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Money and Popsy in New Orleans 

Martha Yarborough DiPalma

© Copyright 2015 by Martha Yarborough DiPalma


Photo of the St. Charles streetcar in New Orleans.

This writing is a description of some of my early life with my grandparents and a few of my aunts and uncles and cousins.

Money” and “Popsy” McBryde lived in a big old white house at 1537 Henry Clay Street in New Orleans. I remember visiting my grandparents for a few weeks during several summers. Here is my first attempt at using their typewriter in the summer of 1951 when I composed a letter to my mom and dad: (In nine-year-old cursive, I had added a P.S.: “Thanks for letting me stay.”)...


Elephant Man

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2016 by Emily Hart   


Photo of a vase of white roses.

The snow crunched beneath his boots as he walked.  He had stood here by this swing set in blistering sun and wind driven rains needled with ice -- and in snow like tonight, December 24th.  The swings moved slightly in the night breeze as if ghost children played on them.

What a thought!  He cursed himself silently.

"Where are you, Peri?" he said.  "Where are you?  Little girls are supposed to be safe at home eating gingerbread cookies and listening for sleigh bells on Christmas Eve."...


Gallows Flower

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2016 by Emily Hart   


Photo of a vase of white roses.

Out on the prairie the loveliest things can be the most deadly, as a man sometimes finds out too late.

There's nothing so lovely as a flower on the prairie -- set against the harshness of a that bleak, unforgiving landscape.  It is like a bit of grace.  That was Flora Grace Coronach -- as fair to look at as a flower.  She looked like a day lily, bright and lithe.  She moved like water in a brook -- cool and laughing.  When she spoke to you it was like songbirds come back in the spring.  A woman like that should be dressed in velvets and satins and fine laces and have no work harder to do than lifting a teapot.  She should be mated to man who has earned the respect of other men....


Petey Bob's Train Ride

A True Story

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of steam locomotive wheels.

It was during the Great War. The year was 1944 and I was 13 years old, getting ready to be 14 on July 23, 1944. 

My family lived in a small town in East Texas not too far from Longview. We had moved to Texas from Northeast Arkansas where my dad had a small farm. He had gotten hurt and was unable to work the farm so we moved to Texas where Dad's extended family lived so he could help out around their sawmill.

My mom's family lived in Southern Missouri near the small town of Doniphan. I wanted to visit my Grandma and Uncle Paul when school was out that Spring so Dad drove me to Longview to catch the train....


What Lies Ahead            
Gayle Thawley

© Copyright 2016 by Gayle Thawley



Photo of the World Trade Center before the attack.

How lucky we are that we do not know what lies ahead as nothing that picture perfect September morning prepared me for the hours to come. For that matter, nothing in my life prepared me for the hours to come.

Standing on the small wooden porch of the portable classroom I lovingly called ‘Math Heaven’ at Kilmer Middle School in Fairfax, Virginia, I felt my first feeling of relaxation since my summer vacation had ended just two short weeks before. The tedious attention to the details of a new school year had dominated my life completely. Class lists for 152 students, preparing lesson plans, meeting after meeting, the list went on and on....


Fear and Loathing the Tokyo Hospital Scene, or

Marcus Welby, M.D.: Alive and Well, and Practicing in Yotsukaido


Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2016 by Carl Winderl

Photo of a Japanese hospital sign.

This piece is for all those Bostonians who must have been living in Tokyo while I was living in Japan, for a year or so, just outside of Tokyo, about an hour east of it.

Whenever I’d go in to Tokyo, it seemed to me that all the Americans I saw there must have been Bostonians. Only rarely would I ever see anyone I knew for sure was a bona fide1 tourist. The rest, I was certain, were from somewhere in New England – or most assuredly from Boston itself.

It had to be them, to coin a paraphrase. I mean, really, who else but New Englanders are notorious for being cold, impersonal, even obnoxiously unfriendly, on a good day. On most days, regionally proud of it. And on a bad day, who else goes out of their way to be rude. But I’ve changed, largely because of my experiences in Japan. So, surely if you’d seen me there – trying to catch some fellow American’s eye, ready to say hello, or offer directions, help in some way, if needed . . . yes, that would have been me....



Marion Parks

© Copyright 2016 by Marion Parks
Picture of a kaleidoscope image.

          "Old lady, said the Jester,  as he twirled around me, the bells on his 3-cornered cap tinkling with a mystical sound....


