Error: Reload, Replace

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By Henry Bladon

It’s annoying that he always goes home before me, so every evening the last thing I do before I leave the office is to remove all the paper from his printer tray. I also save his empty ink cartridges when he throws them away so I can put them in place of one of the full ones.

Every morning I watch from the corridor as he reloads with fresh paper. Then he opens up the printer and yells at his ink for not lasting. He tells everyone he is cursed.

I swear one day I ‘m going to divorce him.

           
Henry Bladon is based in Somerset in the UK. He teaches creative writing for therapeutic purposes. His work can be seen in O:JA&L, Fewer than 500, Tuck Magazine, Pure Slush, The Ekphrastic Review, Spillwords Press, and elsewhere.

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Backhanded Compliment

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By M.J. Christie

She’s done it again, rewritten that paragraph. The one I’ve been working on forever. What doesn’t she get about inviting feedback? To most people it means giving their thoughts. But she sees it as a way to jump in there and rewrite something. It doesn’t matter that it’s better because, damn and blast, it is better, but that’s not the point. I wonder how she’d feel if I did the same to her.

“Hi, babe, I’m home.”

“Hey, sweetness.”

The kiss is sublime. Her eyes are on the manuscript.“What did you think of my edit?”

“Yeah, it’s perfect. Thanks.”

           
“Writing gives me focus. It’s a rewarding and sometimes painful pastime but without it I’d be lost.” – the author

The Sermon

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By Ian Fletcher

The old bishop sat alone in the choir an hour before the service and wept.

It had been a harsh winter. More infants and children in the parish had died than usual.

Seeing the little coffins at the burials had pushed him over the edge of doubt.

How could a loving God oversee such suffering and loss?

The cathedral’s nave slowly filled. The congregation awaited.

Was he still worthy to preach to his flock about the resurrection and salvation?

His heart and spirit were broken.

Yet he rose.

Seeing the multitude before him, he delivered the sermon of his life.

           
“I write to capture my reflections on life and share them with others.” – the author

First Communicant

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By Mary Ellen Gambutti

In his gold robes, Father bends toward me with a gold chalice. He says what I cannot understand, and places the wafer on my tongue. I hold it sacred, keep it away from my teeth, as instructed. I mull the bland disc around my cheeks; trace with the tip of my tongue the mold’s impression, but can’t discern the form. I muse that the holy bread was baked by the school nuns. When it softens, I swallow, and learn to digest religion. I later learn many persevere in their devotion, and that they hope to have one final taste.

          
“I write to find out what I know, and to make sense of memory.” – the author

Running Stitches

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By Janna Miller

Growing up, Settie basted together her days in light running stitches, so she could go back to them when she wanted. Sometimes it just pierced a smile on a dark day, while others it highlighted hours in the sun, done with a full scalloped border in Nordic Blue. The years when her needle dulled, she added a new thread in surgeon’s knots to move through thickened fabric to a better canvas. And later, when she could not see in the dimmer light, she gently pulled her life together, in a gathering of days, one memorable piece next to the other.

            
Janna writes to keep ahead of her daydreams (by just a little bit). Otherwise, she is a librarian, mother, and minor trickster.

Your Mother, the Clown

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By David Derey

Son. You might wanna sit down.

And remember:

No matter how weird it gets, this is the truth.

Your mother was a circus clown and lions ate your biological dad.

The night we met, I helped her scrub away the clown makeup but I could never scrub the clown in her away.

The first trick she pulled on me was to not say she was pregnant.

The second was to leave me for that suicidal sword-swallower weeks after she birthed you.

This is all a lot to take in, I know.

Everytime you smile – I see her in you.

3:00 AM Walk

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By Michael Morell

Thunder
like a Mingus
composition
rolls in
to scare her from sleep.
The storm not yet
here, I dress and take
her for a walk
followed by lemon tea
on the couch
as her telescopic
Greyhound neck
rests in my lap.
Flittering legs
lit by lightning
getting her nowhere,
she falls asleep
to the honeyed sounds
of Billie Holiday
while I dream awake.

           
Michael Morell writes to satisfy his need to create, and to better understand the world.