Mystery Loves Company

by Brad Rose

Saturday night was quiet as a deer, so I went outside to sit in the dark breeze. I noticed the stars were taking place again, beautiful flecks glittering in the black anonymity. Everything in the universe vibrates. Everything shudders and undulates. Mystery loves company. Seconds later, I nearly forgot.


Brad Rose's website is here.


After the Reign of Jimmy Carter

by James Thrasher

There once was a man named Riley who began every new year in the exact same fashion. He would wake up, do ten pushups, then shower and fix himself a bowl of oatmeal. After eating and washing the bowl, he’d begin to read Moby Dick. In ’77, he reached page 10; in ’78, page 16; in ’79, page 18; in ’80, he regressed to page 5. Finally, mercifully, on the day the New York Yankees made Dave Winfield baseball’s highest paid player, a friend of Riley’s - not a great friend; more a casual acquaintance - suggested a different resolution. Riley took the suggestion to heart, set his copy of Melville’s masterpiece adrift on Lake Michigan, took up the flute, and played badly and happily for over thirty years.


James Thrasher lives and writes in Maryland.


Ruining Rachmaninov

by Tricia Friedman

It wasn't raining. Not then, when you arrived at my door. There is one flight of stairs after the elevator jostles itself open at 11, as though it nodded off on its way up. I let you in, and the way that lover's on lent time have to love, we undressed quickly. Somewhere, in between bookends of kisses, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor came from my stereo, it seemed to cue the July rain. Sergei can stay the hell out of my apartment now.


Tricia Friedman was formerly a Peace Corps Volunteer, living in a valley among Morocco's Atlas Mountains.


At Mickey’s

by Linda Lowe

Nights were full of guys strumming country on the foot-tall stage. It didn’t get more awesome than when Francine hopped up there and belted out “Stand by Your Man.” Her own husband was long gone, her kids, just babies. She dreamed of giving up her waitress gig, but too soon she was booed off the stage for missing the high notes, and when her knees gave out the coffee shop said sorry. Sorry say her kids, all grown up now, living too far away to take some burden off neighbors. Neighbors, strangers, ringing the bell, trying to, but it’s broken, like most everything.


Linda Lowe's poems and stories have appeared in Outlook Springs, What Rough Beast, The New Verse News, Misfit Magazine, and others.


The Sun's Departing Kiss

by Darren Sant

I sit and watch the dying rays of the day disappear behind the hill in Massachusetts. The bright spots fade gradually leaving the hill to slowly darken. I imagine I hear their cries on this day so very long ago and yet only a moment in time. Blood and bones litter the hillside in my mind, so I step gingerly in response. I whistle the dog and she comes running tail wagging, tongue lolling, heart singing, oblivious. Together we leave the sobering shadow of Bunker Hill.


Darren Sant is a writer living in Hull. His proudest works are the Longcroft Tales and a novella called The Bank Manager and the Bum.


My Affinity for Circles

by Geoffrey Billetter

A continuing movement, a cycle, represents a circle. The circle can be a period for the end of a thought. The circle can encourage you to link arms to form a group and show off your strength in numbers. Alternately, the circle can be a trap for your prey. A hole show in 2D is a circle that you can fall into, look through, live in, hide in, or fill up. A circle as a coin makes my hand busy and my pocket full.


Geoffrey Billetter loves circles.