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Photo Credit: Meredith Winn
Story Credit: Tommy Wallace
Times had been hard in the little family shop on 9th street in South Philly. No one seemed to appreciate the deep resonating tones of the tubas his brother refurbished anymore. That meant the family was cutting corners any way they could. So on an unusually hot night in September the decision had been made. Roberto, as the oldest, knew he would be the one to take the old renovated bus behind the shop, load it with all the big horns it could hold and travel from town to town, peddling his instruments. Taking I-95 all the way to Miami he had stopped here and there in big cities and small towns and was now on the way back home. He had learned some things while out on the road: eat more than you can at cheap buffets, be careful who you trust, you can take free showers at public health centers, and you should never take family for granted. Now it was almost Christmas and he had one tuba left. It would be a hard one for him to sell. He was only about 200 miles from home and in Fredericksburg, Va. Open for business for only an hour, it began to snow. He was glad and began to smile, because he took it as a sign to keep the last tuba. This horn was the one he had played growing up as a boy and as a most precious gift, it would now be handed down to his son, Roberto, Jr.
Photo Credit: Joe Montoya
Story Credit: Kelly Rogers
After many years of being a slave to the masses, Santa packs it in and moves to SoCal. After many failed attempts at trying to make friends with the local surfers he decides to pack up his pet crab and head north.
Photo credit: Francesco
Story credit: Susan Peck
Franco’s back was hurting worse than usual today. Stress, for certain, but today his back was complaining even before Franco climbed the 4 flights of stairs to the room that had been his office, his place of work for the past 4 decades. The empty box in his hand already felt weighted by the books, papers and assorted detritus he was about to fill it with. His boss, a man young enough to be Franco’s son’s son, had just told him to clear it all out – today. A grown man’s entire career, reduced to a jumble of piles of files. Jumbled like Franco’s feelings, his thoughts, and in ruins like his life. “How did I get here?” he asked himself, as he reached the bottom of the stairway that had a path worn down by 40 years of his own footfalls.
Photo credit: Igor C.
Story credit: @grandreopening
When Ellsworth drifted off mid sentence, Bill and the fellas didn’t really notice, Ellsworth had a habit of it. Sometimes he’d stop gnawing on his customary bologna and mustard sandwich part way through a bite, the crust left to bob on his lip like a limp, over-chewed stoogie. Bill knew one day a seagull would swoop down and steal the damn crust before Ell ever got back to chomping. Goddamn, Bill yearned for the day. He was half tempted to bait the sidewalk just to get those birds worked up before Ol’ Ellsworth even opened his lunch pail. Today it wasn’t a slipping of well-worn mental gears that commanded the pause, Ellsworth was grinning like a goddamn Cheshire cat, eyes twinkling like daytime fireworks. Bill followed his gaze, soon the other fellas did too. Across the street in front of Maelene’s Hairport Mrs. Cheryl Tompkins stood at the curb, head tipped back shaking out her freshly blessed curls, her back arched back as it was, her majestic chest was displayed boldly up to heaven itself. It was common knowledge in at least a three county radius that Mrs. Cheryl Tomkins hadn’t worn a bra since 1971. It was equally well understood that were she to live to 127 her otherworldly large, firm breasts would likely never need one.
Photo credit: Veronica Hassell
Story credit: Ariana Trinneer
She paused for a second thinking of all she would leave behind … Knowing that the minute she stepped out the door, everything would change ….
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