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The Assistant

Rowena, who was 52, sat at her kitchen table about to eat breakfast. She bowed her head and prayed, “Thank you Lord for this meal I’m about to receive.” Her unemployment insurance would end in five weeks and she thought of asking for the job. She changed her mind. God already knew she needed a job. She continued praying, “I’m healthy, happy and alive. If there’s anything I can do for you, no matter how hard, please give me the opportunity.”

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After Equity

Lolita Ruth had to concentrate. The New York Equals had to lose this baseball game to go to the World Equity Series. It was a cold, cloudy evening, in October. A steady breeze blew in from left field. Lolita rubbed her hands together to get them warm and then wound up for the delivery. The pitch, off the fingers of av’s left hand, was almost down the middle, slow at only 71 MPH and almost completely straight. It was a major league baseball hitter’s dream pitch, easy to hit, drive and power over the wall for a home run. The batter didn’t swing. Av’s bat didn’t move. Av was taking all the way.

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Sunset Viewed From My Coffin

“What the hell are you doing?” Bertha asked her friend Thomas.

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

It was a rather warm, late fall day, with a gentle breeze. The two were standing in front of their easels painting the sunset over the Hudson River from a pier near the train station in Yonkers, NY. The sheer cliffs of the Palisades, across the river, were in deep shadows and cast a flowing bluish-black shadow on the gentle waves as the sun slowly drifted down towards the top of the cliff.  There were a few puffy clouds to the north and scattered rays dimpled on the river. These two had painted this ever-changing scene on the first Saturday of the month for over four decades. They often touched up paintings they’d almost completed in previous sessions. Thomas had brought five of these.

What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?

“What are you going to do with your life?” my mom asks quietly, her unsmiling stare drills into my eyes.

“I don’t know Mom. I haven’t even woken up yet.”

“I know that,” she says, a little louder. “It’s a great time to think about what you intend to do.”

It’s around 6:45 and we’re in our kitchen before I walk to school. This question is repeated almost every school morning. It started when I was about nine. In winter, it is completely dark outside, a small wall lamp gives off a ring of light. In summer, bright sunlight jabs my eyes. Neither darkness nor light changes the question or gives me any idea of how I should answer. I drink some milk and eat my cream cheese bagel quickly. I am a bit late to start out.

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I Should Report You But Officially I Never Saw Anything

Said Sarafina to Peter as they watched the Director of the Human Resources making her way towards them. Sarafina and Peter were both managers in the Sales division.

Peter remembered yesterday’s manager’s discussion, led by this HR director, concerning improper conduct between an employee and a manager. “We have a zero tolerance policy. No abuse of power by management, in any form, will be tolerated. All incidents must be reported. Failure to do so may result in termination.”

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A Tiny Pebble

There was a message in my voicemail again this morning, for the fourteenth day in a row. “What’s wrong? You don’t call me anymore. Pick up. I know you’re there. It’s Lorraine. Call me back.”

I didn’t return her call. I don’t have any idea what to tell her. I could tell her the truth but I’m embarrassed to do so. We’ve been best friends for five years. We talked about everything. Why can’t I tell her?

Maybe something’s the matter with me? I want to tell her what I’m feeling but I simply can’t. Not this time. Last time we talked, I said a bit but nothing really personal. From a rational point of view, I can’t even explain it to myself.

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And One

In total, the Chinese Communist Party had murdered over 370 million people. Peter was physically sick. It couldn’t be that many people. No one was talking about it. When he thought of bringing these facts to other people’s attention, he felt as embarrassed as he was in his dreams, when he was giving a talk at work and looked down to see he was naked. Why was he embarrassed? He didn’t know. He checked his figures. He wasn’t making any of this up. 370 million murders.  That is greater than the total number of people living in the United States and Canada in 2020. It’s more than thirty times more than the number of Jews slaughtered in the  Holocaust.”

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The Hypókrisis Mirror  

To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Symington Art Museum’s 1913 archeological dig, near the ancient oracle at Delphi in Greece, the museum asked Audrey August, a Classics scholar at Whitson College, to prepare a special exhibit.

Knowing her fellow professor, Rokko Isti’s deep interest in ancient history, Audrey asked him to help. Audrey would re-examine the notes, photographs and stored finds from the dig.”

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The Republic of Silence



My brother, Jeramy, keeps saying these words over and over again. He says almost nothing else. Using the word “says” implies that he speaks but that is not correct. My brother cannot control his tongue enough to speak nor control his fingers enough to type. A “doctor,” took away these abilities after his second violation of our speech laws. Jeramy talks to me by knocking metal pieces on his knees to produce Morse code.

How did this happen? Before the current law, there was a Human Rights commission in our country. This commission sued people for saying things that certain designated groups of people thought were objectionable. No one was jailed but many were fined and threatened if they didn’t pay these fines and say and do what the Commission commanded. Many people did not see this as an attack on freedom of speech but my brother and I did.” 

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The Great Piano Rebellion


What a time to stop working, lamented Charles Hurland, a three time Tony Award winning composer, as he hit the middle C key on the battered, peeling but playable, black upright Baldwin piano, he was composing on. Charles was 55, a bit plump with nothing physically to distinguish him as a famous composer, except perhaps his very long, thin fingers. Charles worked with a lyricist named Jacques, who was 24.

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