Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
013 Arizona Authors Association
All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced or transmitted in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or
by any information storage or retrieval system without written permission except in the
case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews. Requests for permissions
should be addressed to the publisher:
Arizona Authors Association
Arizona Literary Magazine
Printed in the United States of America
Cover Art by National Park Service
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 3
Arizona Literary Magazine
Proudly Presents the
Arizona Authors Association
Annual Literary Awards
4 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
TOBY FESLER HEATHCOTTE
Toby Heathcotte ran the contest for seven
years and now serves as president of AZ
Authors. She coordinates projects and ac-tivities
that serve the membership and the
writing community statewide. Her fiction
titles include The Alma Chronicles: Alison’s
Legacy, Lainn’s Destiny, Angie’s Promise,
Luke’s Covenant, and The Comet’s Return.
Nonfiction titles include “The Manuscript from the Mystifying
Source” in How I Wrote My First Book, Out of the Psychic
Closet: The Quest to Trust my True Nature; Program Building:
A Practical Guide for High School Speech & Drama Teachers.
Her books have won several awards. For details, go to toby-heathcotte.
Scott Jones................VIP & Contest Coordinator
Elizabeth Blake..........Literary Magazine Editor &
Vijaya Schartz.................................Web Mistress
Sandra E Bowen & Terry Smith........Membership
Jeri Castronova....................High Country Liaison
Allan J. Ashinoff........................Newsletter Editor
Jan Cleere & Barb Marriott..Tucson Coordinators
The Arizona Literary Magazine
is published each fall
Arizona Authors Association
6145 W. Echo Lane
Glendale, AZ 85302
Scott Jones is the Vice President and con-test
coordinator for the Arizona Authors
Association. He serves with gratitude and
much respect for the organization. Scott is
a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones and
lives in beautiful Sedona, AZ. He
shares his life with a wonderful partner, a
fat cat, and noisy little parrot named Judy.
His writing adventure began some years
ago with a young readers series. The first
book was published with Brown Books. .
Jane Ruby has authored several publications
relating to gas and diesel engine lubrication
as well as colloidal and surface science. She’s
changed her writing interest from scientific/
technical to fictional adventure. Her first
novel, “The Azurite Encounter” was pub-lished
in 2010. She is currently working on
the sequel “Voiceless Whispers: A New Sha-man’s
Calling.” She is married and has two daughters.
Elizabeth Blake has written about her experi-ences
teaching inner-city students entitled
No Child Left Behind? The true story of a
teacher’s quest. She also edited a Kindle
book of short stories called How I Met My
Spouse. Many of her short stories about her
family have been published . Her first fiction
e-novel is called Shelter of Love.
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 5
AND THE WINNERS ARE...
1- Riding the Superstitions
1- Are You In There?—Nancy Chaney………..14
2- Stumbling Across Lou Rochelli
3- Alice Munro: Is Our Empress Fully Clothed
1- Woman Who Dreams
Sandra K. Bremser………………………24
2- Mystic —Noble F. Collins…………………….25
3- Ode to Cacti—Elizabeth Oakes…………….26
HM- Eyes as Green as Connemara
Noble F. Collins…………………………...27
1- The Wraths of Glen Cove
2- Annie Church—Paula Philips………………..39
3-Way of the Rooster
Kevin W. Schick…………………………..49
1- Peggy Walker—Helen Batiste……………..61
2- Little Things—Marlene Baird……………….67
3- Eros—Taylor R. Genovese……………………74
3-Girl in the Rain—Sam Barone……………….77
HM-Green Stockings—Char Everett………...80
1– Words Falling Like Water
2– Tears of Esperanza
3– Corr Syl the Warrior
HM– The Right Guard
1– Everyday Oracles: Decoding the Divine Mes-sages
That Are All Around Us
2– I Thought I’d Be Done by Now: Hope and Help
for Mothers of Adult Children Search for Peace
Wendy Boorn, LPC……………………...93
3– No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle for Bas-togne
Leo Barron & Don Cygan……………..94
1– Sam’s Desert Adventure
2– Who’s in That Shell
Anita Elco &
3—Sophie’s Gifts From the Fairies
6 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
International award-winning car-toonist
and author Drew Aquilina
has been entertaining audiences
since 1987. He created the car-toon
strip Green Pieces©. He is
the staff cartoonist of The Morn-ing
Scramble television program,
AZTV Channel 7/Cable 13, and
continues to produce a daily Green Pieces© strip at
Arizona native literary publicist,
author Lisa Aquilina, J.D. is co-owner
of Green Pieces Cartoon
Studio. Aquilina anticipates the
publication of the second edition
of her biographical novel, La
Nonna Bella, in 2014. Green
Pieces Cartoon Studio is a proud
and active member of the Arizona
Author Association, Independent
Book Publishers Association, APSS, PubWest and the Soci-ety
of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.
Russ Azbill is deeply interested in
American Southwest history, mo-torsports,
aviation, and space explora-tion.
He also has a keen interest in classic
movies and vintage television. Being a
great fan of dogs, Russ is seldom seen
without one. Darkest Hour was his first
published work. He has written three
screenplays and a second novel. His sec-ond
novel is scheduled for publication
before the end of the year. He is cur-rently
writing the sequel to Darkest Hour.
has four published
books,. Many of
her short stories
have won awards.
She is active in
She has two active blogs: bookreviewsby-baird.
blogspot.com and thewritelady.blogspot.com.
Her website is www.marlenebaird.com.
Thomasina Burke loves Arizona.
Every weekend she and her hus-band
Bill head up the dirt road to
their cabin in Crown King, Arizona.
An RN and volunteer firefighter, she
can also be found hiking any of the
Phoenix mountains, Irish dancing, or
planning a new travel adventure.
She is the author of the critically
acclaimed novel Magic Bridge, and
has just published the sequel, Bridge of Fire.
Ellen Hasenecz Calvert, psycholo-gist
and prize-winning poet,
moved to the Southwest in 1989.
While living in Albuquerque Ellen
wrote the award winning book,
Pilgrim: Tales of a Traveling Cat.
Ellen's second book, Nine Gold-fish
in David's Pond, is presently
being translated into Spanish this
coming fall. Ellen is busy at work on a book of short
stories in Santa Fe where she lives with her husband
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 7
Emily Pritchard Cary is the author of
seven romantic mysteries, two histo-ries,
and hundreds of articles on music,
education, travel, genealogy, and para-psychology
in newspapers and maga-zines
worldwide. Several are in antholo-gies.
She is an honors graduate of the
University of Pennsylvania. Her ad-vanced
studies encompass education,
archaeology, public communications,
and environmental science.
Elizabeth Davis writes
children’s picture books
and young adult fiction.
She has won 1st place in
the Writer’s Digest annual
competition. During the
school year, she teaches
Literature in the nearby
Middle School; her days
are filled with creativity,
humor and hormones, travel and reading.
Muslim Writers Publishing is a publisher and licensor
of Islam-related fiction and nonfiction books.
Founded in 2006 by Linda D. Delgado, Muslim Writ-ers
Publishing was created to make wholesome Is-lamic
fiction available to Muslims in the West. Since
then, Linda published several books, including her
Islamic Rose series and other Islamic fiction stories,
halal cookbooks, poetry and anthologies.
Diana Ellis is a Canadian freelance and travel writer
who has visited over 40 different countries on seven
continents and has written extensively about her
adventures. Her travel humor and photographs have
appeared on various travel websites. From fall 2007
to Fall 2009 Diana was the travel guide for the Cana-dian
based lifestyle website, Les Tout. She also wrote
about her hometown, Edmonton Alberta, for local
publications. Her historical articles have appeared in
the Edmonton & District Historical Society newsletter
and the Strathcona Plaindealer.
She is a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta, Pro-fessional
Writers Association of Canada, Canadian
Authors Association, Arizona Authors Association and
Access Copyright. She currently resides in Kelowna,
British Columbia, Canada with her husband and two
cats. She spends her winters in Chandler, Arizona
where she and her husband have a seasonal home.
Born in the inner city of Chicago,
Kathleen Rita Cook spent her
youth writing fiction, studying
Irish Mythology and dreaming of
becoming a nun. After four years
of living hungry and on the run
from a custody battle, Katy's
mother took her to Phoenix,
where the girl spent the past forty
years raising children, catching up on her education, volun-teering
and copyediting, With a love of literature dating
back to her Catholic school days, Katy writes to inspire and
comfort other middle-aged children like her.
Jan Cleere’s Levi's & Lace: Arizona
Women Who Made History, was a
2012 finalist for the New Mexico-
Arizona Book Awards. Amazing
Girls of Arizona: True Stories of
Young Pioneers won the 2009 AZ
Book Publishing Ass’n Glyph award
for best young adult nonfiction.
Outlaw Tales of Arizona was recog-nized
in 2007 as winner of the National Federation of
Press Women's Literary Competition for Historical Nonfic-tion.
More than Petticoats: Remarkable Nevada Women
was a 2006 WILLA Literary Award Finalist.
8 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
Gail Kennedy is a native New
Yorker who arrived in Sedona, AZ in
1995. There she volunteered at
both the local hospital and the
Sedona Fire District. Later she was
offered a job and worked there for
twelve years. Gail has been
a vocalist on both coasts and in a
number of Jazz clubs and Cabarets
in New York, San Francisco, Mexico,
Spain, and in many clubs in North-ern
Karen Kibler earned her Bache-lor's
Degree from the University
of Iowa in 1977, and soon after
relocated to Arizona. She re-ceived
a Ph.D. in 1997 from Ari-zona
State University where she
is now an Assistant Research
Professor and the university Bio-safety
Manager. Writing has
been a long-time passion of
hers; however, until the completion of The Second
Chasm, her audience was restricted to family and
college class professors.
Barh Hahn (aka Barclay Frank-lin)
is a resident of beautiful
uptown Cornville, AZ. She
holds a Masters in English de-gree
with an emphasis on crea-tive
writing from NAU. She’s
currently working on novel #26
called Virus about a vector-control
agent for the CDC. Five
of her novels have been published: A Race for Glory
Run; The Bride Price: The Chording of T.O. Malone;
Up the Hill, Through the Long Grass; and The Shep-herd’s
Justine Garcia is the author of
The Backwards Town, The Treas-ure
Map, While You Were Gone,
The Adventures of Rose a Child
Psychic, and While You Were
Gone Year Two. She owns her
own publishing company, Rose
Bud Publishing Company LLC. In
her limited spare time, she loves
to relax and play with her three year-old daughter,
Diana Fisher made a name for
herself in Phoenix as an adver-tising
illustrator in the eighties.
Her career shifted into the how-to-
draw genre, illustrating and
authoring many award-winning
books for children and adults.
She then moved into other liter-ary
genres including women’s
fiction. Diana has also edited and advised authors on
their manuscripts. She lives in the mountains north of
Phoenix, where deer, javelinas, and other desert
dwellers visit on a regular basis.
Marilyn June Janson, M.S., Ed., is
the owner of Janson Literary Ser-vices,
Inc., an editing, proofread-ing,
and manuscript analysis com-pany.
She teaches creative writing
and publishing classes at Mesa
Community College and other edu-cational
venues throughout the
East Valley. Ms. Janson is the au-thor
of Recipe For Rage, a suspense novel, and
Tommy Jenkins: First Teleported Kid, a children’s
chapter book. She is working on a young adult novel.
Contact Ms. Janson @ www.janwrite.com.
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 9
While Gil Stafford’s day job is
working as a young adult chap-lain
and Episcopal parish priest,
at night I'm a writer of non-fiction
and fiction. My latest
book is due in October, from
Alban Institute, "When Leader-ship
meets Spiritual Direction:
Reflections and Stories for Con-gregational
Kathy Stevens is passionate
about reading and writing, for all
levels and types of communica-tions.
Her work includes extract-ing
technical scientific informa-tion
for colleagues and the pub-lic,
to assist Arizona industry and
communities to understand safe
drinking water requirements.
She enjoys book clubs to explore
and discuss all types of books
and she enjoys participating in Arizona Authors, for meth-ods
and information about "all-things-writing & publish-ing.”
Greta Manville COPY EDITOR FOR
ARIZONA LITERARY MAGAZINE
2014, writes mystery and suspense
novels. Her bibliographic research
on John Steinbeck is available free
online. She edited Transitions and
has served as contest coordinator
and treasurer of Arizona Authors
Association in the past.
After taking a voluntary layoff in
2002, Cherie Lee turned to writing.
Curiosity guides her tall tales. Writing
is wonderful since it leaves her less
time for housework, cooking, and
yard work. Her hobbies are reading,
hiking and photography. She is busy
polishing two more children’s books
and outlining two science fiction/
fantasy stories for adults.
Kelly Lydick’s writing has ap-peared
in Naropa University’s
Twittering Machine, the Burling-ton
College Poetry Journal, ditch:
poetry that matters, Shady Side
Review, SwankSpeak! , Switched-on
Gutenberg, Mission At Tenth,
and Thema. Her nonfiction arti-cles
have appeared in Java,
Western Art Collector, American
Art Collector, American Fine Art, Santa Fean, and True Blue
Spirit magazines. Her work has also been feature IN Ele-phantJournal.
com and on NPR and KQED’s The Writers’
Chantelle Aimée Osman is the au-thor
of numerous flash fiction and
short stories published in literary
journals, e-zines and anthologies,
and an Anthony Award nominee for
her mystery/thriller website The
Sirens of Suspense. In her former life
she worked as an attorney and head
of business affairs and development
for various production companies in
Hollywood. She now owns A Twist of Karma Entertainment,
a screenplay and manuscript editing and book cover design
company and teaches writing workshops nationwide.
