Friday, August 30, 2013

Two pieces of fiction up for the weekend. For your reading pleasure. "Abandon" was originally published in print in The MacGuffin literary journal in the Winter 2007 Edition Vol. XXIII No. 2.

Welcome to my world.

by Lis Anna

Frost comes to the window
but I am warm, naked,
in the middle of a great room with windows all around.
No curtains, only shadows cast against white walls.
No furniture.
Just one long hallway that leads to a bed.
I am there.
Outside the trees are turning into old women,
reaching with dying fingers
into a darkness that comes earlier, stays later.
So we make love long into the night.
When he is not with me my lover is on the phone.
As he showers I slip into his closet,
running my fingertips down the rows of perfectly crisp
hand tailored shirts from Hong Kong.
He catches me, laughs,
says I am nosey and should be spanked.
He has no idea.
Pulling a shirt from the plastic covering he slides it over my bare arms.
 I wear his clothes more and more.
I do not know what it means.
It means I belong to him.
His skin smells of expensive cologne,
imported cigarettes, saffron, sandlewood, surrender.
Sometimes, late, drinking tequila, sucking limes,
I lay in his arms spinning into dawn.
He says, “I don’t know your last name, have never known it.”
Then he laughs when I am silent.
He begs, pleads, shivers.
He is like the moon.
Still I refuse.
In the mornings I sleep buried in the scent of  pillow talk.
Later, wrapped in a long velvet coat I descend the fire escape.
My teeth chatter but my body is warm.
 He begs me to accept gloves, scarf, hat but I won’t.
The chill does not penetrate his breath deep in the curves of my neck.
A heavy sun rises over the avenues of asphalt
but  still I only know the tremble,
the abandon,
the scent of me rising from his season, hungry.

Copyright 2007 Lis Anna
Fresh, hot flash fiction up for your weekend reading pleasure.

Welcome to my world.

The Cheat Sheet
by Lis Anna

The boy who turned his light out with a clear, odorless gas slapped me in the face two days before our final exam. When the pink princess phone rang I sprang joyfully upward.  It was not him calling, not he, my best friend from chemistry 101 where we sat side by side so close, our thighs touched. It was there we first learned about the existence of a molecule characterized by a bond that burned with a blue flame.

Bonds that burned with blue flames were pure poetry.

In a matter of seconds, a symphony of suicide repeated over and over in my brain
as a girl from school told me to sit down and listen. All I could think about was how the only part
of him left was the cheat sheet he handed me yesterday to help me graduate because our chemistry was stronger and I’d spent two semesters more into him than the class. Suddenly I wanted every moment I'd ever spent with him back. He'd embarked on a journey without me. Just him, all alone trudging through the blue, tasteless gas while I was on a princess phone reaching for the cheat sheet because it was proof 
he existed. I wanted the answers and the passing grade only if he lived.
I would study all night or rage against god if he kept his piece of paper and returned, coughing soot from his lungs apologizing for his unimaginable mistake.

I wanted to go back and make him promise, swear, cross his heart and hope to…

I saw what it meant. The cheat sheet, the watch, the copy of Chicago Poems, the silver bracelet from Istanbul. He gave me his favorite book in the world, Where the Sidewalk Ends. Cleaning house, he said. 
It was a lie. Really, his sidewalk was ending.  And so I was on the phone with a girl I barely knew crying.  She told me the viewing was tomorrow at noon and hung up. He would get an incomplete in our chemistry.

That was the last call I never got from him.

The only dead body I’d ever seen laid waxy and unreal in a coffin wearing the most hideous tie
to greet the afterlife in clothes picked out by his mother. The same mother who disowned him
three days earlier for liking boys too much. 

I had to know more so I asked his brother, the narcissist, who reluctantly told me about the black tubing
taped to the motorcycle tailpipe, how it snaked insidiously through the window of the car. How he was found, eyes closed in the front seat, darkness idling dangerously. I imagined he was napping at the rest stop like when we drove to Graceland to touch Elvis’ shag carpet.

