Book Awards E-MAIL US

Reginald Blisterkunst, Ph.D.
Among the Remembered Saints: My Life and Subsequent Death
Pluto Wars

Greg Chandler
"Bee's Tree"
"Local Folk"
"Roland's Feast"
"Pond Story "

Doug Childers
"The Baptism"

Gene Cox
The Sunset Lounge

Clarke Crutchfield
"The Break-In"
"The Canceled Party"
"The Imaginary Bullet"

Jason DeBoer
"The Execution of the Sun"

Deanna Francis Mason
"The Daguerreian Marvel"

Dennis Must

Charlie Onion
"Love Among the Jellyfish"
Pluto Wars
"Feast of the Manfestation"

Chris Orlet
"Romantic Comedy"

Daniel Rosenblum
"A Full Donkey"

Deanna Frances Mason
"The Daguerreian Marvel"

Andrew L. Wilson
"Fat Cake and Double Talk"


Local Folk
Greg Chandler

"I up all my meals and it's on account of you taking off," Mrs. Gooday buzzed under her breath, jamming the cane rocker beneath the doorknob and buttoning the baby-blue curtains. She eased her rear between two fat lumps in the sea-green love seat and draped a crocheted lap blanket over her thighs. She had yet to remove her night-clothes: pantyhose with the feet cut out and a tan bra. For the entire morning her mind was on nothing but the burn at the back of her throat and down her esophagus.

Mrs. Gooday poked her finger down her throat and jabbed until breakfast came up. Tired of running to the toilet, an empty tissue box worked just fine. "If Verla'd left that electric toothbrush I could keep my teeth from getting stained," she said, wiping her lips on the blanket. "She never used it."

Mrs. Gooday heard a ruckus on the sidewalk and peeked through the curtain where she saw young girls riding her fence as though it were a horse. "Blast off little incompletes! Blast off!" she hollered, flattening her mouth against the warm glass. Her throat really stung, and sucking oil from a strand of corn silk gave no relief.

Her fingers poked around the bottom of the faux mother-of-pearl knitting chest always by her side, for the high-quality scissors Verla discarded the morning she ran away. A gift from mother to daughter, wrapped in good orange cellophane and sealed with a kiss.

Angered by Verla's thoughtlessness, Mrs. Gooday twisted a lock of hair between her fingers and snipped cleanly, allowing the whiteness to fall on her lap blanket. Cutting a lock a day was her new habit.

"If that damned Verla had a phone I'd call her up right now and tell her all about what she's left behind. I'd say: I hope you're proud, because I'll probably be in a plywood box the next time you see me. I've got all the signs of stomach cancer! Soon as your daddy puts a bing cherry parfait down me it comes back up. And another thing, two weeks ago, scrubbing all those pretty clothes you left, my wet soles stuck to the linoleum and I just about knocked my block off. Verla. You don't know the first thing about panning for gold and you won't ever get it right. And daddy says if you come home with an Eskimo he'll have your hide."


The Goodays live in a town where block parties are frequently thrown and baton twirlers and parade banners make larger gatherings grand. The Goodays live inside a long aluminum mobile home, a violet omnibus parked in a sunny lot at the corner of Lime and Lemon. Mr. Gooday is the town's helluva soda jerk: mothers and children drop by his shop to buy ice cream cakes in the shape of hyenas and ice cream scoops perched on a mound of raw sugar dough (a treat that brings them in from as far away as Scutt County).

Cornstalks grow behind the mobile home near a ski-masked scarecrow who bays a tape-recorded message, "Skedaddle! Skew! Skedaddle!"

A pulpboard table, formerly used for canning corn relish, sits aslant in the mud. The Goodays seldom pick their moldy corn. It shrinks, hardens, and falls to powder.

A month ago, their daughter Verla Gooday (or "BJ") hitchhiked to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. It didn't please them that she left home to strike it rich. BJ pans for gold.


At one thirty, the Town Queer trotted down Lime and stopped before the Gooday's picket fence.

"Oh, what a gorgeous mobile home," he whispered. "It's the most perfect house for my movie." He walked the pebbled pathway through the tiny, puddle-soaked yard strewn with candy wrappers, broken bottles, and chopped-up garden hoses. "So odd and otherworldly, a tide pool."

While he maneuvered the yard, Mrs. Gooday used a finger to stir pepper into her buttermilk. Hearing a knock at the door, she leapt up in fear. "Yes? Yes?" she quivered, "who is it?"

