Arizona Literary Magazine
Fall 2001 issue
Presenting the winners
Arizona Literary Contest
The Arizona Literary Magazine
Is a publication of the
Arizona Authors Association
P.O. Box 87857 - Phoenix, Arizona 85080-7857
A SPECIAL THANK YOU
To our panel of judges
Book Reviewer for Romantic Times
And writer for various national publications
Writing Seminar Instructor
Published Author, English Teacher,
Drama Teacher, Screenwriter
Published writer, Editor
Award-winning children's books author, Educator
The following judges are writers and readers:
Editor in Chief
Arizona Literary Magazine
Award-winning author Vijaya Schartz, Editor
in Chief of Arizona Literary Magazine, is also
the current president of the Arizona Authors Association,
the talk show host of Authors' Secrets Radio
on KFNX11 OOAM, and was recently appointed
Guest Book Reviewer for Today's Arizona Woman
Magazine. Look for her first Fantasy Review in the
December 2001 issue, and for a feature in the February
World-traveler and daredevil, this multitalented
storyteller teaches writing seminars and
conducts public talks about paranormal topics. In
her exotic novels, the supernatural, love, suspense,
and spirituality collide with adventure and fantasy,
to produce surprisingly realistic fiction.
Visit her website at:
Arizona Literary Contest
Published author Toby Heathcotte, our
Literary Contest Coordinator, is on the board of
Directors of the Arizona Authors Association. Retired
English and Drama Teacher, she first wrote
teaching manuals, then went on to publish historical
novels. More recently, her real-life-drama
screenplays have caught the attention of Hollywood
Besides her writing career, she values her
family and especially enjoys her grandchildren.
Take a look at her work at:
© 200 I Arizona Authors Association, on behalf of the authors.
None of the material in this publication may be reproduced
in any manner without written permission of the
Arizona Authors Association or the individual copyright
Table Of Contents
Unpublished Essay and Article:
1 st Place - The Path of Most Resistance, by Dorman Groat .............. .
2nd Place - Mr. Jones Comes Home, by Audrey Bailey ... ................. ..
3rd Place - How to Get a Job, by Linda Bierwagen ......................... .
1 st Place - The Devil's Leavings, by Cleo Lorette ... ....................... ..
2nd Place - Abby, by Sharon Poppen . ........................................... .
3rd Place - Escape from Spain, by Elizabeth Carroll ....................... .
Unpublished Short Story:
1 st Place - Crossings, by Rita Marko ............................................ .
2nd Place - Groundhog Day, by Marion Ekholm ............................ ..
3rd Place - Resurrecting Trolls, by Lynn Veach Sadler .................... .
1st Place - September 1942, by Ellaraine Lockie ............................ .
2nd Place -Kamikiri Artist Felled by Green Rice Shoot, by Lynn Veach Sadler.
3rd Place - Lost Legacy, by Ellaraine Lockie ................................ ..
Published Fiction Books:
1 st Place - Living With The Guru, by Gurukirn Kaur Khalsa ... .......... .
2nd Place - Green Slime and Jam, by Lila Guzman ......................... .
3rd Place - Whitey 2000, by Terry Gatesh ..................................... .
Published Non-fiction Books:
1 st Place - Capture The Rapture, by Marcia Reynolds .......... ...... ..... .
2nd Place - The Gourmet Paper Maker, by Ellaraine Lockie ............. .
3rd Place - All Because of a Button - Folklore, Fact and Fiction,
by Ellaraine Lockie ................................................... .
Arizona Literary Magazine
Paperback - 297 pages
Mardel Books - US $15.00
AN ALMA CHRONICLE
A novel of
Eighteenth Century England
Alison McPhearson, a Scottish immigrant,
struggles for acceptance as an independent
inn-keeper. Such scandalous behavior for a lone
and pregnant woman could result in
exile to the streets of London.
When the Jacobite Rebellion brings an
English lieutenant to the inn door,
Alison falls in love.
With courage and an independent spirit,
Alison will be tom between career,
her townspeople, the safety of her child,
and saving the life of her beloved enemy.
Order it from
Amazon.com - Barnes&Noble.com or
- 4 -
SELECTED EVENTS FROM THE
WRITERS CALENDAR 2002
Arizona Authors Association Meetings
Silver room - Scottsdale Civic Center Library
Monday January 14, 2002 - 6:30 pm
Monday, March 18 - 6:30 pm
Monday, May 20 - 6:30 pm
Monday, September 16 - 6:30 pm
Monday November 18 - 6:30 pm
Friday, Saturday, Sunday February 1,2, & l
GLENDALE CHOCOLATE AFFAIRE
Velma Teague Library, 59th Ave. & Glendale
A host of local authors autograph their books
in the Bames & Noble booth '
Friday, Saturday, February 15 & 16
Writers Seminar - National Speakers Association
1500 S. Priest Drive, in Tempe
"Twelve Secrets For Writing Compelling Fiction"
by Vijaya Schartz.
Friday, Saturday, March 1 & 2
REALIZING THE DREAM
Desert Dreams Writers Conference
Workshops for all genres of writing
Fiesta Inn Resort in Tempe
Saturday, April 6, 2002- 10 am to 5 pm
ARIZONA BOOK FESTIVAL
Margaret T. Hance Deck Park
Central Avenue, south of McDowel
Saturday and Sunday, April 6 & 7 - 10 am to 6 pm
Phoenix Family and Women's Expo
Phoenix Civic Plaza (3rd Street & Monroe)
Local Romance Authors will autograph their books
Deadline for entries in the Arizona Literary Contest
October 2002 (usually lrd weekend)
Writers Roundup Conference
In the West Valley (Glendale-Peoria)
Friday November 8
2002 ARIZONA LITERARY BANQUET
All year round, consult our complete calendar
with various writers groups meetings and events at:
FIRST PRIZE WINNER
About the author:
Ellaraine Lockie writes nonfiction
books, magazine articles, columns, children's
stories. Her first non-fiction book, All Because
of a Button - Folklore, Fact and Fiction,
was released by St Johann Press in
January 2001, and her second book, The
Gourmet Paper Maker, by Creative Publications
in the U.S. and Collins and Brown in
England, in March, 2001.
Ellaraine began writing poetry two
years ago and has received more than one
hundred and fity poetry awards. Her work
has appeared in journals, anthologies, magazines
and broadsides in the U.S., Canada and
England. Her first collection, entitled Midlife
Muse, won Poetry Forum's chapbook contest
and was published in the Spring of 2000. Ellaraine
lives in Northern California with her
husband and her collections of animals and
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Arizona Literary Magazine
I can pinpoint the time
The precise place
I fell in love
As surely as bombs
fell around us
And air-raid sirens
clashed with Vera Lynn's
"White Cliffs of Dover"
In an English dance hall
Where American anus
wrapped around foreign waists
Patriotic passions powered
That swallowed sweethearts
and wives left behind
Spit them into
dug between land mines
Emptiness filling furloughs
When the only thing
not rationed was romance
His appetite ravenous for life
Mine for love that
never consummated in
a cardboard wedding cake
or cigar-band ring
Instead captured me
A prisoner of war until
I can pinpoint the time
The precise place
I became a war casualty
As surely as purple medals
were pinned over hearts
Mine was amputated
In the dance hall
Where wireless air waves
announced his withdrawal
And Peggy Lee sang
"Someone Else Is Taking My Place"
Arizona Literary Magazine Fall 2001
FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Essay and Article Category
THE PATH OF MOST RESISTANCE
By Dorman Groat
"I'm going for a hike."
I raise my eyebrows in surprise and look at
my son, Ari, just turned four a few days ago. The first
blush of desert light radiates through his golden hair
making him look like a small angel. This is a far different
vision than the whining, crying little boy who
had to be coaxed and coerced into the short backpack
through the "bad, yucky cactus" yesterday. Having
awakened in the heart of the Sonoran desert and Organ
Pipe National Monument on a bright new day,
however, he now seems to have revitalized his spirit
"Oh, okay," I tell him. "Can I come?"
"You can come, dad, but not mom."
Ah, male bonding. With no further adieu, he
starts off. The desert is an open place and hiking here
is a matter of picking a direction and walking. Open,
but not empty. Here, we are privileged visitors in a
spectacular stone garden filled with odd and wonderful
plants. Huge, awesome saguaro and multi-limbed
organ pipes are the main features, but we have also
grown to fear and enjoy the smaller, deadlier cholla,
the aptly named prickly pear, and the sharp spears of
agave. Clumps of more benign plant life - the lovely
palo verde tree, mesquite and other small clumps of
shrubs and grasses - also dot the stony floor for
maximum artistic effect. Small, snaky washes weave
their way through this peaceful setting, making the
desert only appear flat and level. Hike a mile or two
into it and it becomes obvious it's really a labyrinth of
arroyos, sand hills, stony outcrops and gullies.
Walking then, I should correct, is a matter of
pointing a rough direction and weaving forward
through the spiny obstacle course, like a drunk
through a parking lot, to a destination that really has
no meaning in such a wide-open place.
Ari weaves with the best of them. At first his
turns seem aimless, but out of the chaos comes a pattern.
With every turn he makes-a conscious decision.
Four-year-old Ari is headed uphill. I follow
along behind him and think how men are somehow
the opposite of water. Following the path of least resistance,
water always fmds the truest course downhill.
Men, however, like Sir Edmund Hillary, pulled to
the highest point of the world, have gravitated uphill,
usually attempting the steepest, hardest, most direct
route - a perverse but undeniable trait of human nature.
Well, make that male nature.
And Ari is no exception.
Here, we are surrounded by desert cragsheaps
of dark volcanic rock, steep loose talus, and lots
of thorny obstacles. Ari' s swerves quickly bring him
to a direct path up the slope of the nearest peak.
Avoiding all subtlety, he takes the steepest, most direct
route and soon comes to class-four climbing.
Hand over hand. For the first time I think it dawns in
his toddler mind that he is climbing a mountain. He
turns to me and grins.
"Come on, dad, it's not so hard."
He climbs. I follow. Up through the Mormon
tea that erupts miraculously through the basalt rock.
Delicately around the prickly pear. To the left, to the
right, I see gentler routes. But Ari goes straight up.
Climbing with the fearlessness and confidence of innocence.
"Come on, dad, it's not so hard," he repeats.
And I watch him in utter amazement that this child, so
young and new to the world, should already possess
these many skills, this much determination.
It shouldn't. Children are born with a certain
toughness. A ready-to-do mentality. In many ways we
hold them back. We spoil them mercilessly. We think
of them as a helpless newborn, when in reality, once
they are mobile, they are tough and terrific little creatures.
Already, Ari likes to help wash dishes, vacuum
the floor, walk around behind me as I mow the lawn.
Four years old, and he's capable of so much. I look
around at all the children I know, little packages of
talent and potential, and what do we do with them?
Park them in front of a television filled with idiotic
- 6 -
videogames and cartoon network trash, and let them
slide slowly into ruin.
I've been watching. Once you become a parent
you start noticing children and taking notes. In the
past year I've met preteen girls who could drive tractors,
handle cows four times their size, and play allstar-
quality softball. Next door, we have a fourteenyear-
old who dismantles and rebuilds engines in his
spare time, and drives the contraptions over to our
house to give Ari a ride. We went kayaking with another
teenage boy, quarterback of his football team,
who bonded immediately with Ari and made sure he
caught his first fish. I've also, however, met many,
many kids who were unable to converse about anything
other than television or videogames. I've seen
kids not yet out of junior high and barely locomotive.
I've heard teenagers whining like kindergarteners
about a half hour chore. I've met Kids who eat junk
food from breakfast to midnight, or whenever they
decide to go to bed ...
It's sad. I believe that all children want to be
active. And I believe that all parents love their children.
We want life to be pleasant for them. We want
life to be pleasant for ourselves. We don't want to be
bad guys, mean parents, uncool... Yesterday, Ari was
an unhappy little boy having to do "this stupid hike
through all this mean cactus." And anybody who
thinks it's easy to backpack with a four-year-old has
never done it. But we do it because it's something we
love and want to share. And because the alternative is
to let him retreat to his room or the TV - an easy
way to avoid conflict. That's the path of least resistance,
the downward trickle of water seeking the lowest
The desert doesn't see much water. In Organ
Pipe, less than four inches a year. Life is rough here,
but undeniably beautiful. It's a Zen garden where simplicity
dominates, where life adapts in strange and
Arizona Literary Magazine
As a 23-year-old advertising refugee, Dorman
Groat moved to Arizona in 1984 to write, hike and lead
a sane life. A former winner of the Arizona Author's
Association Literary Contest (rt place fiction, 1987),
he is now currently employed as a journeyman meatcutter
and lives in Cottonwood with his wife Debi and
son Ari. "The writing career has been one step forward,
one step back, " he says, "but I do cut a helluva
porterhouse. " He is currently working on a novel about
Sedona, environmentalists, wise guys and trickster
novel ways. The saguaro shrinks and swells as it holds
the yearly downpour, soaks it up, then stores it for the
rest of the entire year. The tiny leaves on the ocotillo
are designed to sip up the morning dew. The desert
shrew utilizes water so efficiently that it actually
passes urine that is moist air. Life is hard here. Because
of that, each individual life form stands out in a
unique and dynamic way.
