Putting together an anthology of short stories is a lot like mining for gold in the old days. The image of the old grizzle prospector with his pan, pick and shovel has been replaced by the goofy looking little nerd with eyeglasses perched on the tip of his nose, but the idea is the same. Both are looking for a treasure that can only be found by following the traces of evidence they leave behind. See the old prospector as he looks for the mother lode. Working his way upstream he pans for the flecks of gold dust that tell him he's going in the right direction. Every time he comes to a tributary in the river he has to decide if the gold is being washed down from the main river or down from the tributary. And the only way to do that is to follow both paths for a while. With enough perseverance and hard work, the prospector might get lucky and find the vein of pure gold that has been washing into the creek all these centuries. Anthology editors do the same thing. Only the traces they follow aren't flecks of gold, but rather gems of literary brilliance. As an editor, I followed the stream of evidence through a number of literary workshops, searching for writers who had not yet make their mark on the world, but shined with the talent and skills necessary to show that someday they would. Another thing I was looking for in these stories was not simply "literary quality". Go to any one of the huge chain bookstores and browse their periodical racks. Hundreds of titles scream "LITERARY JOURNAL" or "LITERARY REVIEW". Open the pages and you're forced to endure page after page of finely crafted language with no comprehensible story line, no plot and only the vaguest message. Only true story tellers are welcome in this anthology. The writers featured in these pages not only know how to write. They know how to entertain you while they deliver their message. Dig in and enjoy.One man was an ex-soldier, a person who overcame his fear and through quick action saved dozens of lives. The other, also an ex-soldier, was a sick masochist who got too much pleasure out of tormenting and abusing prisoners. Isn’t it odd how the home town crowd picks their heroes?