Roll Up, Roll Up! by Nigel Jarrett

I had Ricky to thank for finding myself sitting alone in the front row of Zippo’s Circus.

He’d walked out on his girlfriend and young ‘un, and Josie had driven off with our kids to visit her. I wanted the pair of them to stay with me, but for some motherly reason Josie insisted on taking them along. We could have made it a threesome, especially as the circus was one of those without animals. They boys could have learned some moral lesson. In any case, I’d availed myself of Zippo’s BTGTF offer – buy two adult tickets and two kids get in free. There we go. Continue reading “Roll Up, Roll Up! by Nigel Jarrett”

Because We Care by Cooper Anderson

They filed into the room one by one. Each with their own freshly hewed scars. Cheap coffee and day-old biscuits had been laid out on a table in the back and a few of them poured a cup, but no one spoke. When it was time, they took their seats.

“I’d like to welcome you all to the group,” one of them rumbled. “My name is Fenrir and I’m a wolf.” Continue reading “Because We Care by Cooper Anderson”

A Change of Heart by Hannah Tougher

‘You take all the time you like,’ he says. ‘Have a browse. Guaranteed we’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.’

His name is Ted. It’s displayed in large letters on the badge pinned to the left side of his blue polo shirt. Over his heart. Underneath, he’s stuck tiny smiley stickers. Three in a row. I try to smile back at his wide face with its blue eyes, big teeth, all bright and shiny.

‘Thanks,’ I say, and shuffle down the aisle. I thought I knew what I was looking for but now I’m not so sure.  Continue reading “A Change of Heart by Hannah Tougher”

The Fever by Emily Harrison

The reddening was getting worse, splitting out across my sclera like the wetlands of southern Louisiana. It was a common symptom according to the experts – bloodshot eyes. A drop of saline could soothe it, but the wine red would still snake across my white; a marker that I was a sufferer – a casualty of the spreading allergen. It didn’t help that I constantly rubbed them, wound my index fingers anti-clockwise to counter the itch that came as a side syndrome, swollen blood vessels abound. I’d circle and circle and circle until the kohl that I’d applied bled as though I was made from coal. I checked the pocket mirror I kept in my bag and licked my thumb to wipe the collection of smudges away. The sweat from the underground train had made it sticky and the more I wiped, the more it dragged like a child’s finger painting. Continue reading “The Fever by Emily Harrison”

Tainted by Iris N. Schwartz

Harriette wasn’t crazy about being admitted to the psych ward of Gut Gezunt* Hospital.

She’d be found out for the lesser Jew she was.

Fridays, when she couldn’t obtain a Shabbos goy** to turn on or shut off the lights, she did it stealthily herself.

She not only didn’t keep kosher but tore from the bone freshly fried pork, greedily devoured this treif***, and let illicit juices escape down chin and neck — onto a blouse relegated to a corner of the bedroom. When roommates were elsewhere Harriette would throw stained clothing into the incinerator, no questions asked. Except of herself. And maybe one day a rabbi. Continue reading “Tainted by Iris N. Schwartz”

Selling Caramel Turtles at the Concessions is Only Going to Confuse Visitors as to the Intended Use of the Reptile Ones in the Tanks by David S. Atkinson

Gary hadn’t visited the zoo in many years. He’d been a child the last time, six or seven perhaps. The sense of wonder was still there for him, love of the penguins and the lions. He was glad he came, eager to revisit that sensation.

Finding his plastic blue elephant key was what did it. Coming across the souvenir in an old desk drawer, pleasant memories sprung forth. Inscribed with the zoo’s name and instructions on the side, it used to be for setting off metal recording boxes by enclosures that would tell people all about the respective animals housed within. He’d loved those. Continue reading “Selling Caramel Turtles at the Concessions is Only Going to Confuse Visitors as to the Intended Use of the Reptile Ones in the Tanks by David S. Atkinson”