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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A Boy Before Dawn by Levi Eddie Aluede

The bus halts. I can feel the memory of my mother waft over me when the automatic doors swing open, the air pressure changes… I land on the wet floor, my boots squeak against the surface. The stop is empty and clean, freshly made like everything in Inner New Borough. Greeting me with the smell of metal. It permeates from recently finished buildings, it makes up most of what surrounds me. It smells harsh, makes me wanna spit. Each step I take towards Kusanagi’s building, I take with caution, though, it makes me wonder, how she ever got used to walking up and down these roads. It’s not classy or respectable, it just makes me sick to my stomach. But now she’s one of them, a child of Stalemate, living in a reflector. It sounds stupid the whole idea of it. But now I think on the concept, everything seems a little stupid since I came back from Holy Mountain, no doubt she’ll enquire about my findings, her lost brothers. Better smoke a little something before my nerves get the best of me before my eyes stare a little too long at her new plastic nose. I light my joint, look up at the bleak night sky, at least I see stars here, ain’t no stars in Stalemate, all you get is a blank sheet of dusty orange. It covers everything like a dirty blanket. They say the sight irritates the eyes, sure enough there’s a tendency for seemingly random periodic blindness but I can’t say nothing, as far as I’m concerned. I look at the orange sky all the time and, well, my eyes feel fine.

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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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