The Town Queer stood at the front door retying a blue silk ribbon around his collar. He licked his fingertips and flattened his eyebrows.

"You're not from the Shriner's are you?" Mrs. Gooday asked.

"No, ma'am, my name is Vaughn Rodell and I'm here on behalf of the Town Betterment Society. You see, they've commissioned me to film a motion picture that will make people want to live here. Will you please invite me in?"

"Have you brought any sort of how-do-you-do letter?" Mrs. Gooday asked, proudly cautioned.

"Oh yes," the Town Queer began, "Mayor Albright has sent along a most splendid letter." He fished for the document.

While he did this, Mrs. Gooday removed a large crocheted bedspread from the back of the love seat and covered her body in the fashion of an Indian priestess.

"Let me get this blasted door open all the way...hold on." Releasing the cane rocker from its wedged position beneath the doorknob, Mrs. Gooday was able to see the man clearly. "Yeah, I've seen you before," she said. "You taught my Verla piano a long time ago."

"Why yes, I do remember instructing a pupil named Verla, Verla Bizet, I think it was? Are you Mrs. Bizet?"

"Certainly not! I'm Mrs. Gooday! Wife to the soda jerk."

"Oh, and what a heckuva soda jerk is he!"

"Yes, yes," Mrs. Gooday replied.

"But let us talk of the film," Vaughn began.

"You mean, let me see the letter from the mayor," Mrs. Gooday corrected.

The man daubed the moisture under his nostrils and handed her a folded note from his breast pocket. She looked over the mayor's scrawl, then set the heavy paper beneath a desk lighter on the coffee table. Reluctantly, she motioned for the Town Queer to sit. He chose the wooden chair with the colorful embroidery (a lonely cherub swinging from clouds), another gift to Verla. Mrs. Gooday turned off the radio and sat opposite him on the love seat.

"May I borrow your loo for a moment?" he asked.

Mrs. Gooday made an unpleasant face.

"I'm sorry, but it's warm out and I've been walking quite a bit."

Fifteen minutes later he returned with a giggly sigh. Mrs. Gooday, silent during the entire quarter hour, looked displeased. "What seems to be amusing you so much?" she asked.

"Well, I'm not quite sure but it has something to do with this chair I'm on. I was sitting in there and started to dose-off, then popped up laughing when I started to dream about the mule that swings from a star."

She looked at him with a blank expression on her face.

"You're familiar with the tune, aren't you?"

Mrs. Gooday wiped buttermilk from her chin with the butt of her hand. "I know it but think it's a real joke."

"I see. Perhaps you enjoy another fine musical genre."

"What I enjoy, sir, is getting to the bottom of things. Now please don't think me forward by steering the talk to that of the film."

Vaughn's eyes lit up. "Why I wouldn't find you forward at all! What would you like to know?"

"Well," Mrs. Gooday said, not entirely sure where to begin, "for starters, I want to know what celebrities are going to be traipsing around my bedroom. I have many priceless figurines that cannot be disturbed."

"There's no need to worry about celebrities, Mrs. Gooday, there will be no movie stars. The film's actors will be from the Bible camp down by the fields. You know, local folk." He liked how this sounded. "Just a lot of nice folks giving a boost to civic pride."

Mrs. Gooday nodded solemnly. "Why that sounds right by my oats."

"In my opinion, your mobile home perfectly illustrates the success of our little town. Its violet outer skin generates the warmth we want to convey to outsiders. I think it will evoke free-spiritedness but also security. You see, Mrs. Gooday, we are fortunate enough to live in a place with a joie de vivre. We want all those folks who don't know the pleasures of our town to give us a second look. Mayor Albright wants hourly screenings at the rest stop and shopping park." He paused, holding a black silk handkerchief to his nose. A heady odor of white vinegar and mothballs lingered in the room.

"I see town in terms of Bible tales," he continued. "One of the fellows will be Job and this will be his house. In my Job story, we'll see a young man so devoted to his Lord he's rewarded with a violet mobile home situated on comely grounds, and a virile young son for all eternity."

"But that doesn't sound like the Job tale I know."

"Well mostly I'm using the faith and passion of Job, his metaphors."

Mrs. Gooday tapped her chin, thinking. "How could that have any possible relation to this town or my home? God and Satan abused poor Job, really knocked him around. I'm against child abuse and people abuse too."

"Don't get me wrong, Mrs. Gooday, I take the Bible for truth. But I think most people aren't going to be watching in a by-the-book sort of way. We're just trying to show that our town is a place where miracles do occur."

