#84 The Strange Life He Recalls by William Wren

A man with strange memories lived a few years ago. He may still be alive; I couldn’t say. We haven’t spoken in years and I’ve heard he doesn’t live in Belize anymore. I don’t have a current address.

He was a man who always dressed well. Always wore smart clothes. Fashionable, but not in the day’s fashion. A step to the side of whatever the current trend was.

A fastidious man, his hair was always groomed; face studiously clean-shaven when he didn’t have a beard or mustache. When he had either, it was always crisply trimmed.

Fingers manicured. Toes pedicured. Definitely fastidious.

His eyes held had a look of quiet concern. It seemed something permanent. He wore sunglasses all the time, day and night; cloud or sun.

That look of concern was because of his memory. He remembered all manner of things and all of them were strange. For example, he remembered being a dried wishbone from a Christmas turkey, and he recalled being pulled violently apart. It gave him a shudder to think of it.

He told me once he remembered the fall of the Roman Empire. On his head! How he lived through it, he couldn’t say. I told him that it wasn’t possible. “It makes no sense,” I said.

“You think so?” he replied, leaning toward me, pulling his hair back from his brow. “How do you explain this?” He had a scar on his temple. “Sixteen stitches,” he said, as if that confirmed his claim.

The truth is, real or not, he believed in them. To him, they were true memories.

And so the past became a plague to him not simply because it was gone, existing only as disturbing or nostalgic trivia to bother his daily life, but because it was all weird memory, impossible things, yet fully and vividly and truly remembered.

With these strange memories swimming around in his head, he often drank. And drank a lot. Once he went to a local bar where he met a young woman with a Rubenesque configuration. He walked right up to her. I was there; I saw the whole thing. He told her he’d known her in another life. Intimately.

She punched his lights out. This man with strange memories dropped to his knees and wheezed as she strode away, “You’ve done that to me before!”

She wasn’t listening.

What can a man with strange memories do? He asked himself that question one day as he sat outside on a patio, alone, with journal and pen and sipping a chilled sauvignon blanc. I wasn’t there. He told me this later.

The answer came to him quickly and easily: Write a book, of course! An autobiography.

And that is what the man with strange memories did. He wrote a book. He called it, The Strange Life I Recall. It outsold cell phones. They made a movie of it. They may have changed the title.

He became impossibly wealthy, of course.

He moved to Belize. Said he used to live there back when the Mayans were running the show. There was a good deal of stone work back in those days, he said. But he hadn’t cared much for the mud and the dust.

We were sitting on his balcony in Belize one afternoon. We were sharing a bottle of wine under the glory of the Caribbean sun. He had his sunglasses on, though after the book came out I often saw him without them. Ever since his success, the look of concern was gone from his eyes. I think he’d become comfortable with his strange memories. They’d been woven into the fabric of the man he was, just as his natty appearance had. They defined him.

He said to me as he recalled his earlier stone working days with the Mayans, “If I ever see another cob of corn, I’ll scream.”

I wish I knew if he were still living and if so, where. I’d enjoy sharing a bottle of wine with him again. His memories were always entertaining.

© Copyright 2018 William Wren. All rights reserved.

w-l-wrenWilliam Wren is a writer in New Brunswick, Canada. He has had several stories published previously by the Rose City Sisters. He has one ebook collection of stories on Amazon, Disrupted Lives and Other Commotions. His next ebook will be available soon.


The Sharon Economy by Paula Johnson

It wasn’t that she borrowed the odd punch bowl. To Sharon, the neighborhood was a mall where merchandise was free and returns were rare.

She was at my back door at dawn for toothpaste (“A squeeze?”), around noon for my daughter’s skateboard (“My ollie needs work!”) and at 3 pm for a stamp (“For your thank-you note!”).

My friend Jenny and I commiserated over a single glass of Gewürztraminer. Sharon had bummed the other 11 wine glasses.

“It could be worse,” Jenny said. “Remember Wendy’s husband, Larry?” I nodded before my turn to sip. “He belongs to Sharon now.”

© Copyright 2018 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. She is working on a micro fiction anthology.

Just One Snake on a Plane by Stephen R. Wolcott

“Is that a snake?” asked a stunned steward.

“Technically it’s a cobra—a comfort cobra,” said the intense gentleman. “Have you not seen the latest data?” In exasperation, he shoved an official-looking scientific document into the steward’s face.

“He’ll stay in his pouch on my lap.” The steward peered around nervously, reread in his mind the revised guidelines based on recent controversial incidents, then quickly ushered the man to the back of the plane in an empty row.

This might work, thought the steward. Until he heard some ruckus up front. Then he noticed the woman with the mongoose.

© Copyright 2018 Stephen R. Wolcott. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Stephen R. Wolcott was an award-winning writer/producer with over 100 television, behind-the-scenes “making of’ and documentary projects to his credit before shifting gears to become a teacher. He has been contributing stories to the Rose City Sisters since 2009.

