(Untitled) by Len Nourse

“Dad, here’s another Email from Al Gore about joining Climate Reality.”

“Same ole same, I suppose.”

“Dad! According to Neil deGrasse Tyson in ‘Cosmos’ the build-up of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere caused by heavy use of fossil fuels is real.”

‘My dear daughter you might be right but life is so easy for us oldies using fossils it’s hard for us to change. What about those circulating Emails telling us that more comes from one spouting volcano than we produce using fossil fuels.”

“Come on Dad, you a scientist knows better. Think of your great-grandchildren if not us and our kids.”

(Untitled) by Len Nourse

“Kids, Johnson must be crazy because I really enjoyed my time with those women for hire. They were a group of delightful girls busy with a variety of different projects.”

“Projects – what do you mean?”

“Lassie M comes from a wealthy family, now in hard times. Her dad fell into the trap of internet swindlers, and since she had not finished her studies at the University of Edinburgh she joined this group of women-for-hire so that she could finish these. It pays well.”

“Doesn’t that make her a prostitute?”

“You decide, your sister might have to join the group.”

(Untitled) by Len Nourse

“Sorry kids, tonight’s story will be fiery, because I’ve just received an Email from the publisher saying he is no longer going to publish our stories.”

“What, didn’t he say he’d already printed them and would present them at book meetings,” said Pete? “

“Does that mean no story tonight,” said Andy?

“Yes, to you P and no to your A.”

“Goody, then Claudia and I haven’t come over for nothing,” said Audrey.

“Remember, you promised to tell us a naughty one based on Eric’s FFF, Mom’s out tonight so won’t know,” piped Henry

“Good idea H, but where’s Hannah and Dani?”

Summer Camp by Russell Conover

“Welcome to Camp Asteroid! I’m your counselor, John. Ready to go?”

Tony sighed. “You mean a week of hearing people blab about planets and meteors?” he asked sarcastically. “Ooh–hold me back.”

John smiled, gesturing over his shoulder.

Tony saw a sign saying “Space shuttle boarding this way” down the hall. He looked questioningly at his counselor.

“That’s right,” John said. “Forget planet Earth. You’ll be traveling through space for a week.”

Tony’s eyes popped. Then he broke into a devilish grin. “Not enough postcards in the world,” he thought.

Ladies of the Evening by Eric Smith

In his teens and early twenties, Johnson had several impersonal encounters with women for hire without any desire or satisfaction being generated. But later, after reading Walt Whitman and Henry Miller, he began regarding prostitutes as people with personalities and problems like everyone else. He’d always avoided viewing them as such—perhaps stemming from an incident where he paid more than the price agreed to, including all the money in his wallet. One feels no guilt or hypocrisy making an everyday purchase while failing to contemplate the cashier’s personhood still, with prostitutes it differs—or so he’d come to believe.

(Untitled) by Amy Friedman

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

(Untitled) by Amy Friedman

One day, Dorothy, a scarecrow, a lion, a tiger, a dragon, a bear, a serpent, a robot, a monkey and an ocelot were skipping down the Yellow Brick Road. The “Welcome to Oz” sign stopped them short. Round the next bend was a tumbledown shack, its weathered “Wizard’s Bar” sign hanging askew.

Dorothy looked at her little band. They looked decidedly thirsty.

So Dorothy, the scarecrow, the lion, the tiger, the dragon, the bear, the serpent, the robot, the monkey and the ocelot the all walked into the bar.

The bartender, looking up at them, said: “Is this a joke?”

(Untitled) by Patricia Fuqua Lovett

Exhausted, Lori put the last of the blue plastic containers in the old 4-drawer night stand. Bare essentials. Admissions had been careful to answer all the family’s 100 questions. Yet with all the questions and great sounding answers they knew it would only amount to rehab, 3 meals a day, comfortable bedding and the sun streaming in the window each morning. They kissed and hugged. Using her weak hand, Myrna, Lori’s sister, waved good by. “Do all they say. Work hard. Keep a stiff upper lip and I’ll call later,” Lori said. All was forgiven. Each reconciled that the day had finally come when the family had to leave Myrna in the Nursing Home.

Stuck, Part II by Jane Reid

Another semi-autobiographical account. Not to worry: the surgeries are real but extremely minor. The first was completed; walking out was just wistful thinking. The second is scheduled tomorrow. Today’s conversation and the quote are real – but the patient’s musing is (I hope) fiction.

Stuck, Part II by Jane Reid

She had stalked from the outpatient surgery center, one-size-fits-none gown flapping in back, in disgust at their repeated tries to insert an IV in her “difficult” veins.

Now she was going back. Taking a proactive approach, she called the day before to speak with the anesthesiologist.

She told a cheerful, friendly woman named Sally Lee about the unsuccessful attempts, asking that an expert be assigned and equipped with the proper materials.

“Oh, I’ll do it myself,” said Sally Lee. “I love to do IVs.”

The patient shuddered. Could that mean Sally Lee likes to repeat them?

(Untitled) by Len Nourse

Len was on the putting green early, because his partners were turning their heads when he putted. Yet practicing for a whole hour was no cure. He had a game with his Oz mates and Gordon, the Scot, in Australia. Sadly every practice putt was one – in ‘serf efrica’ it’s called ‘the yips’ – the “nice'”Ozzies just say don’t Len putt. The game was on and by the time the 18th came Len already had 49 putts. Len had told the others about the Scot’s word’s for the forbidden word. Gordon was leading and had a 7 iron to the18th, The “nice” Ozzies in unison said – Hey Gordon, I hear you call it “sh-sh-short slice”. Gorden did. One “nice” Ozzzie then had a 5-foot putt to win. Gordon chirped – don’t do a Len. He did, and they tied the game. Two tie all tie. Len’s 52 putts put him last and cost him the first round at the 19th. No guys we don’t stop at one in Oz.

Who is the Replicant? by Eric Smith

Mr. Jones repaired to the drawing room after dinner to read the Wall Street Journal when squealing noise began emanating from the laundry room. As the decibels increased, he called to Mrs. Jones in alarm.

“Helen, what the hell is that noise?”

Just as he uttered this crude interrogatory, the noise stopped and Mrs. Jones stood before him.

“Let’s get two things straight, Bill. First, my name isn’t Helen; second, your filthy language isn’t appreciated.”

The husband scanned his memory to ascertain his mistakes and miscues.

“Aha,” he thought, as her records popped up, “there seems to be a problem.”