Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Golden Apple Ezine; Issue 2 - December 2010


Welcome to the second issue of Golden Apple Ezine! Faithful again to our words, we have come up with a few young writers in this special Christmas issue, blessed by the presence of a couple of more experienced writers.

We admit it’s early days for Christmas but if you read one piece per day you’ll end up so near to Christmas Eve! On a more serious note, we just hope our second issue will prove to be more enjoyable than the first and weave some real Christmas magic and beauty. Take your time; it’s a pleasant mixture of styles and moods.

A big thank goes again to our contributors.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this present issue, please feel free to contact us at: goldenapplezine@yahoo.com.


Note that the third issue of Golden Apple Ezine is now open to submissions.

Click here for more information.

Warm regards and happy reading,
Golden Apple Ezine Team


Poetry Section

Icedrops by Cody Passey
The Piano Tuner in the Next Room by Carolyn Srygley-Moore
Another Christmas Morn by Jim
December by Claire Averty
I Wonder What New Feels Like by Claudia Matos
Naughty and Nice by Wanda Morrow-Clevenger
Seasons Hopes by Chelsea Cant
A Christmas Miracle by Marissa Turley
Christmas Is for Children by Fran
Holy Night by Norma Moore Sutton
A Rebirth Factual by Priyanka Jain
Christmas Cheer by Alona Bam

Short Story Section

The Two Teenagers by Amit Parmessur
Merry Christmas From The Thompsons by Phillip Maguire
Christmas Angel by Entity Sylvir
The Season for Giving by Rekha Ambardar


Why do Icedrops drop in lieu of raindrops?
Why do crystals crowd the air?

Why do Icedrops, Crystalline caltrops
Fall and cling to here and there?

Why they fall, the children wonder
Why they fall I cannot say

When they fall, I know much more to
Say they fall on Christmas day

Where they fall I know for certain
Icedrops fall on top my face

What is falling, they are calling
Icedrops falling from the sky

When they fall and where they fall
What is falling and why?

Why they fall, the children wonder
Why they fall I cannot say

Cody Passey was born in 1992 in Provo Utah and currently lives in Cheney WA where he hopes to have his wedding this coming winter with his beautiful fiancée. He believes that Cheney WA is a great place to live, one where he can grow, learn and write.

In the distance, the piano tuner struck the chords
or the very mystery of Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, each note a river
unto its own accord and we sat talking about holidays,
each note ringing such, we sat and talked: I like New Years,
bringing the pans out at midnight,
those little pizzas with feta and mushroom mostly
I like new beginnings, I like washing my face and seeing a stranger
there come down and the piano
tuning the beast unto a rapture
He looked like Harry Potter meeting the stone,
the Harry Potter they have found buried
somewhere, an actual historical figure, buried
as most historical accounts come to that
The piano tuner struck and twanged and you and I talked
as if we are friends, though I am only
a person who keeps you safe, not really a friend at all

Carolyn Srygley-Moore is a Pushcart and Best of the Web nominee. She is an active poet on the international AIDS awareness project Real Stories.com. Her first chapbook, Contingencies, will be available in January 2011. Carolyn has been published by many journals including The Pennsylvania Review, Stirring, Electica, Up the Staircase and the antiwar anthology Cost of Freedom, with new work coming out elsewhere. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and daughter.

We find ourselves another day
'Neath Old Glory stained and torn,
But we still stand... the ghost of boys...
Scarred soldiers this Christmas morn.
So raise your canteens my comrades,
All you, my brothers in arms.
May the spirit of the season
Keep you well and safe from harm.
Lift those canteens up my brethren
Hold them high and hold them long.
This is a toast to those fallen
A moment for those now gone.
Celebrate the message, the gift,
Of this day a saviour was born
And understand we’ve learned nothing.
This is another Christmas mourn.

Jim writes about various topics. He also loves and plays music and even sings on very rare occasions. He has been using the pen names Alpha de la Omega and Legion.

It was December
My favourite month
When the days are short
And the nights sparkle with lights

When our noses are cold
But our hearts are warm
And we are wrapped up
Under blankets and scarfs

It was softly that I felt it
Didn’t really choose it
It was hour after hour
Night after night

Within a week or two
We would lock in my room
Where we’d talk and dream
Eyes towards the stars

It was sat on my bed
The conversation we shared
That you’d turn out to be
The best friend I ever had

However you have changed
Even if this part of you is dead
I’ll always remember the man
You were that Christmas

You were pure and raw
As beautiful as the snow
As bright as
A sunrise

Whoever you are today
Whatever you do or say
How often you disrespect
Or defile those nights

I’ll always remember you
With my heart light, but a little blue
As you turned out to be
The best weeks I ever had

Claire Averty is a 28-year-old French woman who lives in Belgium. She is an IT engineer back to school studying psychology, a subject dearest to her. She loves to write as a way of introspection and communication to the outside world. You can read more from her at http://www.writerscafe.org/Claire.A/writing/.