A Turkey Hunt

Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2016 by Gene Fletcher

Photo of running turkeys.  (c) 2012 Richard Loller

Before the arrival of civilization and the so called rule of law, hunting was primarily for food. The people who hunted used simple tools to supplement the effectiveness of the guns that all local citizens carried. The tools for the hunt included duck calls, turkey yelpers and a light to shine the eyes of game during a hunt at night. . . .

My first Turkey hunt came as a surprise when I was about 14 years of age. My father and my uncle Ben were talking over their plans for a Turkey hunt the next day. As I listened quietly, enjoying my status as the oldest of my generation, thus being allowed to stay up later than the little kids, I heard the plan unfold....


Our Garden Goes To Pot

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2016  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a boy hoeing a garden.

In 1970 my husband decided it was time to do something more exciting than living in South Lowell, Massachusetts, and working as a technical model maker for Raytheon. Before I got though listing reasons why we should stay in our little blue house with our two daughters, we had joined the Peace Corps and were getting off a DC-3 in Swaziland, a tiny kingdom in southern Africa.

We had several adventurous weeks in a training program, doing in-depth language classes and meeting lots of local people. The new life became “normal” amazingly quickly. Shortly after we moved into our permanent quarters, I decided the big back yard filled with semi-feral lawn should be put to use as a garden....


The Judge

Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2016 by Gene Fletcher

Photo of a judge's gavel.

He was a retired federal judge who had been called out of retirement to serve on a three judge panel that was the federal court of appeals for our area. He had retired about 20 years ago so my guess was that he was about 80 to 85 years old. He looked like an actor direct from central casting. He had a healthy appearance and he had a fondness for humor. The kind of humor that appears in the daily lives that each of us live, but it is humor that is often unrecognized as we shuffle along in our somewhat boring routines....


Pestered By Parrots

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2016  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a parrot eating fruit.

Native Australians will probably never understand what an amazing experience having wild parrots in one's yard is for immigrants from places such as New England. If the most colourful thing you ever saw was a blue jay, the sight of a pair of western rosellas in red, blue, green and yellow is staggering.

I had been dragooned into bird-watching by my mother at an early age, and spent many a damp spring day in Massachusetts doing Audubon surveys with her, but nothing had prepared me for the colour and diversity of Australian bird life, particularly the parrots....


The Chachapoya Culture


Richard Franklin Bishop


© Copyright 2016 by Richard Franklin  Bishop      

Photo of a Chachapoya building.

Why is it that we who live in the Americas just can’t bring ourselves to believe that once upon a time there were brave people who decided to “go for it” and actually made it across the Atlantic to the “new World” -- before the Vikings ? Perhaps it’s because no one has ever stepped forward with convincing evidence for such an adventure. With all Academia staunchly set against the idea, the proof would have to be the “irresistible force against an immovable object.”

Fans of Pedro Álvares Cabral (Brazil discovery date: 1500 A.D.) are especially sensitive to any research that would tend to overshadow his celebrated but involuntary storm-tossed landing in present-day Brazil made accidently while attempting to circumnavigate Africa.

Fans of Christopher Columbus (New World discovery date: 1492 A.D.) are a little less rabid on the subject but band together steady as a rock in denying that anyone but the Vikings could have landed in the Americas earlier.

But now, I’ve come around to agreeing with the late Dr. Cyrus H. Gordon, who asserted in his book, Before Columbus (Crown Publishers, New York, 1971), that there were scores of ancient visits to the “new world” and that many of them were on purpose -- not just accidental; probably seeking natural resources such as gold or silver or tin or iron ore -- whatever the technology of the times required....


Airport Charlie

Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2016 by Gene Fletcher

Photo of a pig drinking beer.

,My first encounter with the story of Airport Charlie was as unlikely as my first encounter with the hog himself. Yes, Airport Charlie was a hog. A hog with a reputation that had spread from Cross City, Florida as far south as Sarasota....


Yellow: The Leaf Withers Away...          


Yashi Singh

© Copyright 2016 by Yashi Singh



Photo of leaves on a stream.  (c) Richard Loller, 2014

The morning light entered my eyes through my window. It was a bright sunny day. The vibrant colorful sunshine pierced through my window into the bedroom. I was fast getting ready for the day. I had to catch the train for my workplace. I gazed at the watch 8:15. I had time in my hands. I had to reach there by 10:30. It took me 15 minutes to reach there. I thought I will complete my pending work in the meantime. My stomach started to hurt. I took my pill for stomachache and waited for time to subside. It was not before noon time that my eyes fell on the yellow paper on my desk. I gulped down the orange juice on my table and picked up that yellow folded paper. I carefully unfolded it and tried to read what was scribbled on it. "Sorry...."



