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Short Story
4,831 words
SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

Mourning for the Last Day

by Tom Sheehan

The batter swung like a great north woodsman and the ball and bat melded in one sound. As of one mind, the audience rose and released a roar of tunneling wind, a loud, uproarious, expectant howl, a universal cry late-inning born, a cry of hope that pushed the ball outward toward the solitary left fielder, immersed half in shadow, half in sunlight.

Behind home plate, in the first row of box seats, Katherine MacGowan watched the ball streak toward her handsome Owen Flood, her graceful and errorless Irish god, her late-inning ball hawk, her great glove man getting his first play in the Major Leagues; up from the minors and the bases full! What small wings stirred in her then, we all have felt; suspense flighty as a bubble, the pride that is an agreeable mate to love, a chilled and momentary flash of doubt. Of course he was her glove man, best of all, the swift leaper, ball hawk unparalleled, line-drive snarer who could chase down the deer of October, who would soon wait for her at the altar. Dependable, so patient, her own Owen Flood.

Half shadowed, half in sunlight, half a song of harmonicas and strung-out fiddles and guitars bittersweet and an angry drummer’s drums and a Jew’s harp yet in his ears from partying his chance, Owen Flood watched the ball as if it were a harsh spot upon his eyes, a lens distortion as it began a painful gyration above the panic of the third baseman slowly beginning to feel his own heart break. All Owen’s instincts, sharp as a radar’s, shucking all the counter measures that screaming fans and pressures build upon, homed in on the ball, that small, stitched-red orb, that servant of year-long springs and summers, that countable and statistical measure of manhood, bat speed, and the most select of idolized eyesight of the few enamored by the millions.

There is a litany to all this, a culture born, provoked, and carried in the heart’s pocket by the sound of a name or an act whispered in a hurry or screamed out in arguments: a bullet-like liner off the wall, a gritty but lightning steal of second base, the magic of a 1-6-3 double play in the ninth inning, Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Robinson, Jackson, Mays, Mantle, Musial, Bench, Berra, Clemens, Ryan, Ripken, Koufax, “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain,” Yaz Pizzaz, youth, younger, older, yore galore, a culture with its growing harmony and alliteration, the music of the mighty sphere fair or foul. His game.

It all swam around Owen Flood in an endless storm and the dread silence of a dream.

Katherine will be proud, he thought, Katherine of the magnificent face, Katherine of the sweet and tender hands, soon to be mine; all that unending warmth, all the unexploded magnanimity, and the paralysis of parting dreams.

Since Little League she had watched him, had seen him chase down and catch ten thousand fly balls and line drives in the sun and the shade and the shadows under trees that killed some outfields, could decode every move his body made; how his hand, shielding the sun, saluted and yet mocked the graceful formality that training induces; how summer camp put an angle to his loping body she could measure out of a hundred boys, no matter how wide the field, how high the fence; how the very pistons of his knees thrust him into climactic chase; how he lifted his left shoulder and dipped his right one just before he caught a ball; the lithe beauty of her beloved at his game, and then, hers only, what no observer could ever measure, the after-salute he secretly sent her with a twist of his glove (and which she secretly and joyously called “his turn of phrase.”)

And now that bubble bounced terribly in her chest. Now suspense let loose its terror and fright, her chest gone hollow, her legs weighted down. Before he knew, she knew he had lost the ball in an errant slash of sunlight, behind a mysteriously-appearing cloud, in the heart of a depressive destiny. Behind first base, alone in this whole world, her body ached his name.

Time, as it related between the two of them, was different only by a microsecond. In the dim immeasurable difference between their separate thoughts of one act, Owen Flood lost his first ball in The Bigs. The spot his eyes had found, the whitened orb, the line drive, the final out, the game winner, was elusive, illusionary. What he had found was a grandstand placard, a painted section number, someone’s hat, or a stricken piece of light the sun had reflected onto a one-way ticket back to the minors.

When the ball shot past Owen, the owner erupted, his fury heard beyond general earshot. “Send him down! Send that oaf so deep he can never get back! I never want to see him here again! Never again in Fenway Park!” He spoke to the minions at hand, a suddenly inarticulate assistant, disturbed a sweeper beyond the doors of his office. In truth, in the confines of a Triple A clubhouse, a shiver ran right through a rookie outfielder listening to the game; in such odd deliveries, promotions to The Bigs are broadcast to the initiate.