I wonder if the air will feel softer,
more gentle gliding on my skin,
as my new year of new thinking comes ahead.

I wonder if he’ll remember me,
if he wants me to be the first girl he kisses,
the one that he can remember this new year,
with my lips on his.

I wonder if my mirrors will be little me,
show me a disfiguration of adulthood,
or keep my youth and straighten my teeth.

I am ready.
This new year,
I will be new,
I will think new,
and I will act new.

It’s a second chance,
a second glance,
at how beautiful the world can be.
If I make it to be.

Claudia Matos is 19 years old, living in Brooklyn, New York. She is doing Communication Studies. She has a deep passion for writing, acting and singing and spends most of her time performing her poetry in NJ and NY.

I’ve made out my list
checking it twice;
just a couple of things
would be so nice.

I haven’t been good
I’ll freely confess;
been hanging at bars
acting naughty, I guess.

Finding Mr. Right
is harder than it seems;
so I’m counting on Claus
and his reindeer team.

I will make admission
promise to act better;
bare all my dirty deeds
to Santa in a letter.

I’ll prove I’m sorry
change my wild ways;
stay prim and proper
for the rest of my days.

All I want for Christmas
is a man and a big ring;
and failing that –
a crazy, hot fling.

Wanda Morrow-Clevenger lives in Hettick, Illinois. Twenty-three pieces of her work embracing the human condition appear in: Storyteller; Nuthouse; The Nocturnal Lyric; Up the Staircase; Flash Fiction Offensive; Leaf Garden; TheRightEyedDeer; Every Day Fiction; Matter Daily; Short Story Library; Clockwise Cat; The Short Humour Site; Long Story Short; The Ultimate Writer; Conceit Magazine; Forthcoming in Falling Star Magazine and Daily Flash 2011: 365 Days of Flash Fiction. She was also included in Golden Apple Ezine’s debut issue with Fireflies in a Jar.

Of the promise of Christmas
Greed taking over all
True intentions trampled on
Supposed happy day; rebelled

Chelsea Cant lives in Bridge Lake, Canada. She is studying in the ninth grade and daily discovering her love for writing. She mainly focuses on short stories and poems. She has been published in three anthologies, by the Poetry Institute of Canada. Apart from writing she enjoys all about music.

A little girl so lonely
Sits beneath her Christmas tree
Wishing and hoping things could be different
Wishing she had a family
She took out her pencil and paper
Writing a letter to Santa
“Dear, Santa” she began
“I don’t want any toys this year, just give me a family.”
The little girl paused and looked at the twinkling star at the top of the tree
“One who will treat me well and do things with me. One who will make me happy.”
A single tear made a trail down her cheek and fell upon her paper
“I’m lonely Santa, and unloved. Please help me.”
She signed it, “Little Suzie”
Little Suzie went to bed that night after putting her letter in the mail
When Santa read that letter his bright eyes filled with tears and he made a
Christmas promise to get Little Suzie her family
Santa went in search of a family while the elves made the toys
Christmas morning came and Santa knocked on the orphanage door
The mistress answered and showed Santa where Little Suzie
sat looking at the Christmas tree
He rested his hand on Suzie’s shoulder. “Little Suzie, it’s Santa.”
She twisted around quickly and smiled. “I have brought your family to you.”
The couple standing behind Suzie smiled and walked up to her, hugging her
as they all cried joyous tears.
They took Little Suzie and walked out into the blistering cold
Tucking her into their car, the couple took her home
where they spent Christmas day, smiling and laughing
It truly was a Christmas miracle

Marissa Turley is a housewife, living in Handley, West Virginia. She likes to write stories and poetry and has recently come to find that she enjoys senryu poetry. She wants to have her works published eventually and be a professional photographer. Her other hobbies include reading, chatting and outdoor activities.

