Tag Archives: Samantha Duncan

“The Playground” – Fiction by Samantha Duncan

Boys Lessons Provide Wartime Toys - Norman Smith, 1943
Boys Lessons Provide Wartime Toys – Smith Norman, 1943

“The Playground” is not just a setting but a character in Samantha Duncan‘s magically unsettling flash fiction from our Fall 2015 issue.

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IT WAS THE START OF SPRING WHEN THE PLAYGROUND BEGAN to behave in a maternal way. Howard, having just learned to walk, tripped over his own feet and landed hands and knees in a muddy spot of mulch. He had mixed feelings about dirt on his body, only enjoying it when he submitted himself to it, so this was an event altogether displeasing, which he hesitantly expressed through an animalistic wail. His mother, sitting on a bench at the opposite end of the playground, had barely risen from her place when the ground in front of Howard let off a small explosion, and from under the mulch a burst of water landed directly on his splayed hands and feet.

His mother jerked and back-pedaled slightly before charging toward her son. She frantically checked him over for further injuries from the tiny water volcano, then assessed his mental state, assuming that at the very least, he’d be spooked and immediately want to go home. But he was completely clean from his impromptu bath, and his expression suggested nothing more than perplexed curiosity, and when she moved her hands to his armpits to hoist him up and head for the car, he fought back with the move all children perfect in their first year: thrusting one’s arms straight up and causing them to slide out of their handler’s grip. It worked, and she put him down.

He immediately ran to the metal dome climber and, though he’d never done it before, climbed almost to the top and rested his body there, giving the structure an awkward but loving hug. His mother, unsure what to think, circled the playground to look for signs of another explosion, but the ground looked calm and inanimate. There had to be an explanation, some natural phenomenon she’d never heard of. Maybe the playground was built on shifting plates. Science held the answer. She watched her son close his eyes and hug the dome climber tighter.

Other things started to happen, though, that couldn’t be dismissed by any sort of science. Bailey attached his mouth to the outer curve of the yellow tube slide. A few minutes of this passed before his mother looked up from her iPad and tensed her face in disgust.

She marched over to him and demanded to know what he was doing. He waited until she was within arm’s reach before popping his little mouth off the slide, and he screamed:


Continue reading “The Playground” – Fiction by Samantha Duncan


Coming soon in soft, pulpy paperback.
Stay tuned…FY1F&BCs


“Map of the Twentieth Century” – Poetry by Samantha Duncan

Moonlight in South Texas - Robert Julian Onderdonk, 1912
Moonlight in South Texas – Robert Julian Onderdonk, 1912

You don’t have to be from Texas to enjoy “Map of the Twentieth Century,” Samantha Duncan‘s poem from our Fall 2014 issue. But if you do hail from the Lone Star State, there’s a good chance you’ll eat this poem up like a bag of Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets. 

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YOU CAN STOP IN THE MIDDLE of Interstate 45 and buy a small or medium trailer
                to store any right-brained assertions about the maternal instincts of
                Texas hills. It exists, and wildfires apologize a thousand times
                                to the Sam Houston statue, with whom you

always promise to take a picture, but continue to take that curve going eighty,
                like you’re expecting a hooker holding chocolate strawberries
                around the bend. Every bridge bisecting the road is hard up
                                for cash, and every penny you have is

spent on someone else. Questions cost the same as the courage for vitriol.
                Corsicana could have your long lost esophagus, everything
                inside you is shelled. Mile markers are doctor appointments,
                                the ones you’ll remember for the book,

and all you’ll need is hidden somewhere, or disguised as debris. Faces
                are painted over and not on, the resilience of a
                continuous motion, and there is a green on a tree that has
                                yet to be named. A direct result of

250 miles of a sickly giraffe’s tongue lapping up un-wanton beaver nuggets.
                If you aren’t careful, you inhale a tire off an eighteen-wheeler,
                discarded like the last piece of brisket on a lover’s plate, he
                                always takes too much. Don’t mess with tires.

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authorSAMANTHA DUNCAN is the author of the chapbooks One Never Eats Four (ELJ Publications, 2014) andMoon Law (Wild Age Press, 2012), and she serves as Associate Editor for ELJ Publications. She lives in Houston, blogs occasionally atplanesflyinglowoverhead.blogspot.com, and can be found @SamSpitsHotFire.


Our Fall 2014 issue is so wonderfully bizarre & freakishly beautiful it’ll make your cheeks quiver & explode. It begins with an Alternate Reality Game, ends with a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, and in between there’s pink slime, raving gods, naked alligator rides, regurgitated Raymond Carver, a bunch more fiction that’s too bizarre to summarize here, and some phenomenal poetry. 

FLAPPERHOUSE #3 is no longer available for sale in digital (PDF) format
because it’s NOW AVAILABLE FOR FREE right here!

Just click the cover to enjoy…



“Human Child” – Brendan Byrne
“Blood Ties”Diana Clarke
“Map of the Twentieth Century”Samantha Duncan
“We Dream of Our Dead Pets”Carl Fuerst
“Friday Night, Saturday Morning”M.N. Hanson
“I Climb Down the Tree One-Handed and in Another Life,”
“Piney and Buoyant We Wave, Consecrate,”
“Ode to Joy,”
“Painstaking,” and
“This is the Shaky Phase”–  Jessie Janeshek
“Chicken Sandwich”Rebecca Ann Jordan
“Meeting”Jeff Laughlin
“Buried Treasure”Ashley Lister
“ARG”Anthony Michael Morena
“reflect / refract,”
“them bones,”
“Year of the Horse,”
and “Street Music”Emily O’Neill
“Laundromat”Smith Smith
“The Hole”Samantha Eliot Stier
“We Call Her Mama”Natalia Theodoridou
“Cold Duck” – Joseph Tomaras
“Just Another Evening”Dusty Wallace