Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 5
Beauty's Folly
by Eugie Foster
Under Janey's Garden
by Margit Elland Schmitt
by Jason Sanford
The Polka Man
by William John Watkins
Original Audrey
by Tammy Brown
From the Ender Saga
The Gold Bug
by Orson Scott Card
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
Toon Out
by David Lubar
by David Lubar
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Essays by Orson Scott Card
Who Is Snape?
by Orson Scott Card

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The Polka Man
    by William John Watkins
The Polka Man
Artwork by Kevin Wasden

Whenever I hear an accordion now, it sounds to me like angels screaming. I used to like accordion music back when the band came into my Uncle Jack's bar on Saturday nights and played polkas for the miners and their wives to dance to. But I was very young then, and that was before I met the Polka Man.

My Uncle Jack bought his bar with his "leg money." That was what he called the compensation the Red Circle Coal and Navigation Company gave him for the loss of his leg. Generally, all the Red Circle gave disabled workers was a pink slip, but his accident was so spectacular and public opinion so obviously on his side, that they had no alternative but to pay him off.

And, of course, he did manage to save the life of a minor mine official, which every miner who came into the bar berated him for, even ten years later. That the rescue was inadvertent counted for nothing with them. Instead of knocking the old fool out of harm's way scrambling out of the tunnel a half step ahead of the explosion, they held generally that he should have "stopped and thrown the bastard back in."

His failure to do so was considered the loss of a golden opportunity, since men from The Office rarely came any closer to the miners than the pay window, and the drunker they got, the more they moaned the loss of such a chance to get even. But even when they'd been laid off, and the joking had a bitter, belligerent tone, Uncle Jack never complained about it, any more than he complained about the loss of his leg.

He was remarkably good natured about the leg, considering how much it pained him in the mornings, and sometimes late at night, and always when the damp rolled up the valley. It always looked painful to me, a red, blunt, angry stump just below his knee. But he always gave me a rueful grin when I mentioned it, and said "Well, it was only half a leg really, and they paid for a whole one," as if he'd expected worse.

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