For the past few months, I’ve been publishing stories on Medium and Substack, but that’s been exhausting, so the time has come to establish a permanent fiction place.
I’m grateful to everyone who has signed up to receive my free, story-a-week newsletter on Substack, Fiction by Bill Adler, and hope that many more will subscribe.
I will continue to edit Centina Pentina, which publishes great microfiction, on Medium.
I grew up in Manhattan, a land of tall structures, but no mountains. The first time I saw a mountain was when I went to Maine as a child. Wow. One of my most memorable mountain experiences was driving through the White Clouds in New Hampshire on a night that the aurora borealis painted the sky with the most beautiful colors I’d ever seen.
I love mountains with all their majesty, beauty, and mystery. And of course, all sorts of things happen in the mountains, some ordinary and some beyond the realm of imagination.
This week’s prompt is to write…
My innate, slothful tendencies brought me to Medium.
I used to submit short stories to various literary, science fiction, fantasy, and horror publications, and in those rare cases where the publication said, “yes,” I reveled in delight. But submitting to different magazines is a slog: It can take months and months to hear back. Even more tiring is that each publication has its own submission-formatting requirements: single space versus double space, Times New Roman or Courier, submit the story in the blind (without your name included) or not. …
I was sipping an espresso and intermittently tapping out my novel, when a large man sat next to me at the long, wooden communal table and said, “The Rays are coming to kill you, Lucas.”
He didn’t have a laptop, which was virtually a required accessory for entering Nimbus Coffee. He did, however, sport a bulge under his ill-fitting blue jacket, which showed the unambiguous contours of a gun. The smell of Old Spice that wafted off him battled the cafe’s sweet and nutty coffee aromas.
“Today.” He took my espresso and drank it. The cup vanished in…
When I was kid and didn’t do something as well as I should have, my father would say, “Put some elbow grease into it.”
I don’t remember him ever explaining what elbow grease was, but I got the message: Do it better, work harder, don’t get distracted.
Years later, I’m still mystified about exactly what elbow grease is.
Where does it come from? What does it look like? What are elbow greases’ uses? Are there different grades of elbow grease? Is elbow grease magical and ancient, or is it something you buy at the hardware store?
This week’s Centina Pentina…
“Everything comes to an end, doesn’t it, Bobby?”
Bobby Longstreet nodded sluggishly as if his head were trapped in molasses. He looked down, studied the coffee in front of him, and stirred it, letting the small whirlpool of white and brown hypnotize him for a few seconds before returning his eyes to Sam’s.
Kona King Coffee sat on the edge of the beach, a three-minute walk to their hotel. A dozen small tables filled the outdoor patio, shaded by leafy palms. Animated conversations surrounded them, and despite the breeze, the aroma of sweet coffee lingered.
He loved Sam, his graduate…
Desmond Morales wrote his story on paper woven with uncertainty and penned in ink the color of doubt. He had failed his mission. Now all that was left was to send a report that would never be read because there would be no one to read it.
Desmond hurriedly finished his letter, slipped the paper into the hollow he’d dug to the left of the prison cell’s sink, and covered it with paint chips. With luck, his cell and report would survive the decades-long journey. …
I tapped my foot with ferocity, almost denting the concrete sidewalk. Uber ETA, six minutes.
Although it didn’t matter how long Uber took to arrive — because I would reach my destination when I needed to, regardless of when I departed — I was still on edge. I had finally formulated the right words, and didn’t want to forget them. I repeated them over and over, like a boy memorizing a Shakespeare poem for his eighth-grade English class. The sooner Uber arrived, the better. Forgetting would be a disaster. Again.
Emily, there’s never been a more beautiful woman on Earth…
Hell-born cyclonic winds totter New York’s skyscrapers and hail chisels their steel. Wind racing through the canyons of downtown Manhattan howls preternatural warnings to everyone to get off the street. And everyone has. Except for storm chaser Jack Sanger, who, among New York’s eight million residents, is the only person outdoors.
Rope and carabiners anchor him to a lamppost on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street facing Central Park, where he watched hurricane Ximena uproot a century-old oak tree. Wearing a climbing helmet, Kevlar vest and gloves, shatter-proof goggles, and orange Arctic pants, he’s ready to meet the apocalypse. Despite his…