"I see."

"So, don't you think it sounds marvelous?"

"I suppose it's all right."

"If I may be frank, Mrs. Gooday, we're hoping some of the more well-to-do relocate here. That means more money for the community. This will benefit everyone, including you."

Quietly, Mrs. Gooday climbed out of the love seat and walked to the kitchen portion of the room, the area a few feet away where carpeting turned to linoleum. After pressing her finger against the back of her throat she upped buttermilk into the sink. She wiped her mouth on a tissue, hiccuped several times, upped again. She rearranged the bedspread around her body and shuffled back to her visitor.

Vaughn covered his mouth. "My goodness, dear, are you okay? Have you got that wretched Chinese flu?"

"No, just a case of old age," she said, looking sadly at the stale pink carpet. "I'm fine."

"It's quite all right for you to tell me if something's wrong. I'm a very good listener and try to help when I can."

"Well, I certainly can't confide in my husband; he pretends I don't exist."

"That's terrible."

"I know. But you see, Verla, who you said you remember, left home about a month ago for the Arctic. She's panning for gold. One day she just comes in here when I'm giving her dad his deep heating and tells us she's leaving at the dawn's early light. 'I'm leaving at the dawn's early light for Northwest Territories and I'm never coming back,' she tells us. Then there's the whole 'BJ' ordeal. A week before she leaves, she comes prancing in here, you know, a real Peter Pan fly-through, and curses us because we call her Verla instead of her new name, 'BJ.' Well I just about lost my marbles." Mrs. Gooday paused for a moment, pleased to find the nice man attentively listening.

"She's becoming temperamental and strange, like her father." Mrs. Gooday's voice tapered off to a whisper. She looked down at the raised blue veins on her hands.

There was an uneasy silence. "Well, Mr....I'm sorry, dear, but I've forgotten your name."

"Vaughn. Mr. Vaughn Rodell," he prompted merrily.

"Well, Mr. Rodell, I don't mean to burden you with such personal stories. We were discussing the motion picture, were we not?"

"Yes we were. I was saying that there would be no movie stars. That the actors would come from the Bible camp...."

"Ah yes, yes. From the Bible."

"Mrs. Gooday, I'm a man who can be trusted, despite what you might think about this ribbon tied around my neck. I'm a neighbor. I live just four blocks to the west, on Albright. I do hope you consent to this picture. It won't disrupt your household in any way. And as for disturbing your priceless figurines, well, I'm happy to say that my crew will only be needing to shoot the exterior of your home, that is to say, the outside."

"Well isn't that strange."

"Though I do want to place a bale or two of hay on the roof since we'll be in the Holy Land, in a manner of speaking."

"I'd have to ask my husband about that," Mrs. Gooday replied. "I so seldom go up there."

"Of course, of course."

They smiled uncomfortably, wondering if the meeting had come to an end. After a minute passed, Mrs. Gooday pointed toward the kitchen area. "Can you smell the pickling brine? In this heat, Mr. Gooday will only eat corned beef."

Vaughn sniffed daintily, like a house mouse, and retorted, "As the saying goes, 'There was a time, to keep a man in line, a lady slaved over her pot of brine.'"

The strangers laughed simultaneously like two old friends until a gust threw smut-ridden corncobs against the mobile home's aluminum shell, and the merriment ceased.

Mrs. Gooday breathed deeply, cracked her knuckles, forgot her nerves. What a joy it was to have found a friend.

Her fingers searched below the love seat's cushion for a lock of hair. There were many. She twisted one between her forefinger and thumb. "Are you a reader of poetry, Mr. Rodell?"

"Heavens, I'm a writer of poetry!"

Mrs. Gooday raised her brow in interest. "I've never made the acquaintance of a poet before. Does this poetry take up a great deal of your time? Are they poems of love and loss that you compose?"

"Yes, I prefer universal themes." Vaughn had never revealed his hobby to anyone. "As a child I wrote odes and limericks clandestinely, fearing mother's Pentecostal wrath."

"Mothers can be very overprotective. Like cobras and sharks, they attack when provoked. But one must always remember that it comes from the spirit, the loving spirit of motherhood." A pang, a hot little bubble, shot up Mrs. Gooday's spinal cord, making her think, just for a moment, that worms were living off her fluid, eating up all that stuff she needed to stay alive, parasites, like mistletoe. She straightened her back and wiggled side to side. "Why not have a sip of blackberry brandy? It might puff up your courage, get you to recite for me."

