Out of the Kitchen
by Carl Palmer
Responding to my desire to learn how to throw a wicked curve
ball, Mom says, without hesitation, “You’ll just have to wait
until the baby bottles finish boiling. If you’re in such a big
hurry you can help by taking them from the kettle.”
The Elevator Angel
by B. A. Llewellyn
She walked gracefully into
his world at the tenth floor.
by B. A. Llewellyn
message was in the words.
Did you hear them?
The hills are talking to me. They called my name. They dare
climb and see how hard life could be.
Diana Gallagher (165 words)
You fall over the sidewalk. It
happens; those cracks leap in cement waves. The sky is wet tonight
but your shoes are dry.
Your jeans split and grass and pebbles burn skin. But your shoes are
still dry and your dirty palms push you back up onto your feet. Your
head wavers and you laugh to center yourself.
Your face is wet tonight but your eyes are tiny dark sparks darting
in every direction.
The world turns sturdy.
Egg by Carl
Part of Larry’s 200 hours of community service was to help relocate the Henry County Museum. On his third trip he helped himself by relocating a fossilized egg from the dinosaur exhibit. He planned to sell the artifact at his brother Matt’s yard sale that weekend at the Kitty Ranch on Old Mill Road.
Walking on Air by Carl
“You’re really getting good at photo
editing, Ann. This one looks like a little angel hovering over the
sidewalk down by the city park fountain.”
“Actually, she is an angel. That’s Faith, my grand daughter, but I
didn’t use Photo Shop on that one. This was “Exhibit A”, court
evidence at my husband’s trial.
Rainbow Bridge by Unknown and B. A. Llewellyn
(Dedicated to our Darlin' Cat (Herself)
and all people who adore their pets.)
this side of heaven is a wonderful place called Rainbow
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone
here on Earth, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
Day I Re-Met My Father by Rebekah
Sunlight streams rudely through a gap in my curtain. The smell of fresh cut grass and freesias too sweet for the morning. My eyes struggle open, finally alighting on the only photo of my Father and I.
She is in the kitchen. Her angelic voice twinkling up the stairs and twirling under my door. The static from the small radio is barely audible over her. She sounds happy.
Unsaid by Daniel
For the power to break the land was in fire, but fire wouldn’t come.
And the power to kill the fire was in water and water wouldn’t come.
And the power lap water was in wind but wind wouldn’t come.
Opportunist by Carl
Jason Amalynn was the leader in his field of TV and movie special effects. His invention was a special Prism laser projector using image reflection and light refraction to create a 3D hologram. The mirage could be created and shown most anywhere on most anything, not just as trick photography on film, but projected upon buildings, clouds and even a waterfall once. I was in total awe of Jason as his understudy, however felt completely betrayed when he vowed to take his technique public. That’s why I killed him.
Wootten (311 words)
This is a
true story about a dog named Bourbon.
Footprints On My Heart
Ngaire Hart (313 words)
Fourteen minutes after my grandson’s
birth, the phone rang and I heard his cry. That special sound tugged
at my heart. I felt a lump in my throat. Tears of joy tickled down
my cheeks. Emotions welled up so strong and unexpected. I could feel
love oozing out of all my pores. A child of my child, how fantastic.
I felt an invisible thread pulling me towards the hospital.
I saw a perfect head of blonde hair, and a tiny button nose peaked
out of the standard-issue, hospital towel he was wrapped in. I held
him close. His mother watched me watch him. I gave him a special
green bear to love. He opened his eyes and mouth, as he looked at
the bear. My gift of love, a physical gift for him to cuddle even
Generation Harmonica Player
by Carl Palmer
My dad was a harmonica player. He
always played the same 3 or 4 songs, but he played them well.
Everyone recognized “Skip to my Lou” and “She’ll be coming
around the Mountain”. On his visit to Germany, while I was in
the Army, he played “Ach Du Lieber Augustin” and “Beer Barrel
Polka” to everyone’s enjoyment over there.
Day by Tom
There’s things in the attic, fifteen years old, twenty, or more, cobweb-tangled, dirt-roughened, dust-smeared, never-forgotten. There’s things in the attic which mean nothing to anyone but me. There’s things in the attic, rising above it all.
You, you’re there. Your breath, your spores, droplets of vapour crystallised, hanging in the air untouched, unbreathed since you last clumped up the ladder with a torch in your hand and a cancer in your gut.
Conspiracy by Norma
The long black bag had lain hidden in the garage for the past two days. Tonight, under cover of darkness, we would drag it out and dispose of its contents. If everything went according to plan we would be finished by midnight.
It had been more difficult to get away from the party then we had expected. We made the excuse that the children were tired and needed to get to bed. It was partly true. But tonight was a special night. After weeks of planning, our secret would finally be out.
In you, I see everything that is sought but very rarely found, hunted but very rarely captured, craved but very rarely satiated. You possess a rare gem, whose captivating sparkle is only seen by a select few. When my eye catches yours, I melt, the world stops, time slows down, I am entranced, nothing else matters, just you.
Spring Comes To Bosnia
was one of the United Nation’s peacekeeping officers taken hostage in Bosnia. Every
day he was handcuffed to the park railing and guarded by masked
gunmen who patrolled the area.