After being an educator for ten years,
Joya Rogers decided it was time to fulfill
her dream of writing. Her experiences as
a middle and high school teacher for ten
years have helped her gain insight into
the culture of young people. Working in
lower socioeconomic districts, Joya has
observed the need for more books that
are relatable, yet at the same time provide diversity in
experiences for African-American teens. She’s currently
writing a novel about a high school student who is coping
10 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
JOHN HANSEN’S passion for writing
began early as a sophomore in high
school, when he was recognized for
“Prairie Moon,” a short story about a
murderer fleeing his pursuers on horse-back.
After high school he enlisted in
the U.S. Navy, serving two tours of duty
in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Later,
he joined the Bellevue (WA) Police De-partment,
graduated from Seattle Uni-versity,
and became a Christian. In
2002, John began chronicling his fam-ily’s
adventures and forays into the de-sert
in a series of nonfiction short sto-ries,
Adventures in the Desert.
After John lost his beloved Kris-tene
to breast cancer, he wrote Song of
the Waterwheel, describing his twenty-eight
year marriage to Kristene, her
decline and passing and his grief. It was
published in 2012. John and his new
wife live in Scottsdale, where he is ac-tive
in his church, armed protection
details and the Maricopa County
Mounted Sheriff’s Posse.
RIDING THE SUPERSTITIONS
“Been ridin’ rescue searches in the Superstitions over
twenty years,” the senior posse man mused, shaking his
head in reverent awe, “and only once, about eight years
ago, did we find anyone alive, a young family of four,
barely alive after three days without food or water.”
Before I moved to Arizona, I pooh-poohed documen-taries
that claimed that even people experienced in de-sert
lore disappear in the Superstition Mountains, often
never to be found or heard of again. Publicity hype, pure
hooey, I thought. This is the twenty-first century, after
all! But first-hand experience made a believer of me
when, as a new member of the mounted sheriff’s posse,
I rode in from the base camp at First Water Trailhead for
the first time. Within minutes I became so turned around
that I couldn’t have found my way out if I had to. Thank-fully
there were four other posse members on my search
team, all experienced and equipped with GPS devices.
The Superstitions exude mystery. It is a wild, brood-ing,
deadly place. For over a hundred years up to the pre-sent,
prospectors have penetrated its vastness for gold.
Today the region is riddled with abandoned hand-dug
mine shafts over a hundred years old. Its trails meander,
twist and turn among steep red-rock cliffs and mountains
so that the further in one traverses, the more everything
looks the same. Within a short time, one’s sense of direc-tion
is lost, and panic follows confusion like a cat toying
with a mouse before killing it. Worse, cell phones and
sometimes even police radios don’t work there except at
the outer edges.
The categories of those who get lost and perish there
are three. Some venture from milder, cooler climes out
1ST PLACE ESSAY
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 11
of desire to experience a legend, but out of igno-rance
underestimate the deadliness of the Ari-zona
desert. For others, the prospect of becom-ing
rich by finding the gold veins of the Lost
Dutchman Mine is worth the risk of exploration.
After them are the diehard risk-takers, in whom
accumulated wilderness skills and conquests
have cultivated a false assumption of their own
It was in regard to the latter that Friday April
19, 2013, was for me a long, demanding day. The
previous night a call from my posse captain di-rected
me to be at one of the Lost Dutchman
Trailheads at 6 a.m. to join the search for a lost
hiker. I scrambled to pack the special orange
search and rescue saddlebags we are required to
use on searches so that helicopters can see us
on the ground. I filled two canteens and set out
my boots, hat and clothes so I could slip into
them in the morning. It was 11 p.m. when I fi-nally
I was up and getting dressed by 2:30, having
barely slept. On my way to the stables, it oc-curred
to me to bring both of my horses. The
hiker reportedly had been missing for five days
and went without equipment, even a shirt. If my
team found him, an extra horse would be
needed to bring the body out, dead or alive; the
latter being more likely.
Upon arrival I grain-fed both horses so they
would have sustenance and energy to draw
upon through the demanding day ahead. While
they ate I hooked up the trailer and loaded sad-dles,
bridles, additional grain, water, and horse
first aid supplies. Taylor, my big sorrel gelding,
and my primary search and rescue horse, I
loaded first. He stepped right in. Next I turned to
load Red, my chestnut mare. A young mare with
an excellent memory, she literally ran back into
her pasture turnout, dragging her lead rope be-hind.
She knew from past experience what was
ahead and wanted no part of it. In the predawn
darkness I ran after her, flashlight in hand,
walked her back and loaded her into the trailer.
Maricopa is a geographically large county. It
was still dark at 4:30 when I headed out from
the Rio Verde area of Scottsdale for the Supersti-tions,
and daybreak when I arrived at 6 a.m., a
distance of over eighty miles. The sheriff’s com-mand
post was a large white trailer bearing sher-iff’s
office markings. A ground search posse and
another mounted posse from Queen Creek were
also at the briefing. Deputies in charge handed
us maps showing our assigned search area and
told us the missing man’s family described him
as an experienced wilderness hiker who was fa-miliar
with the Superstitions, a daredevil type
sometimes referred to as a “bush-whacker,” de-fined
as one who shunned using trails, preferring
to go in off-trail with a minimum of equipment.
Ground search posses are the infantry of the
posse network. Sometimes called “ground-pounders”
by mounted posse men, they had
previously searched close-in caves and canyons
for two days with no results. Because horses can
cover more ground in less time and afford riders
an aboveground view, mounted teams were
needed now to expand the search. Our team
was assigned to search the southeast approach
to the mountain range, up to a large cave known
the cliffs was
too steep to
12 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
as Broadway Cave, located halfway up the face
of a vertical rock cliff.
We trailered from the command post more
than a mile to reach our assigned search area
and unloaded our horses. After checking our
maps, we saddled up and rode through a
‘cowboy gate’ (a mere opening in a barbwire
fence) to begin our work. I rode Taylor, using my
custom rough-out Wade-style saddle with high
cantle, ideal for mountain riding, and ponied Red
alongside on a halter and lead rope.
From our starting point the ground appeared
to gradually slope upward to the base of the
cliffs. From here to the upper slope it didn’t look
especially difficult, and I expected an easy time
of it until the upper slope. But appearances can
be deceiving. I noted that the upper slope be-came
especially steep toward the base of the
cliffs in which the cave was situated. Vegetation
there was more sparsely scattered than below
and the surface was loose gravel and rocks. I de-cided
I wouldn’t risk my horses up there; the
ground will be too unstable.
To my surprise, once we had ridden just a
few yards past the gate, even there the ground
was steeper and rockier than it first appeared.
The brush too was much heavier; low-growing
cactus and deciduous plants made straight-line
searching impossible and the open ground was
strewn with large, jagged, loose rocks that
caused frequent loss of footing and minor inju-ries
for the horses.
We rode a slow line-search as best as the
terrain would allow, keeping twenty-five yards
between the five of us, looking carefully under
every low-lying brush for discarded items or
other clues of the missing man. It seemed it took
an hour just to cover fifty yards or so. Among us
we commented that if we were the hiker, we’d
be tempted to get to the shelter of the cave high
above us. It was reachable for even a moder-ately
experienced climber. Hopefully the ground-pounders
had checked it, because the final ap-proach
was too steep for horse travel.
Diligently we looked for clues: particularly
clothing, water bottles, headgear, or backpacks.
Discarding items necessary to survival is a com-mon
symptom of delirium brought on by dehy-dration
and heat stroke. Often they provide a
trail that searchers follow to the victim’s final
location. Several times we stopped to mark with
red surveyor tape items we found that we rea-sonably
believed could have been discarded by
the missing man within the past few days. These
included partially full water bottles, food con-tainers,
and clothing items. The precise locations
of possible clues were noted on paper, then GPS
coordinates were determined and radioed in to
the command post, which decided if the item
should be taken for later examination or left
where it was found.
The going was grueling for the horses. Care-fully
picking their way keeping their balance
through jagged rocks and uneven ground was
slow, strenuous work that, in the interests of
safety, demanded the constant attention of
horses and riders. As much as I tried to skirt
around the heaviest brush and cacti, it was but a
short time before Taylor and Red’s legs were
riddled with sharp cactus needles, and abraded
by jagged rocks, often bleeding slightly and re-quiring
frequent removal of burrs and cactus
needles with pliers and pocket combs, standard
equipment of the desert horseman as much as a
Two saving graces we were grateful for were
agreeable weather—a cool 81 degrees, and
breezy. And, although we were searching in typi-cal
rattlesnake terrain and reports abounded of
rattlesnakes being plentiful and aggressive after
a long cold winter, we encountered none.
At 11 a.m., after nearly five hours of slow,
strenuous searching we returned to our trailers
to water and rest our horses. Taylor and Red
were dehydrated; each drank two five-gallon
buckets of water. To keep their blood sugar bal-anced
during the remainder of the search, I gave
each an apple and some oats mixed with beet
We resumed our work to cover the area we
did not search in the morning. Our careful plod-ding
led us to almost right below the Broadway
Cave. As I had surmised when we began, the last
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 13
stretch of ground between us and the cliffs was
too steep to ride safely. We dismounted, allow-ing
the horses to graze while we spent a long
half-hour scanning the ridges and crevices with
binoculars, seeing a few feet into the cave
above, and methodically scanning bush by bush,
large rock by large rock. As we did, a county heli-copter
hovered over the tops of the mesas and
arroyos above us. We mounted up again and
rode north to complete searching the last leg of
our assigned search area.
At 1:30, our mission was interrupted by a
radio report from the command post that the
missing hiker's body had been found by another
team about six miles from our assigned search
area. We were ordered to return to base and
report. Deputies informed us at the briefing that
the victim had fallen to the bottom of a canyon
while climbing a cliff with no equipment, not
even proper footwear; true to his daredevil na-ture,
apparently. Arrangements were being
made to extricate the body, as we made ready
Like previous searches in the Superstitions
this was a tough ride; shorter than most, but still
hard on the horses. By 4 p.m. we were home. I
bathed Taylor and Red with shampoo and cool
water, removed more cactus needles from their
legs, staunched the bleeding, cleaned their
hooves, returned them to their turnouts and
supplied them generously with fresh water,
rolled oats and hay. They had worked willingly
and were entitled to a few days’ rest and plenty
of good feed. By the time I cleaned and un-hooked
my trailer, unpacked gear, swept and
tidied up the tack room and drove home it was 6
p.m. It had been a fifteen-hour day on three
hours' sleep. I wanted to visit with my family,
but I thought it would be nice to just lie down for
a few minutes after dinner. When I awoke it was
8 a.m. I had slept over 12 hours straight, and my
legs and back were stiff when I got up. And now
Patricia, my wife, enters, bringing me coffee and
reminds me that I had promised to take her hik-ing
today . . .
HOW I MET MY SPOUSE
An anthology edited by
14 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
1ST PLACE ESSAY
NANCY CHANEY utilizes her
profession as an adjunct history
professor, and her love of storytel-ling
to write time travel and his-torical
fiction. A native of Arizona,
she has a BA from the University of
Arizona and a MA from Arizona
She belongs to Desert Rose and
Scottsdale Society of Women Writ-ers
and has been published in edu-cational
journals, The Arizona Re-public
as a community columnist,
and in the 2011 nonfiction anthol-ogy,
A Mother’s Wisdom. This is
her second year as an Arizona Au-thors
finalist. She lives in Scotts-dale
with her husband, with whom
she camps and hunts.
ARE YOU IN THERE?
The gaunt sunken cheeks, the closed shadowed eyes
give no hint that Marjorie’s soul is still with the liv-ing.
The prominent outline of her skull is reminis-cent
of World War II holocaust survivors. In and out,
in and out: finally, slow rhythmic breathing brings
her peace after the last choking episode. I say to
myself: Can you understand me? Are you in there?
More important, did we do the right thing? Is it
right to honor your only sister’s dying wishes to not
be kept alive in a vegetative state? When the deci-sion
was made, I felt so sure. But even though it was
a unanimous group decision—made with her loving
children and husband—the deathwatch drags on for
weeks, giving time for self-doubt.
“Do you remember?” That’s how I start each of
our bedside conversations. I couldn’t just sit there
for hours and do nothing, so I talk until my voice
gives out. My sister Marjorie, brother Craig, and I
grew up on an old homestead just outside of Tuc-son,
Arizona, with no nearby neighbors. That meant
you either played with your siblings or . . . nobody.
So, my sister and I became best friends by default
since she was only eighteen months younger and
my brother was so young. It was always Marjorie
“Do you remember how we made dirt paths and
forts in the mesquite bosque by our house and lined
them with rocks, so we could run barefoot and not
step on cactus or thorns? Do you remember how we
would pack up quilts, ice and water in glass mayon-naise
jars, peeled carrots and turnips for snacks,
bring books, and pull our red wagon to a shady mes-
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 15
quite tree? We sat in trees and I read books
out loud to you for hours during the hot
summer days. Remember Black Beauty and
Little Women? Many of our friends had a
television, but we didn’t get one until I was
in fifth grade. Mom bought a dishwasher
instead. If she had bought a TV we would
have been inside watching test patterns and
waiting for old Tom Mix cowboy movies to
come on at 4:00 p.m. We bonded outside, in
the desert. Remember?”
