Saturday, December 15, 2007


Dear ——,

Although we won’t be publishing this particular piece, we do thank you for sending "The Agreement". It was a good read. We’re not able to give specific feedback, but please take a look at Editors’ Input for some ideas. Again, we appreciate the opportunity to read your work!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Shots in the dark

I rather like this business of blogging. I’m one of countless anonymous voices. I only show you the sides of me I want you to see. If you like what you see, you keep reading. If not, you click a button and no one has to feel embaressed or rejected. There’s no pointless, awkward small talk: "What do you do?" "What do you think about the war?" We’re all just tiny little voices crying out to one another in the night, baring our souls in the most sterile environment imaginable. A fantasy land we call the internet, where anything can happen and the mask of anonymity lets us be anything we want to be. What fantastic age we live in.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good Will Toward Men

The old man pulled hard on the reigns to stop his sleigh, then stepped down with a groan. Bracing his back with one hand, he reached into the sleigh and picked up his sack. The bag dragged through the snow as he hobbled his way to the motel door. Rita didn’t look up as he entered the room, not bothering to knock. She was lounging on the bed wearing only a tank top and her underwear, smoking a cigarette and watching the television. The room was stifling hot and the air stank of sweat and smoke.

“Hello, Rita,” the old man said quietly. He stood by the door, bag in hand, and waited.

Rita coughed and scratched her leg before gracing him with a blank look.

“When are you going to leave me the hell alone?” she said, then turned back to the television.

“You know I have to visit everyone who still believes.”

“What’s there to believe? You’re standing right in front of me. I believe my eyes, it’s no leap of faith.”

“That doesn’t matter. It’s the way this job works. You believe, I come.”

Rita laughed and crushed her cigarette in an overflowing ashtray laying on the night stand.

“Look,” she said “you coming here every year isn’t going to change anything. It’s not going to change who I am or what I am. It’s just a waste of my time and yours.”

“If you haven’t given up on me, then I can’t give up on you. Like it or not, those are the rules.”

“Believe me, I’d forget all about you if I could. I wish everyday of my life that I’d never walked in find you in our living room that night. But you’re always there. No matter how drunk or high I get, I can feel you there in the back of my mind, watching me, judging me.”

“No, not judging. Watching, yes, but never judging.”

Rita picked up the pack of cigarettes and pulled another one out. She twirled it her fingers a few times before raising it to her lips and lighting it.

The old man took a step toward the bed. Behind him, the door opened. He turned to see a young man in jeans and a flannel shirt already unfastening his belt buckle. He started when he saw the old man.

“Jesus, Rita, I thought you locked the door when you already had someone in here. I’ll wait outside until you’re done.”

“No, it’s ok. We’re done,” she said, giving the old man another blank look.

The old man reached into his sack and pulled out a brown box. He laid it on the night stand next to the ashtray and let himself out.

“Merry Christmas, Rita,” he said as he pulled the door closed. A moment later, there was a soft click as the lock turned.

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