Sly Promotion by Tom Sheehan

The conversation had gone all the way around the corner and came back to death, or getting there, Prince having the floor and saying, “I had a friend just north of Boston.” That’s how he started, a simple opener, the way he does it, with natural pauses built in and a pass at saying he was familiar with Elizabeth Bishop’s poems. Hell, we knew that from similar discussions.

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How to be a Bartender by Alice Franklin

This is not a place. This is a space. A hang-out space, a chill out space, a kick-back space. A space for creativity, innovation and ideation. A space where thoughts fly and conversations begin. A space where art is made, performed and celebrated. A space where relationships develop, blossom and flourish. A space where strangers become friends. A space where people become communities. This is, in short, a bar.

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Home from the Dead by Tom Sheehan

Earl Chatsby, six years ceased being a father for real, felt an odd distinction coming into his place of being. The newspaper for the moment loomed an idle bundle in his lap the way it stayed weighty and rolled and unread. Walls of the kitchen widened, and the room took in more air. He could feel the huge gulp of it. The coffee pot was perking loudly its 6 AM sound and the faucet drip, fixed three nights earlier at Melba’s insistence, had hastened again its freedom, the discord highly audible. Atop the oil cloth over the kitchen table the mid-May sun continued dropping its slanting hellos, allowing them to spread the room into further colors. Yet to this day he cannot agree to what happened first, the front porch shadow at the window coming vaguely visible in a corner of his eye, a familiar shadow, or the slight give-away trod heard from the porch floor, that too familiar, the board loose it seemed forever and abraded by Melba’s occasional demands to fix it.

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Laying Vivian to Rest by dm gillis

It was a big box joint, out on a low overhead stretch of highway. The pink neon sign arching over the entrance to the parking lot read CRYPTS, a division of Marshal Memorial Inc. Below that was a flashing white neon sign reading Drive-Thru. I drove on, and waited in line for the order window. There was only one car ahead of us, a red Cadillac, circa 1975. The driver had been talking into a speaker next to his driver’s side window for several minutes, before two men arrived at the passenger side of the car with a gurney. Opening the car door, they pulled the body of an elderly man out of the car. He wore a rumpled brown suit and only one shoe. The two men placed his body onto the gurney, while the driver watched and waved a slow, sad good-bye. Then the dead old man was wheeled away, as a slot below the speaker spat out a paper tape and credit card that the Cadillac man took, before he drove away.

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Waiting by Ethel Maqeda

The woman just turned up at the house one morning. That was not unusual in itself. People turn up at other people’s houses without invitation or warning. All the time. It is even more usual in Dhulivadzimu, being so close to the border post. It was little wonder that the VhaVenda gods and ancestral spirits had chosen this dusty, barren gorge as their dwelling place. It is as if they had known that this is where all their benevolence and guidance would be most needed. Always.

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