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    WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

    LADY OF MERCY by Jeffrey DeRego
    January 22, 2014  Longer stories   Tags:   

    1

    We are three days out of the Bight of Biafra headed west. The trade winds favor Lady of Mercy and push us along at an easy 12 knots cutting a sharp wake through calm seas. I spend most of my time above decks as the autumn air retains a temperate nature infinitely preferable to the suffocating heat in the crew quarters and hold. I am not the only one, the crew, all 15 of them, are loathe to descend the ladders into the hold unless so ordered, and even then they grouse. Captain Machado runs the ship well, and though this is only my second trip as a First Mate, he conveys an air of authority below his otherwise easy manner. He’s pounded some brute of a deckhand into sniveling and bleeding more than once, but his violence is never excessive or gratuitous. I’ve shipped on other vessels where men were nailed to the deck or thrown to the sharks for the slightest infraction, though this brutality is generally reserved for Dutch traders and French privateers. (more…)

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Escape Clause by Jeffrey DeRego
    June 19, 2012  Announcements   Tags:   

    Its always nice when one of our contributors releases a book, especially when that contributor is three time TOWWZ contest winner Jeffrey DeRego. His book ‘Escape Clause’ is currently available through ENC Press, and is based in Jeff’s superb Superhero universe  of  ‘Union Dues’, where having a super power is not dream, but a nightmare of bureaucracy and control. I have followed Jeffs ‘Union Dues’ stories for a number of years now, and can’t recommend this enough. (more…)

    NEEDS by Jeffrey DeRego
    April 1, 2011  Longer stories   Tags: ,   

    1

    I drag a moist towel across my forehead and squint into the big brick oven. Hickory pops and crackles in the back corner of the deep fireplace below and keeps the oven at a stable 400 degrees. I double-check the little stainless steel thermometer, something I dug out from the charred ruins of Luigi’s Pizzeria.

    The House smells yeasty, pungent and a little sour. Very slowly the aroma of crusty bread begins to claw at that sourness until it chases all but the last wisps of beery dough smell away. A sponge – that is a bucket filled with wet flour, sugar, salt, and yeast – bubbles and rises very slowly on the floor beside the table. I made this sponge with the last of our dried yeast a year and a half ago, but I’ve managed to keep it alive and flourishing, irrespective of the persistent chill, near constant rain, and perpetual threat of starvation urging me to cook the whole thing at once. (more…)

    BEES DO IT by Jeffrey DeRego
    December 2, 2009  Longer stories   Tags: ,   

    1

    I barely smell the burlap smoke anymore, but I remember that it used to burn my throat and water my eyes. I blow into the tin fume-canister until a little flame leaps up then I slap the top closed and squelch the heat. I want the smoke, not the fire. A thousand or so honeybees swarm around the two hives I’ve placed at the edge of Old Man Orchard. I should camouflage them or put them a little deeper into the woods, but the big white boxes need sunlight if I want the bees to survive the long winters, so it’s a tradeoff I guess. (more…)

    DES LYS POUR DONALD par Jeffrey DeRego
    August 20, 2009  Français   Tags: ,   

    Translation of “Lilies for Donald” by Nina Khmielnitzky, trad. a. / C. Tr.
    Traductrice agréée, anglais-français
    Certified translator, English-French

    1

    La soupe au poulet bouillonnait doucement pendant que je chargeais mon revolver .45, assise à la table de la cuisine. Le soleil se couchait maintenant plus tard, et le vent laissait présager un printemps chaud cette année. Je vérifiai les fenêtres avant de fermer les volets à l’aide de barres en fonte. (more…)

    SWEET LIKE MAPLE SUGAR by Jeffrey DeRego
    March 24, 2009  Short stories   Tags: ,   

    1

    The morning air bites with sharp, frozen teeth even though it’s almost April. My breath hangs like a light white cloud before slowly vanishing. I’ve got to move quickly before the morning sun chases away the dawn chill. My snowshoes are almost a hindrance now as much of the snow is gone, replaced by sopping mud and heaps of decaying leaves. I still wear them. I still need them to get to The Family Trees. (more…)

    THE MARIONETTE by Jeffrey DeRego
    February 11, 2008  Short stories   Tags:   

    Spring came in with a vengeance this year. The rain hasn’t let up for almost two weeks. The wind sheared two thick boughs from my Golden Delicious apple tree, rain washed out the timbers for the raised vegetable beds, mud swamped my outdoor cistern.

    The all-night roar of the thaw-swollen Pemegewesset River slapping against the underside of the cast iron bridge gnaws like the persistent scrape of fingernails on a chalkboard. (more…)

    LILIES FOR DONALD by Jeffrey DeRego
    September 19, 2007  Longer stories   Tags: ,   

    1

    My signature chicken soup bubbles happily on the wood stove as I load the .45 revolver at the kitchen table. It’s getting dark later now and the wind’s softening bite heralds a warm spring just over the horizon. I check the windows before sliding the hardened oak shutters into their cast iron slats. (more…)