Surprise

Coco

By Ed Gagnon

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

“Most of my treasured memories of travel

are recollections of sitting.”

– Robert Thomas Allen   

I hadn’t been in Mexico a week but I quickly and easily became a regular at one particular local watering hole. A good pub is a melting pot, where all sorts of people come together in the name of imbibing, for their own reasons. If you watch and listen closely their particular lives are unveiled right in front of you.

Many homo-sapiens from the northern hemisphere, called snowbirds, migrate south for the winter to places like Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico. One of the local watering holes I grew attached to there was a place called, Sweeney’s. It’s in the heart of old town Vallarta, only a couple blocks from the beach.

In my case its location was perfect for a pit stop on the way home from the beach, after the sun had left me parched and in need of hydration. Daily, you could count on the same bar staff and regulars, usually planted in their particular seats.

Other than the cold beer and good food, there was really nothing special about Sweeney’s. It was on the second floor, above another restaurant, on the main drag in old Vallarta. It was easy to miss the stairway entrance if you didn’t know it was there or were too drunk to notice it. (more…)

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Three Days of McKay – Part Two

By Edele Winnie

McKay came back the very next day. Hester was going out for breakfast, which today meant black coffee. There was a young man seated on a bench across from her building. He was wearing shiny black pants, a black shirt and black boots. His hair was dyed black. She could not see how tall he was because he was sitting.

“I took your advice,” he said to her as she passed. “Got some new clothes.”

He stood up then, painfully short McKay, all blacked out. It caught Hester by surprise and she almost said something but bit her tongue instead. They walked together in silence. Entered the coffee shop one after the other, sat at the counter on stools side by side. He ordered what she was having. The barista asked if they wanted separate bills. She said yes. He said no.

She turned to him. “Okay, let’s get through this. This isn’t going to work, you know? I don’t need a boyfriend. And I don’t want you.” (more…)

Pretty Shoes

By Eddie D. Moore

Gavin’s head pounded and he could see nothing but the floorboards when he cracked open his eyes. He had hoped to catch the thief that had been sporadically working the area for months. Unfortunately, the thief had caught him instead. The underbrush at the edge of the property had offered a perfect place to hide and watch the house. The last thing he remembered was the soft shuffle of leaves behind him, a moment of panic, and a stinging pain as something struck him on the back of the head. He should have guessed that the thief would use the same vantage point.

He dared not give any sign of consciousness as quick paced footsteps passed. The board under his cheek gave a slight creek and a breeze stirred his hair as the thief passed into the adjacent room. Other footsteps and rummaging could be heard above him. The steps had too short a stride and were too light to be produced by adults. He began to wonder if the robberies were the work of a group of children. His ears burned with embarrassment at the thought of admitting that a scrawny miscreant had caught him unaware and knocked him senseless.

Gavin slowly surveyed the room, got to his feet and moved to a corner. Through the doorway, a couple feet away, he could barely make out a whispered voice in the adjacent room. The voice seemed too deep for a child and sounded odd, almost unnatural. (more…)

Stuck in a Tree

By Sylvano

When Leslie Eaton died her husband Derrick did not know what to do. They were young, both thirty-four and she had somehow been his connection to the world. After her death he went through the motions of daily existence without really being present. He was adrift.

Until he met the woman in the tree. (more…)

The Star That was the Sun – Part One

Ben V.

The room was cold.  Paul could see his breath billow out and fade away.  He hadn’t been so close to the surface since the evacuation.  With the sun dimming the surface was a cold inhospitable expanse.  He couldn’t tell how close to the surface he actually was but the chill in the air along with the level of security in the halls told him he was closer than he would have liked.

He was in a sparse room.  The walls were bare and Paul sat at one of the two simple metal chairs that were on either side of a metal table.  There was nothing else in the room but the intermittent cloud of Paul’s breath.  He sat quietly and wondered why he had been sent for.  It had been nearly an hour, in Paul’s best guess, since he had been at his post in the filtration plant.  He felt his bracelet buzz and went to the guard station.  They directed him to the elevator and he was ushered into the room.  Paul hoped his time was being counted but doubted it.  Everyone had to take a rotating shift at the plants that provided the refugees with water, food, and air.  Paul was debating asking someone if this counted towards his time when the door opened to a man dressed in a military uniform. (more…)