Las Meninas: The Alchemy of a Life
Anne stared at the miniaturized “Las Meninas” in her hand. Velasquez’ vast painting reduced to postcard size. She could wallpaper her kitchen with cards like these. Ones her students–current and former–mailed her from summer vacation spots. She steadied herself for another one.
-Winning Writers Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction and Essay Contest 2015
Ellie stood in line at the kosher butcher shop debating between the boneless rib-eye steak and the London broil. She and Seymour preferred the London broil but couldn’t afford it at double the price of the rib eye. She should order brisket, but she had cooked brisket for their last two Shabbat dinners.
It could have been the moment Joni leapt into the tree. Or maybe she realized it when she put her thumb out. It didn’t matter when she knew. Joni was on her own now. And she was taking a risk. She knew one should never trust strangers. Yet, standing on the shoulder of the highway, Joni felt safer than she had all morning at home.
—Fishfood Magazine (Page 20)
The Positional Player
Jamal and Keith were chasing geese down by the tidal lake when Jamal saw the Warbergs get of the car. He stopped short, causing Keith to bump into him.
“Hey man,” Keith said, grabbing Jamal’s arm preventing him from falling forward into a large pile of goose poop. “What did you do that for?”
Jerome’s back twinge, his knees’ stiffness, and the rigidity in his wrinkled brown skinned hands remind him that he’s 75.
It’s November, 4:30 in the morning and the room’s cold air creates vapor clouds when he exhales.
—Bear River Review
What They Shared
Lindsay jumped out of the Dodge Dart’s backseat and inhaled deeply. Her mother’s cigarette smoke streamed out the passenger window. Dan, her mother’s boyfriend, sat in the driver’s seat blasting Metallica so loud that women carrying laundry baskets in one arm and their children under another turned towards them. Lindsay stepped closer to her mother to tell her about today’s soccer game, but Dan popped the trunk and shouted for her to unload the four garbage bags of dirty clothes. Her younger sister Michaela had disappeared already. Figured. She’d have to drag the laundry herself.
Regarding The Gift:
“I felt heart broken for Joni, but so touched by her obvious kindness and sensitivity. She does not seem embittered by her terrible mother (whose cruelty shook me to the bone), and offers Ron her once beautiful dress as a gesture of gratitude…. In that way I felt you gave me a gift… I finally exhaled when… Maybe I have not fully exhaled yet. You really seem to be able to get into the mind of an adolescent girl which made the story so emotional and real.” Lisa Kahn-Tietz, MA, MFT
“I loved your new story. It felt so real and touched a nerve with me …. Very well done story and congrats on this latest publication.” Elizabeth Fishel, Author, Journalist, Teacher, Mentor
Regarding Positional Player:
“Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story with us. We both agreed it was thoughtful, touching, and artistic. The story brought back so many memories for me — some memories that I had hid away or lost entirely… Ah, the complexity, the chaos, and the wrong choices that usually accompany foster care.
We both loved your artful use of chess as your hook — really well done! No wonder you received such an important award. Keep on! Literature offers an amazing window onto the world!”
Jill Duerr Berrick, Ph.D.
Zellerbach Family Foundation Professor