A little bit of genius
Davy Rothbart is the creator of Found magazine, a frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life, and author of the story collection The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas.
Ryan A. Bunch is a writer from the hill-less gray area between Detroit, MI and Toledo, OH.
Consecrations for Women and their Children
by Steven Kapela
Steven Kapela is a writer of poetry and fiction. Other work of his has been published online in Rascal magazine. Currently, he is a teaching assistant at Ohio University and is working toward his Masters in Creative Writing with an emphasis on poetry. He was born and raised in Toledo.
The woman was dabbing the sick and gurgling cat’s mouth with her husband’s golf glove. Her face curled at the ugly sight of the inside of the bubbling maw. The cat was getting less and less irritated with each poke and pry into its mouth, turning away less as it’s limbs slowed. The woman was unsure what to do. The cat was pregnant, and was expected to give birth to a big litter of at least six or seven kittens. She couldn’t remember—this is what her husband told her. He said it wasn’t her responsibility. So she called him. When he didn’t answer his work phone she left a message on his cell. The phone was pressed between her ear and left shoulder. When her gaudy earrings jabbed her neck after dialing the vet, she took them out and nervously dropped them on the floor. She felt like she drew blood but couldn’t see it. The tabby brown cat was making strange sounds as it spread over the gray tile, sounding more like distance sirens than the lazy meows she was used to when she first started living here. The vet didn’t answer either. She set the phone down and ran into the other room to make sure Tanner was still sleeping in his crib. He was up. The precocious three-year-old had managed to climb out his cage once again. As the hinged creaked, the door opened to reveal him standing, eyes pointed upward at her knees. She sighed and lifted his heavy body against hers. She then went upstairs to the closet and dumped out a box of shoes his ex-wife must have left behind after the divorce. The red and white heels fell to the floor and made thumping noises like fast footsteps. In the adjoined bathroom she saw some slightly damp towels lying in a dirty pile of clothes next to the shower. Leaning over with Tanner held securely between her breast and her arm she grabbed the towels and bounced back down stairs, through the arched frame into the kitchen to where the pain stricken animal still lay in labor. She set Tanner on the floor and accessed the cat. Carefully she moved it into the box as it stared silent, no sound; its eyes were glowing like gold and then closed slowly. Continue reading...
"I Like My Clouds to Look Like Giraffes"
by Megan M. Taraschke
Megan M. Taraschke usually spends her time having tea with Mr. Tumnus in Narnia or writing under a clock tree in Fillory. When not idling about magical lands, she enjoys working at an antique store and having coffee with friends. Mostly she spends her time writing and living her life by a Hans Christian Anderson quote which, if you ask Ms. Taraschke, is the best way to live.
Her daughter’s hand was sticky, sugary sweet from the ice cream they had just indulged in. Now the pair was headed home, past the playground. She knew what her little girl, Emma, would ask.
“Can I play for awhile?” she chimed on cue.
Her mother, Ida, smiled. “Sure.”
“Will you play too?”
“In a minute okay? Mama’s tired.”
Emma chirped happily as she rushed the swings, and Ida gave up on the worn bench nearby, stretching her arms out along its back. Her head tilted toward the sky. Above, clouds sauntered slowly by, a snail’s parade.
That one could almost be a giraffe, she thought. When she was little, giraffes had been her favorite, with their silly horns that Ida just knew were really antenna. She had had a pink one back when she was Emma’s age, a stuffed pink giraffe named Bug.
There was a sudden little bop beside her ear, and there, floating beside her head, was a miniature hot air balloon. It’s sparkling blue basket harbored what appeared to be a ladybug, done up in a very fine suit. He was smiling widely at her.
“Hi there Ida!” he cried. “I’ve come to spirit you away.”
“Do what now?” she asked flatly.
“Take you on a grand adventure, where endless possibilities await! I’ve come to start you on a perilous journey, just like you always wanted. I’m sorry Bug can’t come too, but you’ll make lots of new friends! Are you ready?” Continue reading...
Tied for Third Place
Anniversary in the Park
by K. Meyer
K. Meyer is married with two children. She lives in Bowling Green and teaches at Gibsonburg High School. She loves to write, read and travel. She is writing a novel and is starting to get into blogging and entering more writing contests. She hopes to full-time writer in the near future.
"Did you bring it, jerk?"
"Of course I brought it; nice to see you too!", Matt said sarcastically.
"Well, let me see it!", said Wendy.
"No, not 'til you show me the goods. Cough it up, sister."
Wendy pulled out a burlap sack from her incredibily too large "Coach" purse. She thrust the bag carelessly onto the picnic table, opened it and revealed its contents.
"Wow. Those are beautiful. You know what they say, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure.'"
"Yeah, whatever. Show me my 'treasure'", Wendy sniped.
Matt poured out the contents of the ripped paper grocery bag onto the picnic table.
"Her ya go, sweetheart", his eye purposefully winking at her.
On the table lay an assortment of oddities that would look like junk to a passerby. For Matt, his 1989 class ring, 1988 football state champions trophy, and his contest winning short story from tenth grade. For Wendy, her picture of her and the actor Johnny Depp, her Swatch watch from 1985, and her "mix tape" of love songs, circa 1987, made by her first love.
"Blackmail is a beautiful thing. Here's to the ending of a crappy relationship." Matt turned toward Wendy who was already gone.
Tied for Third Place
The Life of Henry
by Jo Ann Helweg
JoAnn Helweg was raised in Kansas City, and graduated from the University of Kansas. A former art teacher she now teaches water aerobics. She and her husband have three grown children and three grandchildren. They have lived in Northwest Ohio for 25 years.
Sheesh, heard 'ya the first time. No wonder the neighbors think I'm some kind of bad seed. You'd think a 30 year old would get more respect.
Guess I gotta see what Mom's squawkin' about, can't even have a smoke in peace.
"Henry - finally! Why can't you answer me when I call you? Do you think I enjoy yelling my head off? And what will the neighbors think: Just how- "
"Yeah, yeah, got it Mom. So what's the big deal? I thought you were going to the store. I'm getting tired of being out of Mountain Dew."
"Oh, Henry! Something has happened - the plant called and Hank has been in an accident! We need to get to the hospital right away."
"Wait, what? An accident - with Dad? How bad is it? what did they say?"
"Oh, honey, I don't know, they wouldn't tell me. Please, just get in the car!"
"Well, wait a sec, Mom, I wanna run in and grab another pack of cigs. this one is almost empty."
"Dear God, Henry! Don't you understand? We don't have time - just get in the car. Will you drive? I'm too upset. You'll just have to get more when we
"Oh, right, Mom. All hospitals sell cigarettes - right next to the oxygen tanks."
"You really are driving me crazy, Henry! We are going right now!"
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