Vaughn pressed his hands together in prayer form. "Mrs. Gooday, you're kind, but I'm not a drinker. I would, however, be honored to recite one of my poems for you."

"Great. Have you got any poems about children?"

"Why yes, one of my dearest poems. I call it, 'Ode to Children, Great and Small.' Shall I begin?"

"Please do."

Vaughn raised his chin and cleared his throat before reciting:


"Children, young children,

Climbing trees

And skinning knees,

Wrestling and calling it fun.

And when the day is done,

And all their cowboy guns

Are under their beds

And Odysseus sails in their heads,

I weep for their beauty

Like a forgotten cootie

Flicked from a muscled limb,

Then loath their future

As odious, old men."


"That was really very sweet," Mrs. Gooday applauded. "Such truthful rhymes. And I couldn't agree with you more, young ones are so lovely until they grow up." Her eyes slowly ascended to a photograph of Verla that was hanging just over Vaughn's right shoulder. "Look behind you, Mr. Rodell, and you'll see my Verla at sixteen. She looks heavyset but it's all muscle."

He stood to get a better look. "Ah yes, of course, Verla Gooday. When I was acquainted with Verla she didn't have this short hairdo. I believe she had long hair past her waist and she chewed on it like a teething infant." He examined closer. "I love her plaid hunting shirt, but, if you please pardon my curiosity, it seems unusual for a teenage girl of this town to wear anything other than a lacy sundress."

"Verla always had something of an actress in her. You know, she liked dressing in costumes and that sort of thing. In fact, look, she's holding a tomahawk. This was when she was going around as an Indian. But I told her she'd never pass for a squaw looking as manly as she did, what with those bifocals and that cigarette behind her ear. Her red flashbulb eyes sure do give a spook, though."

"I must say, she's convincing, but as what I'm not quite sure. Her expression...goodness, it speaks of terror, confusion, and strangely, bliss. It's a rare talent that can capture the bulging emotions of a character and express them to an audience with purity."

Mrs. Gooday dabbed her eyes with a tissue as the two of them took their seats. "It's kind of you to use the word purity, Mr. Rodell, thank you. You see, she was a pure dear up till her later teen years when she was cursed with pimples and a manly gait. We marched her into charm school to no avail. It was unanimous that Verla was peculiar, what with the motorbike engines all over her bedroom floor and the arrests for illegal gaming. I've been unsteady ever since."

"Mrs. Gooday," Vaughn said, stroking his arthritic left pinkie, "my condolences go out to you. How sad you must be. To give a child all the advantages only to be abandoned. I stayed with mother until her departure...it was my duty." Pausing in remembrance, he eyed a lone praline on the coffee table in a wooden dish shaped like a canoe. Feeling cozy, he plucked the confection with his fingers and nibbled it with his horsy teeth. Mrs. Gooday didn't seem to notice. "Motherhood is a spirit, a godly spirit," he said with his mouth full, "as Job laments in 3:11: 'Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?'"

Without inducement, Mrs. Gooday upped a mouthful of liquid into her hand. "For crying out loud! You must find my manners despicable." She reached for a tissue. "With loss come many ill-favored side effects."

Vaughn pinched his nostrils shut and crossed his legs while Mrs. Gooday cleaned herself at the sink. Vaughn's mind wandered back to a childhood afternoon playing dress-up in the attic. Flouncing about inside a hope chest filled with lavender sachets, shriveled orange pomanders, and mother's peachy-white trousseau, he closed the lid and slept for hours in a bath of tulle and taffeta. He awoke wearing white lace gloves up to his armpits. Dreamily he marched downstairs reeking of powdery flowers and exotic cloves. His mother, hosting the Ladies Club of the Healing Stream Deliverance Church, shrieked as if she'd been stabbed in the gut. For a few moments the ladies thought Mrs. Rodell was speaking in tongues, until they saw Vaughn on the stair. Mrs. Rodell dug her nails into the frightened boy's ear, yanked him to an enclosed front porch, and shoved his face into a mound of dog feces. "You're gonna stink like a boy! You're gonna stink like a real boy, not one of nature's mistakes!" she hollered as yellow foam and cake crumbs oozed from her mouth. To prove his masculinity, Vaughn abstained from toilet paper for the next three weeks, kept sardines in his pockets, and smeared dog food in his bed. It was then he began to write poetry.


"Mrs. Gooday, you must sit down at once...you're not well!"