Into the deep sleep of the blue flame the only dead body I’d ever seen went without me.

No longer would we pass class hand in hand, sneaking funny glances, cheating everything together
because suddenly I was at his coffin reading answers over and over on a tiny piece of paper.
A mantra of goodbye, giving me all of the answers on the way out. I fell in love with his handwriting, the twists and turns of a carefully thought out deception.
I wanted to leap from the coffin and yell, "I have all the answers, I have all the answers." 
But my body was heavy from lack of sleep, pulled to a dark and humming earth, unlike him
 who rose upward in a clear, odorless gas. 

Copyright 2013 Lis Anna
All Rights Reserved. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fast, awesome flash fiction up for the weekend. This concise little piece is one of my favorites. 

Welcome to my world.


Drunk Dial

He mumbles. Nothing coherent. Just things he didn’t say way back when. When I was the one. It’s a kind of therapy. Cheaper than the real stuff. Talking to someone’s voice mail at 3 AM after six pints of beer has a bit of boldness in it. Kind of. I admire his long, candid sighs. It doesn’t erase the fact that he’s married. It doesn’t erase the fact that he’s on the other side of the country staring at sext messages wondering how he ever let me go. Tonight he is nostalgic, talking about a night at the Antenna Club. A night that plays over and over in both our minds like a broken record, a CD skipping. There is no digital comparison I can make. Our feelings are not ipod friendly. Technology has smoothed the edges. Simplified our affections. The past skips like a broken record. Still, I listen to the message. Twice. Save it. I’ve never phoned him drunk. The wife, you understand. My exchanges with him are a naked homage to the dumb teenagers we still are. Sometimes I get a little dizzy hearing his voice. It happens. Some days I even welcome such silliness. Tonight he is asking me if I’ll always be there for him. Like an anchor. Yet we drift out into the sea of his heartbreak. I don’t answer at 3 AM. It rings and he leaves a message. If I answered, that long scratch of broken record would return to the song and while I hum the tune of him and me for days on end, I constantly forget the words.

 Copyright 2013 Lis Anna
All Rights Reserved.

I uploaded lots of new photos of mine to Flickr. Here is the viewing link. 

Welcome to my world.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Since I tell stories with images and words, I am uploading a sneak peek of my new photography exhibit
 that I am organizing and shooting now.
 It is titled "Outlaws" 
or as I refer to it: Guns & Bunnies. 
Welcome to my world.

Copyright 2013 Lis Anna
All Rights Reseerved.
No copying or posting allowed from this site without proper photo credit and a link back to this site.
Respect all postings as Intellectual property.

        The Dollhouse

By: Lis Anna

At Christmas time my mom and her boyfriend Dave liked to get really stoned and make strings of popcorn to go on the tree. This would go on for hours. This was the same year I begged for a chemistry set. The trend at the time was to give me dolls from all over the world. Dutch girl. Spanish girl. French girl. Yawn. I wrote my list and taped it to the refrigerator. I told everyone I could find.

Then…on Christmas morning I thundered down the hall to find…


I looked everywhere for the chemistry set. There was a Swiss girl, a China girl and that…thing. It loomed over the other presents, with its creepy, freshly painted, empty rooms.

“Cotton, don’t you like it?” my mother glared me into submission.

I stared. I scratched. “What else did I get?”

Since she didn’t get the reaction out of me that she wanted she went to an after Christmas sale and bought her own dollhouse. Rich, deep colors, tiny fingernail sized tile, miniature claw footed bathtubs, and tiny ceramic cookware filled it to the brim. Mine sat in the corner. She bought a new marble table for hers. When she was done, she started in on mine again.

I watched my empty house fill with furniture I had not ordered. I begged for Magic Rocks, “Pleeeaaasse…”


“A new chemistry set?” New parents? Anything but that stupid dollhouse.


“Well, then what am I supposed to do with it?”

“You play with it.”


