Fiction Promotion – Hym and Hur by Phillip Frey 

Title: Hym and Hur

Author: Phillip Frey

Format: Ebook available through Amazon and Smashwords

Pages: 29 pages

Published: 15 January 2014

ISBN: 978-83-7606-460-4




Extract from ‘Hym and Hur’


A bright flash lit up the restaurant window. The waitress snapped her eyes shut, thinking it was the sun bouncing off a windshield. Blinking her eyes open, she noticed the booth alongside the window was occupied. A booth she could have sworn had just been empty, and she made her way over to it.

Hym set the breakfast menu down. “Coffee,” he said to the waitress, “and can I get a hot fudge sundae at this hour?”

“No problem,” she told him. “And for you, ma’am?”

“Hot tea,” Hur said, “and a slice of cherry pie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.”

“Sounds great,” the waitress smiled, and she left them.

“What’ll we do today?” Hur asked Hym.

Searching for an answer, his hazel eyes filled with mischief. “How about this?” he whispered. “For twenty-four hours we give everyone in Los Angeles bad luck.”

“But most of them already have bad luck,” Hur said. “And it would be a negative. Why not give everybody good luck?”

“Not really my kind of fun,” he slouched.

In the silence that followed, each tried to come up with something.

“Breakfast time,” the waitress announced. She served the drinks and desserts, and then was off to the next booth.

Hur’s blue eyes brightened. “I got it,” she said, and it was her turn to whisper. “For a day or two, no one in Los Angeles dies.”

Hym slapped his forehead. “That is great!”

“Oh-darn,” she said. “We’ll have to get you-know-who to go along with it.”

“Why wouldn’t he?” Hym said as he dug happily into his sundae. “It’ll give him a chance to shorten his list.”

Hur nodded skeptically as she took a big bite of her dessert.



Extract from ‘Hym and Hur’


Barney’s Beanery had just opened. There were only two customers at the bar. A chubby old woman sipped a beer at one end. At the other sat Death tossing back a shot of Jim Beam.

He grimaced with delight, slammed his glass down and said, “Barkeep—I’ll have another.”

Pouring the drink, the bartender eyed Death’s black coat and fedora, the pale skin and long gnarled fingers. “Perfect weather for a coat,” he cracked, “must be only about 80 out there.”

Death took hold of his fresh drink. “You’re too young to be a real barkeep,” he said. “You’re a standup comic, just trying to make ends meet.”

“Got me pegged,” said the bartender. “Which club you see me at?”

“None,” Death grinned. He downed the Jim Beam, burped and said, “I’m a real whiz when it comes to people-insight.”

The Beanery’s door opened. Hym and Hur stepped in and gazed at the far end of the bar, at Death ordering one more for the road.

Death saw them and arose tall and lanky from his stool. “It’s Hym and Hur,” he said leaning in toward the bartender. “Pair of beauties, wouldn’t you say?” Then turning toward the pair, he hollered over the distance: “Pair of troublemakers is more like it!”

The bartender said, “Hey, take it easy or I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

“It’s them who ought to leave,” Death said. He backed away from the bar, knocked his stool over, danced in a circle and sang out, “Pretty pair will fill your bottles with beetles and worms, and your drinkers will dance with pink ‘n’ blue pachyderms!”

The chubby old woman at the near end of the bar put her money down and left.

“Geez,” Hym said quietly to Hur, “does Death need a vacation or what?”

Death stopped dancing, pointed a long finger at them and shouted, “Secrets—dirty little secrets!”

The bouncer came over to Death and said, “You’re outta here, buddy!” He grabbed Death’s coat sleeve and yanked him toward the back exit.

Suddenly, as if struck by lightning, the bouncer let go of the sleeve, reeled and hit the floor with a hard thud.

“He’ll wake up after I leave,” Death told the fearful bartender. “Now, now,” Death said to him, “everything’s fine.” Picking his stool up off the floor, Death sat and threw back his one for the road, Hym and Hur on the approach.

“I’m feeling much better now,” Death said to the bartender. “So good in fact, I’ll have another for the road while I give these two a moment of my time, over there in that booth.”

“And for us,” Hym ordered, “two root-beer floats.”

“Heavy on the ice cream,” Hur smiled brightly.

Death stepped over the bouncer and said to the bartender, “No use in trying to use the phone. Landlines and cells have been temporarily brought down by an unusually large sun spot.”