Lisa Rehfuss

© Copyright 2015 by  Lisa Rehfuss

Photo of hands on a ouiji board.

We all have life stories that give us goose bumps, yet the sheer volume and “creep factor” of my family’s stories is such that I have to wonder ‘what gives?’

It’s certainly made me question the age-old argument of fate versus free will. Are we set up, fated to a prearranged destiny? Does everything happen for a reason? If life is built on destiny’s shoulder, if we are nothing but mere marionettes, then there’s no hope in changing the underlying creepy theme.

Or, does free will play a part? And if so, at least in my universe where the ‘creep’ continues, it makes me wonder about the choices I make that time and again place me in creepy, unsettling situations. Perhaps within these stories a common thread will be found and maybe, just maybe, it can be unraveled it to live the rest of my remaining days outside the ‘creep’. What a quest!...


Christmas 1942

Petey Bob's Unusual Gift

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of school room.

    The Nation was at war and the outcome was in doubt.  So just about everyone was hard at work to help the war effort in anyway they could.

    My family had recently moved from Northeast Arkansas to a small town in East Texas when I was 12 years old.  Dad had been injured working on the farm and while he was waiting for the Doctor to come back to his office; he was mugged from behind and almost killed when someone clubbed him over the head.

    After that he was unable to work and support our family.  He started playing poker with a group of local men and actually managed to win enough each week to buy some groceries.  But he knew this could not go on indefinitely so we moved to Texas where his father and brothers were in the sawmill business.  He was hoping to be able to help out in someway and make enough money to survive....


Petey Bob Starts to School 

and Falls In Love

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of school room.

     I was born near the beginning of the great depression in the Ripley County, Missouri, about ten miles North of the small town of Doniphan.   
     My mom named me Paul Marion after my uncle Paul and my dad Marion.  This seemed to be quite normal and satisfactory until I got old enough to start saying words.  Then for some unknown reason everytime mom would call me Paul, I would say uh-uh Bob.  Well this went on for some time according to mom until she and Dad just gave up and started calling me Bobby.
    But it didn't end there.  They still wanted me to be named after Uncle Paul.  His nick name was Pete. So I got stuck with the name Petey Bob and it stuck with me all the way through Grade School....




Steven Hunley

© Copyright 2016 by Steven Hunley



Photo of kids hanging out on Pico Street.

It was misting while they were still in the theater on a date arranged by their parents. Angelica insisted they sit near the front on an aisle, instead of in the last row he suggested. She wouldn’t allow Junior to kiss her, not even once. On the way home, wet streets reflected the traffic lights, and changed from green to yellow to red. Flickering neon signs and car headlights shined in shimmering bars across the glistening pavement, no matter what direction they walked. Before they’d gone a block, the scent of new autumn rain replaced the smell of old summer dust.

“Pico Street on a Saturday night.” Junior noted the people hustling to and fro. “It’s an incredible place, teaming with life."...



Petey Bob's Old Car

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of Petey Bob's car.

    I love my grandkids.  They are mostly all grown up and moved away now but what times we had.  And what stories I told them.   Stories of my growing up.  They loved the stories because most of them were true.

    So I got to thinking;  I bet my great great grandkids would enjoy old Petey Bob's stories long after I am gone.  And the only way I could figure out to make that happen was to write them down.  So I have started to do just that....


Auto Show Memories

William Wayne Weems

© 2016 by William Wayne Weems

Painting of a 1964 Dodge Dart.

I noted when I told this tale to an older lady a pensive look crossed her face, as if she wondered if any municipality could be so foolish, so what the Brits would style as "daft". Alas, between 50 and 60 years ago Knoxville, Tennessee seemed to meet that criteria....



Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2015 by Carl Winderl
Photo of over the counter acne remedies.

Pimple. Zit. Pizza Face. Moonscape. Crater Face.

Pustule. Bleb. Eruption. Blackhead. Whitehead. Carbuncle.

Camedo. Papule. Pimple Pus.

The bane of my existence all senior year long. Before and after too.

