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We at Living Springs Publishers are pleased to share stories from the winners of our “Stories Through the Ages Baby Boomers Plus 2022” short story contest. For the second year in a row the contest has been chosen as one of the best writing contests by Reedsy. As in previous years we received submissions from successful, award-winning authors from all parts of the United States and around the world. Many of the authors are established with a lifetime of literary achievements, while others have just begun writing in their retirement.
Living Spring Publishers hope that we can find commonality and peace in the world. An Irish proverb states, “It is in the shelter of each other that people live.” We shouldn’t have to wait for a war or crisis for us to find our similarities. The stories in this book show that we are all much more alike than different. Our authors transport moments in time from their own unique experiences into stories that capture the reader’s interest, curiosity and awareness.
Excerpt (Between Heaven and Earth by Joanne Guidoccio)
Head angel Mark’s gaze lingered on the bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey. Tempted to have a second drink, he decided he couldn’t risk it. Not today. Not ever. Tearing his gaze away from the Scotch, he headed toward the East Wing. As he neared his destination, he struggled to recall the details of his last conversation with the Frugalista angel, but nothing came to mind. Definitely a good sign. If he couldn’t remember, then no inappropriate comment had been made.
He found Frugalista reading in her usual corner. “Greetings. It has been a while since we last spoke.”
“Um…hmm,” Frugalista paused for a fraction of a second, “Seventy-one years, three months, and seven days.”
Mark started to question her numbers but quickly changed his mind. How could he argue with such precision? “These are difficult times. The first- and second-tier angels are burning out and refusing to take on new assignments. HE is not pleased.”
Frugalista tsked, “If those humans don’t change their ways, it will get worse.”
“I’ve had to send in third-tier angels, and the results have been disastrous. They can’t handle this economic tsunami.” Images of the lingering after-effects of the 2008 recession flooded his consciousness. Layoffs. Home foreclosures. Longer lines at food banks. “I need your help.”
“I retired at the end of the Depression and made it clear I could no longer help in the trenches. I spent one decade training two tiers of angels, and they trained a third tier. Even if a few are burning out, millions of third-tier angels are still willing to help.”
“They may be willing, but that third tier cannot help. There have been several aborted attempts, and I had to send in first and second tier angels to do damage control.”
“You want me to retrain the third tier?”
“No, I want you to inspire and motivate the first and second tiers. We have enough of them to do the job, but they are burning out.”
Frugalista gasped. “You want me to retrain both tiers?”
“No, I want you to get back in the field and work your miracles.”
Her book fell to the floor, “This…this is beyond me, Mark.”
“It’s been over seventy years since you walked the Earth. Many angels don’t know or have forgotten what you are capable of.” He raised his voice. “You read, meditate, and isolate yourself from the others. When was the last time you left your comfort zone?”