A Scene of Grief by Anuradha Prasad

Nakul Pandey sat staring at the frail corpse that had been his father. A group of mourners in various shades of white sat in vigil. Suffocating floral bouquet notes arose from the garland-draped cover of the coffin cooler in which the corpse had been kept as the mourners waited for Nakul’s older brother, Vipul, to come from the UK and perform the last rites. Through the huddled fog in his head, Nakul observed the cable snaking from the cooler to the switchboard and anticipated that someone might trip over it. He tripped over it when he got up to take a call. A few hands were raised in alarm, “oh-oh” and “watch it” and “careful” were exclaimed, all garbed in the tone and pitch appropriate to mourning. You wouldn’t want to wake the dead especially if the dead was his father, Jeetendra Pandey.

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A Turtle’s Farewell by Lisa M DiFruscio

The chair belonged to the table set I inherited when my mother passed away.  It didn’t fit anywhere in the house, not in the kitchen, not in any corner space where it could be made useful. So when my partner decided to claim it for his own, the chair ended up in the garage, at a new table, where it was sat upon and enjoyed, as a resting place, a work place, a smoking place, a social place, and finally, his quiet place. I would hear the legs of the chair scrape periodically when I was in the kitchen, and although it was buffered by the door, I came to know the squeak as a prelude that soon I would have to stop what I was doing.  Interrupting myself was voluntary.  He would stomp into the kitchen and re-fill his coffee cup.  I would generously get out of his way.

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Burnt Orange by Desmond Kelly

There’s a feral cat watching the birds. Sparrows mainly. The birds remain oblivious, searching for crumbs which the tourists scatter unheedingly in their tracks. There are a great many tourists. It’s hard to understand why this place should appeal to the average visitor. I should know, I’m there against everything I’ve practised in my life. And, I’ve been a sinner – if sinners remain a recognised species. But I had to come. Something inexplicable drew me. Even so, the vast numbers are off putting and I’m wondering if there’s something else. Something I haven’t yet understood. Is it a bank holiday, or is there going to be a local football derby?

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Little Miss Twinkle Toes by James Hanna

Hi. My name is Gertie McDowell. I was born in Turkey Roost, Kentucky, which ain’t much to brag about. The town, if you want to call it that, has half a dozen streets, a whole bunch of bars, and a McDonald’s whose arches are always powdered with coal dust. Just a typical strip-mining town is all. On Saturday night, a girl can’t do much except stroll up and down the main drag. Or maybe gather a few girlfriends for a slumber party and watch movies on the Turner channel. I watch a lot of movies, and I like the old musicals best. My favorite is West Side Story—Natalie Wood sure could sing. But I’m kinda getting off the subject.

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