“You move the people around in the house. Like this…” she said, dragging the little rubber man over to the table to sit down for dinner.

“That’s not very interesting.”

“Oh, Cotton, use your imagination,” she said, throwing the Rubber Man on the cobbled bathroom floor.

I wasn’t making my point very well so I slept in the hall as protest. At 5 AM I woke to the sound of the bathroom door closing, then, “Cotton, you are so ungrateful.”

“Is it time for cartoons?”

“No, get in bed.”

I wasn’t going without a fight. “I don’t want to sleep with the evil, evil dollhouse.”

“Do you know how much money we spent on that thing? The house alone cost Dave a thousand dollars.”

“So. It’s evil.”

“Stop saying that.”

“Well, it is. It’s a haunted dollhouse.”

“It is not.”

“It is.”

“I’m not going to argue with you. It stays.”

Okay, but my rubber people weren’t dull. They threw china, slammed doors, had affairs, ran away with pirates, returned from voyages overseas, collapsed in piles of sorrow, drank too much, developed acute paranoia, formulated theories on why their house seemed so small and why therapy wasn’t helping them with the sensation that they were always being watched and although not entirely realistic, never once sat down for dinner. I took old Barbies and used it as a homeless shelter. The butler, Sam, developed a drinking problem. The oldest daughter, Sadie, slipped into a deep depression and disappeared for days in my sock drawer.

“Hank,” Sadie would say, “you’ve simply got to help me. I’ve been wearing the same clothes my entire life.”

She was constantly auditioning for parts on soap operas. She’d practice all day in the kitchen driving the hired help closer to the bottle. Angeline was the cook. No one knew anything about her except…



“Who are you talking to in there?”

“I’m not talking to anyone. It’s the rubber people.”

“Well, stop. It’s creepy.”

Then Sadie turned to Hank as he refilled the ice bucket. “Darling, don’t you think it’s strange that none of us remember anything before we came to live in this house. It’s like we didn’t exist,” she whispered.

Sadie was a sharp one. Hank looked over, his eyes swimming in stolen bourbon. “Honey,” he’d say, “let’s just forget about it.”

“Only because you can’t remember, either,” she slapped back.

Then she took a lover. But I didn’t have anymore rubber people so Sam had to double.

“Cotton, its time for bed.”

Then Sam stole the plastic Mercedes and ran away with a Barbie six inches taller than him because he couldn’t take the stress. Barbie thought he was rich because he always wore a tuxedo.

In the meantime, my parents were trafficking loads of narcotics out of our basement. Men who didn’t speak English carried boxes out to trucks. These people had no names, no identity, no past, no future. Sort of like the rubber people.

“Hank,” Sadie slurred, “Hank, why don’t we have a front yard, honey? I feel so confined. Honey, I feel like someone’s watching us.”

Sadie was going to have to go back on medication. They were huge pills of artificial sweetener I’d stolen from the kitchen cabinet. Hank left everyday saying that he was going to the office but he really spent his entire day in the windowsill.

“What a fake,” Sadie exhaled.

“Cotton, it’s time for your ballet lesson.”

“But Sadie’s waiting on a call from a TV producer.”

“Don’t worry about that.”

Sam came back after a week. Barbie dumped him and kept the Mercedes. Penniless and rubber he returned, smelling like exhaust and cigarettes. Angeline poured him a stiff one.

“Cotton, come on.”

“Oh, alright.”

Later that night a bright light flashed in Hank’s eyes. He bolted upright. “What was that?”

Sadie looked around in a daze and said, “Aliens.”

I turned off my flashlight and went to bed amused.



“Stop talking to yourself,” my mother screamed at the top of her lungs.

The next day my mother curiously disappeared.

“She has a headache,” Dave said. “She’s resting.”


“In a comfortable place.”

“Like a chair?”

“Yes, like a chair.” Then he bought me a happy meal.