In his own way, Ari climbs steadily towards
the top. Our campsite far below is already a speck. I
point out the view to Ari, who's interested for a moment,
but then is back scrambling towards the top of
the mountain. My love for him is so intense ... There
are so many things I want to do for him. So many
things I want to teach, explain, help him avoid. But
right now, I realize my duty is to get out of his way
and watch him climb. There is one last rocky spot to
the top. He picks the worst possible line, but the rock
is hard and filled with fissures. I help him with his
footing, point out the handholds and then, before we
know it, he is on top. And I am beside him.
It is a glorious February Morning. From the
summit we can see miles in every direction. To the
east is a rocky pass in the Ajo mountains - a favorite
route for smugglers. North of us is a bigger peak. To
the west we can see for miles across the desert flats
and plainly see the fan-shaped networks of washes
that run away from us. And south lays the smoky haze
of Mexico, the border, just miles from where we
stand. Ari, triumphant and joyous, waves to his
mother, a speck in camp below us. I shake my head in
wonder. I know for a fact there are few four-year-olds
who have summited, on their own power, a desert
I know for a fact there are very few who are
given the opportunity.
- February 6, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
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Arizona Literary Magazine Fa112001
FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Short Story Category
By Rita Marko
Marilyn tugged at the car door. She stooped to look in the
passenger window. "It's locked."
The door lock clicked and she slid onto the seat of the Ford
Taurus. She pulled the seatbelt across her ample middle and
looked at her husband.
Roy nodded at the two cans of soda that Marilyn placed at
her feet. "You can bring those along, but you're not drinking
them in the car," he said, looking over his shoulder to back down
"But it's such a long ride, and I thought it'd be nice to have
something cool to drink along the way."
"You'll spill it. I don't want you getting that sticky crap all
over. I had the car detailed last week." He steered the vehicle out
of the cul-de-sac.
Marilyn turned away from him and gazed out the window
and onto the rising heat of a summer morning. "Okay. We'll
have them when we stop."
"We're not stopping. I don't want to waste any time."
"We're going to have to take a break at some point. I'll
have to go to the bathroom. I took a diuretic this morning."
Her husband slammed one open hand down on the steering
wheel. "I thought I told you to layoff of them today. I don't want
to have to pullover every half hour to find you a toilet."
"The doctor told me not to miss any. You know it's not
good for my blood pressure." She crossed her arms over her
chest. "And I don't go every half hour."
"If you'd lose some weight, you wouldn't need to take those
After a few minutes, she reached to turn on the radio.
"Leave it off," he said.
Marilyn turned her thoughts to their trip. The highway
would soon be clogged with commuter traffic, but they would be
well out of the city by then. She checked her watch. The border
town of Nogales was about four hours away. The stores would be
open when they arrived. They'd do their shopping and be back
home by mid-afternoon-especially if Roy refused to stop anywhere
Suddenly, she thought of something and asked, "Did you
remember your prescriptions?"
"Of course, do you think I'm some kind of moron?"
"Are you sure this is a good idea? Are the medicines in
Mexico the same as the ones they sell here?"
"That's what Hal and Elsie say. They've been getting their
drugs there for over a year now. If my medicines weren't so
damned expensive here, I wouldn't have to do it. But I can't see
paying out that much of my hard-earned money each month for
Marilyn studied the scenery. They passed the industrial part
of south Phoenix and would soon be on the long stretch of open
road that led first to Tucson and then to Nogales.
"I don't understand how the same medicine can be that
much cheaper in Mexico."
Roy sighed. "I've already explained this to you once. You
Marilyn remained silent.
"It's because the Mexicans limit what the drug companies
can charge. I can't understand why all those illegals keep crossing
over. They've got it pretty sweet in their own country."
"They come here to work," Marilyn replied.
"No they don't. They come here to live off of us, because
they know we'll take care of them. They figure why work in
Mexico when good ole Uncle Sam will give them everything they
could ever want."
Marilyn said nothing. She and Roy had had this discussion
before. After thirty years of marriage, they'd covered most topics
at some point. Roy always wound up getting angry and yelling.
Marilyn usually ended up silent and in tears. It seemed simpler to
sit and listen, whether she agreed or not.
She concentrated on the passing desert. Spring rains had
nurtured the many varied greens of ocotillo, saguaro, mesquite and
palo verde. Soon, the summer sun would scorch the desert a
muted brown. Plants, animals and people would retreat to await
the monsoons that offered temporary relief from the hot weather
Marilyn wondered what fun outing her daughter and granddaughter
had planned for the day. They seldom visited their
daughter, Elizabeth, although she lived in Tucson. Marilyn considered
suggesting a detour to Roy, but then thought better of it.
Elizabeth had made it clear that she could not bear to be around
her father, or to watch the way he treated her mother. Marilyn
didn't think Roy was that bad. There were times when he'd bring
pizza home after a Knights of Columbus meeting so that she
wouldn't have to cook. He took her to Denny's for breakfast after
church. He even did the dishes and ran the sweeper, once in a
Looking up, she found the craggy profile of Picacho Peak
rising from the valley floor ahead. She stole a glance at Roy, who
seemed intent on the road.
"Do you think we could stop at the rest area?" she asked.
"Do you really need to go?"
"Geez." Roy frowned at his wife. "Okay. But hurry it up.
We still have some distance to cover."
At the off ramp, Roy veered from the freeway. He pulled
into a handicapped parking space near the restrooms. "Make it
snappy," he said as she got out.
Marilyn looked around. She hated it when Roy parked in
designated spaces. They did not have handicap plates or a placard,
but he insisted it was his right to use whatever space was most
convenient and available. She clasped her handbag and walked to
the little brick building.
- 8 -
Rita Marko obtained both her B.A. and MA. in anthropology
at the University of Arizona. After a brief foray
into coursework for the PhD, she moved from Austin, Texas to
Shelton, Washington, where she was employed by the Skikomish
Indian Tribe as a grantwriter/planner. Scraping the
mold and mildew from between her toes, she returned to the
desert in 1999. Currently, Rita is the Development Officer for
the Phoenix Public Library Foundation. She has completed
her first novel, based on her experiences with the Skikomish,
and has begun a second one, exploring the right to die with
It was cool inside. An older woman filling an insulated water
jug at the sink smiled at her as she moved toward the stalls.
"Nice day, isn't it?" the woman greeted her.
Marilyn smiled but hurried past. When she came out, the
woman was wiping her face and neck with a damp washcloth.
Marilyn used the other sink to wash her hands.
The woman smiled at her. "Not too warm yet?"
"No. It's a rather nice day."
"Where you headed?"
"That's such a fun place," the woman said. "My husband
and I like to daytrip to Nogales whenever we can get away from
the grandkids. We had the best dinner in a charming little restaurant
a couple of weeks ago--great food and even better margari-tas."
A car horn bleated. "Better get going," Marilyn said.
She rushed down the sidewalk to the car. As she opened the
door, Roy shouted, "What the hell were you doing in there? Knitting
Marilyn had to struggle to close the door as Roy put the car
in reverse and pulled away from the curb.
"We're not stopping again until we get to Mexico," he declared.
"Maybe we could have lunch in Nogales," Marilyn suggested.
"Are you out of your mind? There are all kinds of diseases
in the water. We're only going across to get my medicines and
coming right back."
"But I heard there were some nice restaurants on the Mexican
side ofthe border. And I haven't been to Nogales in years."
"You know I don't like Mexican food. It gives me heartburn,"
She shrugged. Maybe she'd be able to talk him into stopping
for a hamburger in Eloy on the way back-he'd be hungry by
"And we're walking across. I don't want to drive into Mexico.
Some damn wetback will steal my car and we'll be stranded."
"Roy, they can't be 'wetbacks' in Mexico. That term refers
to the Mexicans who cross into the United States. And it's an
ugly thing to call them."
"Wetbacks is what they are no matter where they are."
She focused her attention on some unseen spot on the distant
horizon. Lulled by the unchanging landscape, she let her head
fall back against the seat and dozed.
Marilyn was awakened by the car lurching. She opened her
eyes to find Roy navigating around potholes in a dirt lot. A
young, dark-skinned boy ran ahead of them, directing Roy to a
space near the plank fence that surrounded the lot.
She sat up in her seat and fingered her hair. "That was
quick. How long did I nap?"
Arizona Literary Magazine
Roy didn't reply. He put the car in park and started to get
out. He looked back at Marilyn. "Coming?"
"Yes," she said and followed.
Roy handed the boy a five-dollar bill. "Watch her for me
and I'll give you another one of those when we come back," he
The smudged-faced child nodded. "Okay."
Roy strode down the hill to the international crossing.
Marilyn tried to keep up with him. The day had grown warm.
The sun beat down on her bare head. She held her hand up to
shield her eyes from the glare. She thought about going back for
the straw hat she'd left in the car, but Roy would be furious at
having to wait for her. She'd have to hope her fair skin didn't
With Roy leading the way, they moved easily through the
border station. Marilyn thought there should be more fanfare-after
all, they were entering a foreign country. But it didn't feel
that different. The streets all ran on--one into the other; houses
on one side of the border looked pretty much the same as houses
on the other. If there weren't a fence and guards, you wouldn't
know you'd left the United States.
They walked down the main street. Signs in English beckoned
shoppers with promises of the lowest prices in Nogales.
Some of the shops heralded Viagra or Celebrex as "special today."
Men stood in some of the doorways calling to passersby with offers
to beat the prices of competitors.
"Pretty American lady," one man called to Marilyn.
"Purses. Special price for you."
Marilyn waved and giggled. She pointed at her husband
walking ahead of her to indicate that she was being left behind and
She followed Roy into a farmacia. She took the flier
handed her by the young girl standing at the door. It listed various
medications, showing a substantial decrease in cost as volume
rose--a three months' supply discounted fifty percent. She saw
Roy glance at his flier and then proceed to the counter to talk with
a man in a white lab coat.
Marilyn looked around the store. Bottles of "real vanilla"
were arranged next to bottles of Kahlua and Tequila. Brightly
striped blankets were piled next to display shelves filled to overflowing
with heavy brown pottery. She picked up a more delicate
looking bowl. Although glazed, it was rough to the touch. She
fingered the painted blue flowers clinging to its surface.
"Come on," Roy said as he walked past her.
Marilyn set the bowl back on the shelf and followed him
out. "What was wrong with that place?"
"I think I can get a better deal somewhere else, that's all,"
Marilyn continued to follow Roy up and down several
streets, and in and out of a number of pharmacies. They all
seemed pretty much the same to her-shelves crammed with onyx
figurines, pottery, cobalt blue margarita glasses, and more liquor.
In each establishment, Roy would seek out a man in a lab coat and
discuss prices. Despite offers of "the best deal in all of Mexico,"
Roy would turn on his heels and leave to find something better.
By the sixth store, Marilyn was thirsty. "Can we stop and
get something to drink?"
Roy raised his eyebrows. "I told you it's not safe to eat or
"We could get a bottled soda," Marilyn suggested. "That
should be okay. I'm starting to feel a little dehydrated." She
dabbed at the sweat on her brow with the back of her hand.
"Look, I only have a couple more places I want to check
out," Roy said. He rubbed his hands together. "I saw one phar-
- 9 -
Arizona Literary Magazine
macy on the other side of the street, up a piece, with pretty good
prices--even for Nogales."
Marilyn stared at her husband. In plaid shorts and a polo
shirt, he seemed the most ordinary American retiree. She couldn't
understand why saving a few more dollars was worth walking all
over town. The two of them had more than they needed. They
could afford any of the prices they'd seen advertised.
She looked around. At the intersection, she noticed a few
tables clustered in front of one of the stores. A young man was
erecting a tattered green umbrella over one of the tables. "Look, I'm
going to sit over there and have a soda," she told Roy. "When
you're done shopping, come back and get me."
Roy sighed. "Okay. If you get sick on the way home, remember
that I'm not stopping. You'll have to hold it."
Marilyn made her way to the tienda. She selected a bottle of
orange liquid from a refrigerated case at the front of the store. The
woman at the counter took her money and smiled warmly at her.
When Marilyn couldn't twist off the bottle top, the woman grabbed
the bottle and opened it without a word.
Marilyn walked out the front door and selected a chair in the
shade of the umbrella. As she settled herself and sipped the soda,
she noticed a thin young woman in a bright, flowered dress crossing
the street. The woman had a heavy-looking duffel bag slung over
one shoulder and a small child clinging to her free hand. The child's
frilly pink dress was worn but clean. The little girl clutched an oneeyed
bear to her chest.
The young woman approached Marilyn and asked something.
Marilyn smiled at the child, then looked up at the young woman and
replied, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish."
"Oh," she said. "Sorry. I ask about the bus. I try inside."
Moments later, the woman and child returned. The little girl
held a bottle of soda, identical to the one Marilyn was finishing.
The woman smiled at Marilyn as she helped the child into a chair at
the adjoining table.
She smiled back at the two of them. The little girl reminded
her so much of her granddaughter, Chelsea. Roughly the same
age--about six years old-they shared a wide-eyed innocence, a
view of the world, as one great adventure that came shining through
every facial expression.
Marilyn leaned over and said, "What's the bear's name?"
The little girl looked at her shyly. "Pedro. Mama name him."
"He's very handsome," she replied. "Are you two going on a
The girl nodded. "Si. ami abl/e/a."
Marilyn looked to the child's mother. The young woman replied,
"To mi mama, on the coast."
"How nice! It will be good to get away from all this heat."
The woman nodded. "I am glad to leave here. I not come
"You don't like Nogales?" .
"No! I work in the big factory. We live in a box on the hill."
The woman pointed over her shoulder.
Marilyn looked in the direction, but saw nothing.
