A Diner and The Cello by Tina Klimas

From outside the coffee shop across the road, Julia watches Charlie Miller leave the diner. It starts to snow again and if she narrows her vision to exclude all else, she can almost believe that she is looking at an idyllic scene. Snowflakes drift softly through the golden glow emanating from the diner window. Waitresses move about inside with coffee pots, amid the chattering, happy diners. Charlie Miller, in jeans and cowboy boots, plaid flannel shirt poking out from a nondescript brown jacket, completes this perfect portrait of nostalgic Americana. But then he pauses outside the diner and crosses his arms in a tight knot across his chest.  He stares straight ahead, as if he is viewing hell. The image of blood and clotted brain-matter leaps up before her eyes. She stuffs it back into the box too small to hold it, only to wait for the demented jack-in-the-box to spring again.

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Brought Back By Michael Sherrin

Denise organized the chairs in a circle, each no more than six inches apart. She sorted the donuts on the tray so each had its own space, none touching. The coffee was positioned to allow for steady traffic and conversation.

Denise smiled and watched each person enter the room, grab donuts, gulp coffee, and slid chairs out of position. She stayed silent, reminding herself this was part of the healing process.

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