The shadows thickened over Katherine. She saw the long dark roads ahead of them, her dreams inexorably tied to his dreams, the long hours of waiting, the long mileage that one must travel and endure in the minor leagues, the ups and downs, the insecurities, the difficulties of raising a family on the run. She wondered how she could keep his dream alive.

He was sent down deeper than Double A, down into the dreaded ranks, the pastures and skin-top diamonds baking in the sun, rode buses that whole school systems had given up on, shared the quick hot dogs and chicken-in-a-box meals in the back of the bus a stomach often rebelled at, compounded the agonies of dust, late hours reading in The Baseball News of friends who had moved on and up, who were making their mark, those who feasted on steak and eggs for breakfast.

Owen Flood labored in those strange vineyards, across the Coastal States, up the valley of the Mississippi, went into towns that were almost nameless but were all the same. Of a hundred back roads he knew the landmarks, the water towers, the grain elevators, the thick clumps of cottonwoods littered with cans, the diners, the pit stops, the neon signs, the dry towns, the wet towns, the towns in-between. Katherine’s face he knew at his coming home.

Owen stretched it out, gave it all he had, kept the dream alive, a spark in his heart; filled his deep sleep with catches high up on left-field walls deep down the line, rescued runners with late-inning doubles, on one bounce threw out runners at the plate. Sometimes in his sound-sleep and dreaming nights he touched a warm and sleepless Katherine. She was his oasis, hot fudge sundae, cool and pleasant spa in desert’s vanity. At trip’s end, the yellow bus a nightmare, bone and muscle begging to be rescued, begging to be given over to rest, his eyes full of cheap lights and high blown flies, he counted his times at bat, the base hits on one hand, the intermittent errors, the honky-tonks, the hotel rooms smelling of old fruit and damp carpeting and endless time. At length he summoned up the narrowness of odds and dealt himself a tender, obvious hand. In his seventh year in the minors, in a dying coastal town, as if he could see the end of a plague, he laid down his bat and grabbed a hammer, set himself to building walls, roofs, houses. And Katherine, three children wider, dearer than anything his life had touched upon, knew his sleep was easier, though his dream sat like a robed spirit in their darkened room.

What she missed in the boiling of his dreams, he gave over to the ghost in morning’s bright challenge of self; the demonstrative stripping away of false facilities, the cold call to reason and sanity, how many swings it took to bury a nail in oak, in pine. He was better with a hammer than with a bat. He was comfortable with the new wood in his hands, moved easily on pitched roofs, scaffoldings, buttresses, ladders sixty feet high, church steeples where only sun and wind walked in day’s long toil, vertical’s agonies. Men he saw fall and others freeze up high, saw fingers cut off by skillful saws, grew one thumb twice the size of the other, found holes in walls where fingertips could fit when gravity called, when he thought he might have few breaths left.

Owen Flood journeyed through his trade and his wife gave him lovely children on the way. The rich garden of Katherine MacGowan Flood amazed him at each new delivery, how the parts of her brought on the new lives, how a sudden slimness brought back his old girl.... the indestructible face, the beautiful smile that had lit the back of many buses, the eyes soft as meadows in April rain, hands of balm his heart had felt, the fingers that worked a magic only women work, the full pliant yielding when day was done, the knowledge noontime smiles could liberate. They grew together and the dream seemed dead.

Happiness filled their home, and young laughter, the doings and the getting done, the quick energies that can level or fulfill a home, a street, a whole neighborhood. Morning laughter spilled from their very throats, rich laughter, for and with each other, morning’s melodies Owen called them, the start of day, of a new adventure. Traffic was routed through Katherine’s kitchen and pantry, through her warmth and generosity, the soft command and control of women slowly awakened, hurriedly at work for the brood, feeding on endless patience. The backyard, never green, was a skin-top infield. Two cats, a frog, and Henry the pigeon were buried right beneath the pitcher’s mound. When windows were broken, the balls came back. Nobody threatened their vast energy, no Wicked Witches or dread Warlocks hoarding baseballs in peach baskets. With them Saturday was ball games, dinner, and cards.

Owen never told stories, never went back to that one fatal game in his life, never passed on his loss to the children, though Katherine could read his eyes clear into that abrupt darkness holding sway.

