January 2012 Issue is Online

In this issue:

Joan Leotta

Cottonwood Grove

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Saturday, July 18, 1868

In the pre-dawn quiet, three Shoshone boys slid from their ponies. They stood together, facing east, a row of cottonwood trees behind them. As the sun glided upward, each boy offered a pinch of tobacco to bless the new day and their hunt. Their untethered ponies pawed the ground, by the trees, waiting impatiently to ride for buffalo.

Still a year away from their initiation as warriors, the boys had slipped out of camp in secret, eager to prove their value to the tribe. It was a dry summer with meager prospects for food and the boys were determined to return to the village that night, each with a buffalo to present… more

Susan Fair

The Ten O’Clock

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Connie Taylor, licensed family counselor, wanted to tell her 10 o’clock – a pretty young mother named Kath Wilkes who was having an affair with her wealthy boss – to go for it.

Every now and then an overwhelming desire to just get real would creep into Connie’s consciousness while she was listening to a client over the ever present drone of the white noise machine in the waiting room.

Then it was all she could do not to say to Mrs. Atkins, who spent 24/7 caring for her son, comatose for 7 years since a diving accident, that drugs and alcohol were a perfectly reasonable way to cope with the miserable demands of her life, or to tell Condi Alvarez that holding a pillow over the face of her abusive husband Butch when he was passed out drunk was really a pretty freaking good idea… more

Edward Ahern

The Night Watch

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An SUV and a pickup truck had jousted with each other on a lightless section of Route One. The pickup won. By the time I got there the drivers and passengers had been carted off to two local hospitals. The emergency rooms always seemed to share the wealth on victims.

I filed the story and pictures from my lap top, basking in the smeared Christmas lighting of the fire engine and the cop cars. I had one more stop to make. My Civic, all 127,000 miles of her, groaned as I added 20mph to the speed limit. The local cops would occasionally hit the lights and start to chase me, but would turn off once they recognized my beater. We had an understanding.

Intersecting car lights threw my reflected face up onto the windshield. Worry lines that had splintered into wrinkles. Unsmiling. The resigned expression of someone gambling alone in a casino… more

Garret Ashley

The Graffiti at Gulf Park

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