michael mungiello

A BOLD NEW KIND OF STORY by Michael Mungiello

Something new… Something new… I need to do something new… Something new… Something new… I need to do something new… It will be new… It will come now… Somehow… Somewhere… I know… It will start on the next page… One time I was reading important books… It was very important that I read them… They addressed concerns…of the people…of the elites…history…art…religion…politics… I was interested in those things… People I admired were interested in those things… So I read in pursuit of these people’s interest… In the hopes that one day…a book would be written…about me…by all those I admired… When

Read More »
dora grober

DEATH BED by Dóra Grőber

You’re sitting in your bed, legs pulled up to your chest, black, unkempt hair in an unusual ponytail and you don’t talk, not because he’s not home but because you have nothing to say. Just a few hours ago you were standing on your desk and painting on the wall, first with a brush and then with your hands, listening to the song Rolling by Soul Coughing, not on repeat. You didn’t feel like an artist but you didn’t feel fake. You felt like this was recovery or at least some level or element of it, something he could see

Read More »

BURL by Drew Buxton

Tori put her hand over my mouth and pointed. I never could hide my excitement. She stood off the bed real slow and tiptoed to our bedroom door but stepped on this one creaky spot in the carpet, and you could hear Joselyn scurry back to her room. She’d been eavesdropping on us since she could pick up what we were saying. Back when I was still working for the logging company, she overheard us talking about sending her to kindergarten for advanced kids. She got up from behind the kitchen cabinets and said no way. She had to be

Read More »
scott mcclanahan

INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT MCCLANAHAN

Scott McClanahan is the author of The Sarah Book, The Incantations Of Daniel Johnston, Hill William, Crapalachia, and The Collected Works of Scott McClanahan Vol. 1. He is the owner the finest small volume library in the state of West Virginia.  What’s a book that first put the hook in your heart? Or if there isn’t a single book or author that got you hooked on reading, maybe you can tell me what age you were when literature started playing the pied piper song to you. I think I’ve always fetishized books. There was a ton of children’s stories my mom

Read More »

FRIENDSHIP WOLFCHEESE by Jonathan Cardew

Slide through the doors of the convenience store. Live a little in your skin. This skin was given to you in about 1975. Friendship Wolfcheese made sure you got the kind of skin that earned you favor. Ask for cigarettes. Carefully enunciate the vowels and the consonants. Friendship Wolfcheese was very particular about sounds. Marlllllborooooo Liiiiiights. Feel the heat in your cheeks. Why the heat in your cheeks? Marllllllborooooo Liiiights. He doesn’t understand you. This boy of fifteen, with the fresh coat of paint on his face. Squints in your direction. He’s speaking, but the speaking isn’t happening in your

Read More »
hannah stevens

CALL OF THE CIRCUS by Hannah Stevens

She didn’t know they were coming but she knew when they’d arrived. It was April and the weather was too good for the time of year. She heard the noise on the breeze: the faint, twisted sound of faraway music from a tent. She was outside and sat on steps framed by wisteria. Purple flowers hung from the thin tangled limbs of the plant and the heavy, tapered bunches reminded her of grape vines. Her feet were pale and bare and the tops of them burned. Every few minutes there was a lyric caught between the music in the air.

Read More »
eilot tuerie

CUCK by Eîlot Tuerie

I have had sex in a church with a girl who lied that she was under the age of consent. I have tied someone up and left them on my bed while I had sex with someone else. I have had sex with three different people at different times on the same day. I have had sex with someone whose eyes watered as she remained perfectly still on the floor of my girlfriend’s living room. I had sex with someone who hadn’t had sex in such a long time that she bled all over the dining room rug. I have

Read More »
timothy willis sanders

ZERO PINEAPPLES by Timothy Willis Sanders

Billy asked Chris and Molly what movie they had picked and Chris held up a DVD copy of The Birds. Billy shot a look at Meg. “Hitchcock had a really fucked up obsession with Tippi Hedren. I read about it online so I decided to never watch the movie,” said Billy. “Who’s Tippi Hedren?” said Chris, sliding the DVD into the Playstation. “Exactly,” said Meg. “Well, sorry about Tippi, but I have a surprise for you both after the movie,” said Molly. Billy pictured Molly wheeling out a human-sized box with a large gold ribbon, from which Gene Wilder, dressed

Read More »
derick dupre

LITTLE CACKLES by Derick Dupre

A windy morning outside Denny’s in Carefree. Windshields and gas pumps ping with dust. Rosettes of yucca twitch and sway. Inside it sounds like a light rain passing through. A waitress saunters up to a table where three men sit. Her dirndl skirt swishes in time to the dust, and for a moment it seems like the only sound in the world. The three men are John Huston, Rich Little, and Orson Welles. She recognizes Little right away and fangirls out in front of the two older men. Oh my god I knew it, it’s him, can I have an autograph Mr. Little?