And so it was, twenty-two years later, in his hale and forty-second summer, Owen Flood, Katherine’s errant Irish god, began his way back to the Major Leagues.

He was building a large resort up north, inland a bit from the coast of Maine. The job was nearly done. It was a decent Wednesday, the sun threatened only by a swiftly moving and dense black cloud. From a roof point where he could oversee much of the project’s progress and all the boats upon the lake, he saw the small sailboat overturn in a sudden squall smothering the lake. Wind lashed his face in its quick fury. Messages began their run to his brain, the six-hundred-miles-an-hour speed coursing his nerves. The spray seemed to sound loudly and boldly on his skin. Four floors up from the ground level he was. All the hopes for the lone young occupant of the overturned boat seemed to dwindle. Reaction took him! From the hot-tar line, from the bucket rope, he rappelled himself down the building’s skin, dropped just short of sixteen feet per second, dropped like a rock, landed like a Russian dancer, felt his heart banging against his chest, all the time the thin computer of life clicked away at the small chip of living, measured some other man measuring one of his own sons, one of Katherine’s sons, set free all the abandon he needed, gave him resources never called on, brought him quickly to the side of the boy who had little strength left, little hope.

Fate came twisting its edge then, leaning on its own game, dealing the sharp cards from a lavish deck, carving as they do the sundry lives they touch. Owen knew the anguished but thankful grandfather, the man who had buried him so deep in the minors, the still-powerful magistrate of Fenway Park, the final acid of his Major Leaguing.

The man did not recognize Owen Flood, or should he have for all the passing years, but Owen, with the dream and the vision flaming up quickly as dried tinder, brought him back to that lost and fateful day. “I’m Owen Flood who never got to bat in your precious Major League, who faulted just once on a dreaming fly ball I could not find, who spent seven years in the minors, seven years of dirt and dust and hunger, and not once got to bat in the Majors.”

“You shall get to bat in the Major League! I promise you that! I promise you, you will be a statistic, at least one at-bat in the Majors,” swore the owner, clasping to his bosom the drenched but living grandson.

The jock writers picked it up, then TV: “Forty-two-year-old rookie is signed up!” “Hope blooms eternal for the carpenter!” “The Hammer hopes he can pound a homer!” “Thor to get chance to bat in Majors!” “God of the North to wage war at the plate!” “When all else fails, dream your most fervent dream!” “Terry Turpentine holds onto the wood!” “What dreams the young have, what visions the old!”

And thus the long and dreadful odyssey began again and came down to its close. July came and the All-Star game was gone. Real baseball came into Boston-town: Gotham sent her Yankees, her second pride. Following the Statue of Liberty, the Yankees were, institutionally, the city’s best emissaries. They clutched, grabbed, bit and chewed, held their magic sway, won games. They sent the classic fabric of pin stripes, the century’s long parallels of dye, the cool gray of Babe and DiMaggio, the simple gray Gehrig wore to the end, Yogi Berra’s knicker gray, Reggie Jackson’s October gray, the surmounting and Boston-beating gray, killer gray, shark gray, gray the Yeti wore. New York gray came to see a carpenter climb the ladder to Fenway Park’s home plate.

In the rubber game of the series, in the ninth inning on the wrong end of a lopsided score not in their favor, in front of the roaring and rebellious crowd, with a soft evening fog seeping inland and strange shadows falling upon the night, as promised by the mogul to get his one appearance at least, Owen Flood strode out to the plate with the old kind of wood in his hands. Kenmore Square reverberated with the nearby sound, the single rising of a crowding scream, the great exultation only Boston fans can bring out of old concrete-with-a-heart, the quick and fatal identification audiences can make, the pressure points, the self-squeeze, the mirrored idolatry, the hope one musters for the little man, the underdog, the loser, an old man grasping a dream in hands frail as his life, the universal Me getting to bat.

The deep-set denizens of Kenmore Square have always read the thunder of the crowd, but that explosion of hope was something not heard in ’67, or even in ’75. What rolled in waves was the human spirit, a grand and glorious Fourth of July belonging to some of them belatedly, the transmission of eager dreams, the acceptance man will take of failure or all the glory that winning will bring. It was a clamor of odds, a gambler’s last breath at the final draw, hidden kings, a pair of sevens when sixes would do. It was an uproarious dawn, a sunrise of noise only laminated lungs can make. It was drama that reporters dreamed about, endlessly dreamed about.

