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Future Blues: Brain Death for Stress Relief

A holographic video urges me inside, saying, “This procedure will relieve you of unnecessary suffering due to your mind.” As I walk inside, a man runs out with his head opened up, screaming at the top of his lungs. Robots catch up with the man and inject him in the shoulder.

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Surprised by Love on the Streets of Purgatory

He didn’t have a lot of sympathy to go around, but the dog’s pathetic state moved him, and he shared his half-eaten sandwich. When the dog had finished eating, she sat next to him and shyly licked his hand. At the crossroads of despair, a homeless man unexpectedly found love.

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Chemical Mind Control in the Society of the Future

“This is supposed to be a hospital, not Gitmo,” said the nurse. “You’re using extreme methods, and it’s clear you’re trying to destroy him. You’re a thug. Let him go home or I’ll report you.” The psychiatrist said, “I’ll let what’s left of him go home. And, by the way, you’re fired.”

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The Dark Alley

The police were talking to the woman who’d helped me. In the ambulance, an E.M.T began wiping dried blood off my face. I overheard the police say, “I’m arresting you for vagrancy.” I looked out the back of the ambulance and saw that my benefactor was being handcuffed.

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Defying the Men in White

When I was 12, my father, bless him, had said, “The men in white are feared. If you say something you’re not supposed to say, the men in white will come and take you away. You will never be heard from again. God knows what happens to you after they take you away.”

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The Guest and The Judge

The guards believed he was either guilty of something very big, or mentally compromised in some way. They transferred John to the locked psychiatric facility at Highland Hospital and put two undercover men in his hospital room who posed as fellow psych patients in legal jeopardy.

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Short Fiction: The Greek Couple; Turn and Burn

The Greek Couple— Fiction by George Wynn
When Tito came back home to Boston, where his father and mother were dead, he’d always screw up. Nostalgia for his parents drove him to the bottle. He was persona non grata with his two married sisters on the South Shore.

/—/Turn and Burn— Fiction by Joan Clair

“You need to think of it as a business,” one of the property managers said. “It’s not about his humanity or yours, even though, of course, none of us likes to put anyone out on the street.”

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Short Fiction and Poetry – October 2010

“Sacred Heart” Art by Jos Sances, ceramic tile

  REFLECTION by Joan Clair A friend tells me she no longer has much or as much sympathy and compassion for the poor as she once had. For herself? In her 70s, her income hovers under $1,000 monthly with more than half of that going for rent. In another year or so her income may […]

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Mandatory Euthanasia

A uniformed man behind thick glass projected impatience. I immediately spotted a number of disintegrator guns built into the walls. I then realized I stood atop a steel grating that would allow for easy, vacuum-powered disposal of my gaseous and liquid remains, should it go that way.

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Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”