Christmas is for children
Hugging their gifts so near
Reeling with joy and laughter
Inspiring us with their holiday cheer
Sharing their gay excitement
Tis a wonderful sight to see
Making merry precious moments
And filling our souls with glee
Small spirits making Christmas dear

Inciting feelings of glad times forgotten
Smiling as they empty their Christmas stockin’s

Forgotten memories replay of Santa Claus
Oh, old children, take time to pause
Reap youth’s joy – they are the cause

Children of today will grow old, after we’ve gone
Hoping their children will preserve the Christmas song
Inciting the same cheer, when they too grow old
Lighting the spirits, of ages untold
Dancing ’round the old Christmas tree
Realizing the same joy of laughter and glee
Enchanting the hearts of all mankind
Never forgetting Children are the joy of Christmas time

Fran is the pen name of Fran Marie Farnstrom. She is from Paris, Kentucky. She also writes short stories and a lot of dark poetry. You can see more from her at WritersCafe.org.

Stars shine down
Sparkling on crisp white snow
Shadows dance across the ground
Silently we go row by row

Strong and tall
Stags stand in low light
Witnessing it all
On a special night

As on a long ago night
A baby’s faint wails grow
In soft lamp light
From within shadows we go

For within these humble walls
The miracle of long ago
Re-enacted with these stalls
Among cattle softly lowing

Tiny fingers reaching high
Kicking feet and toes
Black curls bring a sigh
Pink cheeks and nose

Angels sing aloft
From within children’s robes
Touching hearts soft
Within joys grow

Silent Night
We Three Kings
Within our sight
They sing with all their might

Bringing the story of virgin birth
Once again to life
Filling hearts with mirth
Erasing daily strife

Norma Moore Sutton has written and published two children’s books, The First Lamb and Harry Goes To The Fair. When she is not writing she is sewing and tending her flock of Shetland sheep, angora goats and Jersey Wooly rabbits. Her writing is inspired by her animals and her love of a simple life. Her published books are available at Lulu and on Amazon.

“On the Farewell of this diary came in a huge surprise,
A volley of questions expounded value-added price..

Hey, do you believe in love at first sight? someone asked..
Looked around, a wilful mind, adventurous soul was found masked..

Encounter through days of excitement and tenderness..
Stood on the brink of undying conservative vendor-ness..

Pledging love with understanding and a leap of faith..
Why were you so rigid to confirm your feelings, mate..

An internal conflict threatened emotional stability..
Alas! You tore apart my feelings with greater ability..

This day, marking New Year’s Eve, made me hesitant..
You nurtured even the brilliant strategic gamble resistant..

This year, new year may jump and smack in face..
Expectations lighten up butting heads and shoe-lace..

As feathers come straight from Lovers, let’s ruffle our charm..
Stars, gifts, scoops, cake, wine are enough to sparkle warm..

Santa’s wishes and plenty of hope, fight uncertainty and doubt..
Regaining subjective feeling amidst this promising Christmas bout..

Employ power and recollect enthusiasm, spiritual and intellectual..
Make this night unforgettable make ‘love’ triumph a rebirth factual..!”

Priyanka Jain from India is a traveller by choice, a writer by soul and an introvert passionate nature-lover. Struggling through the thick and thin trying to find a way out, she is also a freelance writer. You may also find her work at following links:

She crawls out of bed,
She tiptoes to the window.
She hopes to catch a glimpse,
A glimpse of the man,
The one in the red suit
And shiny black boots.

Her innocence is obvious,
Her happiness tangible. 
Her excitement,
Anything but manageable.

When Santa has eaten all the cookies,
When morning comes,
When the sun is barely waking up
She’ll run downstairs,
Nearly tripping.
Her present she’ll open by ripping.

And that night, 
She won’t want to sleep
So the magic of that day
Will never go away.

Alona Bam is sixteen years old and has been writing since she was about eight. Writing is her passion. She loves using her creativity and imagination; they are both very wild, according to her. Recently she has been very committed to poetry. She nurtures an addiction to Japanese and Korean culture. Her writing is influenced by her favourite writers, her life and music.


Clouds of smoke started rising.

The crowds began to shout madly on the road as the fireworks roared deafeningly to welcome the new year in La Ville des Fleurs. Car horns blared frantically and created a terrible cacophony. The small children waved their colourful flags in enthusiasm.

Amidst the smoke, many people could soon be seen hugging each other fervently. Sebastian pulled himself out of a crowd and stopped in front of a shop. He threw the last morsel of the bread he’d been eating into his mouth. He then cast a quick look at the leather jackets that were displayed in the window, with a painted Santa Claus smiling back at him fixedly.

The jackets seemed quite good, especially those on the mannequins, he thought. He would definitely turn a few heads and impress a couple of girls wearing any one of them.

“Happy New Year,” said an old man getting out of the shop. “Happy New Year, my boy.”

Sebastian trembled, already feeling guilty of what he was about to do. “Same to you,” he said with a visibly fake smile.

