From TC 9:3 – “The Ceasefire Symphony” by Rebecca Stonehill

Some people call me a traitor; others regard me as a hero. Yet I am neither. I am simply a musician doing what I know and love best.
The first time I ever held a violin in my hands was when I was seven years old. We were visiting my grandfather in Janin. He had played folk violin all his life and when we went to his house a few times each year, we would listen to him play. On this particular occasion, all my family were napping in the afternoon heat, but I couldn’t sleep. I tiptoed out of the bedroom and that’s when I saw it: grandfather’s violin lying in its half-closed case. Carefully, I lifted the instrument out and crept outside where I sat under the shade of a tree, staring at it. I wasn’t sure what to do, but thought of my grandfather and the way he positioned it under his chin and brought his other hand round, placing the bow on the strings. I did the same, drawing the bow back and forth until I was able to produce a familiar sound.
I don’t know how long my grandfather had been standing in the doorway, but when I stopped and turned, there he was, silently watching me.
For a while, he didn’t say anything and I thought he was angry. But then he walked towards me, smiled and said ‘So, you want to learn violin, Wasi?’
Continue Reading

From TC 9:3 – “We’re Not Common” by Tara Kenway

Keeping her eyes fixed on me, my mother let the sugar drop into the cup. It sunk to the bottom with a small splash, a few bubbles gasping to the surface, and finally I understood.
That Sunday morning I had been cutting up soldiers for Violet, my daughter.
“One soldier, two soldiers, three soldiers,” we counted, my daughter giggling. “Frrrreeeee soldiers,” was accompanied by a little saliva shower for her piece of military bread.
The phone rang and I left Violet in her high chair to smear butter on her hand.
Continue Reading

From TC 9:3 – “The Painful Art of Wrestling” by Simon Barker

John sat in a pew in the Catholic church with his brother and sister and watched his mother get married for the second time. The service was conducted by Father Patrick who carried the stub of a hand-rolled cigarette wedged behind his ear. John’s uncle, Sid, was giving away the bride. Sid was a detective sergeant and he was wearing one of the shiny suits he normally wore to work. Sheila, the bride, was dressed in white. Sid had insisted she wear white because her first wedding had been in the registry office and she’d worn a brown suit. Sid hadn’t forgiven her. This time would be different. As the service progressed John noticed his mother inching further and further away from Roger, the man she was being married to. Roger was wearing his police uniform.
John sat very still. Next to him his little brother, Greggie, giggled and during one of the hymns undid the buttons of his fly. Normally John would have punched him. But before he had a chance the baby started screaming and his sister, Chrissie, had to push past him to carry it outside where its scream wouldn’t compete with Father Patrick’s emphysemic voice.
Continue Reading

From TC 9:3 – “Foolish Creatures” by Frank O’Connor

When the war was over and all the shelling stopped, Dan Barley set up a balloon animal zoo in a broken chemical factory. He displayed them on carefully labeled shelves: a fine translucent African elephant in blue, a red and green giraffe, infinite sausage dogs. He kept them tethered with string and fed them regular doses of helium from a baby bottle. Pins, knives and all other sharp objects were banned.
Continue Reading