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Bald is a Feel, Not a Look

Issue 33 by Jarrett Neal

Byron shook the rain off his driving cap and wool blazer before he hung them on the rack by the entrance. He handed the chubby lady behind the front desk a twenty-dollar bill. She was honey-colored with glossy yellow fingernails and plump black and gold braids coiled atop her head like a nest of vipers. When she passed him his change and gave him a receipt she said, “That’s for them,” gesturing to the phalanx of barber students several feet away.

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Saving Grace

Issue 33 by Reyna Marder Gentin

One day, Grace Stevenson stopped coloring her hair. All those hours and all that money spent trying to keep aging at bay, and John had gone off with a younger woman anyway. What was the point? At seventy, she thought the gray made her look refined, worldly. That’s how she wanted to feel. Like she’d arrived at a certain stage in her life where her choices should be respected.
She knew she wasn’t fooling anyone.

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Temilola

Issue 33 by Doley Henderson

I see her still. Her beaded plaits, flashing smile, bubbling laugh. Temilola. She has five other names but this is the one she prefers. Lola for short.
Toronto, Canada 2019 Floating downstairs after a therapy session, I hold the invisible balloon around me, a hot golden bubble of healing light from my osteo-physio. Pain free for now, I exhale, re-enter the city.

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The President’s Garden

Issue 33 by Jordan Smith

“It is with some delicacy,” began the note that May had found that morning in the wastebasket in Theo’s study when she went in search of a scrap of paper, that I phrase this apol…” And there the script sputtered and ended. May knew exactly what had happened.

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The Tale of Alimona

Issue 33 by Margaret Sullivan

There lived a woman Alimona who was called so because her evil husbands had forced her to pay them alimony before they would agree to free her from their miserable reigns. Many, many evil husbands, too many to identify, lest you find her thoughtless or promiscuous, tortured Alimona’s good faith, good heart and good intentions.

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The Cave

Issue 33 by Ellis Shuman

They say the cave offers a passage to the underworld. In ancient Greek mythology, a musician, poet, and prophet named Orpheus, son of the god Apollo, descended through the cave into the subterranean kingdom of Hades in search of his beloved, Eurydice. There are many versions of this legend and none of them have happy endings.

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Neither Here Nor There

Issue 33 by Marianna Boncek

Angie pulled her cell phone out of her pocket to check the time. She was late. Actually, she was over an hour late. She had two missed calls both from Harold. He had warned her not to be late.
“You absolutely cannot be late,” was exactly how Harold had phrased it. “There will be press and photographers there. They do not want to wait around for you. Don’t screw this up.”

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Easy Does It

Issue 33 by Howard Sachs

Easy Ed’s brain was under siege, assaulted by an unidentified buzzing. His nervousness layered mystery onto its origin. He was too high and too edgy to think clearly. Everything was a vibrating blur. What he contemplated doing would either ruin his life or save it. Easy’s corpulent body seemed to shrink as the droning gathered into a whining bolt of shrillness that pierced his ears. The buzzing morphed into the tip of a drill that bored into his brain.

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Loma Prieta

Issue 33 by Helen Beer

October 17, 1989. 5:04 P.M. I’d just left the Moscone Convention Center with my colleague, Jacqueline. We were exhibiting at a conference on water pollution and had just settled into our seats on one of the buses shuttling exhibitors and attendees to their hotels for the evening. And then it struck. For fifteen seconds it felt like a carnival whirlybird ride.
The windows in the buildings around us seemed to breathe in and out, until, released from their frames, these great panes exploded, showering fragments of glass, glittering in the traffic’s lights.

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I Am a Stalwart: Part Two

Issue 33 by David Kennedy

There was shouting along the banks of the East River, but Arthur could not quite make it out.
He stood upon the deck of the Saint John, the steamboat that he and Conkling had caught very early that morning, and peered across the morning fog that now was lifting from the waters of that tributary that shot north from New York Harbor, cleft the island of Manhattan from the cities of Brooklyn and Queens, swept heedlessly through the sharp breaks at Spuyten Duyvil, then rushed into the great Hudson River and ran up to Albany. But the return of Conkling and Platt to Albany had proven less triumphant than anticipated.

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Hashish and Mother Goose

Issue 33 by Jeanne Wilkinson

Val has received a Christmas gift from the old lady of one of his clients: some hash brownies. Hashish is from the cannabis plant but purified and intensified, with a pungent, soil-like flavor that doesn’t do much for the brownies but chocolate and sugar make the hash itself somewhat palatable. I’ve smoked it before – since it’s not from a test tube, it’s on my okay list. Val gets it in a compressed form and sometimes sprinkles it in a joint. I’m not too excited about eating it, but I’ll do it. I’m on the magic bus; might as well go with the traffic. Within reason, of course. Within my code.

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