Published Short Stories, Essays, Poetry, and etc.

Weary Willie

I was awaiting my cue, with a few other clowns, when the foul smell of burning canvas infiltrated my senses. Dressed in oversized pants barely held up by my flimsy suspenders and my unshaven face covered in thick white paint. I called myself Weary Willie, a sad hobo clown with a permanent frown. I always got the short end of the stick, yet I never gave up. An important lesson my pa taught me, and one which I impressed on the children who came to the Ringling Circus.

A Confused Protestor in Front of Morton’s Steakhouse Slams ‘Carnivore’ Brett Kavanaugh

A large crowd has gathered outside of the Morton’s Steakhouse in downtown D.C. Protesters, hell bent on disturbing the life of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. One man, with megaphone in hand, joins them to make his opinion on the pressing matter heard. Man with Megaphone (MM): Brothers and Sisters of the Revolution! Enough is enough with these corrupt politicians and their relentless bloodthirst! MM unzips his jacket, revealing a black and white t-shirt that reads “Abort the Court.”

A Simple Order

The brightly lit glow of purple summons us in our post-liquored-up state of physical exhaustion from grinding and random make-outs with shadowy strangers on a packed dance floor. After piling into some girl’s beat-up van, in which there was no A/C and the driver’s side window is unable to roll down, we finally arrive at our craving’s terminus. Only to find a long, winding line of other weary passengers awaiting the finale to their taco-tastic night.

Dreading Expectations

As soon as I return home from my first day back at the office, post-parental leave, my sleep-deprived husband hands me our wailing baby girl. She’s my mini-me, with thick brown hair and round chin. I take her, begrudgingly. Holding her, I can’t help but cry internally. Every scream, howl, or noise sends shocks of anxiety through my already fragile body. Since becoming a mother, I’ve discovered a truly shameful part of myself, a remorse that eats away at me every second that I hold my daughter.

Those Who Scream: A Novel by 30 Writers

Molly Hammersmith, a woman seeking a serene change of pace, moves from Kentucky to southern Georgia to work as a cemetery groundskeeper. However, there are people (and things) that are not as welcoming of her arrival. How long will she remain here, and what may keep her in this mysterious corner of the world? That is, until she learns how to scream. Welcome to Scarlet Maple Cemetery. Written during the traditional NaNoWriMo period (the month of November), 30 writers were tasked to write a complete, unprompted story full of eccentric characters, unforeseen plot twists, and shuddering undertones. Bethany Bruno created the novel's plot and wrote the first chapter.

Chained to the Drift

It’s difficult to devote your life to a family that will never embrace you fully. Especially when your newly acquired family, by law, constantly expects utter devotion. Such was the case for Mrs. Mary Louise Elmwood, a young woman from a highly respected family in northern Alabama. It was a fine match; a proper combination between two well-off esteemed families. Mr. Robert Elmwood, although barely thirty, had already established quite the reputation for himself as a steadfast lawyer in the newly exquisite courthouse in downtown Athens. He was a ruthless lawyer in the courtroom, who never let any criminal walk away without some legal punishment. Some said those reprimands extended outside of those halls, and into the streets of downtown Athens. But Mary Louise didn’t partake in such rumors.

Unopened Envelope

When a loud knock struck upon her bedroom door shortly before dawn, Maddy was already wide awake. She would be instructed by her mother, Julia, to deliver single unopened envelope hundreds of miles away. A mere twelve hours later, that same envelope rests upon Maddy’s passenger seat as she crosses the state line between Georgia and Alabama. As darkness rolls over the vast mountain peaks, Maddy begins to fade deeper into drowsiness. It was a long journey from South Florida to her Uncle Tim’s home, and a much-welcomed distraction.

Pissing Contest

His unblinking green eyes spoke louder than any hiss or meow. His constant penetrating stare always felt like almond-shaped lasers that seared holes into my chest. My girlfriend, Sarah, and I were cuddling on the couch and watching some much-needed cheesy television. Instead of focusing on Uncle Jessie on Full House, I spent date night being watched by a small monster who despised me. Roscoe, Sarah’s cat, sat upon a silky plump rosy pillow on the opposite side of the couch.

It’s-a-Me, Mario! I Found-a Coin in Joel Osteen’s Walls!