Read More »
avee chaudhuri

I WAS MARRIED BY A GERMAN EXPRESSIONIST by Avee Chaudhuri

Lake Charles, Louisiana Expressionist is probably not the right term, but Jannick Meisnner was a German male in his mid-30s. He claimed to be the German embassy’s cultural attaché at large. He was making a study of the Satsuma fruit and its impact on life in southwestern Louisiana. My wife and I met him at a bar down the street from the university where she taught. This was right before we were married. My wife holds several fine arts degrees. She liked Jannick and we had him over for pulled pork sandwiches. He ate and drank lustily. In fact, he

Read More »

TIME TO MEET YOUR GOD by Chris Dankland

Mr. Coyote stuck his long down-curved nose through a crack in his apartment door. He pushed his head outside and looked left. He sniffed the stale apartment building hallway. He looked right. Nobody there. Thirty seconds later he left his posh 30th floor apartment holding a big bag of trash slung over his shoulder. He was wearing black gloves. Mr. Coyote calmly walked down the hall, opened the building trash chute, and dumped the bag of trash down the chute. He looked left. He sniffed the stale apartment building hallway. He looked right. And that, he thought, is the end

Read More »
nathan dragon

DANIEL, MOSTLY by Nathan Dragon

He always felt like he needed things to be told to him. Bed and drinking water were always good, though. Something like that, so his TV would easily be a good distraction and some rest. People’s voices, anyways, were fine. He worried a lot. Daniel needed something that could help with that. Nothing too scandalous, though. Everything as it comes, as he could handle it or it could be handled. One at a time, please, he’d say. Why did he walk away? Cause he couldn’t handle it. Missed the point. Did it anyways instead of not doing anything. To feel

Read More »
jason teal

EVERYONE TO BLAME by Jason Teal

In the past, when bodies turned up, or there were kidnappers, officers arrived on TV, badges glinting, to arrest the suspect. Marjorie is missing at the proctologist’s office, her job as office assistant. Maybe you are a suspect still. Marjorie looked guilty. You remember that. You wish the phone receiver scalded her ear; you wish flames snaked across curled wallpaper like insects. You wish anything else happened, even if everything burned through and you had to start all over. The call comes late at night, police knocking on your door. None of this seems real. No one has seen your

Read More »

CARS THAT TREATED ME POORLY by Jennifer Greidus

These aren’t pictures of my cars. In fact, they may not even be pictures of the years of my cars. They are the color of my cars, the model, the make. The years, however, are a blur of heartbreak, manslaughter, and ice storms. Volvo 66: My mother conceived her second child in this car. (Remember, not this car but a car such as this car.) There was a big scene and a miscarriage, which led to a complicated D&C, and then we had to have a memorial for the fetus. I am an only child. Honda Accord: I drove this

Read More »
anastasia jill

THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED by Anastasia Jill

THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED, we lost our power first as lights and machines shut down like stale organs folding into their lives without blood. Mucus membranes settled in the trenches of my eyelid and produced chemical tears. “It’s okay,” we told ourselves. “I am not afraid.” After a few hours, lungs couldn’t take it, clawed their way out of our rib and sacrificed themselves to the noxious gasses. My nuke tipped fingers counted the columns remaining down our spine. We only got to three before the vapor consumed us. “It’s okay,” we said again. “I am not afraid.” Other

Read More »
kristin garth

95 IN QUEENS by KRISTIN GARTH

JONATHAN It’s five past. The bookstore owner with the crooked back eyes me as if I’m a suspicious character. Sinister I wear like a Brooks Brothers suit.  Not suspicious. Six past. If I’d been thinking, I’d have sent these things UPS. If I’d been thinking, I would have dumped her majestic, manipulative ass a year ago. If I’d been … with Lauren, there’s never been a lot of … Nine past. There’s little worse in the world than a three-piece suit and a tie in the middle of a July heat wave in Queens. And women with crooked backs. Ten

