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Nov 27th
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66 WORDS


cover2_coverwebEditor’s Note: Highs, lows, blows and woes. Behold: The 66 Words Short Story Contest. This year, we were inundated with entries. Take note of the ones that made the top of our list. Watch for more to be added over time.

No Trace, No Disgrace
During a small dinner party, I excused myself and went to the ladies room. It was welcoming with fresh daffodils and a vanilla candle burning. When done, I flushed and all was well except one little stinker that lingered. Flushed again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Heard knock on door … panic. No wastebasket, darn. What to do? Took that floater and stuck it in my pocket. Went home early.
—Stephanie Hoffman

Motivation and Intent
My memory always lags behind
my imagination.
When I create it
I like reality so much better
than when it imposes itself upon me.
There’s nothing fatalistic in
karma, the laws of cause and effect are
inescapable and liberating once
you understand that at every given
moment you choose. That
is man’s burden.
Everything else is just an excuse.
cover2_poopMeanwhile
I’ll strive to improve
my flying.
—Manfred Luedge

Shelf Life
we don’t fall or fly far
the apple drops;
seeds and flesh at the same time
we retain
we return
our mother’s sigh
our father’s brow and hands
holding out for
some desire to shake or embrace
we wait
we want
to be our own
rebellious and nascent, the same
we don’t fly or fall far
fruit becomes earth
too soon
for our taste.
—Laamie Young

2010
In two thousand ten
I have no ipod
cover2_girlIn two thousand ten
I have no prius
In two thousand ten
I have no blurray
In two thousand ten
I have no wii
Instead
In two thousand ten
I have sweet kitties
In two thousand ten
I have a nice home
In two thousand ten
I have a great wife
In two thousand ten baby makes three
—Craig Schilling

Neighborhood Night
A casually focused toss of the hair directly aimed at the target commences the dance. You observe, watching steadily as the performance gains momentum. He, casually noticing the directed toss of the hair, finishes his drink before taking his turn, purposefully making a joke to a friend as he passes then diverting his path to cross hers. She looks up. He goes in. Seabright Brewery Tuesday.
—Bunny Mensinger-Tessier

Recipe
How to bake a life
make sure oven of heart
is turned up high
three teaspoons hard work
two cups family love
one tall glass of change
four pinches of advice
two books on truth, well read
three sweet lectures
seven tablespoons unprepared shenanigans
two and half cups watered down conversation
cover2_danceone pound random action
meditate twenty minutes twice a day
bake even temperature ten years.
—Franklin Harris

Under the Rock
No need for words
I detest your words
their tone
the absence of affection
Love was never there
only imagined
Your face and its blank expression
screams without movement of the lips
I was such a fool to believe
I will return to my place
my station
under the rock
with its heavy burden
and shaded coolness
There I will remain
I will call it home
—Charlotte Galera

What the Cat Wrote
Winter nights were so full.
The moon, the women and
all their ancestors
Crowded in corners,
under tables, behind curtains.
And they wondered
why I twisted my body
Through the open space.
Because it was not open space.
There were Indians, Nazis, Cowboys,
Pilgrims, Warriors, Priests,
Poets and Painters.
Men who had loved and
Women who had killed
All gathered in the room
On winter nights.
—Cheryl Gettleman

Marry Me
Can’t cover2_face
Can’t marry you
State won’t let me
So come back to bed, baby
Please
Let it be
Let it rest
We got us
You
Me
Our hugs
Our hopes
Our dreams
Our future
Our amazing time diggin’ each other the way we do, baby
They can’t … take away our love
Can’t control that, baby
Nope
Not at all
Can’t take that away
Baby no way
—Cougar Montgomery

Rite of Passage
Saying, “Who fills this space before daybreak gains my powers.”
The old woman drew back a curtain to reveal an empty room.
The first daughter gathered grain from the moonlit fields but only
covered the floor.
The second daughter poured water through windows, but it flowed out the
door into the darkness.
The third daughter lit a single candle and the room filled with its
Light.
—Nancy Lenz

