Whenever I say that my extended family camps together in the summer—living in tents, cooking over the fire, and bathing in the river—someone will ask, “And you all get along? For a whole week?” Sure, I say. Of course, I’m lying. My family includes my seventy-something father who loses his temper if he doesn’t get an afternoon nap, my sister Carroll who just stops talking at the first sign of trouble, my sister Laurie who has been known to threaten family members with a sharp knife while making fruit salad, my brother Kevin who refused … Continue reading Whiskey Island Mango Salad by Janine De Baise
What the sky chart would indicate is that he and his dog, Bella, are looking at is the constellation Orion. But what he sees is the Frozen Butterfly, one of the constellations his sister taught him. Jack had contemplated bringing his daughter out to stargaze with him, maybe do a little storytelling to his grown and unsettled girl. But she was reluctant in the cold, so it’s just him and Bella—named for Bellatrix, the constellation’s third brightest star. He’s looking at it now, picking it out in the Butterfly’s wing. The first time he … Continue reading Betelguese by Stephanie Coyne DeGhett
Hey, son. It’s your Mama. Hope y’all are doing good up there. I’m callin’ cause I’ve got a little problem here. So, did you hear about that storm we had a couple days ago, that derecho? Well, none of us had ever heard of one before, either. It was a perfectly nice day and then the wind starts a blowin’ and sounding like a big ‘ole freight train. The trees in the front yard were all bent over double. I’m telling you, it was like the end of days—I never heard such a noise … Continue reading Cats by Christine Tucker
This is a true story. After my husband Billy died in June of 2020, his ‘step daughter’ Zoe, a beautiful and vivacious woman of fifty offered her home in Santa Barbara to hold his memorial. We waited until the 2021 vaccines and chose the month of August. Zoe’s mother had been Billy’s girlfriend in the Seventies, and she and Zoe lived with Billy in Hollywood. Zoe’s mother and Billy never married. Zoe would laugh and refer to herself as the ‘step-daughter’ and make quotation marks in the air. While our daughter Tempe and son Charlie … Continue reading Once Upon a Time In Montecito by Trudy Hale
The first year of the pandemic lockdown was the worst for Frankie and PJ. Most of their time was spent worrying about the health of Frankie’s Mom and then PJ’s Mom and then as it turned out all that worry was for nothing because they both died anyway. Due to the pandemic there was no funeral service, but both moms had been fiscally savvy and left considerable sums of which eased the pain a little. Not surprisingly, PJ’s mom went first. Her smoking and general laziness made her a prime target for this strain … Continue reading Pesthouse by Katie Anderson
J Brooke is an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest There were many reasons I didn’t play with Barbie dolls. Besides being gender-nonconforming before the term existed, besides not liking girls in my class who did play with Barbie dolls, and besides knowing that for every Barbie I was given for a birthday or holiday, there was some present I would have actually enjoyed that I would now never receive, there was the utter anatomical stupidity of that useless toy. Forget Barbie’s disproportionately tiny waist and large breasts that became famed objects of scrutiny … Continue reading Finding Barbie’s Shoes by J Brooke
When self-isolation measures were first enacted, five-year-old Vivian seemed excited about the whole thing. A new experience, unique to this time and place. She was playing with her mom, she yelled from her porch, so all was good. She rode her scooter up and down the driveway when the sun was out; hung drawings across her wide front window when it was time to come in. Not everyone was as excited though. “Why shut down the entire country?” my Toronto neighbor lamented. “You can’t stop everyone from working! Our economy will be in the toilet!” … Continue reading The Silence is Deafening by Benjamin Rempel
The visit was long overdue. At my wife Margie’s suggestion, I decided to do something about it. So, on a summer day that was forehead-dripping hot with a steely blue sky, the two of us strolled in shorts and sandals up the Toronto street where I first lived. The cicadas sang lustily. Did they remember me? We walked past Charlie Haskin’s house. It hadn’t changed as far as I could tell. I recalled sitting in the back seat of his big gray Ford Tudor sedan in 1946 while waiting for my mother to emerge from … Continue reading The Stairway by Thomas Laver
Pocast: Coming of age. A short story performed by Jennifer Sims. Read the story online: Vanilla Music for Sinister Women Coming of Age by Mark Galarrita Follow us!
Podcast: Left at home. A short story performed by Joe Guay. Read the story online: Diluted by Jaime Balboa Follow us!