The harp player comes into her room
every day and plays. Marjorie does not turn
her head, move any part of her body, open
her eyes, or react to voices. This leads me to
believe the carefully selected background
music and harp players are to comfort the
living as much as the dying. “Can you hear
the music? Are you in there?
“Do you remember how we used to hunt
together when I was twelve and you were
eleven? Mom and Dad didn’t want one of us
out alone in the hills with our rifles, but
trusted the two of us together to find our
way back to camp. We were so tuned into
nature and each other; we didn’t need to
speak to communicate. I loved it when we
collaborated on hunting game. Mom and
Dad were so proud of us. You and I dragged
our deer to camp by its antlers since to-gether
we weren’t big enough to carry one.
We skinned our deer as a team, scrubbing
and caring for the meat that our family used
as a primary source of protein. And wasn’t it
great that our dad worked for an ice cream
company? We were the only family that had
huge freezers with five-gallon containers of
ice cream. You were famous for taking your
favorite ice cream bars, wrapping them in
freezer paper and labeling them ‘Bass’ or
‘Trout,’ then hiding them behind other fro-zen
packages of wrapped venison, javelin, or
elk for your exclusive snacks.”
A minister visits every day and offers
comfort. She speaks to my sister just like she
can hear, so I take heart that the minister
knows more than I do about the dying proc-ess,
and the patients really can understand. I
hear patients in nearby rooms speaking, but
since Marjorie is nonresponsive, does the
message get through?
Many, including her brain surgeon,
never expected my sister to live for more
than five years, so the second five years af-ter
surgery were a gift. She didn’t have can-cer,
but a tumor that seeded itself and grew
inside her spinal column and invaded an
empty ventricle in her head. A quick series of
strokes ten years later triggered her body’s
shutting down. I hope she can feel the gen-tle
touch of the massage therapist who is
16 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
working on her now, but there is no re-sponse.
“Do you remember how we had to share
our first car at the University of Arizona? We
left each other notes on campus describing
where our old 1960 Ford Falcon was parked
so we could coordinate our schedules. We
parked in such tight spaces, and nearby cars
would leave paint behind on the sides of our
car when they pulled out. Wouldn’t cell
phones have made life easier? I loved having
the same friends, going to the same parties,
and taking the same history classes. Then
the two of us got jobs at Harrah’s Club for
the summer in Lake Tahoe, dealing blackjack
and waitressing. The primary reason we
were hired from thousands of applicants
was that their recruiter was intrigued by two
women who hunted javelina.
“Remember how we sewed all of our
own clothes? I could wear your dresses, but
you couldn’t wear mine since I was taller.
They were just a tad short. You made that
voodoo doll out of scraps from your dress I
had borrowed without asking. You stuck pins
through it, and hung it from my bedroom
light fixture for me to find when I got home
from a date. Then you booby-trapped my
bedroom when I was trying to sneak in after
celebrating my twenty-first birthday. Hun-dreds
of balloons filled my short - sheeted
bed, and pins popped balloons with every
drawer or door I opened.”
She can’t breathe again. She’s gagging
and choking. The nurse runs to suction out
her mouth and throat. One side effect of her
brain surgery is constantly generated mucus
in her mouth, so she has to spit it out, some-thing
she can no longer do. It squeezes my
heart to see her struggle to breathe. If she is
going to show signs of life, I do not want it to
be in distress.
I repeat over and over what a wonderful
mom she is, and how she has two of the
most amazing boys. I tell her I will stay in
touch with her husband who has cared for
her all these years, and how I want to be a
fabulous aunt to my nephews and their
families. I promise to have family dinners,
invite them to family parties, and babysit. I
wish I could do more, but I know nobody can
fill the void left by a mother.
The doctor comes every day to do an
“How long will she last?”
“Your sister has a healthy heart and or-gans
so it may take longer than we ex-pected.”
“You said that almost a week ago, and
she’s had no food or drink.”
“I am so sorry, every patient is differ-ent.”
I turn to Marjorie, “Are you in there,
For me, the hardest part about growing
older is when family and friends die. If only
there were a magic pill to make time, the
magic healer, speed by. I cried every day for
six months when my parents died. Mourning
is like a jail sentence, with a physical pain
that crushes your heart. I dread the six
months after my sister is gone. The pain and
depression will start again. I am afraid. The
first year will be bad until I can mark each
holiday on my calendar—Thanksgiving,
Christmas, Easter, and birthdays. For our
family, milestones are all of the camping
trips and hunting seasons. The hundreds of
nights spent in the Arizona wilderness,
laughing, singing and telling stories around
campfires. Now, to make things worse, I am
losing my memory keeper. If I couldn’t re-member
specific people or events before, it
didn’t matter because I could always ask my
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 17
sister. A dear friend, whose sister had re-cently
died, told me, “I know what it is like
to lose a sister who is also a friend. It’s like
losing your childhood. Only your siblings can
recall what it was like during those formative
I have been at the Tucson hospice for
seven days. I must go back home to Scotts-dale,
but I will return. I turn to hug my
daughter, who has flown in from California
to be with me. The two of us lean over
Marjorie and kiss her forehead. I whisper:
“Marjorie, I have to drive home tonight, but
I will be back in two days to see you again.”
After a week of no response of any kind, she
makes an inarticulate cry, lunges up and
tries to grab hold of me. Her eyes are open
wide for the first time since her stroke and
she looks at me: panicked, yet seemingly un-seeing.
She falls back onto her pillow and lies
still. I ask my daughter for verification, “Did
you see that?”
She nods her head, clearly as shaken as I
I’m torn. Would her husband or two
boys, speaking quietly in the doorway, feel
badly that she has not shown any response
to them? Did they even see what happened?
Then I knew they hadn’t.
“Don’t tell anybody else,” I whisper to
my daughter. “I don’t want them to know
how upset she is over my leaving.”
And that answered my question: “Are
you in there?” I believe she heard and felt
everything—even as life began to float from
I drove back two days later, and saw that
Marjorie had progressed much further with
dying. I had not been with either of our par-ents
at the end of their lives like I was with
my sister, so I did not understand how
spending quality time with a loved one
might have brought me peace. I already felt
an unexpected calmness in her presence.
I remember the last day I spoke to her. I
described our adventures on a road trip
from Montana to Arizona several years after
her brain tumor surgery. Of course Marjorie
couldn’t drive, but she did a good job help-ing
me navigate back roads, small towns,
and even seedy neighborhoods as we aimed
for Big Sur and toured Hearst’s San Simeon
When we arrived home in Arizona, I was
humbled. She burst into tears and could
barely thank me for this last chance to travel
together. Marjorie explained that she’d re-signed
herself to not doing such fun things
anymore. I had not realized how precious
that vacation was to her.
You died when I was away from your
hospice room, but I knew my final request
had been granted: you remembered. You
remembered all the adventures and roads
we have traveled together. It is with the
deepest gratitude that I was able to relive
these memories with you, knowing full well
that you could hear me. You were my mem-ory
keeper. And you are still.
It is impossible to
discourage the real writers -
they don't give a damn
what you say,
they're going to write.
18 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
2nd PLACE ESSAY
After his career as a Madi-son
Avenue ad executive, New
York native BOB NATIELLO re-tired
to Sedona to write. Dog
Fight won First Prize in Manhat-tan
Media's 2009 fiction con-test
and appeared in Our Town,
West Side Spirit and New York
Press. He has won several AAA
awards for works including El
Caballo Blanco, How Jiminy
Cricket . . ., Ticket to K Street, A
Favorable Impression, Escape
from the Jingle Jungle, and
Classroom Expectations. He
won a first prize award for J.D.
Salinger’s Tobacco Dependency
in Tucson’s Society of South-western
Authors. They also an-thologized
his nonfiction, Holly-wood
Marines. Bob’s fiction has
earned him an invitation to the
highly competitive Sirenland
Writers Conference, Positano,
Italy. His song lyrics have been
heard nationwide on radio and
TV commercials as well as on a
gold single and a gold album,
STUMBLING ACROSS LOU ROCHELLI
Lou Rochelli’s major league baseball career is one of the
shortest on record. As a Brooklyn Dodger second baseman
brought up from the minors for a late-season appraisal, he
played in five games, batted .176 and handled 29 chances,
one of them booted. Even I, a naïve 14-year-old, showed no
surprise when he disappeared after the final game of that
1944 season. Yet despite his meager stats, he’ll always rank at
the top of my list of baseball heroes.
For a long time, I wondered what happened to him. In
search of an update, I buried my head in every copy of the
Sporting News I could lay my hands on. With its weekly cover-age
of the Pony League, the Three-I League and countless
Class C and Class D players, even an occasional glimpse into its
tabloid-size pages would surely reveal the lower level club
he’d landed with.
Nope. I’d lost him completely. And though I abandoned
my search, I never forgot that wartime ballplayer who, with
his olive skin and faultless Mediterranean looks, could have
stood before a big-band mike and easily passed for a young
Our brief but unforgettable bonding took place on the
infield at Ebbets Field, one of the major league’s smallest ball-parks
and home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. As a paid Ebbets
Field employee—a schoolboy who earned fifty cents a game
for tending a turnstile through which maniacal Dodger fans
passed before stampeding to their seats—I always arrived
well before game time. On this late September afternoon, I
followed my usual procedure—first, pick up my gate assign-ment,
and second, use my ample pre-game freedom to lend
the Dodger batboy a hand. While he, as official batboy, wore
the glamorous Dodger baseball uniform, I, dressed in slacks
and a cable-stitch sweater, had the privilege of transferring
the bats from a big blue trunk beneath the stands. White
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 19
stenciled lettering on the trunk’s side clearly
identified the owner—Brooklyn Dodger Baseball
I earned no pay for this slavish labor. With
each trip up the dugout steps—my shoulders
weighed down by a half-dozen Louisville Slug-gers—
I’d ask myself how much of a privilege this
really was. But if I could do enough of this menial
work, I might move up to the coveted batboy job
next season. The thought of being the envy of
every kid in the borough of Brooklyn trumped
the pain in my buckling knees and burning shoul-ders.
I put on a stoic face and fixed my thoughts
on the bigger prize.
With twilight approaching, I slipped the last
of the bats into the rack positioned alongside
the dugout. I was about to vault the low box seat
railing into the stands and make for my gate as-signment
when a Dodger tossed me a glove and
urged, “Hey kid. Let’s have a catch.”
Me? Wing it back and forth with a Dodger?
There could be no greater thrill. I planted myself
about fifteen feet behind home plate while Lou
Rochelli trotted to a spot about ten feet in front
of the pitcher’s mound. When we started our
pitch-catch routine, there was just enough light
to follow the ball whizzing between us. As dark-ness
lowered, the massive overhead floodlights
switched on without warning. The abrupt
change to midday conditions shocked me. Hey,
you’re playing with a genuine Brooklyn Dodger, I
told myself. Visions of wearing a real player’s
uniform mushroomed with each slap of the ball
into my big league glove. Batboy? Why, it would-n’t
be long before Dodger owner Branch Rickey
would be slipping a player contract under my
nose and begging me to sign it.
That shining moment ended much too soon.
But I’ve never forgotten it or the lifetime of com-forting
baseball fantasies that grew from it. And
I’ll always remember Lou Rochelli for making
But where did he go after our fleeting 1944
catch? Decades later, I found out in a long dis-tance
phone talk with my old high school team-mate,
Jim Manning. Jim and I played on the
same Brooklyn Prep basketball teams as fresh-men,
through Jayvee and up to the varsity. But
Jim was a more rounded athlete. While basket-ball
was my sole sport, Jim excelled in football
and baseball, especially baseball. In senior year
he played third base on the team that con-tended
for the city championship. In that final
game—it turned out to be the most important
game of his high school career—he gave a hit-ting
performance that changed his life.
“We didn’t win,” the lefty batter said, “but I
smacked two off the right-field wall. At the end
of the game Coach Zev said to me, ‘Jimmy, I’m
managing a team up in Vermont this summer.
You come up and play third base for me.’”
Coach Zev was Earl Graham, a 1920’s Ford-ham
halfback, so fast he was nicknamed Zev,
after the winner of the 1923 Kentucky Derby.
Graham was an outstanding three-sport coach at
our high school. If there is any question about
his ability to recognize talent, consider his his-torical
repositioning of a little known senior line-man
from guard to quarterback. Even then, the
Wing it back
20 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
thought of moving a guard to the quarterback
spot would have been laughed at. But Zev
bucked convention. The result: an almost perfect
1944 season and a change in the course of col-lege
football for generations to come. The un-known
lineman he elevated to quarterback? Joe
Zev’s choice of Jim Manning for his Vermont
team proved to be equally inspired. “When that
Vermont summer ended I had twenty-three
scholarship offers. I chose Notre Dame,” Jim
said. Not surprising, Jim was an outstanding stu-dent.