"I work too hard. Life is too hard," the woman said and
searched Marilyn's face. "My English is good. I get better job in
tOllrista hotel with mi mama. She help with Maria Elena," the
woman nodded at the child.
"What a beautiful name for such a pretty little girl," Marilyn
responded as the child giggled. "Maria Elena."
"I'm Marilyn," she told the young woman.
"I am called Sandra."
"How long have you been in Nogales?" Marilyn watched as
the child held the bear in her lap and pretended to give it a sip of
"We been here three years. It is very bad place. Evil."
Marilyn could hear the disdain in Sandra's voice.
"Well it sounds like you were living in terrible conditions,"
Marilyn said. "Why did you come here?"
"For work," Sandra said, her eyes narrowing. "I work twelve
hours cada dia. I paint inside of suitcase with glue. It make me sick.
No air." Sandra rubbed her throat as she spoke.
Marilyn studied her face. The woman was not as young as
she had first guessed. Sandra was in her late twenties, but her dress
was more youthful-more appropriate to someone in her teens.
"Then, the jefe, he says I am too old. Says if I want job, I do
things for him." Sandra shook. "I want job, but not do what he
says. I say time to leave."
Marilyn nodded. "You're very wise. No job is worth that
kind of treatment."
"But money is good. Very hard for mi mama. I send money
to pay doctor for papa. He is sick."
"I'm sure you'll find a better job. Your English is very good,"
Sandra smiled. "I learn from mi comadre at the factory."
Marilyn glanced up to see Roy approaching from across the
street. "Oh, here's my husband."
He stood in front of Marilyn, ignoring the young woman and
child. "Damn wetbacks," he said.
"What happened?" Marilyn asked.
"I jew this guy down and give him my prescriptions. Then he
tells me that the price we negotiated was for a different dose. The
dose I want will cost twice as much. I tell him that's a damned lie
and he knows it."
"What did you do?"
"I got my prescriptions back and left. But before I did, I gave
him a piece of my mind. Taking advantage of a poor retiree that
As Roy spoke, his face became red and he waved his arms for
emphasis. Maria Elena moved from her seat next to Marilyn and
crawled into her mother's lap. Marilyn could see that Sandra did
not like what she was hearing.
"Maybe, Senor, you take advantage."
"Who the hell asked you?"
Marilyn was horrified. "Roy, please. This is my friend, Sandra.
And this is her daughter, Maria Elena."
"Friend?" Roy eyed the young woman and the child. "I
doubt that. You better keep a close eye on your wallet."
Sandra gathered up her duffel bag. "Maria Elena," she said,
holding out her hand to the child. The little girl placed her hand in
her mother's and they walked into the tienda.
Roy sat down opposite Marilyn. ''Now I'm going to have to
go back to that other store, near the border station."
Marilyn clutched her bottle of soda to keep her hands from
shaking. ''That was uncalled for."
"What you said in front of that sweet young woman. I was
enjoying talking with her and her daughter. You had no right to
"What the hell are you talking about? She was the one sticking
her nose in my business."
"She was only defending her countrymen. And you-you
were playing the ugly American."
Roy stared at Marilyn. "I think you might want to reconsider
what you just said to me."
"No. I don't think so. We' re guests in this country. I think
we should be on our best behavior."
"Look-I'm not going to debate this with you. But unless
you want to find your own way home, you better change your tune.
And now!" Small beads of sweat began to emerge on Roy's fore-
- 10 -
The Skill and Art
Of Business Writing
An Everyday Guide
HAROLD E. MEYER
Arizona Literary Magazine
An informal, easy-to-read, entertaining, and useful explanation of what clear
writing is and how you can learn to do it
An industrial accountant with an accountant's dedication to
accuracy, Harold E. Meyer is also a master of precise, clear writing.
In this, his latest book on how to express yourself in a variety of settings,
for a variety of purposes, he proves that easily understood writing
can be learned. He shows how to use ordinary English to produce
clear messages of any kind. Meyer's approach is informal, pleasant,
and presented in brief sections, each with its point clearly expressed.
His book is well illustrated throughout by amusing-<>fien startlingexamples
of good writing and bad writing, and what the result can be
from both. A remarkable business-oriented guide for people at all
levels, in all capacities, in today's organizations-where the ways in
which ideas are expressed are at least as important as the ideas themselves.
What makes Meyer's book easy to read and grasp--and so enjoyable-is his use of
personal anecdotes. Readers will learn how to punctuate, how to organize and present ideas,
and other essential skills. Meyer also provides a helpful reference that explains many of the
changes in the language that have occurred in recent years and when to use them. The result
is an essential aid and resource for anyone who has to communicate by the written word.
The Skill and Art of Business Writing
Published by QUORUM BOOKS - Westport, Connecticut * London
Publication date: November 30,2001 - ISBN 1-56720-457-0 - List price: $60.00
Order it from www.hn.com - www.amazon.com - www.greenwood.com
- 11 -
Arizona Literary Magazine
Mistress of the Dragon
Michel R. Mennenga
Published by AmErica
Morana, a young and beautiful
human girl, suffered greatly at the hands
of her captors, but her love for the powerful
and magical Dragon Tigora gives
her the strength to escape the persecutions
of the church. Petri II , the half
dragon, half human child born from their
tragic love, tries to find her place in the
By 1995, author Michael Mennenga
had written two young
adult books, one novel, and had
nine others in various stages of
production. Executive editor for
a writer site on the internet that received recognition
from Writers Digest and Forbes publishing Group,
the release of his first book - Zac and the Valley of
the Dragons - forced his resignation in 1999. Mistress
of the Dragon, released in 2001, is quickly
finding an audience. Resident of Phoenix, Michael
writes full time to produce new titles.
Visit the website at:
head. He rose. "Come on. I want to get my medicine and get the
hell out ofthis God-forsaken country."
Marilyn remained seated.
"Well. What are you waiting for?"
"I don't think I'm ready yet."
"I think I'd like to have another soda. You go on to the pharmacy.
I'll meet you back at the car."
"Have you taken leave of your senses?" Roy towered over
Marilyn. "I'm going to give you five seconds to get off that fat butt
of yours. If you're not moving by then, I'm leaving you here.
You're on your own."
"That's better. Now let's go."
She turned and went into the tienda. She emerged moments
later with another bottle of soda.
Roy stared, mouth agape. "Maybe the sun has finally baked
the few brains that you had left. I'm not fooling. You better be
coming with me. Now!" Roy pointed at his side as if commanding
Marilyn sat down and took a long sip of soda.
"I'm not kidding around here, Marilyn."
"Neither am I," she replied. "You need to be more respectful
of me, of these other people." She gestured to the Mexicans moving
in and out of the store.
Sandra and her daughter emerged from the tienda---each carrying
a bottle of soda. "Thank the lady, Maria Elena," she said to
"Muchas gracias, Dona Marilyn."
"See, they're already taking you for all you're worth," Roy
said. "I don't know what you think you're doing, but let's go."
Roy's voice had moved from outrage to an angry whine.
She looked past her husband and down the street.
"Okay. I'm leaving. You're not going to have any way to get
home. What are you going to do then?"
"Perhaps Dona Marilyn will see more of my country," Sandra
said. She studied Marilyn. "You can come with us?"
Marilyn clung to her soda bottle and glanced at Roy. What
would she do without him? She'd spent all of her adult life with this
Marilyn looked at Sandra in disbelief as Roy laughed. "How
pathetic," he said. "You' re so desperate to get your hands on her
wallet that you'll say anything."
Sandra held Marilyn's gaze. "No, senor. She is fine woman.
She deserves more. She will have better life away from you."
"How long are you going to listen to this nonsense?" Roy's
tone softened. "Look, we're getting carried away. Maybe it's the
heat. Maybe it's being too far from home. Come on back with me.
We'll stop in Tucson and have a nice lunch."
Marilyn's head swam with the possibilities. She could do it.
She could go with Sandra and her daughter. She could even get a
job. There would be lots of opportunities for an American woman
in Sandra's hometown-what with all the tourists. Her life could be
very different. She could get her own place. Maybe Elizabeth and
Chelsea would come to visit her.
"You're seriously considering this, aren't you?" Roy shook
his head. "This whore will set you up. You'll wind up dead in
some Mexican sewer. You' ll never see me or our daughter or
Sandra's eyes flashed, but she said nothing. She continued to
hold Marilyn's gaze.
"You know Roy, we don't see Elizabeth or Chelsea now."
Marilyn opened her purse and took out her wallet. "I think that if
you weren't around, I'd see much more of them. You've driven her
away. You've done that with most everyone we know."
- 12 -
Roy stared at his wife.
"You've turned into a mean old man. I thought you'd mellow
with age and that maybe, then, we could have the life I've always
wanted. I wanted to travel-see Europe, maybe even the Holy
Land. But it looks like this is as far as we're going to get together."
Marilyn handed Sandra some folded bills. "If you really
meant what you said, would you please buy me a bus ticket?"
Maria Elena smiled as her mother took the money. They went
into the store.
"Where will you live? What will you live on?"
"I'm sure I can get my social security check sent to me in
Mexico. In the meantime, I have some money of my own. And I'm
sure I can get a little job in one of the tourist hotels on the coast."
"You? Work? All you do is sit around all day and watch television.
Who'd hire you? For what?"
Marilyn's jaw tightened, but her voice remained soft and
steady. "I have lots of skills. I've been taking care of you for the
past thirty years. If I can cook and clean for you, I can cook and
clean for someone who'll pay me to do it."
Sandra and her daughter emerged from the tienda just as a
small green and white bus pulled around the comer. It stopped in
front of the store and began to disgorge passengers.
"You can't do this!" Roy shouted.
"I can." Marilyn stood and took the outstretched hand that
Maria Elena offered.
Sandra tossed her duffel bag to the bus driver on the roof of
the bus. Marilyn moved around the table to Roy and kissed him on
"I'll write when I get settled." She thought she saw tears
forming in his eyes.
"You've really lost your mind." He shook his head.
"No. I think I'm about to find it again," she said and walked
with Maria Elena to the front of the bus.
Sandra stood at the door with their tickets. She handed them
to the bus driver. The two women and the girl climbed aboard the
Marilyn found a window seat toward the back of the bus.
Sandra and Maria Elena took the seat in front of her. Other passengers
boarded and the bus was soon filled. A few men remained
standing in the aisle as the bus driver closed the door.
Maria Elena looked over the back of the seat at Marilyn.
"This is good. He is mean man," the child said as she pointed out
the open window to Roy.
Marilyn looked out at Roy. He was sitting at one of the tables,
his hands hanging at his side. As the bus pulled away from the
curb, Marilyn saw him lift his hands to his face. He seemed to be
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- 13 -
Arizona Literary Magazine Fall 2001
FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Unublished Novel Category
THE DEVIL'S LEAVINGS
"The year was 1936, and depression gripped the U.
S. for the seventh year. Mussolini defied the world and
invaded Ethiopia. Franco's rebel forces began a bitter civil
war against the Spanish government. Japan invaded China
one more time. Hitler marched German troops into the
demilitarized Rhineland. And, in the U.S., Franklin Delano
Roosevelt's New Deal won another election but earned him
the stigma of being a traitor to his class. More than a million
immigrants from Europe had settled in Brooklyn since 1920
and struggled to survive."
What Happened When
For Angelina Corbeiro the noisy, strident city called
Brooklyn was a hostile and unforgiving place. A cold, brutal,
bitch of a place that flourished on noise and filth. Coal dust
and factory soot blackened buildings and board-washed
clothes drying on outdoor lines. Streets were littered with
horse dung. The noise and confusion of ells, trains, trucks,
pushcart vendors, factories and docks shattered her nerves.
Mothers, grandmothers and children worked ten-hour days in
sweatshops. Younger children assembled flowers in dingy
apartments where two and sometimes three families shared
Black cockroaches swarmed over the walls of her
cold-water-flat after lamps were blown out at night. Rats as
big as cats skulked in basements and beneath uncollected
trash that lined alleyways. The Gowanus Canal smelled
worse than a public outhouse. And winters like this froze all
the goodness and joy from the hearts of the most God-loving.
Brooklyn was especially hateful for Italian immigrants like
herself, who missed the warm sun, the serenity of mountain
villages, and the fragrant pine trees and ripening grapes.
Angelina stood at her kitchen window on the third
floor apartment, watching a man in the street below rush
homeward, fighting the wind, his frame outlined in the
swinging streetlight. Next door, Mrs. Franchetti's washing
was line dancing, a hideous, slow motion spasm, like a
drunken marionette. Dulled by overcast skies, the sun slowly
By Cleo Lorette
sank behind the webbed water/gas tanks. Ships in the Upper
Bay of the Hudson River harbor hooted mournfully. Black
clouds roiled in the southeast, gathering forces for a night
attack. Tentacles of snow-laden wind violated every crack
and crevice of her ancient building, seeking ~ntrance. Angelina
She scanned the street below. "Whatever could have
happened to Cosimo?' she asked nobody in particular. She
laughed a raw, cackling laugh, the kind of laugh that came
from people who saw too much ugliness on a day-to-day basis.
She knew. Her heart skipped several beats. In the
knowing, she was afraid.
Angelina had not arrived in America expecting a
land of milk and honey, or streets paved with gold. However,
she certainly hadn't expected grinding poverty equal to, if not
worse than, the poverty she'd left in Italy. Depression sat on
everyone's shoulder, like a buzzard, waiting for the first sign
of weakness or despair. Illness and death stalked the streets
like the puttana lercia, the women who sold their bodies to
feed their families. Streets of gold? Milk and honey? Ha!
