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The Lesson

By Andrew L. Ramirez

"... I turned to the kid in the row next to me. “Are you excited?” I softly asked so as not to attract attention. “What’s your name? Do you want to be friends?” I could see the boy was distracted. Focused on the ongoing introductions two rows away he didn’t even hear me. It didn’t matter. I was relieved. I had let out enough steam. The pressure was off and manageable. I felt a sense of relief. I felt good. I could wait my turn. I turned my attention back to the introductions when, moving fast across the room, the nun swept in toward me like a hawk diving for prey. ..."


Finding Jerry

By Peggy Adams

"... JoAnn was hovering over a boulder and trying to keep her face out of the water. But soon she tired and started to cry, which really scared me ‘cause I had never seen my sister cry. As JoAnn struggled, Vida Mae went into the water pushing and holding her up. She yelled at us to get Daddy. As I turned to leave, I looked back and saw Jerry riding down the center of the river like a log on its way to the pulp wood factory. ..."


Bringing Luz

By Sylvia Castañeda

"... Every month for as long as she lived, Luz wrote letters to her sister, Antonia, who was by then living in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. In those letters she wrote of the daily events in her life as well as the agony caused by the absence of her children. In 1986, Luz’s letters became sparse; months went by without any news from her. One day, the letters ceased. ..."


Brushes Were Forbidden

By Ondrej Franek

"... I was born in Czechoslovakia in August, 1970. Society Normalization – the government’s Newspeak for Russian occupation – was in full swing by that time and life was not much fun for anybody. Everyone’s career had been planned already by the Communist party planners who lacked any sense of adventure. Almost-blind children were no exception to that rule. ..."


The Archive

By K.C. Glynn

"...I discovered a letter written by a World War II B-17 bomber pilot who captained a crew that had worked the system to get themselves assigned to the same airplane in the Eighth Air Force. They liked to wear women’s clothes while bombing Germany. Other letters were from “alpha males” who, after retiring from Fortune 500 careers, wanted to make tea and arrange flowers while dressed in Dior and bathed in Chanel No. 5. ..."


Daryoush, VJ, Simón and Al

By Susanna Fránek

"... I was working for the Spanish-language daily that catered to the immigrants of the “lost decade” of Mexican economic stagnation, and Central Americans who were fleeing civil wars. My early clients were small businessmen. There were the Iranians who had fled the new Islamic Republic that came to power in 1979. Savvy entrepreneurs that they were, they set up shop in Hispanic neighborhoods, learned Spanish, and sold electronics, appliances and other household goods. ..."


Echoes From The Past

By Fabiola Manriquez

"... Teenagers and elders alike chanted Viva La Raza and Chicano Power outside Al’s Produce and across the street at El Gallo’s Bakery, at Our Lady of Soledad Church, and at neighborhood gatherings. But years passed and things changed. East LA was 80 percent Hispanic, mostly Mexican-American then; now it is 98 percent, and many folks are from Mexico. The police and teachers are mostly Hispanic now; most of the businesses Hispanic owned. ..."


“Okay, Dad”

By Jasmine De Haro

"... He then told me in great detail how I was a witch, my sister was a witch, my mother was a witch and how he and my brothers were warlocks. So the statement “this is our day,” meant something far more than I could have imagined. My father was into the occult and often referred to himself as a Pagan. ..."


Tia

By Sarah Alvarado

"...The school held a moment of silence in Joanie’s honor. Some people claimed to be closer to Joanie than they actually were in hopes of seeking attention. Though he had little to do with her in life, Joanie’s father was contacted and it was he who decided on her final resting place and paid most of the expenses. Hundreds attended Joanie’s funeral. ..."


Un Mitote Mas

By Miguel Roura

"... Suddenly a fog rolled in and enveloped the car. My thoughts dissipated in its mist. I felt lost. I waited for Nico to return. The night noises grew, augmenting with my breath and heartbeat. Tittering to myself, I suppressed the prayer I knew could save me, but I didn’t want to sell out my recently acquired agnosticism. ..."


Red Dust And All

By Felecia Howell

"... It came up fast, a checkpoint with several soldiers. They had blocked the road with sand bags, oil barrels and a long pole. They drew guns as I approached. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as I crested the hill. One soldier raised his AK-47 and pointed at me. My hands went up, and somehow I kept my balance on the motorbike. ..."


Taxi Dancer

By Cecelia Flores

"... One of the girls saw us drinking one night in the dressing room and told on five of us. When Bob called me into his office he told me that I was fired. He then told me he would talk to the Fenton brothers on my behalf. I told him thanks but no thanks. I’d had enough. ..."


The Toolbox

By C.J. Salgado

"... He wasn’t much of a talker. But his tools were. Luckily, I was a good listener. Sometimes, it was the piercing ping-ping of his ball-peen hammer squarely hitting a brake drum that spoke. Sometimes it was the calming whirr of an engine cylinder bore being honed that put me to sleep, as I lay in my bed while my father worked into the night. ..."


The Dress

By Rita J. Ray

"... It was a portable, black machine with ‘Singer’ in gold lettering across its sides, and though it sat inside a suitcase-like carrier, it was rarely moved from the dining table. Except for the new clothes my father purchased at the beginning of every school year, our clothes came from thrift stores or the homes where my grandmother worked. So when she called me in to try on the dress she made for my school assembly, I stood stiffly, barely looking down at it. ..."


Made In The U.S.A.

By Jian Huang

"... For the first time there were white people in this part of the town who weren’t police officers or school administrators. They looked average. They were working class, just like us. I would later come to learn that these people were called `carnies,' but at the time I thought they just looked like the Americans on television. ..."


I Figure I’ll Stop Scrappin’: My Three Thanksgivings

By Matthew Loflin Davis "...I was trying to come up with some copper to turn into the scrap yard the next day for my fix. The building behind mine was falling down and hadn’t had anyone in it as long as I could remember so I climbed to the roof and down through the hole the weather over the years had provided me. ..."


By Joanne Mestaz

"...There is a temporary society that forms daily on buses all over L.A. Unspoken rules apply. Find a seat and mind your own business. When something unusual happens on the bus – and that happens everyday – you behave as if it were ordinary. If you get involved in nonsense on the bus, you are on your own. ..."


Black Palace

By Olivia Segura

For the next several days Miguel dined on steak and listened to the stories of imprisoned generals and bureaucrats who claimed they had been betrayed. Every day he saw bodies dragged from the general population ward. And every day he signed the 500 peso vouchers with no way to pay, fearing he would soon join them. At night alone in his cell he would recall his mother’s lullaby and fall asleep imagining how different his life would have been if she were still alive.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By Manuel Chaidez

"I have always been awkward. The doctor who held me as an infant said I was squinting too much so he ordered me some baby glasses; they had a black thick frame. Some people ask me if they are the ones I wear now but I’ll never tell. ..."


Two Trips Home

By Andrew Ramirez

"... Before long the entire village and platoon was surrounded. Bullets rang from every direction. More grenades. Men were cut down left and right. The Vietnamese commander looked to his American advisors and yelled for an air strike. Ramirez grabbed the microphone. ..."



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