Carl Perrin – Fiction

The Diamond Bracelet

 

 

            Brenda poured herself a cup of coffee and asked, “How did you get that cheap son of a bitch to buy you a diamond bracelet for your anniversary?” She poured a generous dollop of cream and three spoonfuls of sugar into her coffee and stirred until her sister thought she would scrape the glaze off the inside of the coffee cup.

            Miriam smirked and said, “I made him feel guilty.”

            “He’s not having an affair, is he?”

“God, no. He’s too lazy to have an affair, but he has plenty to feel guilty about.”

“Like what?”

“Well, for one thing, he promised me to give up smoking three years ago.”

“He didn’t give it up?

“He gave up smoking at home, but I can smell the smoke on him when he comes in. He knows I can’t abide alcohol, but every once in a while he comes home smelling like a brewery.”

“So how did you use that to make him feel guilty enough to buy you a diamond bracelet?

Miriam poured herself another cup of coffee. “You know those new gizmoes they have to control things in your house?”

“Like turn the light on and play music and stuff?” Brenda ran her fingers through her hair, which was blonde this month.

“I bought one last month. I knew he would object to me spending the money, so I hid it under the bed.”

“Yes?”

“I learned that you could talk to it and have it say stuff back to you.”

            “So?”

            “He is such a creature of habit. He takes a nap every afternoon at 3:00.”

            “So what did you do?” Her voice was impatient to hear how her sister used the gadget.

            “I fixed the gizmo–it’s called an Echo–to come on at 3:15 every afternoon and say, lowering her voice to a creepy waver, ‘I am the voice of your conscience.’

            “He never mentioned hearing it, but I knew he did. I could tell that it shook him up,” Miriam laughed. “After about a week I told him I wanted a bracelet for our anniversary. Then I stopped ‘The Voice of his Conscience.’ A few days after that he came home with my anniversary present,” waving her wrist in front of Brenda again.

 🍃

            Two weeks later Miriam was at Brenda’s As Brenda poured the coffee, Miriam asked, “Where did you hide the macaroons?”

            “In the bottom cabinet, behind the big stew pot.” The sisters loved macaroons, as did Brenda’s husband, Harold, but Harold was supposed to watch his sugar intake, and if he found the macaroons, he would eat the whole package.

            “So, did you decide where you’re going on vacation next month?” Brenda asked,  taking a delicate nibble out of her macaroon.

            “We decided to go to North Carolina.”

            “North Carolina? Whatever are you going to do there?

            Miriam hesitated. “We’re going to watch the NASCAR races.”

            “NASCAR! NASCAR? I thought you hated NASCAR stuff.”

            “I do, but the reservations are all made. The money is spent. We can’t go anyplace else at this point.”

            “You let him turn the tables on you, didn’t you? You let him make you feel guilty because he spent so much money on that bracelet.”

            Miriam looked down. “Yes, I’m afraid I did.”

            “I still don’t understand it,” Brenda said. How could he afford it? That bracelet must have cost thousands of dollars.”

            Miriam shook her head. “That’s what I thought when I agreed to go to North Carolina with him. But yesterday the credit card bill came. The bracelet isn’t diamonds at all. It’s only rhinestone, and it cost $19.99.”

 

🍃

 

 CARL PERRIN started writing when he was in high school. His short stories have appeared in The Mountain Laurel, Northern New England Review, Kennebec, Short-Story.Me, and CommuterLit among others. His book-length fiction includes Elmhurst Community Theatre, a novel, and RFD 1, Grangely, a collection of humorous short stories.  He is the author of several textbooks, including Successful Resumes,and Get Your Point Across, a business writing textThe memoir of his teaching career Touching Eternity, was a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award. 

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Linda Imbler – 2 poems 

If Yellow Sang To Me

If yellow sang to me of bright sun’s day,

the consonance of corn on the cob served at picnics

sweet cream butter at the side

If yellow sang to me as I watch the march

of lemony taxicabs

transporting frazzled strangers

from airports to who knows where

The rhythm of bouncing saffron school buses conveying our future

A vase of sunflowers painted on canvas, the romantic interpretation

through beautiful hands belonging to Van Gogh, 

harvest gold portrayed

Stunning yellow tang, the maestro, swimming amid corals in clear water

A cadence of newly sharpened pencils united with

cobalt legal pads

The aria of a canary’s song

A polyphony-

Bananas to be peeled and sliced

placed atop cereal

If yellow sang to me.

 

🍃

 


The Heart’s Camera

That second of time caught in an eyepiece

As the camera’s shutter loudly snapped.

The capturing of blissful calm and ease

On young faces of those photographed.

This image will stand as a testament

To the history of good friends well met,

To whom, to what, and to how it was then,

Photostat narrative of this quartet.

Their stout hearts were worn on their sleeves that noon,

Sleeves now faded with the passing of time.

And so this photo keeps fading too,

As each one arrives at the finish line.

