John Sheirer

John Sheirer lives in Western Massachusetts and is in his 30th year of teaching at Asnuntuck Community College in Northern Connecticut where he edits Freshwater Literary Journal (submission welcome). His work has appeared recently in Five Minutes, Wilderness House Literary Review, Meat for Tea, Poppy Road Review, Synkroniciti, Otherwise Engaged, 10 By 10 Flash Fiction, The Journal of Radical Wonder, Scribes*MICRO*Fiction, and Goldenrod Review. His latest book is Stumbling Through Adulthood: Linked Stories. Find him at

Canine Abyss

“Canine-abis!” Roger insisted. “I’m serious, man!”

“I can see that,” Finny replied.

Roger drained the remains of his beer in one long swig and tossed the can in the general direction of the basement waste can.

“It’s weed, but for dogs,” Roger said, wiping foam from his mouth. “We’ll be freakin’ rich, man!”

“Do me a favor,” Finny said. “Go home, fire up your mom’s computer, and Google “canine-abis.”

Roger stumbled up the stairs. Finny drifted into sleep and woke when the ancient landline rang twenty minutes later.

“I hate Google, man,” Roger hissed through the phone. “Google destroys dreams.”


Katherine’s husband of thirty years left for a ten-day trip with his brothers to rediscover their Norwegian roots. So Katherine decided to “look for trouble” for the first time in decades. She considered that young doctor down the street who jogged shirtless. While she watched a movie her husband would have hated while eating Hawaiian pizza and drinking hard cider, she wondered if the doctor’s greeting yesterday was mildly flirtatious. She fell asleep on the couch and didn’t bother going upstairs to bed. Katherine woke late with a sore neck, missing her husband but anticipating nine more days of mischief.


Eons ago, an alien race constructed a fleet of experimental spaceships. Each ship was composed of complex combinations of organic materials designed to generate power through the interaction of mass and energy. The fleet’s ambitious mission was to develop communal self-awareness and evolve in peace, wisdom, creativity, and love. After observing with nearly infinite hope, the aliens sadly realized that one ship was failing. They needed to save the ship before it irreparably harmed itself or discovered other nearby ships to ruin as well. The aliens decided that their first step toward healing would be a well-placed hurricane in Florida.


Mia pushed her credit card into the slot. The store clerk eyeballed her while Mia studied the card reader. She remembered her father working three jobs, two janitorial, one delivery, dying early from a run-down heart. Her mother scrubbed motel floors and tended the wealthy owner’s kids, Mia’s first playmates. A mini-courtroom-drama always unfolded in the seconds before the machine chimed its approval. Mia thanked the clerk, took the coffee to her Volvo, drove to the job where she was just promoted again. She gripped the steering wheel, reminding herself to grant the most important approval of all: her own.


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