5. One Day in a Cafe, by Graci Cheney
As you sit in a cafe enjoying your morning and doing some work on a computer, someone sits at your table across from you.
How odd, you thought. There are plenty of other seats around here.
They suddenly slip you a note that says, “What a cute jacket. Do you come here often?”
Also odd, you thought again. Can’t they just talk to me?
“Thank you, and yes.” I responded on the paper.
8 years later
“Mom, how did you meet Dad?”
“Well one day I was sitting in a cafe, enjoying my morning … ”
4. The Girl Who Lived on Thursday, by Ran Walker
Before going to bed each night, five-year-old Sarah Ball would listen to her father read the book she’d long ago memorized, hug him afterwards with all her might, and, as he kissed her forehead and left the room, crawl under her covers and wind back her magic clock twenty-four hours.
Tomorrow would be the exact same thing, and she feared she would tire of the routine–but then she thought about what would happen the following day, how her father would be gunned down in the line of duty during a random traffic stop.
No. She’d keep using the clock.
3. Hal the Hippie, by Mark Tulin
One summer morning of my youth, I heard a commotion in the back of my neighbor’s house. It was Hal the Hippy loading all of his belongings into the back of a VW van.
I opened my bedroom window and shouted: “Where are you going, Hal?”
“To California,” he said. “It’s time for me to follow my dreams.”
“I wish I could go with you,” I shouted, thinking about all the cool adventures we might have.
He gave me a sad face, and I knew exactly why.
It wasn’t my time yet.
2. Let Me In, by Jo Weir
In separate rooms, each faced the door. One stepped backwards. The other reached forwards. Horrified, the first grabbed the turning handle. The other frowned and twisted harder. The first pushed against the door and begged it to hold. Gripping the handle at its furthest rotation, the other barged the door open.
Trembling on the floor, the first looked up at her own smiling face in the doorway, then kicked out with her foot to slam the door shut. She retreated to a corner and covered her ears while her other self knocked and knocked and knocked.
1. Elsie’s Dog, by Matthew Roy Davey
There were raised eyebrows when Elsie bought Carlos. Did she really have the energy for a puppy at her age?
When Elsie had a stroke her sons resisted the urge to say ‘Told you so’, but also resisted her pleas to take Carlos.
A solution was found: a son’s friend agreed to have Carlos. He sent photographs of the dog to Elsie in the old folk’s home. His kids loved Carlos. The pictures brought Elsie great peace of mind.
Carlos was also pleased to move in with the new family.
He hated Elsie.
She smelled of death.