He wiped his front teeth with a deft movement of the tongue, watching the old man disappear into the crowds. Someone’s hand suddenly reposed on his shoulder from behind. He trembled again and turned round. “Finally,” he sighed, recognizing his schoolmate Nicolas, “I thought you wouldn’t come.”

“I have to buy a jacket for free!” remarked Nicolas with a sneer. He glanced down at his five-year-old imitation leather jacket. “Have to buy a jacket.”

They entered the shop.

The fireworks outside were now unbearable. Midnight was less than a minute away. The clients began to leave the shop and rush outside. The salesman, mumbling a few words in the saleswoman’s ear went out too.

“Are you sure of what–” said Sebastian, mopping the beads of perspiration off his forehead.

“You wait and see,” said Nicolas, looking at the old lady behind Sebastian. She was the only client remaining. The two teenagers looked at each other, waiting, pretending to be surveying some black suits. Sebastian wanted to smash the old lady’s head; he did not want to end up waiting all his life there.

Outside, clouds of smoke rose and rose. Car horns blared and blared. People shouted and shouted, and shouted. The fireworks exploded and exploded. The saleswoman approached the two teenagers. “Happy New Year,” she said loudly, with a lavish smile.

“Happy New Year,” said Sebastian. His words were lazy, scornful.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

Nicolas pulled his hand out of his pocket and pointed the pistol at her head. The woman’s smile vanished and she grew pale. “Cash! Or dead!” he said in her face. Sebastian on his part rushed to the door, looking at the sparks in the heavy sky. No one, he signalled to his partner. “Knock her quickly” he said, spotting the salesman having a cigarette leisurely at the back of a nearby crowd. “Quickly. Quickly.”

As planned he had to knock the salesman, but there was clearly no need for that.

“Your chain,” said Nicolas, pushing the woman’s head back with the pistol.

“Please,” the saleswoman said, transfixed.

“Your chain!”

Please, please.”

“Knock her!” urged Sebastian from the door.

“Please don’t hurt me. I am pregnant,” the saleswoman said as she removed her chain hesitantly. Pleas slipped out of her quivering tender lips. Nicolas kicked her in the stomach, knocking more pleas out of her. She cowered and fell miserably onto the floor, without sound. The two teenagers rushed to the counter and stuffed the stolen jackets with notes. Sebastian even took the black suit suiting him.

Stef would be eagerly waiting for him, Nicolas thought. He would have to buy her the promised gold ring and burgundy dress. His motto had always been: ‘Everything’s completely fair in love and Nicolas’ war’.

Minutes later the two teens were cruising down the streets in their rented Toyota. No policeman. No witness. They laughed triumphantly. “Happy New Year!” they shouted to each other, wildly tapping hands. Their car lunged into a lorry in spectacular fashion.

Amit Parmessur lives in the busy town of Quatre-Bornes (also called La Ville des Fleurs), Mauritius. He was first published by UK’s Scoop The Loot, now known as The Short Humour Site. He has since been published by and to-be in SHALLA’s Magazine, The Short Humour Site, Carcinogenic Poetry, The Houston Literary Review, LITSNACK, Catapult to Mars, Eunoia Review, Puffin Circus, Ann Arbor Review, Damazine, Burnt Bridge and Heavy Hands Ink among others.

Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe it’s Christmas time again. So much has happened to us this year. I’d like to take a few minutes and catch you up on some things.

Toni, the newest Thompson was born on Feb. 29 after 3 days of difficult labour. Although she was born with multiple birth defects, the doctors say she should be fine if her tracheotomy doesn’t close up or her feeding tube fall out. They also say that because of her webbed feet she could be a good swimmer, and her ambiguous genitalia would allow her to have sex with both men and women. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways.

This year Tomi turned five. After he burned down the second swing-set with a blowtorch, he was diagnosed as having ADD. They started him on Ritalin and he’s doing very well. He’s on the track team (he’s their fastest runner!). He’s doing well in school and says he even helps “potty-train” the little girls. The wonders of modern medicine!

Tomi’s older half-sister, Tani, finally finished high school after 7 years. She’s been accepted at Bordentown Military Beauty Academy, where she’ll learn how to give “buzz-cuts” to new recruits. We think she’s finally over the body-piercing phase. She kept setting off the metal detectors at school and they would make her take out her earrings, eyebrow ring, nose stud, tongue bolt, belly-button ring and something she calls a “hood ornament”. Now she wants a tattoo like an actress named “viper”. I guess tattoos are better than the piercing thing.

