by Zvi Rotman
Charlotte was the most beautiful granddaughter you could imagine.She was inquisitive, charming, helpful and self-contained. She could find the most unique ways to occupy her time and her grandparents marvelled at her ability to do this. They would observe her antics from behind drawn blinds, unseen by the six-year-old Charlotte.
One of her favorite past-times was to skip downstairs into her grandfather's Study, open the door to a flourishing garden and wander over to the fish pond resting lazily beneath a pomella tree. She would sit on the edge of the stone pond, take off her small sandals and dip her feet in the water swirled about by a filter which kept it constantly clean and crystal clear. Some thirty colorful Koi swam around the pond nestled among fern bushes and fruit trees. Charlotte was entranced by the variety of sizes and colors of the fish . She waited patiently
for, at least, one of them to approach and even touch her feet.
One little gold-colored Koi came along and surveyed her feet from a safe distance. It was clear to the experienced inhabitant of the pond that they were not insects caught in the swirling ripples or a fallen leaf from the pomella tree. The little Koi was especially intrigued by Charlotte's little pinky since its size was something they had in common. The tiny fish conveyed the mystery to the others and in the course of the weeks that followed, they all converged around Charlotte's dangling feet and especially her little pinky. Each morning, they would all gather at
the same spot in the picturesque pond and wait for Charlotte's arrival.
Charlotte's grandparents stood at the window overlooking the pond and marvelled at her patient magic. Even the untamed Koi did her bidding, such was her unspoken charm.
PUDDING ON THE SIDEWALK
by Zvi Rotman
There it was again. Pudding on the sidewalk, thought a young lady hurrying on her way to work. One person after another paused to examine, at a distance, the delicious looking pudding in the center of the sidewalk. This intriguing sight became commonplace, for there it was each morning and yet, there was no explanation for it.
If it had been placed on a restaurant table any one of them would have gobbled it down. That’s how tempting it appeared. But centered in the midst of a city sidewalk? Strange.
Janice couldn’t take it anymore. Her curiosity dominated her thoughts and even interfered with her work. She just had to know who was placing the pudding there and for whom. So, one morning she set out early. She took up a position in an adjacent alley and waited. Finally, a little old lady stepped out of a building entrance-way, looking in both directions.
Seeing that no one was in sight due to the early hour, she stepped out to the middle of the sidewalk and gently placed the pudding there. Though it was covered by a thin veil of plastic to protect it from the wind and dirt, it was there in all its glory for all to see. The little old lady soon disappeared into the aging tenement building as Janice waited impatiently for the next stage of the mystery.
As she waited she observed how countless men and women hurried by, took notice of the pudding but stepped over it or stepped to the side. No one kicked at it or stepped on it and Janice felt that this alone said something about the humanity of people.
The sidewalks cleared. Ten minutes passed and a young shabbily-dressed girl came by, looked around cautiously and then, picked up the pudding in her trembling little hands. She put it under her coat, protecting it from the elements as you would for an item of great value. The homeless urchin hurried off to her make-shift home in some forsaken alley.
The next morning, Janice walked briskly to work but behind her was not only the pudding but a covered cup of hot chocolate as its companion.
by Rosalyn Gingell
For eleven months she'd been safe in my arms
or confined within the bars of her cot,
electrodes attached to her chest.
A new life, prisoner to the machine that assured it.
Six times she stopped breathing, turned blue.
Six times the machine screeched - a soul-piercing scream.
Six times I viciously shook her until a faint pulse fluttered.
Then the siren screamed a seventh time.
I stormed into the nursery, found a naked child,
nappy discarded, wires adrift.
Her face, smeared with excrement, beamed.
It was both the sweetest and the foulest kiss
a mother ever knew.
by KR Mullin
“No, Adam, you cannot give me another name. I’m Eve, and that’s it.
Now, I know this naming thing has been a lot of fun for you, but,
frankly, I think you’ve gone over the edge.”
“Come on, Eve. It’s a great name. You’ll like it. Trust me.”
“Trust you? Not likely. I mean, just look what you’ve done to the poor
“What? I reversed the word god, and there it is: a simple and elegant
name for a trustworthy companion.”
“Yes, it is, and that would have been fine if you’d just stopped there.
But no. You had to name all the different types—collies and poodles and
spitzes. Spitzes, Adam! What kind of a name is spitzes?”
“Well, I had something in my throat, and I … “
“Stop! Stop! I don’t want to hear it. But you didn’t even stop with the
types, did you? No, you had to give a special name to groups of dogs,
didn’t you? A pack of dogs … as if they were a pack of … a pack of
“That’s a deck of playing cards, Eve.”
“See! See! That’s what I mean. You’ve carried it to extremes, crossed
the line, gone overboard. But even that didn’t stop you, did it? Uh-uh,
you had to give a special name to female dogs. Heaven only knows what
you’ve got in mind for me. But I don’t want to hear it, Adam, because
you’re off the map; you’ve wandered into Lalaland.”
“Woman. That’s my special name for you.”
“Womb-man? No way, Adam. I’m serious. You want to name something, you
go somewhere else. Period. End of story.”
“I’m sorry, Eve, but it’s too late. I’ve already registered it. I … I
thought you’d like it. I really did.”
“Well, I don’t. Oh, Adam. Don’t you see how a name like that just
magnifies our differences, separates us, pushes us farther apart?
That’s the wrong direction. I’m just like you. We’re equals.”
“Sorry, Eve. I really am. But we are different. I’m man, and you’re
woman, and that’s the way it’ll always be.”
KR Mullin wrote his first short story in 1950, his first poem in 1958,
and his first bad check in 1972. He lives in South Jersey and works
full time in a hospital. If he could have chosen his parents, he would
have been the son of Geoffrey Chaucer and Emily Dickinson. “Naming Eve”
is one of his Not-Quite-Your-Same-Old-Eden stories. Contact KR.