R.A. Miller – THE HOUSE CALL

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Weezer blared through the headphones in Godam’s ears.  The demon found herself bopping her head to the music.  The blond hair of the human she inhabited bounced with each toss of her head and she had to keep pushing it out of her face.  She had found the iPod in the glove box of the car she now sat in.  The car belonged to a disappointing human named Peter Ludvig.  He had tasted terrible but his car was nice.

She decided that she liked the Weezer song so much that she put it on a loop.  Now it played endlessly in her ears as she sat in the dirty old Chevy, waiting for her next meal to come home.

She had parked the car in the street three houses down from where her target, Walter Hamill, was supposed to be living.  She had been sitting here for three days now with no sign of Hamill.  With the drive down to Miami she had been sitting in this car now for almost five days.  Her demon eyes had taken in everything going on around her.  Day or night she was watching.  No one had come or gone from the house since she arrived.  She was becoming impatient.

Now it was approaching midnight on her third day here and there was no sign of her target.  Three days of waiting.  Three days without food.  She needed to eat and at this point any human would do.  She glanced up at the rearview mirror and saw an old woman walking a small dog.

Godam pulled the handle to open her door when she saw him.  Three houses down from her current location a short but plump man was walking up the driveway.  He was nervous, just like Peter had been before she ate him.  The fat man was disheveled and in serious need of a brush.  She watched him fumble for his key and once it was inside the lock, she got out of the car and walked towards the house.  She gave a momentary glance behind her and saw the old woman and her dog turn the corner out of sight.

She quickened her pace towards the fat man.  She had long abandoned her host’s high heels, opting to go barefoot.  She made no noise as she walked, allowing her to surprise her prey.  Walter Hamill jumped at the sound of her voice only inches from his back.

“Walltterr Hammilll.”

“What,” Walter spun around to see Godam staring at him.  He took a step back and nearly fell over himself into the open doorway, “How…how can I help you?”

“Are you Walter Hamill?”  Godam could smell the fear wafting off of him in waves.  It made her salivate.

“Who wants to know?”  Walter tried to straighten up and look tougher than he was.

“Are you…” She was pushing him through the open door now, “…Walter Hamill?”  She had him pressed against the wall opposite the open door.  She reached back with one foot and slammed the door.  The fat man was sniveling and she thought she smelled urine.  “Why do they always piss themselves?”

“I have…I have powerful friends, ya know.  You don’t want to mess with me.”

Godam smacked Walter in the face.  “Shut up.  Are you or are you not Walter Hamill?”

“Fine,” Walter yelled, “I’m Walter Hamill.  Now what do you want?”

“That’s all I need to know.”  She gripped his throat and pushed him up the wall as far as she could reach with her human arms.  She noticed that he had indeed pissed himself.

“I can get you anything you want…” Walter pleaded, “I’m loaded.  I…I can pay you.”

She retrieved a small razor blade from between her breasts and sliced easily into his large belly.  Blood and intestines began to spill from the opening.  She dropped the blade and forced her hand into his belly, grabbing a handful of intestine and yanked them from their home.  Godam shoved them in her mouth, letting out a small moan of satisfaction.  It had been so long since she had eaten.

Walter continued to scream and kick at the demon.  She ignored this knowing soon he would lose too much blood and then die.  They tasted better when the human was alive, however, so she lowered him and laid him on the floor.  His hands went immediately to the hole in his belly as he continued to scream.  She couldn’t understand what he was screaming but she didn’t care.

As the song on her iPod was restarting she picked up the blade she had dropped and began making more cuts on his chest.  She used her free hand to turn up the volume on her song while the hand with the blade cut out his heart.

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R. A Miller has an AA in Fine Art from South Florida State College and is currently studying for a BA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. Miller’s work has been published in F*cked Up Fairy Tales Volume 1 edited by H.E. Ellis (H.E. Ellis, 2013), under the pen name EmeraldDragun.

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Amour Sombre

Third Canto on the Undead

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The sky is changed!–and such a change; Oh, night!

And storm and darkness, ye are wond’rous strong,

Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light

Of a dark eye in woman! Far along

From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,

Leaps the lire thunder! Not from one lone cloud,

But every mountain now hath found a tongue,

And Jura answers thro’ her misty shroud,

Back to the joyous Alps who call to her aloud!

And this is in the night:–Most glorious night!

Thou wer’t not sent for slumber! let me be

A sharer in thy far and fierce delight,–

A portion of the tempest and of me!

