Archive for August, 2013

If Not Now, When? by Marian Brooks

Aug 29 2013 Published by under Stories

On her fifty-eighth birthday, Enid asked herself, “If not now, when?” Her life had been too careful, she decided. She flossed daily and wore sensible shoes. She consistently put the needs of others before her own, politely and grew angry as a rabid dog, silently. Often, in the morning, her jaw ached with a night’s worth of grinding. Her sleep was restless, disturbed by dreams of a violent nature. The last nightmare left her exhausted, hiding, running from “It,” escaping at the last moment into a manhole at the center of the Core States Stadium. A baseball game was in progress.

But this day dawned bright, warm for early spring, and Enid decided to explore an alternate route to her office in downtown Chester. This was somewhat of a challenge because she feared, more than anything, getting lost. When her psychiatrist had asked Enid about her earliest memory, she told him all about being lost on the beach in Atlantic City at three years of age, unable to recite her address or last name. She was certain she’d never see her parents again. She thought with the logic and terror of a small child that she’d more than likely perish or be living in an orphanage before night fall. She’d heard about them. Of course, like many mental calamities, this one lived and died in the space of about ten minutes. Enid’s parents were hyper-vigilant and noticed her missing almost immediately. They searched without delay and found her under the boardwalk, holding on to her yellow bucket and sobbing. But that memory stored itself inside Enid and was as easily reconstituted as orange juice whenever the road looked unfamiliar and she was alone.

Enid developed many fears as she grew up. She was never permitted to ride a two-wheeler because her parents were convinced that she’d be crushed by a pickup truck. There was always a story on the radio or in the newspaper to corroborate such concerns. Learning to bike at past mid-life presented itself as an unnerving ordeal. But, learn she did despite scraped knees that took a week or two to heal, despite her mother’s words, “That could be very dangerous.” Enid’s mother issued that warning about almost anything from slicing a bagel to eating Halloween candy. Once she cautioned Enid against sleeping in the same room as an oscillating fan. When Enid asked why, her mother responded, “No one knows the long term effects of snoozing in front of a fan.” Skiing, even the bunny slopes, presented opportunities for dread as did driving across bridges and through tunnels.

Nevertheless, Enid faced this Thursday, her birthday, in a red dress, a color she rarely wore, climbed into her gray Honda Accord and, without her GPS, made a left onto Hollow Road.

Recently retired, Marian Brooks has begun to write some short fiction. Her work has appeared in The Linnet’s Wings, The Story Shack, ThickJam, Barefoot Review and others.

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Where To Go When You Miss Him by Austin Eichelberger

Aug 09 2013 Published by under Stories

The Applebee’s on Main for lunch, despite the fact that he never bartends on Tuesday afternoons; a quiet café on Landon Street – isn’t it just called Café? – that he frequents after work for a chai latte with extra foam, which is better than it sounds; the loud, smoky pool hall by the Civic Center where the two of you would play poker – in the back on Thursdays – and skee-ball; the Food Lion by Waterfront Road that’s only three blocks from his apartment and has beer for a dollar cheaper than any other grocery in town; the Lowe’s you went to – the one on Corrine Boulevard – to get him a new drill and wrench set for Christmas last year; the voodoo shop on the boardwalk, owned by a woman who really is Creole and will build a doll out of a sock and three stray hairs for thirty dollars; before home, to bed, where the sheets smell faintly of beer and sand, and there’s nothing to remind you of how recently he was there.

Austin Eichelberger completed his MA in Fiction in May 2009. Since then, he has taught English and writing courses at several universities. His fiction has appeared in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, GoneLawnExtract(s)Eclectic Flash, and others. He is co-founding editor of the online journal SPACES.

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