After college, I connected with Jim at Quan-tico
Officers Candidate School. With my newly
acquired second lieutenant’s bars still glistening,
I accepted orders for Camp Lejeune. But Jim was
too valuable to be sent away. The brass kept him
to play for the Quantico Marines, the team that
represented the entire base against service
teams across the nation.
“There were a number of outstanding play-ers
on that team,” Jim said, “including major
leaguer, Hal Naragon.” Naragon held down the
catcher’s spot for the Cleveland Indians when
the Marine Corps drafted him. “I got some good
advice from him,” Jim told me. “He said by the
time I got out of the service, I’d be too old to be
a third baseman. He urged me to switch to
Jim followed Naragon’s suggestion, accepted
his training tips and converted himself to a
catcher. He did a fine job of it. After Jim’s dis-charge,
he accepted an offer to sign with the
Dodgers for a $1,500 bonus. Naragon went on to
catch in the 1954 World Series, the highlight of
his ten-year major league career.
I gleaned the above information during the
many long distance calls I made to Jim from my
retirement home in Sedona, Arizona. Jim had
undergone bypass surgery and I tried to buttress
his spirits with an occasional call. Talking with an
old teammate and Marine Corps buddy might
pep him up, I thought. When he told me about
signing that Dodger contract, I asked where the
Dodgers had sent him. “To Billings, Montana,”
I had no idea the Dodgers ever had a minor
league team in Billings, but I assumed they
wanted Jim to play there until he was ready to
move up to a higher level. I can’t imagine what
moved me to ask the next question. It just
flowed into the conversation. “Who was the
manager of that Billings team?” I asked. His im-mediate
answer: “Lou Rochelli.”
Finally. Sixty-odd years after our game of
catch, I’d discovered where Lou Rochelli went
following that 1944 season. The Dodgers had
apparently kept him in the organization as a
lower-level manager. Did they detect his natural
desire to reach out to young people—the same
way he’d reached out to play catch with me that
September night? Even though his playing skills
were not of big league caliber, did management
notice some personal magnetism that might at-tract
and develop younger players?
Jim Manning forsook baseball for law school.
For fifty years, he commuted to his Manhattan
lawyer’s position from Rutherford, New Jersey,
where he raised a large family and coached a
team of local fifteen-year-olds to a national
championship. He died in the mid-2000s as a
retired lieutenant colonel, US Marine Corps Re-serve.
I never did move up to official Dodger bat-boy.
I was chosen from a group of high achieving
Latin students to study classical Greek. Class as-signments
required me to stand before my
peers, translate Classical Greek into Latin, then
translate the Latin into Spanish, and finally, the
Spanish into English. Staying in shape for these
academic workouts kept all thoughts of baseball
According to Wikipedia, Lou Rochelli died in
1992 at age 73 in Victoria, Texas. While playing
catch with some wide-eyed fourteen year-old? I
wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 21
3rd PLACE ESSAY
After his career as a Madi-son
Avenue ad executive, New
York native BOB NATIELLO re-tired
to Sedona to write. Dog
Fight won First Prize in Manhat-tan
Media's 2009 fiction contest
and appeared in Our Town,
West Side Spirit and New York
Press. He has won several AAA
awards for works including El
Caballo Blanco, How Jiminy
Cricket . . ., Ticket to K Street, A
Favorable Impression, Escape
from the Jingle Jungle, and
Classroom Expectations. He won
a first prize award for J.D. Salin-ger’s
Tobacco Dependency in
Tucson’s Society of Southwest-ern
Authors. They also antholo-gized
his nonfiction, Hollywood
Marines. Bob’s fiction has
earned him an invitation to the
highly competitive Sirenland
Writers Conference, Positano,
Italy. His song lyrics have been
heard nationwide on radio and
TV commercials as well as on a
gold single and a gold album,
ALICE MUNRO: IS OUR EMPRESS FULLY
I have a talented friend, a retired Floridian who has
worked hard to establish herself as a successful writer.
During her working years, giant corporations paid her
generous sums for her skill in communicating on the
Through frequent email exchanges, we’ve discov-ered
we agree on one startlingly insignificant literary
item: the stories of Alice Munro, internationally ac-claimed
author, bore us beyond endurance. We can’t
understand why demanding critics hold the 82-year-old
Canadian’s work in such high esteem. Her stories ap-pear
with enviable regularity in The New Yorker, The
Atlantic, and The Paris Review. Biographers laud a life-time
body of work that has earned her the prestigious
Man Booker International Prize. She ranks as a peren-nial
contender for a Nobel in literature. Neither my
friend nor I will ever come within light years of these
magnificent achievements. Yet we virtually complete
each other’s sentences in affirming our mutual belief:
Alice Munro’s stories require a wearisome struggle
merely to stay on track.
What’s wrong with my friend and me? Why do we
dispute Munro’s monumental talents, obvious to every-one
but us? In my ongoing search for an answer, I
opened an early 2012 New Yorker and dug into Haven,
her latest short story at the time. I read with an open
mind, eager to discover why Jonathan Franzen, one of
my favorite American authors, has written, “Alice
22 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
Munro has a strong claim to being the best
fiction writer now working in North Amer-ica.”
Before getting past the second page, I
hit upon the key reason why I continually
wander off while reading her stories. She
places an unceasing, unmitigated reliance on
that colorless verb, was. I found it impossi-ble
to stay interested while the insistent
drip, drip, drip of was, was, was drained her
tale of any vitality and energy.
She was right . .
She was a musician . . .
He was all business . . .
Of course she was old . . .
I was a person . . .
No oversight was necessary . . .
This list, clearly out of context, raises a
reasonable question. Just how widespread is
Munro’s use of this lifeless form of to be?
I grew curious enough to conduct a line-by-
line check that ended only after I’d cir-cled
every was on that one Haven page. It’s
hard to engage in such an apparently inane
exercise without questioning the value of
one’s time, but I felt justified after I’d to-taled
the final count of little red rings—a
Surrendering to a compulsion to dig
deeper, I counted every word on the entire
page, applied some middle-school arithmetic
and concluded that Munro subjected her
readers to was every 26 words—once every
3.7 lines. No wonder my Florida friend and I
find Munro dull.
In Writing Fiction, a favorite craft book
among novice writers, Janet Burroway
states, “Here is a passage from a young
writer which fails . . .”
Debbie was a very stubborn and
completely independent person, and
was always doing things her way de-spite
her parents’ efforts to get her to
conform. Her father was an executive
in a dress manufacturing company,
and was able to afford his family all
the luxuries and comforts of life. But
Debbie was completely indifferent to
her family’s affluence.
Of course the passage fails. The
young writer uses was every dozen
words. We expect this from a begin-ner,
but not from a veteran like
Munro—nor from her Alfred A. Knopf
But judging Alice Munro on the basis of a
single New Yorker story is hardly an exhaus-tive
study. It isn’t fair, either. Seeking even-handedness,
I searched out another of her
recent New Yorker stories, Leaving Maver-ley.
On its first page, was turned up at a rate
of once was every 29 words, only slightly
less frequently than in Haven.
Writing is an art, not a science. So is lit-
is an art,
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 23
erary criticism. Neither readily lends itself to
quantification. But if you lean toward tabula-tion,
you can spot check longer Munro
works. I did and opened Munro’s best-selling
Runaway at random. Landing on page 294, I
uncovered an even higher use of was. It ap-peared
every 26 words, once every three
Professional critics lionize Munro more
for the imprint her prose makes on our
minds and hearts than for her writing style.
Cynthia Ozick, winner of the Pen/Malamud
award for excellence in the art of the short
story, calls Munro “our Chekhov.” There can
be no finer comparison. Ozick openly treas-ures
Munro’s tales of come-day, go-day
small towners living in homes set alongside
rutted roads that branch off seldom traveled
Canadian blacktop. And if her love for
Munro’s work clouds the steady recurrence
of was, I accept it. Yet when I give my atten-tion
to Munro’s stories, my focus falls on the
was-virus that infects her pages. A profusion
of feeble offshoots of the verb to be does
not hold my focus for any appreciable length
of time. Munro’s readers might applaud she
told him about the books she was reading.
My preferences lean toward, she told him
about Hester Prynne, the good woman gone
wrong, and about Reverend Dimmesdale’s
Are my Florida friend and I the only read-ers
out-of-sync with Munro’s prose? Are we
the only readers who see was as a replayed
memory whose warmth cools with repeti-tion?
Is there someone else who catches a
mental glimpse of Alice Munro cozied up to
her computer on a below-freezing Ontario
night, repeatedly slipping into was as com-fortably
as she slips into a heavy, gray
woolen cardigan? That thick sweater keeps
our Empress of Fiction fully clothed, yes. But
the style is unbecoming to royalty.
“The best time
for planning a
book is while
you're doing the
24 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
1ST PLACE POETRY
SANDRA BREMSER has written sto-ries
since she lived on an apple or-chard
in southern Illinois as a girl.
Following her move to Arizona in
the 1960s, she has published non-fiction
and is currently working on
an historical novel. Dr. Bremser
earned advanced degrees from
Northern Arizona University. Her
background teaching both middle
school and university students, as
well as mentoring teachers, has
provided insights she still uses as
an author. She is a member of Ari-zona
Authors Association and re-sides
in Peoria, Arizona, near her
children and grandchildren.
WOMAN WHO DREAMS
Ancient mud bricks crumble under my feet as I enter
the shallow cave.
A hard desert sun softens on ruined pueblo walls.
I pass my hand over antelope with stick legs
Picking their way toward an etched handprint.
Fitting my fingers into those left behind,
I try to touch the thread across a chasm of silence.
Perhaps one was here who ground corn and dreamed
Who longed to find words to say her soul.
Was she awed looking up at the night,
Holding the cold and fire in her breath,
Being part of all there is—even now—
Though men have crafted time like spear points?
And knowing her daughter was born through her not to
That there was nothing she could save her from,
Did she cast her into the fire to find her power?
Juices for loving
And quenching thirsts,
Even her own?
As final blessing, when the sun dried the stream,
Did a transforming power envelop
The woman who dreams?
A birthright claimed in age.
Power of a womb past bearing,
Centered in self-knowledge.
Did a peace beyond attachment
Dreamer of Dreams?
I remove my hand from the glyph
To hold the dream in my palm.
Did she see the wind that would catch her powdered
And swirl them in a gust against a broken wall?
Did she dream my face?
Did she know my heart?
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 25
2nd PLACE POETRY
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia,
NOBLE COLLINS graduated with a
degree in English from Presbyterian
College in Clinton, South Carolina,
where he helped found the school’s
first literary magazine. He has been
writing articles, poems and, short
stories ever since. Noble and his wife
Sharon retired to Payson, Arizona, in
2002 and now enjoy the cool moun-tain
lifestyle in the shadow of Zane
Grey’s inspiring landscape. His work
has been published in several na-tional
publications including Writer’s
NOBLE F. COLLINS
With daily preparations made,
she slumps into her chair,
a fraying turban hiding graying threads
of thinning hair.
The hem is slightly tattered
of her dress of velveteen.
A peeking pair of slippers there
have lost their silver sheen.
Around her slender shoulders
drapes a shawl with golden thread.
Some stars and moons appearing
in a universe of red.
In all, she looks quite comely,
and assumes a regal air.
She figures she is ready
for the seekers coming there.
She pulls a wobbly table
within reach of spindly hands,
and fumbles with a deck of cards
to meet the day’s demands.
Her sniffles are a nuisance.
She endures a common cold,
but otherwise her health is good,
or so the cards have told.
Her book shows no appointments,
so she risks a gin with lime,
and turns the television on
to while away the time.
Just off highway Ninety-eight
near the town of Drear
sits the lonely single-wide,
no reason to pause here.
Outside, the rain is colder,
and the afternoon turns mean.
Loud traffic takes no notice,
swishing swiftly past the scene.
How little do they understand
the wonders held inside,
as weeds continue carelessly
a little sign to hide:
26 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
3rd PLACE POETRY
ELIZABETH OAKES' first book of
poems, The Farmgirl Poems,
won the 2004 Pearl Poetry
Prize. Since then, she has pub-lished
three volumes of poetry,
The Luminescence of All Things
Emily, which is about Dickinson,
Mercy in the New World, a se-ries
of persona poems about an
actual colonial woman, and the
latest one, Leave Here Knowing,
a spiritual memoir, in January
2013. Oakes, who holds a PhD
from Vanderbilt University,
taught Shakespeare and
Women's Poetry for twenty-one
years at Western Kentucky Uni-versity
before moving to Sedona
with her husband, John, an art-ist,
ODE TO CACTI
There are things in my yard
that could kill me!
One, in a far corner under a pine,
has blade-like leaves. Even the baby
one, peeping through the gravel, sticks—
could slice finger or foot like glass or coral.
Another—a yucca, I think—sticks me
as I gather lilacs by it. If I fell into it,
I would become like a pincushion.
There's one with needles, waiting
for fingers or feet. And then the stranger
looking ones, Dr. Seuss cacti, I call one,
as its branches wobble here and there,
as if its DNA is drunk.
But then, but then—all this fades
when I walk outside
and a flower so white and luminescent
it looks like heaven's trumpet is there
where I, a newcomer here, thought
nothing bloomed. I look out my window
at the regal stalk of the yucca and feel
myself in both desert and tropics.
I drive to town and see red and yellow
flowers so saturated with color it bounces
off them, encircles them like an aura.
