An Ode to Eating

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

Before the ingredients are purchased, before they’re cut up and simmered, sautéed, fried, or roasted, before they’re marinated or seasoned, the joy begins.

Imagining how the dish will come together, how it will taste when all the disparate parts become one: that is when I begin to enjoy eating.

As the scents fill the air, and the surfaces start to brown, the anticipation grows.

A final sprinkle of salt, a touch of cheese, a dash of pepper.

I gently plate my ingredients, which have come together to form a meal.

I create the perfect bite on my fork, and…

Heaven.

Roller Coasters

By: Steve Fite

I spend a lot of my life trying to not get motion sickness.

I will ride a roller coaster.  Once. You get one if you go to a theme park with me.

I don’t really drink to excess, and if I do I know it won’t stay in my system for very long.

I drive.  Everywhere I go.  You want to drive?  That’s okay. I’ll drive.  Yes, all 12 hours.

Uber?  Hmm. How far?  

Catalina?  But we can just get a nice hotel here.

All because my brain thinks I’m in trouble when I’m not. I can’t convince myself otherwise.  

Foursome

By: Ed Dzitko

They settled in every day on the same bench, during lunch hour, in the same sequence. He knew that because he sat across the park nearly everyday, on the same bench, during his lunch hour.

The overdressed one sat to his left, the long-haired brunette to her right, and the tatooed one with the monster dog to the far right, The playful one sat between her and the brunette. She knew he watched them, watched her, and always showed him her legs.

Once, when she looked right at him, he jumped up, hastily gathered his lunch, and walked quickly away.

Hiccups

By: Megan Cramer

The spasms shook her body, rhythmically shaking her center every five to ten seconds. She cried out to the heavens for release. She tried the breath method: breathe in fully for five, hold for five, and then breathe out slowly, as through a straw, for ten. She tried her grandmother’s method: “what were you doing this same day a year ago?” to distract her mind from the earth shaking spasms. But it was only the typing of words, the recording of the experience, the getting-to-100-words that finally calmed the diaphragm. She breathed an uninterrupted breath and turned out the light.

Multiverse

By: Laura K.

If you believe the multiverse theory, there’s a new universe with every choice.

There’s a universe where I won the lottery.  One where our hair is bright purple. Where Crystal Pepsi is all the rage.

One where I never went to the party. Or does that not matter? Maybe we just meet some other way.

One where you went to the doctor. Where they caught it early.

Who knows what other things happen, in those worlds.

But what is the point of the universe where it’s just like this one, except I ordered sausage instead of pepperoni on my pizza?

Climb Rhyme

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

I’ve just finished reading a book to my kids

And it involved some very good rhymes

And so I’ve decided to use what I’ve learned

To talk about how my son climbs

Whenever he gets so close as an inch

To a structure that goes into the air

He can’t help himself, he hitches his pants

And if he doesn’t climb, that would be rare

He uses his legs and his ten little fingers

To grip and to push and to pull

He gets to the top, there’s no trying to stop

When he charges right up like a bull

Rainbow

By: Melissa Ratliff

Finding the beginning of the rainbow was tricky. Like a mirage, it constantly shimmered and shimmied further out of reach. He had to use his sixth sense – something he hadn’t done since he was a kid. Closing his eyes and concentrating completely, he eventually felt a gravitational pull that propelled him forth. Moments later, the hairs on his arm stood to attention. Then he felt each color run through his veins, like a melody made rich with hot and cold notes. He had made it. Afraid it would end, but needing to see, he slowly opened his eyes and gasped.

Plain Jane

By: Ed Dzitko

Nearly every day for weeks, she was on window ledge, sitting with an elbow resting on a bent knee. She always wore the same hat, olive jacket, and white scarf, with black, blue, or green jeans, and the same tan, laced boots.

Plain Jane, he nicknamed her. What’s Plain Jane is doing right now, he’d wonder more than once a day. Odd thing is, he never saw her do anything, not eat, drink, smoke, read, talk, or stare at a phone. She just sat, same time, same place. Weird, right?

Then one day, Plain Jane smiled, and it was magic.

Joisey

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

“Come on! There’s winnahs and losahs!” the older man yelled at the team of 4-year-old soccer players on the field.

“Dad! You can’t do that here. He’ll get thrown outta the league,” said little Sal’s father.

Their accents were unmistakable. Jersey, no doubt. My people.

On that morning of junior soccer in my new southern city, I found a tiny piece of home.

It wasn’t the first time.

Every day, a new person crosses my path with that northern attitude, that city accent. We’re everywhere. We’ve infiltrated the south.

Now with my smoked pork, I get a side of Jersey.

Alone

By: Ed Dzitko

There was a rustle behind me. And a… giggle? What?

I was sure I was alone on this island. Not another human being around. I had wandered the edge, thinking if anyone was here there would at least be signs of life along the water. But there had been none. And yet…

Was that another giggle? It had been 15, no 16, days, and other than a few small animals, I hadn’t seen another living being. I turned, creeping inland through the sand.

There. Is that? I blinked. Did I see an eye? Or were mine playing tricks on me?

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