Read More »
andrew miller

6:54 by Andrew Miller

I arrive at 6:55. I climb the stairwell to the main lobby, swipe my badge to access the elevators. I wait. I have earbuds in and keep my eyes dipped so that no one acknowledges me. I enter the elevator. I exit the elevator at my floor. I begin my work day in silence. I attempt to spend as much of my workday as possible in silence. I arrive at 6:56. I climb the stairwell to the main lobby, swipe my badge to access the elevators. I wait. I have earbuds in and keep my eyes dipped. I say nothing

Read More »
benjamin niespodziany

CORPORATE CLIMATE by Benjamin Niespodziany

Corporate encourages that we ride to work on company pogo sticks. Company bicycles and unicycles are also okay, but everything else is frowned upon. “We can’t force anyone,” the CEO laughs. Sheryl hates to bounce, rides in on a skateboard every morning. Everyone used to adore Sheryl, used to throw morning glories at her in the staff parking lot. Now co-workers spit on her as they pass her new office in the broken elevator full of fax machines. I remain a loyal employee, a pogo commuter covered head to toe in Band-Aids. My bruises and scabs are the only things

Read More »

THE PASSENGER by Ted Prokash

Raymond pulled into a Love’s Travel Center somewhere in southern Indiana, shortly before dawn. Their routine for stops had been well established by now. Walter went inside to piss and buy snacks, while Raymond paid for and pumped the gas. Raymond was STRESSED. He was rather high-anxiety to begin with… and the mission he and Walter were undertaking would have anybody nervous. But Raymond had been prepared for all that. The problem was the mission had gotten off on the wrong foot logistically. He had planned to have his car – a 2004 Subaru Outback with low millage – all

Read More »
bram riddlebarger

SOY by Bram Riddlebarger

It was when he started drinking the milkshakes that the trouble began. Before two weeks had passed he had ballooned up fifty pounds and was beating the pulp out of every motherfucker that came within an inch of his mind’s eye. His power, he believed, came from his special method, patent pending, of milkshake making. It had to do with split-second timing between milk added and ice cream stirred, although quick wrist action was as necessary a factor as any. Of course, he didn’t use an electric blender. It was just pure spoon on glass like a junkie and his

Read More »

THE NAVIGATOR by Kelby Losack

Because your friends are assholes, they toss us in the trunk in the sixty-nine position. They duct-taped my ankle to the steel rod of my prosthetic leg. I don’t even know how to feel about that. You think that twin telepathy shit is real? Check, one, two. Nod your head or something if you hear me. How are we getting out of this alive? One-two, one-two. Fuck. We’re going to die, huh? Check, check, one, two. If I had any memories of being in the womb with you, I think being curled up next to you in this cramped darkness

Read More »
joseph grantham

DETECTIVE STORY by Joseph Grantham

There was this woman’s voice. It came on the radio at about 11 p.m. every night. The jazz station. KCSM 91.1. Think her name was Dee Alexander. She told her listeners to breathe in fresh air and exhale negativity. She told us to love our children and to take care of ourselves. She told us the world needed us. I’d always hear her in the car on my way home from the gym. She made things better for a little while. I didn’t have any children to love but I needed help taking care of myself. I was going to

Read More »

A FEMININE DARKNESS REBORN: REVIEW OF MOTHER! by Christina Antonovskaya

(Warning: spoilers) We were looking for the room at Champagne Centre for the appointment, and I found a pin on the ground that has “I feel it all” written on it and an image of a woman smoking printed on it. I took it and put it in the left pocket of my pea coat and will probably keep it there. This quote resonates with me and also with the themes of the script and film. Impurity, more exact, the myth of pureness is depicted through Mother’s character with physiology, vicarious causation of surroundings, and the creator of Mother himself,

Read More »
marc olmsted

SCROTUM NEAT AND TIDY by Marc Olmsted

And so began, at least for me, the first real public event of the piercing phenomena – now performance art 1989 – video cameras providing close-ups of this guy driving nails into the skin of his balls, the pain lashing through him like a visible hot flash of kundalini.  Later I learned I was seeing the piercing hero Bo Flagellant. I looked around me at the packed house, another venture of hipster Curtains who had a real touch for trendy pulse, publicizing his new coffee table dick-piercing book – Skin of the Living. At the entrance, a big b&w nude

