Published Short Stories, Essays, Poetry, and etc.

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

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.”

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

We’ve Only Just Begun, Frankie

“We’ve only just begun to live, White lace and promises, A kiss for luck and we’re on our way…” “We’ve only begun,” I sang in a hushed declaration. I sat in an empty pew, staring at the water-stained carpet below me. Completely ignoring the horrific sight that stood guard before me, which was my father’s human remains now bounded within a large green urn I bought off of Amazon.com. The oblong container sat atop a white roman column, even though it was clearly made of Styrofoam, at the front of the half-empty room.

Maybe They’re Home Now

Death is my greatest fear, bully, and teacher. He will appear suddenly or sometimes expectedly, like an angry hornet that flies into your open car window as you’re driving down an empty stretch of road. Hopefully, it will fly right back out with a gust of wind. But the reality, if you choose to accept it, is that you must prepare for the possibility of being stung. Death can knock my ass out with a single strike, thanks to his hacking down of the people around me.

Defeat, Denial, and Downton Abbey

It was supposed to be a good day. It should have been a nice, relaxing day of touring a museum dedicated to one of my favorite TV shows, Downton Abbey. The show had unknowingly been my saving grace that last year while I was grieving the untimely death of my father to cancer. Instead of running that film reel in my mind of my dad gasping for air one last time, I threw myself into the lives of the Crawley family and their luxurious lives of British aristocracy. My mother, who had not only lost her husband but also began her own battle with cancer merely two weeks after his death, also became engulfed in the Downton Abbey world. It was our fantastical escape from the cruel reality of what our lives had become. Lady Mary, the English Countryside, and the glamourous early twentieth century beckoned to me. Hours upon hours were spent watching episodes until the early morning. I couldn’t allow my mind to focus on anything but this show. My reality was not allowed to interrupt for any other reason than if my Mother needed a back rub and pep talk before falling back asleep in the early morning hours.

Two Apples a Day, Keeps the Pounds Away

When I was seventeen, my daily food consumption consisted of two apples per day, nothing more and nothing less. Every single calorie that I ate was tracked, measured, and promptly exterminated like a nasty virus through rigorous exercise. Every aspect of my life revolved around numbers: calories in, calories out, how many minutes on the treadmill, the numeric size of my jeans, and how many days until I could eat “bad” foods once again.

Turd Mines

It’s time to suit up in my tight spandex yoga pants, which masterfully disguise my thunder thighs. I struggle to pull down my moisture repellent lavender shirt, to cover my love handles, as it slides down my already sweaty back. I sit on the edge of my bed and begin to roll my long white gym socks onto my legs, like an 18th century prostitute composing herself. These socks prevent my walking shoes from tearing apart the skin at my tender ankles. Throwing my hair up into a high ponytail, I look like a chubby version of Ariana Grande. I grab my fully charged and fully stocked IPOD while pacing myself for what’s next.

Baby Mama, Please No Drama

It had been such a dry summer. South Florida’s long June days burned fields of jagged-tipped grass into a withered crisp. The air felt stale along the Intracoastal of the Indian River. The beaches reeked of shriveled seaweed along the blazing sands of its shore. Withered was also the state of my love life, as I was again single and clueless as to why there was no man who wanted to give me the kind of love I craved. Whether it be in the nightclubs of downtown Clematis Street, or the doomed dates formed from the wasteland of online dating, I was unable to find a good guy. I was at the end of my emotional love candle, with only a bit of wick left before complete burnout.

Drawer of Diamonds

After collapsing onto the hairy chest of her boss Henry Peterson, Margaret Thompson felt all her stress slowly disappear with every heavy breath that she took in rapidly. Breathing through her gasping mouth, she tried to get the stench of sweat and sex away from her nose. As she rested her smooth cheek at the base of his scratchy throat, beads of sweat from her forehead began to soak into her thick black curls. She would have to take a long hot shower, complete with her pricey peach shampoo to wash away the stench that now covered her body. As she ran her fingers down her hair, she almost gagged by how disgusting her greasy hair felt.

Grief, Anger, and the Conflicted Expression of “I’m Sorry for Your Loss”

If there’s one thing that my father’s late cancer diagnosis and eventual death taught me, it’s just how much I hate the phrase “I’m sorry for your loss.” After my father broke both arms in the span of three days, the doctors decided to run a full body scan. The bright spots scattered across the scan left no doubt: cancer had permeated his body. It was May 2016, and the doctors gave him one year to live. By November, he had died in my arms as he seized one final time.

Spinning Into Oblivion

As I hold the sweaty hand of my brother Jim, Mother is praying loudly as the countdown creeps anxiously closer. The entire neighborhood stands inside of our home, waiting for the end. The feeling of helplessness flows through every fiber of my being as the earth spins faster with every tick of the grandfather clock in our living room. It’s funny though, how everyone has come together in these final moments. Prejudice, pride, and hate have now been replaced with fear, faith, and regret.
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