 

 

🍃

 

Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection “Big Questions, Little Sleep.”  She has also been published by deadsnakes.blogspot.combehappyzone.com,

bluepepper.blogspot.combuckoffmag.comFine Flu Journal, Bunbury Magazine, Blognostics, Nailpolish Stories, Broad River Review Literary Magazine, Mad Swirl, 

Ascent Aspirations: Friday’s Poems, Unbroken Journal and The Voices Project.  Linda’s short stories have appeared in Fear of Monkeys, Danse Macabre, and Mad Swirl

Online, she can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com. This writer, yoga practitioner, and classical guitar player resides in Wichita, Kansas.

Charlotte Ozment – 1 poem 

Dawning

 

In the valley

of forgotten gods

she came, bringing

her cape of stars,

a celestial choir

tucked into the seams.

 

The fabric of her

luminance out-shown

the gloom, and the elders

whispered, on edge.

 

The moon had followed

her, caught up in

the wake of her

innocence, illuminating

hidden champions,

their agendas yet worn.

 

On a cloud built

of discontent she bathed

in the cosmic lights

that erupted from

her thoughts,

and the crows came

to learn her intent

so to fill our terra

with mystery.

 

 

🍃

 

Charlotte Ozment lives on several acres in Texas.  She finds words hidden in the world around her and can sometimes put them to paper before they fade. Her work has previously appeared in “Carcinogenic Poetry”, “Kleft Jaw”, “Star*Line” and “Café Aphra”.

Nan Wigington – Fiction

Second Chance

 

The ramshackle VW bus, its Westfalia pop top rattling and threatening to break loose, wallowed up my driveway like some battered freighter seeking harbor. It came to a stop and made a short, sharp knock, its engine unwilling. There was a lurch toward my garage door, the sound of a brake being engaged, then nothing. The windows of the bus were veiled in macrame. I thought I saw one of the veils move, hazel eyes peer out. I stood at the screen door wondering whether I should back away, close my front door, pretend I wasn’t home. Should I step out on to the porch?

 

The driver’s side door opened with a bang as if kicked. I wondered what my neighbors saw. My long lost brother, his bare foot breaching, followed by a left leg, clad only in cut off jeans. I imagined a ten-year beard tumbling down his chest, his dirty blond hair in matted ropes. The last time I’d seen him he’d only had a scruff of a beard and wore a muscle shirt and sandals along with his cut offs. Our mother was dying. I had scolded him for coming to the hospital looking like a tramp. When he stood up to go, I had stood in his way, thinking I could heal the rift between us, cover the thorns.

 

“Be responsible, for once,” I had said.

 

“I never liked the old bitch, anyway,” he had said, “Get out of the way.”

 

I wouldn’t move, so he punched me in the eye. The frames of my glasses had cut into my cheek. When I heard him leave, I thought I was crying, but I was bleeding. Our mother died without him, and, without him, I took care of the mess of her estate.

 

Now he came around the front of his van, clean shaven, in work boots, jeans, a blue denim shirt. He looked toward my screen door, then to the van. He slid the rusty skinned passenger door back to reveal a boy and a girl, the boy thin and sandy-haired, the girl fat and dark like me. The girl had some sort of bear. She squeezed it tight to her chest. It made a brief, plaintive mewl. I opened the screen door and stepped out onto the porch.

 

The trio formed at the sidewalk and approached across my grass. They stopped briefly and looked up.

 

My brother scanned my face for scars. He spoke –

 

“You gonna let us in, Ada?”

 

I looked at the girl. I looked at the boy. I nodded.

 

 

🍃

 

Nan Wigington’s recent work has been published in Pithead Chapel and Spelk.  

Stefanie Bennett – 1 poem 

FLAME      

 

 

They said, you once lived here.

Here, in this room

Where the light rarely enters.

 

They said, in the brochure,

Your fame was found

Inside that cabinet drawer and

 

Tied up with string

Were your jottings;

The aftermaths and their encores.

 

This room is a musty place;

As white as milk. Sterile.

A monk’s cell.

 

They said, you once lived here…

 

A roll-top desk. A single chair.

And… by the window

The tallow lamp.

 

You would have called that light

To your side, Emily.

As friend and confidant.

 

Once made, the pact remained

Until the last breath

Hushed it out.

 

They said, you once lived here…

 

There is no rage to speak of.

Grief, and phantoms?

Only the tallow knows.

 

Now, the century has turned;

Taking you with it. Have

Things gone according to plan?

 

Outside, the white day welcomes

More guests, and still more

Commentary

 

Simply because you

Once were – and

That is more than enough.

 

🍃

 

Stefanie Bennett has published a dozen poetry titles, a novel, & a libretto & been nominated for best of the web + the pushcart. ‘The Vanishing’ [poetry, 2015] is published by Walleah Press & available from Walleah & Amazon. Stefanie’s latest title [poetry] “Blanks From The Other World” is due late 2017. Of mixed heritage (Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee) she was born in Qld., Australia.