Our oldest daughter, Tami, has finally changed her life around. She was only given a warning when it turned out that what she was selling as crack was really crushed mothballs; and the prostitution charges were dropped when the judge found out the arresting officer was really a transvestite and a transsexual. I guess it was just too much deciding for the judge to do. After the trial she married the officer and moved to Bolivia where they raise small edible shrubs and pigmy llamas. At last she’s finally settled down.

Wife Toti has adjusted well to all these changes once her Prozac dose was tripled and she started taking those little white pills under her tongue which make her look lost and happy. She’s dropped most of the 86 pounds she gained after Toni was born. She’s got a personal trainer named Gunther who puts her through a vigorous workout 3-4 nights a week. She doesn’t even go to a gym; he trains her privately at his house. She seems happier now than she has in years.

On a sad note, our beloved Rottweiler, Tiny, died in a tragic accident this summer. The swat team mistakenly shot him 37 times; they thought he was trying to eat the mailman. I mean, the man only had one leg amputated below the knee; they were able to re-attach his right arm! Unfortunately, Tiny’s brain tested positive for rabies.

As for me, things are pretty much the same. Life does seem mighty dull at times. Anyway:

Merry Christmas from the Thompsons,

          And CHUCK.

Phillip Maguire is an emergency medicine physician living in South Central Pennsylvania. His lovely story Back to School Trilogy was part of Golden Apple Ezine’s first adventure. His lovely book Thunder Under Water is available online from Amazon
(http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Under-Water-Phillip-Maguire/dp/1449961169), Barnes and Noble.com. His hobbies still include gardening, cooking and bicycling.

We met on Christmas Eve,
You proposed on Christmas Day,
Christmas was our time,
But not this year, not today.

“You are the angel on my tree Clarizza, my very own angel.”
That’s what you used to say every Christmas, before it all happened.

I remember the time before the war when we lived freely, when there was no need to lie awake at night listening for the shrill whistle of the falling bombs, when the newspapers weren’t clogged up with reports of death and destruction, and when there was no fear of persecution.

The invasion horrified us, the anti-Semitism appalled us, and the propaganda disgusted us, but none of it scared us as it should have. What we didn’t know at the time was that the Nazi’s hatred extended beyond the Jews, that we of the Romani people were also targets. It wasn’t until it was too late, until our home was stormed and a brown triangle slapped onto our chests, that we realised our fatal error.

You held my hand during the train ride. The air was putrid and stifling hot, and all around were the sounds of crying and yelling. We were one of the lucky ones and had managed to find a spot to sit leaning against the rough wooden wall, but the tiny carriage was so cramped that many of our fellow prisoners were fighting over the space. Hours passed and the journey continued, it was well into the night before the train finally rolled to a stop. On our departure we left behind an old woman. She had died from the heat.

But it was when we saw just where were we that we realised that the horrors had only just begun. I thought I would be spending every night in the concentration camp thinking about your fate in the men’s camp while I lay on the bunk I shared with five others in my cold, damp cabin in the women's camp, but that only lasted a few weeks before exhaustion took over and I could do nothing at night except fall into a deep but far from peaceful sleep. Food was scarce and I ate anything I could get my hands on, roots, grass, even the straw in my mattress. The days were filled with screams, the screams of the prisoners getting beaten by the SS soldiers, the wails of the mothers whose hidden children had been discovered and mercilessly executed, the cries of agony from inside the infamous shower block where the prisoners where showered with, not water, but deadly cyanide gas. Disease was rife and every morning I woke up to see more sick bodies strewn on the ground, as well as the twisted and charred remains of the prisoners who had finally given up on life and walked into the electric fence. People were dying so rapidly that the thick black smoke from the crematoriums was pumped out from the chimneys all day and all night long without a second’s break.

I tried to keep in good health, but why prolong the inevitable? Soon came the day when I too fell ill. One of the soldiers saw me coughing up blood and writhing in pain, he must have been a young one for he actually had the temerity to take pity on me. I was taken to the small clinic, which was where I got my first glimpse of the man known as the Beautiful Devil.

Josef Mengele. The “doctor” who was probably the furthest thing from a doctor that ever existed. From where I lay on my narrow cot I could hear the horrible shrieks of his research subjects, as his discussions with his assistants about his latest experiments: organs transplanted without anesthetic, hormones injected into eyes in an attempt to change eye colour, and the murder and dissection of anyone he found interesting. But I never saw the result of these deadly surgeries until they placed one on the cot opposite mine: two twin girls, sewn together, their hands badly infected where their veins met, and their fingers black with gangrene.

