Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 21 -
Brutal Interlude
by Wayne Wightman
The Devil's Rematch
by Spencer Ellsworth
by Edmund R. Schubert
IGMS Audio
Breakout by Edmund R. Schubert
Read by Stuart Jaffe
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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-   -   -   -   P   r   e   v   i   e   w   -   -   -   -

Brutal Interlude
    by Wayne Wightman

1st Place - Best Story - 2011
1st Place - Best Cover Art - 2011

Brutal Interlude
Artwork by Nick Greenwood

Walter Roscoe

was a little bit taken with Noreen Brown, the woman in the tea shop across the street from his pet store, Walter's Used Pets. Both in their aimless thirties, Noreen, he'd learned, had divorced herself from a lawyer husband who had promised her lifelong poverty, and on this he had delivered. Walter had never had the marriage experience, he suspected, because of the purple birthmark on his left cheek, the size and approximate shape of a small hand. People assumed he was psychologically strange. Thus, he thrived in the company of cast-off animals. He knew this made him vulnerable.

Walter developed an every-other-day tea habit in her shop where he could say hello to Ms. Brown and, perhaps today, say something else. Now, sitting at a little table, he tried not to squirm. Perhaps he'd ask her how she was doing, a question he heard people ask each other a lot, but whose purpose eluded him, since the answer was never meaningful. Out of desperation, he asked her how she was doing.

For a moment she looked like she didn't know the answer to a hard question. Then she said with a happy-sad face, "Another day, another dolor," and placed the cup of Assam before him.

That was when he realized he was a little taken by Noreen Brown.

The next day, through his front window, a no-tea day for him, he saw her delicately bustle out of her shop, holding a tray with a teapot under a cloth thing.

Noreen came through his door backside first, to keep the tea tray clear. "I have to get right back," she said as she set it on his counter, "but I thought perhaps you could return these this evening, about when I close?"

He froze -- she actually stood in his shop, Noreen Brown, in front of him, talking. He unfroze just enough to say, "Yes, I will." Walter, for the rest of his life, remembered her faintly sly smile and wide-eyed expectation. She smelled of flour and her final words, ". . . this evening, about when I close?" -- the saddest and most hopeful words he had ever heard.

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