Welcome to Amarillo Bay!Something Good To Read
Volume 15 Number 4 — Published 4 November 2013
In addition to the works in this issue — the fourth issue of our fifteenth year — you can read the nearly 640 works (229 fiction, 77 creative nonfiction, 332 poetry) we have published since 1999. See the Previous Works, including the ability to search through the issues.
by Pam McGaffin Pam McGaffin
Pam McGaffin lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Mark Funk, and sons, Casey and Charlie. In 2011, after more than twenty-five years in journalism and public relations, she took a leap of faith to concentrate on fiction and write a novel. Her first published short story appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Eclectica magazine.
While watching the storm on TV, Maggie realizes that it was around this time Thursday that her daughter, Jen, hung up on her. Here it's been two days and she still hasn't called to apologize. Maggie had started to tell her about the squirrels when Jen cut her off. "Gotta go." Click. Just like that. Jen obviously doesn't care about her problems and this God-awful house and now the squirrels, scratching and digging with their little rat feet, so loud they sound like they're not in Maggie's attic at all, but inside her head.
She can hear them now, over her living room ceiling, running back and forth, back and forth, as if they too are panicked by this storm that has the TV weathermen clucking like Chicken Little. Fifty-mile-per-hour gusts, they said on the news.
The phone rings. About time! Maggie grips the sides of her chair, noticing that the tea towels she sewed on the arms to cover the bare patches are themselves wearing thin. She hauls herself out of her seat and walks slowly to the telephone. She won't say anything about the hang-up. She'll wait for Jen to mention it and say she's sorry. Damn her knees! That's another thing, Jen knows how much it pains her to get up and down. If she's going to take the trouble to go to the phone and call her daughter, she'd like the conversation to last longer than a few minutes. She picks up the receiver on the fifth ring. "Hello?"
It's not Jen. It's a man, or rather the recording of a man, informing her that she's won two free nights at a ski resort. Maggie hangs up as he's about to explain how she can claim her prize. Seems like the only people who call want something from her. Solicitors, charities, and scams like this one, all pretending to be her friend, some even presumptuous enough to address her as Margaret. The telephone companies are the worst, calling every other minute to peddle wireless service and something called "broadband." As if she had money to spend on such things with her house falling down around her. Continue…
Exhuming Captain Midnight
by Guinotte Wise Guinotte Wise
Guinotte Wise was the winner of the H. Palmer Hall Award for Night Train, Cold Beer, a short story collection (Pecan Grove Press 2013). His work has appeared in a number of literary journals, including Atticus, Opium, and The MacGuffin. He is a sculptor, sometimes in welded steel, sometimes in words. Educated at Westminster College, U. of Arkansas, and the KC Art Institute, he remains degreeless but for a self-awarded MFA, which he says means something different than most. Some work is at wisesculpture.com Facebook Author's page is facebook.com/RenoPeteStCyr
From twelve on, life showed more signs of being the bitch everyone promised it would be. At fifteen I was old enough to have considered suicide. Wild swings of weirdness, bird-brained hilarity to shadowy melancholy. I couldn't drive legally yet, but I rented motorcycles with my paper route money and a friend's driver's license. I'd seen Marilyn Monroe naked. This was in 1954. The friend, Ray, whose license I borrowed, had shown me the first issue of a magazine called Playboy and Ms. Monroe was curled up on a red satin sheet in the altogether. I think it cauterized some part of my brain and turned me into a sex fiend. I never recovered.
So, at fifteen I was trying to figure out a way to say goodbye to my childhood. A ritual. A Viking funeral-like passage. This was a distressing time: I still sort of liked flying model airplanes; hiding behind the big velvet couch waiting, in vain, for someone to sit on the whoopee cushion I'd planted there; reading AIRBOY comic books while eating a peanut butter and Fritos sandwich. Goodbye Hopalong Cassidy, too. Especially since Ray told me about seeing him at the Shrine Rodeo in an echoing concrete runway waiting to ride into the arena. He'd smacked his horse in the head and said "Settle down you lop-eared cocksucker!" Two counts against him. Growing up is painful shit. Acquisition of unwanted knowledge. Ray, of course, thought it was funny.