How the lit lake shines a phosphoric sea,

And the big rain comet dancing to the earth!

And now again ’tis black,–and now the glee

Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain mirth,

As if they did rejoice o’er a young; earthquake’s birth,

Now where the swift Rhine cleaves his way between

Heights which appear, as lovers who have parted

In haste, whose mining depths so intervene,

That they can meet no more, tho’ broken hearted;

Tho’ in their souls which thus each other thwarted,

Love was the very root of the fond rage

Which blighted their life’s bloom, and then departed–

Itself expired, but leaving; them an age

Of years all winter–war within themselves to wage.

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Kristina R. Mosley – ALTERNATE DELIVERY

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Melanie had just placed a postcard in the Thorpes’ mailbox when the bell above the door chimed. She dropped the small bundle of mail back into the white crate on the floor then walked around the backs of the mailboxes to the office. Two unfamiliar young people stood at the counter.

“Hi, how can I help you?” she asked.

They need stamps for wedding invitations, a voice in her head told her.

“We need some stamps,” the blond man said.

“How many?”

The man and his brunette companion looked at each other for a moment. “About a hundred?” the woman said, shrugging.

Melanie quoted the price and went to retrieve the stamps off large rolls behind her. She counted out one hundred stamps that featured two overlapping gold wedding bands.

She turned back to the couple. The man gave her the money, and she handed him the stamps.

The brunette looked at Melanie quizzically when the postal worker handed the man’s change back to him. “These are wedding stamps,” the young woman said.

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Kristina R. Mosley lives in Kensett, Arkansas, a small town that provides a wealth of writing inspiration. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Micro Horror, Fiction on the Web, Dangerous Dreams, We are Dust and Shadow, and Silent Scream. She recently published her novelette Strange Days on Amazon. She tweets too often at twitter.com/elstupacabra.
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“Yes.”

“We didn’t say anything about needing wedding stamps.”

“I can give you a different design if you want.”

“No, they’re fine. We need them for wedding invitations.”

“Oh, okay,” Melanie said, trying to sound surprised.

“It’s just weird.”

The postal worker laughed nervously. “Lucky guess.”

The man and the woman turned to leave.

“Have a nice day,” Melanie offered.

“You, too,” the man muttered in reply. The couple walked through the door.

Melanie walked back to the mail crate, cursing herself on the way. Why did I have to make things weird? she wondered.

She had always made things weird, though. Ever since she could remember, she knew other people’s thoughts. Sometimes they came to her in pictures, but other times, like just then, something talked to her. The voice in her head wasn’t hers.

Other people might have called Melanie psychic, but she never did. Her parents taught her that most psychics were fakes, and any real ones were agents of the devil. She was neither one of those things, so she called her abilities knowledge. She hated knowing too much. She hated even more that she couldn’t control it. She was never surprised at Christmas or on birthdays. She always knew when someone was lying. No one could keep a secret from her.

The door chimed again, and she returned to the counter. Before her stood the six-foot-two-inch frame of Delbert Richardson. He was naturally skinny, but years of drinking gave him a gut that poked out from his dirty t-shirt. White dotted his sandy-blond hair, and his blue eyes were perpetually bloodshot, from either alcohol or something heavier.

“How can I help you, Delbert?”

“I need to mail this,” he said, gently placing a medium-sized brown box on the counter. Melanie saw that it was addressed to Delbert’s ex-wife Darlene, but the postal worker didn’t say anything. Probably some stuff she left behind when she ran off, she thought.

“Is there any way you could put a ‘handle with care’ stamp on that or something?” He rocked back and forth on his heels. It seemed more like a nervous habit than something deliberate.

“Yeah, no problem,” Melanie replied as she put her hand on the box. The image of a sleeping copperhead flashed in her head. What the hell? she wondered. Did Delbert put a snake in the box?

She knew she had to call the police. Darlene was in serious trouble. “I…need to go…get some stamps,” Melanie stammered, edging away from the man and his box.

“Ain’t those stamps?” he asked. He pointed to the huge rolls on the counter behind her.

She cursed under her breath. “Yeah, but I’m going to get some…special ones. They’re for packages mailed between addresses in the same town.”

Delbert nodded, seemingly satisfied with that answer. “Oh, okay.”

She scurried to the back. The phone was affixed to the wall between the inner office and the backside of the mailboxes. She’d always thought it was a dumb locationshe’d often have to run back and forth while quoting customers pricesbut now she could call the police without Delbert knowing. She dialed the number and twirled a long, red ringlet around her finger while she listened to the ringing.