Every day he wondered what the hell he was doing here when
he could be back home playing Rugby, or running along some beach
with his dog.
Coquette's Suzettes by Denise Marshall
darn it, i said to myself, how'd i end up here, yet again!
banished from the a/c in the house to sit in the hot sun
back-tracking over what happened today, i mimic her voice
"get your butt out of my kitchen, jule; and do not walk, run!
Till Death do us Part
The machine that measured his heartbeat was the only noise in the cold antiseptic hospital room. For days he had hung on, his grasp on life tenuous, his conscious mind had retreated inside itself to prepare for death.
She had sat beside him, holding his hand knowing that on some level he would be able to sense her presence.
When Not to
Listen to the Teacher
Jean Kawak (422 words)
Her big, brown eyes looked up at me pleadingly, as the first tear began to roll
slowly down her soft, six-year-old, innocent face. I was as shocked as she was.
I had been called to my daughter’s new school by the remedial teacher.
Was I aware my daughter had learning difficulties?
Yes I was.
Due to constant ear infections Elizabeth had lost her hearing for the best part
of two years of her young life. Amongst other things, her speech had been
delayed and her reading was behind other children her age.
A Tale Of Exile
by Theresa Newbill (424
The dawn was just breaking in the sky when the
parade reached the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. The austerity of the place hit me
like a cold wind. It was majestic, clean and in perfect order, but on it was the
zeal of the revolution. I studied in that hall, with its lofty vaulted roof and
its panelled walls, when it was Havana's Gran Teatro, under choreographer and
prima ballerina Alicia Alonso. She was an impressive looking woman with pale
complexion, dark eyes, and fine strong features. Her black hair was short,
curly, with a few wispy bangs that hung down over her forehead. She knew her
music intimately and, when she danced, she became the metronome behind the
melody that stretched muscles and stripped thought, suspended in beautiful
contortions of frozen acrobatics. There were days of ecstasy, and fear, under
Read More ...
So Badly by Dion J. Crowe
In the dark of night, with the rain falling down her face, she stares out of a
lone-lit bedroom window. She looks up to the stars, with rain on the window
tracing mirror images of the tears running down her face.
In the lamp light, on the street, staring back up to the window, I’m wishing all
my possible love to her soul. A serenade in silence as it will forever be from
now on. I can be here for you now only in shadow.
Take the things we took for granted and remember them for all that we knew. Long
love on hot summers days, we ran in fields of grass and laughter. I’d catch and
fall with you, roll in each other’s arms and share the spark in our eyes. It’s
the days that grew, seemingly endless, in memory and now, forever, they shall
Kiss the kids "goodnight", keep them safe and warm. Let their dreams not be sad
but full of adventure that only a young soul can discover. It’s for them you
need to be strong and, if strength seeps out, then see my smile in them and let
it keep you walking. I’m only a step behind.
as Nice by Carl
Just before the school zone was an electronic speed board flashing me at 33mph. Instant reflex was to compare that speed with my speedometer, which was about right, but what caught my eye was the time on my radio, 3:33 — and the gas gauge below “E”. I pulled into the first gas station in sight. After waiting behind 3 cars, I noticed the price, $3.33 a gallon.
Annoyed at not catching this earlier and not wanting to search further on empty, I clicked in the
auto-fuel-cut-off lever and went inside for a pack of smokes.
Lyell (464 words)
The sun was low, nestled amongst the wind tossed clouds that obscured a perfect horizon. Haphazard shards of intense pink, orange and red pierced the sky, swirling in a multitude of colour. Sprinkled over the deep blue blanket, crisp white triangles floated serenely. A cool breeze curled its fingers around her hair, sending it flying in various directions. She attempted to tame it, encaging it with a thick elastic band. The air was suffocated with the sweet nectar of bird song and the occasional pierce of cicadas basking themselves in the suns first rays, on the limbs of the large trees.
Was Wednesday by Christine
Tothill (483 words)
We are walking away from school; his jumper over his shoulder, his shirt hanging out the back of his trousers.
"Nanny, you look like my
friend," he says. He jumps up onto a garden wall and walks along the top of it. A man with a grumpy looking face opens the front door and glares at Harry.
a Nice Day! by
The funniest thing happened to me a few mornings ago, and
"funny" literally! I was racing 'round and 'round our diner's kitchen like
a mad woman trying frantically to prepare for, and beat, our breakfast
J'ever ever have one of those days with no "right-ons" and all
Children of the Sun
When I was young, mum told me there was man in the moon. I sat every night staring at the sky, with
a thousand stars dotting the naked sky. Each time I tried counting the stars I kept mixing them up, losing tracks of recorded numbers.
Thing to Look At
The sun rose ripe and warm over the quiet town of
Batavia, Illinois, tucking shadows into the pockets of morning.
People opened their shutters and children ran out to play. Robins
sang high in the trees as squirrels played beneath them.
