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By Denise Mills

That time my mother was dying from breast cancer and had booked in for a mastectomy, my father told her, “I’ll still love you with only one boob," while smiling to himself over what a great catch he was as a husband (his head tilted to the side and there was a look on his face that reminded me of a good puppy, waiting for a pat), that was the first time I saw a flicker of rage in my mother’s pale blue eyes (instead of the sadness), but her mouth replied: “I know you will”.

Denise Mills is a reader, writer and reformed accountant living in Central West NSW, Australia.

Image by Nick Botka, an artist living in Oregon; find his visuals here and his music here.

By Justin Mundhenk

It was the mail carrier churning gravel that stirred us, and we spilled into August scaring up grasshoppers and pulling pincers off crawdads with ears bent open in case Mom yelled, but when she did, it was only “Supper” in that voice like a ragged wash cloth, us holding out hope through the whippoorwills and crickets until she clicked our light off and became a sound at the other end of the house that would also disappear—another day was coming, same as the last.

Justin Mundhenk lives in Ohio.

By Fred Blanc

Paddleton (Film, 2019) - Mark Duplass loves Raymond and Raymond loves him back and also helps kill Duplass’ character in an act of Romano-assisted suicide...6.76 out of 10.

Dogwalker (Marijuana Strain) - This sativa dominant hybrid is indeed appropriate for walking the dog, although you’ll probably want to wait to partake until the dog walk is over—unless you are up for visualizing coronavirus germs and ducking and dodging them in a paranoid (but pleasant) haze...7.81 out of 10.

Walking a Dog During a Pandemic (Life Event, 2020) - Something akin to a waking nightmare if you are even just a touch germaphobic—if you’re considering getting a dog during lockdown, this reviewer might advise waiting for robot dog technological advancements or maybe just get a house plant and stare at it so long that you’ve convinced yourself that the plant loves you back in a Paddleton-esque sense of meaningful but non-romantic love...0.19 out of 10.

The Afterlife (After-Life Event, TBD) - IDK, ask Duplass (this isn’t a spoiler—the movie Paddleton is about Mark Duplass’ character finding out he has terminal cancer and deciding to end his own life once the cancer becomes unbearable, via prescription suicide pills and the help of his neighbor/best friend/non-sexual life partner, played by Ray Romano, and it’s actually pretty good, even though it’s a movie nobody really asked for and I just read a review on Vulture that was shitting on Ray Romano the whole time and look—I’m not necessarily endorsing R.R. as an actor or as a person or anything but just because you hate his guts doesn’t mean he can’t actually be decent in one’s fine, pretty good even at times, and especially resonant if you’ve had to experience the loss of a close friend)...Score TBD.

Fred Blanc is a multimedia artist living on the Oregon Coast.

Portrait of Ray Romano by Fred Blanc.

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