I heard those words, I thought those words, and I felt those words every time I forced my self to look in the mirror, especially in the morning when I cringed at what the dawn’s early light would reveal on my face: how the landscape of my face had changed overnight, usually for the worse....


Mom's Diaries

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2016 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Dale's mother and her family.

My mother had a hard time expressing her emotions.  That may have been due at least partially to the harsh environment she grew up in during the depression, in a family that stressed hard work and commitment more than affection.  But she kept diaries for more than 40 years, and when I read through them I could feel the love for her family, her friends, and her community come through.  I think that was how she told people she loved them....


Five Men and a Little Laser

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2016  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a woman in a 1985 Ford Laser.

She was small, she was metallic bronze, she could go from 0 to 60 in 87.5 seconds, and she was all mine.

As we chugged up Greenmount Hill in the slow lane, I tried not to make odious comparisons between the company Camry I had just given up with my job on this spring day in 1997, and the 12-year old Ford Laser I had purchased with my accrued holiday pay. All she needed was a tune-up and we’d be dragging the boys off at the lights, I told the car as we wallowed in the exhaust of an overweight and underpowered truck....


My Heart & My Hands 


Anna G. Joujan 


© Copyright 2016 by Anna G. Joujan 


Drawing of Annie by the author. (c) 2010 by anna G. Joujan.

It was the dance that did it. Sure, we exchanged the necessary formalities when one leaves a place where one has been hosted; there were the thank yous ["bareka"], the farewells [a slight bow combined with a nod of the head, and hands pressed together as if in prayer], and the exchange of gifts [2 Guinea fowl, 1 rooster, and a large bowl of their eggs--those of the Guinea fowl, not those of the rooster ;-)]. But I am convinced that the moment of significance--that in which the people of this village really felt, and believed, our hearts, came at the end of the formalities....


t Ask, Dont Tell
Sharing My Life With My Nemesis

Patricia M. Snell

© Copyright 2016 by Patricia M. Snell

Photo of a notice on the substitute teacher's lounge.

Why would an intelligent young woman move into a house that is likely to be surrounded by the things the woman fears most? I have asked myself that question many times in the thirty-nine years we have lived in our old house in the country.

I am not a country girl by nature. I grew up in densely populated suburbs. When I was young, my father wanted to expose me to the joys of country living. He bought rural land to use as a weekend retreat. That’s where I encountered snakes and my phobia was born. They were just harmless garter snakes, but they gave me the creeps and sent me into fits of hysterics....


Not in Vain


Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2016 by Kay Harper

Photo of Lincoln memorial.

She was standing at attention beside her ancient metal desk, pointer in hand as we trooped in for first period class. Poised to pounce on her biggest chatterbox, she gave me a one of her glaring looks and snipped, “It’s too early to be hearing you, Missy. Close your mouth.”
Miss Olsen spent the majority of her time torturing us with American History, but still had time to call me out with her Missy stuff. She would shoot off that nickname like it was a bullet—designed to stop me dead in my tracks. When it didn’t, it infuriated her. Oh, she was a sniper alright. “Oh, I see you’re talking again, Missy. Why am I not surprised?”. . .



Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2016 by Kay Harper  

Photo of a scene in Providence Canyon State Park.

I blame Bill. Maybe that’s harsh, but my husband’s need, bordering on obsession to find off-the-beaten-track scenic wonders prompted the whole thing. Truthfully, I did have a hand in it. Three months earlier, while pouring over a map, Bill exclaimed, “Hey, Honey, did you know there’s a place called Little Grand Canyon in southwest Georgia?”. . .




Isabel Bearman Bucher


© Copyright 2016 by Isabel Bearman Bucher 

Photo of a group of teachers near Sante Fe.

It had been a hard year.  These fifth graders had tested and used every asset, every fuse, every alternate mental wellspring I had.  On the last day of school, at the evening graduation ceremony for all the fifth graders and their families, I took my turn at the lectern, only to be interrupted by an unexpected event - my entire class stood as one of the fathers came down the aisle and handed me a large thick brown envelope.  Inside was a check for $150, and a note  signed  by all my kids, saying,  “We know we were hard, but we worked for this.  We want you to buy something wonderful just for yourself.  Inside the envelope, signed by each child’s parents,  was an accounting of which jobs had been done to earn their contribution to my check....