With the disappearance of my mother the antics of the dollhouse seemed to be less interesting so I went back to discovering lost civilizations out in the woods behind our house. I looked for Mars in the night sky and tried to imagine the world three thousand years ago. I’d lay very still, under the stars and travel on caravans through ancient worlds.

The next morning we had runny, undercooked, hardboiled eggs for breakfast. Dave stared down at his plate.

“There’s a diner down off the highway,” I said, trying to be helpful.

“Yeah,” he said, standing. Then he threw the plates in the trash.

The glass plates.

After breakfast I went into my room to get my new magic rocks and saw Hank lying face down on the tiled floor. When the coast was clear I sneaked across the hall and put him in my mother’s empty dollhouse. There were no porcelain cats, no felt covered birds in tiny cages with no vocal cords, no squatters, no renters, no nothing. Just a big, empty, perfect house that looked good if you were looking in. Hank hated it. There wasn’t a drop of booze anywhere.

Dave went outside to smoke a joint. I heard the glass door slide shut. Finally I walked into the kitchen to finish my homework. Dave came in, bleary eyed, looking like someone hit him in the head with a rock.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah.” But really I was kind of bored so I was happy when Sadie had a relapse and the Butler drained the bank account.

On Tuesday Dave left me alone in the house. He made me promise not to turn on the stove or tell my grandmother I was ever by myself. I read a Hardy Boys mystery, ate leftover Italian, then padded down the hall, and stared at the empty dollhouse in my mother’s room. There was something about its perfection that made it tainted, jaded, unfit.

“I’ll drink to that,” Sadie said, just before running off to Mexico.

Later that evening Dave guided my mother through the door. Her eyes were heavy, with dark circles underneath.

“Someday,” she told me over breakfast the next morning, “you’ll get married and have a house, too and you’ll be happy you learned something from that dollhouse.”

“You’re not married,” I pointed out.

She stared down into her grape juice. Dave hustled me out of the kitchen and took me to my French lesson.

“I don’t want the dollhouse anymore,” I announced in the car.

“Cotton, now isn’t the time to start changing things around. Just play with the dollhouse the way your mother wants.”

“But I don’t want it.”

“It’s just a silly toy,” he said, sighing.

“No, it’s something else,” and I started crying.

The dollhouse loomed dark over my thoughts placed on the floor in-between the dresser and window. Four stories tall, filled to the brim, secrets stashed in every drawer. Late at night, when everyone else was sleeping, it would whisper and creak like it was alive.

So, I started sleeping in the hall again. This time my mother ignored me.

For days I sat at the kitchen table, plotting. How does a seven year old make an entire house just disappear. We had a hammer in the kitchen junk drawer but I knew my mother would blow a gasket over destruction. I slept on it, obsessed, considered my options, begged for aliens to come and take it away, slept on it again, paced the hall in my footed pajamas, obsessed and then at the end of the week the light bulb clicked on so bright, it nearly burst. That night while everyone was sleeping I took the rubber people out to the side of the house and buried them.

“Cotton, where’s the family I bought for the house?”

Not bothering to glance up from the Hardy Boy’s mystery, I said, “They’re not a family and I don’t know.”

“Well, they were here a few days ago.”

“Yes, they were,” I picked at the dirt under my fingernails.

“And you don’t know what happened to them?”

“Nope. Maybe the dog ate them.”

Later that night I eavesdropped outside the bedroom door.

“Don’t you think the whole thing is a little creepy and a little odd?” My mother asked Dave.

The Christmas tree was upside down in the trash. It was snowing. Jimmy Carter was on the TV again.

Dave shook his head hopelessly and let it go.

I went back to my room thinking about the rubber people. If Sadie had been there she would have said, “Hank, honey, hasn’t anyone noticed that the backside of the house doesn’t have a wall? Don’t you think that’s strange? I mean, people could be watching us.”

Angeline would’ve heard the whole thing while she was dusting the furniture with a cotton ball. Sam would have been wondering why there were so many lamps and no electricity.

