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last fifteen years, Backhand Stories has published new short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction and essays by new and unpublished writers.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!

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 >>

Garage Sale by Carol Lemley

Elizabeth folded a plaid shirt, size eight–the same shirt she’d folded three times already. Her neighbor, Lara, volunteered to help her in the garage this spring morning for the sale, so Elizabeth let her pile the boy’s clothing and re-write some of the prices she’d written earlier on masking tape and little cardboard signs. She didn’t know what price at all to put on some items. She straightened, tucked, folded every size from infant to eight. She didn’t mind it, but she should sit down because she felt so drained, she only took time today to put on an old house dress that came to her calves. Her stockings were still rolled down to her slippers, and her hair straggled… Continue >>

A Saturday Round of Golf by Michael J. Cunningham

HOLE # 1, PAR 5, 516 YARDS, #3 HANDICAP, NOTE: WATER ON LEFT “Got some crazy pussy last night,” Tom shouted to us. He was standing on the first tee taking practice swings. Larry skidded our cart to a stop near the ball washer. “Your wife went nuts in the sack, Tom?” asked Larry, sitting in the golf cart filling out the names on the scorecard. “I’ve got an idea,” I said. I stepped out of the cart drew my driver out of my bag. “No one can talk bullshit ’til we get to the fourth hole.” “Who made you the boss, Jack Riley?” asked Tom. “Where’s EdBob?” asked Larry. “He’s always late,” I said. “You wouldn’t believe her nipples,”… Continue >>

Family Thanksgiving by Michael J. Cunningham

Often, usually around the holidays, my large, extended family causes me to go to my “Happy Place” (usually, The Bahamas). I can go there any time I want… without moving a muscle. All I do is look to the sky and make myself believe that it is the sky above a beach in the Bahamas. I’m there that quickly. “It would be a gray world without the family,” says my wife, Linda. It’s always the same: My niece, Beth, calls a month before Thanksgiving to invite me, Linda, and our daughter, Shelley, to the Annual Thanksgiving Family Feast. “And, this year, Jimmy is doing the Small Turkey in my back yard. He bought a deep fryer at Big K” Beth… Continue >>