Beanery Online Literary Magazine

December 30, 2013

Little Em

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BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

LITTLE EM

Janet Mantia

     Scents of orange and pine filled the house, but the lights on the tree never seemed as bright after Christmas. Looking at the popcorn garland Grandma helped me string, I felt a hard lump in my throat. It wasn’t long ago that I walked along the secret path, carved through mulberry bushes that led to her house. Thinking back to last summer, her bent figure made an odd shadow against the sun as she scattered bread for the birds over the cement walk.

“Cassie, I didn’t know you were coming today,” she said, wrapping her arms across my shoulders.  “Grandpa’s in the shed, building who knows what.”

I remember standing next to Grandma in her sturdy, brown shoes, print house dress, and silver hair wound into a braid around her head.   She stared at me with steel, blue eyes, and a face, though not beautiful, had strong features with high cheekbones and a pert Irish nose.

“Cassie, you’re only sixteen, but taller than I am.  You’re growing into a fine, young lady. Your mother would be proud of you.”

Grandma opened the screen door to the house Dad grew up in.  When I walked inside, the house had a scent of cut timber covering the planked walls, mingled with a scent of fresh jasmine coming through the screened windows. Walking across polished, wood floors, I sank into the sofa with a tufted back that went half way up the wall.  Doilies circled oak tables, and a fireplace which looked like the room had been built around it, covered an entire wall.

Grandma picked up her knitting from the rocking chair.  With fingers that moved in exact precision, she wound blue strands of yarn around the knitting needles.

“Your sweater will be done soon, Cassie.  I just have to add the sleeves,”  she said, pulling more yarn from a skein lying on the floor.

When I left Grandma’s house she was still knitting.  I kissed her cheek and said goodbye, but I left with a feeling I couldn’t explain.

*                                                 *                                            *

The sweater laid on the rocking chair next to skeins of unopened yarn.  Picking up the sweater which had no sleeves, I held it against my chest.  It would be a perfect vest, and Grandma’s voice, soft as velvet, would never (more…)

January 31, 2013

Modern Ruins of a Museum

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE.

MODERN RUINS OF A MUSEUM

by Mark Sliwa

As a kid, I loved to blow stuff up. Gunpowder bombs to destroy my plastic model car collection or a Polish cannon that could shoot a hundred yards.  For those who may not remember, a Polish cannon was five or six Pepsi cans that had the ends cut out. Construction was possible as soda cans were made of metal with a reinforced steel ring at each end. All were duct-taped together to resemble a small bazooka.

The base can was left partially vented at the drinking end and had a pinhole punched in its bottom.  Ammunition was a tennis ball and propellant was lighter fluid.  To operate, we stuffed the ball down the tube with a stick, squirted fluid in the pinhole, lit a match to the hole, and boom! The kick felt like a 12 gauge shotgun as you watched the ball sail across the neighborhood.  I had the most powerful one in the neighborhood until my mother captured it and proceeded to crush it with dad’s workbench vise.

It is no surprise then that a place called Forbes Road Gun Museum held great interest for me as an early teen.  Located in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania, at the top of Gravel Hill Road, it was a small brick two story Smithsonian of guns, some dating over 500 years. A field artillery cannon sat on the front lawn, commanding respect before one entered. The first floor served as a gunsmith shop and the second as the museum.  An elderly man named Russell Payne was the owner and seemed to know (more…)

January 16, 2013

What If

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

WHAT IF     

Julia E. Torockio

What if……….There was a world without prejudices?

What if…………..No one stared, accosted, talked about, or made fun of anyone?

What if………….we all got along all of the time?

Or at least most of the time!

What if there was no hatred, confusion, disrespect, dislike, or contention in the world?

What would a world like that be like?

Would it be better? What do you think?

If this could only be true?

Then this may be a perfect world we live in!

Wouldn’t it? Or would it be?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect world or a perfect person!

As long as there is sin in this world, and the devil exists, we must deal with the flesh;

and this so-called ideal world ceases to exist, and will never happen!

There was and is, only one (more…)

January 2, 2013

Barrel Molasses and Shotgun Shells

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

BARREL MOLASSES AND SHOTGUN SHELLS

Joe F. Stierheim

     Many years ago I made regular trips to northern Pennsylvania. Along my route was a small store that had a sign along the highway that advertised: “Barrel Molasses and Shotgun Shells.” That sign always fascinated me. The store appeared to be a “Mom and Pop” sort of place, catering to members of the local populace and stocking what was needed and wanted by them. I have not traveled that section of what was then a two-lane road for quite some time. I am pretty sure that the country there has changed, the highway no longer a two-lane road and no longer lined by farmland, villages, and the occasional business. The store with its unique sign is probably no longer there, long ago having been replaced or at least forced out of business by a supermarket or other chain retail establishment. The local people, I am sure, buy their shotgun shells at (more…)

December 5, 2012

The Intruder

THE INTRUDER 

Joanne McGough

November, 2007

 A piazza in Venice, Italy

      I wait alone. Le Ristorante al Gabbiano opens in thirty minutes. I sit at a wrought iron table and study its mosaic tile top. Some tiles are cracked, some are missing, all are weather worn and faded into a creamy gray mélange. Just a hint of true color remains in crevices where tiles are tightly abutted and the salty air from the canal hasn’t penetrated.

