Glass Ceiling by MaryJane (MJ) Thornburg

Arctic vortex, pineapple express…whatever it is, another snowstorm was in full force. Appearing out of nowhere, snow blowing in all directions, felt similar to her life, whirling out of control. The storms were happening more often. And would stop just as fast.

Unpredictable turbulence seemed to mirror her life.  Work was never-ending, and she felt closed in, the glass ceiling was very much keeping her stuck.  She focused on the road, trying to make her path clear.  She felt trapped and enclosed.

Meanwhile in another world: “Mia, come to dinner and PLEASE stop shaking that snow globe…”

© Copyright 2016 MaryJane (MJ) Thornburg. All rights reserved.
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MaryJane (MJ) Thornburg is a Rose City Sisters reader who decided to try writing fiction. This is her second story.

The Wedding Gown by Jackie Pugh Kogan

I return the gown to Panache, and, empty bag in hand, reach the door, brush off a tear. The windows frame a rain-slick street, gutters flooding.

Were his words slick as assaulted streets? Or do I need to turn the glass to my own expectation. I long for a window through which to see truth framed. The Iraqui desert is made of glass, they say; flooding the mouth, sand tears all the way down.

And the empty bag? A strip of torn underskirt is imprisoned in a grommet. My eyes flood. I should tell them perhaps the gown is flawed.

© Copyright 2016 Jackie Pugh Kogan. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Jackie Pugh Kogan is a Los Angeles based writer working primarily in gothic fiction of the American West. Publications include short stories in ROAR, Dream International Quarterly, The Northridge Review, and poetry in Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West (Houghton Mifflin, 2004).

Email to a Friend by Janet Aird

Dear Sylvia,

I’m very afraid I’m going to lose Patty. I’ve been calling and texting and no reply. I guess I just have to wait till she’s ready to get back to me.

She believes in God and heaven.


© Copyright 2016 Janet Aird. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Janet Aird has been a freelance writer for trade magazines in the field of sustainability for 15 years. Her first novel, “The End of the Road: A Love Story,” is coming out later this year.

Rin Tin Tin in Retirement by Glen Armstrong

He no longer barked at aircraft beating the sky into puzzles and only sometimes lifted his muzzle toward the traffic taking off and landing at Mines Field. The world was only fooling, like a mean kid whose gestures were false, who never released the ball. His appetite was good until the end. His trainer kept him warm.

He was the favored canine, the canine the favored animal.

In a world that skinned with purpose.

In a world where the kill was more than simple sustenance.

© Copyright 2016 Glen Armstrong. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and BlazeVOX.

One Hundred Words by August

One hundred words, no more she said, and me with one hundred and one. Would she notice one extra, so small, so very small?

Of course she would, she is that way (make that “she’s” to hopefully save the one.) I’m all about brevity; too many words wasted do as much to mislead as do too few. What must be said must be said as she has said it must be said.

So how would she advise me to best use my words?

Focused message, in one word, (actually, in this case, one hundred words): life is…

© Copyright 2016 August. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
August is the pseudonym of a man with many accomplishments, including winning 3rd place in the 1957 Emerson Elementary Kite Flying Contest, Novelty Division.

The Memory Monster and the Mortal by John Pulver

His sword heavy, the man blinks, but the monster does not vanish.

The monster grins. “Why hold onto the past? Such a futile endeavor.”

“Go away. Let me remember for a little longer.”

“And deny my hunger?”

“I do not understand. Why must you exist? The universe expands. Why can’t it hold my memories?” the man asks to give himself resting time, not expecting answers.

The monster cocks his head and squints one eye, and says, “The universe burns, without me.”

“Let me leave behind a picture or some words, and I will not fight.”

The monster laughs and lunges.

© Copyright 2016 John Pulver. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
John Pulver lives in a home shaded by a sycamore tree.

April Fool’s Day by Steven Craig

The sun was peering into the windows of the trailer at 161 Springer Lane.  The smell of bacon on the stove was becoming more pronounced. Earl reached over and turned on the television set.

“Lurleen, you ready yet?,” Earl shouted. Lurleen had been outside “getting some sun” for the last five minutes, “so I can brown the same time as the bacon,” she said.

The calendar said it was April 1, 1957, but they both knew it as their wedding day. Lurleen came in from outside and changed from her robe to a gown. She grabbed Earl’s hand, and smiled.

© Copyright 2016 Steven Craig. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Steven Craig has not achieved accolades of any kind at any time. Not even a participation trophy, as he does not participate.

There Are No Basements in Piddleville by William Wren

Everyone in Piddleville went swimming in Alistair Stanley’s above ground pool. So it broke. But it was a magic pool. When water spilled out it always filled up to the same level and temperature.

Leaking, it did its magic and fixed things. All of Piddleville then became Alistair Stanley’s pool. Everything filled up! What a legal to-do!

Today, Piddleville is a top destination for boaters. It’s a lovely, drowsy resort spot because the water is a nice, consistent temperature. People everywhere want to a swim in Alistair Stanley’s pool!

As for basements, there aren’t enough sump pumps to have those.

© Copyright 2016 William Wren. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
William Wren is a writer in New Brunswick, Canada. He has had two stories published previously by the Rose City Sisters: I’ve Never Been to Pasadena and Healing. He has one ebook collection of stories on Amazon, Disrupted Lives and Other Commotions. He has just completed another and hopes to make it available (as an ebook) very soon.