I decided not to make too big a deal out of the ritual. I would put childish things in a Folger's coffee can, tape it up, wrap it in tinfoil, and bury it five steps north and ten steps west of the base of the clothesline post in the back yard of my grandmother's house. It didn't have to be goodbye. It could be a time capsule. Just in case, I would draw a map, so that years later I could dig it up. Or maybe the following summer. Or never. Continue…
Reader, I Divorced Him: Famous Literary Couples Untie the Knot
by Nancy Scott Hanway Nancy Scott Hanway
Nancy Scott Hanway (nancyscotthanway.com) is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she received her MFA in Fiction Writing. She earned her MA/PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa. Originally from New York, she has lived in France and Argentina. Now based in Minnesota, she is Associate Professor of Spanish at Gustavus Adolphus College. Her work has appeared in The Florida Review, Portland Review, Southern Humanities Review, Grey Sparrow, PMS, Pearl, Forge, and in many other journals. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband and son.
#1—Jane and Mr. Rochester
Reader, I divorced him.
I slipped off one day to the lawyer's to begin the proceedings, which of course would end in Chancellery.
Why did I divorce him? Because the kind of man who would keep his mad wife in the attic while he proposed marriage to another did not change overnight, even after the tragic accident that had taken his sight, only partially recovered. Edward's anger toward me increased as the years went on. He blamed me for the accident since, he reasoned, if I had run off with him to Italy, as he had wanted—he never would have been at Thornhill when the fire started. Once Bertha died, we could have wed in Italy, returned in triumph, and rebuilt Thornhill.
We tried counselling. The counsellor was disturbed that I called Edward "Master" and questioned our sexual practices, which drove Edward nearly to blows. Edward stomped out when I told the counsellor that in my mind, our problems began when I stopped trying to keep up the virginal young governess look. Fashion had changed so drastically that I looked a fright going out in dove-grey and drab. I began to wear purples and magentas. My Master objected that his little sparrow was becoming a bird of paradise, and he stopped trying to put his hand under my skirt. Continue…
The Rest Was Easy
by Jules-Pierre Malartre Jules-Pierre Malartre
Jules-Pierre Malartre currently resides in Rigaud, Quebec. "The Rest Was Easy" is his first short story. In 2005, he quit a promising aerospace engineering career to go into freelance copywriting. Since then, he has become considerably poorer, but much happier. When he is not writing technical manuals or newspaper features, he is busy working on his first novel.
"She's stuck in the wheel well, chief."
"What do you mean stuck?"
The volunteer fireman lowered his eyes and shook his head. Tears welled up in his eyes.
"It's not pretty, chief," he whispered as he walked away without being dismissed.
People often wonder why cops and firemen do the job, what keeps them going, and what saves them from going insane.
Chief Roberts did not know what other cops were in it for; the volunteer who had just walked away had never signed on for this. But Andy, the department's youngest officer, standing not twenty feet away by the chief's cruiser, with his sidearm swung low and the restraining strap off, ready for a quick draw, was another story. Roberts tried not to think about what the kid was in it for.
If anyone had asked him, Roberts would have laughed and said he did it for the money. As for surviving the horrors he had witnessed, he used a very simple trick: all he had to do was think of Anna. The rest was easy. Anna was his baby daughter. She had been taken away four years ago, cut down by a drunk driver. Still, when things got tough, Roberts thought of Anna, and the rest was easy. Usually. Nowadays, he got a lot of help from his friend Jack Daniels. Continue…
by Timothy Caldwell Timothy Caldwell
Timothy Caldwell was a professional singer and professor of music for almost forty years, with articles published by major professional journals. His book, Expressive Singing: Dalcroze Eurhythmics for Voice, was published by Prentice Hall in 1994. His creative writing has been published in Blue Lake Review and The Storyteller Magazine. He is a Vietnam veteran and author of "The Chaplain's Assistant: God, Country, and Vietnam," and is an advocate for better mental health treatment for veterans and their families. He is currently at work on his second novel and a collection of short stories.
The sound that came through our jalousie windows was new to me, and it was coming closer. I put my comic book down, opened the front door, and stepped into a hot summer sun. Gene Watson, my sixteen-year-old role model, was sitting on a silver motor scooter, riding down the middle of the asphalt road that ran in front of my house. He waved as he rode by.
He reached the end of the block then turned right onto the dirt road that connected with the other roads in the new subdivision. I ran through our carport onto the thick Bermuda grass and into our backyard. I looked between the houses that faced the street that ran parallel to ours and saw his silver scooter appear and disappear as he flew along the road.