The Conference by Margaret Welsh

The little child sat between her smiling parents whose knees almost touched their chins. The teacher in black, reclined in a chair shaped like a purple shoe, gazed down at the family eager to hear about their first-grader; they paid for this privilege. Most couldn’t ignore the Scorpion’s tail waving languidly over the teacher’s head, but these parents did. The teacher spoke to the child in her baby voice: “Who are your friends here?” She asked, cocking her head like a bird. The child kept her gaze, not to be anathematized and said back “You?”

© Copyright 2018 Margaret Welsh. All rights reserved.
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Margaret Welsh is a certified yoga therapist and actress who lives in Los Angeles.

Unplanned Break by Fariel Shafee

When the fog rolled in, she shrieked. The road in front was narrow and surreptitious. The jungle was thick on both sides. The air was heavy and gray. She waited in the car for an hour, listened to banal tunes that should have inspired but just rolled on. When the first rock smashed onto the chassis, she cursed herself and the innocent black bird that had sought refuge on the thin bough to the right. Then she ran up to the mountainside, crawled into a narrow crevice.

It was in that darkness that the lost box of golden dust sparkled.

© Copyright 2018 Fariel Shafee. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Fariel Shafee has degrees in science, but enjoys writing and art. She has published prose and poetry in decomP, Ygdrasil, The Foundling Review, etc.

The Cloud by Paula Johnson

When Alex saw his mother’s face in a cloud formation three days after her funeral, he assumed his eyes were playing tricks. “No way,” he whispered. But then the breeze transformed her lips into the half-smile that always meant she had a wonderful secret she just could not keep to herself.

What is it? he wondered. He followed her celestial gaze to a cloud that looked exactly like a leaping dog. It was Dexter, his childhood companion.

Message received, Mom. Alex took a long hard look at his life. Time to grow up, make changes, secure his future. Because…heaven.

© Copyright 2018 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website.

Mom, Woman, Multitasker Sanity Moment by Amanda K. Rudd

Dropping my kids off this new school year meant getting used to a new routine, commitments and time management. I had tears, joy, and one hour before work. A quiet realization: Bring on the bra shopping….. alone. I tried on everything. Sometimes twice. My trash can full of old bras were slowly killing me. My two smarties started a new journey, so did I. Mine was comfort and curves. I indulged in numerous perfect over-the-shoulder boulder holders. Pure decadence. I picked up my babies a happier mama, happier wife, happier woman!

© Copyright 2018 Amanda K. Rudd. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Amanda K. Rudd is closing in on 40. She serves coffee to the go-getters. Her mother’s death breaks her daily. Her children and hubby give her joy. Taking photos of humans is awakening and she’s learning to love reading. An introvert, she finds that her anxiety can be a death trap.  Amanda had to drink a glass of wine to generate enough courage to submit this story. 

Breakfast Blend by Arabella Field

Neighbors protested the opening of this place with its non vertical wood gentrification fence. Doctor’s orders.: he needed coffee before he became unstable. He stumbled there in sweat pants, which he knew to be his pajamas. The place had been a toy store for 30 years, now it had minimalist fascist light fixtures and white on white décor. He ordered $7 coffee with a Groupon. He sat outside to drink it and steady himself, observing the shabby, rich hipsters. He admired and envied them, that they could have this most days, and then realized that they were all homeless people.

© Copyright 2018 Arabella Field. All rights reserved.
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Arabella Field is a writer who divides her time between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree California.

The Journey Together by Fariel Shafee

“Fifty yards,” he utters. The street is narrow and smooth, like a watery ribbon. “We are almost there.”

She stares ahead, and then to the right, the signpost not yet visible. Then she listens to the sound of crickets and blackbirds imposed upon the backdrop of the silently departed thunderstorm. She thinks of a warm bed, and of a hot bath. He reflects inward for a closure to a long tumultuous journey tied with her with outer-world’s inclemency.

The pebble had rolled in quietly. The fall then lasted for a minute. Silently, they held their hands together to the end.

© Copyright 2018 Fariel Shafee. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Fariel Shafee has degrees in science, but enjoys writing and art. She has published prose and poetry in decomP, Ygdrasil, The Foundling Review, etc.

A Bad Spell by Paula Johnson

When Emily saw the posters for the spelling bee, she resolved to work hard and win first prize. A shiny trophy might get her invited to sleepovers and birthday parties! She kept her crazy dream to herself and spent weeks preparing for the big day.

When she entered the auditorium, her stomach knotted sharply, killing all her nervous butterflies. What have I done? she thought as her eyes welled with tears. She ran to the playground and opened her pencil case.

“I’m so very sorry, Ignatius,” Emily whispered. “I misunderstood.”

“No apology necessary,” buzzed the portly bumblebee. “Let us absquatulate! A-B-S-Q-U-A-T-U-L-A-T-E”

© Copyright 2018 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website.