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With This Ring: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Wheelie: Fiction by KM Rockwood
Contents Undisclosed: Fiction by Rebecca Holtzman
Here's Looking at You: Fiction by Victoria Weisfeld
Girl of My Dreams: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Jet Fuel: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Princess of the Silent Kingdom: Fiction by Fred Zackel
Relationship Status: Fiction by Greta T. Bates
A Dish Best Served Cold: Fiction by Shari Held
The Face in the Tree: Fiction by Joan Leotta
Shower Scene: Fiction by Ben Newell
The Dreary Detective: Fiction by E.E. Williams
Deadly Meating: Flash Fiction by Jacob Graysol
Full, From the Grave: Flash Fiction by Craig Kirchner
Leave Me Alone: Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Free Key Day: Flash Fiction by William Kitcher
The Night the Monster Came: Flash Fiction by Tim Tobin
Some Things That I Learned in the Army: Poem by Richelle Slota
Double Negatives: Poem by RC Potter
Bird of Night: Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Last Night: poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Poem for an Ex: Poem by John Grey
His Gallery: Poem by John Grey
Beachwood Canyon: Poem by Damon Hubbs
Stick Horses: Poem by Damon Hubbs
she blew me a kiss: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
so much in common: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
After I Turned 40: Poem by Richard LeDue
The Alarm Clock: Poem by Richard LeDue
Sentimental Love Poems Shown to No One: Poem by Richard LeDue
The Children: Poem by Dawn L. C. Miller
The Deadly Shoes: Poem by Dawn L. C. Miller
The Sands of Inanna: Poem by Dawn L. C. Miller
Angelic: Poem by John Short
Robophobe: Poem by John Short
Worry Beads: Poem by John Short
not even Baudelaire: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Dream Doctor: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Neon Poem: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Another Chapter in Life:Poem by Amirah Al Wassif
The Same Old Story: Poem by Amirah Al Wassif
to bury a curious girl: Poem by Amirah Al Wassif
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Rebecca Holtzman: Contents Undisclosed

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Art by Bernice Holtzman © 2024

Contents Undisclosed

 

by Rebecca Holtzman

 

 

 

Harriet wasn’t sure she heard the door chimes above the hum of the vacuum. She shut off the machine and looked through the peephole.

“Oh, no, not again,” she thought as she made the familiar gaudy print of the shapeless cotton housedress. Reluctantly she opened the door.

“Hi, Paula. Come on in. Excuse the mess. What are you collecting for this time, muscular dystrophy?”

“Uh-uh, that was last week, remember? Today it’s mental health. What’ll I put you down for?”

Pudgy, smoke-stained fingers held a pen in readiness. Harriet reached for her purse and extracted some coins.

“That’s all I have right now. Gosh, I don’t know how you find the time for all this. Doesn’t it bother Bill that you’re the only one in the building they ever stick for collection?”

“Oh, he doesn’t mind. Anything I want to do is okay with him. Besides, I volunteer for it. It breaks the monotony.”

 

                                                          ***

 

Anne answered the phone on the fourth ring.

“Hello…Oh, Paula. Hi…Gee, no, I can’t. I’m expecting company tonight…Tomorrow? Well, actually I’m kind of tied up all week. Look, maybe you’d better get someone else to go with you. Tell you what. If it turns out I can make it next week, I’ll let you know. But if you can get anybody else, my feelings won’t be hurt. Thanks for asking me. Bye.”

Good heavens, doesn’t she ever stay at home? And doesn’t she think I have anything better to do than run all over town with her?

 

                                                          ***

 

The weatherman had goofed again. What had been forecast as “light sprinkles” had arrived as a downpour of flooding proportions. You had to be crazy to go out in that mess. Either that or have a kid who was stuck in school without a raincoat or galoshes.

“I hope he appreciates what I’m going through to get him home dry,” mumbled Julia, as she treaded her way across the street.

S-C-R-E-E-C-H!
A car skidded and stopped just short of her and another woman who was further impeded by several bulky packages she was carrying.

“Oh, Paula! I didn’t recognize you. You going to school, too?”

“No, both my kids are home with colds. I’m going to visit my cousin.”
“In this weather? Does she live in the neighborhood?”

“Not really. Two bus rides away.”

“For Pete’s sake, why don’t you call her up and cancel it? She’ll understand.”
“She doesn’t even know I’m coming. I roasted this turkey and did up a batch of cookies.”

“She sick or something?”

“No. I just thought I’d surprise her.”

 

                                                          ***

 

As the day camp bus pulled away with Laurie waving energetically, Edna sighed blissfully.

“Best babysitter I ever had, that day camp. Now for a few hours of lovely relaxation.”

“Say, that’s a good idea. Joy’s in nursery school, so I’ve got a few hours to spare, too. Want to go to a movie?”

“Uh, thanks, Paula, but I’ve seen everything around here.”

Really have to watch my words around her, Edna thought. She means well, I guess, but I just can’t relax around her. Don’t know what it is.

“What about going downtown shopping? Hacker’s is having a sale. That’s where I get these housedresses.”

“Two days before Joe’s payday? You kidding?”

“What about two days from now?”

“Look, Paula, I can’t promise. Let’s play it by ear, okay?”

 

                                                          ***

 

Sara frowned as she pushed her loaded shopping cart out of the supermarket. Thirty-five dollars, and for what? A few years ago I could have bought out the whole store for that.

At the sound of the siren she stopped short. A fire? An ambulance? Instinctively, she followed the crowd.

“My God, that’s our building!”

As she came nearer to home, she heard excited whispers.

“Jumped from that window”

“Saw her hit the ground.”

“Why would anybody do that?”

“Who was it? Who?”

Sara pushed her way through the crowd. The police had mercifully covered the body with a blanket. Onlookers stared at the mound on the sidewalk, trying to determine its identity. A gust of wind flipped up a corner of the blanket, and Sara caught sight of the gaudy print of a shapeless housedress.

Oh, no! Not Paula! It couldn’t be. She was so outgoing and friendly…

                            Local Housewife in Suicide Plunge

Mrs. Paula Stedman, 33, of 924 Leeds Avenue, jumped to her death yesterday afternoon from the window of her ninth-floor apartment. She is survived by her husband, William, and her two children, Joy, 5, and Philip, 12. Mrs. Stedman left a note, the contents of which were undisclosed.







Rebecca Holtzman was an artist and author of short fiction, essays, children’s stories, a collection of nonfiction stories about growing up with her large family, titled The Mama Stories, and pointed letters to the editor. She was a talented poet, lyricist, and parodist, the winner of the jingle-writing contest for the Broadway play Two Gentlemen of Verona in the 1970s, and in 1981 had her poem selected by the New York Statue Committee as the winning entry to become the inscription for the statue, “Cosmopolis,” by Nikos Korkantzis for “The Cosmopolis Project.” Her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and the column “A View From the Audience” in Playbill. Rebecca was a member of ASCAP and had one of her songs performed in The Songwriter’s Showcase in 1991. An elementary school secretary for 20 years, Rebecca was the writer of her school’s annual Christmas party musicals, featuring her song parodies.



Rebecca’s daughter continues to be in awe of her and is sure she left something out of her mother’s extensive bio.





Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.

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