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The Scum Gentry Alternative Arts and Media.
The Scum Gentry Prose Desk: literary magazines and writing websites hub: literary fiction, horror stories, weird fiction and more...

And When I Look Upon Your Face I Would That We Were In Some Place Where You Could Be My Pet - Flash Fiction by Kenneth Nolan

During the mid-sixties, I lived in a little town called Snarfleburg in southern Tennessee. I found a job there labouring in the Apple Mines. Snarfleburg was a backwater town at that time, and few people recognised me. It was custom and law in the town for every citizen to be ultra-polite and encouraging to their fellow man. Town folk would always greet me with abundant jolliness, and perhaps say something like: ‘I hope every step you take today Sir, will be a step towards justice and righteousness’, or—‘May your sperm be praiseworthy and impregnate the air we breathe’. Me, being of a slightly reserved, conservative nature would usually just acquiesce with a ‘Hello’.

The town charter stated the following: ‘All citizens must be polite at all times, regardless of current mood, personal circumstance, or given situation’. This law was enforced rigorously by local police on the orders of the mayor, Kim Jong Boyd Barrett.

This suited me, as I needed to lay low until the heat cleared from an unfortunate political matter I had become entangled in. In fact; Snarfleburg was the only town in America in which I was still welcome, after some hippies accused me of sending a whole generation to a pointless death by causing a debacle which later became known as ‘The Vietnam War’.

I didn’t, honestly, but you know ‘The Yanks’...


Hen Circle - Short Story by Augustus Sleeveen

The hen circle graces Francois’ Five Star restaurant at two pm, grey sweatpants and hoodies taking their places among suits and ties. Nobody tells them about the dress code or the specials. The street outside seems to darken as they take their seats.

Tabby starts. “Okay, now that we’re all here, does anyone have anything they’d like us to address?”

Phyl sticks her hand up, avoiding the passing CEO of fourteen cigarette companies by mere inches. He scurries away like a crab, his head bowed low. Tabby nods.

“What can we do, Phyl?” she asks.

Phyl throws her hands up. “It’s not that he’s a bad person–” she begins.

Tabby shakes her head and waves her hands like she’s brushing off a chugger. “Please Phyl, no justifications here.”

Phyl nods. “You’re right, sorry. It’s this new intern at work. I often find him staring at me; it’s very distracting. I’ve spoken to HR but to no avail. He has one of those vape things too. I don’t know what’s in them and I don’t need to be breathing it in.”

Phyl stops, realising her voice has risen...


Notes of a Professional Voyeur VII - Fiction Serial by Benny Profane

Tonight the bar is unusually quiet. Apart from myself there are only a couple of regulars who are sitting at a table in the corner of the room. Their sense of disappointment at the lack of people in the bar is obvious. They check their watches and sigh while puffing out their cheeks. Every now and then one of them will awkwardly shift their position in their seat.

These men have a curious type of companionship. They know each other from having met in the pub and they never see each other outside of their regular but unplanned meetings here.

Their first encounter was no doubt unremarkable.

I imagine it consisted of nothing more than a sly glance in the other’s direction and a quick ocular scan for the sake of first impressions. The newcomer in this instance would have had to transmit an air of shyness and servility in order to win the respect of the established regulars.

Gradually, silent nods of recognition turned into enthusiastic Hellos. Eventually, one of them swallowed their pride and invited the other over for a chat. And the rest, as they say, is misery.

I wonder do they ever resent the obligations of social niceness that they have now condemned themselves to. Are there times when they stare longingly at other potential drinking partners and daydream...


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