“Homer Police Department, how may I direct your call?” a female dispatcher stated flatly.

“I have an emergency,” Melanie whispered.

“Please state your name and the location of the emergency.”

“This is Melanie Parker over at the post office. Delbert Richardson just came with a package. He’s trying to mail a snake to his ex-wife.”

“What?” the dispatcher yelled. “Did you see the snake?”

“Not exactly.”

“Did it hiss or something?”

“Well, no. I think it’s sleeping or drugged or something.”

“So, how do you know there’s actually a snake?”

Melanie hesitated. She couldn’t say how she knew. No one knew about her abilities, not even her husband. “I just have a feeling,” she said finally.

“The police can’t investigate feelings, Melanie.”

“Why not?”

The dispatcher sighed. “No one can search the box without probably cause.”

“But he’s acting suspicious,” the postal worker hissed.

“He’s Delbert Richardson. He always acts suspicious.”

“What should I do, then?”

“I don’t know, refuse service?”

“Ugh,” she muttered. “Guess I’ll take care of this myself. Just be prepared for someone getting snake bit somewhere.” She hung up the phone and walked back to Delbert.

“Did you get the stamps?” he asked.

She ignored the question. “Is there anything in this box that shouldn’t be there?”

His eyes widened. “N-No.”

“Cut the crap, Delbert. Is there a snake in this box?”

His mouth dropped open. “How did you know?”

“I have my ways. You have got to be the dumbest”

“Darlene cheated on me and took my kids away!” he countered.

“You get drunk at the lodge and bitch about her. You don’t mail her a snake. How’d you get it in the box, anyway?”

“Very carefully.”

“Wait. Why did you want to mail it? Why not drop it off on her porch or something?”

“I wanted it to look legit,” the man replied, “with postmarks and all that stuff. Darlene wouldn’t open it otherwise.”

Melanie leaned over the counter. “Do you know what you tried to do is a federal offense?”

“So? It’s not like I haven’t been in trouble with the law before.”

“You’ve dealt with the police here in town. You haven’t messed with anything federal. You could go away for a long time. Do you want to be stuck behind bars while your kids grow up?” the woman whispered.

“No,” he muttered.

“I have an idea, Delbert. How about you take the box, release the snake, don’t get bitten, and we pretend this whole thing never happened. Does that sound good to you?”

The man nodded gravely. “Yes’m.”

“Good.”

He carefully picked up the box and walked out the door.

“Maybe knowing too much can be helpful after all,” Melanie said. She then went to the back to finish sorting mail.

Mary B. Sellers – THE HOUSE HUNTERS

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It was one of those bleak March days when the earth wore a perpetual frown, blackened and charred into the earth. The melting snow looked like shoe polish, mixed as it was with the grime of footprints, broken leaves, and glooped mud. The winter trees reminded Henry of black staples against the sky—the leaves had migrated south, deciding to get underfoot and be buried, incessantly, into the ground. Henry looked at his wife, Luna, and she wore the same tight-lipped expression she had worn all morning.

“Want some coffee?” he nudged his paper cup out to her, watching the steam form a boundary between their faces in the cold.

“No, Henry, I do not want any coffee,”

They continued up the mild slope, slipping occasionally on the wet ground. The leftover snow made satisfying cracks under his feet like those small poppers that kids threw on the ground or at relatives on Fourth of July evenings.

“Well it’s there,” he said, pointing to a small clearing of dead grass.

Last month, there’d been a graveyard sale. After his first heart attack back in the fall, Henry had taken the sale as some sort of cosmic sign. At some point, death becomes just another business transaction.

“The Roberts have one under a tree,” said Luna.

“I don’t want acorns falling on me when I’m grappling with eternal sleep,” Henry said.

“It’s just so…” Luna shrugged her shoulders. She was a small woman who never seemed to take up much space; she kept her hair cropped close to her ears. Pixie-like despite her seventy years, two children, and fondness for Daschunds.

“I think it’s non-refundable. Since it was on sale and all,” Henry said, looking at his wife.

“It’s fine, I guess. The Clemsons said theirs is big enough for the kids, too.”

“The Clemsons are pretentious.”

“Yeah, but wouldn’t it be nice to have Johnny and Sarah near us?”

“Unless they get a divorce. Then, that’d just be awkward.”

Luna smiled. “How much was this again?”