With a proud smile on his face, a father gently puts his daughter
Emma into a bright red stroller. Seconds later and they’re off,
destined for the local park – the one with all the old trees and a
creek lined with violets. As they follow the sidewalk a breeze comes
along and tickles Emma’s face, lifting her curls. She giggles like
life is at its brilliant best.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the park, a newly emerged swallowtail
spreads its wings in the warm sun, nearly ready for its first
Emma and her father enter the park. An immense, magical world of
flora and fauna surrounds them in all directions. Emma’s eyes light
up, dash from right to left, up then down – there is so much to see!
Flash Fiction Travel
I press up from my toes, stretch my arms wide, and
plunge into the warm caressing water beneath me. I feel
my feet brush the smooth floor then allow my body to
become lifeless, floating as if one with the natural hot
spring. My hair floats around my face, allowing my ears
to hear the heartbeats of the boulder-like rocks on the
banks of the stream. There is a perpetual thundering
noise in charge of the sea life surrounding me, created
by the waterfall I just repelled off.
I lay there drifting, with my eyes open to the sky above
me. I see flashes of the sun through the enormous trees,
with leaves the size of what should be clouds, draping
over the spring.
The Mystic Vagabond
I was five years old when I first
invoked the Moon Goddess. I wasn't a High Priestess, and Wicca was a
foreign word to me. I was just a kid, taking a midnight stroll
around the neighborhood with my mother.
We did that often when my father was home, screaming out in pain,
and waiting for the Nyquil to take effect. Back then, the doctors
sent cancer patients home to die with no more than an
over-the-counter drug to deal with the physical discomfort. That
night, like many nights before it, we walked.
The usual crowd was gathered around Dominick's Social Club. There
were men playing dominoes and cards, challenging anyone to a game,
as a young group of women, watching them, were drinking gin and
tonics. I could see the Go-Go dancers, on stage, every time the door
opened and closed, while a yokel was trying his hand at clever
lyrics and catchy tunes on an acoustic guitar.
Ugly, she thought. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Standing in the mirror she did not like what she saw. Long crooked toes. Fat white thighs that wobbled when she breathed. A stomach that looked as though the only thing she ate was beer. Tiny little mole hills, no way they could sustain life she mused. Turkey skin arms. Big brown freckles splotched wherever they felt the need to congregate. Pasty white skin. Uneven lips.
The Bouquet by Carl Palmer
There I was, Valentine’s Day, 7PM,
at the florist. Even with the reminder note sitting on my
passenger seat, I didn’t notice it again until I’d pulled into
my garage, after driving home from work a few minutes earlier. I
restarted the car immediately and rushed out to buy flowers.
Arriving home empty-handed on Valentine’s Day would be bad
enough, but it’s also our 40th wedding anniversary.
The small flower store is crowded with anxious, flustered men,
obviously lovers, boyfriends and husbands, like me, no different
than the ones on any late Christmas Eve shopping for their last
minute gifts, also like me.
Read More ...
Sweet the Wine by Tony Williams
The drowned fly bobbed in the wine, halfway down the bottle.
“Ten thousand to one,” Alisa said, holding the bottle up. “On second thoughts, look at the size of this restaurant. Make that a million to one.”
“I dunno,” I said. “I count only six other couples besides us. And look at this wine, a Venus flytrap if ever I saw one. Five hundred to one – tops!”
Felschen Fenster by Carl
I was having a Martha Stewart moment. A large windowless wall on the front of our house was the perfect setting for a cottage window framed with country shutters and a flower box.
Judy had recently redone the front bathroom and had me replace the old door mirror with one more to her taste. Being that I throw away nothing, I found that I now had two of the Kmart door mirrors, one cracked, but still too good to toss. The perfect items for my window.
Love Will Burst
Your Heart by
Pierrino Mascarino (554 words)
"Go-or-or do," sung cinnamon-skinned,
pretty, little Graciela up to Gordo through the sputtering smoke of
his sizzling sausage cart.
"Por favor," said Gordo, squeezing onto his grill yet another floppy
bacon-wrapped-sausage; “don’ go calling me Gordo no more, I been
rebajaing my weights."
“But I bring you flores,” Graciella whispered in a tender, husky
voice, through Gordo’s popping sputters, holding her vase-bouquet of
yellow ranunculus, purple anemones, crimson poppies, blinking her
jet black eyes.
"Para mi," he said, "you bring? For why?"
"Saying ‘I love you’, you silly Gordo," stamping her foot and moving
her flowers out of the grease sputters.
"Love? Now? Gotta sell salchiche this morning. If I don't sell, are
dey any no good manana?"
"What you are den yourself?" Graciella demanded, "(cough cough) una
bestia, who don't got no eyes for seeing de mujer here que te quere?"
"Who dis womans who loves me?"
Gift of Freedom by B. A. Llewellyn
Many years ago I read about
the charming Asian custom of giving a recently caged dove or pigeon as a special
birthday present. Symbolically, the bird and the gift’s recipient are
spiritually joined to one another, giving the bird’s ability to fly special
meaning and potency.
Traditionally, the new
bird-owner releases their birthday present, soon after receiving it.
They know that by giving freedom to their bird, they are giving freedom
to themselves. The newly released,
and their releaser, are emotionally bonded.
Together, they fly away from all their fears and worries.
Together, they draw a little closer to heavenly bliss.
