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Paul Alan Fahey

      The change happened gradually. First the English accent, the tendency to add question marks to the ends of declarative sentences. Then my cheeks sank into jowls. My hair went white, fell out and left wispy bits I combed over, hoping no one would notice.
      One glance at my Costco photo ID confirmed the hypothesis. I'd become him, physically and mentally. How else could I explain my recent penchant for cool blondes, the urge to wish others "Good Evening," whatever the time of day?
      Unfortunately, I confess, there is nothing to be done but remain a lodger in the Master's body.


Paul Alan Fahey is a learning disabilities specialist at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. He is also the editor of the national magazine, Mindprints, A Literary Journal, a forum forwriters and artists with disabilities. His work has recently appeared in Coyote Wild, Skive Magazine, Harvest and is forthcoming in Crimson Highway and A Cup of Comfort.



My Wife Believes
John Zheng

Playing basketball will help our son grow into a mammoth and me burn tons of fat. Every evening she throws us outdoors, saying Basketball time, lazy bones. Yesterday evening she pushed us out into wintry wind. We drove shivering to the basketball court by the riverside church. The moon looked like a snowball, the wind like icicles. We warmed up, set up rules and, as opponents, played hard to defeat each other. After we sweated out through three games my son won by 2 to 1. When we got home, my wife giggled, like an egg-laying hen.

John Zheng's work appeared in Mississippi Review, Cimarron Review, and The Hurricane Review, among others. He received the fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission in 2004. His chapbook, The Landscape of Mind, was published by Slapering Hol Press in Sleepy Hollow, New York.



The Muse Effect
C.A. Cole

      He'd never wanted to be anyone's muse. That much was clear, but there was something about the elixir of his skin that made her want to strum her guitar and experiment with lyrics.
     "Why don't you want to be my muse?" she asked in the hollow of the night, Roxy Music in the background. She swirled her third Ramos Gin Fizz.
     "Why should I? Too much responsibility. I don't want to be attached to anyone. Find someone else." He hung up.
     Didn't matter. His very existence ignited her soul, inspired rhythm, inspired rhyme.
     No way could he shirk that fate.

C.A. Cole lives in Colorado. Her work has appeared in Kalliope, Crimson Highway, Verbsap, and will appear in Cantaraville, QWF, and Perigee. She recently finished a novel.



Bay Watch
Sarah Hilary

     Glossy green leaves, red pot, windowsill. South-facing, sixteen floors up, world going by below. Fire escape, fresh herbs, better range than Waitrose. Rosemary for roast lamb. Redcurrant bush in training; fruit cage to keep the birds off. Jelly with the lamb, bit of colour on the plate. Flowers on the fire escape. Geraniums from mum, red.
     Cooking for the ladies. Old stove, dodgy wiring. Smoke. Fire escape. Fruit cage a tripwire, swan dive, sixteen floors down. Impact. Blood and geraniums. Sky raining redcurrants. Dinner date wailing, short skirt, stocking tops; too bad. Wine going to waste. Ambulance wailing, too late.

Sarah has completed a first novel - about a woman addicted to internet erotica - and is trying her hand at a second. She lives in the bucolic idyll which is the English countryside, and has a weakness for highbrow literature and low-budget horror films. Website: Writewords.