Deafening by Marc Isaac Potter

• Always: talk about how death is defined. I don’t know what to say I am at a loss for words my yellow socks – if socks – keep loving me even though I’m a nervous wreck I’m here in the hotel looking for my pants I have a meeting in a few minutes and I’m looking for my pants I tried oh yes I tried not to spill soda pop on my pants but it was for naught. Continue reading Deafening by Marc Isaac Potter

The New Normal by Paula Johnson

When the bot was out of beta, Lester knew he had a goldmine. By entering some keywords and a premise, he could generate a buzzword-laden business book in 24 hours. A few more clicks—and eleven bucks—bought a cover design from a digital sweatshop in a country with a name he could not pronounce.

Let the thought leaders do deep dives into topics du jour, thought Lester. He was happy in the shallow end, cranking out three books a month and knowing his innovative publishing model reflected unprecedented out-of-the-box thinking combined with agile, synergistic execution.

© Copyright 2021 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.

Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. Join her email list  and get invited to her book launch party!

A microfiction triptych by John Brantingham

Tanya Knows that Dreaming Is Dangerous

Tanya’s on the curb waiting for the bus when a line of water gutters down the road. When she was a kid she’d float paper boats in run-off and dream about riding them wherever they went, maybe to the sea and then to China. Today, she rips dandelion blossoms from the grass around her to see them float away.

She’s seen too much to imagine drifting to Asia. Instead, they wash up in Long Beach next to spent 40s cans. Maybe she’ll sleep there tomorrow. She can smell the harbor, taste the booze that will help to stop her dreams.

Tim Dreams of Rain

Tim’s in the automatic car wash when he drifts into a memory of a childhood road trip when it was raining so hard his pop had to pull over, and Tim knew the old man knew how to be safe and how to fix things, and basically everything. Tim could relax and just be a kid.

Today, Tim’s a little older than his father was then. He has a kid. He doesn’t know how to keep anyone safe or fix things or do basically anything. He’s maudlin and sad for his boy. He wonders if his father ever felt this.

Taylor’s Dreams Splash Color

Taylor’s in the backyard, watering his mom’s tomato plants because maybe the divorce won’t take; she’ll want salad when she’s back. She always said making rainbows was her art, so he puts his thumb and arcs the water in the sunlight. It’s like the tomatoes are being fed color.

Taylor dreams of her eating them and cocking her head, knowing something is different, and the color inside the fruit will make her smile. When he lowers the hose, he’s back in this world. To make his dreamworld last, he sprays into the air, letting the rainbow drip down on himself.

Copyright © 2022 John Brantingham All rights reserved

John Brantingham was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines, Writers Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016 and 2022. He has nineteen books of poetry and fiction including Life: Orange to Pear (Bamboo Dart Press). He is the founder and general editor of The Journal of Radical Wonder.  He lives in Jamestown, NY.

The Fork in the Road by Lynn Nicholas

The wedding couple were our colleagues. They seated you at my table. The evening was hot and humid—the wine cooling and delicious. I toasted the newlyweds, glass after glass. My professional reserve evaporated.

You waxed witty and teasing, and I leaned into you, giddy and laughing. You asked me to dance. I stood, unsteady. You proffered a supportive hand. Your arm slipped around my waist. I closed my eyes and drank in the scent of you: sun-washed cotton and spicey cologne.

I turned; our eyes locked. Wordless, our hearts signed an irrevocable, binding contract. That night, our paths converged.

Copyright © 2021 Lynn Nicholas All rights reserved

Lynn Nicholas’ first novel, Dancing Between the Beats, was published in 2019. Short fiction and poetry publication credits include Story Snacks and The Storyteller (published by Society of Southwestern Authors), Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, SandScript Arts & Literary Magazine, The Wild Word, Every Day Fiction, The Rose City Sisters, Wow! Women on Writing, Leaves of Ink, and the AARP Bulletin. Lynn is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Society of Southwestern Authors.

Mise en place or yours? by Paula Johnson

They met at a potluck and bonded over Larry’s incredible cookies. “Scharffen Berger,” he murmured later as he kissed Justine’s neck. “Chocolate chips…for adults only.” She fell hard when he explained how he ground his own flour from organic wheat.

He planned the perfect meal for popping the question: Arugula salad with figs, prosciutto, and truffle oil. Coq au Vin with homemade egg noodles. To finish? Dark chocolate semifreddo drizzled with salted caramel syrup.

She said yes to seconds, and to forever with him. No traditional fondant-entombed wedding cake for them—each table at the reception was presented with a Croquembouche.

© Copyright 2019 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.

Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. Join her email list  and get invited to her book launch party!

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.

Margaret Welsh is a certified yoga therapist and actress who lives in Los Angeles.

Empty Nest by Susan Miller

“Mommy! Look!”

