Aphelion Issue 268, Volume 25
December 2021
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Flash Writing Challenge
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The Other Photos

by S. T. Eleu

with apologies to
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Depeche Mode

in the name of love thy neighbor

put it down

don’t deny your intent

I saw the glint in your eyes
I recognize the lateral move

the right hand reaching for the phone
the left hand’s index finger aimed and at the ready

just itching to call up photos
of your kids

think it over, think it over

do me like that time at band camp

pick up your beer

tell me
about the time you traveled beyond the rim
about the alien who was a blue version of me

play nice, be cool

so you combined your genetic material
with another

I’ve seen your partner
I can do the math
I could pick your kids out of a police lineup
without ever having met them

you better watch your step

come around here no more Mr. Nice Guy

preserve the peace

and unless your precious prodigy has been

or sucked into a TV by a poltergeist

or left home alone in NYC
(especially anywhere near Staten Island)

or gone missing in Jurassic Park, The Upside Down
or Disneyland (especially Disneyland)

or sequestered by Chuckie


sorry Chuckie, I didn’t mean you
you know I’d never mess with you
forgive me
I meant to say “sequestered at Chuck E. Cheese”
so we’re good, right?


or sequestered at Chuck E. Cheese

by Scorpio

I don’t need to see any photos of them

stop walking down my street


in silence is a golden pond

you plan on showing those other photos

pique my curiosity

show me the pic of your kid

who has alien DNA
who has a weaponized prehensile tail
who has done time for SJW time crimes
who has antlers like that kid on TV
who has golden faerie wings

put up or shut up

because I fear
that if the pride-and-joy child
you so eagerly want me to see
were like any of those others
you would’t have even considered sharing pics

we’d now be talking
about that sports team
and how useless lower gravity athletes are
when they play on the road

I hate being in these situations
that call for diplomatic relations

oh, you would like to show them to me
so sorry about the tone
great, let’s see them

oh, not here
in your car or, discreetly, at that Motel 6
down the road


what can I say?
I don’t want to play anymore
I don’ t want to play anymore

2021 S. T. Eleu

Raised in Vegas then exiled to Chicago, S. T. Eleu has been a musician, teacher, and consummate Vulcan. Autism is their default universe, and though sparsely populated, is a glorious place to escape to, write in, and display an impressive collection of action figures.

Find more by S. T. Eleu in the Author Index.