Read More »
juliet escoria

OUTTAKE FROM JULIET THE MANIAC by Juliet Escoria

We waited all evening for Nicole’s parents to leave, a cord of excitement running taut between the two of us. When their Land Rover finally pulled out of the driveway, we waited ten extra minutes, just in case her parents forgot something and came back. Only then did we take the rolled-up scarf from Nicole’s closet, a neat package containing a lighter and two perfectly rolled joints, the result of Nicole practicing with tobacco while me and my clumsy fingers sat and watched. We took the bundle and crawled out her bedroom window onto the roof. We pressed ourselves against

Read More »

ANATOMY OF A DISTANCE by Elle Nash

A list of things you miss. A touch with the lips. The knock-you-on-your-ass touch, the kind that starts in the lower extremity of the leg below the ankle, as he moves closer to you, the kind where he waits for you to wrap your ammunition around him and then he pulls you in and you press with your lips pursed and slightly parted, like an immature form of animal or insect which undergoes some metamorphosis on this fucked earth, together with all of its countries, peoples and natural features which hide in our internal organs, a pear-shaped enlargement of the

Read More »
gary j shipley

LISTEN, MY SISTER, LISTEN by Gary J. Shipley

He watched his legs grow from the armpits of his baby sister every day for a year. Both white calves there on the door of the fridge whenever he looked, and around them the arms of his sisters that through some mistake of birth were limited to two. Their eyes and feet and ears likewise dyadic. And the things they had only one of absurdly depleted in this same way. Your sister was never more than one, the mothers kept saying. For the mother-body also seemed to be hiding someone else inside it, without any admission as to why it

Read More »
ashley hutson

ON OUR WAY TO SEE YOU by Ashley Hutson

Right now we’re stuck behind a funeral procession and it looks like we’re going to be late. Mack keeps saying, How long, how long? We’re on our way to see you. I adjust the rear-view mirror, and Mack is in the back seat, bouncing around. He never settles down when the car goes slow, refuses to be lulled like other children, does not even want to be sung to. He’s saying, How long, how long? And it is about noon right now, and it is a beautiful day and it is November. There is a hearse way up at the

Read More »
marisha gene hicks

EVERYTHING GOOD I REMEMBER ABOUT MY REAL DAD by Marisha Gene Hicks

He called his old white SUV the White Elephant. We sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in rounds. We had a secret handshake. We celebrated unbirthdays. He made us unbirthday cakes. He taught me how to make cream cheese frosting. He taught me how to ride a bike in the park. He said I looked like a doll when I was born. He bought me a mountain bike. He let my sister and I rent Mannequin and Puff the Magic Dragon every time. When I was older he let me rent Repo Man. He had a three-legged dog named Lucky

Read More »
simon graham

GAME THEORY by Simon Graham

For a time I dated a girl who was also an orphan. It was really great at first, us being orphans together. We had no responsibilities or allegiances, and we had plenty of money. Sarah and I used our money to play games. I liked games because they stopped me thinking about doing what I had done prior to dating Sarah, which was putting my body against hot surfaces. I had done this because it made me stop thinking about being an orphan and because there are very few fun games to play on your own. Sarah liked games as

Read More »

LILLY AND THE NINE-TOED WOMAN by Toom Bucksaw

Lilly brushed her teeth and saw another woman’s face in the mirror. She stared into her eyes and wished she could ask that woman where the fourth toe of her left foot had gone. Why hadn’t she taken better care of herself? Didn’t she know Lilly would need her toes someday? Lilly pulled her socks on and tried to forgive her. In the big room Ellis was still sleeping on the floor with his head on the couch. The mechanical blinds on the window were creakily opening and shafts of sunlight were pooling on his face. Lilly didn’t let him

Read More »
elytron frass

PSEUDONYM AS DOPPELGANGER by Elytron Frass

“My reluctant author types: I AM,” my reluctant author types. I am evoked: his incorporeal pseudonym. I am manifested from the zeroing incantations of outsideness—drawn into a closed occulted circle, sans apotropaic salts, of his postmodern syllabic construction. He writes my name and binds me to his will as if I am some prostrating Goetic demon, servant, or subordinate. I am an automaton—an object of possession. I’ve not yet differentiated my desires from that of my conjuror’s. My author is a magus; he demonstrates a skillful sleight of hand. He shifts and sets my letters on his page. Although not

Read More »
bob raymonda

SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES, OR THAT ONE TIME FRANNY TOOK PATRICE OUT by Bob Raymonda

