Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Candle in the Window

By Colleen Sutherland

     “A Valley soldier died in Iraq yesterday,” the television news anchor said in his promotional clip, “Tune in for a full report at 10:00.”  Ben’s face grew red.  He punched the remote and slammed it on his desk, silencing Scrooge’s encounter with the second ghost.
     Another soldier dead and this one in the Valley.  From his office window, he looked across to his neighbors’ house. Tim, Jake and Alice’s only child, was in Iraq, on his third tour.  Their “Support the Troops” banner fluttered in the winter wind, the words almost indiscernible. The yellow ribbons had faded, frayed and finally blown away.
     He let the screen saver take over the computer and went to the cold living room and checked on the electric candle at the window.  Since the beginning of the war in 2003, it had been in his window, a notice to passersby to remember the casualties of war. Four replacement bulbs later, it was still lit.  When Tim went to war, Ben moved it to a window facing Alice’s kitchen window, in hopes that she would find it reassuring.  But it infuriated Jake so Ben put it back in the living room.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Garage Sale

The woman waved the blouse in front of Jasmine like evidence of a crime.

The stitching is coming loose,” the woman said, “right here at the armpit – two dollars.” She tossed her head back like she had a penthouse overlooking Central Park, even though she was cramming a size sixteen frame into white stretch pants that were never intended to go beyond a size ten. Whatever damage had been done to the spandex was covered by voluminous black t-shirt that read “D&R Powersports” across a bust that had given up the fight against gravity long ago.

Jasmine glanced at the blouse, red silk, and the stitching in question. “It was fine until you pulled at it when you thought I wasn’t looking – five.”

Friday, October 7, 2011


    That morning, the boy took a short cut through the alley. His head was down, his thoughts on his math homework. His route didn't save him much time, but it took him past the big windows of the pool hall where grown men with tattoos used their sticks with precision to whack away at balls. The boy liked the imagery. In a small town, this was as close as he could get to phallic stuff. Phallic. It was a new word to him. He liked it.