The Bees

By Andrea Rouda

I was still half asleep when I noticed an odd spot on the ceiling. “What’s that?” I asked Rick, already dressed for work.

“Nothing. I have to go in early today, I’ll call you later.” The door slammed and he drove off. Now fully awake, I understood that the dark spot was a line of bees coming through a crack in the plaster: first three, then six, suddenly a dozen. Continue reading

Manny’s Regret

By Carl Conrad

It was a quick pitch to the left. Manny sprinted to the outside corner of his team’s offensive formation as the play started to develop then Timon Carter, the quarterback, whirled and tossed a lightly-spinning pitch into his arms. Manny took it smoothly in stride, pushed hard off the cleats of his left foot in the damp, soft, green, grassy soil, and turned up field.

Manny had eyes that could see holes in the defense where there didn’t seem to be any and hips that could shake through tacklers like an otter squirming its way through the dangerous waters of a swamp. But, as he burst past the defensive end who lunged at his ankles and missed, something strange — no, something unbelievable — no, something absolutely impossible happened. Continue reading

The Best Way to Tell

By William Watson

We were standing next to two gorgeous women, giving them the eye. I was ready to make a move when my buddy pulled me aside.

“You wanna know how I tell?” he asks. “OK, the first thing I look for is moisture. It’s subtle. Look in the corner of the eyes, near the mouth, the nape of the neck, or under the Adam’s apple. If it’s a hot day, look for perspiration at the armpits. You get the idea? Be careful, some of the newer models have moisture injection at key locations, so it’s easy to be thrown off. Continue reading

Something’s Burning

By Ritta M. Basu

Gladys had always loved the smell of coffee. Even though she didn’t relish her first cup until she was nearly 25 and Starbucks had made coffee drinking a fad, she remembered well the constant drip of the coffee pot at her parents’ home. They never stopped drinking coffee. They drank it all day long.

Back then the smell was only distinct first thing in the morning. After 8, the aroma blended into the odors of cigarette smoke, fresh dirt brought in on shoes from the garden and the chicken pen, the smell of eggs frying, the pungent tang of fresh goat’s milk, and a fragrant mixture of strawberry shampoo, Ivory soap and Aqua Net hairspray floating from the bathroom. Continue reading

The Last Time I Saw Janis


By Kevin Moriarity

The last time I saw Janis was on Lake Michigan. It was a hot, muggy day in August. I had taken my Grand Banks trawler out for a day trip from Chicago to New Buffalo. The engines purred as we moved through calm water at a leisurely 12 knots. The slight breeze created from the movement of the 45 foot yacht was refreshing. Janis was on the foredeck working on her already deep tan.

“I don’t know how much more of him I can take,” she shouted back at me.

“Why don’t you just leave him? Why do you keep going back and take his crap?” Continue reading

The Whittler: A Dedication

By Jonathan J. Bishop

I whittle away at the unshaped wood in my hands as the sun brazenly sets above. The day fades. Soon it will be dark. Hungry beasts will emerge from the woods. There’s no fence to protect me; no neighbors to assist. My cabin rests juxtaposed to a lowly dirty road that carries only the occasional car. Drivers don’t stop to see me. I’m an old man.

Long ago, I was paralyzed—an old war injury. I figured it’d do me some good to get out of the city and move to the country: Alaska. It’s what you see on all the postcards. The air and trees and rivers all sparkle with untouched purity. Nothing looks poisoned. Continue reading

The Pixilated Man

By Mark Juric

It started, he thought, with the telegraph. “Technology strips luxury from language,” he could be heard saying on the days we could still understand him. “It squeezes thought into ever-shrinking spaces, so how and where you listen and watch,” he’d say before pausing and buffering “ha — ha — hahahahhahas — has become more important than content.” Continue reading