Hinges and bone

Chris Rhodes — Unsplash.com

Geneva stood close enough to the burn barrel to feel its heat. It was a cool day and the warmth of her fire felt good enough to compel her to take off her work gloves and hold her hands up to the flames.

Her nails were a mess. It had been years since she’d done anything more than bite them, an old habit of convenience, no longer compulsion unless you look at not wanting to sit alone with an emery board or a nail file as a compulsion.

There was a time when she kept dental floss…


The downside to having a really good memory

photo of postcard from author’s collection

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve known I have a better memory than other people. It is rarely considered amazing or special. Usually, folks get mad at me for remembering what they can’t.

A great memory can frustrate those who struggle to remember any sort of details to flesh out a vague memory. I don’t know why I’m like this; some might say it’s inherited. People always said my father had a photographic memory. I wouldn’t call my memory photographic because that isn’t exactly how memories work for me. …


I could show you what I’m trying to hide but then I’d have to kill you

Renzo D’souza for Unsplash (The Heartbreak of Psoriasis)

I have, for a very long time, been a person who finds a lot of meaning in the things that happen to us in our day to day lives. I keep my mind open and look for signs. When people I love are down or confused I sit and hold their hand and try to get them to look at the bigger picture.

It is equally important that I remember to do this for myself.

When a person loses their job it might be…


Etienne Girardet for Unsplash

Resident Assistant was Rob’s dream job. He could continue on with his education, get free room and board in the nicest rooms on campus at the most sought after dorm and get paid. Not to mention the access to eighty-five of the loveliest co-eds on the East Coast.

When Rob was growing up no one could have predicted his predilection towards manipulation. He was good looking without being threatening, somewhat on the small side. It was clear, when he was a boy, that his stature was going to stay smallish and his lack of athleticism would never change. He thrived…


…and making it work without the missing cog

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash

When you repair a watch from pieces it’s easier if you have all of the parts. What do you do, though, if there’s a missing cog? The watch won’t work. You can’t say a watch works if it’s only right twice a day. It’s also true that if a watch is just a little bit broken, say it still ticks and you can wind it, it really isn’t a watch at all if it doesn’t keep time. It’s safe to say, in the realm of timepieces, you need all of the parts.


…and the simplicity of tea

Photo by Nicki Eliza Schinow on Unsplash

The harbor is where river waters congregate before pushing on to the sea. Where once were rocks and earth, small fish and bits and pieces of human life from the mountains above, now is only a hollowed bowl, deep enough to hold what enters without spilling. Soon enough the fresh water mingles with salt, the current stirs up sediment and fishermen launch their boats, ready to labor.

Fishing is an uncomplicated job to the untrained eye. Lifelong attention to detail teaches where to set the nets, what type of hooks to use, which species make…


Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash

Honey Bristol, of Centralia, was born in 2026 and had been doing support to technology work since the age of 6. She sat back in her cubicle’s sleep chair and tried her best to drift off. Earlier in her life she’d used relaxation aids but those had been denied her, due to a lack of “earnest intentions” when she fell asleep while working online for Intelligent Digestive Biotics. She’d not yet figured out how to make herself sleep without assistance.

It had already been twenty or so years since she’d had more than three or four hours of rest in…


Photo by Krzysztof Szabla on Unsplash

The heat and humidity remain unchanged in South Texas for at least four months, starting in late May. Cicadas seem to bring the high temperatures with them, grinding out their metallic song and filling the air with notes of oppression.

“Try to escape this,” they seem to say.

Frannie and Clayton made the best of things during the summer of 1964. They lived across the street from each other and their mothers agreed that kids needed to play outside. …


karl muscat- unsplash

The thing is, I don’t look so good.

Sure, in person you probably wouldn’t notice all the things I find wrong with my face in a photo. I always chalked it up to “I am not photogenic.”

Other than checking myself out in a mirror on a daily basis to make sure I don’t have bed hair or ballpoint pen ink on my cheek I figure I’m good to go. I’m not vain and I have good self esteem. …


photo by author

Annette’s best wedding gift was the one item she opened the morning of her rehearsal dinner and put to the side without even thinking about it. Her Grand-mère shook her head, her smile suddenly changed to frown position and her brow lined with disapproval..

“Non, non Annette. Cherie, you kiddin’. Dat da best giff you got yet. You go now, put dat rice cooker on the livin’ room table with all dem pretty things you and Chervoi done got. I’ll take it if you don’t wan’ it. I’ll keep it as a spare case mine breaks.”

“Mere, it’s not that…

Judy McLain

Shit Creek survivor. Storyteller. Feminist liberal. Southern without the accent. Chihuahuaist.

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