It is meant to be a deeply spiritual moment, and a profound reminder of
our connection with all forms of life, and with life itself.
I gave my first pigeon to the
strong, forceful and beguiling woman, who was my agent and manager whose
affection and compassion had also turned her into a much-needed mother figure.
It was her birthday. She was
delighted by the symbolism of her present.
She wanted to feel some of that symbolic freedom straight away.
She insisted on releasing the pigeon immediately.
We walked to the local park,
which was under the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
We were both delighted by the dramatic setting, and our own sense of
celebration. My dear friend opened the
small cage with all the aplomb of an opening night.
Well that’s not quite true. The
pigeon looked a little stunned, and cowered further back in its cage.
My friend waved the cage in the air, encouraging our little winged
companion to be free ... but he clung on to the cage as if his life depended on
Two Gifts by Norma
As we get older there are
certain gifts which, given or received as a child, stand out in our
memories for a variety reasons.
The gift I was given and treasured most was a doll named Patsy. She
wasn’t originally mine but was my younger sister’s Christmas gift,
but on holding Patsy I immediately fell in love with her and
couldn’t bear to part with her. Luckily, my sister was quite happy
to exchange dolls. From then on Patsy was defiantly my baby and I
continued to love her dearly and would have died for her ... that
was until I received a real live baby in the form of a little
sister. Overnight, Patsy mysteriously turned into being just a doll.
I was on my way to the Children’s Saturday matinee at the local
cinema when I happened to stop to look in the window of the gift
shop at the corner of our street. There were lovely fair-isle
knitted gloves, pretty flowered handkerchiefs, rose patterned
teacups and saucers, and fancy padded coat hangers, all in pretty
boxes. Seeing all these lovely gifts reminded me that it would soon
be my Mother’s Day and my mother’s birthday. Wouldn’t it be nice, I
thought, if I could give my mother something really special,
something I’d bought myself? So I ventured inside and asked about
one item I was sure my mother would love.
Day My Husband Ran the Four Minute Mile by Norma
There I was in a foreign country alone aboard a crowded bus with no idea where I was going. I had no money and did not speak the language.
We had been married two years and had a son approaching his first birthday when my husband decided he wanted his family in Lebanon to meet his Australian wife and child.
with Fabio by Sarah
our yoga master, had a face only a mother, or a blind
person, could love.
His body reminded me of “Stretch
toy I had as a child that you could stretch from the armchair
way into the kitchen … though I did live in a bed-sit.
Anaesthesia by Daniel
In the beginning, when there was no time, our land was in
and desolated for full disobedience and
condemnation. The line
between the living and the spirit was
thin and transparent.
My Favourite Place by
I feel calm here, relaxed and happy. The air is filled with a sweet aroma, not a
manufactured scent but a fresh, natural perfume, impossible to bottle.
It isn’t a big space and not small either, I would describe it as ‘cosy’. It
nestles comfortably between wide, open fields to the left and red brick houses
to the right.
It is a haven, my own respite from the world, I sing at the top of my voice
here, from joy, from the sheer happiness of just being here. I can laugh so
loudly tears run freely down my face. And, more than anything I am loved here. I
feel love envelope me and swirl around me whilst I am here. I love here.
When I arrive and glance up I am greeted by the sight of beautiful green grass,
sometimes cropped short, too short. Other times left to grow wild, not in a
magical, delicate way but in a natural, harmonious way.
I never walk over this grass, instead I love to walk around and crunch across
the gravel laid thickly to one side. The gravel, once lovingly raked flat, now
lays, almost forgotten, in waves like the sea in a storm. Pushed up into tiny
rocky mounds and leaving other patches bare and scared by the marks from tiny
A Christmas Story by
They say that humanity is possession of a higher intelligence. The thing that
makes man so distinctly human, so much more highly evolved, is his sense of
comprehension, rational thought; or at least, that is what’s commonly said. The
truth, however, lies in the exact opposite. It is one of man’s completely
irrational abilities that makes him so special; to see beauty anywhere, anytime,
Consider a cold, Massachusetts night. It’s one of those nights where you just
can’t seem to get warm, no matter how many jackets, gloves or scarves you wear.
A man, a young man, stands on his back porch, looking out on a dark night in his
crowded neighborhood. Lights shine dimly from scattered windows, trees batter
against windows so thin and brittle that they should have shattered years ago.
His face is grim as he picks fallen leaves off of an old ripped up couch and
sits down, shivering.
Somehow, through some trick of the human mind, he is transported. Transported to
neither a time nor place, but to a feeling reflected through both, a feeling
thought long gone, forever lost, a feeling that would never return.
The Driving Lesson by
“The El” runs from Yankee Stadium ten
miles North to Woodlawn. A railway on stilts, it stands on
25-foot-tall, rivet-studded metal girders that trisect the entire
length of Jerome Avenue. From the air, it might look like some
enormous, grime-encrusted, cast-iron millipede, preying on the spine
of the Borough.
At least, that’s the way I remember it on this particular day. And I
was only being tormented by one of its million legs.