Scree Fields

Cassondra Windwalker

© Copyright 2016 by Cassondra Windwalker


Photo of Cassondra and her father.

Intimacy between fathers and daughters is a strange, trackless landscape. Where words would define borders and conversations build bridges, there are instead vast, open spaces which can only be traversed by experiences. Here and there are the dotted lines left by the secrets Mom told him when they were lying in bed, the wavy elevations marked out by all the subjects carefully skirted over the years. But as any explorer will tell you, the bonds forged by those who trek a rugged world together are far stronger than mere words can express....


Heavy the Head that Wears
the Homemade Crown

James Sclater

© Copyright 2016 by  James Sclater


Photo of a homemade crown.

When I was growing up in the ‘50’s in Mobile Alabama, I attended an elementary school that I suppose was typical of the times. It was about five blocks from home so we could ride our bikes or walk there with no fear. We had two teachers for each of the seven grades and the classes didn’t really interact much at all. There was a time for recess every day so we could burn off some of our pent-up energies with running, games like dodge ball, and various other activities. We lined up to go outside and lined up to come in. Fire drills were generally welcomed as an antidote to the daily classroom chores. Misbehavior was rewarded with a dreaded trip to the principal’s office topped off by a note to the parents....


Cuba: Cycling in a Land that Time Forgot

Dale Fehringer and Patty McCrary

Photos by Patty McCrary

© Copyright 2016 by Dale Fehringer and Patty McCrary


Photo of a street scene in Cuba.

As our airplane approached the Havana Airport a flight attendant announced that he wished to be the first to welcome us to Cuba. The passengers burst into cheering and applause, which was repeated when the wheels touched down a few minutes later. We weren’t used to such enthusiasm, and we asked the flight attendants about it. It happens all the time, they told us, Cubans are very proud of their country. That became clear as we explored Cuba – this is a complex country filled with gracious and resourceful people. That, and many other things, hasn’t changed much for more than a half century....


Walking in the Dali Lama's Garden

June Calender

© Copyright 2016 by June Calender

Door in building in Dala Lama's garden.

I walk. It’s my exercise and it’s often my transportation. I lived in New York City and had a dozen or more routes I could walk home from work. For a woman of a certain age, walking in New York City, even in the daytime (especially in Central Park where I walked a lot) was not a time to put your mind in idle. I am alert, I watch, I assess. When I travel to other countries, free time is walking time, preferably by myself, away from whatever group or guide I am with. So when I walked out of the gate of the Holiday Inn in Lhasa, I noticed, as I had not when in a van with others, that, in fact, the entire property of the Holiday Inn was fenced and probably the gate was locked at night. To keep us in? To keep others out? Lhasa was, and still is, an occupied city....


What's Left?

June Calender

© Copyright 2016 by June Calender

Dead horseshoe crabs on a beach.

     Living fossil creatures horseshoe crabs have been on earth for 45-million years – which is to say when the dinosaurs were the new kid on the block they were the grannies settling into the mud of the oceans muttering about those ugly, small-brained inheritors of the earth. They survived whatever killed off the millennia-long infestation of “saurs”. Properly considered anthropods, Lumlus polyphemes, are not crabs. Lumlus is the name for the Atlantic variety, the ones from Asia have a different Latin name....


      Angkor and Sophia         

Chapter 6 of unpublished Volume #1
Tales of the Spinward Marches; The Great Khan

David Winnie

© Copyright 2016 by  David Winnie



Photo of  a middle eastern city.

April 3031

An odd quintet crossed the market square in the old city.

Xaid Singh, a native Indian from Calcutta, led his classmates through the throng. A charismatic young man, his chubby frame could be found at the center of any social occasion. He was accompanied by close friend, Dawlish Zultan, a giant, brooding Turk from the Persian Empire. Unlike his classmates, Dawlish attended Delhi University to prepare for a military career. His uncle was the defense minister and Dawlish was expected to replace him one day....


The Only Man in the World    

Kirby Wright


© Copyright 2016 by Kirby Wright  


Photo of Lisa Yamashita on Pounders Beach

Dadio split for Moloka’i every weekend to supervise his Puko’o project. He was certain his pick-and-shovel laborers and heavy equipment operators were slacking off. I took turns with Troy, my big brother, serving as his assistant. We carried luggage, accompanied him on his lagoon inspections, and served as whipping boys should he need to vent. I hated going. I always thought he saw his half-brother in me. Uncle Bobby managed the Barefoot Bar at Queen’s Surf and my father said Bobby “drank like a fish” and chased the cocktail waitresses. He considered his younger brother a loser ever since flunking out of Saint Louis High. It was tough living in Dadio’s world because, once his negative opinion of you was formed, you were tainted for life. I couldn’t think of a single person in our extended family that he liked or ever praised. But he did have a soft spot for DuBoy, a legally blind cousin and bastard child of his Aunty Sue.