"Young man, my health is tip-top, it's my heart that's taken ill," Mrs. Gooday said plaintively, returning to her sunken spot on the love seat. "I suppose only a poet like yourself can understand the true despair of loneliness. When Verla was a girl, I made her favorite orange pudding every morning for breakfast. Every night I strolled over to Town Park and picked two oranges from the tree. I'd stroll home, enjoying the cricket symphony these parts are known for, and grate the peel." She sniffled. "It's those simple pleasures that give life meaning." Vaughn handed her another tissue. "Back then we grew corn out back. Mr. Gooday knew all about hybrids and pollination. He'd bring me baskets of that glorious golden vegetable and I'd stand in the warm sun scraping the kernels off the cob. I must've filled one million jars with my corn relish....And now," she sighed, "it's all been eaten and the corn's gone to rot. But at least I have my memories, I suppose."

"I remember Verla pacing about my tiny solarium, pausing every few moments to pound the piano keys with her elbows...what a storehouse of energy. She was a sweet girl, undoubtedly, but I had some difficulty getting her to sit still." He paused. "I remember one time she had a brown lizard under her bonnet. She'd kept it in a freezer, I believe, but it was still alive. She tore off its tail and swiped my face with it. I was quite upset at the time. I felt that Verla was...somewhat disturbed. Gracious, the memory makes me quiver."

"Verla sure has trouble making good impressions."

"That was the last time I saw her. Hmm, was this the genesis of her rebellion?"

Pinkness returned to Mrs. Gooday's cheeks, her spine straightened, her speech slowed. "Verla was an artist and you know how they can be. We need them all right, but as some might say, they march to the beat of an unknown drummer. Verla was, like you said, full of energy. One summer she hauled about a million tons of cob in her wagon out to the piggy farms, always saving a few to do her crafts on. I still have some if you'd care to see."

"I'd love to. I'm very interested in the artistic progress of former students."

Mrs. Gooday stood with the help of Vaughn's hand. "Follow me," she said, guiding him toward a set of rooms in the tail of her home. The aluminum ceiling brushed Vaughn's balding pate and their footsteps caused the mobile home to wobble. An unusual oil painting caught Vaughn's attention. A still life of a banana split set in the wooden canoe he'd just seen on the coffee table, three squares of Neapolitan ice cream in a fancy silver dish, and a tall glass filled with bubbly purple liquid. Two splayed, osseous left hands emerged from the right side of the painting. The fingers didn't point to the treats, nor did they appear to be reaching for them. The countertop was blue and green flecked Formica, the background intricate black lace.

Vaughn studied the painting intently, deciphering Walter Gooday on one of the thumbs, while Mrs. Gooday waited patiently to open her daughter's bedroom door. "My husband's a Sunday painter, Mr. Rodell. He painted a lovely picture for our first anniversary, a red barn surrounded by weeping willows before a dramatic sunset. Since Verla's birth it seems he can only depict dairy desserts and an occasional glass of soda," Mrs. Gooday said with a frown, her eyes focused on the matted pink shag.

Vaughn lightly tapped Mrs. Gooday's shoulder and smiled. "Ice cream is very rich and lends itself well to oils. That grape soda could just as well be liquid amethyst."

"Ice cream is very rich indeed, Mr. Rodell, very rich indeed. Though I can't see this banana as anything other than a banana."

"I have a citrine brooch of Mother's that's comparable. Maybe you'd enjoy seeing it one day?"

Mrs. Gooday giggled, "Yes, I do hope we'll have lunch together one afternoon. After the movie's filmed, perhaps." Then she opened the door to Verla's bedroom.

The room was as small as a sedan automobile. A window looked out to a scarecrow and cornstalks swaying in the wind. On the walls, intricate maps of motorcycle engines drawn with red and black ink. On the bed, balanced at the top of several boxes, a rusty, sawdust-lined cage held what looked like rotten carrots and cabbage, but no animal.

Mrs. Gooday motioned toward the cage. "Plug your nose if you feel the need. When Verla ran off she left her rat in there without food or water and it was two weeks before we found it. Mr. Gooday handled it. I told him, 'I don't want to know, I don't want to know.'"

They approached a metal workbench in the corner where as many as one hundred dried corncobs were neatly arranged into a pyramid. Vaughn cocked his head, perplexed. Posted on the wall above the cobs, a newspaper photograph of a woman in her underclothes advertised a sale at the Town Department Store.

For several minutes they stared silently at the corncobs. The cobs had been carved into limbless men, with tiny plastic helmets affixed to one end and green boots to the other. Like real soldiers just back from war, horror was visible in their realistic faces.