I was ready to take my driving test. Even in New York, where a car
was a mixed blessing, getting a driver’s license was a huge rite of
passage for a boy — a secular Bar Mitzvah if you will. In
preparation, my father had taken me on a last practice run. All had
gone well — until the final moment.
Jerome Avenue is a wide six-lane concourse. The two rows of the el’s
legs straddle the middle traffic lanes, leaving two additional lanes
on either side — one for traffic and one, next to the curb, for
Finding a parking spot in The Bronx took an extraordinary amount of
luck. Actually getting into one took the skill of a neurosurgeon.
Parkers used every available inch, and it was not uncommon for a car
to be trapped in a parking spot, locked between the bumpers of those
in front and behind. Squeezing into a vacant space was the most
dreaded part of the driving test.
Letter by Dion J. Crowe
A refrigerator hums in the background. It’s my only companion. The lounge room is still, the bedrooms and kitchen, they too are still. Nothing moves but dust motes in stuffy air.
An empty house is a lonely house.
I stand and walk into the lounge. Above the fireplace are pictures of Judy and me – windows into past memories. They are Judy’s proof of life.
Remember, Judy, photos taken that day in Queenstown, New Zealand, when we swished on skis down mountain slopes?
Job by Neva
I watched as the car slowly pulled out of the drive and onto the dusty track that led into town. Abe waved, he waved each time he drove off but this time it was different. Abe had a job, he’d been to see Mr. Stokes and he’d agreed to give him a go.
Do you remember getting dressed in front of an electric fire; when your legs burned and your skin went red and blotchy?
Do you remember waking in the morning, the windows frosted over – you blew on them and the frost would melt and you wrote my name in the mist?
Do remember when I toasted crumpets on a fork from the heat of the fire, spread marge over them and yours dripped over your school shirt and I had to rinse it? Do you remember? It was the first meal I made. My first time cooking for you.
Entertainer by Jack Wodhams
“Nothing in particular,” I told the Customs Man. “Just the usual couple bottles of spirits I’m allowed.
I don’t bother with the duty-free cigarettes.
I don’t smoke myself, and I don’t like to encourage it in
“What’s in the box you’re holding back there?”
“Box? Holding back?
I’m not holding back. It’s
just an extra small case I have, that’s all.”
“And what’s in it?”
Skies by Christine
Tothill (714 words)
Walter pulled himself up from his chair. He shielded his eyes from the sun and peered toward the mountains. The bluest sky, not a cloud to be seen, not even a puff or a slight trail.
‘Norah, you there? Come on out here,’ he yelled, without turning round.
Ronda Del Boccio
I learn a lot by watching animals. They have tales to tell and lessons to teach for any who have the openness to listen, watch, and learn. Here are some of my latest observations and musings that I hope will demonstrate what I mean.
Tothill (737 words)
Where the trees were - there are car wrecks. Arnold leaves the bike propped against the only bush on the common. He doesn’t put his lock on; he has nothing to secure it to. Only the bush, a prickly waving mass he doesn’t want to touch. Arnold, late sixties, is going over old haunts; his memory of this common land is fading and he wants to tick it off. He wants to set the scene; remember it. If he can.
He pulls an old felt hat over his face to take the glare of the sun away from his eyes and squints towards the far end. The end where he took Maisie when they started dating. He remembers their place - their hidey-hole - was opposite the church. He starts to walk towards the place he thinks it is.
Roy the Barber
by Marlin Bressi
When I was a kid, going to the barbershop was a special occasion. Opening the
door and walking past the red and white striped pole was like entering a secret
and forbidden temple; a universe where old men gathered to talk about politics
and women and complain about how things were never as good as they used to be.
I marvelled at the man in the white apron as he swiped his razor across the
leather belt, honing the blade to deadly sharpness before shaving off the
whiskers of one of the neighbourhood men in deft strokes of his wrist. His name
was Roy, and all over town the name "Roy the Barber" was spoken with respect and
a sense of reverence.
Siren's Finale of Song
Denise Marshall (762 words)
Oh, yeah; looky-looky all you want, we
both know you wanna;
I see you watchin' my vibrant alter ego in her Tina Turnerwear.
Why not just sit there for now? We both know soon you're gonna
inch up real close to the stage to watch with lips parted, and
Yes, it's really true; Jazzi's my given name; mom's mom had a vision
one night as mom, still expecting but I was on the brink of being
Gram dreamt I was in a smoky bar, face in blue light, onstage with
in front of me, a toe-tappin' audience sat listening to Miles on his
Ngaire Hart (764 words)
Isabelle had inherited her father’s
height and her mother’s fine English skin. Her looks made men turn
their heads – even with her pale, long hair drawn severely back.
She sighed loudly. There was a time when she looked at her husband
Sebastian as if he was a Christmas present she wanted to unwrap. The
smell of damp rain eased its way around the windows and doors,
finding its way into the old house. The gun-metal sky was pierced
with occasional jagged bolts of lightning and the rain fell in
Her dark, sombre mood matched the dropping temperature. Her finger
traced the rain’s path as it created a tiny river down the
windowpane, and clustered before dropping to the ground below.