The Yellow Sea Incident


Richard Franklin Bishop


© Copyright 2016 by Richard Franklin  Bishop      

Photo of Gunther Plüschow.

The Yellow Sea lies between the north-central mainland of China and the Korean peninsula. Once upon a time, there was a ripple on the Yellow Sea near China that most modern Americans never heard of.

But, using the right search words in “The Aviator of Tsingtao” (English spelling) will turn up 8,950 “hits” placing the location and the events at least as a footnote in History. If you shift to (Germany), the search words: “Der Flieger von Tsingtau” (German spelling) will get you 53,800 (six times as many) “hits” illuminating the person and the events easily recognizable by almost every person in Germany, as well as by many people in Chile and Argentina.

The mentioned Aviator (Flieger) was named Gunther Plüschow and he was an Oberleutnant with one stripe on his sleeve (equivalent to a Navy Full Lieutenant or Captain in our Military) in the Imperial German Navy’s Flying Corps. He became a Hero in Germany during WW I and, later-on, became famous in South America, as well....


Uncle Larry
Emmet Kelley

© Copyright 2016 by Emmet Kelley

Photo of Maria Callas.

It's a kind of morality to do the best you can.”

       This very telling statement was the credo-for-life of  one of my “most unforgettable characters” with whom I had the pleasure of  knowing, in all of my 60+ years of living, namely, my now dear departed uncle, Lawrence V. Kelly. Though only 46 when he died in 1974, Uncle Larry packed a lot of living in his life, a life of considerable achievement, triumph and travail, rubbing elbows and revitalizing cultural tastes with the great and near-great while coming from modest affluence, a risk-taker with the instincts of a riverboat gambler and a man of  much-touted taste and imagination. Most of all, he had a sparkling personality  and Irish brand of charm, which one author-critic wrote, “made everyone he worked with and knew literally fall in love with him.”

       By occupation---one he arrived after juggling other occupations---Uncle Larry was an opera producer, or opera impesario, though he modestly dismissed the latter designation: “I'm simply a manager in the operatic field; there hasn't been a bona fide impresario since Diagheliv.”. . .


The Scent of Roses

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2016 by Emily Hart   


Photo of a vase of white roses.

The genesis of this story is: I went to a Victorian Fashion Show at a local library.  This presentation so enchanted me that later I thought "I could adopt an eccentric Faulkneresque persona and dress in period clothing.  People would say -- There goes that writer Emily, and her rose."  This thought process took place at about 2:30 A. M.   My mind leapt from that bit of whimsy to the idea for the following story which I can only describe as a collision of my love for Faulkner and Edward Albee....


Duct Taped Boots and Cigarette Butts

Joni Bour 


© Copyright 2016 by Joni Bour    


Photo of a worn pair of duct taped boots.

I once thought I knew a lot about the rights and wrongs of things, until I met a man wearing duct taped boots, who had spent nearly two years living in the woods, alone, hungry, and forgotten by the world. He changed my life.

He came sloshing in on day three or four, or seventeen in a long line of stormy, sideways rain days, with winds that ripped our Oregon flag from its pole and sent it flapping into the trees. I had never seen anyone look so desperate as that thin, pale man in threadbare fatigues and holey, muddy, duct taped boots....


Lost Rum             


Yonatan Bar Rashi 


© Copyright 2016 by Yonatan Bar Rashi   



Photo of a conga drum being played.

The writer, a life-long percussionist, served 3 years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Saint Lucia, West Indies, from 1982 to 1986. Part of this experience is reflected in the following account.

The beads on the horn player’s face did not rise for fear. They fell from the heat and the drink.

Rum strong night hot enough alone to break his sweat. Only a sputtering wall tube gave the flat silver blanch to his coal blackness.

So thought the conguero as he slowly queried Shaps, the sax man, about a missing instrument.
They sat for a time in explosive silence in a tiny hovel rum shop on steep tropic mountainside.
The mountain rose straight from the sea. Night sounds rose from the mountain, with the smell of green woodsmoke and burning sugar....


