Table of Contents

Summer 2008

From The Editor

Letter from Sandra Ruttan

Short Stories

Amra Pajalic

The Game

The Old Man

The Vow

The Other Shoe

Patrick Shawn Bagley

Bank Job

John McFetridge

Overtime

Russel D. McLean

Her Cheating Heart

Steve Mosby

Fruits

Grant McKenzie

Out Of Order

Patricia Abbott

Pox

Leaving

Damien Seaman

Love In Vain

Ugly Duckling

Steve Allan

Hump The Stump

Stumpy's Revenge

You and Me and Stumpy Makes Three

Stephen D. Rogers

Head Shot

Richard Cooper

Simmer Time

Sandra Seamans

Predatory

Allan Guthrie

Freckles

Brian Lindenmuth

Gun

Tony Black

London Calling

Brian McGilloway

Spoonfull of Sugar

Interview

Damien Seaman with Tony Black

Reviews by:

Sandra Ruttan

Savage Night

The Cold Spot

Brian Lindenmuth

Kockroach

The Crimes of Dr. Watson

Half the Blood of Brooklyn

Crimson Orgy

Mad Dogs

The Resurrectionist

Sharp Teeth

Lawrence

Black Man

Tricia

Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle

Chadwick

At the City's Edge

Amber

Small Favor

Madhouse

Book Excerpts

Toros & Torsos
by Craig McDonald

Paying For It
by Tony Black

Dirty Sweeet
by John McFetridge

Feature

The Graveyard Shift: blog by Lee Ofland

The Old Man by Amra Pajalic


The old man lay on the bed. His arms attached to the machinery surrounding him in an embrace. His fragile chest rose slowly, the sheet barely moving with each breath.

Two women stood with handkerchiefs pressed to their faces, their husbands beside them, their children at the back of the room.

An old woman sat by the bed holding the old man’s lifeless hand across her palm.

The old man started to tremble. Cold moved its icy fingers down his spine. He walked toward the bridge and looked at the young man.

The young man stood on the bridge and breathed in the cold air. As he breathed out, vapour rose in front of his face. He leaned over the bridge fence and watched the little islands of ice floating in the water.

He saluted the moon with the bottle in his hand and tipped the bottle to his lips. The fiery vodka burnt its way down his throat and exploded into a fireball of warmth in his stomach. His eyes teared as warmth glowed around him, stopping his shivering.

The young man opened his eyes and shook his head, drying the tears on his cheeks. The frozen landscape lacked its former sharpness. He lurched to the bridge again and dropped the bottle into the water. It hit the water with a splash and disappeared under the surface.
“So easy,” he murmured.

He scrambled over the railing. The cold had frozen his feet and arms, making him clumsy and slow. The cold metal stung his palms where he gripped tight. He stood above the river and released his grip. The cold wind whipped past him as he dropped down.

The fisherman watched from his boat as the youth disappeared. He held the oars in his hand and rowed to the bubbles frothing in the water.

The youth felt the water cover his head, invading his ears and nostrils. The icy water squeezed his body like a vice. The force of the drop propelled his body to the bottom. The moon lit the journey to his watery grave. As he sank deeper, the light disappeared and he was surrounded by the black underworld of the river.

His feet abruptly hit the river floor. The young man was propelled up, the water greedily clutching at his body. His lungs hurt. He fought the urge to open his mouth. The world slowed, his arms and legs were heavy. His hands made weak clutches at the water, trying to pull himself up.

The moon appeared, lighting his way. Renewed energy filled him. His arms and legs kicked frantically, fighting the clutching water. His head broke the surface. He breathed in a deep gulp of air.

Rough hands grabbed hold of his coat and wrenched him out of the river. He lay on his back, staring at the moon winking at him from the sky.

The fisherman looked at the bridge above him and spat into the river. “Stupid boy,” he said, looking at the trembling youth behind him in the boat.

He turned his back to the youth and rowed toward the riverbank. “The day will come when you will not be so eager to embrace death.”

The old man watched from the bridge as the fisherman rowed to the riverbank. He turned and walked off the bridge. Warmth surrounded him. He looked at the hospital bed before him.

The old man lay on the bed. His eyeballs twitched behind his closed lids. He felt his beloved holding his hand. He heard the hushed murmurs of his daughters, the rustling of his grandchildren.

He felt the severance as his soul left his cancer-stricken body. Bright light surrounded him.

The fisherman of his youth stood before him. “I told you, stupid boy,” the fisherman said, before turning and walking through the white light.


The young man looked behind him. The old man’s body lay on the bed, his fragile chest still. He followed the retreating back of the fisherman..

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