Sheets by Kathyleen Rivera
And I love her. Despite the many rivals I have for her affection, I
completely love her. It is to me that she returns every night. It is my
arms that hold her tight.
is I who dries her tears and I who chase away her fears. I love her
and as she takes me in her warm, lush embrace, I know that she loves
me the most among all the others.
by Annette Hunter
I sit on the headland, the soft grass below, the warm sun
above. I look out over the ocean, waves beating against the rocks below. I have sat here many times before in this very same spot, in the same town that I grew up in, the same town that my mother grew up in, and I remember.
Formal Occasion by Alison
The dress was everything Sharon had ever dreamed of wearing for the occasion. A flowing, strapless gown of the deepest burgundy, it fit her perfectly, flattering her curves and accentuating her dark skin and eyes.
"I love it Mum!" she cried with delight as she twirled in front of the mirror.
"Oh now, be careful not to mess up your hair," Carrie smiled, hurrying over to carefully tuck back in a lock of mahogany hair that had escaped from her daughter’s elaborately piled curls.
The Coffee Shop by
Pat Tyrer (788 words)
As they walked hand-in-hand along the cobblestone street of the
plaza, he spotted a small coffee shop tucked in between two stores
now closed for the evening.
“Do you want to get out of the rain?” he asked.
“It’s not raining” she replied.
“It might rain,” he said.
“Come on,” he said, letting go of her hand and encircling her waist
with his arm.
Billy, Elvis and Jesus by
Christopher Woods (788 words)
Every morning, the same ritual. You
dust both photographs. Turn Billy’s face up again for another day
while the coffee brews. You look at Billy, then at Elvis. Outside
the sun is coming up.
You never give up. Not you. Yes, it has been eighteen years since
Billy walked out the door. That door. And ever since the door has
grown smaller and the world beyond it vast and mysterious. A cruel
kind of secret, maybe.
Billy, he never said boo. He left without a word. A light sleeper,
you would have heard him if he had a last word or two. You don’t
know where he went. He’s never called, never even dropped a
Tragic and Triumphant Tale of Dr Darryn by Fiona
It all started when he was three. The more mainstream children were happily scampering about playing with blocks and chasing each other around the cubby house. Meanwhile, Darryn was in the furthermost corner of the kindergarten grounds with a tub of glue sticking different objects together. His teachers would find him at the end of the day surrounded by leaves stuck onto twigs stuck onto insects stuck onto trees.
by Debbie McCurry
lovers come in all shapes and sizes. Synce
this description. He
is a true blue bitser with various pedigrees
To look at him, some people would say he is cute in an
unusual sort of
I was living on the streets when he found me – dirty, scruffy, half-starved – eating out of dustbins – sleeping where I could find a warm corner.
I don’t know what he was doing in that poorly lit alley on that dark night, but it was to my advantage because he felt sorry for me and took me home with him.
Don’t get the wrong idea – he’s an honourable man. Didn’t expect anything from me except companionship, and not even that at first. He just wanted to look after me, feed me up and get me back on my feet.
The First Word by
There they are, the three of them, together on the grass, Mother and Father
looking down at Baby. The sunlight comes down through the leaves of a tree and
speckles the grass, the blanket, Baby’s face. The sun is bright and warm, and it
kisses the backs of Mother’s and Father’s necks and their t-shirts and the
ground. There are clouds in the sky, big white cotton-ball clouds, the type that
used to make Father so happy he’d feel like a water balloon with too much water,
distended, bobbing from the faucet, filled up to the bursting with all those
thoughts that now seemed so naïve and youthful, to him. But he doesn't see the
clouds, only feels them, in breaks of sunlight on his neck.
He watches Mother watching Baby, sees the furrowed brow and downturned mouth,
which look like sorrow but are actually the result of worry and self-destroying
love colliding on a face that is accustomed to neither. Baby watches Mother’s
face too and sees only Mother. He sees her eyes and her mouth and the nose and
hair which make up Mother. His Mother. Love is the word for what he feels now
but only because there are no better words. His real feelings are really no
feelings at all, more like being covered head to toe in a warm, billowing sheet,
a comfort and well-being and safety so thorough and all-encompassing that Baby
writhes and kicks and grins with the pleasure of it, when Mother looks at him,
when he sees her. His Mother.
Wandering along the West Australian
south coast, wintery elements jostled for control. Our walk was
motivated by a break in bleak storms and driving rain that had
plagued this holiday. But the weather, can’t be changed, so we
didn’t let it get us down. We were surprised to see a group of
people also drifting about, in what seemed like small circles,
gesticulating, and seeming to talk to themselves. A man came up to
us and said, "these people are having therapy, so would you mind not
"What’s therapy?" the child asks, once we were out of earshot.
"It’s when you do something to make yourself feel better. Like ice
and a bandage for a sprain, like drinking hot honey and lemon for a
sore throat or a tablet from the doctor. But what do you think can
be therapy if the sickness is inside your mind?"
"I don’t know."