Peggy's Intervention

William Wayne Weems

© 2016 by William Wayne Weems

Painting of Margaret "Peggy" O'Neal Eaton.

In the first decade of this Century a group of enthusiasts restored the decaying grave monument of a woman who died more than 100 years ago. They believed that her account of an incident that occurred at a tomb in Nashville,Tennessee, revealed her as the effective savior of the Federal Union of the United States...30 years before the Civil War. Her tale may be plausible, but it is supported only by her recollection and the conjectured effects of her actions are certainly controversial. Nevertheless, I will offer a highly condensed version of that tale here since the Nashville tomb exists today nearly unchanged....


An Afternoon With Tycho's Toys             


R. D. Flavin 


© Copyright 2016 by R. D. Flavin   


Photo of a rabbit.

    Combine interesting characters, shake well, and add a dash of 'clash'. Oh, and serve with fun!

      Faced with impending unconsciousness, Craig didn't pay much attention to the landlady's especially ugly live-in and his awkward stacking of garbage-bags near the curb. The weight inside was uneven and some of the bags couldn't stand straight by themselves.  Usually people in the neighborhood were considerate with the trash and recyclables, except for the occasional kitchen sink or worn arm-chair. Craig had been out drinking with friends from work, which helped him ignore signs of movement from inside the bags, and he barely managed a moist grunt of acknowledgment to the live-in....

The Queen of Savannah Bridge

Donna Heinsbroek

© Copyright 2016 by Donna Heinsbroek

Poster by Anthony Mmoh for Lura's memorial event.

My personal journey started at the Cancer Pavilion with a quiet and shy woman whom I recognized from our bridge club. She was the best female bridge player for many years in Savannah and her name was Lura McKinney. I learned that we were both fighting the same Stage IV colon cancer and we also shared the same doctor, George Negrea. Lura's colon cancer had metastasized into her lungs, liver, and lymph nodes; mine had metastasized to my liver, spleen, and spine....

Read on...

Bad Luck For Johnny       

Tom Bush

© Copyright 2016 by Tom Bush


Photo of Pony Express advertisment.

Kansas City, Kansas 1928

“I remember my brother Johnny vividly and I’m 77 years old,” said Joseph Fry, sitting down at the outside café talking to a reporter from the Kansas City Star.

“It has been a long time but he was my hero and still is. He was the best rider in the whole town of St. Joe! I thought he was 6’ tall and weighed 200 lbs., but I was only 9 years old. In reality he was only 20 years old and small. He couldn’t have weighed any more than 120 lbs. I was a young kid at the time but it is still clear as a bell ringing. I know this because I remember our conversation just like it was yesterday.  It was in the spring of 1860. We were in St. Joe with our Stepfather buying supplies and the Pony Express was just starting up.”...


The Gift       

Tom Bush

© Copyright 2016 by Tom Bush


Photo of a peyote cactus.

One particularly sharp reddish stone gouged at Anthony’s back while laying in the crevice. The sun shone brightly in the early morning November west Texas sky, and the temperature began to creep up from the low thirties. Moaning, trying to move, the pain rippled up his back jerking him fully awake, exacerbating the numbing cold that surrounded him. The jagged rocks allowed the frosty air entrance into the torn camouflage coat, and ever so slowly, he began surveying his condition. Ripped sections of dark bloody spots were on his pant’s knees. The left foot lay at an unusual angle. Straining, trying to move the foot, the pain caused him to wince....

Some Bunny Loves Me

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2016 by Emily Hart   


Photo of a little girl sticking out her tongue.

Satisfaction is especially sweet on Easter morning for a six year old with a larcenous heart.  I figured out pretty early on that the Easter Bunny was one of those scams used to manipulate me into behaving and doing extra chores.  The weeks leading up to Easter were filled with what I considered hard labor.  No one else in the family was willing to let me give up the myth, in spite of my logical protests about the possibility of a rabbit delivering candy to millions of children in one night.  So at age six I decided to use that very con to my advantage....


The Rarest Flower
       Part One

Nicole Van Zyl

© Copyright 2016 by Nicole Van Zyl


Image of an Edelweiss on a mountainside.