How you got the message to reach me, and how you even managed to keep track of time at all, remains a mystery to this very day. The fever burned through my body as I lay unmoving on my cot, long resigned to my fate. I was hardly conscious as the passing clinic assistant reached down and slipped a grimy piece of paper into my hand.

Angel may fall, but an angel can fly.
You are an angel Clarizza, you will survive.

Some people claim that the only way to recover is to believe you will recover. It seems they are right. Gradually, as the days wore on, I began to improve. Also, rumours began to spread around the camp that the German army was being pushed back, that the war was coming to an end, that the impending defeat would mean our release. We were wrong. But not about Germany’s predicted impending defeat, no, that was tragically proved correct when the soldiers announced that all prisoners were to begin a death march west to a place not threatened by the encroaching enemy. At least, all prisoners that were fit. I was not.

January 27, 1945. The date that was burned forever onto the memories of thousands. The day that the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp was liberated by the 322nd Rifle Division of Soviet Red Army. The liberators found about seven-and-a-half thousand prisoners in the camp. Seven-and-a-half thousand sick, starved, half dead prisoners, out of the four hundred thousand that had walked through its gates.

It was also when I found out about you. At first I was relieved to find that in the early days of the year you had been chosen to work in the crematoriums. At first. The prisoners that worked in the crematoriums throwing dead bodies into the flames were treated better than the other prisoners, but there was a catch about the job the soldiers had failed to mention. Those chosen worked with their dead fellows, which meant that they knew too much. The Nazis had an effective way of dealing with people who knew too much: extermination.

The wind is bitter as it whips around my face, the winter night air stinging my skin as I stand here, gazing down at the pitch black waters below me.

Months in a hospital, and finally I am free. My heart aches for you with a loneliness I never thought I could feel. The water is there, the water can end the pain. All I need to do is step forward.

Angel may fall, but an angel can fly.

Music reaches my ears, the soft voices of young carolling children drifting on the light snowy breeze.

You are an angel Clarizza.

The words that you gave me exactly three hundred and sixty-five days ago ring in my head.

You will survive.

I step back.

“You are the angel on my tree Clarizza, my very own angel.”

That’s what you used to say every Christmas, but only now have I started to listen.

Entity Sylvir is the pen name for Australian teenage Sarina Hao. She was part of our first issue with The Garden of Eden. Though primarily a short story writer, she sometimes also tries her hand at poetry and screen/stage writing. Her other interests include directing and music and she hopes one day to find a career in the writing, film, or music industry. She can be found at http://www.writerscafe.org/Entity-Sylvir.


I placed the last of the packages for UPS pickup on the cart and glanced at the clock. Two minutes before five. I sighed. It had been steady all day with people coming to the Short Stop to mail Christmas packages. A couple of minutes and it would be quitting time.

The bell on the front door tinkled. Obviously not quite quitting time yet. A man in his mid-thirties came in with a big-sized cardboard box.

“Could you please take one more?” he asked with a sheepish grin.

“Of course.” Service with a smile was our motto and we’d been doing good business since I’d opened up last Christmas. “We always have room for one more”

He placed the box on the counter.

“It’s heavy,” I said and carried it to the weighing machine. “Books?”

He nodded. “For my mom. It’s a long story. Would you like to hear it?”

Something about the earnest, friendly way in which he spoke over-rode my weariness. Besides he was sending something to Mom.

“Go ahead,” I said. I examined the address label to make sure it was secure and stamped the package with metered postage.

“She recently took up quilting and seems very much into it. She’s been looking for books in bookstores and when I found a few at an online store, I thought I should spare her the trouble – and the expense.”

That was double sweet, I thought. “Sure you should.” I tried to sound nonchalant. How many guys did I know who were so thoughtful. I couldn’t think of any, unless I counted my older sister’s husband, Bill.

I told him how much he owed and he paid the amount. “Thanks for your help, Carrie.”

I looked up puzzled.

“That’s what your name tag says. I’m Tim Gale.”

“Nice to know you, Tim.” I put the package on the already filled cart.

He said goodbye and left.

The next day he came in at the same time with three small packages.

“Isn’t it less expensive for you to go home for Christmas?” I said in a teasing tone.

He chuckled. “Ideally, yes. But I have to work over Christmas.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m an Emergency Room physician. I’m scheduled to work on Christmas Day and the day after.”

“Oh, bummer.” I admired the quiet, non-complaining way in which he spoke and realized he probably loved his job. I processed the packages. “Somebody’s going to get a lot of gifts.”

“Those are for my nieces and nephews.”

“I have nieces and nephews, too. My sister’s kids,” I said. “I know how they love presents.”