Beauty is of a different order here,
tough and transcendent.
It celebrates survival
Strange things bloom here!
Maybe strange people do too!
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 27
HONORABLE MENTION POETRY
Born and raised in Atlanta, Geor-gia,
NOBLE COLLINS graduated
with a degree in English from
Presbyterian College in Clinton,
South Carolina, where he helped
found the school’s first literary
magazine. He has been writing
articles, poems and, short stories
ever since. Noble and his wife
Sharon retired to Payson, Ari-zona,
in 2002 and now enjoy the
cool mountain lifestyle in the
shadow of Zane Grey’s inspiring
landscape. His work has been
published in several national
publications including Writer’s
EYES AS GREEN AS CONNEMARA
BY NOBLE F. COLLINS
On JFK’s visit to Ireland
We cheered you through the marketplace
one shining Wexford day—
enchanted by your beaming face
and all you had to say.
You stood upon the harbor quay
and spoke of Freedom's reach—
the constant search for Liberty
the sacrifice from each.
You lauded Ireland's storied past—
it's struggles made you proud,
and when they sang “The Wexford Boys,”
your voice was Irish loud.
A Scion of Pat Kennedy
who left in Forty-Nine,
you came to visit and to see
all he had left behind.
You loved the fond reunion here—
the laughter and the cryin'.
They called you “cousin” in good cheer
and sang at your good-byin'.
In Parliament you spoke from lore—
a man of eloquence.
You spoke of all that's gone before
and much that's happened since.
You said the battle lines are drawn
that all men must be free
that art must share the stage with brawn
and peace must be the key.
Mankind would be a better lot,
you said, if we but try
to say of unseen things, “Why not?”
not of the moment, “Why?'
The classic Irish oratory
made you seem our own,
but now as we recall the story
bitter weeds have grown
Not from your wondrous visit then
that left a sweet warm glow,
but pondering what might have been
had you not had to go.
28 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
RUSSEL AZBILL is a native Arizo-nan
who has spent his entire life
in the southwestern desert of
the United States. He is deeply
interested in history, particu-larly
relating to the American
Southwest, motorsports, avia-tion,
and space exploration.
Russell also has a keen interest
in classic movies and vintage
In addition to his first novel,
Darkest Hour, Russell has writ-ten
three screenplays, which are
currently being considered for
production. The Wraiths of Glen
Cove is his second novel. He is
currently working on a sequel to
THE WRATHS OF GLEN COVE
THE LAND AND GLEN COVE
There are lands that are different from others. Not differ-ent
in that some lands are flat and barren while others are
rocky and mountainous. Not different in that some lands
are lush and green while others are arid and lifeless. No,
there are lands that are different at a deeper level; a level
that goes beyond the physical plane of existence and in-trudes
upon the spiritual. Land that can capture the souls
of unfortunate individuals who have had the misfortune of
passing away within its boundaries and hold those poor,
wretched souls in a purgatory-style holding cell.
The land within and around the town of Glen Cove was
just this kind of land. Were the land’s mysterious captive
powers caused by some freak of nature; perhaps caused by
some unknown and timeless alchemic reaction of the high
mineral content of the soil mixing with the brisk salt air of
the sea? Or might these captive powers be the result of
something less scientific in nature, something more spiritu-ally
Perhaps this mysterious land was meant to be a place
where wayward souls were held until they could redeem
themselves from their bad choices in life. For this dark land
was unable to hold the souls of the righteous and was only
able to imprison the souls of the evil and the misled as well
as those tormented souls who had died but still sought
justice for what had befallen them during their lifetimes.
Those were the souls that the land would grasp and hold
strongly for all eternity unless divine intervention occurred
and freed them from their wretched spiritual prison. Dur-ing
times of a full moon and high tide, in an eerie, bone-chilling
chorus, these tormented souls would gather and
cry out loudly in unintelligible, sinister shrieks from
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 29
amongst the cliffs overlooking the sea. Crying
out a warning to those near enough to hear
them. Crying out desperately for help.
The indigenous tribes were well aware of the
adverse spiritual properties that this land pos-sessed
and had declared it cursed, wisely forbid-ding
tribal members from living or traveling
within its boundaries. The leaders of the tribes
had warned the early white settlers about the
evils of the land. But the settlers had dismissed
their warnings as being nothing more than the
unsubstantiated superstitions of a bunch of sav-ages
and had eagerly begun to homestead the
land. Once gold was discovered within the land’s
boundaries in the early 1880s, there was no
stopping the onslaught of wildcat miners hoping
to make a quick fortune. What had once been
nothing more than a few farms scattered along
the Southern Oregon coast quickly blossomed
into the bustling mining community of Glen Cove
with an expanding population exceeding three
The main section of town sat high upon the
jagged stone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean,
with the outlying parts nestled amongst the sur-rounding
low-lying rocky expanses and conifer
The weather in the region, for the most part,
consisted of relatively mild summers with colder
and often rainy winters. The biggest threat
weather-wise consisted of sporadic flooding,
which occurred during the summer monsoon
season when the rain would bring torrents of
water rushing down the mountainside. But the
floods were also a welcome sight to the weary
wildcat miners, as the swift currents brought
with them fresh mineral deposits—including the
rare and much lusted after gold nuggets—from
the steep, inaccessible mountain tops.
The summer rains created additional prob-lems
for the town’s residents. For the rain trans-formed
the earthen streets into lanes of soft,
sticky mud, severely hindering movement within
the town. During the worst of the storms, trans-porting
needed supplies from the docks up the
cliffs to the town became impossible.
Life in town during the winter months could
be harsh as brisk, icy winds blowing in from the
ocean could chill one down to their very bones.
No matter how warmly one dressed for the frigid
temperatures, it never seemed warm enough. As
a result, the residents stockpiled ample supplies
of firewood during the moderate summer for
use during the grueling winter. Shopkeepers
who could often be seen standing in front of
their stores during the summer were unseen
during the winter, preferring to stay close to the
warmth of their wood-burning stoves.
The growing community became truly
prominent when Charles David Parker, whose
family had made a large fortune during the San
Francisco gold rush of the mid-1800s, estab-lished
the Parker Gold Mine. Thereafter, he
owned, or at least controlled, the town of Glen
Cove and, as such, businesses within the com-munity
revolved around his actions. Those living
within the town were soon well aware that they
owed their livelihoods to Mister Parker. There
still existed a handful of holdout wildcat miners
who were not connected to Charles Parker in
any way. But their efforts were limited to the
outer boundaries of the gold rich area and no
one took them seriously, for none of these men
had ever made any notable discoveries while
working the nearby mountains.
As the town continued to grow it became
divided into four socioeconomic classes; the af-fluent,
the middle class, the working miner, and
the Chinese immigrants. The affluent, such as
Charles Parker, controlled the mine; the mine’s
supporting supply and transportation vendors;
and the various shops and services within the
town’s boundaries. These were wealthy, old-money
capitalists who preyed upon the working-class
in any way, legally or illegally, they could. It
was this pack of well-dressed wolves, with
Charles Parker holding the distinction of being
the unofficial leader, who had full control of all
that transpired within the frontier community.
Horace Wheatley typified the middle class.
He, along with his wife Edna, owned and oper-ated
Wheatley’s General Store. Located on the
outskirts of town nearest the mining camps,
30 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
Wheatley’s catered to the miners of the Parker-
Gold Mine and their families. The miners could
always count on Mister Wheatley to keep a run-ning
tab for them for their groceries and other
necessities until a later date. And while his goods
were always a bit on the pricey side, all knew
that Horace Wheatley was an honest man. If
Horace told someone they owed him a certain
amount, one could rest assured that he had not
padded their tab. Although most miners be-lieved
that Horace Wheatley was willing to run a
tab for them solely out of the goodness of his
heart, this was not truly the case; for the mining
company backed the tabs of the miners one hun-dred
per cent, ensuring that Horace would never
lose a dime. And since the mining company was
secretly backing Mister Wheatley’s generous
system, Charles Parker kept a close personal eye
on every miner’s account, knowing those indi-viduals
with high balances were in no danger of
quitting his company.
The poor class consisted of the overworked
and underappreciated miners. Many of these
men had come to the area, some with their
families, seeking their fortunes only to fall face
first into the reality of wildcat mining and go
bust. After enduring months of hardship trying
to wring out a modest living from the mountain-ous
mud as a wildcat miner, one by one these
men surrendered to their desperate situation
and walked hat in hand to the employment of-fice
of the Parker Gold Mine. Charles Parker was
only too happy to take advantage of these des-perate
individuals, paying them wages so low as
to ensure they would need to keep a running tab
over at Wheatley’s, quickly and unknowingly
becoming indentured servants.
The lowest class, and poorest of the poor,
were the Chinese immigrant workers, who al-most
always kept to themselves. Most had come
to this country seeking work building the rail-roads.
But due to their vast number, not all
could find work with the railroads and many
were forced to turn elsewhere for employment.
Knowing they were even more desperate than
the broken wildcat miners and had nowhere else
to go, Charles Parker offered them little more
than room and board in exchange for endless
hours of back-breaking work in the deepest and
most dangerous parts of his mine. The mere pit-tance
that Parker paid these men was mostly
spent frequenting the opium den that Charles
Parker himself owned. This made the Chinese,
for all intent and purposes, slaves of the Parker
Recreation for the miners generally revolved
around two locations: the centrally-located
Mother Lode Saloon, where watered-down whis-key
flowed freely and the gambling was seldom
fair, or Big Red’s Cathouse, located on the out-skirts
of town overlooking the nearby cliffs and
ocean, where an assortment of colorful women
were willing and waiting at any hour to service a
lonesome miner. Both businesses were well
skilled in seeing that poor miners remained just
that, poor. For within a few short days of receiv-ing
their paychecks, most of the miners were flat
broke and back at Wheatley’s running up their
tabs even higher as the ever watchful and thor-oughly
delighted Charles Parker kept track of
their comings and goings silently from a dis-tance.
By the year 1889 Glen Cove was a well-established,
bustling mining community with
most, but not all, of the modern amenities that
period in time could offer. Regular shipments of
staples and goods, some desperately needed
Resigned to the
fact that a viable
option did not ex-ist,
he gave his
friend the bad
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 31
and others frivolous, arrived throughout the
week, mostly by merchant ships from San Fran-cisco
but also by wagon trains using overland
routes. It was just a matter of time before rail-way
service would come to Glen Cove, as the
railroad construction continued to inch its way
closer with each passing day.
And during the warm summer days of the
year 1889, as the townsfolk of Glen Cove went
about their daily activities, absolutely no one
was aware of the sinister properties that the cu-rious
land possessed and what was about to be-fall
THE OREGON COAST
“Cody! Cody! Over here!”
Cody Novotny had just arrived for his shift
at the Parker Gold Mine. He smiled warmly as he
turned to greet the familiar voice.
“Have you heard?”
Jim Clemmons hesitated, knowing that he
was about to deliver bad news.
“They’re sending our crew into shaft number
Cody’s smile quickly faded, realizing the im-plications
of what he had just been told. “But
number three isn’t safe, and they know it! It
caved in just last week, killing two good men.
Hell, they just got the bodies out yesterday. They
haven’t had time to properly shore up the
“Even so, they’re sending us back in today.
They say that the mine has lost too much pro-duction
the last few days and they need to re-turn
to full output as soon as possible. They’re
saying that this vein is just too rich to let set any
“That’s bullshit and you know it!” Cody re-sponded
angrily. Cody paused as he contem-plated
his next course of action.
“Do you think our crew is being sent in there
because we spoke to the foreman about the un-safe
“You know it is. This is just Old Man Parker’s
way of sending a message to all of us—complain
and you die!”
“What are we going to do, Cody? You and I
both know if we go down that shaft today we
stand a good chance of dying.”
Cody Novotny was deep in thought, angrily
shuffling feet as he contemplated his options.
Resigned to the fact that a viable option did not
exist, he gave his friend the bad news.
“I don’t see where we have a choice. If we re-fuse
to go into the mountain today, they will fire
us both right on the spot, and likely blackball us
all down the coast as well. We both have fami-lies
to feed. We have no choice, and they know
it. We have to do as they say.”
“But Cody, we might die if we go down
there! Us dying won’t feed our families either! I
think Old Man Parker intends to kill us just for
“You know he is!” Cody paused once again,
desperately trying to come up with a better solu-tion
to their dilemma. “Unless you have some-thing
better, I don’t see where we have any
choice but to go into the mountain and pray to
God we make it out alive. And if we do somehow
manage to survive, we have got to meet with the
others secretly and decide what we can do as a
group to make Mister Parker make this mine
“So today we go into the mountain?”
“Today we go,” reiterated Cody. “Come on
now, we don’t want get fired for being late.”
32 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
The two disgruntled miners quickly made
their way to the mine cart that would take them
deep into the mountain. Both felt their heart
rates rise as they were firmly convinced they
were traveling to their deaths.
As the cart rushed deep into the mountain-side,
Cody felt like a condemned man climbing
the final steps to the top of the gallows. His
thoughts turned to his wife and child, wondering
if he would ever see them again.
As he traveled through the darkness, Cody’s
senses were in a heightened state of awareness.
Although the distinct clacking noise that the
cart’s wheels made as it moved down the steel
rails had previously escaped his attention, on
this particular day the noise seemed deafening.
