Through Amazed Eyes by Leila Allison

It’s three feet farther to hell from New Town Bridge. The city recently installed an eighteen-inch “safety” extension to the pedestrian rail. Since it opened in 1978, at least twenty persons have jumped off the ugly gray span and found death waiting two-hundred feet below in the beckoning Philo Bay Narrows. Northern seas swiftly kill the pain; and when that comforting certainty outweighs the threat of damnation, I don’t see another foot and a half up, and down, getting in the way.

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Sharpie Tattoos by Jacie Pridgeon

For once, Audrey was glad Mason had worn that maroon knit cap his dad had given him. The wind swept low around them as they sat on the park bench, chilling Audrey while the bare tree tops remained still.

Her son did not look up from doodling on his hand as he asked, “What did the people at the garage tell you?”

“They think they know what’s wrong, but they can’t fix it until tomorrow.”

“How much?” Now he started on the other side, turning his hand before she could look at the ink splotches covering his palm.

“Enough to cut into our hotel money. No continental breakfast for us, kiddo.” One transmission leak leaves us scrambling, she thought.

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Another One of His Punishments by Paul Beckman

My son and I meet in the City, dinner and talk. And drink. More and more drink as time goes by. He is quite the drinker, my son is, Old Overholt Rye on the rocks–a drinkers drink. None of those blends that people call Rye. Who am I to talk? When I was his age, twenty-seven, I was out drinking every night and my poison of choice was Tequila.

But it’s not the same. Sometimes I think he needs his golden anesthesia to tolerate our time together. We hug hello and goodbye and he never acts embarrassed to kiss me when he sees me. We never have a bad time, not like the old days, which were rocky as all Hell. That’s okay. Fathers and sons should have a little conflict to make them stronger and bond as more than just parent and child when they get older. By now we should be bonded at the hip, but I worry that he’s getting the Irish disease which is even worse for a Jew than for a Mick. I should know.

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Show of Good Faith by A.L. Ellis

Tiny clots of tissue and intestine trailed down my driveway and snaked around to the backyard.  Before the touch of day, I’d let Shiva out to run free from the house and I.  Two hours later and still no sign of her. She’d usually come back to the front door scratching and whining to get back in; negative 42 degrees had a way of making animals panic.  The cold couldn’t bother me anymore, but the sun still did—it was too bright.  I grabbed a jacket anyway and headed out to look for her.  She had no problem jumping the metal fence around the property.  And when she didn’t feel like jumping, she’d dig her way to freedom.

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Who Knows Who Lived in My House, Built in 1742, or Your House by Tom Sheehan

For history and legend sakes, certain attributes, character traits if you will, have to be appointed here at the beginning of This old house (B. 1742), home for more than half a century of my life, and This old room, dressed with computer by me for the last 28 years. Yet I swear thick-cut Edgeworth pipe tobacco bears its welcome as strong as my grandfather’s creaking chair, diminutive Johnny Igoe’s chair. This most memorable compartment was also his room for 20 years of literate cheer, storied good will, the pleasantries of expansive noun and excitable verb, and his ever-lingering poems, each one a repeated resonance, a victory of sound and meaning and the magic of words. Yet be of stout spirit, for the chair mocks time only in the clutch of darkness thick as the eternal void, and the tobacco’s no longer threatening in its gulp.

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