He paid for the postage. “I have to go to work. Thanks for your help again.”

The next few days, I found myself looking for Tim, just in case he had a few more relatives to send gifts to, at about two minutes to five, when he left for work. But no such luck.

On Christmas Eve I stopped at Save More, our small town grocery store. In the dairy section I backed my shopping cart into somebody else’s. Tim’s.

“Hello, again,” he said, grinning broadly. He had an easy smile and the nicest pair of brown eyes I’d ever seen. He was holding a carton of eggnog.

“Hi. You actually have time for grocery shopping in your line of work?”

“I’m making the most of this evening, which I have off. I’m having a friend and his wife over. We’re renting ‘White Christmas.’” He placed the carton and a few other items in his cart.

I was impressed. “That sounds like a good idea.”

“In fact, if you’re not doing anything, why don’t you come too? Then we’ll be a foursome,” he said. “I know it’s short notice but it would be great if you could make it.”

Since tomorrow was my family holiday, my evening was free. And I definitely wanted to get to know this nice guy.

“Thanks I’d like to.”

Tim gave me the directions to his house which was not far from where I lived.

Later I drove to Tim’s place. He opened the door when I rang the bell. I handed him a tray of hors d’oeuvres.

“Come on in.” He took my coat and tray and guided me into the living room.

The decorations were in place. His friends Bob and Liz were making a popcorn chain.    The eggnog was served and Tim ran the movie ‘White Christmas’. The heart-warming story and the oldie-but-goodie tunes seemed just the right thing for a cosy Christmas Eve.

I glanced at Tim – how’d I get so lucky?

Rekha Ambardar has published many stories and articles in both print and electronic magazines. She is also the author of two contemporary novels. His Harbor Girl is available from Amazon.com and Maid To Order from Amazon.com, Fictionwise and www.echelonpress.com. Visit Rekha’s beautiful website at http://rekha.mmebj.com.

Jump to Issue 1 by clicking here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Issue 3 - December 5, 2010 - January 10, 2011 - Call for Submissions

The third issue of Golden Apple Ezine is now open to submissions. It will have no specific theme and therefore any subject or topic may be addressed. Poems, short stories (not more than 1200 words), sketches, song lyrics and flash fiction are most welcome. Send your best piece(s) to goldenapplezine@yahoo.com and be part of our exciting ezine.

We have decided to retain our status of a bi-monthly ezine. Issue 3 will come out early February. Before you submit anything have a look at our general guidelines.

We are also on Facebook, add us, don't forget!

Click here for General Guidelines

Do have a look and enjoy our previous issues too:

Issue 1 
Issue 2 

Amit Parmessur, chief editor,
Golden Apple Ezine Team

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Issue 2 - November 1 - December 5, 2010 Call for Submissions

The second issue of Golden Apple Ezine is now open to submissions. It will be solely based on Christmas and New Year. Poems, short stories (not more than 1200 words), sketches, song lyrics and flash fiction on the proposed theme of Christmas and New Year are most welcome. We want to create some real magic for this year’s December and are working hard on the best possible way to present our contributors’ writings for this issue.

We are planning to publish on a monthly basis as from January 2011. Do have a look at our general guidelines before you submit anything:

Do have a look and enjoy our previous issues too:

Issue 1

Golden Apple Ezine Team

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Golden Apple Ezine; Issue 1 - October 2010


Welcome to the first issue of Golden Apple Ezine!

Loyal to our words, we have come up with a few very young writers, of whom one or two are at their first publication.

We sincerely hope that our visitors will be very patient and positive towards their writings; we need not forget that many of the more established writers themselves started very modestly.

We just hope our first issue proves to be enjoyable indeed and plays on a couple of strings in your heart. We hope that you’ll leave as satisfied and marvelled as we are by the poems and stories you’ll find here. A big thank goes to all our contributors.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this present issue, please feel free to contact us at: goldenapplezine@yahoo.com.


Note that our next issue will be purely on Christmas. We will start accepting submissions as from November 1 to December 5, 2010. Find our guidelines at Golden Apple Ezine Guidelines. The issue is open to everyone and already sounds more exciting! Do try to weave some magic and submit to us.

