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Issue 34
February 2020


Issue 34

Clean

Micah Thorp

I stood in the hallway of the African Hotel in Tunis wearing a bathrobe and sandals unsure which way to turn. Flanked on both sides by large ornate doors encrusted with mosaics of translucent tiles artfully lettering something in Arabic, I had no idea where to go. At front desk, using my mostly forgotten college French, IÕd inquired about the spa (la source mineral) initially uncertain whether I would be directed to a steam room or rock quarry.

Issue 34

Black, Yellow, Blue

Rebecca Larivee

Black. Yellow. Blue. The painting in the hall showed a man, a woman, and a big yellow dog Ð falling from the Earth into the atmosphere. The dog looked so helpless as he fell with his legs spread out, away from green earth and blue oceans toward the blackened sky. The thick strokes of paint gave the images an added dimension Ð as if the paint was also falling away from the wooden frame. Even then, at the tender age of nine, I was most concerned about the dog.

Issue 34

A recipe for apple pie

Janette Schafer

First, gather the apples. After the neighbors move out, in the seclusion of nightfall, crawl with your little sister beneath a gap dug by their brown dog underneath the fence between their yard and yours. Shimmy on your belly like a snake. Once you are safely inside their abandoned homestead, reach up to take a large bowl your mother hands you over the wooden fence posts.

Issue 34

Memorial in Sand

Mark Carter

Three statues stand together at the edge of the tree line. Alert, deliberately calm, they look in the same direction, though not precisely at the same place. Boonie-rats. Grunts. They are looking, always will be looking at The Wall: a great gash of black stone slabs in a green civilian lawn. A carefully shaped pile of black sand.

Issue 34

The Disappeared

Brandon Daily

The classroom is small, and there is a faint staleness in the air, like the scent of days-old burnt pastries in a kitchen. Chairs too small to fit adult bodies are stacked in the far corner beneath the one window of the room, and all the tables have been pushed against the perimeter, circling him and the others like an elevated moat of laminate wood. The walls are covered with crayon drawings from the children who are there during the daytime

Issue 34

Lizzy Baby

Sarah Blanchard

Nine-year-old Liz Walters knew the old playscape was off-limits and had been for years. She hadn’t planned to climb the ladder. This was just going to be a reconnaissance mission.
By mid-afternoon on a Friday in late August, she’d crossed Johnson’s cow pasture and was standing behind the closed-up village school, contemplating the sad condition of its abandoned playground.

Issue 34

The Boat, My Father

Andy Rugg

Janine wants me to write it all down. She still doesn’t believe me, despite everything I’ve been through and everything I’ve put her through. She wants me to write it down so then I’ll realise how crazy it sounds. The boat took me back. Right back to New Guinea in 1943. It wasn’t time travel exactly, but it has to be close.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Issue 34

Only the Moon Remains

Lawrence F. Farrar

When he returned to Tokyo in mid-February, Peter entered a capital wrapped in foreboding. Over whiskey sodas at the Palace Hotel bar, Bigelow declared he expected a military uprising within days. Peter dismissed the idea. True, he had noticed soldiers in the streets, but units marching to and from reviews or to board trains had become common sights in recent years. And, so far as Peter could see, the citizens of AsiaÕs most modern metropolis were going about their lives in a perfectly ordinary manner.

Issue 34

The Snitch: Mary

M.D. Semel

It was dark when the alarm went off. Mary Patterson lifted herself from bed, splashed cold water on her face, brushed her teeth, then dressed in the clothes she had laid out on the chair the night before. She wore a dark blue dress, something that she had worn to church on many occasions, and flat shoes. She listened to the news on the radio as she got ready, and opted for stockings, despite the predicted heat, but she ultimately rejected the idea of a hat.

Issue 34

Her Own Devices

Geoffrey Dutton

Whether out of hacker pride, frustration over loose ends, or simple curiosity, Ottovio had suggested they meet at the Greek bistro where the Facebook photo of Laskaris, Servopoulos and Eugenides had been taken. It was a bit out of the way, he conceded, but it would give them a chance to check out the office building where Meteor Import-Export Ltd. supposedly was headquartered. No reservations were necessary, he had said, which did not prevent Anna or Andreas from having their own about the utility of the expedition.

Issue 34

Password

JW Heacock

Edgar thought they'd travel in a chartered jet. He'd never flown on one before, but he knew the Company used them when they needed feet on the ground ASAP. Cantor Fitzgerald was the Company's biggest client, generating millions in revenue each year, which he figured would make them charter worthy.

Issue 34

Wine and Roses

Victoria Shannon

First, there was Roses. She met him more than 30 years ago, at her second research job. Now, when they saw each other, he always brought her a single rose.
Roses, 6:16 a.m.: “I know this: You and I belong together. We have a beautiful future before us.”
Then, there was Wine. She broke up with him when she was 36. That was 23 years ago.

Issue 34

A Different Man

Sascha Goluboff

The day he arrived started off as usual as any for Pru. It was late spring. She stood by the stove in the summer kitchen, boiling water to wash Miss Vena’s petticoats and undergarments. Old Janie, who worked at the Moffatts’ neighboring farm, sat at the large wooden table gossiping with Aunt Betty, Pru’s father’s sister, who was Miss Vena’s cook.

Issue 34

The Lottery House

Alli Parrett

Every Friday, while co-workers are out for their weekly happy hour, Meg sits in bed, her ticket perched on her keyboard, combing through design ideas on the internet while the local newscaster announces lottery numbers. One at a time, the numbered table-tennis balls appear on the screen.

Issue 34

The Columnist

Neal Lipschutz

Max Toffer was pretty much everything I wanted to be. A newspaper columnist, an author of fiction and nonfiction, a devoted advocate of the First Amendment. He was from Philadelphia before he moved to New York to become a Greenwich Village institution at The Oracle. I learned all I knew about Toffer from the about-the-author paragraphs at the back of the novel of his I just finished

Issue 34

The Socialite

BJ Fischer

Logan began looking for his friends as he waited to make a left turn at the gate. The corporate headquarters stood behind a gleaming white iron fence that stretched for furlongs. He followed four black Navigators down the long-curved driveway.
The parade of cars stopped at the valet, which gave him time to scan for the one belonging to the people he knew.