Best of 2022 stories were selected based on the following criteria:
-unique use of language
-breadth of story in so few words
-complex and original relationship of the titles to their stories
Congratulations to the writers whose work was selected for this special issue. And thank you to every submitter, contributor and reader of 2022. Nailpolish Stories, a Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal wishes you an abundance of good health and a most happy 2023.
I’m Not Really A Waitress by Stephanie Mordi
I tie an apron around my waist, black skirt barely grazing my upper thighs, white shirt tight against my breasts. I did come to serve.
Stephanie Mordi is a proud, not so proud Nigerian. She writes as a hobby but hopes to make a career out of it some day. She enjoys eating, reading and sleeping the most—emphasis on the eating. She is yet to publish any works but has a large and private collection of short stories and poetry.
Two pieces by Tyrean Martinson
My Pointe Exactly
Madam crosses the room, adjusts a dancer’s posture.
The music begins again.
“And one, and two, and STOP.”
“Try it again, like I showed you.”
Passion for Dance
I stretch my feet, roll my shoulders.
Old injuries crackle inside.
I place my hands on the barre, ignore the pain.
My soul demands release.
Tyrean Martinson is a word hunter. She forages for words both sweet and tart in Washington State. Find her online at her blog: https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/ Find her books at most online stores.
Barely There by Chris Bullard
We let the gate guard know one crypt was open. He laughed, “Sometimes they get out.”
We never took the graveyard short cut again.
A native of Florida, Chris Bullard lives in Philadelphia. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.F.A. from Wilkes University. Grey Book Press published Continued, a poetry chapbook, in 2020 and Moonstone Press recently published Going Peaceably to the Obsidian Knife, his chapbook of environmentally themed poetry. Main Street Rag expects to publish his poetry chapbook, Florida Man, early next year. He bites his nails a lot, so he rarely wears nail polish.
Aperitif by Clarissa McFairy
He knew his wife loved cats but recoiled when she grew whiskers. “This is just the aperitif,” she purred, dropping the mouse at his feet.
Clarissa McFairy lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She writes short stories and poetry for anthologies at home and abroad. Her poem, La Mia Musa was a Vox Poetica 2012 Best of the Net nominee. Her poetry book, Strange Bedfellows published in the USA is available at Amazon.com. Clarissa says she writes as the muse grabs her and whirls her around the dance floor of life.
Two pieces by Stacey K.
Metal crashes. Plastic cracks. Airbags deploy.
Skin warm from sun rays radiating through broken glass.
Her eyes flicker open. Separation of light into a spectrum.
Got it Golding on
Shine off the tiny buckle as big hands fumble.
Nerves soar, escalating passion in his heart.
Stilettos are the last to come off. She’s beautiful.
Stacey K. is a contemporary romance author. She writes “sweet heat” love stories based on realistic healthy relationships that bolster someone emotionally and support their life goals. She loves strong female characters and sweet, devoted male characters. Stacey grew up strongly influenced by her mother’s love for reading historical romance and belief in library access for all. She holds a master’s degree in molecular biology and is employed as a supply chain product leader within the pharmaceutical industry. She makes Pennsylvania her home with her husband, Teddy, and their large, blended family.
You Don’t Know Jacques by Kelley Stroup
Lounging on a park bench, idly toeing gravel, he picks a speck of dried blood from beneath a ragged nail. He’d like to introduce himself.
Kelley Stroup is a semi-reformed nail polish hoarder and occasional writer who indulges in lightheartedness every fifth Sunday in odd-numbered years.
Two pieces by Holly Ariel Kavanagh
Sequins on the rocks
I grieve the glitter on the skerry. Hot pink hotpants glint like a mermaid’s tail beneath the sea foam. God, you were such a catch.
The young lady observed Earth from a window seat. She raised a glass for more champagne, her mouth a perfect ‘o’ like the floating bubbles.
Holly Ariel Kavanagh is an art history graduate currently living in London. She loves crazy make-up, 80s new wave, and all things horror. Her short attention span means her stories are rarely finished.
You Up? By Victor Fisher
I’m violently awoken in ice cold sweat, alone in my house.
Listening to tiptoe footsteps, too terrified to confront a burglar…
and her crinkle mouse.
Victor Fisher is an aspiring speculative fiction writer and physics student. He lives in Manitoba, Canada with two obnoxiously loud cats.
Two pieces by Dan Sicoli
to the finish lime
after mixing that classic
with such panache
topping her perfection
with a wafer-thin
i drank every word
all your dreams in vending machines
offering one the control
from a dispenser
would we ever again
bother to step
from our night sheets
Dan Sicoli’s poems have appeared in numerous litmags and anthologies including Angel Rust, Beatnik Cowboy, Blue Collar Review, Book of Matches, Loud Coffee Press, Sleet, San Pedro River Review, and Sheila-Na-Gig. Some weekends you might find him in a local gin mill banging an old Gibson with a garage rock band in and around Niagara Falls, NY. <www.pw.org/directory/writers/dan_sicoli>
Two pieces by Edmund Fines
I Have A Herring Problem
They said brennivín paired well with herring dishes. And they said there weren’t any polar bears in Iceland. Yet here I am, drunk and running.
The Cows Come Home
Behind a Bangalore market stall, docile beasts grazed upon a garbage heap. A motorized rickshaw stopped behind them. They flicked their tails and continued eating.
Edmund Fines is a returning Nailpolish Stories author. He has had short stories published with Acta Victoriana, Smoking Pen Press, and Shoreline of Infinity.
Two pieces by Erin Mackensie
Sea the future
Am I a poet,
or just a woman
with a sickness
that guts me like a fish
and splashes my innards
out in pretty lines?
Center of the you-niverse
“I’m looking for something casual,” he says.
“I’d cut off my ear and give it to you.”
Delete delete delete.
I text back,
Erin Mackenzie is a self-taught poet who has finally shed the belief that poetry is only made meaningful and worthy by degrees in English literature or creative writing. A future mental health professional, Erin is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and a soon-to-be graduate of Louisiana State University with a Masters in Social Work. In her free time, she loves reading collections from female confessional poets, listening to vinyl records at an inappropriate volume, smothering her cat, Lolita, with love, and baking unsolicited pies for her friends. She is working on her first collection of poetry, bits and pieces of which you can read on her poetry instagram @ErinInVerse.
Lose your Lingerie by Len Saculla
The washing machine ate odd socks. When it mysteriously gobbled Jill’s pink bra, she got annoyed, stuck her arm right in. Felt the inexorable pull…
Len Saculla has most recently been published online in “The World of Myth.” Prior to that, he has been a Pushcart nominee during a spell of being regularly published in anthologies from Kind of a Hurricane Press. He has also been highly placed in a couple of literary competitions.