Cody looked towards the front of the cart
where a lone canary sat perched in its cage,
oblivious to both its purpose and its fate. He felt
a twinge of guilt as he realized this was the first
time he felt remorse for the injustice that the
brightly colored bird faced each day. For a brief
instant, Cody felt spiritually at one with the gen-tle
creature, for they were both caged souls
rushing headlong towards their deaths.
The despondent miner turned and looked
towards his friend sitting next to him and won-dered
what must be going through his mind.
Were his thoughts the same as his own? Like
Cody, Jim Clemmons was well aware of their dire
situation. Cody strained his eyes, doing his best
to see through the darkness. What he witnessed
only lowered his spirit further, for what he saw
was a look of sheer terror on his friend’s face.
Suddenly the cart began to decelerate, an-nouncing
the end of their journey. Ahead of
them lay the remains of the cave-in of the week
before. While the dead bodies had been re-moved,
it was clear that no shoring had taken
place since the fatal collapse.
“This is where you will be working today,”
called out the foreman. “Mister Parker has called
a meeting today for all supervisors, so you will
be on your own. I need you men on the jackham-mers
to begin on each side of the shaft. We need
to make up for those lost days of production. As
soon as I am out of the shaft, I will send the cart
back so you can begin loading it. Let’s prove to
management just how tough we are! Make me
Having finished his preordained speech, the
foreman quickly jumped back into the cart and
was whisked away. Within seconds he was out of
“What should we do?” Jim whispered into
Cody’s ear. “Hell, they didn’t even leave the ca-nary.”
“Yeah, you can tell where we rank.”
Suddenly the sounds of jackhammers filled
the air, abruptly ending any possibility of con-tinuing
the conversation. Feeling more than ever
that they had been ordered to their deaths,
Cody tugged on his friend’s shirtsleeve and mo-tioned
towards the entrance to the mineshaft.
No longer concerned about their future employ-ment,
both men ran as fast as their legs could
carry them away from the thundering sound of
Due to the darkness of the shaft and their
rapid pace, both men fell several times as they
sprinted towards the entrance. Both knew that
the more distance they put between themselves
and the work crew, the better their chances for
They had not made it more than three hun-dred
yards when the first rumblings from the
“Jim! Jim! Are
you alright?” Cody
called out weakly.
There was no
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 33
mountain were felt. Feeling this, Jim Clemmons
cried out in fear, knowing full well that another
cave-in was imminent. The shaking of the mine-shaft
only provided further motivation for the
men to maintain their swift pace despite their
fatigue. In the distance the sounds of the jack-hammers
came to an abrupt halt, leaving the
two desperate miners in eerie silence.
It was but a few seconds later when the
mountain again showed its disdain towards the
strong-willed miners as rocks began to fall into
the path of the escaping men. The rumbling was
quickly replaced by a deafening roar as the
mountain reaped its vengeance upon the men
who had so viciously assaulted it. Tons of stone
rained down upon the trapped men at the end
of the shaft, killing all instantly.
As the sides of the tunnel collapsed about
them, Cody and Jim were driven from their feet.
Both men tried to cover their heads as the rocks
fell upon them. Within seconds an eerie silence
settled on the mine.
Pain! I have never felt so much pain! I can’t
move! Why can’t I move? No air. Why is there no
air? I CAN’T BREATH! I’VE GOT TO FIND SOME
Cody’s body convulsed as it sought to free
itself from its sudden burial. The human instinct
for self-preservation is strong and often can
mean the difference between life and death.
And so it was with Cody Novotny. Bringing su-perhuman
strength into play, Cody managed to
free his upper body from beneath the rockslide.
The whirling dust storm created by the collapse
continued its race towards the entrance of the
mineshaft, severely choking the injured miner. In
desperation, Cody reached into his breast pocket
and pulled free a handkerchief. He spit into the
ragged cloth before covering his nose and mouth
with it, all the time praying that its filtering ef-fect
would bring the oxygen that his body so
It worked! His makeshift air filter worked! At
least now he could breath. Now he could focus
his actions on freeing his legs. Cody prayed that
once his legs were free they would still function
enough to carry him out of this stone hell. But if
they were injured to the point of being worth-less
to his escape, then he would just have to
drag himself the rest of the way out—no matter
how long that took.
Coughing! Cody heard the sound of coughing
from behind him. That was good, for it meant
that Jim had initially survived the cave-in.
“Jim! Jim! Are you alright?” Cody called out
There was no response, but the coughing
“Jim! Take your handkerchief, spit on it, and
cover your nose and mouth with it. It will allow
you to breath. Hurry! You don’t have much
After a couple of minutes the coughing
ceased, only to be replaced by an unnerving si-lence.
Cody tried to raise himself up enough to
see if his friend had managed to do as in-structed.
But Cody’s efforts were unsuccessful
because of unforgiving darkness of the mine-shaft.
“Jim! Jim! Are you there?” Cody cried out
frantically. No response. Cody began to fear the
“Jim! . . . JIM!”
Cody began to hear the faint sounds of
movement from down the mineshaft.
“Jim! Talk to me! Are you alright?”
“I’m here, Cody. I’m hurt,” came the faint
response from the darkness.
“Can you move?”
“Not right now. I’m covered with rocks.”
Cody had been so concerned about his
friend’s condition that he had forgotten that he
too had not yet freed himself.
“Same here. We both need to free our-selves.”
“Do you think there will be another cave-in?”
34 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
“I dunno. But I do know we need to get out
of here in case.”
In the pitch-black darkness, Cody struggled
to free himself from the rockslide. Several times
he had to stop and rest when the pain became
too unbearable to continue. But when the task
before him seemed utterly impossible and his
thoughts turned towards surrendering to the
savagery of the mountain, he forced himself to
think about his wife and child and to how they
would suffer if he chose to give up and die. It
was then, from somewhere deep within, that he
managed to find the energy to continue.
It took more than an hour for Cody to free
himself. During that time, Cody could hear the
reassuring sounds of moving rocks and coughing
as Jim struggled to free himself. In spite of the
mine’s best efforts to kill them, both men re-mained
alive—at least for the time being.
“Jim, I’m free. How are you doing?” The
sharp pain in his chest reminded Cody that while
he may be free, he definitely was not well.
“I’m almost free. Give me a minute. Can you
“I’m not sure.”
Cody struggled to get to his feet. His first
attempt was unsuccessful, and he fell back down
onto the hard surface of the mineshaft. But
while his first attempt to rise to his feet had
been unsuccessful, it had been encouraging as
well, for he discovered that he had no broken
bones. Cody’s second attempt fared far better,
and on this attempt he was able to stand. He
stood swaying in the darkness as his injured legs
threaten to once again topple him, but in the
end Cody found the strength and balance he
“How are you doing my friend?
“I’m going to try to stand.”
Through the darkness, Cody could hear his
friend’s grunts as he fought hard to stand. Then
he heard the discouraging sound of his friend
falling back onto the ground.
“It’s okay, Jim. It’s okay. The same thing
happened to me. When you have the strength,
try again,” Cody encouraged.
After a brief rest, Jim Clemmons once again
struggled to stand.
“Cody, I did it! I’m up!”
“That’s great! Do you think you can walk out
“I think so. How about you?”
“Yeah, I think so too. We had better get go-ing
before Old Man Parker gets his wish and this
mountain buries us for sure.”
Wearily the two injured miners followed the
steel tracks leading towards the entrance and
their ultimate freedom. The once innocuous
smells of the tunnel now seemed menacing as
they mixed with the dust of the fallen rock. At
times, as their exhaustion brought them to the
verge of collapse, it seemed that the mountain
and Mister Parker might yet win the contest of
“Do you think any of the others survived?”
Cody raspingly asked.
“If they did, they’re trapped. It was solid
rock behind me.”
Despondent over Jim’s report, Cody chose
not to continue the conversation and instead
focused all his efforts on reaching the end of the
After painfully traveling several hundred
yards through the pitch-black, they heard faint
voices coming from the tunnel entrance. Cody
struggled to ascertain whether the voices he
heard were real or if his mind was playing some
cruel trick on him. But as the minutes ticked
away, the voices became stronger, until in the
distance the faint flicker of lanterns coming their
way could be seen.
The desperate men shouted to their rescu-ers
and were relieved when their cries for help
were answered. Knowing that help would soon
reach them, the exhausted twosome fell to the
ground and waited. Within minutes their rescu-ers
had arrived and the injured men were loaded
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 35
onto stretchers and carried out of the mineshaft.
Once free of the shaft, Cody looked up and
saw the stars brightly twinkling in the night sky.
Cody wondered exactly how long he had been
unconscious and how long they had hiked
through the unlit shaft, since it had been early
morning when they had entered the tunnel. No
matter, for now they were free of the tunnel’s
Cody smiled and looked towards his friend
as their stretchers were loaded onto a wagon
which would take them to a nearby doctor.
Giving his friend a feeble thumbs-up sign,
Cody victoriously stated, “I think we won.”
Jim Clemmons returned a faint smile. “At
least for now.”
* * *
Sheriff John William Slater was a stern, hard man
with weathered, dark chiseled features. His
wrinkled brow reflected many years of riding the
rugged western trails as a cowhand and in no
way reflected his actual age of thirty-five. The
sheriff was a cunning man, possessing a com-maning
presence but little self control. And
while most women found his strong build, glim-mering
blue eyes, dark brown hair, and sweep-ing
jaw line physically attractive, none found his
demeaning and caustic personality acceptable.
Sheriff John was born amongst the stock-yards
of Kansas City and grew up around cattle.
As a child he had worked the pens, where his
primary duties consisted of feeding and cleaning
up after the cattle corralled there. But John
found this work mundane and as a young adult
took to working cattle drives. He preferred this
type of work because it gave him an escape from
the tedium of city life and replaced it with the
freedom and independence that only life on the
range could provide.
Being ever cognizant of a good deal, John
was quick to realize that the field of law enforce-ment
offered many unseen opportunities and
privileges for right-minded individuals. Not only
did frontier law enforcement command respect
within the community, but it also provided the
lawman with a certain amount of control over
the residents, especially when the deputies were
his close friends. John’s first stint as sheriff was
in the small mining town of Brighton Falls, Colo-rado.
It was here that he first joined forces with
his two long-time friends and riding companions,
Joe Chrisman and Dave Sherline. They became
his deputies and strong-armed enforcers of the
law—or at least Sheriff Slater’s version of the
law. For this group, true law enforcement was
but a secondary duty. Their primary goal was to
extort as much money as possible from the local
businesses in exchange for their “protection.”
Dave Sherline and Joe Chrisman had grown
up within the cattle business from birth. Both of
their fathers had ridden the range as cowboys,
so it was only natural that they would follow in
their fathers’ footsteps. Dave Sherline was gifted
with a sharp mind and probing intellect and pre-ferred
using wit over brawn. Joe Chrisman could
be found on the other extreme. In life’s lottery
Joe had fallen short in the area of intelligence
and instead of using cunning and sharp wit to
achieve his goals, he found that brawn and stub-bornness
served him much better.
Things initially went well for the three law-men
as they took control of Brighton Falls with-out
firing a shot. Working in conjunction with a
less than scrupulous mayor, they masterfully
consolidated their powerbase right under the
very noses of the residents. When the populace
finally awakened to what had occurred, there
was nothing they could do to turn things around.
By that time, Sheriff Slater and his friends had
taken total control over the town and ruled it
with an iron fist.
Once the townsfolk reluctantly accepted the
omnipotent rule of Sheriff Slater and his depu-ties,
the underlying feelings of bitterness and
rebellion were swiftly replaced by grim surren-der
and acceptance of the situation. Even the
most rebellious of the townsfolk were smart
enough to realize when they had been beaten
and acquiesced to the sheriff’s demands, which
36 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
were mostly monetary in nature. But the coming
of the railroad brought with it a change of for-tune
for the sheriff and his associates. Initially,
the sheriff looked upon the railroad’s arrival as a
positive turn of events, providing him and his
men with even more money-making opportuni-ties.
But the sheriff grossly overestimated the
railroad’s willingness to buckle under to his
blackmail demands. It seems that Sheriff John
had not been the first to attempt to extort
money from the rich and powerful railroad
baron. The railroad brought with it its own form
of justice, Railroad Detectives. These detectives
were really no different in character than Sheriff
John and his men, except that they were larger
in numbers and much better financed.
The sheriff was quick to meet with the rail
boss and explain to him the ways things worked
in the town; and if the railroad intended to go
through his town, they would have to pay for the
privilege. The rail boss responded by saying that
he would talk with the mayor and see what he
had to say. Sheriff John laughed at hearing this
and proceeded to boastfully inform the rail boss
that the mayor was in on it too. But should he
wish to try to negotiate a better price with the
mayor, he was certainly free to do so—just don’t
expect any changes to the offer.
The rail boss was openly irritated by the sher-iff’s
brashness and excessive demands. The two
men parted with the rail boss telling the sheriff
he would think about it and get back with him
the next day. That night the rail boss sent a tele-gram
to the railroad’s head office, explaining the
Early the next morning, the rail boss met
with the mayor in an effort to interject some
sanity into the potentially explosive situation
and to try to negotiate a settlement that would
be beneficial to all parties involved. But to the
rail boss’s dismay, the mayor only reiterated the
demands of Sheriff John and informed him that
in addition to his duties as mayor he was also
the judge for the town of Brighton Falls and that
it would be in his best interest not to rile the
sheriff, unless he was partial to spending some
time in the local jail. Taking the threat for what it
was, the rail boss merely stood, smiled, and
tipped his hat to the mayor. He explained that
such a large sum of money would need to come
from the company’s home office and would take
a few days to arrive.
