Vajra Chandasekera • Georgene Smith Goodin
• Jinapher J. Hoffman • Clive Tern
plus Nolan Liebert
Paul A. Hamilton
Copyright © 2016 ironSoap.com. All writing and photography is the property of their respective
Cover photographs by Paul A. Hamilton.
200 CCs is an anthology of microfiction, collected monthly. Inquire online for submission guidelines.
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Images accompanying each story are provided via the Creative Commons license as follows:
• pg 4: Ron St. Amant — https://www.flickr.com/photos/ron_stamant/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• pg 5: Darwin Bell — https://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/ (CC BY-NC 2.0)
• pg 6: David Power — https://www.flickr.com/photos/instantjefferson// (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• pg 7: Steve Loya — http://www.steveloya.com/ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Editing: Creation Through Curation
I’m new at this editorial gig. Maybe it’s gauche to
admit such a thing, but I don’t have a lot of
interest in feigning professional competence for
the sake of appearances. I’ve tried to make this an
educated undertaking, but at some point overpreparation
kicks in. I’m more of a dive-into-thecold-pool-headfirst
kind of person anyway.
What has surprised me the most in the past couple
of months is how the creative process is very
much alive in this endeavor. Which, in retrospect,
should not be such a surprising thing. But,
hindsight aside, my preconception of the work of
editors was largely one of accounting. Tabulation.
Sorting, clinical correction, collating, the sorts of
things a fussy person with an eye for aesthetic
might enjoy but which the freewheeling creative
person—focused solely on fabrication of the new
from the nothing—might find dull.
And yes, sure, those elements are present in
the endeavor. But then they all center around
the freeing, inspiring joy of bringing stories to
people. So they feel less clinical and stodgy
than they might if we were dealing with, say,
corporate financial records. Or something.
But more to the point, there is a creative
element inherent in the work. Because it’s not
just selecting submissions and dumping them
on readers. It’s looking, in some cases, for the
pure potential inside a piece of writing.
Not all markets tell writers whose submitted
stories are close but not quite to consider
fixing some issues and tyring again. I get that
maybe such a thing is viable only for the very
small market. But as of now it’s an integral
part of what I want to do with 200 CCs.
Because writing is a very mechanical part of
storytelling. Or, perhaps, writing is one
mechanical option available to the story
When I think of it this way—that I’m
looking for the conjured stories—it’s easier to
see the language as malleable, to avoid asking, “Is
this a beautfiul piece of writing?” And rather ask,
“Is this a beautiful story?”
Writing can be shaped, but the story must be
excavated from pressed experiences and ideas.
Even microfiction comes not from putting one
word after the other (despite what Neil Gaiman
may say, though I believe he’s referring to the
specific act of writing, not the broader act of
creation) but from linking ideas and conveying
them through the writing process.
This is the essence of collaborative creativity,
then, because as an editor I need to see the story
behind the words, the telepathic projection of
those concepts from the original conjuration. But
then to find the best, most honest way to convey
that requires a careful, imaginative experiment
in meta-narrative. Discussing the means to
reveal the author’s story—particularly when that
author and that editor are relative strangers—
is peculiar and exciting like little else. The
closest I’ve ever experienced prior is roleplaying
games where the story unfolds via a
careful give-and-take between game leader
and game player.
As with the gaming version, the strange
alchemy when it’s really working is potent
and highly addictive.
What results, if all goes according to plan,
is a version of the story—that great and
almighty abstract we as writers and editors
pursue with a sinful lust—which appeals to
the greatest audience. Or at least the
greatest audience most desired by the venue
in question. The representative sample of
that audience, at first, is the editor and
The goal is to find something that makes
those two partners happy.
And when we’re happy, dear reader, our
only possible hope is you will be as
—Paul A. Hamilton
by Clive Tern
Sienna's boots left holes in the soot on the street of her childhood home. The smell of rot and decay
wasn't overpowering, but it was there.
Voices unheard for over two decades echoed in her ears; 'Ma, he threw a rock at me!' 'Sienna, it's tea
time.' 'If you kiss me, you'll see stars.'
While the voices played inside she looked at the devastation, and continued towards her destination.
Number sixty-seven used to have a blue door and white net curtains at every window. Now it was a
ruin. The door and windows were broken through, the roof was tumbled down. Instead of bright
cleanliness it wore a suit of grime.
