Augie by Jack Cameron

18049_247178093018_851116_n“This is a great apartment…”

There was a pause after he said it. Augie was fairly certain the boy could not remember his name. Augie didn’t mind. He wasn’t sure of the boy’s name either. Tony, Troy, something with a ‘T’.

He watched from the bed as the boy walked around his apartment. The boy had his shirt off. Augie was enjoying the view. This boy was probably half Augie’s age with skin so white it looked like milk. He had that farm-boy-in-the-city look to him. Augie wondered how many times the boy had done this sort of thing. The boy picked up a framed photo from the dresser. Augie almost forty years ago standing next to his friend Daniel. Dan the man. It didn’t matter where they were, Dan could score enough reefer for him and all of his friends. The photo was taken in Quang Tin Province, Viet Nam. Two weeks later Daniel was dead. Shot by a sniper.

“Whoa.” The boy said, “Is this your dad?” Augie couldn’t help but smile. He’d be sixty-eight in a month but he didn’t look it at all.

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This Old House~a poem by L. Lisa Lawrence

head shot 04-14This old house has stood for nearly 100 years It was occupied by Italian immigrants in 1917 It housed families during the great depression It has seen troops return from two world wars

This old house was built from the forests of the Pacific Northwest Its beams are thick and sturdy Its floors are old growth Douglas Fir Its roof grows moss if not well maintained

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Janie’s Got a Car by Karen Harris Tully

Karen headshotI squinted, scowling into my rearview mirror at the guy behind me next to the Suburban, threw my arm over the passenger seat of my new-to-me, late model Sentra, and looked over my shoulder, my foot hovering over the accelerator.  The shrinks had given me the labels of depression, anxiety, PTSD, survivor’s guilt… sex addict… it just depended on which one you talked to.  None of them however, had tagged me as homicidal.  Boy, somebody had sure missed something.

5 months earlier-

“Come on, Janie, hurry it up!  Ash will be here any minute!” Terrell said as he parked his vintage Trans-Am and turned off the Talking Heads along with the engine.  He carefully scooped up his perfect girlfriend’s miraculously intact cake from its perch on the front seat and hurried into the DQ without waiting for me.  What a douche.  I swear, football stars.  All that creatine must go to their heads.  I once again turned myself into a pretzel in his miniscule backseat as I put my favorite red cowboy boots back on, still singing the song he’d turned off.

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Ostrich by Dan Rahe

ostrichIn 1990, my father bought four ostriches — two breeding pairs. We lived on an old dairy farm, and dad and I had retrofitted the barns and pastures, which were perfectly adequate for habitation by placid bovines, to make them suitable for giant, speedy African avians. Ostrich farming was something of a fad in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and many enterprising farmers had made a small fortune from hide and meat sales. My dad, being the kind of person who suspects the path to success is cleverly hidden, studied ostrich husbandry with zeal, and eventually arranged to have some delivered to our Minnesota farmstead.

The four ostriches who lived within view of my second story bedroom window represented a welcome maturation of Dad’s financial risk-taking. His previous “investment” misadventure had been as a Greeting Cards Entrepreneur, and boxes of them still occupied a large portion of our homeschool learning space. In theory, my father was supposed to work out deals with gas stations, truck stops, and gift stores for the display and sales of these off-brand greetings, but they never sold very well, because they were awful. These cards were printed on high-gloss stock, and were written with all the humor and sensitivity of an excessively sober art school dropout who might list Jim Belushi as a muse. Every color was too vivid, and every hackneyed sentiment was expressed without a shred of subtlety.

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It Was an Opossum by Christopher A. Clark

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Daddy, where’s Fluffy? Daddy, wake up. I can’t find him. Have you seen him?”

Dan groaned when his curly haired daughter Rebecca woke him by whacking his forehead. He also dreaded the question she repeated while crawling onto his back.

Two days ago, Fluffy sneaked out the patio door when Dan exited to put the burgers on the grill. It wasn’t the first time the cat ran out so Dan merely cursed and knew they’d have to put out a can of tuna—the only thing that drew him back inside.

“Daddy, wake up,” she said, now placing her mouth on his ear to make sure he heard her.

“I’m awake,” he said, eyes still closed.

“Daddy, you promised he’d come back for the tuna fish. But I haven’t seen him.”

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Bad Rinse by Ken Miller

Photo on 4-13-14 at 4_37 PMThe dishwasher was dead for several days. It begged for help awhile, made a couple of futile threats and finally stopped in the middle of a rinse.

Podlowski kept saying he’d fix it but just pulled the door. The door sat in the kitchen until Yvonne moved it to the back porch, losing half the screws en route. A new dishwasher was out of the question. Podlowski hadn’t worked for months and there was no way he would watch the kids if she found something. He considered himself on call. Yvonne figured he was as likely to be called to be Pope as for anything local that paid better than minimum wage.

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A Swimmer in Time by Martin Chase

chaseI have been to many worlds, many realms. I have travelled for years on end, and borne witness to things you would never believe, lest you feasted your own eyes upon them. The bloody skies of Ares III, where the White Dragons roam in rivers of mercury rain, and the lush, sea-jungles of Aquides, where sacred Lemuria and fish-men reside submerged, still flow vividly through my head like a bubbling stream of thought. My feet are forever restless, my tiny, silver rocket always in want of fuel, as I soar like a lonely comet across the vast, pitch oceans of time and space.

In the confines my little argent vessel, I have scoured the milky, gleaming star-continents of a thousand galaxies. Nearly everything that lies within their brilliant, immaculate luminescence has been yielded before me in my many journeys.

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Excerpt from Birthright by J Anne Fullerton

VMB 2014That night in bed, relaxing after a strenuous sexual work out, she brought up the subject of the full moon.

Nick lay on his side, tracing trails of perspiration on her skin with his fingertips. He felt more alive than at any point in his life. There was more energy and passion in him now that when he had been a young man. It was all due to the wolf that resided within him and he had her
to thank for that.

“I need to talk to you about what’s happening to you,” she said, looking into his distracted eyes. He was staring at her damp naked beauty with hungry appreciation. “About the full moon that’s coming up. The men have noticed the change in your behavior and they came to  me.”

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Her Green, Green Eyes by David Mucklow

David headshotSitting on the curb during 10 o’clock break, Colin could hear the high beeps of the Genie scissor lift. Something was always beeping on construction sites. The beeps were paired with the whine of the electric motor turning feeble tires through mud. Metal clanged against metal as the workers laid stainless steel studs against the cold iron guts of the building. Colin could smell the ions of polarized heat from the metal grinders and saws over the waft of his dingy steel toed boots. His cigarette smoke masked the construction smells, but they always came back.

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