Somewhere in Salzburg, Austria, high on the Untersburg mountain, a young girl was walking among the trees. It had been a lovely warm summer's day. The sky was bright blue with white fluffy clouds. The grass was green and the flowers were fragrant and in full bloom. She would always lose herself on this mountain, not realising that she had been gone for most of the day. By the time she returned to the Abbey, it was too late. Her absence had already been noticed....


The Alphabetologist             


R. D. Flavin 


© Copyright 2016 by R. D. Flavin   


Phoenecian Alphabet

After you reach a certain age, second dates can be risky.  I'd hit it off with Nancy on our first date, and was excited when she telephoned me at work the next morning. To say I was flattered couldn't begin to describe the feeling of being asked out by a beautiful woman.  When she called back in the afternoon and complained of not being able to get a sitter, I realized I'd not asked her a lot of personal questions....


The Uncanny Tension of Research


Richard Franklin Bishop


© Copyright 2016 by Richard Franklin  Bishop      

Photo of part of the Prygi Golden Tablet.

Mr. C. W. Ceram (Kurt W. Marek), on pp. x & xi, in Gods, Graves, and  Scholars - The Story of Archaeology, BANTAM BOOKS, New York, 2nd Ed., 1972, documented the idea that the Reader could become interested in the driest, most boring technical research information, if presented as a “dramatic process.” He wrote:

. . . . . it was Paul de Kruif (author of The Microbe Hunters ) who first undertook to trace the development of a highly specialized science so that one could read about it with genuine excitement, with the sort of  response too often produced, in our times, only by detective thrillers. De Kruif found that even the most highly involved scientific problems can be quite simply and understandably presented if their working out is described as a dramatic process. That means, in effect, leading the reader by the hand along the same road that the scientists themselves have traversed from the moment truth was first glimpsed until the goal was gained . De Kruif found that an account of  the detours, crossways, and blind alleys that confused the scientists . . . could achieve a dynamic and dramatic quality capable of evoking uncanny tension in the reader.”...


A Good-bye For Soldier             


R. D. Flavin 


© Copyright 2016 by R. D. Flavin   


Photo of a dead black cat.

A short-story about a couples' love of cats and how they deal with the loss when one of four passes away.

 "Get up and feed the cats, before I kill one of them!" she threatened sleepily.  

 Kevin knew she was kidding, but he threw back the covers and got out of bed nonetheless....


A Powder-Puff's Journey             


Nick Gerrard 


© Copyright 2016 by Nick Gerrard   


Photo of a powder-puff case.

-I can’t stand English tea! Because when the Nazis left we had nothing to eat or drink for two weeks or so. When the English arrived the first thing they gave us was tea, and we were all sick and since this time I cannot drink tea.

I raised my eyebrows and grinned at her. In my mind I pictured the Brits, faced with the horror, running round panicking.

-Jesus Christ! What the hell should we do?...


Never Too Old

For a New Adventure

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2016  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of Sunset from Karen's patio.

Ever since seeing a picture of autumn-coloured trees on a road in New Norfolk, I’d wanted to visit Tasmania. There was something about it that echoed the look of New England, where I spent my first 28 years. Over the years there was always something that prevented the trip, but the desire never abated. In 2013, having had a couple of major health problems that brought my own mortality to my notice, I began to filch time from more urgent work and trawled the real estate sites in Tasmania. The hotter the Western Australian summer got, the more keenly I looked at Tasmanian real estate. A horrific fire in the Perth Hills that only barely missed us in January 2014 and burnt out 70 of our friends and neighbours made my search even more urgent...


Your Government at Work             


Judith Nakken 

© Copyright 2016 by Judith Nakken   



Photo of Elvis Presley's social security card.

We changed banks, after 17 years. The new-building bank right there in Marysville was anxious for our business, and made the transition as smooth as possible. Social Security, however, in its infinite wisdom in the past month, had mandated that banks could no longer fill out the transfer of direct deposit of Social Security monies as a convenience to elders. The payees now must go to the local Social Security office. No problem, thought I, and asked the new accounts girl to notarize Dale’s statement authorizing me to do the transfer of both our miniscule remittances for fifty years of mostly hard work....


Have You Seen My False Teeth?

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of a dog digging a hole..

In 1942 when I was 12 years old we lived in Gary, Texas.  Gary was half a square with the other side closed in by railroad tracks.  We moved there from Southern Missouri when my Dad became disabled and needed to catch up with the rest of the clan who were in the sawmill business....


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