Me and my brother, Luigi, were driving on the rainbow bridge when we-a get the call. They say, “oh no! Our toilets are backed up. WA-HOO!” We go to their church and find it flooded. Ouch! Let’s-a go! There are bananas all over, be careful Luigi! We whip out our tool kits and get to work! That’s-a when I see the golden circular light. It’s everything we work for! Luigi and I smash through walls with our raised fists. Mario and Luigi already break through the wall behind the toilets and find

Buttered Popcorn & Attempted Assault

Walking into a concession area within a movie theater should stir excitement. You’re most likely eager to finally watch a film that’s taken forever to come out. There’s one essential piece to your movie-going experience: freshly popped buttered popcorn. It surrounds you, enticing you to come closer, like a delicious lit candle sending out an irresistible aroma. It’s a distinct smell, one that no microwavable bag at home can replicate. Yet, for me, it’s a tidal wave of nausea. One whiff invokes

An Open Letter to Lin Manuel Miranda: We HAVE to Talk About Bruno

I’ve spent my life with a sense of immense pride over my last name. In fact, up until recently, I had never met another Bruno (family excluded, of course). And that’s saying A LOT, since I grew up in South Florida surrounded by Italians, specifically New York Italians. If there were a large herd of Bruno’s out there, I would’ve found them by now. The closest thing that came close was a Beanie Baby named “Bruno.” He sits upon my bookshelf to this day, only now his reign of name superiority is over.

Crunchy Jeans

These days, post-untimely-death of my father, I tend to research the lives and unexpected deaths of pop culture icons. Not because I’m some sort of diehard fan of Prince, Karen Carpenter, or even James Dean, but because I don’t want their short yet influential lives to be forgotten by the world. Like my father’s death, their deaths were far too soon and left the world reveling in the stage of “what could have been” if only they had lived longer. I love to read about the people who knew these icons as they recount harrowing lessons and stories.

Big Bird Here. If You Come to My Street Unvaccinated, You Will Catch These Hands- Not Covid

I’ve been in this game for over fifty years. Fifty. Long. Goddamn. Years. Yet, I don’t get even an ounce of appreciation from any of you. Who do you think was teaching you about numbers and shit when you were plopped down in front of the television? Don’t you dare say it was that Eggplant looking mother fucker, Barney. It was me, Big Bird, and my homies on Sesame Street. You think I wanted this job? Huh? Look at me!

Three Minutes

It was like any other typical Sunday at St. Carmichael’s Church. The pews were packed with followers trying to cleanse themselves of sin before the start of the new week ahead. Children, who were forced to wake up at the crack of dawn and put on itchy outfits, sat bored beside their mommas. If they even put one foot out of line, they would surely get a whack on the head. Reverend Samuel was up at the podium, sweating buckets as his black robe swayed side to side from his frantic hand gestures.

Nightshade Ladies

I had been expecting this package for quite some time. Tugging at tape concealing opening, hands began to shake uncontrollably. Chambers of anxious heart began pumping rapidly Icy chips towards every nerve. Handfuls of Oleander petals softly fell towards feet pink and white flowers look harmless to untrained eye. petals act as forewarning venomous confetti My mother eternally nurtured her floral gardens, as if they were toy dogs in need of complete attention. all pretty and sweet-smelling buds, her “nightshade ladies.”

Jake Gyllenhaal Leaves Taylor Swift a Voicemail

This is Taylor’s phone. I’m not available at the moment. Please leave your message and contact information, and I will get back to you when I can. Thanks! Heyyyyyyyyy Taylor, how are you doing?…. Uh, so listen, I hope you don’t mind but I got your number through your publicist. I know you probably never ever want to see me again, pun intended, but I feel like I need to make things right here….. Alrighty, I’ll get right to it. I heard that you re-recorded that song again. The one about us? You

Treasure Coast

The writers and artists whose work makes up Ruminate issue 60 probe the imagery and metaphor of being at sea. Whether it is being at sea in the waiting to find out if a beloved will survive, as in Devon Miller-Duggan’s poem, “Perhaps a Prayer for Surviving the Night,” in which, “All my landscapes end… only the blood of those I love / and an unstarred endlessness.” Or as in Peggy Shumaker’s “Gifts We Cannot Keep,” when speaking of a friend who “ran beyond where I could see. / I faced vast waters.

The Final Girl

“Come out and show yourself, Krueger!” My eyes shoot open and my heart instantly thrusts its gears to full throttle, preparing me for the unthinkable sight I’m about to witness. As I look around frantically for the source, I find the culprit: my TV is illuminating the bedroom with the sights and sounds of the movie to A Nightmare on Elm Street. The final girl, Nancy Thompson, is in battle with her tormentor, Freddy Krueger. As Freddy raises his menacing knife-glove into the air, Nancy braces he
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