"Well, you could sit on the beach in winter, listen to wind and
waves. Many people believe, because the ocean is always moving, you
can watch and somehow feel you belong, its shifting makes you feel
She lived up the block. I lived down the block. We both lived on the
Unknown Street of the well-known city, but – what it seemed – far
away from the Earth, we unknowingly thought. Supposedly, she knew
me, but I did not know her. Supposedly, she paid attention, I did
One day she rang my door bell and asked me could she remind me of
something? She said that in a plastic manner of a person with the
artificial politeness. She didn’t want to be polite, but acted it
I said that she was a stranger, and that we didn’t have a common
history. And that she didn’t have anything to remind me of.
She said that I was seriously wrong, and that my memory didn’t serve
I said, or I think I have said, that she was deadly wrong, and that
her memory was not wrong, but nonexistent!
She got very angry and kicked the door, appropriately, right at the
kick-plate, where people normally, and by accident kick the doors –
at the kick-plates! After that she left my front porch.
I looked after her, confused.
Gee, some annoying people live around here ...!
Cottage Cheese by
“You’re a God Damned FOOL!!” my father thundered. He stood and stormed out of
the coffee shop. I suppose the other patrons stopped eating and watched. I was
too stunned to notice.
When I say, “stormed,” I mean it. My father didn’t drizzle. He didn’t rain. He
He was a huge man. Towering, he was built like a solid oak door. But he moved
with the grace of a ballroom dancer.
His hair, kept dark with Grecian Formula, was short and slicked straight back.
It gleamed like onyx. But he had “cow eyes”.
His body was toughened from years of hard physical work. His arms were like
pistons. His hands were like calloused dinner plates. They could swat your ass
so hard your eyes watered and your nose ran. Or they could stroke your head so
tenderly that you fluoresced with pride.
He was Odin, Thor, Zeus. And when he bellowed, walls shook.
So, I guess the other patrons noticed.
Time In The Sand
Ngaire Hart (871 words)
A wave of desolation overcame her. Had
it really been 12 months since her darling Donald had died? This was
the first time she’d visited the beach and the holiday house they
had both shared. The memories were overwhelming she ran outside and
didn’t stop until she reached the surf’s edge. The white foamy waves
were lapping at her toes. Her onyx eyes innocent and trusting
starring out to sea. She wished life could be pre-packaged so that
she could have it all.
With Donald she thought she did. They were high school sweethearts.
They had a house that they’d turned into a home and were planning on
having a family. But that hadn’t happened and now it never would.
Donald was dead. They had waited too long wrapped up in themselves
believing they had all the time in the world to have babies. She was
only 36 years old and they had known each other for 20 years. No
blonde babies would be born. No teenage daughter or having to deal
with a tattooed boyfriend. Donald wouldn’t age, get wrinkled or have
grey hair. There would be no midlife crisis to overcome. No twilight
years or caravanning around Australia.
Irene had that all ahead of her, alone. She was depressed. Down in
the dumps. Suicide wasn’t an option. She was scared of pain. She was
stronger than the pain she was feeling. She just needed a moment to
remember all the good times they had shared.
the Two-Inch Tomato by
Margaret has a black thumb. She has
never been able to make anything to grow. She transplants all manner
of cuttings and they blossom for a day or two, then wither and die.
When she plants seeds, nothing happens. They don’t even break the
ground. Her house plants, torn asunder by cats desperate for the
great outdoors, hang bedraggled and limp, branches broken, leaves
Every year, she tries to plant the live Christmas tree she buys.
Every year it dies.
One spring, Margaret notices that her neighbor across the street has
a whole garden full of red, beefy tomatoes. She is so envious. If
the neighbor can grow those beautiful fruit/vegetables, why can’t
she? She’s an intelligent person. She’s not totally incompetent. The
soil is the same on this side of the street as it is on that. She
ought to be able to grow freaking tomatoes.
Burned in the past, Margaret knows better than to buy seeds. She
buys tomato plants in special pots that guarantee they’ll grow. The
tomato plants pop up six inches from their cardboard pots. The soil
they are planted in is dark and marled with special ingredients. She
plants them on the same side of her yard that her neighbor planted
his. He is outside weeding. She waves and he waves back. “I’m
growing tomatoes,” she shouts.
Than I Deserve by Billy
Success is an insatiable want. Its victories are euphoric,
its defeats disastrous. It is a small, seven letter word that can
only truly be defined inside each one of us individually.
The path to achieving it, in our minds, is clear, but
it’s the intangibles that test our will. Failure is its shadow,
always lurking close behind.
My Bubble by Dion J. Crowe
In my world, I am complete.
For all of everything means nothing to me. The world. The life outside. Savage
as a lion. Harmful as its claws. Deafening as its roar. This is the life
surrounding me. But I don’t care. I don’t fear anymore. Why?
Because I am in my bubble.
My bubble. Circle and complete. It’s my buffer zone. Like the ozone that shields
me from outside harm. Warm. Fuzzy. At peace. This is my centre. This is my
They come you know? Them the Bubble Busters. They come from afar and attack from
the near. Beating their fists on my bubble. They are the names I give. The
Love Haters. The Snarkers. The Friend Depends. The Bomb Within. These are
the people that test my bubble each day.
Great Dunny Disaster by
You know those days when things are just so
dull, and you’re trying to read a comic or do a puzzle, but everything is just too quiet and you can count on it that something dreadful has just got to happen? Well, this is about one of those days.
