IN THIS ISSUE:



Rachel Adams >>

Roshelle Amundson >>

Kenny Bellew >>

Cat Campbell >>

Alicia Catt >>

Raymond Cott-Meissel >>

Ben Findlay >>

Gail Gates >>

Brent Giesen >>

Kristine Hayes >>

Blaine Huberty >>

Peter Laine >>

Amy Mattila >>

Suzanne Nielsen >>

Dawn Nissen >>

Norah O'Shaughnessy >>

Rebekah Pahr >>

Sally Reynolds >>

Donna Ronning >>

Kah Shepard >>

Kelly Taylor >>

Jonah Volheim >>

William Wells >>

Jake Wendlandt >>

S. A. Victory >>

Kate Young >>

Alice Lundy Blum >>

Natallia Meleshkevich >>

Alice Lundy Blum



The Safe Zone

Just me and my big sister, a double bed and a hotel room to ourselves. Tonight we were the same kid sisters that had shared a room and a double bed when mom and dad divorced. Now, at ages 25 and 30, we found childish comfort in Coors Light behind closed doors. We gabbed and giggled and gossiped. The TV, like everything else, played in the background. The bed was the safe zone of hide-n-seek my sister had snuck me into while neighbor kids searched. Running to the bathroom was crossing the street alone to play in the juniper bushes in the park with my brother and sister. Returning to the bed was an invitation to ride in my sister’s boyfriend’s jeep with the two of them in front. My sister’s words were the flavor of 31 Flavor’s pink bubble gum ice cream. Looking into her blue eyes was looking at the Alaskan malamute puppy I brought home while my father was out of town. Tomorrow would be worse than my father saying, “No, get rid of it.”
      But tonight we detoured to funny stories about our brother, Bill. As if Jayne had never fought him with chairs and I had never thrown a ketchup bottle at him. We laughed about the time he broke both his skis; the Subaru Brat pickup he bought for $500; and his “hat check method” of putting on hats and shaking his head every which way to make sure they didn’t fall off.
      When it hit us that he wouldn’t do that—any of that—any more, words and thoughts froze. Tomorrow Jayne would speak as an advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and tell my brother’s story to strangers. My brother’s car accident last night had us holding his cold hands for the last time today.

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For over 20 years, Alice Lundy Blum has masqueraded as a successful salesperson, selling everything from encyclopedias to diamonds, while pursuing her passion for writing behind closed doors. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing and is working on her M.S. in Technical Communication, both at Metro State. She grew up in the mountains of northern New Mexico and now resides in Apple Valley, Minn. with her husband, Tom, and two black labs, Cassie and Phoenix.