Patrice walks into her kitchen, opens the cupboard, pulls out a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, and sighs. She’s wearing a matching set of duck pajamas with a thinly rolled joint clamped between the corner of her lips. She runs the tap to fill a half-washed pot and lights the joint on the stovetop before setting the water to boil. The clock on her microwave flashes twelve. The power went out last Wednesday and she just can’t bring herself to reset it. Her anxiety calms as she smokes and watches the bubbles start to collect at the bottom of

Read More »
daniel handelman

HONOR SYSTEM by Daniel Handelman

“Maybe some people have both,” she said. She was rolling up a joint. It had too much weed in it. The edges didn’t connect. “The way she writes the male,” she said. “She knows the male. But does the male know the female?” She leaned back into the couch. They’d gone to a motel. There was no Americana, no plastic flamingoes. It was a motel with none of that. It wasn’t what she pictured. “There must be a male who knows the female,” he said. “Out of seven billion people, it is possible there is a male who knows the

Read More »
jennifer greidus

TUNA SANDWICH by Jennifer Greidus

He orders tuna salad because he always orders tuna salad. Today, he also orders bacon potato soup. It’s too hot for soup. He likes to wipe his pretty mouth with the back of a hand. He sneers at the waitresses and only pays attention to the ones with fat tits. One of them, Trina, is my favorite waitress. Her tits are fat. I want to tell her to cover them up. Her skirt is tight, too, and the material that’s supposed to hide the zipper is pulled too far to do its job. He’s not an ass man, though. My

Read More »

IN CARS by William Lessard

1 The car stopped turning. Jay would drive to the deli, reverse the process once the six-pack or bag of 40s was chilling his inner thighs. The job of the person with him was to rotate their head to the middle of their back. Bumper distance within ten feet required a preemptory “Yo.” In tighter circumstances, random curses were substituted. Increasing volume emphasized proximity of the parked car/oncoming vehicle/pedestrian. Walking the five blocks was never a consideration. 2 My father’s car was parked in the yard with hedges growing from one of the wheels. On the screen in front of

Read More »
bob schofield

CREATION STORY by Bob Schofield

At first the world was just one spiral. Then that spiral grew a face. The face was hungry. It filled with water. The face was silent, but never sleeping. A single tooth grew through the bottom. The face was a word, and that word was “lake.” The lake was tended by older creatures. Giants with horns and black spiral faces. The whole earth cooled beneath their shadow. They danced over the hills on cloven feet. The lake was the twisting center of a universe.  Gears were built to keep it all in motion. Fish were constructed, to keep the water

Read More »
brian alan ellis

“NO BOOK BLURB, NO CRY” EXCERPT by Brian Alan Ellis

An Inspirational/Crazy Informative Guide to Proper Book Blurbage (An excerpt from Sad Laughter, forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms) “[This book] will fry up some prose eggs in your ol’ brain pan.” ⋆⋆⋆ “[This writer] is the kind of poet whose madness and how [he/she] exorcises that madness is a thing of dark brilliance one can admire from afar but if you ever let [him/her] crash at your house for a few days [he/she] would scare the living shit out of you.” ⋆⋆⋆ “[This writer] can fix your pipes and your roofing but [his/her] book of durable, brick-layered stories can also

Read More »

GHOST SEX by Chris Dankland

Lucille died of leukemia in Utah. Richard died in a car accident in Seoul. They were both 16 years old when they died, and now they’d be 16 years old forever, two pissed off sulking virgins condemned to populate the dreams of the living. All those faceless extras that appear in your dreams, where do you think they come from? Just whipped up out of nowhere? No you idiot, those people are ghosts. /// In 1967, a Dominican garbage man in Queens dreamed about winning the Nobel Prize. Lucille and Richard were in the audience, sitting next to each other.

Read More »
blake middleton

CHARLIE by Blake Middleton

i took some adderall the other day and for some reason i decided it was time to replace my old washing machine with a new washing machine my roommate got a lighter stuck in the part of the washer where all the lent and other bullshit builds up so we were scared that the washing machine was gonna catch fire or explode i had been putting off changing it out for weeks i didn’t know how to change out a washing machine and hadn’t really felt like learning i kinda hoped my roommate would do it eventually but whatever, i

Read More »
nathaniel duggan

IMITATION CRABMEAT by Nathaniel Duggan

Dad spends Christmas Eve on the beach killing green crabs, before he returns home to turn on all the holiday lights. The house flashes and dazzles like a landing strip. The sky, meanwhile, looks foreclosed. “You should’ve seen the fuckers,” he tells me, pinching his fingers to imitate claws. “Some of them big as your face.” He has no heat, furniture, or future, so we sit in lawn chairs in the living room, our breath glowing like neon. His expression is sour-smug: he is a man who knows his own expiration date. When he dies shortly thereafter—without complication—I bury him