Down to the end it had come, Sox losing bad, two men on, two men out, Rigsby pitching, the graceful black giant, the whipsawed arm, the left-leg kick higher than Nureyev’s, the phantom of movement, the fog-loose gray swishing the ball out of a fading mound. Pal-O-Mine Rigsby, ultimate pitcher, bedeviling mechanic of the hill, the king of strikeouts, earning his paycheck. He was a giant among all pitchers, Pal-O-Mine was. The Celtics could use him up front, his hands as good as country music, his feet as good as Fred Astaire’s. His eyes were extraordinary eyes, sizing up men, both foes and allies, measuring as they had all his life what lay in front of him and what in back, what threat the batter was, what said his eyes, what the stance told him of his enemy, how strong the grip on the bat, how pronounced it was.

So long had he been tall, so frequently awarded on his size, little fazed him. What surely would not bother Pal-O-Mine was a forty-two-year-old carpenter. “C’mon, old man. C’mon, you carpenter. Step up and eat a live one, nailing man! Come into my parlor, old carpenter. Jazz my pizzazz if you can, carpenter. Find the head of my nail, old stud marker, roof and shingle man. You better get set!”

Into that stark arena came Owen Flood, a trembling man before Pal-O-Mine, a rookie turning gray, a newborn hope, someone for whom someone in Section 23, Row D, Seat 13, could pray for homers, an elusive dream of darkness, a host of wishes and well done, oh dreams of light.

Owen Flood felt the old familiar wood in his hands, the thin bite of ash almost breakable, the graspable throat of it; felt the tremors burning motor end-plates just a whisper away beneath his skin, those slight fuses one must call upon to save what bacon is left in the larder box. The crowd overpowered him, brought him dread by the veritable pound, stood the hair up on the back of his neck, sent his mind plumbing down through his body to see what had suffered him this evil, to find what frailty had made him seek this microscopic place beneath the eyes of thirty thousand mad Bostonians.

Pal-O-Mine measured the paunch Owen wore, saw his skin grow redder by the moment, found in the carpenter’s eyes the insecurity he had found in too many of his foes, and felt some masterful omnipotence come curling up out of his guts, a singing and joyous revelation of what he was, the best fire-baller in all baseball, in all the golden land.

Owen put one foot into the batter’s box as if he were testing a pool’s water, as if he were treading some hallowed ground where he was alien and did not belong, as if he were stepping into a dream and a maniacal creature would bite his leg off at the first sign of a curve ball. Like a 2x4 waiting placement, he held the bat slightly off his shoulder.

In his eyes shadows began to set.

Pal-O-Mine contemplated Flood. “A rook, a forty-year-old carpenter, and he gets to bat against me. He just knows I’ll blow him down, dust him on his butt. My pappy and gran’pappy nohow got up here and a chance to be at bat. Just got themselves stuck in Kansas City and played ball because they like to play ball, and no help at all until Jackie Robinson come slippin’ slidin’ ’round these ball parks.”

Way past Kansas City, far more westerly, Owen Flood Junior, by the radio, felt a chill he would never forget. The icing of failure slowly on his spine moved its cruel and barbaric legacy...the full season of doubt, the hopelessness one feels under a sudden brilliancy...all is lost and is utterly forlorn. For the carpenter he was embarrassed, waited a futile swing, the strike-out, the going down to humiliation, unable to bear himself for the long dream.

Katherine MacGowan Flood, most able wife, lover, total believer, omniscient seer, thinker, adrenaline’s recall, personification of balm, slowly rose behind home plate. A thousand people rose with her, a thousand Bostonians in the clutch of drama and at her side, and thirty thousand felt sudden clamps bind on their aching hearts.

A chill, an unseen icy wave, like fog one is inside of and cannot eradicate, swept across all regions of Fenway Park. A hush settled itself thick as a cloud, sure as canvas, formal as prayer, over the maddening, desiring crowd. Hawking vendors, for a pure moment, stilled their guttural cries, let the sounds stop in their throats halfway to enterprise. Grandstand feet stopped their restless concrete rubbing. Hands folded on themselves like they must have when the beaches of Tarawa or Anzio or Normandy were at hand; some remembered, the recall caught once more in their bloodstream.