And Hank would have stopped making gin martini’s long enough to say, “Honey, I think you’re making a big deal out of nothing. I mean, we have three sides. So what if the back is missing. It’s always been that way.”

Welcome to my world.

Copyright 2008 Lis Anna All Rights Reserved

This short story was originally published in print in 2008 in The Petigru Review Volume One

The Petigru Review is sponsored by the South Carolina Writers Workshop 
which I support and recommend.


Friday, August 16, 2013

This piece of flash fiction titled "Figs" was originally published in "The Smoking Poet" in the winter edition 2009. Still one of my favorites. 

Welcome to my world. 

By Lis Anna

“Cotton,” my grandmother yelled from the back porch. “Where are you, child?”
The back steps were rotting so she wouldn’t dare come looking for me. For awhile I’d pretend not to hear, but eventually I’d be forced to cross that great expanse of backyard from past to present. The family dog, Oswald, named after Lee Harvey, was always waiting on me. A neighborhood cat had kittens in the old washing machine in the basement. Now she’d moved them under the porch. They were feral. “Just like you,” my Grandmother said.
She had just bought a glass table that had fallen off the back of a truck. Everything in the house was stolen, including the medication. Uncle Stan was at the table eating Thorazine, green beans and fried chicken. I looked down at my drummie on the plate.
“What’s wrong?” Granny asked, mashing potatoes.
“She’s been back there eatin’ them figs all day, Mother.” Stan said, smothering everything on his plate, swimming in gravy.
“Have not.”
“Have to. I seen you.”
“Well, that’s okay,” Granny said. “Adam and Eve ate figs.”
“Shoulda eaten snake,” Stan said, pleased with himself.
That evening I climbed up on the old porcelain sink in the bathroom and stared down at the tree. It was as old as the Bible. It grew in faraway lands. Somehow it had made its way across a vast sea … to our backyard.
“Cotton, how many times have I told you not to climb up on that sink? It’s going to come loose from the wall.”
I shimmied down the porcelain with a frown.
“What is it with you and that tree?”
“Where did it come from?”
“It was here when we moved in. A long time before you were born.”
I was sure the tree had been taken from the Garden of Eden by a travelling salesman who rode on a magic carpet.
I stole the key to the old carriage house to look for clues. There was nothing out there except for dust, nails and a musty smell. I locked the padlock, put the key in my pocket and climbed the tree.
A bright blue calm day in the Empire. I picked honeysuckle flowers just to taste that one drop of sweetness on my tongue. Then I ate a fig, sweet, tasty with its colorful inside and seeds. Twilight was upon me. The locusts began to sing that rhythmic song and the crickets chirped. I felt so high in the air, lingering next to the clouds.
Tomorrow it would rain and the ditch would swell like the Nile. I knew. I’d seen it before.

Copyright 2009 Lis Anna
All Rights Reserved

for more smoking poetry and fiction check out

(story) teller: Here is a fresh piece of flash fiction for you....

(story) teller: Here is a fresh piece of flash fiction for you.

: Here is a fresh piece of flash fiction for you. Old Friends by Lis Anna             “There are no men in pink thongs rolle...
Here is a fresh piece of flash fiction for you.