"I'm home," she thought. "For the first time in twenty years I'm home."
Home. The word echoed through her, disrupting the memories by fragmenting them into shards
which meant nothing, but cut her soul until it bled.
Coming here had been pointless, an exercise in whim to demonstrate power. Still, what was point of
authority, if you didn't abuse it a little?
She unclipped a beacon from her belt and tossed it through the broken doorway. This would be the
epicentre of re-terraforming. Humanity could come home.
Clive lives by the sea in rural Cornwall, England, and writes short stories and poetry. He has been published by
Zetetic, Pidgeonholes, & The Quarterday Review. Occasionally he blogs about finding writing tough at
The Valentine’s Massacre
by Georgene Smith Goodin
I'm on Fourth Street when the radio cackles. Active shooter at the middle school. My heart boings. The
wife and I made Jimmy go to the Valentine's dance.
I throw on my siren and flip a bitch. Cop's prerogative. A perimeter's being established when I screech
into the parking lot.
"What've we got?" I ask the captain.
"Whack job with a crossbow." He motions the SWAT team into place. "Jimmy in there?"
A succession of clicks, guns being cocked.
The hostage negotiator uses a bullhorn. "Lay down your weapon and come out with your hands up."
The gym door creaks open. Out comes a guy sporting a diaper. His chubby cheeks rival Jimmy's baby
pics. His curls are angelic.
"You've got this all wrong," he says.
The SWAT team hauls him off while the rest of us clear the building. All we find is a toy bow and arrow.
The kids slink out in a disorderly line, sulking instead of relieved.
I run to Jimmy. "Glad you're okay," I say. "Anybody hurt?"
He nods at Violet clinging to his arm. "I think she needs a doctor."
"I'm fine," she says, starry-eyed, and strokes his face.
Georgene Smith Goodin's work has appeared in numerous publications, and has won the "Mash
Stories" flash fiction competition. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the cartoonist
Robert Goodin. When not writing, she is restoring a 1909 Craftsman bungalow with obsessive
attention to historic detail. Visit her blog (http://georgenesmithgoodin.blogspot.com/), or follow
her on Twitter, @gsmithgoodin.
by Jinapher J. Hoffman
I wade into the water. The boat drifts out further—out of my reach—forever. It's still on fire, the flames a
beacon for lost hope. Ma grips my shoulder, pulling me back.
"But, where is he going?" I ask her.
She kneels down and pulls the tips of my fingers to her mouth and kisses them.
I wipe tears from her cheeks. "Don't worry. Pa said he'd always come back."
She pulls Pa's tags from her pocket and puts them around my neck. "Not this time, baby." She kisses my
forehead. "Not this time."
Her head nuzzles into my shoulder and I stare past her at the empty pasture.
"Ma, where is everyone? Aunt Linda? Cousin Tim?" I pull away from her. "They should be here. Shouldn't
they? They should see Pa off."
Ma trembles. "Not every hero makes a crowd, baby." She tugs on my hand. "Come on, let's go back to the
I shake my head. "I want to watch him go."
She turns away. She always turns away.
Pa is a blazing dot against the horizon. I reach a hand out, grasping at the flames, but my palm is left empty
and the boat is gone.
Jinapher J. Hoffman is the Founder and Writer for her self-named blog (http://
jinapherjhoffman.com/aboutthewriter/), author of the YA Dystopian Thriller Twenty, Co-Founder
of Incipient Productions, Scriptwriter, Director, and a current student in Orlando – obtaining a
BA in Creative Writing for the Entertainment Business. She’s had some of her short fiction
published with 101 Words, Slink Chunk Press, and Flash Fiction Magazine. In her spare time,
she is a DH Designs model, cat lover, and attempting to consume less coffee.
Týr/Fenrir (UST, Dubcon, Squick)
by Vajra Chandrasekera
They (find you out and they) make you do it.
You (have no option but to parley, to) put
your cock in the wolf's mouth one last time, to
be dwarfed on the great tongue. The teeth
prick. You grab handfuls of fur (as if) to fuck
the mouth that will one day eat the sun but
you (throw your head back because you) can't
meet his piss-yellow leer. Your balls are (cold
and) burning tight, and whether (or not) you're
flaccid only you and the wolf know.