Cio Iche una puttana!
Life in America had not been good to Angelina. She
had endured without complaint the brunt of every disappointment
and humiliation God or fate had thrown in her path.
With no claim to beauty, Angelina looked older than her
thirty-six years. Her peasant's body in her plain cotton dress
was as lumpy as a sack of gourds. Permanent worry frowns
sat like a smirking gargoyle on her plain face.
Marius, her three-and-a-half-year-old son, had
awakened from his nap with a sore throat and fever. The
only relief she could offer was two drops of turpentine in a
half-teaspoon of sugar. She'd moved him from the cold bedroom
to the divan in the slightly warmer parlor. Her bundle
of piecework, due to be picked up in the morning, lay unfinished
on the table. She'd have to work most of the night to
get it finished. Dark feelings of fear moved through her soul
like a sinuous snake. The three dollars a week she earned
doing piecework meant the added luxury of meat two days a
week. Cosimo worked hard. He needed meat to keep his
Angelina had pulled Benedetta away from her
homework to help with the piecework. For a nine-year-old,
Benedetta was normally a patient and neat seamstress. But
this was a new fabric, a thin, crawly fabric called pongee, that
was difficult to work. Benedetta was almost in tears of frustration.
- 14 -
Arizona Literary Magazine
The second child and first daughter of nine children, Cleo grew up i~ Mus-ko
Oklahoma Married to Ray Lorette fifty-nine years, she had three chzldren.
gee, . . . . . 1983
She earned her B.S. in Journalism from Arzzona State Unzverszty In , was ~-
sistant to the International Studies Dept. Chairman at AGSIM (Thu.nderbzrd
Graduate School of International Management) for ten years. Cle~ pubizshed numerous
articles in newspapers and magazines. She co-authored wzth Greta Manville
a novel titled The Purgatory Trail, which won first pla~e in mainstream
category at the SouthWest Writers Conference in Albuquerqu~ In 1993 a~~ was
recently published in print-on-demand. Cleo is presently working on a revzszon of
her historical woman's saga, The Devil's Leavings.
Angelina's thoughts raced out of control. Today was
Friday. Payday. Cosimo knew she hadn't shopped for food
for two weeks and they were out of everything. His pay last
week went to that greedy old skinflint, Signore Vidoni, for
the monthly rent. And Cosimo knew the only relief s~e got
from the children and apartment was the hour or two It took
to shop for groceries. He also knew she needed him to watch
the children. Benedetta took care of the younger ones, but
she was too young to leave alone. What if there was a fire, or
one of the children choked? Just two weeks ago an apartme.nt
several streets north had burned to the ground and three children
died in the fire. Neighbors heard their screams but the
fire was so intense they were helpless.
Fires were an ever-present danger in wood-framed
apartment houses. Their apartment was wired for electricity,
but the Corbeiros could not afford the one dollar monthly
charge and, like almost everyone else, opted to use ~erosene
lamps instead. A small pot-bellied coal stove provl~ed the
only heat, and flames fascinated little ones. Angelma h~d
heard horror tales of kerosene cooking stoves like the one m
her kitchen, exploding and setting off an inferno. .
Angelina left the window and plopped disconsolately
into a kitchen chair. She was always tired these da.rs.
Physically tired, emotionally exhausted, and weary of ~eelmg
helpless and out of control. Please God, she pra~ed silently,
help Cosimo resist stopping off at the taverna wzth ~hose nogood
bums he works with. Christmas was only eight days
away. How could a man-an ex-priest-sit in a taven:o
drinking up his pay at such a time? He had money for whiskey
but she had no money for Christmas. Children needed
something to look forward to, and the bambinos were good.
Angelina had hung a quilt over the bedr~om d~or
to keep the heat from their small pot-~elli~d stove m ~he hving
room and kitchen where the family hved: Manus had
slipped from his divan-sickbed onto the drab Imoleum floor,
to play with fifteen-month-old Andreas. The boys pushed
egg cartons and made train ~oises. The~ crashes, and
screeching train sounds roared m her ears. Violence, movement
white noise were joined by an internal scream only Angelin~
could hear. Francie, the seven-year-old, join~d her
younger brothers. Every time .she to~c~ed a cra~hed tram car,
Andreas or Marius screamed like an mJured engmeer.
"Frances, leave the boys alone," Angelina said mechanically.
She rose, grabbed a wicker bas~et of freshly
washed diapers and began to fold them on the kitchen table.
Occasionally, Angelina paused to steady Benedetta's
hand or guide her stitches. Every few minutes she returned to
the window. Still no sign of Cosimo. Her rent-week supper
of pasta and pesto sauce congealed on the stove. It won 't. be
fit to feed a hog if Cosimo doesn't get home soon. She carned
the stack of diapers into the bedroom and returned to a footstool
in front of the stove to warm. Her bare legs were
splotched and purplish from sitting too close t~ the heater. .
Weakness was not something Angelma accepted m
herself or her children, but tonight weakness surged through
her like an avalanche. She fought the urge to sink down on
the linoleum and let the whole world go to hell. Instead, she
paced the floor. " .
"What can be keeping your papa? Angelma fussed.
She glanced at the clock on the wall and shifted to a chair
beside Benedetta at the kitchen table. She took a needle from
the front of her dress and threaded it. She snipped the thread
with her teeth, knotted it, and settled into sewing tiny tucks
into oddly-shaped pieces of pongee fabric. Darkness gathered
in the sparsely furnished apartment. The kitchen was becoming
too dark to see her stitches, but Angelina dared not light
the lamp, yet. Benedetta suppressed a sob.
"Go finish your homework," she ordered Benedetta,
jerking the fabric impatiently from he~ daughters fmgers.
Benedetta stood, near tears, and stalked mto the parlor to return
with her third-grade spelling book. Outside, ghostly
gremlins of snow beat against the kitchen wind~w. Streetlights
had come on but Angelina could see nothing beyond
the comer. The headlights of an occasional truck stabbed
through the white scrim. .
Angelina glanced at the last of the kerosene m the
lamp. She must save back enough to fmish the piece. work
after the children were in bed. Amos would be by m the
morning. She'd never turned in unfinished work or been late
and was not about to start now. She waited another fifteen
minutes before lighting the lamp.
Marius and Andreas were fighting. Francie had retreated
to the living room and was singing a song about a bird
tapping on the Maple tree, accompanying the. tap tippy tap
taps with kicks to the rungs of her chair. Angelina dec~ded.to
feed them. She'd keep Cosimo's food warm and eat With him
later. She'd saved her own sausage from supper the night before
to add to his SkinlPY meal. A man who worked outside
in this kind of weather needed meat to keep his strength up.
If Cosimo became ill, five men waited outside the fence, hoping
to replace him. Men over forty were hired last, and Co-
- 15 -
Arizona Literary Magazine
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
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and nobody's lover.
Matt's a loner, a man with a past,
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A one night stand ... a baby ...
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KNOWS IT IS A TIME TO CELEBRATE BECAUSE
THE NOVEL IS ALWAYS ENTERTAINING."
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IN BOOKSTORES DECEMBER 10, 2001
JUST AROUND THE CORNER
simo was fifty-three. He'd never find another job. Already,
he struggled to keep up with the younger men.
The children ate silently. There was no milk but no
one complained. They were almost finished when suddenly
Marius, Francie and Benedetta sat up straight and stared with
frightened eyes at the living room door. Angelina felt a
ragged sense of dread, followed by a sinking feeling in the pit
of her stomach. They'd recognized the heavy, unsteady tread
ofCosimo on the stairs. He'd been drinking.
Oh, Dear God! Give me strength! Cosimo was
drunk and she was helpless and alone. Thin partitions allowed
neighbors to hear every angry word, and gloat over
their misery. As though they didn't have enough discord in
their own lives. No one interfered. Everyone knew someone
who'd stepped into the middle of a fight to protect a wife,
only to have the wife tum on her protector.
Angelina had the same feeling she'd had the one
time Cosimo had taken her to a silent moving picture show.
The black and white screen suddenly began to flash off and
on. She'd been blinded, sickened, and too terrified to move.
The children sat like statues, holding their breath,
and counting the clump-dumps of their papa's heavy boots.
Only a miracle could save her now ...
- 16 -
shc:w't Storuw - Poetn6'
E~~ I Ar't'c.cl.Ew I Tr~ Storuw
Published Books Categories
Nov~ I A~(by same author)
CI1.i1.drenJ ~ '800k.s-
Deadline: July 1, 2002
Prizes, guidelines, niles, and entry forms available at:
or mail an SASE to: Arizona Authors Association
Literary Contest - PO box 87857 - Phoenix, AZ 85080
Lynn Veach Sadler
Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler has a B.A. from Duke and an M.A. and
a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Formerly a college president
in Vermont, she has won an Extraordinary Undergraduate
Teaching Award, pioneered in Computer-Assisted Composition,
and received the Distinguished Women of North Carolina Award
for education. Her academic publications include five books and
some sixty-eight · articles, and she has edited thirteen books!
proceedings and three national journals. She is now a creative
writer. A chapbook, Poet Geography, is forthcoming (2003) in
the Mt. Olive College Poetry Series. Mothers to the Disappeared,
a full-length collection, was a finalist for the 2000 Bakeless Prize
of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. She was invited to be
Visiting ScholarlPoet at Tel Aviv University in December 2001.
Her stories have been published widely and have won the North
Carolina Writers' Network, TallIS and Scree, and Cream City Review
competitions. Her unpublished novel, Tonight I Lie with
William ClIlien Bryant, was runner-up for the 1997 Dana Award
and a finalist in the 2000 Florida First Coast Writers' Festival;
Intending to BlIild a Tower received Honorable Mention in the
2001 Florida First Coast Writers' Festival competition. For her
first play (1996), Gnat (a spin-off of the 1831 Nat Turner uprising),
the (professional) Temple Theater (Sanford, NC) received
the North Carolina Arts Council New Works grant and the Paul
Green Foundation New Play Award; the play received a Paul
Green Multi-Media Award (NC Society of Historians). Sassing
the Sphinx was commissioned for the First International Robert
Frost Symposium. Coming COllntry (Battle of New Orleans, War
of 1812; libretto, lyrics) is her first musical. Half-Formed Angels
Fallfrom the Sky received a Panelist's Choice Award in the Play
Lab of the Eighth Annual (2000) Edward Albee Last Frontier
Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska; Resllrrecting Trolls was
selected for the 200 I competition. Scraps of Heart was one of six
plays read at the Converse College New Play Festival, 2000.
This poem also took third Place, Poetry Contest, SLS
[Summer Literary Seminars] in St. Petersburg, Russia. Finalist,
Masters 2001 Poetry Contest, Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Finalist, The 23m NimrodfHardman Awards, 2001. Finalist,
2001 Ann Stanford Poetry Prize, Southern California Anthology.
Finalist, The William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition,
2001. City Works, San Diego City College Literary Anthology,
8 (2001): 54-55.
- 17 -
Arizona Literary Magazine
Kamikiri Artist Felled by Green Rice Shoot
Am looking to avoid press of ladies at stage.
I see her. In green like rice shoot.
Gaijin lady taking me by surprise.
be take by surprise.
Under my breath, I saying,
"Kobo mo Jude no ayamari."
Kobo our greatest calligrapher.
To express amazement
at totally unexpected failing,
we use his "Kobo moJude no ayamari."
"Kobo wrote clumsy characters."
I avoid quacking ducks ladies.
She seem surprise I pick her.
"What you like Yamamura
cut for you?" I ask.
"Do yourself, please," she say.
I am not understanding.
Ladies want panda bear,
want rose, Mt. Fuji, want
teddy bear. Child want train.
Man don't want nothing.
No one ask Yamamura to cut out self.
I do it now.
Not so good, I think.
I cut me with paper in one hand,
scissor in other.
My hat not so good.
I give myself too much
Buddha stomach, I think.
Must adrnit-Yamamura practice later on self.
But silly. Lady not ask for self again
in thousand autumns. Most unusuawy.
Strange, too-when I give her cutout of me,
she come to edge of stage,
looking up at me,
bow politest bow,
like Japanese lady.
Her voice clear and sweet.
Happy like water
to run over small stones.
Make me think-
I marry her.
Moss, stones, water clear.
Nature's samisen and flute.
She Nature's plectrum.
White stones and I come live, grow.
Arizona Literary Magazine Fall 2001
FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Published Non-Fiction Category
Capture The Rapture
Marcia Reynold, MA, MEd, is a Master Certified Coach and a celebrated keynote speaker. Current president
of the International Coach Federation, she works with multinational corporations and government agencies on
leadership development, emotional intelligence, and the power of passion and purpose. Her insights have appeared
in Fortune Magazine, Health Magazine, and The New York Times.
Many people say they love the idea of a passionate
and joyful life, but doubt they will have one
this time around. They long to immerse themselves in
happiness, yet count their blessings if a day goes by
free of crisis. Hearing such statements, on cannot help
but wonder if these individuals have given up on the
journey before setting sail. Worse, many top professionals
in our medical and scientific communities support
A new premise, dubbed the "happiness setpoint
theory," purports to explain why some people
bounce back after difficulties whereas others stay sad
or angry for months. The theory proposes that what
determines how happy we will be is genetics, not external
events or self-awareness. Dr. David Lykken,
who has been investigating the physiology of happiness
based on his studies of twins, estimates that 80
percent of our sense of well-being is determined by a
"hardwired" baseline established at conception. Recent
brain-imaging research supports Dr. Lykken's
conclusions. It reveals that children who show positive
emotion year after year have more activity in the
left prefrontal area of the brain than children who are
temperamentally low key, pessimistic, or angry.
