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Bill West

     Nothing to do but wait, and look at that sky, heavy with snow, suspended above me, draped between spires and rooftops.
     As a boy I sky-gazed for hours; I saw giants and castles, heroes and dragons tilting in the blue. Sometimes I felt a kick of fear - a fear of falling into the sky.
     Later there were hot summer skies to gaze into. I stretched out with my girl in fields tucked in the folds of a hill. Her finger traced the shapes she saw in clouds, swan wings and the faces of men with beards. With stalks of sweet grass I traced the line of her neck, her breast; her nipple tightened under the lace. We clung together as the sky wheeled past.
     I got too old, too quickly but still I saw the beauty of winter skies, the blends of pale light and fog blowing in. Life drives out everything, if we let it.
     Look at me now, pinned down.
     Someone is coming. Windows catch bouncing blue lights, doors slam and boots crunch on snow. A kind voice comes close to my ear, fading now, his questions unanswered-and there is so much sky to paint.

Bill West lives in Shropshire, England. He is a member of the Bridgenorth Writers' Group, I*D Writers' Group and a number of on-line writers' communities. His work has appeared in FlashQuake, Mytholog, Heavy Glow, Right Hand Pointing, 21 Stars Review, Foliate Oak and other places. Writewords

Tax Season
Robin Stratton

     This year his taxes are going to be more complicated than ever. It's insane, how much money he made! The merger, additional employees, two new warehouses... His wife always says, "Honey, why don't you hire someone to do them for you the way everyone else does? All the time you spend on them could be spent with me." He still can't believe such a beautiful woman married him. Not just married him, but worships him; sits with legs folded on the couch, listening rapt to his theories about economics.
     He takes off his glasses, rubs his eyes. Maybe he should have accepted the teaching position at Boston University. Work half the year, go on sabbatical, write a textbook, travel the world.
     The truth is, he loves his life just the way it is. His wife's coffee kiss in the morning as he heads out the door, the smooth purr of his Mercedes, business talk on the radio. An early bird, he misses most of the traffic. His days are long, and he rarely gets home before 8:00, but his wife has established the habit of calling him each noon, and they eat lunch together if he has time.
     But the taxes! He puts his glasses back on and squints at the forms. Maybe she's right, maybe next year he'll hire an accountant, this is really nuts.
     A gentle hand on his shoulder. He looks up.
     "Fred, it's time for your medication."
     Impatiently, he gestures at the pile of paperwork.
     "Yes, I see someone has been busy today!" With a smile, she looks at his numbers. "But we have to put it away now. Do you want to watch a little TV before you go to bed?"
     He sighs. "Okay."
     The nurse is humming as she pushes his wheel chair down the hall to his room.

Robin Stratton lives in Boston and teaches creative writing classes using the techniques in her book, The Revision Process. Her work has appeared in Antithesis Common, Poor Mojo's Almanac, 63 Channels, and Chic Flicks Magazine.