Standing in a haze of Ma’s new perfume, vanilla fighting flowers, everything adds up. Ma teaching me to do laundry. Showing me how to work the can opener and microwave. Telling me about monthly girl time, making me afraid every bathroom trip—on the lookout for a red bloom that will mean I am a woman, destined to suffer as we all do, she’d said. She leans down and plants a sticky kiss on my forehead. Passion Pink lipstick, also new. Nodding towards my little sisters, Cammy’s full diaper hanging low, Ma says, “When it’s time, do it for the others.”
“I will deliberate.” The Judge retires to his chamber to decide the man’s fate.
A life sentence vs. freedom.
He removes two giant snails from his fish tank, blots the dripping water with a paper towel, and places one on either flat plate of his ‘justice’ scales. One ‘guilty’ snail, one ‘innocent’.
As the plodders slowly begin moving to the side, he places a single white crystal on the tail of each. The sodium shock hastens the movement of the creatures. The scales tip.
“The scales of justice move slow,” he says, “but today, I have an early tee-time.”
By M D Smith IV
Princess Zulimar’s father issued the challenge. To marry Zulimar, suitors must pirouette across the sea to his island palace.
Prince Perfect practiced the dizzying dance to exhaustion.
One day, kind Lady Dungeness intruded upon Perfect, sleeping on the beach. “Prince Suitable is pirouetting to the palace today,” she warned.
“Impossible! He just began practicing,” Perfect said.
“You’re ready! Go now!” Lady Dungeness encouraged.
“Not yet.” He believed his pirouettes still imperfect.
Months later, Perfect whirled to the palace.
A man greeted him, “You’re too late.”
It was King Suitable.
Perfect became light-headed. “But, I’m Perfect.”
“Indeed, you are. But Suitable succeeded.”
“She cannot recover,” they say gently.
I won’t admit that the doctors could be right.
Sometimes my daughter suddenly opens her eyes and stares deep into my face. Then I kiss her, my tears splashing her cheeks, soaking her hair.
“She is not there,” the doctors say. “You must let her go.”
I don’t hear that. Cannot accept it.
I fight on.
Finally, the courts say she will die. Must die. I am exhausted, beaten, defeated.
Each day I burst with love for my daughter. Each night I despair that a drunk driver took her life.
That I took her life.
By Hugh Cartwright
I was pleased to be promoted to the Prime Ministerial Bodyguard unit.
MI6 revealed an imminent threat. Our boss advised the PM to keep his head down and not leave Downing Street. Astonishingly, the PM took the advice.
I had been positively vetted. Gary Peters has an impeccable record and the only opinions ever expressed were orthodox.
The trouble is: I am not Gary Peters. His record is a complete fabrication. He does not exist.
I thought about telling the PM this, as I put the pistol to his head, but he’ll have other things to worry about—wherever he’s going.
Lattice Tavern, termed finalis subsisto by locals, was often the last stop for fledglings en route to monastic life at Blyth Abbey.
Eating dinner hearthside sat John, the callow youngest son of a Gloucestershire merchant. Next morning he’d take solemn vows. Why? Father wished it. And closeness to God certainly justified such a life choice. But what was he sacrificing? Damn this doubt; not even ale could assuage it.
Beatrice the maid had chatted with John since his arrival. Tonight, she enticed the lad to her lair.
More than ever, sunrise brought elation. Abbot Aldous administered the vows.
John embraced them.
By Robert Hunt
Little research has been conducted on the intimate relationship between the standard city parking meter and the simple household quarter.
If we look closer we observe that the meter stands erect, eager, driven by evolutionary desire to fulfill its purpose in the great circle of bureaucratic privatization.
And there, accompanied by a rumbling engine, and pinched between fleshy fingers, the coin approaches. The meter, hot, yearns to taste the visitor. Metal on metal, the coin teases the entrance, ridged edge tickling the slot.
A decided push—
The meter swallows—
Mechanisms shift as—
TIME EXPIRED clicks to 20:00.