These findings give us good reason to stop
comparing ourselves with people who deliriously
spring out of bed each morning and bound up to mountains
before breakfast. Still, must we blame our murky
existence on genes? Although the theory may hold
substance, it seems we humans have the capacity to
- 18 -
build on the wits we were born with. Those of us who
have struggled with set-points of weight-who have
hit a wall in weight loss that is hard to break throughknow
that a good diet and daily exercise will eventually
lower the set-point. Likewise, couldn't a good
mental diet and regular exercise in self-awareness elevate
the set-point of happiness? When altering our
weight, we may be lucky to drop two pounds a week.
When altering our outlook, we may add only two
smiles a day. Even so, it is our birthright as human
beings to go for the change.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow, celebrated
pioneer of the self-actualization model, believed in
each person's ability to reach out and create the world
of their dreams. His research, too, suggests that individuals
have the innate ability to go beyond their perceived
capacities. In essence, he showed that anyone
can rise to a higher level of self-actualizing once they
are able to stop worrying about survival. Maslow's
work substantially contradicts the findings of set-point
Certainly, transcending a set-point takes hard
work. The mind needs to think new thoughtsotherwise,
all we are doing is recycling old familiar
ones. The practice also requires bravery. Passionate
joy is similar to true love which, according to psychologist
Nathaniel Brandon "requires courage-the
courage to stay vulnerable, to stay open to our feelings
... even when we are frustrated, hurt, angry-the courage
to stay open rather than shut down emotionally,
Fall 2001 Arizona Literary Magazine
How to Step Out of Your Head
and Leap into Life
Awaken to the Moment • •• At Work, at Play, and in Love
ISBN 0-9655250-0-7 Hathor Hill Press - PO box 5012, Scottsdale, AZ. 85261
Website: www.covisioning.com Toll-free:888-998-5064 Fax: 602-553-3791
Introduction - Continued
even when it is terribly tempting to do so." Above all,
moving to new levels of happiness calls for faith. If
you feel trapped, overwhelmed, and unable to believe
you can live a joyful life, you wont." Yet if you see
life as a veritable bowl of pleasures, you will be able to
eat its fruits. If you know that on the other side of disappointment
lies a better opportunity, you will touch
rainbows. If you trust that there are forces at work to
help you transcend a ground-zero existence, you will
A leap of faith is sometimes confusing, and at
other times painful. It offers no guaranties of wealth
or soulmates. It demands a firm commitment in terms
of time, tears, and openheartedness. Yet if you are
willing to take this leap, a great wonderment awaits
you. Regardless of your circumstances, you can access
the power to live to your fullest potential physically,
emotionally, and spiritually. In Zimbabwe, it is
said, "If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk,
you can sing." Likewise, if you can breathe, you can
be whimsical, playful, adventurous, and serene all at
once-harmonizing with the world around you. In
fact, you have the capacity to create a life of passionate
joy right now, if you wish. Beginning today, you
can facilitate change, experience deeper levels of love,
speak your truth, and follow your dreams.
This guidebook has been designed to help
you take flight. Each chapter blends strategies, exercises,
and games with illuminating anecdotes and examples
to spark your creative energy and prompt you
to release your passion. In the vein of The Joy of
Cooking and The Joy of Sex, it provides recipes for the
joy ofliving .•
- 19 -
Seventy percent of American adults claim that
something is missing from their lives, but they do
not know what it is. Searching endlessly for answers,
they try to control what brings them love,
entertainment, and freedom from pain. The problem
is that while they are stuck in their heads, life
is flowing past them
Capture the Rapture teaches you how to
jump in. Reaching beyond standard self-help
strategies, it presents a more joyful way of being.
Interwoven with this practical wisdom are inspiring
stories and simple exercises to help deepen
your love affair with life.
"This practical, well written book is filled with
all you need to know to build a magical, rapture-
Author of Take Time for Your Life
"It's one thing to go after the life you've always
wanted, but Capture the Rapture makes
it possible to get there. Don't miss this practical,
nurturing labor of love."
Author of Getting Past OK
and Virus of the Mind
"Rapture is insightful in an exceptionally
easy-to-understand way. Rapture is practical
in a way all of us can start using today. Rapture
is inspiring ... your smile will blossom
and your spirit will rise."
Author of The New Wisdom of Business
Arizona Literary Magazine Fall 2001
FIRST PRIZE WINNER
Published Book-length Fiction Category
LIVING WITH THE GURU
Gurukirn Kaur Khalsa
GIFTS FOR THE TRUE KING
In great spirits, the Sikh congregation of Kabul, led by the
masand missionaries Bakht Mal and Tara Chand, neared the
outskirts of the city of Lahore. The party had journeyed for
several weeks, descending from the snowy Safed Koh
Mountains, through the dry and dusty Khyber Pass, to the
plains of Punjab. For the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind,
they had brought two gifts beyond compare, the exquisite
horses Dilbagh and Gulbagh. With nimble gait, both stallions
pranced and snorted, nostrils flaring, necks and tails
arched. The beautiful horses drew appreciative glances
from passersby and were noticed with keen interest by the
Indeed, word of the pedigreed horses spread like wildfire,
reaching the ear of the imperial Governor. Desiring to acquire
them for the royal stable, he gave orders for the party
to be detained and the horses seized. The Kabuli Sikhs were
soon surrounded by a detachment of the royal guard. Far
outnumbered, they had no choice; reluctantly, they surrendered
Dilbagh and Gulbagh to the Mughal soldiers.
Once the horses had been taken from them, the Sikhs were
released. They learned that the Guru had moved his camp
south of Lahore to Bhai Rupa. When they arrived there after
several days, he greeted them with great honor. All in
the Guru's company gathered around as the Kabuli Sikhs
presented their other gifts and told the story of how the
horses had been seized. Members of the camp were outraged,
ready to ride to Lahore at once to recover the steeds.
The Guru, however, seemed undisturbed by their tale, assuring
them that God would take care of the matter.
One who had heard their story was Bidhi Chand, beloved
Sikh of both Guru Atjan and his son, Guru Hargobind. As a
youth, he had been a thief, but had been saved from disgrace
by Guru Atjan, promising him he would never steal
again. He knew one thing: the only way for the stolen
horses to reach their true master was for him to steal them
back. In his mind, he said a prayer to the Guru, "0 Beloved
Guru, forgive me for acting against your will. Protect me in
this dangerous mission. "
After he had formulated his plan, Bidhi Chand quietly left
the Guru's camp for Lahore. He went to the house of a
Published books by Gurukirn Kaur Khalsa,
LMNG WITH THI GURU ""'inrioMI Steti .. t.. 0.;1_
Living With The
Pure Longing Fulfilled,
poetry and pictures
about a soul's craving
for the divine
friend, a carpenter named Jiwan. Bidhi Chand had him
make a khurpa, an iron instrument for cutting grass. The
next day, he cut a bundle of fresh green grass near the forest.
He took it to the market place to sell, asking a very high
price. As no one was willing to pay so much, he moved on
until he came opposite the royal stables. By this time it was
evening, a time when Sondha Khan, the darogha or stable
keeper, took a walk outside the fortress walls. Immediately,
he was drawn to Bidhi Chand and his pile of lush grass.
Never had he seen such fresh feed; he insisted that his prize
new horses must have it. He ordered his men to make a deal
with the grass-cutter. When the horses tasted the grass, they
devoured it as if they had not been fed in days. Bidhi Chand
surveyed the stable area, taking note of anything that might
help him later. The stable-keeper asked him to bring the
grass each morning, a request that he was only too glad to
After Bidhi Chand had brought them grass for a week, the
horses nickered whenever he arrived. He stroked and fussed
over them, straightening their silk halters and combing their
forelocks with his fingers. The mutual affection between
them was apparent. The darogha asked Bidhi Chand his
name and if he would care to work in the stable permanently.
He said that he was called 'Kasera' and would be
- 20 -
Fall 2001 Arizona Literary Magazine
Gurukim Kaur Khalsa considers herself primarily an artist. She practices
Yoga, watercolor painting and hiking, and is most proud of her work with the
Sikh community. Among her other published titles: PURE LONGING FULFILLED
- Akal publications 1999. LIVING WITH THE GURU - Sanbun Publishers
2000, is a collection of stories for children, published to increase public awareness
about the beautiful way of life from India. Recent events in the Valley of the Sun,
such as the murder of Balbur Singh Sodhi, encouraged the public to learn more
about the Sikh faith. Realizing the scarcity of reliable published works about the
Sikhs, Gurkim Khalsa took it upon herself to help fill this void and intends to continue
on this path. She is presently writing about women in Sikh history.
happy to serve the horses of the True King. Since Sondha
Khan thought he was referring to the Emperor, he was only
too pleased to offer Bidhi Chand ajob for one rupee a day.
Bidhi Chand worked incessantly, doing his own duties and
those of the permanent stablemen as well. Soon, Sondha
Khan ordered that Kasera oversee the horses' bridling and
unbridling. He need only go for grass occasionally. All the
stablemen were grateful that this new and hard-working
man had come to care for the horses.
Each time Bidhi Chand did go for grass, he concealed a
large stone in it. At midnight he would throw the rock into
the river that flowed underneath the fort. He wanted the
residents of the fort to grow accustomed to the late night
splash, taking it for a stone falling from the wall or a fish
jumping out of the river. Later, they would not be alarmed
when he leaped one of the horses over the wall into the
river. He knew that if he could get the horse outside of the
fortress, he could make it to Bhai Rupa.
As another part of his plan, Bidhi Chand entrusted his earnings
to Sondha Khan, asking him to keep them until he
needed them. The stable-keeper was deceived by his apparent
generosity. In time, the darogha promoted him to second-
in-command. Even with this increase in status, Bidhi
Chand treated the others with kindness. Over time, he
earned their respect and admiration.
One day, Bidhi Chand casually inquired if the horses were
ever actually ridden, or whether they were just for show.
His question set off paroxysms of laughter in his fellow
workers. "Of course they are ridden. They have saddles,
such as you have never seen," boasted one of them. "The
Emperor's saddles are covered with jewels and silver, worth
a lakh and a quarter rupees."
Bidhi Chand then said, "I feel very badly. I have worked
side by side with you all this time, and I have never seen
these saddles. Will you show them to me?" At that moment,
the darogha walked in. Since they were talking rather than
working, he asked them what they were up to. Bidhi Chand
pleaded to see the saddles, until [mally the older man re-lented.
He ordered the keeper of the keys to open the tackroom
where the saddles were kept. When Bidhi Chand
walked in, the treasures inside stunned him. On one wall
hung beautiful hand-worked bridles of crimson silk covered
with chains of silver, while exquisite jeweled leather saddles
rested on stands, and brightly colored saddle cloths
embroidered with the Emperor's insignia hung over silken
ropes. The royal horses were among the Emperor's most
prized possessions. This display made Bidhi Chand all the
more determined that his lord should have this honor instead.
The hardy Sikh redoubled his efforts in tending the two animals.
The stable-master was so impressed by his efforts that
he ordered that the care of the two steeds be Kasera's sole
responsibility. This allowed him to study the stable in detail
to form a plan of escape.
Soon after, the other stablemen, who were relaxing after
their chores, started joking with Bidhi Chand that he ought
to give them a feast to celebrate his good fortune, seeing as
how he now made more money than any of the rest of them.
Since he fed and watered the horses, might he not feed and
water them as well? They preferred something a little tastier
than hay and grain, of course, unless the grain was fermented.
Bidhi Chand saw his chance and wholeheartedly
agreed to arrange a sumptuous feast for them. They were
very excited, cheering him and slapping him on the back.
He arranged to hold it on the eighth night of the dark lunar
cycle, when the moon would rise late at night.
Soon, the day of the feast arrived. He had urged them to
fast all day, in order to better e~oy the party he had prepared
for them. For a price, Bidhi Chand had purchased
wine far more intoxicating than what any of the others
could afford. In rather small measure, he poured the first
round. He encouraged the flow of conversation, laughing at
all their jokes and agreeing with everything they said. Convinced
that they were the luckiest men in the world, they
saluted Bidhi Chand with boisterous toasts. The noise drew
the sentries and the keeper of the keys, who were invited to
join in the festivities. Their beloved Kasera assured them
that he would stay awake for them. True to his word, Bidhi
- 21 -
Arizona Literary Magazine
Chand had also provided a table laden with delicious food;
however, the men were more intent on consuming the wine.
Thus it was that they drank a lot and ate very little. After
the first of them stumbled to the ground and did not get up,
the rest followed in short order. Soon, not a soul stirred except
for one Sikh thief; the raspy snoring of the men
blended with the throaty nickers of the horses.
When all of them were out, Bidhi Chand found the key in
the niche by the tackroom door and opened it. Quickly, he
carried out a fine saddle and bridle and put them on Dilbagh.
Outside the stable, he jumped on the horse's back,
then started him in a canter around the stable-yard. With a
flick of a silver-handled whip, he pushed the horse to a fast
gallop, racing towards the retaining wall. In a split second,
they were up and over, falling into the water below with a
loud splash. No one was alarmed by the familiar sound of a
rock falling from the battlement wall. Horse and rider were
free of the fort.
Bidhi Chand galloped down the road in the direction of
Bhai Rupa, a four-day journey ahead. Two hours after he
had left, the moon rose in the sky, lighting his way. Avoiding
towns and villages, he took back roads and traveled
through fields. At one point, he even re-entered the river to
wash away his tracks. By day, he and the horse hid in dense
brush; by night they rode like the wind.
