Just Another Day
by Jim Harrington
Mom’s black pants are in the trash again. I don’t know why and never will. Her mind functions unattended these days. I give her the single rose and card. She says it’s not her birthday. I tell her I know. She reads the card and places it on her bed without comment. I help her to the window hand in hand, and we watch the trees struggle to stay erect in the strong wind. Life hasn’t knocked her over yet, but it will. I think she still knows that.
by Richard Jennis
Antoine desperately wanted to walk on the moon, but there were holes in his faded jeans and his teeth weren’t straight and his right eye danced during interviews. So they accepted Edmond Gray, who had a panic attack shortly after takeoff, compromising the entire mission. Now an engineering professor at MIT, Antoine forgoes the traditional suit and tie. Students find him relatable, funny, and endearing. Last Friday, he talked about the previous launch, and his right eye flickered like candle lights. The casual observer assumes amblyopia, but his students know he’s penetrating the ceiling, sweeping the skies for moon landers.
The Dog Died Yesterday
by Ronald J. Friedman
The dog died yesterday and so did my mother-in-law. My wife wanted to bury her in the back yard under the plum tree, but the kids and I had always planned to put the dog to rest there so we’re going to bury Helen’s mother over in Coffeeville next to the church. We ordered a laser-engraved plaque for the grave. It says, “Ruffles Forever”.
by Nathan Hystad
He is closer to the edge today than yesterday. The ground looms way down the cliff face, and he pictures how it will look when he finally jumps. Today is the day, he tells himself.
His toes touch the air, then the arch of his bare feet feel the rock edge press against them. For the first time in years, the ache in his heart is gone, replaced by calm.
The wind blows lightly against his back, urging him forward. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, as his phone rings. It’s her again.
There’s always tomorrow.
by Mattie Blake
I dreamed I was driving and stopped at a crosswalk. As the pedestrians crossed, they all met in the middle, embracing each other. Soon they all looked at me, sensing my impatience.
“Don’t you have love for people?” a man said.
I told him, “I do feel love, but it is buried with other things I feel.”
“Every place is a place for love in this world,” he said.
“Some places are meant for cars. You cheapen love with what you do.”
“You are sadly blind,” he said.
“And yet I see the road better than you.”
Special thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork is “Left in the Rain” by Sheri L. Wright.
by Jim Harrington
The fake rabbi stood on the frozen sidewalk leading to the Catholic church. He blew each parishioner a kiss as they exited the noon service. A bitter mix of alcohol and cigarettes permeated his breath. He saw her shake the priest’s hand, smile, say something that made the priest laugh. She, the drunk driver, the killer of children, the judge’s wife. The rabbi reached in his pants pocket, felt the knife, took a deep breath, and tottered away. Around the corner, he threw the beard and hat in a trash can. Revenge wasn’t in his nature.
The Garden of Love
by Patricia Crandall
“Elisa, I love you.” Hendrik said.
“I am engaged to your cousin. Tory has promised me the manor and I do love this garden.” Elisa dropped her hands among the folds of a rose and white striped cashmere dress.
“Tory’s an empty-headed boy.” Hendrik reclined beside Elisa on the grass and whispered, “You should be mistress of several manors. I’ll give you European gardens laid out with exquisite taste.” He pulled her to him.
A tall youth darted from behind a hedgerow. Tory raised a meat cleaver over Hendrik’s head.
“Cut!” ordered the director.
Witch Way Home
by Nathan Hystad
I spat out shards of rock as I walked the overgrown forest path to the witch’s hut. The gravel left a dusty taste in my mouth, but it was the only thing keeping me from chewing everyone in sight. The curse she cast upon me–compulsion to chomp–wouldn’t go away. She would have to fix it or she would be my next victim. Greeting me at the door with hesitation, she told me there was nothing she could do. I ate her, and the compulsion died with her. Now I have a hut.
by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz
Her tall, handsome neighbor, father of curly-haired daughters, exits his house carrying a large and elaborately wrapped birthday gift just as her dog takes a shit near the parked Subaru across the street from his house. He carries the pink box – ribbons dangling, like a piece of distasteful trash. She holds the opposite end of the leash from where the little dog is doing its little dog business, and stands up straighter. Above them all, life and death drama unfolds as a gang of mockingbirds chase a crow swooping away with its prize of crushed hatchling.
Baptists in Bed
by R.V. Scaramella
Under this sliver of porch, not quite keeping dry, waiting for a kid from Craigslist to show, wishing that I had a cigarette. We quit smoking when Em got pregnant. Daycare is $1100 a month. This guy wants to look at three of my last four guitars and will probably offer nothing on the dollar and I’ll probably take it. Fine, it’s fine though. Our band’s name was the one good thing about us, Baptists in Bed. Billy moved off anyway. That neighbor lady smokes. Daycare is expensive and I really do need a cigarette.