Twilight by Miko Johnston

We’re strolling down Green Street, arms linked, as we have for 39 years, when I sense twilight approaching.

“We should head back,” I advise.

He turns a blank face to me; no wrinkles, unlike mine.

“That Lake Avenue ahead?”

I nod.

“Let’s stop in Bullock’s Tea Room for a drink first.”

The sky darkens.

“Honey, they’re closed.” I try to guide him back.

He doesn’t budge. “We were there last week.”

“No, dear. I was in Philadelphia with my brother last week.”

“What for?”

“I needed to grieve.”

He finally turns toward home.

“Who died?”

“No one yet.”

© Copyright 2016 Miko Johnston. All rights reserved.
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Miko Johnston is the author of the A Petal In The Wind series of historical novels. She’s a founding member of Writers in Residence. A former Glendale resident, she now lives in Washington (the big one).

Touched by a Tulip by Susan Carrier

Tonya was impatient. She muttered while waiting in lines, slammed the phone during music on hold and honked a split-second after a light turned green. She wanted everything now.

She couldn’t even wait for the tulip bulbs she planted to pop through the earth.  After work, she would grab her spade and begin to dig underground, searching for signs of life.

One day, she caught a flash of red – a tulip that had somehow missed her probing spade. She gasped at the miracle. And then she sat quietly and watched the fading sunlight illuminate the crimson petals.

© Copyright 2016 Susan Carrier. All rights reserved.
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Susan Carrier lived in the Pasadena area for more than three decades, and now lives and writes in Scottsdale, Arizona. She’s adapted to desert living, but she still misses Euro Pane and is in an endless search for a decent bowl of ramen.

Untitled by Jonathan Blum

Thursday’s vote to admit Baxter was unanimous. But just so you know, he was the least qualified candidate of the three. With him, every climb up the branches was a performance. Every answer about treehouse history felt rehearsed. I wanted to scream at the gang: Be real! But Baxter had already aced the test. What could I do? Put him as my second and watch him become a bigger superstar to spite me?

© Copyright 2016 Jonathan Blum. All rights reserved.
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Jonathan Blum is the author of the novella Last Word. He teaches fiction writing workshops in Los Angeles.

The Beauty and Tenacity of the Despised by William Wren

Mr. Gushaty’s homicide was graphically arresting. When I saw him I thought how sad it was he had never appreciated Coccinellidae. It was a fatal character flaw.

He could not abide the presence of ladybugs. Each spring he waged a war of no quarter given, poison his chosen weapon.

I have always felt the despised ladybug was a spark of giddy orange evocative of the tenacious impulse for life. Like dandelions in a barren plot of land thrusting through with a teenager’s persistent tumescence, so the ladybug.

Mr. Gushaty disagreed and is dead. The ladybugs remain, vibrantly returning each spring.

© Copyright 2016 William Wren. All rights reserved.
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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.

Words in a Smile by Bob Tanabe

She’s riding my tail, beeping her horn and yelling things I shouldn’t be hearing. She changes lane and pulls up next to me showing the bird, still spitting out words that shouldn’t be coming from the mouth of such a young lady. She floors it, cuts me off, changes lane again and slams on her brakes her tires screeching.

A few seconds later I pull up next to her, turn my head to the left, and give her a smile—you know, a smile that says Congratulations! You beat me to the red light.

© Copyright 2016 Bob Tanabe All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Bob Tanabe writes song lyrics, but really wants to be an author.

Altered Ego by Beverly Diehl

The line of impatient people stretched longer than that in front of the Apple Store.  Yet, it was only a tiny tent, half-hidden behind the chain link and debris of a construction site, bearing a tattered cardboard sign: “Discover the Real You.”  When her turn came, Miranda handed the man her ticket, and stepped inside to find…an oval mirror. A plump, tired-looking woman with graying hair and a crooked incisor gazed back at her.

And then, with a roar, a fierce-eyed dragon appeared, sleek and beautiful, with shimmering indigo-and-purple wings.

And a crooked incisor.

© Copyright 2016 Beverly Diehl. All rights reserved.
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Beverly Diehl writes on the wild side. Find her on Facebook and check out her writing blog.

Blast from the Past by Stephen R. Wolcott

We all stared in shock at this guy under the table, shaking, freaked out.

“It’s okay,” Janet said, trying to calm him down.  Most of us were into our fifth or six beer at this festive barbecue on a Silver Lake hilltop home when, hearing the explosive sounds nearby, the most macho dude of the bunch suddenly dove for cover, on instinct, reliving another time.

“They’re just fireworks from Dodger Stadium, across the canyon. They do that after the game.”  He started whimpering, full of shame, Janet holding him.

She turned to me, mouthing the words, “He was in ‘Nam.”

© Copyright 2016 Stephen R. Wolcott. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Stephen R. Wolcott is an award-winning writer producer, whose credits include 5 Star Trek Specials, hundreds of DVD/Blu-Ray documentaries, and a few bits of fiction on this site.

Life is one big mathematical puzzle! by Justin Ballard

Born memorizing the bible, (((overwhelmed))) turns runaway teenager, wandering and confused for years, stumbles upon old books, finds out entire life was not what he was taught, now using the training of numerology since birth to decode everything. Realization of being under the direction of a secret society, nothing he can do or say will convince anyone for he is just one man…. Formed a nonprofit, developed technology patents and a solid year career in statistics, he now starts to form a SUPER team. This team is called the “Thirty-Three” dedicated to solving puzzles of past to save our future!

