The Zone, by Ian Fletcher

There she sits, as beautiful as ever.

We have been in the zone: our love the transcendent reality, the rest of the world but an ephemeral dream.

Radiant as always! She is still in the zone.

She holds her new lover’s hand, while I am cast out into the cold.

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A Sport that Binds the World, by Sankar Chatterjee

Dr. Aloke Mitra, an expatriate economist, was returning home for Diwali, the Indian festival of light. Landing a day early, he sensed a kind of uncertain edge amongst fellow Calcuttans, all due to a football match to be played the next night in a faraway continent. In that match, the city’s perennial favorite Brazil would face off Argentina, led by player-wonder Lionel Messi, the city’s current soccer-hero. So whom to support?

The next night, Messi displaying his soccer-magic scored the only goal of the game in the dying minute. The quiet city, glued to TV screen, exploded with fireworks, welcoming the festival of light.

Bear or Bare, by Leander Beatty Jr.

Someone once asked me, “Have you ever eaten bear?”

I had long been told that I should get my hearing checked. This was a perfect example. I heard something slightly different.

I responded, “Why, yes, I have eaten bare. However, I remember that the plate was quite hot, so I tried to shift it around. When I moved, I spilled hot food in my naked lap! Scalded and embarrassed, I vowed from then on to always eat with my clothes on.”

They never asked me another question.

On a bright note, I did go have my hearing checked.

Thank you.

Midnight, by Hadrian Hazlitt

Like a moth driven to a flame, Amanda walked with hurried steps to the streetlight. She’d heard footsteps in the darkness. Someone was following her.

It was in the middle of the night. She should’ve crashed in her friend’s house. But her parents didn’t know she attended the party. They’d forbidden her. It was just not safe. Six women were already killed recently, and were butchered like animals.

She stopped under the pool of light, and looked around, her heart a succession beat of drum.

A growl, then a werewolf sprang towards her; slashing her neck before she could scream.

Shiny Objects, by Don Tassone

“Let me see your spoons,” Alex would say to his little friends in the school cafeteria.

He would take them and place them between his fingers, then bounce them between his palm and his knee, like drumsticks. When he was finished, he would slip the spoons into his pockets. Nobody ever missed them.

Alex did this well into his adult years, in restaurants and at parties. People were so impressed by his playing that they forgot to ask for their spoons back.

At forty, Alex retired and moved to the Caribbean, having sold the last of his spoons for scrap.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, by Reg Wulff

Ashes to ashes

The fires raged through the night. Unstoppable, they consumed everyone and every thing in their path. Thick smoke filled the lungs of every living creature while clouds of ash obscured the stars and the moon. Hope waned.

While the world died, Martin, Ray and Bae laughed and drank expensive red wine, paid for by the windfall they received from destruction. Dotards and democracies, republics and rocket men smashed their toys together until they were broken and shattered. Ideological men and madness marched over those with reason and conscience, stomping their bones into the dirt.

Dust to dust

Unburdened, by Don Tassone

He was packing up at the end of another grueling week when his phone rang. As he reached for the receiver, he felt a tightness in his chest.

“Sorry to do this, Jim,” his boss said. “But I’ll need the Midland pitch first thing Monday morning.”

He had promised to make his kids’ soccer matches tomorrow. He had promised his wife they would visit her folks on Sunday.

Now his arms hurt, and he was having trouble breathing. He felt his heart skip a beat, then stop.

His gray office walls turned white. He felt weightless and, at last, unburdened.