tones, ‘Let us pray for your forgiveness.’ But you were unable to tell them that it was your husband who had sinned. When you knelt, their fingers gripped your shoulders and their unified voices mingled with your whispered prayer for his return and they left, gratified with their godliness and you, watching their black coats recede, tied a noose around your neck and left your baby crying.

Avocation Calling by Peggy Duffy

A few years ago, when I taught English Composition at a community college, one of the first essays I’d assign students was “The Transaction” by William Zinsser. In the essay, Zinsser writes about a doctor who has recently begun to write and has experienced some publishing successes. He compares his way of working with the way the doctor works. Zinsser points out that to him, a professional writer, writing is a vocation, while to the doctor, it is an avocation. The assignment of the term “avocation” implies the doctor will never be taken seriously as a writer. At least that’s the impression I always came away with each time I re-read the essay in preparation for discussing it with a… Continue >>

The Man-Playing Guitar and the Guitar-Playing Man by Simon Thalmann

A guitar who had learned to play the man decided he wanted to form a band. He gathered up his courage and called a guitar-playing man and asked him if he would be interested in joining him. — Hmm, said the guitar-playing man. So you’re a man playing guitar? — No, said the man-playing guitar. A man-playing guitar. It’s hyphenated. — Oh I see, said the guitar-playing man. So you’re a guitar then? — Yes, said the man-playing guitar. — If you don’t mind my asking, said the guitar-playing man, what brand of guitar are you? — To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, answered the man-playing guitar. — Hmm, said the guitar-playing man. Why don’t you look at your… Continue >>

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