I had a bike—Blackie—that was given to me on my eighth birthday, when I was just a little boy. We lived in Wheelwright, Kentucky, a mining town in the Appalachian foothills. After riding up and down those hills, the flatlands of Sarasota were easy. It was the mid-1950s, and Sarasota was a quiet town, so Mom let me ride Blackie everywhere.
Everything changed when I saw Gene floating down the street like a prince surveying his kingdom. In the blink of an eye, Blackie was transformed from my noble steed into a motorless contraption that I had to pedal, as I strained, sweated, and panted in the tropical heat. I needed a scooter, one like Gene's. Continue…
by Hilary Sideris Hilary Sideris
Hilary Sideris' work has appeared or is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, Bayou, Cimarron Review, Confrontation, Connecticut Review, The Evansville Review, Fourteen Hills, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, Memoir, Quiddity, poemmemoirstory, Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review, Sugar House Review, Swink, Tar River Poetry, and Wild Violet, among others. She has been published in the anthologies Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek American Poetry, Token Entry: Poems of the NYC Subway, and Journey to Crone. She has published several chapbooks: The Orange Juice Is Over (2008), Gold & Other Fish (2012), and Sweet Flag (2013) from Finishing Line Press, Baby (2009) from Pudding House Press, and A House Not Made With Hands (2013) from Poets Wear Prada Press.
She grew up in Indiana and attended Indiana University. She received her MFA in poetry from The Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. She lives in Kensington, Brooklyn, and has worked for many years at The City University of New York, where she develops and coordinates programs for first-generation college students.
Hilary Sideris has a collection of poems based on Life, a memoir by Keith Richards.
"Called" is from that collection.
It doesn't come to you.
You go to fame. You
don't negotiate, you nod
your head, stick to the road
you're on. Sometimes you'd
like to exit, but you're
dazzled, stupefied, & under
contract to provide. Continue…
by Jaimie Carlson Jaimie Carlson
Jaimie Carlson is an amateur poet who has had works published in Apparent Magnitude, Tangents, and Poets Online. She enjoys softball, the works of Isaac Asimov, and playing with her pet Maltese.
Step right up
here to the glass
nothing says that quite
like a clear invisible wall
ladies and gentleman,
the Zoo for Endangered Metaphors
They've come a long way for your enjoyment—from the
South Seas, the library, Neptune—anywhere
too far for you to go.
Too far for you to coax your ego
or next door. Continue…
Things I Wish I Could Say to my Father on the Second Anniversary of His Death
by Carl Auerbach Carl Auerbach
Carl Auerbach lives in New York City, where he has a private practice of psychotherapy.
Now that his four children are grown, he is pursuing a long-standing interest in poetry. He has had three poems and a short story nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Baltimore Review, Bayou Magazine, Blue Lake Review, Brink Magazine, Chrysalis Reader, The Coachella Review, Colere, Confluence, descant, The Distillery, Eclipse, Eleven Eleven, Euphony, Evansville Review, Forge, Freshwater, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Griffin, G.W. Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Licking River Review, Louisville Review, The MacGuffin, The Minetta Review, Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, Oregon East, Organs of Vision and Speech Magazine, Passager, Pearl, Permafrost, Poem, RE:AL, Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal Of The Arts, The South Carolina Review, Spillway, Talking River, The Texas Review, Third Coast, Westview, and The Write Room.
They told me I couldn't really live my life
until you were dead.
I didn't believe them but now see that it's true.
Just before you died you called me "sonny."
How old were you, when you spoke like that?
How old was I?
They say I fell asleep once, in your lap,
when I was little, melted to your body.
That must have happened, if it did,
a long, long time ago. Continue…
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Works by Issue
Works are published the first Monday of February, the third Monday of May, the first Monday of August, and the first Monday of November.
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|2013, Volume 15||
Number 4, 4 November 2013 — Current Issue|
Number 3, 5 August 2013
Number 2, 20 May 2013
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Number 4, 4 November 2002|
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Number 4, 5 November 2001|
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|2000, Volume 2||
Number 4, 6 November 2000|
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Number 2, 1 May 2000
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|1999, Volume 1||
Number 3, 1 November 1999|
Number 2, 2 August 1999
Number 1, 3 May 1999