Mrs. Gooday finally picked up one of the army men, knocking an unused corncob pipe to the floor. Vaughn noticed deep gougings in their backs that spelled out US ARMY. "This is what Verla does. Each one she's made looks just like these two. She's been up to this for years. Gave some away to farmer's wives, some to the neighbor boys, and sometimes, in a fit of anger, she'd load hundreds in a burlap sack and bury them in the yard." She paused, cleared her throat. "Do you like them? Do you think they exhibit artistic talent?"

Mrs. Gooday placed the doll on Vaughn's palm. He turned it around and upside down, caressed the boots and face, fingered the letters like Braille, sniffed. "I'm a great admirer of military art, Mrs. Gooday, and these are exemplary examples. I'm sure the Town Betterment Society's museum would be interested in an acquisition. You know, this soil is famous for its battles." He returned the doll to the pyramid.

"Yes, Verla and Mr. Gooday spoke of them often, though I tend to find battles a real joke, rather morbid," Mrs. Gooday said, rearranging the bedspread around her body.

"I do so agree. Yes, a real parade if you ask me."

An eagle landed outside on the ski-masked face of the scarecrow. "Skedaddle! Skew, Skedaddle!" the scarecrow cried, "Skedaddle! Skew! Skedaddle!"

"My word! What in Heaven's name was that?" Vaughn asked, visibly alarmed. He covered his mouth, his eyes and head began to twitch.

"Why that's just our scarecrow. There's nothing to be frightened of. Verla rigged that thing up years ago. She's also quite a gadgeteer. Allow me to show you my bedroom, my figurines, that is. They'll soothe your nerves. Won't you?" Mrs. Gooday said calmly, taking his right hand and leading him to her bedroom.

The Gooday's bedroom was smaller than Verla's. The walls were dusty rose and the carpeting was the same stale pink as in the front room. Two twin beds, both covered with identical crocheted spreads in black, olive and puce, took up most of the space. Between the beds a child-sized table shedded dull gold ormolu.

"Here we go," Mrs. Gooday said, directing Vaughn to the table. "These are my figurines. From what I gather, they're priceless. Look at this one." She handed him a dainty infant clutching a bouquet of violets.

"Exquisite. Eggshell china is a passion of mine, so very delicate and diaphanous. I feel better already."

"Art has that power, you know."

Vaughn sat on the bed closest the window. A disposal truck was parked in the street outside. "I hope you don't mind if I catch my breath on this bed?"

Mrs. Gooday smiled and sat next to him. She leaned over to blow the dust off her collection of glass and porcelain babies and toddlers.

After three or four minutes, Vaughn removed a tiny black book from his trouser pocket. "This has been a most delightful afternoon, Mrs. Gooday."

She tipped her head back and grinned.

"Would you care to hear the first poem I ever composed? I wrote this as a boy one night in bed after mother hosted a grand party. I call it, 'Beddy Bye.'"

"Your poems are moving, Mr. Rodell. They're the perfect remedy for my grief."

Vaughn blew his nose on his handkerchief, opened to page one in his book, and read:


"Before I was a baby,

I lived in the clouds.

Now I am a little man,

Camping under shrouds.

I've got a mommy,

Who loves me so,

I've got a mommy,

Who'll never let me go.

Before I was a baby,

With Jesus I did dwell.

Now I've got a mommy,

Who'll save me from Hell."


Again Mrs. Gooday looked as if she might cry. Vaughn fumbled through his pockets for a clean handkerchief to offer. "Oh Mr. Rodell, that's my favorite. You do understand, don't you? You understand."

"I believe I do. And I'm so glad you've lent me your sensitive ear," he said, standing. "But now I must go. I'll be back at ten in the morning, the day after tomorrow, to begin filming. It's been lovely. Goodbye."

Vaughn saw himself to the door; Mrs. Gooday remained on the bed. As soon as he was gone, she sprang to the window. If Vaughn had looked back over his shoulder he would have seen Mrs. Gooday in her pantyhose and bra. Once he turned the corner she darted to Verla's bedroom where she collected corncob soldiers in her arms and began to arrange them among the figurines on her gold table.



About the Author

Greg Chandler recently completed his first novel, Bee's Tree, born from a short story that appeared in WAG. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and holds an MFA from Columbia University. His stories have been published in WAG, The Barcelona Review, Christopher Street and Southern Ocean Review, among others. He also wrote Soda Pop, a short film that's been screened at over fifty film festivals on five continents. He lives in Pasadena, California.


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