My 1990s-2000s Output, with an Incongruous 1920s Postcard

Oh Sheila, December 6-8, 1998

(She’s) Barely Legal, July 3-5, 1999/September 21, 2000/June 2-3, 2023

Government Propaganda (Rated PG), March 12-13, 2001 (revised March 17, 2001)

The Cosby Show and the Obvious Truism, June 24, 2002 (slightly revised June 2, 2023)

Goofy Ban? Mickey-Mouse Baer?, July 2-3, 2002

Flash Fiction #127 (Exactly 127 Words): Offerings

For previous installments of the ALWAYS WITH LOVE saga, please click herehere, here, and here. These two sentences don’t count toward the 127-word limit.

Soon after Child Services had visited her house, my sister appeared on that podcast hosted by Blake Summers, the Eighties rock star turned right-wing pastor, to say her “groomer brother” had ratted her out to “the woke police” for having “the nerve to uphold traditional family values.”

“Shameful,” Blake said. He urged listeners to support her via Offerings, that Christian crowdfunding site, so she could “hire the best legal team if and when the courts go after her.” The next day, she’d received forty-seven grand, the same day somebody—perhaps one of those listeners—doxxed me, bringing me tons of vehemently anti-trans texts and voicemails and social-media posts, making me feel like resuming my former habit of gobbling drugs while writing self-pitying poetry. Who needs self-pitying poetry?

Copyright © 2023 by David V. Matthews

May 25-26, 2023

Flash Fiction #126 (Exactly 126 Words): Fine

For previous installments of the ALWAYS WITH LOVE saga, please click here, here, and here. The author doesn’t share the narrator’s views or the meme’s views. These three sentences don’t count toward the 126-word limit.

If my brother wants to take castration drugs and dress like a whore, wearing skirts that barely cover his equipment, then fine. But when he tries to break up my family—well, that’s really not fine.

Two days ago, Child Services dropped by my house. First they interrogated me for a million hours about how I disciplined my children, then they, Child Services, they said they’d drop by again at some point.

Afterwards, I called Mom. She told me my brother had texted her a minute earlier that he’d reported me ’cause he didn’t like how I encouraged my son to develop a normal sexual orientation. My brother must’ve known she would tell me. She tells everyone everything. She’s like the news media, only not fake.

Copyright © 2023 by David V. Matthews

May 11, 2023

Flash Fiction #125 (Exactly 125 Words): The Righteous Path

For previous installments of the ALWAYS WITH LOVE Saga, please click here and here. These two sentences don’t count toward the 125-word total.

I haven’t spoken to my sister Bethany in years. According to my parents, who still speak with her, she’s bragged more than once about, in her words, “beating the devil” more than once out of her “perverted” five-year-old son Isaac—“perverted” as in gay in Fundie-speak. As for her other kids, she’s paddled them more often than usual “to remind them to stay on the righteous path,” she’s said.

Of course I called Child Services, despite my aversion to anything government-related, such as law enforcement. Both my sister and the cops have repeatedly deadnamed and misgendered me. At least my parents have evolved, referring to me as Callie and she/her, though they have no problem with what Mom calls “a little corporal punishment, judiciously applied.”

Copyright © 2023 by David V. Matthews

April 29-30, 2023

Flash Fiction #124 (Exactly 124 Words): Masculine Side

For part one, click here. These two sentences don’t count toward the 124-word total.–DVM


I didn’t really care about transgenderism until four years ago. That’s when my brother Caleb sent everyone, including me, a text announcing, first, that he had started “transitioning” so his outside could match what he felt like inside. And second, that we should start referring to him by a female name he’d given.

If “OK groomer” had been a thing back then, I would have texted that to him, I was so angry. Instead, I didn’t text him anything. Though I did wonder if, during his childhood, the family should have encouraged him to embrace his masculine side more? Like, watch the Steelers with us? Or watch superhero movies? Watching the right stuff can prevent you from ruining your life. And everyone else’s life.


I don’t share the narrator’s bigoted beliefs. These two sentences don’t count toward the 124-word total, either.–DVM

Copyright © 2023 by David V. Matthews

March 26, 2023

Flash Fiction #123 (Exactly 123 Words): ALWAYS WITH LOVE

My sister Bethany, the rabid right-winger, has started referring to herself on her TikTok channel as “O.T.: the Original Tradwife.” She got married straight out of high school a decade ago to her troglodytic boyfriend. She has five children with a sixth on the way. She homeschools her kids, because she doesn’t want what she calls “the woke virus” to infect them. She also beats them with a thick wooden paddle that says ALWAYS WITH LOVE. She never goes out except to church. She used to go to the supermarket every week, but now she has everything home-delivered, the best way to avoid libs and criminals.

Maybe none of her kids will grow up to die from a heroin overdose—foolish optimism, right?

Copyright © 2023 by David V. Matthews

March 23, 2023

(In other words, #123 on 3/23/23. I hadn’t consciously planned it that way.)

Flash Fiction #122 (Exactly 122 Words): That’s My Brand

“Y’know, the GOP could kill everyone who votes Democrat. And the Dems in charge, they’d do nothin’ but yawn and continue playing Candy Crush on their phones.”

“What have you got against Candy Crush?”


“Then why—”

Any game. The Oregon Trail, whatever. Y’wanna know why the Dems in charge wouldn’t care if their base got wiped out?”


“Because they don’t care about nothin’ except keeping the rich happy.”

“Just like the Republicans, yeah yeah, I get it.”

“No you don’t. The Republicans don’t even pretend to like you. The Democrats, they gotta pretend, ’cause that’s their brand.”

“Then that makes you a super-Republican, ’cause you hate everyone.”

“No. I hate everyone ’cause I have a brain. That’s my brand.”

Copyright © 2023 by David V. Matthews

March 9, 2023 (revised a little March 10, 2023)

Goddess Help Her

Time for another incongruous illustration.

Following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, Hannah tweeted that she had never told anyone other than a few close friends this, but three years earlier, during her freshman year of college, she’d had an abortion during her tenth week of pregnancy, her first pregnancy, and that she considered choosing to undergo that health-care procedure the best decision of her life, because that decision prevented her from having an unwanted child and more likely than not making that child’s life miserable because the child would have symbolized Hannah’s thwarted ambitions, resulting in, despite Hannah’s best intentions, sheer loathing of said child, not to mention sheer self-loathing; now Hannah could finish college and pursue a career and care for any wanted children she might someday bring into the world.

After that tweet, however, her brother Logan somehow found out which clinic she had used. He then sued the clinic under Texas law—she lived in Austin, he in Abilene—for performing an abortion after six weeks. He won his case, receiving a ten-thousand dollar reward, as the law allowed, and helping drive the clinic, one of the few that still performed abortions in that state, out of business, though by the time the clinic closed permanently, she had stopped speaking to him, had even blocked him on social media, though after their father’s funeral in Abilene, standing alone by the grave, the first time they’d seen each other in eight years, she did mutter “Hey” to him. Without exchanging a greeting, Logan told her nothing personal about that abortion stuff, he had never really cared one way or the other that she’d terminated her pregnancy, and he still didn’t care, but he’d needed to pay off the rest of his pickup truck loan, totaling ten grand coincidentally enough, a pretty good pickup, no mechanical issues unlike his previous trucks, plus the finance company had kept harassing him, even threatening to sue him. Sorry.

She found him more reprehensible than ever but, Goddess help her, for the first time since the lawsuit, also sort of sympathetic. He never could budget his money. And as she knew from personal experience, sticking to a budget in this capitalist economy posed myriad difficulties.

Copyright © 2022 by David V. Matthews

November 7, 2022