I had only two brothers then, and a little sister who was so soft-fingered and so powdery, milky smelling that she can have no place in this story. It is about my hard, warty-fingered, brown, dusty smelling brothers, covered in boy-germs and completely yucky. And it’s about me. I was a girl with short red pigtails then, and I was eleven. Warren was nine and Peter was seven.
Search of Romance by Shelley Banks
In the corner of the café two people sat in uncomfortable silence. The first date wasn’t going as well as they’d both hoped. Occasionally one of them spoke and the other replied but then they became silent again. They didn’t have much in common and neither seemed interested in getting to know the other better. But something kept them there. Maybe it was fate.
River by Daniel
Akinlolu (944 words)
It started like this, her father appeared to her in the dream and said,
“Fear is a thing of the mind, love is a thing of the mind, death is a
thing of the mind.
Why suicide when life was wrought in meaning?”
The 50-year-old piano seemed to fill the small room with its enormity. A violin lay in a corner as if condemned to obscurity by its more conspicuous cousin. A single bed cramped the remainder of the room. Clothes randomly crisscrossed over it slightly offset the meticulously set up furniture in the little apartment. Amidst the clothes lay some sheets of music, notes neatly transcribed around the ledger lines. Music, which he had composed in the wee hours of the previous day, for his performance at the city’s concert hall, adorned those pages, and now sprang into life as he practiced the piece.
Question of Timing by Alison
you ever wished you could go back and change an event in your past?” Gabe asked
with a cocked eyebrow.
Jerry shot a look at the old man who’d planted himself on the park bench beside
him. In his many years as a bartender, Jerry had met a lot of odd people, but
this guy was a bona fide fruitcake.
Frail looking with delicate blue-veined hands and long grey hair tied back with
a leather thong, the stranger had sat down as Jerry had started to eat his cut
lunch, introduced himself simply by his first name and immediately launched into
When I was just a little girl I realised that my Grandmother was a witch.
I was heavily into stories about Snow White and Sleeping Beauty at the time so that may have been what tipped me off.
A Jarful of Love by
Hillary dropped her rumpled gift bag
on the night stand as she unpacked her suitcase and stared at it,
willing it to change. A velvet box housing a pair of diamond
earrings would be nice. One of those pink and white packages full of
fancy lingerie from a certain lingerie shop would certainly make her
day. The present just sat there looking lifeless, a reminder that
things rarely turned out the way you planned it.
She looked around the cheap motel room, feeling the jagged collision
between old memories and her new life. The thin floral bedspread,
rough cotton sheets, ragged towels. So different from before. She
hung her inexpensive suits on the hangers in the corner and tucked
the rest of her clothes into the rickety dresser, lost in her
thoughts. Dreams. Where do they go? Gone was the house, the husband,
all the things she’s worked so hard for. Now in their place were a
room at her parent’s house and a job on the road. And bills. Lot’s
She glanced at her watch. Six p.m. If she were at home right now,
they would all be sitting at the kitchen table, eating the
hamburgers cooked especially for her. There would be corn on the
cob, fresh off the grill. Maybe some potato salad, too. And for
dessert, the girls would bring out her favorite fudge cake,
slathered in chocolate frosting. Her father would light the candles
while everyone sang "Happy Birthday". Hillary could hear the family
chorus from where she sat: the soft alto of her mother, her father's
off key base and the sweet soprano voices of her daughters.
Donkey by Daniel
Akinlolu (981 words)
Imagine you are me, and you had a friend, whose friend of his was called Mordecai. He was a poor man but had a donkey that was given to him as a special gift by his late father who had told him that the donkey would make him rich and change his status forever. It was a beautiful donkey and
it stayed in his bedroom because Mordecai always admired the donkey and he told everyone to come and visit him to check out the donkey that would make him rich forever.
I had the dream again, for the first time in ages. The one where I’m running away. It’s so vivid I can feel my heart thumping out of time as I grab a suitcase and stuff it with clothes. I open the front door and step outside. The smell of fresh air fills me with hope and I start walking towards golden sunshine. I don’t know where I’m heading but it doesn’t matter because I’m free.
As I reach the end of the road dense clouds gather, heavy with rain. Invisible arms drag me back and I battle something shapeless pressing against my chest.
I wake up exhausted, sensing chaos, and hear a crash from the living room. Blundering out of bed I stumble downstairs.
A Happy New Year
by Sue Hohman
They were forecasting snow to begin at
7pm, and most of it was to be to the East and to the South of where
she lived. Still, Emma was concerned that her daughter and
son-in-law were in no hurry to leave as they were going to be
traveling North. Snow is unpredictable, as can be forecasters and,
besides, she was a Mom and Mom's worry.
The blue, stained-glass windows dimmed the moon, making
an eerie cross-pattern on the floor. From nods to winks,
the faithful came to pay their respects, obeying the
call, among lavish saints painted on emblazoned glass, a
stintless attempt at glorifying the Lord. My mother
responded in kind to their cares, griefs and guile but I
found no burning faith among the enkindled crowd or the
votive candles. The dark casket that held my father
reflected a solitary light that seemed to dangle in