The Affair
She embraces technology like she would a lover.
She wraps her long, slender arms around her Dell and caresses her BlackBerry in the warm, moist palm of her hand.
She gives exquisite email and text messages with a light, sensitive stroke.
She Twitters suggestively and has an ample social network.
She is well connected and she is always available.
All she lacks is a human touch.
—Meg Aliano

cover2_sasquatchNew Years Day
Outside my window a girl reaches into her sweatshirt pocket and pulls out a phone. She stops walking and anchors herself to the pavement pushing tiny buttons furiously, diverting other walkers.

A stroller veers left; a group of gesticulating men almost bump her expecting her to move first.

I look into my coffee cup, half empty.
Glance outside; she’s smiling as she walks away.
Half full.

—Janinne Chadwick

We sat on the porch one evening
Watching bats chase after moths

You pulled out an old rifle
Pointing it absently into the sky
And imagined the sound of guns in war

Last night I returned to the porch
Wondering what we will talk about
When you return

The bats still chase the moths
The old rifle is long gone
And you have been to war
— Sudhir Dass

Bringing Forward
Time reflecting opens our eyes
Shifting in the year—Search for sunnier skies
Time seems faster—This scramble and race
Diluted direction, confusion, the place
Take a moment, listen and feel
Look around, observe—Who’s really real?
Open hearts and minds is the only way
Compassion will conquer challenges each day
Joining together believers—Strength will make this shift
Bringing forward humanity—The decade’s ultimate gift!
—Marci Harness

What Happened to You?
“What happened to you?”
I giggled, allowing my mother’s question to sink in.
She didn’t like the news. I didn’t think she would. I moved in with my boyfriend. She didn’t “get it.”
Not yet anyway.
She doesn’t need to get it.
I “got” it. And something good.
“So, mom,” I sighed back into the telephone. “What happened to me?” A chuckle. “I happened to me.”
—Charlie Price

I’m forty-four and this is my fourth life make-over. I’d like to think this is my last one. After three sketches, isn’t my final masterpiece long overdue?
Sometimes I wonder if I should have forced myself to stay on a single trajectory.
Surely then I’d feel like I’d “arrived.”
But I shed personas like some people shed clothing.
Damn—I’d thought I was fearless.
—Bethany Winslow

cover2_parkRules of the Hunt
The art and etiquette of a parking hawk: First, circle the lot for an empty space. If unsuccessful (which it will be), idle at the end of a row and wait for someone to leave. If another hawk appears behind you, creep forward slowly, but do not relinquish all of your hunting ground. At the first sign of reverse lights, flick on your blinker and SWOOP!
—Elizabeth Limbach


Craving Space
Oh, it’s something north of silly.
Isn’t it?
Paid parking.
And in three lots to boot?
(Sorry. Bad choice of words.)
Well, at least this gives my feverish dislike of pink- and yellow-colored tire-marking chalk a breather. Now, I can focus my intentions on something that really matters. Like becoming more eco-friendly. Bike to work? What is it they say about life handing you lemons …?
—Greg Archer

The Race
Music, hearts and adrenaline
Pumping
Downtown
Along with the brakes

I search, I stop, I swerve
Avoid the not so pretty in pink
Envelope tucked under
Windshield wiper
Wiping away finances
I search, I stop, I swerve
(Crooked parking, anyone?)

Daily triumph or Defeat

In the rat race on the road
Maybe race matters
Limited spaces
On every occasion
Watch out …
I’m driving
While Asian.
—Linda Koffman

Santa Cruz. Oh, you self-righteous town.
Turning free parking lots into paid lots.
All to generate more money.
And in part you blame downtown employees.
You should be ashamed.
You have no compassion
for those who serve this town every day.
Forcing us into a corner, with nowhere
to park and fees galore.
Screw the downtown employees, you say.
Well, screw you, we say. Screw you.
—Christa Martin

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