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March of Dimes
Adam Purple

     "Cut through the park, and we can save ourselves a mile," said the boy walking closest to me. The others hailed his proposal, which even I had to admit, would yield a perfect, and victimless crime. But in my back pocket was my pledge sheet, a short list of ten and twenty cents per mile from family, neighbors, friends—and me.
     "No, Iím finishing the route," I said. One after another, they peeled off and left me. Yet fifty steps later, they were back en masse, nothing further said. We finished together, the last mile the easiest of them all.

Adam Purple lives in New Hampshire, and dreams of being a writer. This is his first publication. He blogs about writing at www.writernot.com.



Signs
Janel Gradowski

     She took the craft class to live in another world for awhile. Magical, gray clay turned to real silver under the unrelenting torch flame. The miniature ďOut of OrderĒ sign she made always hung from a chain around her neck. It was the most expensive piece of jewelry she owned, including her wedding ring.
     The house was falling apart, but there was never enough money to repair anything. His laugh was brittle when he sat on the sagging couch and watched cartoons. Maybe it was better they didnít have kids. The garbage disposal, her husband, her ovaries: nothing worked anymore.

Janel Gradowski lives and writes among the farm fields of central Michigan. Her non-fiction and fiction work has appeared in Six Sentences, 50 to 1, Beadwork Magazine and several other publications. More of her work and thoughts on many things can be found at: janelsjumble.blogspot.com.



Duct Tape
Robert Scotellaro

     My father thought duct tape could fix anything. He used it to pat us down for lint, to block the tub's overflow, so the bath water reached our chins—on lawn furniture and frayed wires, baring their orange teeth; keeping us safe. And finally, those last years, a kind of duct tape he tried on his marriage—dust and booze undoing its sticking power. The deafening sound of it pulled from the role, again and again. Each new piece cut with his teeth; never holding. Better served for those broken taillights and garden hose leaks, where its magic never failed.

Robert Scotellaro's flash fiction and poetry have appeared in: Fast Forward (A Collection of Flash Fiction, Volume 2), Boston Literary Magazine, Dogzplot, Willows Wept Review, mud luscious, Ghoti, 971 Menu, The Laurel Review, Storyscape, Battered Suitcase, Six Sentences, Macmillan collections and others. He is the author of several literary chapbooks, two books of poetry, and the recipient of Zone 3ís Rainmaker Award in Poetry. Born and raised in Manhattan, he currently lives in California with his wife.



Walking on Eggshells
Carrie Kei Heim Binas

     She talks to me in whispers, feeding me sunflower seeds while he plays video games in the next room. He's been out of work for so long. She doesn't think he's even looking anymore. She doesn't know how they can afford to keep going on like this, but she can't talk to him about it: he gets too defensive. You know how men are.
     I preen the back of my neck, pinching each new feather at the bottom to break, then strip off, the flaking sheath. Anyone who talks about eggshells like they're fragile has obviously never been inside one.

Carrie Kei Heim Binas has a B.A. in French from Vassar College, a second B.A. in English from Hunter College, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She lives in the Boston area with her more-than-equally-credentialed husband, and daughter, and blogs about writing at www.heimbinasfiction.blogspot.com. This is her first publication.



Apple Pie
William T. Vandemark

     Green infantrymen muster on the garage floor, their bodies glistening with freshly daubed plastic cement. The enemy, strapped with flamethrowers, patrols the fence line. Their Captain, pistol raised, awaits orders.
     Enter a boy, ten years old, a can of hairspray, an Ohio Blue Tip match.
     Soldiers writhe in agony, hissing, limbs twisting, ichorous flames dripping. Torsos pop like panicked gunshots. The horror. Oh, the horror.
     Lives puddle. Black smoke, acrid, curls. On the ceiling, sooted glyphs document war crimes.
     After dinner, air still crusted with the stench of death, Father dishes out corporal punishment.
     But oh, the glory. The glory.

William T. Vandemark wanders the back roads of America in a pickup. He chases storms, photographs weathervanes, and prospects for fulgurites. When wanderlust ebbs, he resides in Seattle or San Antonio, depending on personal and planetary inclination. His short stories have appeared in assorted venues as detailed at www.williamtvandemark.com.






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