Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When I Was Brand New by Oren Shafir

On the night I was born
My Dad used one of the two tickets he'd bought
To hear Frank Sinatra sing
Why Frankie decided to perform in Beer Sheva, Israel of all places
I do not know

How a nice Jewish boy like me ended up in a goyish place like this by Oren Shafir

(Originally published in Rambam, Danish-Jewish history journal, 15/2006)
I’ve lived in Denmark for 15 years now, and I still feel like an outsider. But, hey, that’s not so strange. After all I am Jewish; we Jews are perennial outsiders. We’re contributors to the mainstream, yet never quite considered an integral part of the mainstream. We’re familiar with all forms of persecution, and we’re always on the move. Oh yes, Jews get around, and I’m no different.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dan's Just Fine 200-word flash fiction by Oren Shafir

I have to tell you about something with Mom that freaked me out. Remember I went with her to the North mall last weekend. Well anyway, she met her old friend, Esther Rose. And Esther asked how Dan was. Well Mom just smiled and said, “He’s fine.”
  So, I kept glancing over at her on the way home, trying to see if she looked okay or what was going on. I couldn’t see anything. She looked like Mom. So finally, when we got to a red light, I just asked her.

  “Are you okay, Mom?”

“Yes. Why what’s the matter, don’t I look okay?” she said, and she pulled down the mirror and started checking her makeup.
   “It’s just that, your friend, Esther, asked you how Dan was, and you said he was fine.”

  “Oh,” she said laughing. “That’s right,” and for a minute I started laughing too. But then then the light changed, and as I started driving again, she said, “Yes, yes, he is.”

“Mom…” I said trying to control the alarm in my voice and figure out a tactful way to put it. But finally, I couldn’t think of any subtleties, so I just came out with it.
   “You know Dan is dead right?”

“Of course, I know,” she said. “But he’s fine. Dan is just fine.”

More of Oren's flash fiction

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Veteran (153 word flash fiction by Oren Shafir)

"Hey bud, spare a dime for a vet?"

"One dime, that's it?" I said digging into my pockets and glancing at Bobby with a mischievous grin. This dude was an original. Looked like he crawled out of some black and white World War II flick.

He held out a grimy black hand. I hesitated, then placed the coin in it, feeling his gritty, blistered skin, but surprised at its cool touch.

"Thanks Mister," the bum said.

"Ha, he called you Mister," Bobby chortled.

"Trying to get back home to Chicago," the bum continued. "Haven't seen my folks since I got out."

"Chicago? How many dimes do you have?" I laughed and started to turn to Bobby, but something in the veteran’s eyes held my gaze.

Then, he reached into his pockets and slowly pulled them inside out. The dimes fell, raining over the sidewalk, and flowing into the street like a silver deluge.

(originally published in the, unfortunately, now defunct phonebook.com)

Read "Last Train, a 250-word freaky flash fiction story about deja vú

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Half a dozen poems in 20 odd years

Poetry is a tough genre for me. I've only produced a handful of what I consider to be decent work over the last 20 or so years. Here's a few of them.

Here are links to some of my other poetry:

Postmodern Proof
Let's not pretend we're going
Every place looks the same.
Empty streets lead us
To empty boxes
Where we park cars
Next to neon-colored numbers
That remind us where we are:
On shiny floors amid electronic goods
Gone is the touch and smell of wood.

The Ingrate (100-word freaky flash fiction by Oren Shafir)

fiction with a twist
Do you even realize how much thought I put into picking out just the right length candles to bring out the beauty of the bone china,
or the perfect heavy red Bordeaux to complement the lightness and delicacy of my beautiful Gruyère and Parmesan Cheese soufflé?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Shafir's Life of Shakespeare

Birth and early childhood (the fish years)
Bio spoof: humorous look at ShakespeareIn April 1564, William is born at Stratford on Avon to Sheldon and Gladys Shakespeare. It is a long and grueling birth lasting three weeks, and he is born weighing 58 kilos and sporting a full beard. The birth of a bearded infant is a rare phenomenon; there are only three known cases in medical history (the other two being Fidel Castro and Rosie ODonnell). It is perceived as supernatural, and today some scholars believe that his mother was burned at the stake as a witch as a direct result. Others believe it was because she used to fly around town on her broomstick...

Short story collection: Small Truths and Other Lies by Oren Shafir

A sample short story

Dead Man's Boots
Jinji wore Avi’s boots after Avi died. It doesn’t matter how he died. Maybe he got caught by a friendly bullet. Maybe he caught shrapnel in the head. Maybe... Read more

First lines of some of my other tales

The Almost Man
My short-term memory is fucked. I forget things. My long-term memory is also fucked. I remember things...

Thinking about Sherry's naked body and his mother at the same time made Tiny Teddy nervous...

Photographs and Memories
I am told that my great-grandfather, Moishe, used to get sick every year during the fast of Yom-kippur... 

Read these stories and more. Download the Kindle ebook now


Monday, May 13, 2013

Alice (a 300-word freaky flash fiction horror story) by Oren Shafir

 The room seemed to be bending, the shadows alive. How far away
flash fiction horror story lizard
was the window? How far away was the door? Everything appeared out of proportion, and Alice felt dizzy.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Setting Momma Free (a 500-word freaky flash fiction horror story) by Oren Shafir

(Originally published in issue 7 of the Heavy Glow print anthology in 2006)

Momma was bleeding from her head around the left eyebrow. But as usual, Derek made her sit in her chair at the kitchen table. He'd go out and come back with the key that he kept in the bottom drawer of the desk in his study. Same place he kept his whiskey. I knew cause I snuck in and drank some once. Just enough to see what it was like, but not enough that he'd notice. Then, he'd come back with the key and open the glass case on the wall by the window and stand over her, behind her, with his Colt .45. And he'd talk about what she'd done wrong. Explain to her like a disappointed father.

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