Thirty-seven stories. That seems like plenty. I step forward, my toes hanging over the edge. I whisper an apology to my wife before I take that final jump, diving head first, squealing with joy as I rush toward the pavement.
I am at peace for the first time in my life. I have always felt I was different, alone, alien, that I didn’t belong on this Earth. I’m tired of pretending. I hope Lisa understands.
And then I realize the pavement isn’t getting closer; no, I’m headed toward the clouds.
I can’t do anything right, not even suicide.
Author’s Note: I’m 98% convinced that I have the ability to fly. But what if the only way to activate this latent power is to place myself in mortal danger?
I’m not one of those new magicians, playing pop music over my illusions, incorporating Harry Potter tales into my routine. I’m old school. If that means a few jeers as my show starts up, fine, I can take it.
Rabbits have teeth. Carrots are one of the toughest vegetables, and it’s always a gamble reaching into my black top hat.
Children shriek as my blood spurts out over the audience, spraying little Madison’s seven-year-old friends across their formerly bored, sallow faces.
Fortunately, one of my tricks is regenerating fingers. The kids stare, enthralled, dropping their smartphones on the floor.
Author’s Note: I remember the first time I saw a magician as a kid, at my local public library. He placed his fingers in a miniature guillotine. I was terrified and thrilled all at once.
It’s just spam. It must be. I’m a savvy user: yes, I’m a grandmother, I received my first computer three days ago, but I don’t believe in wealthy Nigerian princes or creams that take twenty years off my skin.
But this. How did they get my email address? How do they know both my middle names? What kind of scam targets my innermost desire?
I type into Snopes.com, “You have been selected for an all-expenses paid wizard school” and nothing comes up.
Sometimes you have to take chances.
My fingers shake as I type a reply. I pack my suitcase.
Author’s Note: You’re never too old to learn something new, whether it’s computers or magic.
Bottles of spirits rest behind the bar, half-full and dusty. Light glints off the glass and if you squint, you can see something swirling.
The bartender knows how to mix them. A splash of southern vermouth gives a grandmother’s wisdom to a new bride; a shot of whiskey grants her the courage of a grizzled gunslinger for her wedding night. The ghosts don’t mind. They live on through bodies that drink them.
But the soul stored in that particular bottle is my grandmother, and she left me out of the will. I raise my rifle and take aim. Glass shatters.
Author’s Note: I wrote this one at my favourite pub, obviously.
Cindy hates sweeping ashes. Haunted house janitor is a major demotion from theme park princess. Age ruins us all.
It was shocking the first time that boy spotted his grandpa among the fake, mirror-conjured spooks. It was touching when that woman reconnected with her fiancé, after he died in that war.
By now it’s old hat to the locals. Want to keep in touch with your loved one? Smuggle an urn onto the ride, open it after the first hill.
Cindy keeps her broom moving, pulling headphones down over her ears, and tries to ignore the screams of the damned.
Author’s Note: This was a longer story and included many Disneyworld references until I realized Disney would probably sue me.