The Cost of a Baby – By Yolande Pienaar
Micro Fiction / October 26, 2008

Jim walks down the long empty passage, the scent of antiseptics overwhelming in his nostrils. Number eight, number six. He glances down at the small card in his hand. Mrs. Robson is in room two. Three more to go. He walks past an open door and flicks his gaze inside. Four white hospital beds line the wall. A woman sits up, gasping for air while clutching a bundle to her ample chest. He forces his gaze forward. Number three. He is close now. At the next door he stops, listens. The wheels of a medicine cart screech on the tiled floor behind him. He looks at the card again. Yes, this is the right number. He extends his hand towards the door and pushes. The door swings open. Mary sits on the bed with her pink nightgown open to the waist, her blond hair a mass of curls. She pouts her lips in concentration. A tiny bundle lies on the bed in front of her. Her eyes are fixed on the movements of the small legs and arms. His entrance goes unnoticed. Jim’s chest swells. This is his boy. His beautiful, healthy, baby boy. He takes a step forward. Mary…

Love of the Game – By Mary McDonald
Flash Fiction / October 12, 2008

Whenever you smell leaves burning, your mind immediately thinks of autumn and the game. Sometimes, in the spring, when a neighbor burns off the winter’s accumulation of weeds and scrub, your heart beats a little faster as the adrenaline courses through your veins. It’s a Pavlovian response and you feel silly knowing that there are many months to go before your players will don their pads. But still, sometimes you find a pile of leaves to burn in April, just because. You know others would wrinkle their nose at the smell of sweat and musty equipment, but when you walk into the locker room, you feel like you’ve come home. A sense of purpose settles over you. The season begins and you survey a ragtag group of boys. Some cower under your scrutiny, others look impassive, but you know each and every one of them has something special inside. He must in order to willingly deal with the misery of football practice. You know that you are not just their coach. You are their mentor. Their surrogate father. Their disciplinarian–when they need it. Some need it a lot. There are times when you wonder what the hell is going through…