“Five-hundred. We had the option of monthly maintenance but that was an extra seventy and I didn’t bring the checkbook.”

“The kids can do it.”

“Picnics with grandma and grandpa every Saturday. They won’t have to pack too many sandwiches; that’s a plus. Say, I wonder what my cravings will be like when I’m dead. Will I still hate olives?”

“You’re awful,” Luna said, tugging at a tiny spike of gray behind her ear—a girlish gesture that she’d never been able to shake.

“No, really. Hear me out—what’re we going to do all day? Should I pack reading materials?”

“You’re ridiculous. They wouldn’t let you take your library to the grave.”

“People’ve taken weirder things. And why not? It’s my damn grave, it’s paid for.”

“Wouldn’t fit.”

“So I’d take a few of the classics. Nothing too highbrow, of course. Don’t want to make enemies with the neighbors.”

“I could take my pottery, I guess,” Luna said, thoughtfully.

“Of course you could.”

“But the foot pedal and all wouldn’t fit.”

“Luna dear, I think death is far less literal than you think it is.”

“It’s the most literal thing there is.”

Henry eased himself to the ground, crossing his legs and remembering a vague childhood satisfaction that went along with it. His joints ached, he needed a cigarette, and he looked at his wife to join him. She sat too, straightening her legs out before her, neatly tucking the folds of her taffeta Sunday dress like fancy restaurant napkins.

“Never knew house hunting could be as simple as this,” he said.

“Mortgage free. What’ll happen to the car?”

They both looked in the direction of their ’05 Honda, electric blue because Luna said it made her feel young when she drove it.

“We aren’t supposed to worry about that kind of stuff,” he said, placing his hand on her camouflaged knee and feeling its bony imprint.

“What about Oscar? Why didn’t we get him a place, too?”

Henry looked at his wife and regretted not thinking about their dead and buried dog. He’d been an old fellow, stiff-legged, squat, graying on the tops of his ears in the most distinguished way possible.

“Can you re-locate graves like that?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t think I’d want to see what came out of the earth.”

The day was cold—in the rigid kind of way that only Southern winters afford, righteous in its weather, marking its dead with an unbridled possibility of change.

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Mary B Sellers is a writer who likes red wine and sweater weather. She is currently a freelance journalist for CLICK Magazine, and publishing intern for Blooming Twig Books. She’s a sucker for fairy tales, french onion soup, and flannel.

 
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Kathryne Andrews – THE THIRD MAN ARGUMENT

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From the factory loading dock, the cousins, Mr. Han and Mr. Won watched the trucks depart with skids of fortune cookies destined for restaurants and take-outs across America.

Once a philosophy professor in Shanghai, Mr. Han was reminded of Plato’s argument that two disparate events could be linked by a common, underlying principle termed The Third Man. Mr. Han noted two such events: the departure of the fortunes he’d contributed and his staying put. What could be The Third Man uniting them? He didn’t know.

His cousin’s factory, a small building in Seattle’s Industrial District, housed a shuddering, century-old wonton-making machine. During cookie-making weeks, flour-dusted workers fed dough into its huge, aluminum cone at one end of the room. Extruded through rollers, a continuous, thin sheet vibrated along a conveyer belt while a thudding perforator punched it with circles that were collected at the far end for baking. Mr. Han’s fortunes were enfolded as the cookies cooled.

Mr. Han asked, “Why do the Americans seek their fortunes in cookies?”

“For amusement. Their own crazy invention,” Mr. Won explained. “Ha-ha. Such a funny country!”

A hopeless case, Mr. Won thought of his undocumented, brains-strewn-in-clouds cousin. He didn’t understand that as an illegal hiding in the utility closet near the aluminum cone, he jeopardized Mr. Won’s business. Mr. Won could only hope his good karma would hold.

Flour blew under the utility closet door, floated cloud-like catching light, stuck to Mr. Han’s slippers. Caked triangles filled corners. Everything–overhead bulb, camp stool, metal shelving and table, notebooks, pens–was floured. Under his fingers, paper felt both slick and gritty. But it was safe. No bamboo-wielding villagers from Mainland China appeared to beat him back home.

Two years earlier, Mr. Han had disembarked nauseous and frightened at Humboldt Bay Harbor, California into a spring rain. He’d walked the coast north, then west. He’d slept in the roots of giant trees, inside utility pipes, beneath bridges. He’d encountered the network of American Chinese, kinder than his natal villagers, who offered food, explained the walking route to Seattle, even bought his ferry ticket. They were magnanimous; their expansive gestures and bold laughter implied lives without fear. They were never beaten.

