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.
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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.
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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.

Untitled by Jonathan Blum

After Phil and Sally had kissed under lampposts in a bunch of different weather, Phil got this tremendous hope. He invited over Sally and some neighborhood two-year-olds for a puppet show. “Remember, puppets may speak only in falsehoods,” Phil instructed the children, winking at Sally. “Wait! Spotto doesn’t know the alphabet!” cried a child with a finger giraffe. “My luck, too,” Sally said, putting on Mr. Blue Ears.

© Copyright 2018 Jonathan Blum. All rights reserved.
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Jonathan Blum is the author of the forthcoming collection of stories, The Usual Uncertainties (Rescue Press). He teaches fiction writing workshops in Pasadena.

Life and Death by Fariel Shafee

He stepped back from the door of death half alive, his fingers trembling, his gaze affixed to a horizon tucked in elsewhere inside his mind. He ate, spat out, sipped water fearully, and lay quietly on the bed until the summer breeze muted into thicker icy covers that wrapped around clarity.  The trees outside looked bare, and under the snow, creatures voluntarily slipped into seasonal forgetfulness. Inside the forest of his nerves, sparks looked out for forgotten islands, reached out to complete scattered phrases.  That room looked familiar.  The newborn giggled, and beckoned him to the land of provocative belonging.

© Copyright 2017 Fariel Shafee. All rights reserved.
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Fariel Shafee has degrees in science, but enjoys writing and art.  She has published prose and poetry in decomP, Ygdrasil, The Foundling Review, etc.

#83 The Pallet Thief by Pat Becker

He was of questionable character. That was a widely acknowledged fact. Yet, many would never have suspected that he would pilfer pallets in the darkest hours of the night, from the backs of drugstores, grocery stores, liquor stores being by far his favorite. It was a crime and he was a criminal. But in the dark, he felt free. He was invisible and that gave him a power he never before considered. Continue Reading

A Jewish Child’s Christmas in Brooklyn by Steve Slavin

First snowflake,
Chaim come quick,
Let’s trim the Hanukkah bush!

Is Hanukkah the Jewish Christmas? Not even close! Ask any Jewish kid living in a Christian neighborhood. Or any Christian kid living in a Jewish neighborhood. Or any rabbi, priest, or minister, for that matter.

Growing up Jewish and poor in my Brooklyn neighborhood meant you had two strikes against you every Christmas. Even if your parents could afford to buy you presents, they weren’t supposed to. Continue Reading

Bounce House Hunting

Between birthdays for five kids and national holidays, Derek’s neighbors erected a bounce house every other weekend. He’d slept next to an airfield during Desert Storm, but now a generator could wake him?

Derek dressed for a workout and carried his bag to his car. He drove three blocks uphill and parked in front of a vacant home. After setting up his Longbow T-76 in the backyard, he waited until his neighbors went inside for cake. Then Derek put one bullet in the vinyl castle and another in the generator.

He headed to the gym and never enjoyed Zumba more.