Wanna Read Some X’int Stories?

In the April issue of Books ‘N Pieces Magazine we have 3 short stories. Here’s a taste for you along with the link to read the whole story…enjoy!

Read April issue HERE.

Staff Sergeant Joe Brady’s Bridge

by Mike Sherer

I happened upon a man fishing in a river below a bridge. His slim slight frame was slouched down in a camp chair in the shade of the bridge with a rod in his hand. Dressed in jeans and a desert camouflage tee, with a Cincinnati Reds ball cap on his close-cropped head, he seemed perfectly at ease and at peace with the world. A small tackle box was on one side of the chair, while on the other was a small cooler. If I had to guess, I’d say he was late twenties to early thirties.

The river was slow-flowing, and not very wide. The trees on both sides seemed undisturbed, other than by the usual suspects, squirrels and small birds. No structures, except the heavy cement columns supporting the bridge towering above, were to be seen. A peaceful place to relax and enjoy some fishing. But it wasn’t quiet; traffic noise, especially the roar of semis rumbling across the bridge over my head, saw to that.

As if reading my mind, the fisherman nodded his head up at the bridge. “Traffic gets pretty heavy sometimes.”

“Must be a good fishing spot,” I observed, “to make it worth the racket.”

He frowned. “Not really.” He kicked his cooler. “Help yourself.”

I was parched. “Thanks.” Opening the cooler, I found it filled with beers. I shook my head. “Better not. I’m driving.”

“Go ahead. One won’t kill you.”

Continue reading in the April issue HERE.

Pride AMONG Predators

by Denice Penrose

Murder is easy. The killing I mean. It’s simple. We see it all the time here in the Kruger National Park. Eat or be eaten is the rule. Africa is a dangerous place. I should know: I’ve been doing this for twenty years. 

“Here’s the jeep keys Gerry. Better make sure your rifle is loaded. We’ve had reports of a rogue elephant.”

“Thanks Manus.” I deliberately brush my fingers against his as I take the keys. He flushes, but smiles. He’s young, new. He’ll learn. I’ll make time for him at the end of the tourist season.

Rifle in its case, slung over my back, I walk out of the thatched cool, across stone floors into the African sun. They’re waiting for me, under the canopy, cameras, binoculars and phones in evidence. They’re stacked in layered seats—high enough to give them good views. Looking at the faces, I note Chinese, Nordic blonde, Indian—a microcosm of cultures. I’ll know the others by sunset. 

Môre Julle. That’s Afrikaans for ‘Good Morning,’ I smile. 

Sawubona,” Jabu says. “That’s how we say it in my language.” He flashes an electric smile—his teeth whitened by the contrasting darkness of his complexion.

“I’m Geraldine, this is Jabu. We have a few rules to keep you safe,” I say beginning our usual lecture. I don’t have to think about the words anymore. I outline our route for the day, the animals we’re likely to see, and I watch faces light up. Ah, tourists, my pain, my pay and my pleasure.

Jabu climbs behind the wheel, and starts the engine. “Is your gun loaded?” I ask sotto voice. 

“Always, Gerry, Always.”

Continue reading in the April issue HERE.

The Sin of Sunday Rock and Roll

by Cerys Harrison

Henry Ford built Greenfield Village as a shrine to American commerce. He dismantled historical homes from across the country and reassembled them on the property he purchased in the middle of my hometown. Locals were hired, at minimum wage, to dress in period costumes and perform Americana chores for tourists like candle making, butter churning, hog feeding. 

My father, a rabid Democrat, asserted the real reason for Greenfield Village was to keep ol’ Henry’s property taxes down. Regardless, each year he bought a family pass, and we spent many Sunday afternoons chugging around the Village in the 1873 Torch Lake locomotive that encircled Henry’s menagerie. I felt as if I was traveling between two worlds. One world held the clean, refurbished wooden benches on which we sat as we tooted past the pond with Stephen Foster’s steamboat on our left. The Southfield Freeway on my right led to another world, with Corvettes and Barracudas revving their engines.

 I inherited a passion for gift shops from my mother and the one in Greenfield Village was exceptional. The summer I turned twelve I wrinkled my nose at the dolls with heads made from dried apples and the wooden hobby horses that fascinated me the year before. Instead, I made my way to the section of the shop with racks of women’s dresses and matching bonnets, where shelves with Early American cookbooks and pamphlets with stencils for decorating rooms with Early American patterns soldiered next to packages of vintage sewing patterns.  I imagined myself transported back in time to the general store in my cherished Little House books.

I wanted to churn butter with Ma Ingalls. I wanted to read books with Laura by candlelight. I wanted to wear bonnets and skirts that rustled around my ankles. I wondered what kind of underwear Early American girls wore. Those patterns weren’t on the racks in the Greenfield Village Gift Shop. I wondered, too, what Early American girls did when they got their periods.

“They used rags,” my friend Merilee replied as she crossed her delicate arms over her narrow chest and planted her Buster Browns firmly on her backyard grass. “That’s why they say, ‘she’s on the rag’.”

I wondered how Early American girls kept their rags in place. My newly acquired sanitary napkins were constantly sneaking out of their belt and laying at odd angles on my panties. 

Merilee fixed me with squinted eyes. “Back then, girls didn’t run around all over the place like you do. They sat still and were quiet. So, the rags didn’t move.”

Merilee’s statements automatically carried the weight of authority whenever we had discussions. She was taller, eight months older, and she consistently brought home better report cards than mine. During Olden Days arguments, Merilee was especially persuasive because her father was a minister and her family lived as if they were in the Little House books. 

Continue reading in the April issue HERE.


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