Twins by Pamela painter

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Our house is hopping when I get in from Little League.  The Hennesseys, Cardulos, people up and down the street are sitting on the porch with no drinks and the dog is going apeshit in the basement.  Dad says the Vinales were in an accident.  Mrs. Vinales is still under observation, but doing well considering.  Mr. Vinale’s leg has already been operated on. Vinny, the twin with the missing front tooth is being “prepared”—Mrs. Hennessey’s word—at Dpassky’s Funeral home across town.  Dad’s hand rests heavy on my shoulder when he tells me Bobby, the other twin, is in my bedroom.  We’re waiting for his uncle from Toledo to take him home.  He says Bobby asked to play my drums.  I picture busted snares, splintered drumsticks and double time the stairs.

My door is closed and Mom is singing Bobby “The Little Brown Fox” even though our whole family knows his favorite word is screw.  Saturday nights I babysit the twins.  To find out which is which, I tickle them.  Vinny has the missing front tooth; Bobby’s grin is all white and sharp.  I dig my fingers into their ribs till they howl.

Bobby is poking my drumsticks into his snotty nose.  I sit at the bottom of the bed where his feet can’t reach me.  Mom gives me the eye—like I‘ll know what to say.  When she leaves, I tap Bobby’s shoes as if I’m playing the drums.  We both start to sniffle.  I tell him it’s okay.  I promise him no tickling ever again.  I tell him he won’t even have to smile.

 

Work Cited

The article is adapted from Sudden Flash Youth. 65 short-short stories edited by Christine Derkins Hazuka

 

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Should Voters Pass a Test Before Voting?

Should citizens be required to take a test before they become a voter?

Ockham's Beard

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” So (allegedly) said Winston Churchill. And who’s to disagree?

Exhibit A: the comments to my recent column on the ABC’s Drum, which bemoans that “we have stopped discriminating between argument and sophistry.” Seems few in the comments – even those who appear to agree – attempted to do just that in the spirit of elevating the debate. Instead, it wallowed in the usual name calling and obtuse table thumping. Irony died a little that day.

But what I want to do now is go beyond the call to arms for reasonable people and wonder what to do about the unreasonable ones, given the votes of both are weighted the same.

Often raised in this context is the debate between compulsory versus voluntary voting, such that the disengaged or apathetic are less likely to vote than…

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10 of the Greatest Essays on Writing Ever Written

Ten of the greatest essays

Flavorwire

If there’s one topic that writers can be counted on to tackle at least once in their working lives, it’s writing itself. A good thing too, especially for all those aspiring writers out there looking for a little bit of guidance. For some winter inspiration and honing of your craft, here you’ll find ten great essays on writing, from the classic to the contemporary, from the specific to the all-encompassing. Note: there are many, many, many great essays on writing. Bias has been extended here to personal favorites and those available to read online. Also of note but not included: full books on the subject like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Ron Carlson’s Ron Carlson Writes a Story, or, in a somewhat different sense, David Shields’ Reality Hunger, for those looking for a longer commitment. Read on, and add your own…

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