The mayor smiled in response and said that
a few days would be fine, but not to keep them
waiting too long. Looking forlorn, the rail boss
turned and walked out of the mayor’s office.
Sheriff John and his right-hand man, Dave
Sherline, had positioned themselves across the
street from the mayor’s office and were watch-ing
the exchange through the mayor’s window.
Once the rail boss was safely out of sight, the
two men trotted across the street and went di-rectly
into the mayor’s office, asking what had
transpired. The mayor smiled and pulled a half-full
bottle of whiskey from a nearby cabinet.
Pouring three glasses, he informed them of their
successful intimidation of the mighty railroad
and offered up a toast. The three men had a
good laugh as the sheriff and mayor took turns
mimicking the look of shock and facial expres-sions
of the rail boss upon hearing their costly
demands. The three men continued to drink to
their good fortune for the better part of the
morning until they were joined later by Joe
Chrisman. At this point, the four men continued
drinking as they shared exactly how they would
go about spending their newfound fortunes.
The foursome’s drinking party finally broke
up early in the afternoon with the sheriff and Joe
staggering back to the Sheriff’s Office while the
still sober Dave Sherline went from shop to shop
along the town’s main street and collected that
week’s protection payments. Once these debts
were collected, Dave joined his companions back
at the Sheriff’s Office so they could divide their
booty between the mayor and themselves.
“Do you think the railroad is actually going
to come up with that kind of money?” Dave
asked Sheriff John as he watched the sheriff sort
the newly acquired cash into four stacks.
“I don’t see where they have any choice in
the matter. We run this town and they want to
bring their railroad through it. They really have
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 37
no choice but to pay us what we want.”
“What about the mine? I know they want
the railroad to come here,” reflected Joe.
“That is where we hold all the cards. The
way I see it, with the owners of the mine living
back east, all we’ll have to do to pull this off is
grease the hand of the mine’s manager. What’s
“I think it is Hank Caldwell,” answered Dave.
“Yeah, that sounds right. I’ll go see him later
this afternoon and inform him of his good for-tune.
I really don’t see him being a problem. Af-ter
all, he’s a family man and knows that we run
things around here.”
“So what do we do until we hear from the
railroad?” queried Dave.
“We wait and go about our usual business,
Having finished sorting the cash into four
even stacks, the sheriff handed each of his depu-ties
one of the stacks and then put one stack
into his own pocket. Picking up the last stack,
Sheriff John handed it to Dave, saying, “You had
better run this over to the mayor. We don’t
want him thinking we’ve forgotten him.”
Later that afternoon, the sheriff headed over
to the mine’s main office to have a chat with
Hank Caldwell and inform him of the ongoing
negotiations between the Mayor’s Office and
Hank did not like Sheriff John Slater or any-thing
he stood for, and it was all he could to do
to hold back his tongue. He just wanted the out-law
sheriff out of his office and affairs as soon as
possible, even if it took agreeing with his scheme
on the surface.
All the while during their talk, Sheriff John
noticed that Hank seemed very nervous and dis-tracted,
as if he wanted to keep looking over his
shoulder. Sheriff John could see a distinct nerv-ous
twitch in Hank’s right eye. While John found
this behavior a bit odd, he cast it aside as a nor-mal
reaction to his own commanding presence
and power. As the two men parted, John had a
good feeling about how the meeting had gone,
and if there was any previous doubt about the
manager’s cooperation, it was now gone.
The sheriff walked directly towards the
Squawking Parakeet Saloon to get a bite to eat
and a shot of whiskey to wash it down. As the
sheriff made his way towards the bar, he paused
briefly and looked up at the dark and menacing
sky that was forming. Yes, there was no doubt
about it; a storm was definitely heading their
way. In just a few hours the temperature would
be dropping and the earthen streets would turn
into a wet, sticky mud pit. Sheriff John hated
when it rained. For in addition to the rain making
everything a muddy mess, the miners always
seemed to vent their frustrations by either bust-ing
up the saloon or local brothel or at the very
least, openly fighting in the streets. Either way,
the sheriff knew it would be a long night for him
and his men.
Entering the dimly lit saloon, the sheriff was
temporarily blinded by the abrupt change in
lighting. When he was able to focus, he could
see the men inside the bar scurrying to make
way for him. A small, sinister smile crept across
the sheriff’s face as he walked directly over to
“Your usual, sheriff?” asked the bartender,
“Yeah, whiskey. But tonight I also want a
steak. The best you’ve got!”
“Are you celebrating something, sheriff?”
“You might say I have fallen into some good
fortune,” the sheriff coyly replied.
Kit wondered as to what the sheriff might be
referring to, but chose not to probe further.
Even though he knew that the sheriff actually
considered him to be a friend, he knew it was
best never to ask too many questions.
As the bartender headed into the kitchen to
put the steak on the grill, the sheriff turned away
from the bar and leaned his back against its old
wooden top. His elbows jutted out behind him,
acting as a brace, as he looked about the room.
Like a hawk searching for prey, his eyes swept
38 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
from one side of the room to the other. His gaze
immediately focused on a group of men playing
poker in the far back corner of the bar. Looking
at the growing stack of chips in front of one of
the players, it was easy to see who the lucky
winner was. But the small group of men seemed
to be minding their own business and playing
peaceably in spite of some men’s heavy losses.
Seeing the sheriff looking their way, two
men hastily folded their cards, rose from the
table, and quietly headed towards the door. The
sheriff briefly thought about stopping the men
to determine why they wanted out of his com-pany
so badly, but he decided to let their suspi-cious
movements go unchallenged. For tonight,
the sheriff was not seeking a confrontation with
anyone. He just wanted to relax and daydream
about how he was going to spend the luscious
The sheriff’s eyes shifted back to the poker
table, where he watched game after game until
his attention was distracted by the gentle clank-ing
sound of Kit setting his dinner down on the
bar. Turning around, an appreciative smile
spread across the sheriff’s face upon seeing the
generous size of the well-cooked steak and pota-toes
set before him.
“That looks mighty fine, Kit. I think you’ve
outdone yourself this time.”
“I thought you would like it. Another whis-key,
“Sure thing,” the sheriff replied with a smile.
As the sheriff went about eating his bounti-ful
dinner, on the other side of town the two
deputies were making their early evening rounds
of the town’s outer areas. Deciding to take a
break, the two men sat down and began to roll a
couple of cigarettes. Lighting his cigarette, Joe
looked out towards the edge of the mountain on
the outskirts of town to where the railroad
tracks came to a stop. At the end of the track sat
a single locomotive and a caboose with its inte-rior
lights flickering in the rapidly growing dark-ness.
“I wish I was a fly on the wall inside that ca-boose!”
“I’d rather be sitting right here. I don’t think
we’d be all that welcome inside that caboose.”
As they sat watching the somber scene from
a distance, the two men laughed in unison at the
thought of the cursing and heated conversations
that were likely taking place inside the lone rail-road
“You really think they’re going to just roll
over and give us that much money?” asked a
“Well, John certainly thinks they will and so
does the mayor. It does seem like an awful lot of
money though. You’d think they would have put
up a bigger fuss about it.”
“But maybe that’s a good sign. Hell, John’s
never been wrong about stuff like this before.”
“Yeah, that’s true. You are right though; it
does seem like a lot of money.”
Nothing further was said as the two lawmen
idly sat smoking their cigarettes and watching
the rapidly setting sun disappear over the moun-tains
to their west. When the last flicker of light
had fallen behind the mountain, the tempera-ture
“It’s going to be a wet and cold one tonight.
We should head back to the office before this
storm hits. I don’t want to get caught out in it.”
As the two men stood to make their way
back towards the center of town, a deep rumble
could be heard coming from around the moun-tain.
“You hear that noise? What the hell is that?”
asked Joe Chrisman.
“I dunno, the mine ain’t doing anything that
would cause a noise like that this time of day,”
replied Dave Sherline.
But as the two men looked out in the direc-tion
of the noise it became clear as to what was
causing the curious sound.
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 39
PAULA PHILLIPS was born in
Louisiana bayou country,
lived most of her life in Cali-fornia,
and has resided in
Texas for the past fifteen
years, a trifecta of experi-ences
that has left her chroni-cally
Church is the second book of
a planned trilogy that exam-ines
the Westward expansion
from a woman’s point of
view. Ms. Phillips lives in the
Dallas area with her daughter
“No more tears now; I will think about revenge.”
Mary, Queen of Scots
Until she met Frank Dodge, Annie Church had spent most of
her young life wishing she were a boy. Boys could cuss and
spit and be loud. They could relieve themselves standing up,
which was a great convenience, especially in winter in the
mountains. They were expected to ride and shoot, which
Annie could do only because Pa had taught her. She was as
good as any boy and better than most; she brought home
dinner most nights, and she rode a horse like a burr in its
mane. But even though she sat astride, she still had to wear
a skirt and she couldn’t abide the way it bunched up around
the saddle horn and kept her knees from feeling her horse’s
sides. If she were a boy, she could wear trousers and ride for
the Pony Express, like Frank.
Pa brought home the advertisement after he contracted
with Bolivar Roberts to stable a dozen ponies and offer their
way station as a home station where the riders could rest
Annie’s sister Alice read the notice aloud. “Wanted.
Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be ex-pert
riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.”
“I can do that,” Annie said.
“Except you’re not a boy. Or an orphan.”
“I could cut my hair. And run away.”
40 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
“Oh, do listen. Wages are $50 per month.”
Annie would have done it for free.
Alice continued. “You must take an oath. ‘I
agree not use profane language, not to get
drunk, not to gamble, not to treat animals cru-elly
and not to do anything else that is incom-patible
with the conduct of a gentleman. And I
agree, if I violate any of the above conditions, to
accept my discharge without any pay for my ser-vices.’
Well, that’s that, then. You swear like a
miner and you’re a mean drunk.”
“Pa, you’ll let me ride, won’t you? Maybe
one of the boys will come down sick, and I could
take his place.”
Her father just gave her the Look, which Al-ice
said was enough to stop a charging grizzly
bear mid-stride. “You’ll have to content yourself
with caring for the ponies, you and Teddy.”
This would not be a job for Alice. She was
the only member of the family who didn’t share
a love for and a way with horses. They made her
nervous. She hadn’t set foot in the barn since
she’d witnessed Teddy with his arm up to his
elbow in the wrong end of a horse checking for
worms. “Big, smelly, stupid animals,” she said.
Which only showed how ignorant Alice was,
Annie thought, for all her book smarts. Annie
had yet to meet a stupid horse. They were sensi-tive,
soulful creatures and were only mean when
they hadn’t been treated right.
So, beginning in April, the riders began to
come through every week. There was still snow
on the ground in the mountains and if it were
late in the day, the riders had to stay overnight.
It was too dangerous to traverse the passes in
the dark. To the west, the drifts could be twenty
feet high between Church Station and Placer-ville.
The divisional manager had to clear the
way with pack mules so the eastbound rider
could travel at something faster than a slog.
Frank Dodge was the second rider to come
over the eastern ridge from Mormon Station,
although he’d started seventy miles away in
Bucklands. It was pushing dark when he rode up
to the corral, and Annie was waiting for him. His
relay rider, James Polk, had come in only min-utes
before, and Teddy was already tending
James’s pony. With the bitter cold, the horses
would get a good brushing, a big blanket and
warm mash. Her brother Teddy said the ponies
told him all about the ride, how tired they were,
and whether the rider had hard hands. Teddy
was a bit odd.
“I am never riding this horse again,” Frank
said, as he dismounted.
Annie had the dappled roan’s bridle and be-gan
to lead him into the barn. “Why ever not?
He’s a mustang, just about the fastest one we
“He may be fast, but he’s crazy. Squirrelly.”
Annie didn’t like criticism of her ponies.
“Well, maybe he don’t think much of you, nei-ther.”
She leaned her head in, and the pony nod-ded
and blew into her face. “Freckles says you sit
like a sack of potatoes.”
Frank grinned. “Freckles, huh? What the hell
kind of name is that for a horse?”
“Because of his spots,” Annie said. Wasn’t it
evident? She wondered if “hell” was the kind of
profane language that the Pony Express forbade.
But she liked his smile and his gray eyes. He was
barely taller than she was, and she was no bigger
than a thought. He was raw boned, with a
straight nose and sandy hair that needed cut-ting.
“Horse wasn’t broke right, shies at every-thing.
Should’ve named him Loco.”
Annie hated that term, “breaking” horses. It
always sounded to her as if they weren’t good
enough the way God made them. As if, to be a
good horse, it had to become docile and have no
gumption at all. She liked to gentle a horse with
time and patience. Too often the handler was in
a hurry, but horse time wasn’t the same as peo-ple
time. And the Pony Express had bought 400
horses, mustangs and Morgans, with little re-quirement
except for speed. Freckles probably
hadn’t been finished properly.
“Don’t give me this horse again,” Frank said,
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 41
unstrapping the mochila, the mail pouch, and
slinging it over his shoulder as he walked away.