The morning after the escape, Dilbagh was discovered
missing from the barn full of groggy men. The Governor
was shocked; the loss of one of the Emperor's prized horses
could cost him his office, or his head. He gave orders for
trackers to fan out in all directions from the city. Before
long, however, the trail ran cold; no further clues could be
Meanwhile, Bidhi Chand arrived on Dilbagh at Guru Hargobind's
camp in Bhai Rupa.
He handed the horse over to his delighted caretakers from
Kabul. Immediately, however, they noticed a difference in
the horse's spirit; he stood listlessly, head drooping. They
determined that he missed his stablemate, Gulbagh. Up until
now, the horses had been inseparable. This was not the
gift that they had intended to present to the Guru. Bidhi
Chand knew that he had to return to Lahore to retrieve the
In order not to be recognized, Bidhi Chand disguised himself
and returned to Lahore. The town crier was heralding
the news of Dilbagh's theft; there was a price upon the
thiefs head. Bidhi Chand made his plans cautiously; one
mistake could cost him his life. In the market, he ordered
cloth out of which he had a Sikh tailor make him a fine
Hindustani suit with three coats of different colors and
lengths, a pair of pajama trousers, a colorful sash with em-
broidered ends, a bright turban, and brocaded shoes with
curled-up toes. From the Sikh, he also ordered a magician's
chain, to be ready overnight.
The following day, he turned himself from Sikh warrior to
Hindu fakir. He greased his hair with coconut oil until it
shone, parted his beard in the middle, and twisted up the
sides of his moustache into points. He pulled on his trousers,
buttoned them at the ankle, then wrapped the sash
around his waist, and tied the embroidered ends in a jaunty
knot. Next, on went his coats, one, two, three. Around his
head, he tied the turban like a shield. Finally, he slipped his
feet into the pointy shoes. With the arrival of the magician's
chain, the transformation was complete.
Twirling the chain in his hand, he set out from the tailor's
shop. With an air of self-importance, he strutted through the
streets of Lahore, a man of stature and knowledge. His curious
appearance attracted attention, causing people to ask
him who he was and what he did. "I have come from far
away. I have studied the occult sciences and am practiced at
divination," he said. With this, he would stop short and peer
at the clouds in the sky, gasping, "0, my!" Squinting up
their faces, the spectators would try in vain to see what it
was. When Bidhi Chand was opposite the fort gate, he let it
be known that he was an experienced tracker and astrologer,
especially adept at locating lost valuables. Some of the
stable-hands heard his patter and ran to tell the darogha of
this curious man.
His former employer did not recognize him. "Could you
find the Emperor's horse?" he asked.
"Of course I could," said Bidhi Chand, "Just by smelling
the ground I can tell you where he has been taken." The
man was convinced and arranged for him to be taken to the
Governor. With an exaggerated bow, he introduced himself;
"I am Ganak of the forest. I obtained my skills from a
wise old teacher there. I interpret signs of all kinds. I understand
that you have lost a very special horse. I can help you
find it." His gracious manner convinced the Governor that
he was sincere. The ruler gave him several gifts as well as
money for expenses, promising more when the horse was
As if summoned by the invisible, Bidhi Chand twirled his
magician's chain, put his hand on the ground and raised it to
his forehead three times. He made an elaborate bow to the
air, muttering rhymes of nonsense syllables. All the courtiers
were highly impressed with this performance, convinced
that he would find Dilbagh.
In whispered tones, he confided to the Governor, "I know
where the horse is, but I need to look at the stable he was
taken from. Then I will tell you who took him and how he
did it. You will have to decide whether you can retrieve
him peaceably or not."
- 22 -
The Governor promised him a high position and four lakhs
of rupees for information leading to the recovery of the
horse. Bidhi Chand requested that he commit his promise in
writing. He ended the meeting by enjoining the entire court
to bow their heads in prayer for the recovery of Dilbagh.
Bidhi Chand, the Governor, stable-keeper, and a few others
went to the stables. He asked if the horse had been stolen
with his saddle on. When they said yes, he said it was necessary
to saddle Gulbagh, the remaining horse, so that he
could reenact the scene and make his calculations accordingly.
He would stay up all night with the saddled horse,
putting his ear to the earth and watching the movement of
the stars. In order for him to succeed, he required that the
Governor and all others in the fort close their doors and
sleep during the time when the horse was stolen, so that
their thoughts might not influence him. The gates of the fort
should also be shut. When all this was done, the fort retired
for the night in expectant slumber.
At last all was silent. Bidhi Chand locked the door of the
passage to the Governor's chambers on the outside. Then ~
a loud voice, he shouted, "Hear me now so that you wIll
never forget me. My name is Bidhi Chand. You have seized
the two horses meant as a gift for Guru Hargobind. I now
seize them back. I reclaimed Dilbagh by my ingenuity and
now reclaim Gulbagh as well. Once I was a thief. I have
rightfully paid for these horses with the wages that were
promised to me. I have earned their freedom because. I have
given you all the information you asked for." So saymg, he
took the keys to the fort and threw them in the river. Try as
they might to catch him, the residents of the fort were helpless.
They were all locked up in their rooms.
Bidhi Chand jumped on Gulbagh, and with one flick of the
whip, galloped over the wall into the deep water of ~he
River Ravi. It seemed that the horse knew he was returnmg
to rejoin his friend, for he flew down the road to Bhai Rupa.
Once they reached the camp, he let out a hearty neigh,
which was joyfully answered by Dilbagh. The two horses
touched noses and murmured in delight. Finally, with great
elation, the Kabuli Sikhs presented their gift to Guru Hargobind.
The Guru was very pleased. He changed Dilbagh's
name to 'Jan Bhai', meaning 'horse as dear as life', and Gulbagh's
to 'Suhela', 'my dearest companion'.
With a twinkle in his eye, Guru Hargobind smiled at Bidhi
Chand. The brave Sikh heard a familiar laugh in his head
and knew that it was Guru Arjan's. Seeing the father in the
son, he smiled back at the Guru. He felt a deep sense of
gratitude for having been able to serve them so well. In his
soul, he knew that he had been four times forgiven and four
Arizona Literary Magazine •.. .............................•. •• •• : The Butterfly Within ::
: Sandra L. Jenkins :: •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• • • • "The Butterly Within is truly a moving, •
: inspirational, and empowering story... ::
• [Sandra Jenkins has] ::
: remarkable gifts as a writer and communicator." ::
: Gayle King, Editor-at-Large • •• •• •• •• • • : Author Sandra Jenkins is a ::
• native of Mound Bayou, •
: Mississippi. She received a ::
• B.S. in Business Administra- •
: tion from Mississippi Valley ::
• State University and a Mas- •
: ter's from the University of ::
: Phoenix. She is a member :
• of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Na- •
: tional Black MBA Association, Inc., and the :
• Arizona Author's Association. A full-time •
: mom and writer, Sandra resides in Arizona :
: with her husband and three children. : •• •• • • : Order this title from: :
: lstbooks.com :
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- 23 -
Arizona Literary Magazine Fall 2001
Short Story Category
'<You can handle the groundhog, dear," Bill said as
he headed for the kitchen door.
"But I don't want to handle it." Joanne tried to keep
the whining frustration out of her voice. "Why do you always
get me into these predicaments?"
He turned around and stopped, giving her a wideeyed
innocent look. "It's not me. I didn't build my home in a
"But we could use a live trap and set the groundhog
"So it could go in someone else's garden?" His expression
hardened. "Haven't we had this discussion before?
Varmints that plague us go on to plague others."
Always the logical answer that she couldn't refute.
Bill smiled and blew her a kiss. '<You're good at
these things, honey. See you at supper."
Always the high praise for her abilities. She could
hear him now - 'Joanne took the critter out with one shot.'
Just like she took out the rattlesnake in the barn, the fox in
the hen house. All the varmints she shot and kept from destroying
someone else's peace of mind. She'd gained those
abilities through necessity, not through any joy on her part.
So what if she was the one raised on a farm - helped with the
slaughter of animals for food. That didn't mean she liked doing
the job. Especially not when her city-slicker husband
kept promoting her accomplishments.
All her life, she had yearned for something different
- not her rural upbringing. Bill had been the answer to
her prayers, a chance for the city life, and a taste of sophistication.
She was the key to his prayers, as well, a country girl
who could provide a simpler way of life. Unfortunately, only
one person now enjoyed the deal.
Joanne closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to
watch him leave. Nearly every day Bill took off to his safe
little office and left her balancing the weight of the world.
He was responsible for making the money; she was responsible
for spending it. That sounded like a great proposition, but
not when it required constant negotiation and concessions.
'Get the best deal on the car repairs, dear.' 'Watch the
plumber so he doesn't steal us out of hearth and home.' 'Kill
the rattler.' 'Kill the fox.' 'Kill the groundhog.'
Often she longed for something outside her own
arena, a job where she didn't have to play Annie Oakley and
could afford to pay others for the tasks she couldn't stand.
But whenever she broached the subject to Bill, he said, '<Your
skills are needed making us a home, sweetheart, not ringing
up somebody's groceries and putting us in a higher tax
She hefted the .22 and walked out the backdoor to
the garden, wishing she could shake the doldrums that had
dogged her for the last few months. Maybe she didn't have
many skills outside the home, but she could learn. Just once,
she'd like to feel in control. When she reached the tomatoes,
beans and carrots enclosed by a chicken wire fence, she
hoisted the rifle to her shoulder and aimed it at the mound of
dirt that sat in the center of the rows of beets. The metal jaws
of the steel trap-just visible inside the hole-were still
Pretending to take off a shot, she said, "Bang," very
softly before lowering the rifle. Please, please stay in your
hole, she thought, and don 't destroy the rest of our garden.
She could get her brother over on the weekend to handle the
situation. Unlike her, he had a killer's instincts. And unlike
her husband, he could handle a gun.
It was almost noon when Joanne heard the dog yapping
in the backyard. "Oh, my God-Brownie's caught in the
trap." She grabbed the rifle and raced out the door. But
Brownie, the neighbor's miniature French poodle, danced and
pranced outside the wire fence in utter delight Inside, the
groundhog ran in short spurts, hindered by the chain attached
to the trap. Up and down he went, on the mound he'd builtthe
entrance to his home.
'<You brought this all on yourself," Joanne shouted
when she reached the gate. It was the first time she'd actually
seen the tiny ball of brown spiked fur. He looked at her with
beady black eyes, his buckteeth sticking out of his panting
mouth. "You should have stayed outside our garden." Tears
rushed down her cheeks, and she brushed them aside, surprised
to feel the wetness on her hand.
She drew the rifle to her shoulder and eased it
through the wire mesh. The groundhog lunged at the rifle,
clamped down on the end of the barrel and held it in its
mouth. But before she could pull the trigger, Brownie
jumped against her elbow and broke her concentration. Pulling
the barrel free, she turned to the barking dog.
"Damn you, Brownie, shut up and go home!" She
pointed toward his house with the rifle, reminding him of the
direction he should take. Brownie stopped bouncing and
looked at her for a moment before stepping a few feet away.
Then he glanced at the trapped animal and started barking
- 24 -
Fall 2001 Arizona Literary Magazine
Marion Ekholm spent six years editing newsletters for several chapters of Romance
Writers of America. She is a member of the Valley of the Sun, Desert Rose and Hudson Valley
chapters of Romance Writers. Besides writing for newspapers, critiquing contest entries, and
editing a newspaper for the New Jersey Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod, Marion is an editor of
the Glendale Community College 1999 and 2000 editions of The Traveler. Her short stories
have been published in Woman 's World, True Love, and True Confessions. She also published
in Writers ' Digest and Romance Writer 's Report and is presently working on novels while writing
more short stories. Last year, two of her stories placed, one of which won the first prize, in
the 2000 Arizona Literary Contest.
Damn you, Bill, for getting me in this mess. She
made a motion to chase the dog but stopped as two children
from next door came to the edge of the property. "Take
Brownie home," she demanded.
Steve, a skinny boy ten-year-old boy, picked up the
dog and stood legs spread for stability. In his arms, Brownie
squirmed to get free. "What'cha doin'?"
'<Ya gonna kill it?" Lottie, the younger sister, asked.
She held one hand over her eyes to shield them from the glaring
sun. The other hand twisted the edge of her T-shirt into a
As Lottie started to cry, Joanne glanced up at the
skirting clouds and let out a whoosh. You and your bright
ideas. What amI supposed to do now? She looked back at
the distraught girl. "He's injured. I can't let him suffer."
Unwilling to do the deed in front of them, Joanne said,
"Please, go home."
Lottie let out a wail that competed with the dog's
At that moment Brownie, using his hind feet for leverage,
propelled himself out of Steve's arms. A moment later
he reached the gate, front paws working at a frantic rate,
sending dirt in every direction. Joanne gripped the rifle
tighter. Oh, how she'd like to aim it at that pesky little dog.
Over the years it had caused more agitation than a dozen
In two steps, she closed the gap between them,
grabbed the dog's collar, and yanked him away. He walked
away on hind tiptoes, neck stretched out as far as it would
"What are you doing to my dog?" Elaine, the
mother of the two children, suddenly appeared and pulled
Brownie into her arms. The dog cuddled and licked her
cheek while Elaine walked over to the fence. "How could
you do that?" she asked, indicating the groundhog with a
snap of her head. "The poor defenseless creature. Those
traps are illegal, you know?"