In right field, the gamblers, high up in their seats, with cigars, dark suited to a man, stuffed with green currency, forgot the adversity that odds bring along in their wake. A television announcer, at last, let silence have the microphone, became one of the inarticulate fandom, felt an honesty he had forgotten coming to this place.

Pal-O-Mine looked squarely into Owen’s eyes, delivered a chill along with the stare, felt himself near Charleston, his father sitting knee-bent behind the plate, the floppy and ancient glove calling for a fast ball, the chatter and high song an incidental accompaniment to tutoring. He saw his grandfather, feeble handed but his eyes absorbing the grandson’s arm, nodding the simplest approvals, the almost quiet acceptances, smiling at the youngster’s blazing speed, the slider as good as his was another day, the curve ball like a barn door on its hinging, another pitch so often dropping out of the strike zone as evil as he could ever imagine. Pal-O-Mine remembered his grandfather shivering in delight, and in a quiet sadness.

The sudden and oft-repeated sorrow came over him like an evil odor; they never had a chance in the majors. Either one would have made the All-Star team, their wide accomplishments legendary in Kansas City and in Birmingham, in Natchez, New Orleans and Galveston. And here he was, the son and grandson, at Fenway Park, facing the carpenter who was getting, at least, his one chance at bat. Unfairness beat at him. Complicity. Favored souls. Henchmen. The lost and lonely. The dreams rolling lives in kegs and gutters. Incapacitated youngsters. Undesirable adults. The tricks in the trade.

“I wonder, carpenter, if you can hit a piece of pill on the outside corner.” His arm seemed to come out of its socket, and the ball, eerily, inordinately, blurring upon itself, came out of centerfield fuzz, an almost explosive dot of whiteness, the sewn twine tossing the ball’s roundness into a speeding orb’s convolutions, whorls, gyrations.

“This one, carpenter, is for my gran’pap,” Pal-O-Mine whispered, near silent in his declaration and dare, perhaps more aware than many of Flood’s long stay in the minors, his deportation.

Owen Flood’s futile swing, the rusty limbering, made people shrink down in their Fenway seats, ostriches seeking sand. The announcer was again shocked into silence. Owen Flood Junior, radio-wise, felt an ignominy he could not shake. Katherine MacGowan Flood, still standing, clutched the chicken wiring behind home plate. Owen Flood skipped two breaths and took one deep. In behind his eyes, in some deep alcove of thinking and daring, of valor’s beam, in that bare retreat where all hope is born, he scratched for a light in his darkest hour.

The catcher gave his sign and Pal-O-Mine shook him off, made him call number 3. “Hey, carpenter,” he thought aloud, “how’s a big curve feel to your old and rookie appetite?” And his arm, like some nerve-sprung tentacle, slapping like a mad horse’s tail, a snake lash, broke off a curve as if a comet had caught a secondary slanting of the air.

The pain felt for the underdog hit home. Fenway Park hurt down to the smallest inch at the ludicrous swing the carpenter made at a ball a foot outside the plate. People tried to swallow spittle, tried to release something caught sideways in their throats, couldn’t drop whatever it was; others tried to make their hands do something, anything, something easy, like closing on themselves, but nothing reacted there, neither command nor reaction. Junior wept, but not Katherine! Not her, not the dreamer’s dream, not the lady a thousand people or more watched with utmost gravity, caught up in numbness, daze, happy enough that they were not subject to this seated, shouting, elaborate, vehement scrutiny.

On the mound, on top of the world itself, omnipotent, proof of all the painstaking practice, Pal-O-Mine felt an odd uneasiness pursuing itself through the partitions of his body and his mind. He felt as if he were cheating the man standing ineffectually at the plate, his paunch seeming more pronounced, his posture more hopeless, than any batter he had ever faced all the way from the Gulf League to the Big Apple. Would not his old gran’pap want this one chance of a lifetime to bat in the Majors and at Fenway Park, the most comfortable park in all the Major League? And, of course, his father, that marvelous batter, that woodsmith of sweet violence, that sweetest terror this side of poetry, would have given one leg and an arm to get such a chance.