Warmest regards and happy reading,
Golden Apple Ezine Team


Back to School Trilogy by Phillip Maguire

The Garden of Eden by Sarina Hao

Living with Einstein by Peycho Kanev

Wedding Time by Jags

Fireflies in a Jar by Wanda Morrow-Clevenger

Guardian’s Lament by Katherine Deatherage

Winning the Mauritian Elections by Amit Parmessur

Memories by Lakesha Wickner

The Dog of Poetry by Peycho Kanev

Unanswered Questions by Anastasia Stewart

Her Grief by Terry Collett

Just a Breath by Adina Harris

Nature Glue by Richard L. Williams

Turn Me ON with Your Words by Liza Vassallo

Rivermarsh United by Swan Morrison

Shades of Red by Emily Kerr

Who is God? by Sasha Marino

Allen Weitzer finished cleaning his coffee cup and hung it on the hook beside the pot in the faculty lounge. Allen had been a science teacher at Montrose High for all of his twelve teaching years. He had a reputation for being a “tough teacher” because he expected - required - best efforts from his students. And as a result he was also one of the best teachers at Montrose.

“So, Allen, is this a new suit?” Charley Ambrose asked, running his fingers along the lapel.

“No, Charley, it’s the same suit I’ve worn for the first day of school for the past five years. Isn’t that the same slacks and polo shirt combo you wore the last day of school last spring?”

“I heard you’re looking for a job at Arlington Academy.” Charley missed the jibe and also his mouth, dribbling an inverted exclamation point of coffee down his yellow polo shirt.

A short pause passed before Allen answered. “Tom Cahill is retiring at Arlington and I’ve applied for his position. If I’m hired it won’t happen until next school year.”

“Well, we’ll miss you if you leave.” Mary Buford swivelled her chair to face him. “Who’ll teach science then?”

Allen felt the weight of all their eyes and became uncomfortable. He looked at his watch, adjusted his tie and said “Well, folks, it’s Showtime.” Then he opened the faculty room door and stepped into the hall.

* * *

“Jennifer! Jennifer!” Michelle Haller ran to the bus stop. Her backpack almost fell from her shoulders, making her stumble and nearly fall. Breathless, she reached Jennifer Woods.

Although Michelle and Jennifer were friends they were very different. Jennifer was a middle child with two sisters; Michelle was an adopted only child. Michelle was socially awkward. Jennifer was naturally smooth and fluid in social situations. Jennifer was one of the top ten students in her class. Michelle couldn’t buy a “B” with Euros. Jennifer always said the right thing; Michelle didn’t know the difference.    

“Jennifer, where’ve you been? I haven’t seen you all summer.” Michelle pushed her tortoise-shell glasses back up her nose and blew a strand of blue hair from her face.

“I was at my sister’s college taking advanced placement courses. I got an early acceptance to Washington University Pre-med.” Jennifer smiled, her clear eyes sang with achievement.

“College! You’re accepted at college? Wow. That’s great. How’d you do that? You didn’t finish high school yet. How are you in college already?” Michelle barely breathed between words.

“I’m not in college yet. My acceptance is contingent on maintaining a B average this year. And with Mr. Weitzer for chemistry I’ll have to work extra hard. He has a reputation for being tough on giving good grades.”

Michelle prattled on as they got on the bus and took their seats.

At the next stop a sullen boy with a black backpack, whose name Jennifer couldn’t remember, got on the bus.

* * *

Ben finished packing his black backpack, zippered and shouldered it before hurrying out the door for the first day of his senior year at Montrose High.

“Bye, Mom,” he called up the stairs.

“Bye, Ben Boy. Have a great day,” his mother yelled from behind the bathroom door.

I’m not a boy anymore, Ben retorted to himself.

Alone at the bus stop Ben reviewed his high school years. He had been the proverbial “little fish in a big pond.” He was anonymous in a sea of geeks, jocks, beauties and achievers. His consistent D average brought him no fame and no scrutiny. I’m invisible, Ben mused.

The school hallway was noisy with students and teachers talking, laughing and slamming locker doors. Ben dropped his backpack and withdrew the guns: a Glock 9mm and Walther 380. As he levelled the guns and fired, Ben thought: I’m invisible.

The first bullet exploded a crimson boutonniere on the science teacher’s lapel. The second round caught Jennifer Woods in the neck as she took books from her locker. Surprised, she grabbed the gushing wound and turned to run but the next shot struck her in the upper back, knocking her to the floor. The sound of repeated shots echoed and ricocheted form the lockered walls as screams and cries rose from the scattering, crawling students.

Outside the late summer’s crickets and cicada rasped the air as morning mowers droned and crawled across the still dewed grass and a waxing sun slewed through cirrus clouds.

Phillip Maguire is an emergency medicine physician living in South Central Pennsylvania. His lovely book Thunder Under Water is available online from Amazon
(http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Under-Water-Phillip-Maguire/dp/1449961169), Barnes and Noble.com. His hobbies include gardening, cooking and bicycling.