By autumn, he’d reached the surprised Mr. Won who quickly put him in the utility closet, shut the door, and telephoned Mrs. Won for advice. She’d sent over a sleeping roll and an offer to drive Mr. Han to Pearl River Market to buy necessities.

Mr. Han returned his humble gratitude, but unlike most mainlanders, he shunned material possessions. His legs ached. He was grateful for the solace of the utility closet, bright with light and air from the high window that hinged open three fingers. Mr. Han could wash and relieve himself across the street at a gas station owned by an excitable but kind Tamil. He needed nothing more.

Mrs. Won sent him food and water, daily with her husband. Truly, the Americans were generous. Still, he rarely left the utility closet, fearing reprisals from the cunning mainlanders.

“What life is this, lived in terror in a closet?” Mr. Won exclaimed after three months. “Wash dishes at Wok Around The Clock, my friend’s take-out kitchen. Earn money to move on!”

He personally walked the trembling Mr. Han to Pike Place Market. “After this, you walk alone!” The market shops teamed with crowds of Asians and others. The Africans spoke and gestured expansively, like the Americans who ranged so widely in skin hues and hair styles. Loose laughter, calling out, people touching–so unimagined, this world!

Mr. Won left him at the door of Wok Around the Clock. “Next step: move closer for greater convenience. Have a good day.”

That night, leaping mainlanders maimed Mr. Han in dreams. That morning, humbly grateful for his cousin’s generosity, he turned over his earnings in exchange for the closet.

Hmm-m…quite good karma! Mr. Won accepted.

Washing pans to a blaring radio, Mr. Han, a brilliant mimic, ably replicated the atonal English, its consonants and diphthongs. He learned easily. He soon replaced the teenager who erred with change and credit cards at the cash register, excelled there, too, learned to banter with customers. Still, mainlanders strangled him in nightmares.

Mr. Han had never imagined leaving China until the village committee began its brutal thrashings in proxy for a run-away sister. Thuggish men stalked his Shanghai apartment and clubbed him unconscious with bamboo canes numerous times, returning unpredictably, demanding she reappear. Mr. Han understood his obligation but knew, too, that no philosophy advocated beating to improve humanity. Some philosophies glorified–others vilified–the life that followed death, but to live in this life, like his sister, he should flee.

Several attempts failed. He was returned repeatedly to his natal village and clubbed until his leg bones fractured. Unable to walk, he purchased advice on stowaway survival and locating family in America, the preferred escape country. There, flogging was illegal, and people got rich.  Suspecting his advisors would reap a reward by reporting him, as soon as could, he limped in darkness to the docks, his savings inside his cap. He joined a mass of crowds waving bribes for passage. Not his most onerous endurance, that nauseating voyage on a cargo ship.

A rhythm developed between the peaceful utility closet and customer banter, and still no mainlanders. His worries unclenched enough for him to ponder the philosophical underpinnings of America, where it was illegal to harm others, and people were kind-hearted and jokey. He had studied Plato in Chinese, but he could study others by learning to read English. What better use of nights in the closet for a philosopher?

The Tamil explained the library system and urged Mr. Han to join one near his work. Courageously, he obtained a card from the understanding librarian and borrowed several books asleep for decades, according to the usage dates.

To improve his understanding of impenetrable sentences, he copied them into a notebook, paragraphing them in the western manner. In review, the sentences made even less sense. Nonetheless, the mysterious purpose of the paragraph was revealed: sentences preceding and following a specific idea were meant to interconnect. Meaning came from the paragraph not isolated sentences.

Equally, did one’s life, lived in real time, derive meaning from what preceded and might follow the present moment? His life was a succession of single sentences: the closet, the Tamil, the librarian, customers. Moments. No past, no future. He lived only to be alive. Why?

“What is life’s meaning?” he queried the Tamil, and was barraged by definitions of Hindu logic and mysticism, dualisms and gods. “Cannot be!” argued Mr. Han.

They began disputing in the evenings in limited English, managing heated exchanges of intense, mutual interest. Mr. Han often left the gas station elated. He had a friend.

“My notebook is useless, but it is wasteful to chuck it. A dilemma,” he admitted to Mr. Won.