Information about the author:


Phillip Frey has been a professional actor, independent filmmaker and produced screenwriter. He is now devoted only to writing prose. The fiction books “Dangerous Times” and “Hym and Hur” were his first published works.
As a recent contest winner, Phillip Frey’s romantic comedy, “The Hero of Lost Causes,” may be read in Scribes Valley Publishing’s annual short story anthology, “Slow the Pace.” Available in print and eBook.

Jota Boombaba – 2 poems 

Volkswagen Van

                         “We never see him.”

                                     —Louis XIV


Grand chateau, once royal court of France

  now packed with peasants on bus tours from Paris

    —and me curled up in a Volkswagen van


Where once purple kings and sycophants pranced

  dancing with stars on a moonlit terrace

    this grand chateau, this royal crown of France


Now hosts a daily deluge—trash cans

  full of coffee cups, littered souvenirs

    and me curled up in a Volkswagen van


When one past prince fell ill at romance

  too ashamed to be seen, too embarrassed

    he shunned the chateau, a sin across France


Like him, I’m alone, a grin with no glance

  never to know a stroll with an heiress

    only the hold of a Volkswagen van





Railway Deli

                     —Train to Venice, 1980


Parents packed with diaper bags; infants, kids

  stuffed like peppers in a carriage corridor


Uniformed soldiers smoking San Miguels

  strung-up salamis, olives in a jar


I close my itchy eyes, dream of first-class seats

  roomy leather arms, air-con breeze


I pop a Coca-Cola, pour bubbles over ice

  prop my tired feet, sip the countryside


But eyes blink open, burning from the stench

  thin tin can, narrow wooden bench




Jota Boombaba, when not on the road, writes in and around San Francisco, where he lives an kicks back with his son.  Catch him most days at

Stephen Mead – 2 poems 



It came through at once,

Came as braille,

The canvas & that touching

Since you didn’t really reach

Out of anything but

My system analyzing

Time out of mind to be

These clearly surreal fingers,

Their sculpted span, a mass

Of presence shaping what went

Beyond letters & dreams,

The shadows of pages

Where we talked our heads off

In sleep, in exchanging silences

With strangers, in omitting

The distance which was

Our eyes calling from photos

Held in envelopes, held in

Our palms pouring

The other’s face,

The other’s mouth

Over sheets of

Private flesh




You have the sheen of certain paintings

Even as landscapes climb, solid steel & concrete

High rises blocking sun all around you, you,

Jungle dissident planted, a misfit, in this

Beat box ghetto…


Does the undercurrent contain jazz?

Listen, orchids rustle a tropical breeze

Through hair, the tattoo of blues

Bruise-stuck to skin.

With them the city is polished

Bright as moon in clear midnight.


Your gaze pierces sky scrapers.

These apartment projects become

Some evergreen glade

When you enter, a starling.


Mote on the move, light glints

As fire off the heat breathed.

These notes instill pure nitro

Nuances, a good fever’s rhythm.


Lulled by such thrumming

The landscape becomes still.

You lend it some more potency

& resonate.


A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. His latest P.O.D. amazon release is an art-text hybrid, “According to the Order of Nature (We too are Cosmos Made)”, a work which takes to task the words which have been used against LGBT folks from time immemorial.  In 2014 he began a webpage to gather links of his poetry being published in such zines as Great Works, Unlikely Stories, Quill & Parchment, etc., in one place:

Ace Boggess – 4 poems 


VEB DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme, 1960



With props from our futuristic past—

cardboard, tin & string—how did we

break the alien code, learn

of an invasion force that never came?

We send a team, we rocket

through the roiling, radioactive clouds.

When we arrive,

we see that those who would destroy us

left their shadows on the walls.


Apologies, Mr. Stanislaw Lem.

Your message was garbled, or we were.

We might as well skip Venus altogether,

return instead to Solaris

where dreams come alive in ghosts of mind &

no one ever really wants to leave.




              Universal Pictures, 1971



Another way of saying one bomb

welcomes the apocalypse—see,

it’s not the bug-eyed greenies that get us

but our will to split an atom.


How I used to love this movie

when it popped up on my Sunday channels:

first film to let me feel its tension

under skin like shards of splinters.


The virus is the story, I thought,

unwilling to perform an autopsy on narrative.

Watching today, I know the bad guys are

we: a mean bunch of dumbfucks &


cosmic cavemen first encountering

solar fire that sears our bones to powder.

We frighten ourselves, shout: Look!

There are monsters here. Now run.