From the yard I watch my daughter lift her wings and jump from the deck. She hovers for a moment then tumbles to the grass. Robin climbs back up the steps. I wave and smile.

“Mommy! Watch me!”

Face scrunched with concentration she spreads her wings and launches into the air. Sunlight filters through the membrane of her wings, casting glitter across the yard. I see her silhouette against the blue sky as she soars higher.

I hear her voice as it drifts from the clouds.

“Mommy! I did it! I can fly!”

© Copyright 2018 Susan Miller. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

• • • • •

Susan Miller lives in South Dakota in a Green House.  She loves yoga, weaving, gardening and genealogy.  In her free time, she travels, drinks craft beer and enjoys bird watching.  Susan is married and the mother of sons.

Where Are You, Mother? by Yash Seyedbagheri

You tell me it’s about space, a need to create your own life. Dad and sister Nancy will give me a better life.

Nancy calls me sweetheart. It sounds rehearsed for someone whose favorite word rhymes with “duck.” Dad communicates in grunts. Flatulence.

You taught me to admire Joyce Carol Oates, play Debussy. You said I was special. Said you’d see my words on a bookshelf.

You said fighting with Dad over freedom had nothing to do with me.

Why don’t you talk?

I store fleeting words. Do well. A mother can love from afar.

Talk to me. Please.

© Copyright 2020 Yash Seyedbagheri. All rights reserved.

• • • • •

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, 50 Word Stories, (mac)ro (mic), and Ariel Chart.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

The Key to Success by Pat Becker

Photo of a vintage metal rollerskate

She found a skate key.

It wasn’t hers. She was too young to skate. But she managed to get her sister’s key.

She grappled with it in her tiny hands, trying to do what you did with a skate key. She jammed it into the bottom of a skate with her clumsy hands. In a whoosh! it was gone. More skillful hands came and took it. Her first memory!

She didn’t witness the invention of fire, but, by god, she got her grubby hands on her sister’s skate key. Later, she would get her grubby hands on many other things.

© Copyright 2019 Pat Becker. All rights reserved.

Pat Becker is a former journalist, freelance writer and publicist. She currently spends her time writing scripts and producing films.

Texas Toast by Paula Johnson

Adam took his name seriously. He knew he was the first among men. His hairline was eroding faster than the Galveston coastline in his home state of Texas, but he was a sharp dresser and a smooth talker. Ladies loved his drawl.

At a Two-for-Tuesday happy hour, he sent a Cosmopolitan to a stunner in the corner. She stopped by to thank him.

“Can I tell you a secret?,” he asked. She nodded.

“You remind me of a young Scarlett Johansson.”

“Want to hear my secret?” she whispered. He cocked his head.

“You remind me of my old grandpa.”

© Copyright 2018 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved. Photo by Alexandre Godreau on Unsplash.
• • • • •
Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. Join her email list  and get invited to her book launch party! (First she needs to finish writing the book.)

FAQs by Paula Johnson

Is this PolySci 204? Are you Professor Adams? Can I sit anywhere? Is the textbook online? What’s the WiFi password? Where can I plug in my mini Himalayan salt lamp? Do you grade on a curve? Do you want to pet my Emotional Support Animal? Are you allergic? Can I eat in class? Can I vape? Is texting my term paper okay? Can I save seats for my sorority sisters? When are your office hours? Can my mom audit this class? Why is the syllabus three pages long? Can I leave early? When is the last day to drop?

© Copyright 2018 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. Join her email list  and get invited to her book launch party! (First she needs to finish writing the book.)

Ascent by Linda Gorman

Jason finned frantically toward the surface, his teeth clenching his mouthpiece, as terror wrestled with guilt.

How could he do that? To the love of his life. Desert her…

Kick, kick! 

…as she struggled in the maw of that great beast.

Jason’s gaze was fixed on the surface. But in his mind, he could see only Caroline’s face. Contorted with horror—and worse, betrayal—as the man she loved abandoned her.

Faster, faster!

Jason knew that image would haunt him for the rest of his life—which the air embolism traveling to his brain would make mercifully brief.

© Copyright 2018 Linda Gorman. All rights reserved.

Linda Gorman is an editor, writer, and blogger who lived in the City of Angels for 21 years before escaping to Vancouver Island in 2016.

Do’s and Don’ts by Linda Gorman

“Cheryl, do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband, and do you promise to love, honor, and cherish him as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” said Cheryl.

“Paul, do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, and do you promise to love, honor, and cherish her as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” said Paul.

And they did, for five mostly happy years. Until Paul got restless and canoodled with the summer intern. And Cheryl found out and shot off Paul’s canoodle.

And now they don’t.

© Copyright 2018 Linda Gorman. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Linda Gorman is an editor, writer, and blogger who lived in the City of Angels for 21 years before escaping to Vancouver Island in 2016.

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.
• • • • •
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.