Issue 26 / June 2019
"The house was a five-minute walk past a clean-enough river and Karl told her that it was Far enough from The Wall. She didn’t ask what he meant by that. She pretended she knew. She was doing a lot of pretending."
- Berliner Pretender by Charli Spier

Issue 26

Portero

John Bersin

It could only have happened in a country like ours, where the jungle and the streets are undivided from one another, and the fetid undergrowth of the earth is indistinguishable from the brown-clouded, smog-canopied sky. This nation, knocked together like a lean-to from the detritus of the ancient-extinguished empire by once poor nineteenth-century libertadores who strutted along as victors in high collars and brocade, could only have produced a Rogelio.

Issue 26

Berliner Pretender

Charli Spier

Stephanie followed her boyfriend to Berlin in the fall of ‘65. The conversation went a little like this:
Stephanie, I’m moving back to Berlin. Come with me?
Why are you going back all of a sudden?
My grandmother is sick.
I thought you hated her.
Ja, I do. Will you come?
Yes, I will.

Issue 26

Woven Love: How I Found My North

Anna Hertel

Head tucked between my outstretched arms, I dolphin-dive my way through the blue shallows of Lake Tahoe, one of the oldest lakes in the world, sitting 6,250 feet above sea level. On this ice-crusted September morning, the sun has not yet cleared the tree line in the Sierra Nevada.

Issue 26

The Radio

Terese Brasen

In 1974, my mother and Richard Nixon developed thrombosis. By that time, the old radio was broken, and she relied on a square transistor about the size of a jar. First Nixon resigned. My mother dialled into the news to hear his crackly yet smooth voice: “By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

Issue 26

Sweet Retribution

Rebecca Jung

They say that good cooks don’t measure anything, that they have an innate ability to know how much of each ingredient to use. They say that good cooks have signature dishes for which they’re renowned. As a seven-year old, my criteria for culinary perfection was the ability to make macaroni and cheese and graham-cracker-white-icing sandwiches with so much icing it squeezed out the edges of the cracker when you bit into it. My mom made good macaroni and cheese and graham-cracker sandwiches. And fudge.

Issue 26

The Goode Sisters

Charlene Finn

Summer was Kate’s favorite season. The sun drew moisture from the air and sharpened her senses, so when a thunderstorm approached, she could smell rain before it fell. When the sun dropped below Rattlesnake Ridge across the lower Yakima Valley, their land on the opposite east slope held onto the heat and almost guaranteed that she and Hayden were able to grow bumper crops of fruit. They raised Bing cherries, Red Haven and Alberta peaches, and Tilden apricots and two kinds of apples all sold under Kate’s family name, Goode.

Issue 26

The Subtenant

Allison Lamberth

Deborah found another bruise on her right leg. She didn’t know where they were coming from. She wasn’t prone to falling and bumping into things and her apartment was fairly sparse. Between her bedroom, the kitchen, and the living area, there was a twin bed, a dresser, a desk, a couch, and a short round kitchen table shoved underneath the bay window.

Issue 26

Starry Night in Albany

Joanne Kennedy

We had never planned it that way. My ex-husband and I living together under the same roof for two years after our divorce. Well, at least, children aren’t involved, my family and friends lectured me, as if that would have lightened up the inevitable burden of living together.

Issue 26

On Meeting Tony Malhorn

Rachele Krivichi

I wasn’t like anyone else in school, but I did this to myself. I liked to win things and get more praise from superiors than other people, was competitive and over-achieving, and was only kind enough to keep just a few friends by my side, which was the way I preferred it.

Issue 26

The Comeback Kid

Phyliss Merion Shanken

“Who?”
“A jerk from the past.”
“What? Who is this?”
“I woke up this morning. And out loud, I said your name. It just came out! From nowhere! I haven’t spoken your name for sixty-eight years, so —”
“I’m about to hang up the phone. Take me off your list!”

Issue 26

Chess with a Scarecrow

Robert Evenstell

“How can I help you?”
The librarian behind the reception counter was slightly younger than me, maybe in her mid-twenties.
“Something to read while I’m waiting for my car to get serviced, please.”
“Anything in particular?”

Issue 26

The Artists’ Model

Ellen Pober Rittberg

Piercing her sticky wad of clay, Margo felt a sense of revulsion at the naked male model straddling the large plywood platform, his legs splayed at what she considered to be an unnatural and almost lewd wide angle. His sloping forehead reminded her of an early man in a diorama she’d seen in the county natural history museum, a primitive subspecies that no longer existed.