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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
A Day In the Life
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By Sida Li
Eight Minutes
_ By Michael Gettings
Jesusland
_ By Max Gordon
One September Morning
_ By Brian G. Ross
Patrimony
_ By Len Joy
Reading Between the Lines
_ By Michael Gettings
Scarring Truth
_ By M.W. Hamel
Snapshots of the Ordinary
_ By Monica Lee
Spirals
_ By Robert Connal
Stars
_ By Daliso Chaponda
The Jury
_ By Jeremy Tavares
The Thief
_ By Marva Dasef
The Train to Pennsylvania
_ By C.L. Atkins

Poetry
735 Miles to Nootka Island
_ By Nicholas D. Klacsanzky
Al Fresco Cafe Poems #125
_ By Duane Locke
Al Fresco Cafe Poems #127
_ By Duane Locke
Barnstormer
_ By Lynn Strongin
Gilded Candy
_ By Mina Blue
Marriage 2
_ By Christine Redman-Waldeyer
Memo to Italy
_ By Andrew Francis
Rain, Your Words, and the Agony...
_ By Betina Evancha
Sarcasm
_ By Juliette Capra
Textbook
_ By Christine Redman-Waldeyer
The Unspoken Eloquence of the Sword
_ By Anne Nialcom
Three Shades of Grey
_ By Monica Lee
We Pay
_ By Betina Evancha
White Dread
_ By David Snyder
Writing
_ By Betina Evancha

Art & Photography
Keira Anderson
_ Photography
Anne-Julie Aubry
_ Paintings
Whitney Clegg
_ Photography and Drawings
Eman Reharno Jeman
_ Photography, Graffiti, and Drawings
Mike Pomery
_ Paintings
Jennifer Robbins-Mullin
_ Photography
Madia Krisnadi Widodo
_ Photography
Penny Wilson
_ Mixed Media and Digital Art

A Day In the Life
By Sida Li


The days are good when you’re four. It’s the best year in anyone’s life, if you ask me. Too young to go to school or work, but old enough to remember things. When I was four, there was no such thing as school. School was next year, and next year was a kazillion stone throws away, in my mind. It’s much better not having lived a decade than having lived eight and worrying about your life insurance. Instead, I spent my days outside the apartment, developing a tan but hopefully not skin cancer.

***

This summer morning started off no different than the others. As I traverse down the cold, gray concrete steps of my cold, gray concrete apartment, I begin to ponder the cornucopia of wonderful activities I will soon partake in. Stepping outside though, my thoughts escape me like a newspaper in the wind. Attention spans are for old people, after all.

I turn my thoughts to the undulation of urbanites walking along the sidewalk, the pack of cyclists cycling in the path and the never-ending swarm of cars. I glance up at the towering figures that cast shadows on me, and wonder how I will ever grow to be their size. It was exciting enough to get me wishing I were old enough to go through puberty

and labor in school

and write meaningless essays

and eat ramen for four straight months after college just so I could be as tall as they were.

***

In the scorching heat of the midday the sidewalk steams, and far away objects seem to melt and ooze. It’s like looking through the steam pouring from a boiling stovetop, really.

Through the hazy mirage, I spot my savior: an ice cream vendor. I tug at my mother’s sleeve and whine softly (I possessed a tremendous skill in the art of hint dropping from an early age, you see).

“Gee, mom. I’m really thirsty.”

She looks at me. “I guess you want an ice cream bar.”

“Yep.”

Works every time.

***

As I approach the vendor’s vast white cart (large enough to stuff six little kids into, or maybe seven skinny ones), I automatically recite my favorite flavor—red bean.

Whoof! A squall of water mist escapes the vendor’s cart, dissipating in the hot and humid air.

Well, at least the world will be a tiny bit cooler now.

***

Even though I was only four, I felt I had a sufficient amount of skill in the delicate art of consuming an ice cream bar. After all, my drop rate was low, hovering only around 30%.

Soon after depositing the wrapper in a nearby trashcan, the ice cream bar starts to melt. Slowly but surely, the mass of melted popsicle oozes onto my fingers. I quickly try to inhibit its advancement by licking the end of the stick, but the damage is done; the sticky paste between my fingers will haunt me until I find some water. Ice cream bar: 1. Me: 0.

***

Like a cheap balloon, my sticky-finger worries soon deflate, for through the herd of lumbering giants, also known as adults, I spot a snack stand.

“Gee, mom,” I whined. “I’m really hungry.”

She sighs. “So I guess you want some chips...”

We walk to the rectangular stand, protruding from a nearby building like a Lego block. As I peruse the bevy of goods, something catches my eye.

“Free Action Figure Included!” the package proclaims in shiny, purple letters.

“I want that one,” I said. Chips and an action figure? What a deal!

“Sorry, kid. We’re all out.”

“But you still have one left,” I said, pointing to the bag being displayed on his stand.

The vendor stares at me funny. “Sure, kid. You can have that one if you want.”

***

Being a geek, I decide not to open the bag until I get home, where I could savor every last greasy but oh-so-heavenly chip while playing with my brand new action figure. It was exciting enough to get me wishing I was old enough to get a job

and pay taxes

and go to jury duty

and mortgage a house just so I could buy all the chips with action figures included that I wanted.

At home, I take a pair of scissors from the drawer, cut open the bag, and peer inside.

Nothing.

The vendor had sold me an empty bag.

***

To this day, I still cannot figure out how that happened. It really gets me fuming. I was only four, but I wasn’t dumb; an empty bag is an empty bag… But back then, I thought nothing of it. What was there to be angry about? I was back home, Tom and Jerry was on, and soon after that, dinnertime! It was exciting enough to get me wishing I was old enough to be able to cook

and clean

and mow the lawn

and fix the gutters every spring just so I could watch all the TV I wanted.

***

Only now do I realize my folly.

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SIDA LI is a high school student in Massachusetts. Around school he is also known as Seeds, Hulk Hands, and Reptile, but people usually call him Peter. He constantly wonders why being the only boy in school who does not complete essays on the last day before they're due does not net him more A's (or at least A-'s. Come on now). His friends also constantly remind him that his first name is not only an anagram for "AIDS", but is also the word for AIDS in French.

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