Annie had no intention of sending Freckles
out again anytime soon. The horse should’ve had
more rest before making the run back. He’d
gone out over a week before with the first rider,
a nervous boy who must’ve had a change of
heart about his exciting new job. Or possibly
Freckles had made him rethink his riding skills.
Annie rubbed the pony’s ears so his feelings
wouldn’t be hurt too bad. “Don’t pay him no
mind,” she whispered. “Probably rides like a
girl.” Freckles nodded his head vigorously, his
reins slapping musically.
Frank turned back. “What are you, twelve?
Who names a horse Freckles anyway?”
Annie glowered at him. He was fine looking,
but his manners were lacking. “I didn’t name
him,” she hollered. “Alice did.” But he was gone,
and she didn’t have the chance to add that she
was seventeen, not twelve.
* * *
By the time the horses were settled it was din-ner
time. Alice might not be good with horses,
but she was brilliant in the kitchen. Still unmar-ried
despite her beauty, she was in danger of
becoming a spinster, but her cooking was certain
to land her a husband eventually if she could just
keep her mouth shut. Alice didn’t care much for
the type of men who passed through Church
“Drovers, dreamers, miners and miscreants.
Their clothes are ragged and their manners
nearly as poor,” she had mumbled more than
once. “And now we get these skinny young men
who eat like lumberjacks.”
“You’re a snob,” Annie said.
“I am not. It’s just . . . I’m meant to be a city
girl. How did I end up here?”
Annie started to answer, but Alice waved a
spoon at her. “Oh, hush. It’s a rhetorical ques-tion.”
Annie didn’t know what that meant, so she
carried the biscuits to the dining room, where
Pa, Teddy and the two pony riders were already
at the table.
“What’s for dinner?” James asked, peering
at the plate Annie was carrying.
Alice was right behind her with the main
dish. “Tender young dove, stuffed with nuts and
apples and served in a boat of mashed potatoes,
with candied carrots on the side.”
Frank laughed at the look on James’s face.
“It’s stew,” Annie said. “With biscuits.”
James ducked his head. “I like stew,” he said,
Alice smiled at him to make up for her snotty
remark. Annie had seen grown men become
puddles on the floor when Alice smiled at them.
“Then you shall have a double portion.”
“Thank you, Miss . . .?”
“Alice,” Frank said. “This is Miss Alice.”
The boy nodded at Annie’s sister. Then there
was an awkward pause. And I, Annie thought,
am the invisible stable hand. How do you do?
Frank finally looked over, as if seeing her for
the first time. “Oh. And this is Miss Addie.”
Teddy hooted. Annie blushed.
“Sorry. Miss . . . Amy?”
Annie hugged her
shawl to her,
wondering what it
would be like to have
Frank’s arms around
42 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
“Annie,” she said through gritted teeth. “I’m
James reached over the table to shake her
hand. Kindred fools, equally humiliated at the
dinner table. Annie wondered if she dared hurl a
biscuit at Frank Dodge.
“Grace?” Pa suggested. He knew Annie’s
They bowed their heads while Eli prayed
aloud. Annie looked under her lashes at Frank
and was surprised to see him looking at her. He
gave her a sheepish smile and mouthed, “Sorry,”
at her. She nodded back at him, still riled. And
then he grinned and winked at her, and Annie
was overcome, as insensible as if felled by a barn
They hadn’t gotten off to a good start, but
suddenly Annie didn’t mind. She might never be
a pony rider, but that day she fell in love with
By May, almost all the snow had melted. The
mountain passes were clear and the pony riders
were able to make good time, using every mo-ment
of daylight to push their stamina and keep
the mail moving that much longer. There were
stretches of route in the desert sinks where the
eastbound riders rode through the night, trust-ing
their ponies’ surefootedness under a moon
either bright or hidden. Usually they had safe
passage, but Frank told them of one instance
when a pony had stepped in a gopher hole and
fallen, breaking its leg and throwing the rider
over its head. The boy suffered a broken collar-bone,
then had to shoot his horse and continue
on foot, seven miles to the next way station.
The passing of the mochilas had become the
most exciting experience Annie could imagine.
She and Teddy stood with fresh horses, waiting
for the riders to gallop up, rein hard, dismount
and unstrap the mail pouches in one fluid move-ment.
Then they threw both themselves and the
saddlebags onto new mounts and were off again
at an immediate gallop, often without their feet
firmly in the stirrups. If a fresh rider waited, the
boys stood aside while the new riders swung
astride. Annie and Teddy had learned to toss the
reins to the riders and step deftly out of the way
to avoid being trampled. The fresh horses caught
the excitement and bounded off as if they were
at the races; the spent horses stood, blowing
loudly, legs splayed, having been pushed to their
physical limits. Dust flew and the entire relay
took no more than half a minute. It was a grand
and glorious sight, but as in the case of the rider
with the broken collarbone, one that followed
an imprecise timetable. Most of the time one or
another of the riders had to wait for his relay.
One day in early May, Frank Dodge was so
late that only Teddy remained in the yard area
with the fresh ponies. James had nearly paced a
trench into the dirt when Eli called him inside for
a game of cards in an attempt to distract him.
Annie followed, fretting privately. She took up a
bundle of sewing, but she looked up so often
that she pricked her thumb with the sewing nee-dle
four or five times. She caught her breath to
keep from swearing aloud—Pa didn’t like her to
swear—and sucked gently on the wound. On a
good day, Annie had little patience for sewing.
Today, it was a poor diversion; her stitches were
first small, then large and leaned every which
way. Though not prone to flights of fancy, she
just had a bad feeling.
With an elaborate sigh, she folded the mate-rial
into an untidy bundle and put it next to her
chair. Rising, she stretched restlessly and began
to pace the room but couldn’t avoid eye contact
with her father. Eli cocked his brows at her and
Annie halted in mid-stride.
“For God’s sake, girl, sit down. You are like a
worm in hot ashes!”
Annie, having heard this phrase for as long
as she could remember, had come to hate it.
Once, years ago—she’d been maybe seven—she
had put a worm in hot ashes just to see what Pa
meant. The poor creature had jumped about like
a schoolmarm finding a frog in her pocket, and
Annie burned her fingers trying to rescue it,
tears of remorse on her face. Alice had tried to
comfort her, saying that surely a creature that
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 43
could grow another part of its body if chopped in
two could recuperate from some minor burns.
But the worm was less than fish food.
She was ready to jump out of her skin, so
she grabbed her shawl and headed outside,
crossing the creek behind the house. At its nar-rowest
there, three large rocks provided access
to the other side. The creek was running fast and
high with the snow melt-off and the rocks were
slick, but she was agile and could do it with her
eyes closed. She hiked her skirt and skipped nim-bly
across. A wooden bridge farther down led to
the front of the station, but this was a short cut
to the road Frank traveled, the trail that de-scended
the mountain into their meadow.
She didn’t know what she would say to him
if she did see him riding in. By now she realized
that Frank wasn’t like the few men and boys
she’d known. He didn’t flirt or tease, the way the
coach drivers and other pony riders often did.
Annie waited on them when Alice went into one
of her inhospitable moods and refused to leave
the kitchen, so she knew she wasn’t shy. When
Frank was at the station, though, she could
scarcely bring herself to speak to him, afraid he
might call her Addie or Amy again. She spent the
time instead studying his face, his mannerisms,
storing the memories—like a squirrel hoarding
nuts—against the hungry times, when he was
I am more lovesick when he’s around than
when he’s gone, she thought, and that don’t
hardly make sense.
She envied how easily Alice drew him out.
Frank was a loner, a drifter, a man obviously
more comfortable out of doors and around ani-mals
than confined with his own kind. But with
Alice he was relaxed and congenial and had even
been known to make a joke.
The waiting was the worst part, even when
he wasn’t late. Days when Frank was due in An-nie
lost all ability to focus. Just last night, Eli had
beaten her hands down at checkers because she
was mooning over Frank. It was plumb silly and
Alice saw right through her, she was sure.
She might’ve asked Alice about it, but she
wasn’t sure her sister wouldn’t laugh at her, and
Annie would die of shame if she did. Alice
wouldn’t understand anyway; she was too much
the lady ever to pant after a man, and surely had
never felt the way Annie did. Alice was twenty-one
Annie hugged her shawl to her, wondering
what it would be like to have Frank’s arms
around her. She imagined that nestling against
him would be like fitting her hand into a glove.
The thought of it gave her a curious sensation, of
feeling both warm and shivery at the same time.
The sight of Frank’s pony ambling through
the meadow brought her to her senses. As she
watched it approach, she realized that Frank was
hurt. He leaned way forward in the saddle, let-ting
the horse have its head. Then she turned
and ran for the station, yelling to Eli as loudly as
she could. She ignored the steppingstones in the
creek and splashed right through the water,
never feeling the icy nip at her ankles or the sod-den
weight of her skirt and petticoat.
* * *
“James, help me get him down. Teddy, boy, hold
the horse steady. Got him? Okay, let’s get him in
the house. We’ll put him on the cot by the fire-place.”
Annie hovered on the fringes of the drama,
trying not to wring her hands. It was a relief the
way Eli took charge of the situation, but she felt
“Pa, what can I do?”
“You and Alice start tearing up some mate-rial
for bandages. Use one of the sheets. And get
some hot water to clean him up. He’s hurt, but I
can’t tell how bad.”
Inside, James held a lantern high so Eli could
make his examination of the wounded man.
“Lord,” he said. “Look at his face.”
Dried blood and dirt did little to mask the
damage. Frank’s left cheek was cut from below
44 Arizona Literary Magazine 2014
the eye almost to his lips.
“Knife fight. He’s cut here on his side, too.”
Eli probed the bloodstained area gently, trying to
pull the shirt free of the wound. The fabric had
stuck to Frank’s skin and now he began to bleed
“Here, Pa, use the scissors.” Alice handed
him the pair that lay with Annie’s sewing bundle.
“What happened?” James asked, rubbing his
hands nervously on his trousers.
“Ambush,” Frank mumbled, talking out of
the right side of his mouth.
“Don’t talk, Frank. You’re hurt pretty bad.”
Alice pulled his boots off and covered his legs
with a blanket.
“Got to make the run back.”
Eli felt Frank’s hot forehead. “Don’t be a
fool, you ain’t going nowhere.”
Annie hugged a worn but fresh sheet to her
chest. Her eyes grew wide at the sight of Frank’s
injuries and she paled so that the sandy freckles
across her nose and cheeks stood out.
Alice took the sheet from her. “Here, help
me tear some strips off, Annie.”
They sat on the long sofa, the sheet between
them on their laps. Alice began to rip the fabric,
but Annie couldn’t take her eyes off Frank.
He’ll surely die, was all she could think. He’ll
die, and never even know that I love him.
Annie had seen blood before and in fact had
seen worse than this, but she wasn’t at her most
rational. Despair made her useless and she could
only watch Alice’s quick hands fly at their task.
Alice took the bandages to Eli; he wadded
them up and pressed them to Frank’s side to
stanch the bleeding.
“Indian had a tattoo of some sort ’round his
neck,” Frank was saying, gesturing with his right
hand. “Snake thing, here. Never saw nothing like
“Indian?” James asked. “Ain’t no hostiles
Eli frowned. “Some of the Paiutes wear
bones and such through their noses and ears.
Can’t say I’ve ever heard about tattoos.”
“Might’ve been Shoshone,” James said.
“They’re related to the Paiutes.”
“This is Washoe territory, though. Shouldn’t
be anyone else around.”
“Where did it happen, Frank?” Alice asked.
“Going up the mountain, after leaving Mor-mon
Station. The trail’s real narrow, you know?
Can’t gallop through it, no how.”
Annie knew the area. It was a good spot for
an attack, the route climbing narrowly through
terrain where mudslides or dead tree trunks
could block the way. No road, it was a rocky
switchback over the mountain, twelve miles up
through ponderosa pines that transitioned to
white firs, red firs, lodge pole pines and moun-tain
“He set up an ambush, set some dead trees
across the path. Horse balked and wouldn’t
jump ’em, so I had to dismount to take him
around. Walked right into it, like a goddamned
“Did you kill him, Frank?” Annie asked.
“Well, sure. T’weren’t easy, though. I took
him out with a rock. Lost my gun in the fight.”
“That’s enough talk,” Eli said. “You rest up. I
don’t think he cut anything vital, but you’ve still
lost a lot of blood.”
“I got to get going, Eli,” James said. “If I leave
now I can get over the summit before dark.”
“Right. Ted’s got your horse ready, don’t
Teddy had just walked in, carrying the mail
“Yessir. Been walking him all afternoon so
he’d be warm.”
“Good lad. Build up the fire here so we can
boil water and get Frank cleaned up. Alice, fix up
some biscuits and jerked beef for James to take
with him. Fix me up some too, while you’re at it.
2014 Arizona Literary Magazine 45
I’ll be making Frank’s run back. Annie, you come
over here and tend to Frank.”
“Pa, do you think you should?” Alice asked.
Eli strapped Frank’s holster around his hips;
Frank had obviously found his pistol. “There’s no
one else to go, honey.” He lowered his voice.
“You know I can’t send Teddy. Even if he knew
the road, which he don’t, he don’t hardly have
the sense to follow
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.