"Not in this state."
"Well, they should be." Elaine puckered up and
cooed at the groundhog. '<You poor thing."
Lottie came over to her mother, her T-shirt twisted
up to her armpits. "Can you save him?"
"Here, Steve. Take the dog." Elaine said deposited
Brownie in the boy's arms. She reached down and unraveled
her daughter's shirt. "I'll see what I can do." She was about
to open the gate when Joanne raised her gun.
Elaine looked at her sideways. "What are you going
to do? Shoot meT' She unlatched the gate and walked inside,
stepping gingerly between the neat rows of beets.
"Besides it's illegal to discharge a gun in this town. I know
that for a fact."
"Exactly what do you plan to do, Elaine?" The animal
backed away as far as it could and began to hiss and spit.
"Come-on, sweetie. I won't hurt you." Elaine eased
forward, one hand extended.
City folk, they didn't have an ounce of sense when it
came to dealing with wild critters. "He' ll hurt you," Joanne
shouted. "Could have rabies for all you know."
With a dismissive shrug, Elaine moved forward.
When the groundhog made a swift spurt toward her and swatted,
she flew back onto her rump. Immediately, she scampered
to her feet and dusted her jeans.
"Did it get you?" Joanne asked.
Elaine shook her head.
"It's wild, not -some pet you can warm up to," Joanne
offered when it looked like her neighbor planned to try again.
"What if he has rabies? You want to risk getting twenty
shots in the stomach for something that's going to die anyway?"
Elaine pushed on the gate, slowly came through the
opening and deliberately hooked it back in place. '<You do
what you have to. I'm taking the kids back to the house."
"And that da ... Take the dog, too."
Once they were out of sight, Joanne returned to her
task, slipped the barrel of the gun through the fence and let
the groundhog clamp its jaws on the end. Sweat beaded her
brow. "I'm so sorry." The groundhog ignored her apology
and continued to gnaw on the metal. She closed her eyes,
took a deep breath and whispered, "This is for you, Bill." A
deafening silence followed the loud retort.
"Oh, that smells good," Bill said as he entered the
kitchen. "Another recipe from your mother?" He pecked
Joanne on the cheek, went to the sink and washed his hands,
stretching his neck toward the stove.
"No. My own experiment."
"Oh, your experiments are always so delicious."
Bill pulled his chair to the table, quickly sat down and rubbed
his hands together expectantly. "Chicken again?"
"Yes," she said with a smile as she ladled the
groundhog stew into his bowl. "Everything tastes like
- 25 -
Arizona Literary Magazine Fall 2001
Essay and Article Category
MR. JONES COMES HOME
It all began with Mr. Jones-no, it all began with
Mr. Jamison, I guess. Maybe it all began with the 50th
anniversary of the end of World War II, and public interest
sharpened by various commemorative programs
and media releases regarding the long-ago war. J.P.
Jamison, a neighbor of Everett Jones, told me several
times I ought to write about Mr. Jones, a former Japanese
prisoner-of-war. I finally said I would. Reluctant
to write about the war, I had my own demons connected
to that time of my life.
The veterans who lived through that war will
never forget it. Those presentations, programs, and articles
are for those who weren't even born at the time,
and perhaps to comfort the parents and relatives who
went through so much during that time, and want the
world to remember their sons and daughters.
So, following Mr. Jamison's suggestion, I arranged
to interview Everett Jones. What he told me
convinced me I had to write about his experiences.
Mr. Jones is eighty-four years old, but he can
remember things from way back better than anyone I
know. He started his story at the beginning of his WWII
experience, and kept it in order all the way to the end. I
hope I did his story justice.
Storm clouds started gathering in the political
world long before the average citizen was aware of any
trouble. Relations were strained between the United
States and Japan for more than a year before the Pearl
Harbour Bombing. Some administrators in private industry
had their employees come home and/or move to
what they considered safer ground. Unfortunately,
many civilians, interned in Japanese prison camps with
U.S. military personnel, suffered out the war along with
them. Just a slap-happy kid in high school in 1940, I
matured a lot before the war was over.
Everett Jones wasn't much more than a kid
when he went into military service on April 7, 1941, in
the 200th Coast Artillery. First stationed in Dodd Field,
he later served thirteen weeks at Camp Wallace before
going to EI Paso for two months. Thereafter, he was
sent to Angel Island in California, across from Alcatraz.
From there, he was sent to Luzon in the Philippine Islands,
then stationed at Clark Field, the first place in the
Philippines attacked by the Japanese. The first attack
totally destroyed Mr. Jones' barrack. Luckily, most everyone
was out in the field and escaped death at that
The outnumbered Americans fought the Japanese
for four months before surrendering. General
Wainwright surrendered, as General MacArthur had left
earlier. The Americans had been on half rations, then
less than half rations for some time, and many of them
had fallen sick from malaria. Everett Jones, also sick
with malaria, marched right along with the rest of the
prisoners for three days and nights to the prison camp.
The prisoners first realized they were not allowed to rest
or relieve themselves, when one of them tried to stop by
the wayside. The Japanese shouted something at him,
then shot him when, not understanding, he continued
into the bushes. From then on, the prisoners relieved
themselves as they marched along ... a march that
lasted three days and nights.
The primitive camp had no facilities, no beds
with sheets, or chairs on which to sit. At a later time,
they had bunk beds of bamboo only, with widely spaced
slats. More often than not, the men sick with dysentery,
too weak to go outside and straddle the ditch-the
Japanese version of a commode--- relieved themselves
between the slats. The men in the lower bunks slept in
filth. No relief for anyone from the hot climate either.
After trying various sleeping sites, Mr. Jones slept under
the building, a place cooler and cleaner than inside.
The men, over months, became sicker. Many died.
Each day, a squad of Japanese personnel
dragged off the dead. Mr. Jones served on the detail to
cull the dead from the living for five weeks. The guards
made the prisoners drag off and bury the dead. Often,
the prisoners would be so weak, they would fall while
trying to bury the dead, unable to get up. The guards
would beat the prisoners with their guns, and kick them.
Although the graves were shallow, because one could
only dig so far before hitting rock, several prisoners
were buried in one grave. When the monsoon came,
the corpses would float up out of the mUd. A halfstarved
dog might run across the compound, dragging a
human foot or an arm. So many horrifying things happened
in the camps that the prisoners grew numb.
Everett also worked on the wood detail, and
pulled weeds out of the onion fields. He said the Japanese
guards would come and smell the prisoner's
breath or hands every so often, to check if they had
been eating any. If they smelled like onion, the guards
would beat them. Even if only one was found guilty, all
- 26 -
Fall 2001 Arizona Literary Magazine
Audrey Bailey began writing as a teenager. She took creative writing courses through the University
of Arkansas, and graduated from San Jacinto College with an AA in The Humanities. She
acquired a few first place awards in writing while attending college, and a few awards during the
past several years. She also received a third place in last year 's Arizona Literary Awards.
Mrs. Bailey wrote an "Abstractions" column for The Deer Park Broadcaster And Progress for
eighteen years, and occasionally wrote articles for the Houston Chronicle. She retired from the
Deer Park School District in 1994.
When not traveling, working in her flowers, or taking care of her granddaughter, Audrey Bailey
devotes her time to writing.
Mr. Jones said they ate grass and just about
anything edible they could find for their issue-food consisted
of only watery rice. For the most part of their imprisonment,
one handful or rice had to last a week.
On October 1, 1944, prisoners were loaded on
a boat headed for Japan. Six hundred fifty in the front
of the boat, and six-hundred-fifty more in a fifty-foot
square hold in the back of the boat. The three-day trip
from Luzon to Formosa actually took thirty-eight days.
In such bad conditions, the prisoners wished the boat
would be sunk.
The prisoners spent two months on Formosa,
separating rocks from dirt, day in and day out. They
then boarded another boat to Camp Ken, in Honshu,
Japan. The trip from Formosa to Honshu took thirteen
While in Japan, the prisoners, fed a little better
than previously, also were able to take a bath. A large
wooden tub was filled with water heated over an open
fire. Five or more men took a bath at one time. When
they got out fo the tub, the dirt was skimmed of, then
five more men got in. I don't know how many men took
a bath in the same tub before they absolutely had to
change the water.
Mr. Jones was stationed in Japan from January
27, 1945 until August 1945 when the atom bomb
dropped. When the American task force landed in Japan,
the American prisoners were instructed to remain
in the camps, where they could easily be found. It took
twenty nine more days before the rescue. When the
task force "zoomed in" on the camp and started airlifting
supplies, the prisoners were instructed to stand one
man in the yard for every fifty prisoners. This way, the
rescuers would know how much food to drop. The men
were so hungry, they placed more men in the yard than
needed. Once, when the plane missed the camp, the
prisoners walked two miles to retrieve the packages.
Mr. Jones found a big box of Hershey candy bars that
had broken open, so he sat right down and ate forty-two
candy bars without stopping. He said he didn't have
any idea why it didn't make him sick, but it didn't.
While the prisoner waited to be taken from the
camp, starving for fresh food, they ordered the Japanese
civilians to bring them a cow and a horse, as well
as some chickens and vegetables. The Japanese
obeyed quickly. For a while, since no one could slaugh-ter
the cow and the horse, the former prisoners had a
rodeo. They were starved for entertainment as well.
After the rescue, the prisoners were taken to a
hospital ship to be examined, deloused, and given new
clothes. Flown to Okinawa, they took a train to the 29th
Depot, Clark Field (full circle) where they stayed nineteen
days. During this time, they experienced a threeday
typhoon, but everything seemed wonderful, even
the rain. While at Clark Field, everything was free.
Most of them ate non-stop, they were so hungry.
Trucked to Manila, the former prisoners caught
the ship Tyrone to Honolulu, and from there went on to
San Francisco and to Letterman's Hospital for four
days ... or as long as they needed. Mr. Jones then went
on to Temple, Texas, to the McCloskey Hospital, until
discharged from the service on May 10, 1946.
At one point in the interview, we talked about a
captain, very hard and unrelenting with the military under
him, who had broken at the first attack on Clark
Field. As I had unkind thoughts about the captain, Mr.
Jones said, "Everyone has his breaking point. That was
his. He couldn't help it.-My breaking point was when I
tried to commit suicide, after I had been home for a
while. I COUldn't take it any longer, thinking about what
had happened to us while we were prisoners. I couldn't
sleep at night for thinking about it, over an over."
Then, he added, "I'm okay now, I made my
peace with the Lord about it a long time ago, and was
able to get on with my life. I have a wonderful wife,
daughter, and grandchildren to share my life."
Only problem now, I can't sleep at night for
thinking about what Everett Jones and many others
returns to the
- 27 -
Arizona Literary Magazine
published Book-length Fiction Category
GREEN SLDdE AND JAM
C HAPTI RO NE
My fantastic adventure began quite unexpectedly
on a spring morning in 1531.
At dawn I awoke and followed my usual routine.
I ate a hard roll and washed it down with a
mug of coffee. Then, I buttoned an old corduroy
doublet over my shirt. I put on a threadbare coat
with piping on the sleeves and threw a long cape
around my shoulders.
What would it be like, I wondered, to have
new clothes, shoes without holes, and as much
food as a duke?
After fastening on my sword belt, I stepped
into the sun-bright street and headed to work in
the center of town. Along the way, I would stop in
the market to buy some jam.
Ten newly minted coins jingled in my pocket
as I walked toward the Plaza Mayor, Salamanca's
main square. No longer do I need to
steal food the way I did when I was a boy. In my
seventeen years upon this earth, I have served a
blind man, a priest, a squire, a friar, and a
painter. The squire was by far the best. He never
beat me, but he never fed me either. Now I work
for a constable. Hunting down criminals is dangerous
and pays poorly, so I have my eye on
government employment, ,something that offeers
dignity and better pay-the town crier position.
A kerchiefed woman threw open a secondstory
window and yelled, "Agua va!" as a warning
to pedestrians. She emptied her chamber pot into
The slop landed several feet in front of me
and nearly splattered my shoes. I drew my cape
to my nose to lessen the stench and stepped
I hurried past the University of Salamanca
where our most famous graduate, Hernan Cor-tes,
attended classes when he was fourteen
years old. He had gone to the New World and
conquered the Aztecs in Mexico.
Confusion reigned in the Plaza Mayor, as it
did every Friday. This was market day. Geese
honked in one stall and pigs oinked in another.
"I have onions and lettuce," one farmer yelled.
"Buy my nectarines and peaches!" shouted
"Oranges and grapes over here!"
"You won't find a better sausage in all of
I passed a knife grinder sharpening a pair of
scissors on a squealing whetstone. Nearby, a
peddler spread his cape on the ground and displayed
all sorts of gadgets and trinkets.
"Lazarillo!" a farm girl about my age called
out. She motioned me over.
My face grew hot. There were times lately
when being around girls made me uncomfort-able.
She winked at me. "I saved a jar of jam just
for you. It's your favorite. Grape."
Spread on buttered bread, it would make such
a wonderful breakfast. I placed one of my coins
in her outstretched hand and picked the jar up by
"Thank you, Lazarillo. You are a scholar and a
I laughed because I was neither. Only gentlemen's
sons attended school. I had never been
allowed inside a classroom.
She knew that. She also knew the constable
was teaching me to read in his spare time.