The Virus by Jim Milne

The phone call brought Ella confusing news.

“This is Microsoft and our analysis confirms that your computer has a virus.

“Is it Ebola?”

“No, nothing like that. It’s a computer virus.”

“Well I’m glad it isn’t Ebola. You’re sure now?”

“Yes Ma’am, absolutely positive.”

“Thank goodness, because I don’t know what I’d do. I couldn’t stay here and my sister Edna, you know how she is.”

“Yes Ma’am, now about your computer…”

“Do you know Edna?”

“No. Regarding your computer, for $39.99 we…”

“What computer? I don’t have a computer.”

“Praise be, another miracle. You have a nice day. Goodbye.”

© Copyright 2016 Jim Milne. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Jim Milne  is a first-time contributor to the Rose City Sisters.

Still Loving Her by Mike McNeff

We are comfortable sitting in the car looking out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca, holding hands, our conversation a private murmur.

I felt it the first time I saw her. I just didn’t know it. But as time meandered on its way I realized I loved her.

“You have peanut butter on your shirt,” she said one day at work.

“Oh,” I chuckled, feeling my shoulder. “My daughter needed to be held for a while this morning.”

She says that’s when she knew she loved me, so long ago.

© Copyright 2016 Mike McNeff. All rights reserved.
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Mike McNeff is a retired cop and lawyer who has had two action novels published by Amazon Encore and a western published bv Booktrope. He is a member of Whidbey Writers Group on Whidbey Island.

The Bad Apple by Michael Porco

Bill Gates did as told. Tomorrow Apple will unlock their phones for the FBI. We must keep America safe! I am Simon L. Patrick, Deputy Director of the FBI and double agent to President Putin. We have Hillary’s emails and now with Apple’s technology we can break into her other accounts. Donald J. Trump, our friend, will become US president as planned. Another success for Mother Russia.

© Copyright 2016 Michael Porco. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Michael Porco combines comedy, politics, and psychology. As a psychotherapist, he works with creative people helping them go from Blah to Ha. He is also the political instigator and host of Mass Debates with Mike Porco, a weekly comedy podcast encouraging listeners to think, and challenge the status quo.

Fatal Mistakes by Gordon M. Labuhn

A lone tear oozed out and slowly roll down her wrinkled cheek, momentarily hanging from a cliff on parched lips.

Jeremy’s head lay on her soiled apron. The desert heat burned his skin and turned the dried blood black around the hole in his chest. “He shouldn’t have taken the horse or drawn his gun.”

In a spasm, he sucked in a breath then slowly wheezed it out.

The tear dropped and sizzled when it landed on his sunburned chest.

A slight breeze stirred the desert sand, and silence had the last word.

© Copyright 2016 Gordon M. Labuhn. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Gordon M. Labuhn served as Executive Director of non-profit associations for twenty-one years, and Chief Executive Officer of for-profit organizations for five years, and three years in state government services. He has written twelve theatre vignettes, produced a nationally promoted movie, authored two novels, one memoir, and one business book on planning effective meetings. He has been a first and second place winner of national writing competition.

Life From Life by Jim Martyka

I finally fell.

It was time. I was patient, waiting, observing, wishing. Then, it happened…thrilling!

I emerged and fell. One of billions, yet unique, especially in my path. Only I would fall here. No other. Just—

It was over too soon. I hit ground and that was it. It went fast, I couldn’t appreciate it. I experienced as much as I could, but then it was done.

Still, my journey had purpose. I was soaked up and through me came growth, joy, love. My experience was short and full and from me came something bigger.

Life from life.

© Copyright 2016 Jim Martyka. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Jim Martyka is a multi-published author and editor in both fiction and non-fiction and an award-winning freelance journalist and teacher. He is also an accomplished actor and the co-founder of the Los Angeles based theatre company Theatre Unleashed. He is also a proud former Guinness Book of World Records holder of watching the most consecutive hours of movies without sleeping (53 and a half hours).

Truth and the Queen Bee by Rowena Williamson

“I think you are beautiful.” He said it seriously as he reached for her hand and brought it to his lips.

She stared at him. “Are you teasing me?” Tears began to well in her eyes.


“I am the ugly one in the family.”

“Who told you that?”

“My sister.”

“She lied.”

© Copyright 2016 Rowena Williamson. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Rowena Williamson is the author of Escape to the Highlands, MacGregor’s Bargain, MacGregor’s Odyssey, and Ryan and the Redhead.

Should You Always Believe Your Dad? by Avis Rector

During World War II my sister’s navy pilot friend, on a flight from Florida, brought two baby alligators. Dad made a wire fence for them in the yard. Marge fed them raw hamburger. They loved ice cream. I teased them with a stick to open their mouths.

Fall came. Dad said, “Time for them to hibernate.” I believed him. Marge lined a wooden box with cloth. Dad nailed down the lid. I watched them bury the box by a tree. No ceremony.

Spring came. “Please, Dad, open the box, the alligators are hungry.” Reluctantly, he did. Two skeletons. I cried.

© Copyright 2016 Avis Rector. All rights reserved.

Avis Rector has lived on Whidbey Island all her life in the same house she was born in 83 years ago. After retiring from teaching, when she’s not helping her husband on their farm, she writes! Her new novel, Pauline, A New Beginning on Whidbey Island, appeals to anyone who enjoys reading stories of the Great Depression Era.