Other Stories in this issue

Down The Well

by Martin Hill Ortiz

About the Author: Martin Hill Ortiz, a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a professor of Pharmacology at the Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico. A score of his short stories have appeared in print, anthologies and online journals. He was a finalist for the 2020 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. He has authored four mystery thrillers, most recently A Predator's Game (Rook's Page Publishing). Along with his scientific background, he has worked in theater, having run a comedy troupe in South Florida.


Doribelle was wispy thin, her face made over with patches of blush which endowed with her a “preserved” look—even though she was in her twenties. She wore a leather necklace threaded with animal teeth. Tethered to its bottom was a pendant made from a rough-hewn circle of crystals that looked like it had been sliced from a geode. Her gauzy white blouse revealed black bra cups beneath.

I sliced into my pancakes. She chewed gum while drinking coffee—a talent I had never mastered.

“I don’t feel I should pay for this,” she said.

“The coffee? It’s on me,” I said.

“I shouldn’t be required to pay a fee for your detecting services. I’m virtually family. When I spoke with Tara, she said, ‘Why not ask Phillip?’”

I had been dating Tara for four weeks and Doribelle was her baby sister. I personally maintain a more drawn-out timeline before acquiring virtual relatives.

“I’m down on funds,” she said. “It’s not my fault. Those bastards booted me out of yoga school. They said I was too brittle to fold.”

She seemed fragile: her bones, knobby; her voice, frail and raspy. Her eyes darted everywhere, avoiding contact with mine.

“And still they demand I pay back the loans they loaned me. They’re like loan sharks.”

“Is that why you need me? To deal with them?”

“Heavens, no! They’re my friends.”

Story Comments

Jul 4 - Rob Nisbet

Brilliant characters, Martin.

Jul 4 - Susan Rickard

Prince is back! His adventures are always amusing!

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