Ditch Mr. Han! America no longer welcomes illegals. Crazy America: harboring is a crime, but paying illegals is not, his friends said. They had started paying their formerly free labor forces of mainland escapees. No more big profits! Mr. Won considered his friends’ warnings. He had his own dilemma.

Mrs. Won said no! Mr. Han was family. He stayed! If Mr. Won could pay him, occasionally–a little job for which the utility closet was his office, she suggested, only Mr. Han would be liable for arrest.

Brilliant! Mr. Won would offset the expense of Mr. Han by having KwikKopy typeset and print paper slips of his sentences by the millions, since in crazy America, the larger the purchase, the less the unit cost.

He got Mr. Han a typewriter. “Here is a solution for your sentences. I will pay you and cancel my standing fortunes order from San Francisco.”

Mr. Han quit the cash register to apply himself to the typewriter’s alphabet. He matched letters with his large, clumsy writing in the notebook. He studied his sentences for fortunes but was doubtful. He should research topics.

The Tamil recommended fortunes that extolled The Individual, what Americans valued.

Mr. Han disagreed vehemently, having studied Kierkegaard. The Individual was a concept that undermined the State.

The Tamil pushed: then why was The Individual the most American of concepts? They disputed.

Mr. Won grew impatient. “Efficiency matters here! No research! Use your notebook!”

Mr. Han settled on five sentences at random:

There is but one serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.

Where the State begins, individual liberty ceases and vice versa.

 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. 

The moment we want to be something, we are no longer free. (This, the Tamil’s contribution.)

No one knows whether death may not be the greatest good.

Mr. Wan shook a glassine envelope in his face. “See this cookie?” Crushing it, he extracted the crumpled strip produced by the San Francisco distributor. “Fortunes include Lucky Numbers and Learn Chinese. Add those!”

But how to choose from limitless numbers and words? Efficiently, of course. He would deploy only ten numbers and five words in different combinations. For greater efficiency, he would stick to what he knew. “Is it presumption to broadcast self-reflecting words?” he asked the Tamil.

“Never! Americans appreciate individual expression.” The Tamil grinned. He’d won.

Mr. Han used his birth year, the current year, and his age: 19 72 20 02 30.  He translated into Chinese: Break-bones beatings, Bone-chilling terror, Sea-nausea vomit, Utility closet hiding, Nightmarish fears.

KwikKopy delivered the pre-cut reams of paper slips.

“How many cookies, then?” Mr. Han asked, as the trucks pulled out.

“Maybe twenty–thirty million?” Mr. Won anticipated excellent profit margins.

Mr. Han experienced real pleasure to launch five philosophic statements into the world of kindly Americans. Like any dedicated teacher, he vowed to improve with research, and in doing so, the mainlanders receded from his dreams.

Over the next three years, millions of Americans ate Szechuan and Asian Fusion, phoned for Delivery on rainy Fridays, grabbed egg rolls and fried rice from take-out kitchens. They crushed open their ubiquitous cookies. Hundreds of thousands exclaimed to the waiter, their delivery guy, the old man at the cash register. What anarchist weirdo wrote this crap?

Via the network of managers, restaurateurs and middlemen, it took three years for such anecdotal complaints to reach the ears of Mr. Won. Not one compliment! What had Mr. Han done? “Show me!”

The philosopher, hair now streaked white, not just from flour dust, summoned to Mr. Won’s office for the first time, was shaking. Over time, he had been carefully replacing the original statements and words with his personal experience. He had Friendship, Generosity, Laughter, Sweet Dreams, Happiness.

 

He had:

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

A man’s character is his fate.

To be is to be perceived.

Leisure is the mother of philosophy.

 No man’s knowledge can go beyond his experience.

Mr. Won snorted. Nothing wrong here. Just American, Wouldn’t-Recognize-Good-Karma-If-They-Tripped-On-It whining. He dismissed Mr. Han. “Well done, cousin!”

Mr. Han bowed to his benefactor. Mr. Won’s kind acknowledgement established a clear and precise moment, a shining one to separate life before, and from now on, life to come. It was so obvious. He was a paragraph. He was The Third Man. His heart sang.

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Under the pen name Ariadne Apostolou, Kathryne Andrews has authored the novel, Seeking Sophia, (2013) published by Five Directions Press, about a young woman who takes to heart a Confucian adage in a fortune cookie. Her West End Quartet, four interconnected novellas about activist members of a political commune who reunite in middle age to assess the past and look forward, will be published by Five Directions Press early in 2015.

She resides outside Philadelphia, PA.

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