What his father would like, thought Pal-O-Mine, was a ball without any adornments, something straight down the tube, right down the everlasting pike, a fastball dead center, a stitch ripper, a hundred-mile-an-hour popper coming right into his wheelhouse. “Come get it if you can.”

Pal-O-Mine telegraphed his final pitch. He looked his daring into Owen’s eyes and hoped, dearly hoped, the carpenter could read the sign. Katherine read it from behind the backstop screen, that daring few could see; perhaps others in the crowd saw the dare, saw the easy smile come riding over the dark and happy face of Pal-O-Mine. Few people ever discern the purest of souls at its work, the nobility of a moment that carries itself into hither and yon of centuries; it is attention that calls for fortitude, for magic over misery, for backbone and belief atop impossibility, for credence and possibility climbing the walls of imagination. Very few people can give proper accounting of what happened on that very next pitch.

The black giant with the smile on his face, without fluster, not a flake of it, loosed the elegiac fastball, the smoker’s nonpareil, the gunner’s delight, his arm snapping out of socket, the white orb heading into Infinity’s claims, the high roller pushing sway from the tiny hill of Fenway Park’s pitcher’s mound. “If you want it, baby, you got to come to it! You got to move to the panther! You got to come into the lion’s den!”

Katherine drew blood grasping the chicken wire. In Section 13 a man stopped breathing. Owen Junior shut off the radio.

In the batter’s box an old carpenter amassed a conglomeration of things: twenty-two years of anguish and dreaming, twenty-two years of hatred and despair, twenty-two years of climbing on staging and moving on aerial ladders, twenty-two years of shingles, two-by-fours, hot roofs in August heat and December’s mad cold, the near falls down precipitous walls, one thumb driven wide by the hammering, the silence which beat itself on his ears, a picture of Katherine at odds with acquiescence she had not thought possible even in dear old Fenway Park. The man who sent him down to the minors. Cold chicken dinners in the back of yellow buses fleeing the clinging and absolute dust of too many towns. The cool plains running off into the darkness swallowing the whole West of its baseball.

All these he amassed in one final swing, a swing The Kid would talk about for hours on end, a swing that brought old-timers to their feet, a wheelhouse swing, a swing born of anger and dreams and Katherine’s voice above the crowd and a last burst from the engine thrusting in the mid-regions of his very soul.

Momentary silence and disbelief held their sway over good old Fenway Park, hung above Kenmore Square, raced out of the city with speeders heading west on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Most people, at least those who were there that day, say the ball is still moving, a high and delicious arc over left field’s green and stoical monstrosity, a cannon movement, a shell pushed outward into Thor’s outpost, a magical thing of rhyme and reason, of salt and season, the one and only time All-Fenway Park got to bat.

And the carpenter, knowing he’d mourn the passing of this day forever, kissed his lovely wife as thirty thousand let their madness peak.


SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

Tom Sheehan

served in the 31st Infantry in Korea in 1951–52, and graduated from Boston College in 1956. His books include Epic Cures; Brief Cases, Short Spans; Collection of Friends; From the Quickening; The Saugus Book; Ah, Devon Unbowed; Reflections from Vinegar Hill; and This Rare Earth & Other Flights.

Pocol Press recently released four collections of Sheehan’s short stories: In the Garden of Long Shadows (June 2014), The Nations (October 2014), Where Skies Grow Wide (July 2015), and Cross Trails (November 2015). His collection of short fiction, Sons of Guns, Inc., was released in March 2015 by Nazar Look Books in Romania (where he was awarded a Nazar Look Short Story Award for 2014).

Sheehan’s eBooks include Korean Echoes (nominated for a Distinguished Military Award), The Westering (National Book Award nomination), Murder at the Forum, Death of a Lottery Foe, Death by Punishment, An Accountable Death, and Vigilantes East.

Sheehan has received 30 Pushcart Prize nominations and five Best of the Net nominations, as well as several short-story awards from Nazar Look for 2012–2015. His work also appears in numerous magazines and journals such as Rosebud, Soundings East, Eclectica, KYSO Flash, Serving House Journal, Copperfield Review, The Linnet’s Wings, Literary Orphans, Literally Stories, Provo Canyon Review, Eastlit, Rope and Wire Magazine, The Literary Yard, Green Silk Journal, Western Online, The Path, Faith-Hope-Fiction, Vermont Literary Review, and many others.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury