As a child, July often meant a road trip with the family. We’d pile into the station wagon—a solid blue, Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser which I later totaled in a collision with a wood-paneled Dodge Caravan carting a bleeding child to the ER. Everyone was fine. The child had dropped a knife on his foot. His sister and father pulled up a few minutes later to take him the rest of the way to the hospital, and she asked, “Same foot you stuck in the lawn mower?” He shook his head and then the police arrived.
But before the accident, during the summers, we would pack a few bags and hit the road, and we’d always have with us an indispensable part of every road trip: Archie Comics Double Digests. I think my brother still has a stack of them somewhere. These were no single digest editions. They were jammed with double the pages! Double! One of these would last you from rest stop to rest stop.
So, given the high number of enjoyable stories that landed in my inbox this last month, I thought I’d put out the first Bull & Cross Double Digest. Rather than three excellent stories, I’m very pleased to bring you six excellent stories this month!
First up, Robert L. Penick’s “Two Dollars to Show.” It’s short and bittersweet and I couldn’t let it go. It deserves a reread.
Then there’s “By Truth Told,” by Michael Anthony. The narrative voice grabbed me and I was happy to let it guide me through the tale. If you get a chance, check out his other Glendora stories, which can be found several places online.
Then, I’m happy to say I have another story from Mitchell Krockmalnick Grabois. His “3 Brief Flashes” was one of Bull & Cross’ first pieces, and the new story, “Adapted from Rabbi Nachman’s ‘The Rabbi and His Son'” is another example of his fine work within a very small space.
Next, Richard Wayne Horton’s “The Dying Composer” is a quiet, tragic, and finally hilarious satire. At least, I read it as such.
Also hilarious, “Reckless Biking” by Thaddeus Rutkowski had me laughing out loud by the end of the second section. There’s a clear sense here of what it means to count oneself among the most unfairly despised users of the public thoroughfare.
And finally, “Now You Know How It Is,” by Chuck Taylor. This piece is also quiet, short, and bittersweet, and it will also stick with you for some time.
So there it is. My attempt to create a summer double digest for your reading pleasure. If you find yourself wandering this month by plane, train, or automobile, I hope these stories keep you good company on the trip.
Daniel R. Julian