              Paramount Pictures, 1953



tri-colored eyes the Martians have like separating lenses

of course we know there are no Martians

unless there are in which case….

sure some folks believed it when Welles put it on the radio

people like mutts who hear a tap at the window &

think the cat has come inside

excited over nothing

but that was sound & this is Technicolor &

what gets me: the breakdown

on those three Martian eyes: red blue green

not quite primaries but almost &

how the Martians see our world as if watching

a 3-D movie without glasses

dirty flat & nauseating

I’d want to destroy it too

I’d want to see it dead

although from the look of things I guess it is





Jofa-Atelier Berlin-Johannisthal,

Prana-Film GmbH, 1922



Never, never were things made to last so long

That what was chilling now seems more like art,

Although its writers got the story wrong.


Before Lugosi, Karloff, or the classic Kong,

It earned its shivers, gave the crowds a start,

A passing fright not meant to last so long.


The film, though grainy, sputters right along

As Mr. Schreck, who’s creepy for his part,

Does Orlok well but gets the story wrong


Despite so many silent voices & the organ song—

Not prime (producers of this version weren’t smart

About preserving music that wasn’t meant to last so long)—


When Orlok dies without a dagger’s prong

To slit his throat & pierce his soiled heart.

See how they got the master’s story wrong?


Still, this iconic image holds up well as any throng

Of Nietzsche’s phrases or the five words by Descartes.

I only hope that I might last so long,

& no one says I got my story wrong.


Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Terry Severhill – Poetry and Flash Fiction


Where there is no sadness I wonder. . .  .  .   .

 “Smothered in the arms of an aunt whose connection to me is vague. Is she my mother’s sister? Is she my father’s? She seems to know me. I have a hesitant moment in the arms enfolding me, telling me that things will be okay, that is was for the best.”

How can non- life be for the best? Isn’t life what it’s all about? Not just mine or individually but in the whole scheme of things? We’re told that the universe is expanding. That it will eventually turn its cold shoulder on us and coast to a stop. Devolving, becoming less and less complex while life, rising to levels of incredible complexity, a counterpart to the cosmic death spiral. In the end, when all is dark, cold, not a distant memory anymore because there is no one or no thing to remember. . .  .  .   .

If no one is around do the falling tears of angels make a sound?



Dragon flies don’t breath fire, little men with big egos do. The expiration date is meaningless. Standup comics should sit down and shut up. Keeping the unicorns off grass seems to be more important than fact checking who killed Ben Gazi. The generators of conspiracies fuel up with half -truths from yesterday’s garbage. We all know that the CIA uses diminutive genetically engineered ponies with a single spiral horn to assassinate our dreams. Freddy Flintstone and Fred Kruger have the same mind set, the same IQ and the same socially insecure number. The left hand doesn’t give a shit what the right hand knows. Space aliens capable of interstellar flight never seem to opt in for roadside

assistance. Their insurance policy excludes coverage in near earth orbit. My god can beat up your god. Heck my little sister can too. If you can’t follow me then why are you close enough to read this bumper sticker?



A hundred buildings

A thousand corridors

Ten thousand unknowns walking towards an uncertain purpose.

Looking for validation, who if they were to be honest (so few are)

are emotional invalids with no rehab insurance.

So many unknowns, so many corridors,

Pacing, walking, running into dead ends.

Doubling back— climbing ladders, slamming their heads

Into invisible glass ceilings where the Chosen look down,

Snicker then go back to discussing mergers, the plight of the poor,

Holding solo cups filled with wine or champagne,

Disguised to resemble wine glasses or brute flutes.

Two Buck Chuck is a folk hero in the corridors.

The masses of unknowns toil in upward mobility and

just as rapidly filter back towards the bottom rung of the ladder to nowhere.

They genuflect in yoga poses and deposit their blood, sweat,

Tears and other bodily fluids as sacrifice on the altar of success.

Disciples of self-esteem claim that success is a state of mind.

A state with no leadership, lacking in resources, bankrupt,

Its boarders defended by assumptions,

Presumptions, and conspicuous consumption.

The faithful disciples hold monthly meetings dedicated to past and future

Inductees into the hallowed ranks of the Honorable Mention.

They pride themselves in their lofty status —

A rung above the Also rans –

Who hold fast — clinging to trophies emblazoned with “ Participant”.

No Name, no date.

No effort, no doubt.

The unknowns in the corridors

Those who own the corridors

All seem to forget that no one gets out alive.

That life is a sexually transmitted disease that is 100% fatal.


Terry Severhill