They begin the rope bondage while you look
the grinning wolf in the mouth, in the eye.
(The rope chafes: the root and sinew pinch,
the beard itches, the spit and silence irritates.)
You're waiting for that first gloaming of
suspicion, the twilit moment when (it all goes
sour and fast and hot, and) the war ends, peace
in your time, ceasefire in yellow and red seeds
seeping into the earth to be ploughed by
downed swords. You're waiting to be found
Later, when they tell this story, they'll (think
they're taking pity on you when they) say it
was your right hand.
Vajra Chandrasekera is from Colombo, Sri Lanka. If you liked this, you should also try his
stories in Flapperhouse (http://flapperhouse.com/2015/03/10/the-rud-yard-fiction-by-vajrachandrasekera/),
Grievous Angel (http://www.urbanfantasist.com/latest-sci-fi--fantasypoetry--flash-fiction/new-flash-fiction-theres-a-vampire-dragon-in-the-world-tree)
Three-Lobed Burning Eye (http://www.3lobedmag.com/issue24/3lbe24_story2.html).
y Nolan Liebert
We talk about love like we know what it is.
Dopamine and serotonin and pulse upon
pulse, the way we measure the distance and
the strength of our longing. But there
is more to it. That is why we tell
stories, write sonnets, and sing songs.
February brings forth jewels and
chocolates and singing telegrams.
But we forget that love is more than
some bond that exists between two
people. We try, again and again, to put
words to something wordless.
“Going Home” talks about the love of a
planet, the love of the past, and,
unsurprisingly, the love of home. In an
increasingly divided culture surrounding
the changing ecology of our planet, this
is incredibly important to recognize.
Why don’t we talk about our home and
the world that sustains us in the same
way we talk about a partner or a lover?
Why don’t we talk about making up
with the soil and the sky? There is a
nostalgia to this piece that makes one
wonder if they are seeing the future stare
back at us in judgment.
The love of our children, but also their own
young love is touched on by “The
Valentine’s Massacre”. We forget what it
was like to be ourselves from ten or twenty
or thirty years ago. We forget what Cupid’s
arrows felt like when they pulled us closer
and closer across the perfume-riddled floor
of the gym. When we are young, we don’t
worry about our parents the way they worry
about us, in the caretaker sense, in the
policing sense. We don’t talk about the fear
and the risk that weigh love down, and we
wonder why people get hurt so easily.
“Pa’s Boat” talks about the love of family,
and also the how it continues when part of it
is severed. By putting a traditional funeral
rite in a modern context, it’s made plain for
us that something lives on, even after we
surrender or sacrifice the artifacts of the
departed. The things become tethers
in the same way that living
memories become still-frames. We
have all lost someone and there are
no words for describing the way
that grief drills to the core of
something deep inside us and twists it.
We do not feel the same loving a
memory as we do loving a person, but
we keep trying, because it’s still love,
and the lost need it as much as we do.
Hero worship and the love of myths,
legends, and how we deify someone
are the tip of the iceberg we meet in
“Týr/Fenrir (UST, Dubcon, Squick)”.
What happens when our idols fall?
Where is the line drawn between our
perception of someone and the reality
that we try to ignore? We spend a
lifetime building our own image,
multiple lifetimes sustaining the idea
of others, and for what? A love of
history? A love of what could have
been? A love of what once was? These
idols become our guilty pleasures, and we
shy away from talking about them, but if it
is love or was love, then why do we not
meet another’s gaze when we talk about it?
There are lessons to be learned from the
image of this fallen hero, and we have to
look at it if we are to be taught.
There is love everywhere, but it must be
sought. Can we categorize or itemize or
create a dichotomous key to dissect it? No.
But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying
to see it, especially in unexpected places.
We need to talk about love like it’s more
than an emotion, because it is – it’s a way of
A great many people are owed thanks for their support and contributions to this issue
of 200 CCs. Whether through donations, submitted work, signal boosting or just
encouragement, the following individuals were instrumental in helping me bring this
thing to life. Many others not mentioned here were also invaluable in their support. I
thank you all.
Nancy E. Brown
Georgene Smith Goodin
Jinapher J. Hoffman
Kevin M. Jackson
And, of course, my wife Nikki and our daughters, who provide the spark to keep
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