For the last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers. The blog is currently on an indefinite hiatus, but will continue highlighting the many pieces that have been published over this time. Please read them, enjoy and share!

Scraping Craters by Nancy Callahan

No matter how many times the hygienist interrupts her Rod and Gun Club wedding reception story to adjust the chair lamp, it keeps tilting back and blinding me. The torn utensil package lies caul-like, contorted on the metal tray. The white walls are saturated with the charred smell of old drilling. She peppers her story with warnings like “Not flossing when you brush is like not washing your armpits when you shower” while clamping my tongue down with a nickel-sized mirror and grazing a pick along my gum line in deft arcs. Electric red wires splay from the corners of her eyes. I think she is smiling under that mask. I want to tell her that the orange cheese puffs… Continue >>

In Bed, Before by Martin Bell

You smell good, she had said. Mmm, she had said as she had nibbled his ear, and rubbed her hand over his chest and down his arm. He’d said nothing. I like the warmth of cuddling you in bed, she had said. I wanna hold you forever, she had said. Wouldn’t you just want to stay like this? She had said. He’d lay there, staring at the ceiling, wondering what he was going to say next. Just typical of you men, she had said. What you gonna do? She had said. Kiss me, she had said. He’d put his arm around her, kissed her head, burrowed his nose in the waves of her hair. He’d placed his fingertip under her… Continue >>

It’s Safer Not to Love by BoBisa

He had his head in his hands. I leaned against the door frame in the bathroom; the desperately open display of human emotion on the floor before me seeped into my eyes as smoothly and coolly as the chill air ran up my bare legs and under my cotton nightshirt. I shifted my weight to expel and extinguish the motherly concern in my stance that would only incense him. I’d never seen my brother like this. He’d dropped by the bar after work, as he usually did, then had driven home with what must have been even the slightest swerve. I must assume, for I wasn’t there, but I do know alcohol isn’t so forgiving as to allow linear thought,… Continue >>

Once There Was Jordan by Artuta

Jordan leans back against the grey-bricked ledge, shivering, and takes a drag on her cigarette. Her hair, stirring in the wind, runs over her bare shoulders. I want to put my arm around her but that’s not how we are. Perhaps I would if we were boyfriend-girlfriend, not best friends. The full moon makes Jordan appear washed-out, her blonde hair a shocking shade of white. Her cheekbones seem to jut out worse than usual, giving her a skeletal fashion. I know I look just as bad – nobody looks good at night.

Not Waving Goodbye, Saying Hello by Martin Bell

They found the baby in the alleyway, next to the back door of Charlie’s. Everyone knows that the only time that door’s opened is when there’s a raid, or a fight, or both. So when the nurse – oh God, she had such tired eyes – so when she spoke on the TV, and said that it was just luck that there’d been anyone there, without even knowing about any of the fights, I told Charlie that it was better to think of the whole situation as fate, not luck. He just turned around, glanced at the dusty TV above the cash register, squinted a little, and told me that he didn’t consider them things, and never did. He said… Continue >>

But Why The Man by Martin Bell

He’d never bothered to learn her name, knew it was supposed to be easier that way but, of course, it wasn’t. Not that it was meant to be a hard job anyway. Get in, wave the armor about, scare her into giving over what she didn’t really have; then out, down the street, in the pub necking back a pint or three by ten. But then he’d fallen upon her face; bright in the moonlight that splashed across the boards the squat wore in place of windows, where red and black graffiti fought in light and dark. He’d rapped hard on a board and shouted until she’d appeared behind what passed as a front door, trying to pull the heavy… Continue >>

Home by Amy Rogers

The merciless Florida sun an angry orange disc overhead, the heat shimmers in waves from the dull gray roof of the old Airstream, pitted and scarred like the curving back of a dinosaur. The dented front door gapes open drunkenly from one rusty hinge, but I cannot see into the gloomy interior. A cracked and faded plastic swimming pool holds a few inches of scummy water and a pile of dented silver beer cans glimmering like diamonds in the blinding sunlight. Tangled, mildewed heaps of clothing spill from a pile of rotting garbage bags. A giant teddy bear of the type won at the fair for the ring toss sprawls on its back, sun bleached and eyeless. A tiny, molding… Continue >>

American Preparedness by Robert Stalker

I must be fucking cursed. God’s punishing me. He always has. That’s why things come so easy to everybody else and why I have to fight like hell to just hold on to the little I got. “You shouldn’t talk like that,” my mother says. She whispers it, like she’s afraid God might hear us. “You’re just on the pity pot,” she says. Oh fuck me. I hate when she talks like this. She started going to Al-anon years ago, when my dad was still alive. Now, she can hardly hold a slogan-free conversation. She sounds like she’s in a cult or some shit. “You know what you need?” she says. “A gratitude list.” “Mom, for chrissake.” “Okay, okay. Sorry,”… Continue >>

Blue-Eyed Girls by Kate LaDew

I watch my grandmother’s face, waiting for that faint spark of recognition that never comes, hasn’t for years. The same conversation over and over, do you know who I am? She tells me I’m a pretty girl, “Oh look at your eyes.” They told my parents all baby’s eyes are blue but mine never changed. Her daughter has a little girl with the same name as mine. “And what’s she like?” “She sings me little poems, poems she made up herself, you know. She’s my dear one.” “I write poems too.” “And do you sing them?” The nurse walks in, pats my grandmother’s hand. Her uniform is faded, like it was hung in the sun. My grandmother used to hang… Continue >>

love by Meagan Hayden

When my eyes first met yours I didn’t see the stars nor did I get lost in them like the sea. I didn’t fall in love or even have love at first sight. What I saw was pain. The pain of rejection. The pain of misery. I saw a part of a girl who was broken. I saw each individual pieces laid out inside your eyes. I saw a broke down girl so I smiled to tell you I would fix it. When I first gave you a hug you hesitated as if I would hurt you so I hugged you tighter to tell you I wouldn’t. I rested your head on my chest for the first time and reminded… Continue >>