© Copyright 2016 Justin Ballard. All rights reserved.
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Justin Ballard is a Renaissance man. This is his first micro fiction story. Or is it micro autobiography?

Today’s Special by Paula Johnson

“They got Marty!,” Deb shouted as she scurried into headquarters. “I knew something was wrong. Who leaves sugar-coated bacon on a spotless counter?”

“Boric acid?” whispered Jeff. Deb was silent, antennae drooping in confirmation. She scanned her surroundings. Deb knew how to leap to safety, to this side of the portal. But not even the elders knew how all the single earrings, keys, sunglasses, and cell phones got here.

She spied a new sock among the thousands that had disappeared from dryers and drawers. Cashmere. Good. She deserved something warm and soft in this cold, hard world.

© Copyright 2016 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. She also designs book covers, websites and other print and digital communications.

Frozen Unknown by Debra Kristi

Carl burst through the door and ran down the slope. “Get! It’s not safe!” he yelled.

Fits of laughter exploded and children ran in every direction.

Why do kids always ignore posted signs? Carl sighed. Can’t they see the cracks? Or is it their nature to flirt with danger?

With slow, deliberate steps he traced the scattered tracks and deep spider veins at his feet.  Kneeling, he brushed the sleet aside. Revealed the hard iced lake beneath. The surface was cloudy, yet clear enough to see within its depth. Still there, her frozen face stared up at him, unblinking.

© Copyright 2016 Debra Kristi. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Debra Kristi lives in sunny California with her husband, two kids, and four schizophrenic cats. Unlike the characters she often writes, Debra is not immortal and her only superpower is letting the dishes and laundry pile up. When not writing, she is usually creating memories with her family, geeking out to sci-fi and fantasy television, and tossing out movie quotes.

Empty Alley by Kim Dixon Perez

From her second-floor window she watched as two cops moved the bearded man’s belongings from the shed-sized cardboard box that had been his home in the alley for weeks.

Pillow, water, flashlight, welcome mat, books. He’d come prepared. Set up house. Her quietest neighbor.

She always meant to say hi, but that’s not her way. Still, she worked into the wee hours every night with her window open. Separated by only 15 feet. She could hear him shuffle in his sleeping bag. She knew when he fell asleep.

The cops folded the box. Sigh. The nights would be lonely again.

© Copyright 2016 Kim Dixon Perez. All rights reserved.
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Kim Dixon Perez is a ghostwriter for experts who want to share their ideas and vision. Her specialty is making the complex simple. For fun, she’s turning Pasadena’s Municipal Code into haiku. Stay tuned … it will take her a while (it’s a long friggin’ code). She blogs at OCD Travel.

Even Bad Boys Want a Soul Mate. Kylo Ren Tells Teen Beat All by Margaret Finnegan

I’m looking for passion, playfulness. Good fashion sense. Someone who will tell me if my conditioner is letting me down. Being a super villain is a 24/7 kind of gig. She needs to get that. I can’t be all “ohh, let’s cuddle and watch a movie.” Maybe. Sometimes. Yeah. But more likely it’s gonna be a bit of curry, maybe some patricide, maybe we roast a few Ewoks. Do we share the same interests? That’s what’s I’m saying.

© Copyright 2016 Margaret Finnegan. All rights reserved.
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Margaret Finnegan is a blogger, novelist, and frequent contributor to The Rose City Sisters.

Agapanthus: a tale of micro-aggression by Rachel S. Reed

Agapanthus took pride in her reputation as a hearty nuisance. Not easily uprooted, she lay dormant for as many months as it took to give the unappreciative humans hope that she wouldn’t return this year. Then UP! she’d volley her initial shot of verdant stem, reminding them, perennially, who triumphed.

Blooming victory sans flamboyance, Agapanthus would arch her purple flowers to the sun for leisurely withering. Then again to ground for the next cycle of human swearing and sweating, waiting out their impotent posturing.

• • • • •

reed-rachelRachel S. Reed is a Pasadena-adjacent writer spinning whimsy during her down-time. She has a soft spot for sci-fi and quells her irrepressible penchant for nostalgia with frequent hops on the lindy circuit. You can check in with her on Twitter.

The Great Shake by MaryJane (MJ) Thornburg

It started with a quiet rumble and escalated into a mega quake. When the dust cleared, the entire department was gone. Years of work forgotten. The dust of a corporate layoff. The end forced a new beginning. Letting Go became a mantra, Letting God became a directive. Soon the ashes stimulated new growth. Creative energies were flowing. And suddenly, it was clear that what happened was required to shift direction toward a new path of living. A divine intervention of sorts. Change is never comfortable, but in the end a shake-up does a body good.

• • • • •

thornburgMaryJane (MJ) Thornburg is a Rose City Sisters reader who decided to take up the challenge of writing a 100-word story. She says she has more stories in the works.

Cheating Weathervane by Eric Schweitz

Left holding the diaper bag at the park, my head shakes. New girlfriend’s frown reflects in your windshield. Streaks run down my face like those muddy tire tracks you’re leaving behind. Smiling in my arms, our baby giggles. Hush now, my love, everything will be okay.

Straight like an arrow to the source of all your problems, gamemaster kept score, assigned blame. I’m sorry. It’s my fault. Perhaps my muddled mind clears, watching your gaslights flicker.

Right at the beginning I knew. Love at first sight, two as one, kissing passionately. I love you. You might have even meant it.

• • • • •

Eric Schweitz is a writer and blogger. Comments are welcome.