Ooame by J C Weir

It was almost dark.  “Ooame desu ne,” said Yumiko Sakuragawa barely audible, as she gently placed the final two bowls amongst the myriad of others on the small table, and took her place on the tatami mat floor opposite her husband.  He sat with his gaze fixed through the open shoji doors, beyond the polished pine veranda, out across the patchwork of rice fields, colourless now in fading light and heavy rain.  Two weeks ago he would have said, “It will be a good crop.”  The temperature and the humidity were favourable.  But he had become uneasy.  It was near the end of tsuyu, the rainy season, but the old man in his ninety one years, had never lived through a downpour of unceasing weight.  Such rain is not sympathetic to rice saplings.  Since morning stories he had heard when he was young, that the old people told, of a deluge that washed away the rice and the villages, had come to him.  He nodded pensively.  “So desu ne.  Ooame desu.”  Yes.  Heavy rain.

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Johnny Igoe, Spellbinder Remembered by Tom Sheehan

My grandfather Johnny Igoe was a little Irish man. He stood a mere 5’ 6” but was a giant to me when his poetic voice rolled across the lamp-lit porch floor. He always wore a felt hat, a white beard, and often a pair of bicycle clips on his pant legs in the later years so he wouldn’t trip himself. His blue eyes were excavations, deep, and musical, caught up in other places you could tell, places where poems rang or memories, old names, old faces, the geography of mankind. They held places he had left and feared he’d never to get back to. Each of his canes knew the back of your knees, the rump, in a grab at attention. Older townsfolk, walking by, talked to him at the open kitchen window, the curl of pipe smoke rising between them, while grandma was at her oven, her room full of breads and sweets.

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On a Balcony in Bucharest by Irina Popescu

He lights a cigarette on their small balcony that overlooks the main children’s park beneath. It’s dark already, so the only rumbling he hears is from lonely street dogs and teenage couples. He takes long deliberate drags from it, letting the smoke settle on his lips for a moment before deciding to blow it out. He watches as the smoke meets the air, blurring the horizon underneath him. His wife approaches the balcony from their living room. He hopes she would not scold him again for smoking. He knows it’s bad for him. As soon as she steps out, he starts,  Continue reading

 A Little Bit Toasty By Ben Gamblin

“Reload the story,” Harry said.

“Harry, I just—”

“Please?”

Kenneth sighed and clicked the arrow icon. Their network connection was slow in the mornings and the page reconfigured slowly. First came the bold, enlarged headline, followed by the ads. The smaller print loaded last. Kenneth and Harry skimmed the entire article again but it read the same as before, no updates or revisions of any kind. The suspect is in a blue Volkswagen Passat heading southbound on I-5. Police are urging other motorists to avoid—

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