All posts by Erika Raskin

Flowers by William Cass

Photo of small purple flower between stones

  As I marked another donation box I’d filled with my son’s trach supplies, the doorbell rang. Two men in identical ball caps and polo shirts smiled at me from the front steps when I opened the door. The shorter of the two, handsome and well-built, gestured with a clipboard and said, “Afternoon. My name’s Lance. How’s your day going so far?” I shrugged.  “Okay, I guess.” “Good.” He nodded. “That’s good. Beautiful afternoon, beautiful neighborhood. And we have a beautiful opportunity that folks like you lucky enough to live here qualify for. Won’t be … Continue reading Flowers by William Cass

My Inspiring Journey by Sean Nishi

Photo of old red and white boat up on grass near water

Studio City, November, 2016 Had a great time going back home for Thanksgiving. Everyone was there—Mom, Dad, my Sister, our championship horse Spencer. My room is basically the same except Mom moved all my water polo trophies to the living room. But then on my bed I find a first place ribbon from the Getty Center Rising Artist Contest! “I found that coffee mug you painted in third grade ceramics class,” said Mom. “The one with the dinosaurs on it. I thought it was so good I decided to submit it on your behalf!” And … Continue reading My Inspiring Journey by Sean Nishi

No YOU Say it Erika Raskin

Photo of green leaves layered on each other

Someone asked me what a writer’s voice is. I was momentarily tongue-tied. It’s a tricky concept to capture and describe–a little like trying to render a physical sensation or an unfamiliar smell. Lots of adjacent experiences tend to be employed in the effort. But bear with me while I give it a shot. Forty years ago a rat died in our kitchen pipes. (I’ve generally recovered, thanks.) I chronicled the traumatic incident for Salon detailing the stench that came from the spigot as rotting chicken in the meat drawer– with a side of decomposing broccoli. … Continue reading No YOU Say it Erika Raskin

Transference by MaryLewis Meador

Photo of pair of hands tattoing someone's arm

  Lucy and Henry are not an unusual couple. They forgive slights, hold some grudges, and share hilarity at mispronunciations, bad teeth, and their small mixed terrier French Fry. Average looking, they are both youthful for fifty, dedicated runners, and occasional eaters of ice cream. When their daughter Olive was born, they were smitten, and keen to keep to their small family unit. As an accountant Henry quantified Olive’s every childhood achievement. June, a florist, had strong opinions on how their daughter mixed colorful outfits. Both considered themselves Olive’s most important people. But as Olive … Continue reading Transference by MaryLewis Meador

MAISON MAGIQUE by Deborah M. Prum

Photo of shadow of hand on wall above small house made of paper

  I have a five-year-old grandchild who lives in Paris. Recently, she informed me that when she plays tag at her schoolyard, to avoid becoming “it,” all she must do is scurry to a yellow drum, touch it, and yell, “Maison Magique!” Those two words keep her safe. “Nothing bad can happen to you in maison magique, Deb-deb.” She calls me “Deb-deb” to get around the parental edict, “You may not call an adult by her first name.” My grandchild’s voice is reassuring because she believes what she asserts. Listening to her, I longed for … Continue reading MAISON MAGIQUE by Deborah M. Prum

You Must Pay The Rent by Marijean Oldham

Black and white photo of female with her hand on her face

The kitchen is new to her, its wide granite island, so big you could autopsy a moose on it. More cabinet space than she’d had in all her previous kitchens combined, and then some. A Viking range. A hot water tap. Ice and water through the door in the refrigerator. Although her contributions were meager by comparison, they merged kitchen tools. Her KitchenAid mixer; her mixing bowls; his Cuisinart food processor; his silverware set. Chili is simmering in an enameled pot on the stove. Cornbread bakes in the oven. Her own work day finished, Sarah … Continue reading You Must Pay The Rent by Marijean Oldham

Cinzano by Michael Paul Hogan

Photo of colorful umbrellas above dining tables in alley

  The silence had lengthened to the point where it was awkward. The young man said, “Have you noticed? Ours is a Cinzano umbrella, but all the others are for Kronenbourg beer.” Despite herself she turned her shoulders the minimum necessary to ascertain it was true. She thought that if she were in a brighter mood, she might look for some metaphor, but nothing presented itself except the very trivial fact that of the five tables on the terrace of the café, four were shaded by umbrellas advertising Kronenbourg 1664 whereas theirs had on each … Continue reading Cinzano by Michael Paul Hogan

Political Animals by Erika Raskin


I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years. I try not to be preachy about the issue `#ToEachHisOrHerOwn but in truth the whole concept of eating other creatures depresses the hell out of me. Last week, a truck carrying a load of chickens in horribly overcrowded cages, passed me on the highway and I burst into tears. All of which is an ironic preamble to the following observation: Like mammals with two legs, the four-legged variety can also be assholes. Just on principle. Seriously. The coyotes who use our yard as a public toilet, for … Continue reading Political Animals by Erika Raskin

Santa, Undone by Travis Flatt

Photo of Santa walking from behind

He taps on my door. You’ve got to hand it to a seven-year-old for knocking. That lesson he learned even before reading. “Please knock,” his mother would yell whenever he barged in on us in the act, and he’d step back out into the hall and tap a little drum beat on the door. Today, I’m sprawled out on the bed with an IPA (just one), watching Robocop (the original), when the kid walks in and hands me a list. Before his mother left for work, she asked him to write Santa a list. I’m … Continue reading Santa, Undone by Travis Flatt

All’s Fair in Love and Teacher Gifts by Ellen Weeren

Photo of wrapped present with pink bow

Even though it was early June, Elena wore an oversized, off-white cable-knit cardigan to the grocery store. The gift cards were displayed near the beer coolers, an area which was always too cold for summer clothes. Her list of teacher gifts contained six names, eight if she counted the music and art instructors, who her son Brian only briefly saw every other week—not enough time to warrant the same Panera card his more engaged teachers should get, especially since he was such an easy kid. She toyed with the idea of only treating them to … Continue reading All’s Fair in Love and Teacher Gifts by Ellen Weeren