The morning is gray and so heavy with mist that my hair feels damp. Still, I am pleased to be in Venice and content to be alone. I feel meditative, breathing slowly and deeply, my mind as calm as it ever could be. I close my eyes from time to time. Often, I pause to write a note on my tablet.

My reverie is interrupted. A small brown bird lands on my table. His arrival is obscured by the near-opaque fog.

He is a bold little thing. In just two hops he is close enough to watch me writing. One hop closer and he seems to understand my work. He looks from my pen to my tablet, then back again, repeatedly. I sit as still as possible, watching him. He is beautiful, really, not solid brown but blessed with flecks of red and gold. He is obviously interested in what I am doing.

He knows I am watching him. I stop writing but he continues to stare at my tablet. I think he is waiting for something. Perhaps he thinks my tablet is (more…)

July 13, 2011

Pinto Man

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

PINTO MAN

Mark Sliwa

     The television and VCR were on the blink. I’m a firm believer of selling things while they still work or move. A newspaper ad and I was $700 richer. 

     Three newspaper days later my brother, Brian, said, “Hey, look at this. A 1977 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV. And it’s only $700.” 

     God forbid keeping that money in my pocket. At the time, my brother and I shared an apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina and the vehicle for sale was only one town away. Being a mechanic, he convinced me to take a look.

     One should always be wary of vintage Italian cars. Remember what Fiat stands for: (more…)

July 6, 2011

A Beanery Writers Group Homage to Bob Sanzi

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

A BEANERY WRITERS GROUP HOMAGE TO BOB SANZI

Beanery Writers Group

I looked for your car when I arrived at the June 24, 2010, Beanery Writers Meeting.

            I hadn’t heard…You were gone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Bob, you left too soon. Some of us needed to learn more from you. It’s hard to believe that you only joined us on June 12, 2010. At your last meeting, June 10, 2011, you were so excited about the new car Nancy bought and allowed you to drive to the meeting.

      We all heard your gruff, commanding, voice, and experienced your unique bombastic manner, at the first Beanery Writers Group meetings you attended. Some of us questioned whether we could tolerate you. You were opinionated, certain you were right, and felt you had to talk and talk and talk to push your point, even after everyone had “gotten it.” You were so certain you were right.

     Your identity was enmeshed in cars—you were quite animated and willing to share a multitude of car stories. After all, you were a car guy who even amused us by turning a prompt on the Kentucky Derby into a car piece. You didn’t seem to understand that (more…)

July 4, 2011

Red, White and Blue Dreams

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

RED, WHITE AND BLUE DREAMS

Diana Reh Hunt

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Red, white and blue dreams

born in sandbox games,

rocked to stars ‘n stripes lullabies

in cradles of freedoms to come.

Young hopes fly high on tire swings

when the dreamers’ smiles outshine the sun.

 

Red, white and blue dreams

come from family farm to (more…)

June 8, 2011

The Sunshine State

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

THE SUNSHINE STATE

Mark

     Through the dark night, cement highway strips marked time with a rhythmic clump-clump. Stuffed near the back of the bus in an odorous sea of musty upholstery and unwashed humanity came one thought: Go Greyhound! I made the mental note of the $15 remaining in my wallet as we crossed the Florida state line as I curled up in my seat. For further comfort, a small portable radio pressed closer to the ear.

     Two months earlier, in snow-bound Pennsylvania, I had attended a college job fair. Recruiters from Disney World Orlando were there and a paid gig in sunny Florida didn’t sound like a bad idea. They promised an intern sales host position plus lodging for a six month term.

     My new home was Snow White Village. We new-hires got to reside in a park of fourty-eight trailers, fenced into a tidy rectangle. Each trailer’s walls were (more…)

May 21, 2011

Let’s Get Dirty

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

LET’S GET DIRTY

Sally Martin

     In our long years of competitions, Chas and I have amassed bushels of tee shirts. The most prized of these trophies is the pair that extols the virtues of playing in the mud. 

     We had run in cross country meets at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, a lovely run. Cross country has ambiance. You run through fields and forests, it can be a jog in the woods.  We found one in Ebensburg and at that very simple run through fields and forests we found an ad for Lets Get Dirty at Slippery Rock State College (now University). When we arrived at the college, there was a trek through parking lots to a small ski hut building on the edge of a creek. Not Slippery Rock Creek, thank goodness.

        The participants were mostly a few of us sane adults and many wildly enthusiastic students. There were about six hundred who showed up to either laugh or compete. There were clowns, a group in kilts, and other groups in unusual but matching outfits that defied description.  

     Runners have things called “Fun Runs” but running is rarely fun.  Well, the one in Regent Square through Frick Park is pretty and tries hard with jazz bands and champagne.  But  Let’s Get Dirty was truly a producer of whoops, cheers, giggles, guffaws, and more cheers.

     But first, there was a run for the serious: it showed really good runners competing over the quite questionable course so we could see where they went and therefore opt in or out of the madness. The winners got precious few cheers. The crowd was waiting for us “Fun Run” types.

      The experienced participants had special preparation: duct tape.  

     Their shoes, not necessarily running shoes, were duct taped to (more…)

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