Tucked in my coat pocket was a journal to prac-tice
- 28 -
Fall 2001 Arizona Literary Magazine
. Lila Guzman is the author of GREEN SLIME AND JAM (Eakin Press, 2001) a middle- d His
paruc ~ntasy, and LORENZO'S SECRET MISSION (Arte Publico, 200 1). LORENZO'~ SECRET ::SS;ON .an
actIo~-adventure for young adults and tells the story of the Spanish contribution to th Am . 1S
Redv o"lTuhti onC. h HerI short st"o ry "Star Apples" was published in the Ariz ona L1' terary Magazm.e e m. e1n9c9a6n z~m e. e oco ate Bar, a personal essay, figured in the 1997 edition of the Arizo na L1't e rary Maga'-
Lila. is the recipient ~f several awards for writing, including Honorable Menti . F .
Dorothy Daruels Honorary Wnting Award from the National League of Am ' P won m 1ctlon,
Arizona Literary Contest and Awards. She lives in Round Rock, Texas. encan en omen, and the
I paused and gazed across the street at the
~pot where the Inn de Solana used to stand. A
tlghtne~s came to my chest, as if a giant were
squeezing my heart. This was the last place I had
seen my mother and little brother, nine years
ago, before I left to become a blindman's servant.
Workers had torn the old inn down on orders
from His Excellency, Lord High Mayor of Salamanca,
and were putting the last stones in a
wheel barrow for removal.
As .1 watched the workers, I heard an approaching
sound. Slap! Slap! Slap!
. The Archbishop's secretary trotted toward me,
~IS sa.ndals echoing through the marketplace.
~azanllo, my son," he panted out. "I supped with
~IS Excellency I~st night and your name came up
I~ the conversation. He had a multitude of questions
"He did? I wasn't aware His Excellency even
knew I existed."
"Indeed he does. He wishes to discuss something
with you. You must go to the palace at
I swallow~d hard. Why was I being summoned
by HIS Excellency, the most important
man in Salamanca?
The Archbishop's secretary rocked on his
heels and smiled smugly.
"This is about the position of town crier isn't
it?" I asked, hope growing. "Did I get it?" ,
Before he could answer, water splattered the
cobblestones twenty paces in front of us.
At first, I thought someone was emptying another
chamber pot. I glanced up and quickly dismissed
All windows were closed. Besides, it was
against the law to dump your chamber pot without
first yelling "Agua va."
'Where did that water come from?" I asked
the Archbishop's secretary.
:'1 don't know," he said, looking up. "There isn't
a Single cloud in the sky."
My stom~ch rur:nbled. I removed the jar cover,
~tuck my finger In the jam, and ate a glob.
Would you like some?"
"Not after your fingers have been in it."
. All at once, a sharp odor filled the air. It reminded
me of the apothecary shop.
. Then a most unusual thing happened. Green
slime fell from the sky.
I barely had time to hide my jam beneath my
cape before it completely drenched me.
. The Archbishop's secretary stepped backward
In order to avoid getting soaked.
It appe~red I was the only one in the plaza
cove~ed With ooze. "Valgame Dios!" I exclaimed,
shaking myself like a wet dog. 'When I catch the
person who did this, I'll give him a thrashing he
won't soon forget." I took out a handkerchief and
cleaned the muck from my face and hair.
Just a.s I finished, everything around me began
I felt sick. My stomach churned. I tried to focus
on the bell tower in the main plaza but it
swayed like a flamenco dancer. '
Dizzy, unable to maintain my balance I
gro~ed for an iron hitching ring to steady myse~. I
felt like I was about to faint.
Even tho~gh my eyes were wide open, the
~orld grew dim. Street noises faded into an eerie
Silence, as if they no longer existed. I couldn't
see or hear a thing.
The iron hitching ring slipped from my grasp.
Everything went black.
- 29 -
Arizona Literary Magazine Fall 2001
SECOND PLACE - Unpublished Novel Category
Abby wrung the final pair of
socks and dropped them onto the
mountain of wet clothes in the large
wicker basket. Despite the ice-laced,
winter wind whipping through the unprotected
porch, a small headband of
sweat beads adorned her brow. The
large tubs of wash and rinse water
steamed and hissed in the frosty,
January 1898 morning air. She wiped
her brow with the back of her hand and
quickly dipped the sweat-soaked hand
into the large galvanized rinse tub. As
she dried her hands on her apron, she
winced at the burning sensation. Her
hands, red and cracked, looked more
like the hands of an ancient matron
than a colleen of only seventeen years.
She sighed as she stretched
her burning hands out in front of her.
Someday, oh someday, she thought as
she pictured lily-white, manicured
hands adorned in gold and diamond
rings. The picture in her mind was so
real that for a moment she forgot the
buming and the itch.
"Oh love! How they must
hurt." Her Aunt Kitty had come out to
the porch. She clasped Abby's hands
between her own. "Let me get some
Abby focused on the warm,
hazel eyes of her dear aunt. "That
would be lovely." She touched the
woman's arm as she turned to go for
the balm. "Wait, Aunt Kit. Let me hang
the clothes and then I can relish the
balm." She grinned and added in a
plea. "And, maybe some tea?"
"I'll start it now. Hurry Abby.
The wind will give you a chill."
When the door to the kitchen
closed, Abby buttoned her outgrown
small fisherman's sweater and lugged
the basket to the edge of the porch.
She looked down to see the heavily
laden pulley lines of frozen clothing
and bedding on the first and second
floors dancing stiffly to an arctic Chicago
reel. After pinning a pair of her
uncle's overalls to the line, she pulled
the squeaky pulley forward.
"That you, Abby?" The shrill
voice of Mrs. O'Brien called up from the
"Tis, Mrs. O'Brien. And how
are you this chilly, sunny morning?"
Abby leaned over the porch railing that,
while firm, sorely needed a coat of
paint. She stared down into the chubby,
liver spotted face of their lonely
neighbor. The woman's daughter and
son-in-law worked long hours, leaving
the poor old girl alone most of the time.
"Oh, tis a glorious day. The air
is so clear." Abby smiled. Mrs. O'Brien
thought every day the good Lord allowed
her to witness was a glorious
day. "Abby, love, could you do me a bit
of a favor?"
"I washed some clothes for my
dear Mary. You know she works so hard
and long each day. Well, as I was hanging
her stockings ... " The old wornan
stopped and pointed to the line of
clothes on the first floor.
There, draped over a white
sheet was a long black stocking. Abby
knew how Mary hated for her mother to
do the laundry. Seems it wasn't always
done to Mary's satisfaction. Now the
poor old dear was really in trouble.
Abby smiled. "Sure and ,.11 be
happy to get it for you. Just wait there."
She turned and raced down the two
flights of stairs, retrieved the stocking
and brought it up to the second floor
porch. She hung it on the line, along
with two or three other items for the rosy
cheeked old dame.
"Abby, you're a darlin'. Thank
"You're welcome." Abby turned
to go, but the old woman touched her
"Here. Take these. Mary and
her Johnny brought them back from
- 30 -
Maxwell Street last Sunday." She
handed the girl two colorful pieces of
taffy wrapped in a white waxy paper.
"Oh, I COUldn't. They were
meant for you to enjoy." Abby's mouth
watered as she thought about all the
exotic foods she enjoyed sampling at
the street bazaar known simply as Maxwell
Street. She loved that the confluence
of so many ethnic groups provided
such a potpourri of strange and exotic
items of food, clothing, linen and heavens
only knows what some items were.
Abby loved to go there. She'd flutter
along the roughly eight blocks; her eyes
agog at the crowded tables and carts.
She'd learned how to bargain by watching
her aunt and uncle haggle with the
peddlers. Sometimes, they couldn't
even speak the same language. To
Abby it was a learning place that always
stimulated her imagination.
"No, dear. You take them.
Please." She pressed the candy firmly
into Abby's palm.
"Thank you, Mrs. O'Brien. But,
I really must go now. My clothes basket
upstairs is probably solid ice by now."
Abby called over her shoulder, "Go inside
now. You're sure to catch your
death of cold out in this wind. I'll come
to have tea with you later." Her unruly
mane of red curls bounced and danced
in a frivolous ballet as she hurried up
In short order, the clothes were
hung and Abby tumed to go into the
The voice on the top step of
the porch bit into Abby's ears with its
soulful pang of despair. She turned and
looked at a bent and broken man.
She walked toward her dear
uncle. "What is it?"
"Oh, colleen ... ." His six-foot
frame slumped against the wall and
slowly slid down to rest on the stairs.
She tumed. "I'll get Aunt Kit."
Fall 2001 Arizona Literary Magazine
Sharon Poppen has been a writer for approximately six years, entered numerous
contests and won a few. The idea for this novel came from her pride in her Irish roots and
aware~ess of how_much ofa struggle life can be for a single woman. She published a short
story tItl~d A Walk in the Desert, which won Honorable Mention from the National League
of Amencan Pen Women, Wolfy (short story) published in Creosote Literary Magazine.
She had other short stories and poetry published in Potpourri, Desert Treasures and The
Great BeJ!ond. To this day, she has completed four novels and is writing a fifth. Retired
from Pacific Bell, she is married with two children, three stepchildren and five grandchildren,
and lives in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Abby faced him again.
He was running his fingers
through his thinning salt and pepper
hair. When he looked up at her, the
despair in his eyes pierced deep into
She walked over and sat next
to him on the step. "What is it? Can I
help?" She had never seen him like
this. He was always the one everyone
leaned on, so dependable. Aunt Kit
had told Abby a million times how
lucky she was to have found an Irishman
who didn't need the drink. Oh, he
liked his ale well enough, but not to
excess. He preferred to spend his
nights with his family. Aunt Kitty and
the eight children, plus Abby, were entertainment
enough. He always
"Abby, it's Liam," he managed
to croak. Tears were quietly traversing
the contours of his haggard face.
Abby looked down the stairs. Liam was
eighteen. He had recently begun work
with his father in the boiler rooms below
the downtown buildings. It was
dirty, dangerous work, but it paid well
and gave those working there an actual
trade. So many of the immigrants
were stuck with coolie labor, never
knOwing what they would be doing
from day to day. The boiler workers
were always busy and in high demand.
Now she wondered, where was Liam?
He and his father always left before
dawn and returned at six-thirty in the
"Where is Liam, Uncle
A sob escaped the man's
chest. With his head down, all Abby
could see was his shoulder twitching
as he fought to gain control. She
reached down, took his head between
her hands, and raised it so she could
look him in the eye.
He spoke softly. "He's dead.
Liam is dead."
Abby clutched her chest as it
constricted and threatened to take away
her own life-sustaining breath. Liam, her
favorite cousin, was dead? It wasn't possible.
He had complained about her coffee
just this moming-a standing joke
between them. They had sat on this very
porch step last night, talking about their
futures as he smoked a foul-smelling cigar
and sipped an ale.
"No. No!" Her voice a keen of
despair and disbelief. "Liam is dead?"
Abby spoke in a whisper.
Martin John Moynahan nodded,
his red-rimmed brown eyes surrounded
by ice-tinged eyelashes that glittered in
Abby swallowed but still had
trouble finding her voice. "How? When?"
Martin tried to speak. His shoulders
quivered. Abby reached across and
wrapped her small hands around her uncle's
large callused fingers. Despite the
wind and cold, they were hot and sweaty.
She touched his forehead to find it buming,
as if with fever. "Uncle Maudie.
Come inside. You need to be where it's
warm. Please?" She started to rise.
He grabbed her hand. "No." He
moaned. "No. I can't face Kit. Oh, dear
God." His voice trailed off.
Abby stood and moved down
one step. She pulled her uncle's head
into her midsection as she caressed his
hair, much as a mother would do with a
frightened child. Despite the anguish of
her own heart, she began to coo to him.
"Go ahead with you, now. Get it out." His
arms encircled her waist as his body
shook with primal grief, and he sobbed
into the cold, wet wool of her sweater.
Abby patted his head. "There, There. Get
it out love."
"My son. Oh, my son." His guttural
moan was almost indiscernible.
Abby kept quiet. He lifted his head and
looked up at her. "How will I tell his
Abby's eyes blurred as she encouraged
him. "Tell me. ,.11 help you."
She pulled his head into her midsection
- 31 -
again. "What happened to Liam?" She
kept her voice low.
He emitted a half-sigh-halfsob.
"There was an explOSion. Liam
and Frank Conroy had gone into the
boiler. They were to scrape the slag
buildup from the bottom of the tank.
We'll never know what caused a spark,
but suddenly the oil dregs under their
feet burst into flame. The pressure
pipes were off, so there shouldn't have
been anything to cause an explosion,
but it happened. Both boys were killed
instantly and burned .. ." His voice
Abby continued caressed his
head quietly as he fought for control.
He looked up to meet her
eyes. "There's not even a recognizable
body, Abby. Just the bones of two
boys who .. ." He threw his head back,
released Abby's waist and stood. He
gently pushed Abby aside and started
back down the stairs.
"Where are you going?"
"I can't face Kitty. I just can't."
He turned to go.
Abby caught him on the small
landing between the third and second
floor. "Uncle Maudie, you must come
inside. Surely, someone will rush by to
see if they can help in any way. You
don't want Aunt Kitty to hear it that
way, do you?"
Her words made their way
past his grief and self-pity. "Oh, Christ
no." He looked to heaven, then looked
toward the door at the top of the stairs.
He took a deep breath and turned to
Abby. He grasped her hand. Thank
you, love, for being here. I needed .. ."
She reached for his hand. "I
His shoulders squared and
his voice grew stronger. "Come, girl.
Kitty will need you desperately this
day, and probably for many days to
come." He slowly walked to the back
door, holding Abby's small hand as
tightly as a drowning man clutching a
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