Old Friends
by Lis Anna

            “There are no men in pink thongs rollerblading down the boulevard.” Drew says, staring out of the back window of the rental car.
            True.  Winding mountain roads ascend into darkness. I’m dying, he says, but doesn’t.  He coughs instead.  Outside, leaves fall in a masquerade of autumn.  He covers his mouth.  Decay.
            Jacob glances back, offers a tissue.  Drew accepts.
            When we arrive at the lodge, Jacob checks in.  Drew and I stand next to our luggage.  He doesn’t have the strength to lift a carry on.  He looks out the window, past the car, past the parking lot, into the shapes of primitive rising peaks.  Rocks.  Old stories.  Where he comes from there is only sand. A flat earth that rushes forward to disappear under water.
            A night clerk carries the luggage.  We tip well. A corkscrew creaks through cork, moaning, grinding.  Jacob’s suitcase is filled with wine from a small South American vineyard.
            Drew sits on his bed with a thermometer under his tongue.  “That’s so cute.  That country woman back at that restaurant thought you and Shelby were in love.”
            “Yeah,” Jacob says, glancing over at me.  I say nothing at all.  Jacob pours the blood of christ.  Drew coughs again.  The sound closes in around us, ringing in our ears, until we remember the Ferris wheel. It's a comforting thought. Drew thinks we ascend to heaven in a carnival. Whatever works. 
            Later that night Drew dreams about a man who has no face.  He wakes in a cold sweat.  Jacob gives him the pills. 
            After awhile it is quiet and Jacob tries to drift off but he knows.  He tries to hide it sometimes but really he wears it like a bright red coat.  Mentally, he marks off days on a calendar in his head.  Beginning with the first.  A long time ago.
            The pills don’t work. Drew walks down the corridor wrapped in a sheet to get a soda.  He can tell the hotel was built before electricity because his dad used to restore old buildings.  He is five cents               short.  Back in the room he wakes Jacob who allows these intrusions because he knows it’s spreading to his brain.
            A clear sparkling beverage.  All the same.  He drinks them at home.  Two thousand miles away.  Car alarms, drunks begging change.  Home sweet home. When he returns, I am leaving.  He burrows under the blankets. Coughs.
            “It’s the mountain air,” I say.
            Too exhausted to do anything else, Drew pleads, “Stay, Shelby…please.  You know how he is.”
            I look at Jacob who has finally fallen asleep.  “You know, I knew him back before his parents were arrested.  We used to drink wine coolers by the pool.  The one that was always green because they never had it serviced.”
          Drew has never heard crickets before.  “They’re creepy,” he says, pulling the sheet tight.  “They sound like an alien invasion.”  He looks out the sliding door, into the blue haze of predawn, “I mean, where are they?  And why do they just sit in the dark and make noise.  They’re everywhere."

Copyright 2013 Lis Anna
All rights reserved. 
Welcome to my world.   

(story) teller: things i would recommend if you are serious about ...

(story) teller: things i would recommend if you are serious about ...: There are lots of books on writing. Most of which I will never recommend. But there are books that help you improve your craft and this is o...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

(story) teller: In the beginning ...

(story) teller: In the beginning ...: This has been a process of creation. I have created this blog and this page as a means of entertaining my audience. I work a lot. I write a...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Writing to me is about my audience. Occasionally I visit a page where someone has listed themselves as an Author who hasn't even written a short story. Authors to me perform a service. We entertain. We make you laugh and cry and piss you off and swoon and arouse you and thrill you and  take you to that beautiful edge and let you go. So in the spirit of this belief I have created a fb page and a blog to do just that. For you. With you. I promise that I will not try to sell you anything or bounce up and down screaming "Look at me Look at me" or tell you constantly how awesome I am. I will show you. haha. I promise that you will see and read and experience things on these two pages that will only be directed to these two pages. You will not be subjected to endless excerpts of already published work. You will be lavished with wonderful little pieces of fiction so that when the larger works of mine are in print you will be ready to gobble them up. (story) teller will become my official page for work. I promise to create some kind of schedule for posting so that you can anticipate my stories arriving out in the world. And I truly promise you that I have no idea where this journey goes but I am thrilled to share it with you. And anyone you share it with.

Welcome to my world.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

In the beginning ...

This has been a process of creation. I have created this blog and this page as a means of entertaining my audience. I work a lot. I write a lot. But not all work ends up in a script or novel or short story. Sometimes a scene is merely a scene. Sometimes a piece of fiction is a vignette. I tell stories in many ways. Words, images, nuance, silence, movement. So, with this new creation I will entertain you with fiction and stories you would otherwise never see and I will create an ongoing serial story for you to read, enjoy and tell your friends about. This blog and page is my gift to my audience, it is a means of expression and a way of sharing my work in-between the published pieces and longer pieces. 

Welcome to my world.