Third-Way Fiction

Connor Philips gives us a story about chess and female psychology today, NPL readers. You can learn a lot if you’re Studious.


He moves his king pawn one place ahead, I move my king pawn two. His queen diagonal to the edge, I use what foresight he taught me, I don’t want to stack my pawns so I push my rook pawn to face his queen. He can take it if he wants to relinquish his queen and I can free my pawn. His King bishop out four places– he didn’t fall for the trap. I want his queen! King knight forward two left one, “Your queen’s under attack,” I say smugly, either he will back off or lose his queen.


The Chess Game (1555) by Sofonisba Anguissola.


Third-Way Fiction

A thoughtful piece for you today, readers. David Solórzano comes to us from Boston and his MOO-G is a darkly comic way to start your Saturday morning.


Back when I lived on Lilley Ave there was a homeless guy who slept in the alley between our building and Vic’s pastries. He wore an old Bruins jersey, number 35, that must have originally been black, but had faded over the years to a dirty, depressing gray. Me and my roommates started calling him Moog, after the name on the back of the jersey, but since none of us knew anything about hockey we pronounced it like a cow sound with a G on the end.


Thanks to for the photo.

The Maybe Game

Third-Way Fiction

Our story this morning, by Indiana-based writer Brittany Terwilliger, will resonate with the dating crowd… and anybody who’s ever been disillusioned with the dating crowd! Check out The Maybe Game


The buzz of his snore breaks through my early morning sleep. I look up as if from a tomb, calculating moves that will change nothing. Most mornings, if I close my eyes again I can fall back to sleep. But never when Sebastian stays over. Dust motes float through shafts of light above us, tiny swirling universes with faraway cares. I wish he wasn’t here. But that’s not true, is it. No, the truth is I wish he was always here. Which isn’t that different, when you think about it. I might never see him again and the thought of that makes me want him and despise him at the same time.


Thank you to for the photo credit.

Walter Reed and the Countess of Montreal in Exile

Third-Way Fiction

Today we’re honored to give readers a selection from Samuel Finlay’s novel Breakfast With The Dirt Cult… the only thing worse than counter-culture shock is counter-culture shock after a war. Sink your teeth into Walter Reed and the Countess of Montreal in Exile.


Walton sat at the window of the shuttle bus and watched the Washington Monument pass by under a midnight sky. The world was speckled with lights and activity and he regretted that the first sight of his country had to be one of modernity. The neon, and the concrete, and the billboards; there was something about it all that seemed foreign and garish.

Excerpt from Stanley L.

Third-Way Fiction

Good morning, readers! Today we feature an excerpt from Stanley L. by Australian author Dominic Ward– this beautiful gangster story has one of the best laid hooks that we’ve seen at NPL. Enjoy!


Stanley rolled over at the interruption of the call. He’d spent some time on the shop floor deciding on this bed and he was very comfortable. But the phone persisted. A few further moments later he acceded that it just wasn’t going to quit. It just seemed, right then and there, that it was going to be one of those days. The sun was in the bedroom now anyway. He sighed, an admission that he was now entirely awake and that sleep had fled, at least until the world went dark again. He reached over his side of the bed and took up the handset from where it sat on the floor.

– Stanley, we need to chat.

That voice – Willy’s; a younger man and technically his subordinate.

A Lack of Leisure

Third-Way Fiction

NPL readers, we have a really devious, darkly funny one for your today. J.E.G. of Britain’s Hand Job Zine gives us Lack of Leisure, a short with a perfectly executed twist!



The balcony corridor ran above the mass of smooth wooden floor that made up the sports hall. I strolled slowly across the balcony as the sports hall lit up by my side, one by one as I passed underneath, each light being triggered by my presence. This was probably the highlight of the work day and the most exciting thing that happened. The run down old leisure centre was now hardly used, the new one down the street with is crystal swimming pool and talking gym had machines that shouted at you to work harder. It was always going to make this one incomparable. Who’d want to go to a school that doubled up as a leisure centre at night, when even the school was a shithole, filled with the children that they didn’t want their own to meet? The lights were the only new feature for around 25 years. They still had to close if there was a heavy downpour; the school had promised to fix the roof but never got around to it or never had the money… one of the two. They never told me too much.

The Roomba Variants

Third-Way Fiction

Howdy, NPL’ers! Wacky robot fiction from Dave Petraglia! Loading… The Roomba Variants.


Goomba travels the dance floors of Italian weddings, accepting gift checks through a slot on top. Notes the guest’s name and the number of zeroes in the amount. Then, somebody could either have a good time or get their ankle broke. It could happen. I’m just sayin’.

Assumeba keeps people from jumping to conclusions. Deployed in courthouses, it blocks the exits of jury boxes if the sworn have reached verdicts prematurely. Has special rubber wheels to help grip the slippery slope of illogical reasoning. Ejects copies of the judge’s revised instructions to the jury, when needed, from a slot on top.

Cine Malebolge: A Movie Inferno

Third-Way Fiction

A poem today, readers! Blake Biskner has a chuckle at Hollywood’s sloppy storytelling– a great start to the morning for everyone who remembers Blockbuster. Treat yourself to Cine Malebolge.


Midway upon the journey of life
I faced an adventure fraught with much strife.
Through hell I did venture and back again,
A trip not for children, only for men.
But the venue I entered was not Dante’s abyss,
There was no Acheron no City of Dis
It was a place most foul, ‘twas a rancid realm
Wherein there were punished sinners of film.

The quest began on a typical day
One devoid of excitement, I had nothing to play.
At the request of my mother I tidied my room,
Scooping up all my trash, not needing a broom.
When all of a sudden, under my bed,
I spotted an item that filled me with dread
Something that had vanished under my mess
In need of return… A rented VHS.

An Angel Within

Third-Way Fiction

An Angel Within is a reflective story from NPL contributor Anne Leigh Parrish, a Seattle-based writer. Adversity is the true test of character! Enjoy…


Deep in the heart of a dirty, windy city stood a tired wooden house; and inside the house lived a woman with busy hands; and inside the woman live an angel. The angel sat on the head of a pin. Her balance was poor, and she tended to teeter this way and that.


Third-Way Fiction

We’ve got a zinger for you this morning folks, Alan Swyer takes us behind the scenes in the glamorous, duplicitous world of Stage Magicians! Not all is as it seems in Magic.


Brought in as a consultant because of his experience unmasking charlatans and debunking cons, the man known to the world as Roger the Remarkable – and to his friends simply as Roger Barnes – came up with rules and guidelines that were swiftly adopted by scores of corporations, then embraced by law enforcement agencies far and wide.

A compilation of old adages: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is; pearls of wisdom: When given a specific name at a company as a reference, check instead with someone else in that person’s department; and fresh takes: Cynicism is man’s foremost line of defense; it listed ten key points for fiscal survival. The most important? Haste not only makes waste, it also breeds disaster!