Susan Dugan: Rice Pudding

I have no photos of that bleak holiday when I was eight years old. My mother had died, along with my unborn sister who was to be named Jackie, just two weeks before President Kennedy’s assassination. There’s only a collage of mental images more vivid than Kodachrome that I sometimes still shuffle through when awake in the middle of the night. Always, I am drawn to the specter of me kneeling at the tarnished grate in the floor of Aunt Louise’s guest room, peering down at the cavernous wood stove, straining to decipher a hushed conversation between my aunt and father at the kitchen table beside the iced-up window just beyond my visual field.

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Don Fredd: Temp to Perm: A Journey

May 7

Edwardo is on my case again.  The temporary title of acting manager at The Napolitano Ristorante weighs uneasily upon his crown.  I can always tell when the “suits” that monitor this branch of the franchise are planning an inspection.  Everything is swept, then double swept.  I am warned to follow the rules with regard to how many ounces of topping the manuals call for.  I’ve explained all too often that, when I’m busy, it’s grab a handful of mushrooms or peppers and dress the pie.  I don’t have time to weigh everything.  I usually add the fact that I’m the only pizza guy who works alone, juggling and tossing the pies with dazzling acrobatics which has them nearly touching the ceiling—a great crowd pleaser.   I then dress many different combos while my sixth sense tells me when to check the oven.

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Don Raymond: What Even Are?

The cat is a continuous function: smooth trace of a hand
along the length of her body, though only periodically
differentiable from the matrix of her surroundings:
discrete irregular patches of color and shadowed shapes
integrating into the background, absolute stillness
in the closed curve of perfect sleep; a twitch, oscillation
about the axis of her boneless, unparalleled comfort –
a viper’s downward pointing diamond of a head;
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Anne Goodwin: Her Knight in Shining Armour

Ella looked up from where she knelt at the fireplace, raking cinders from the bottom of the grate. Her father loved a log fire in the evenings but, like a small boy begging for a puppy, he had no notion of the time and energy lost in feeding it and cleaning up its mess. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’d love to, Gris, but you know what it’s like.” Continue reading “Anne Goodwin: Her Knight in Shining Armour”

Matthew Andrews: Seeing Tomorrow

Lewis rolled onto his back. He first noticed it when he could see the dark outline of the tip and bridge of his nose against the morning light leaking through the window blinds. No no no, he thought. As a test, he raised his right hand toward his bedroom ceiling and opened both eyes wide. Beyond the front edge of his nose, he only saw his hand and the beginning of his wrist. He slowly moved his arm left. It was not until his arm crossed his torso that Lewis could see his forearm. “Shit!” he shouted. He pounded the bed with his right hand clenched. “Not today.” His breath quickened. Moisture built in his eyes. Continue reading “Matthew Andrews: Seeing Tomorrow”

Chris Capitanio : Trapped in Darien

Jimmy Belino sits up in bed, his heart pounding. He looks around his room. He breathes slowly, through his nose and out his mouth. He knows the routine. He has battled anxiety and depression in this room more than any other place. Damn this insomnia, he says to himself. He falls asleep for a couple hours, then wakes up. It takes him another three hours to fall back to sleep. It plays hell with his anxiety.

“St. Therese, why am I still here? Why didn’t you take me last night?” he says out loud. Continue reading “Chris Capitanio : Trapped in Darien”