Read More »
penny goring

PENNY GORING’S hatefuck the reader REVIEW by Chris Dankland

GET THE BOOK (read online + download epub and mobi versions for free) LENGTH: 7,000 words PUBLISHER: 5everdankly publications, 2016 YOU MIGHT LIKE THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE: Kathy Acker, Édouard Levé, Sarah Kane Penny Goring’s book ‘hatefuck the reader’ starts with the sound of someone talking so close to your ear that you can feel hot breath: when i was invincible i believed beauty lasts forever and i died every day. you gave me nothing. i prefer to think you hit me because you are ill. i prefer to stroke my cold pillow. i prefer to sit on a chair

Read More »
mieze zuber

TURNS OUT, IT WAS BONE by Mieze Zuber

It was early spring, nearly like now, before Columbine, and I was drinking again in that bar perpendicular to the office where they’d housed me. I was with a couple of the bankers and J., the gay man who refused to admit what he was. He knew I knew, and that I wasn’t going to judge, that I liked him as he was. So he hovered close like security, almost like a pimp, and he was lovely to drink with and say much of nothing to. I slept over at his, overlooking the river. I took men back there. He

Read More »
jonah solheim

RECUERDA, OR THE CALL OF THE COMMON NIGHTHAWK by Jonah Solheim

He stood with his shoulder in the doorway, arms crossed, and she glared back at him.  The linoleum of the kitchen cold under her bare feet.  Another disparity between them, another contention: his slippers kept him warm.  He sniffed, more to do something than out of a biological need, and turned his head away from her.  She folded her arms, too, a soft click in her head telling her she was mirroring him and not caring to fully acknowledge the thought.   Her feet cold and his warm.  The way of things. In the heat of a moment now lying

Read More »
vanessa norton

EMPATHY by Vanessa Norton

The man who lived downstairs kept a wooly pig as a pet. Sometimes, he would stab the pig with a kitchen knife until the pig fell over. He insisted that the pig enjoyed being stabbed; in fact, he would come to the door just to get it. Falling over meant the pig had surrendered to the sublime. My boyfriend had a hard time taking care of himself. He was a drooler. He forgot to rinse at the end of his shower, so his body was often covered in suds. He walked around town with his cock swinging from his fly—unintentionally—but

Read More »

NORTHERN WOODS DOLL TURNED AWAY by Katherine Osborne

I will use both our deaths. I will use both our deaths to sing this song. Trees have advanced language. Take me to your Research Team. I will give them. Evidence. I was spoken to from the confusion of your stolen cattle. Date me back to an all-knowing Omaha. Your mother has a secret stash of animals. Use them to find her. You better find. Her. There is a vault of friendships filed under Fantasy Baseball. I win by a system of placing my bet on love without rules. I didn’t hear from you so I started famous one act

Read More »
jennifer greidus

MR. ANGEL by Jennifer Greidus

She was no Ingrid. She was more of a Pat, or even a “Chuck,” but she was no Ingrid. An Ingrid would never own a truck stop on 85, and an Ingrid would never tell blue jokes to men who haven’t bathed in a couple weeks. When her daughter, my lover, took me there to eat, Ingrid always saved us a booth in the corner, away from Manuel, Jim, and Shaky, because those three stank more than anyone. While she was alive and in her thirties and forties, Ingrid had two wishes. One of them was to bowl a perfect

Read More »

LUCK OF THE PLUG by Gregg Williard

The power strip could take nine plugs. Only four were being used. The floor lamp, table lamp, TV/DVD player and CD player were all off.  She pressed the off switch on the strip. The little light went out. She pulled out the plugs.  She went to the kitchen and got a roll of tinfoil. She tore off small pieces and tucked them into the outlets, deep enough to be hidden. She wiggled the plugs back into the outlets.  She used a butter knife to wedge tinfoil behind the power switch. Maybe when he turned the strip back on it would

Read More »

“LIVEBLOG” EXCERPT by Megan Boyle

MARCH 27, 2013 1:20AM: going to change up the game. really. um. this is really going to happen. so, in grad school, my dad and his friend motivated themselves to finish their dissertations by agreeing to mail one $100 check to the nixon administration for every day late. so. here is what i must do by tomorrow 12AM, this is my ‘dissertation:’ -return attorney’s phone call about accident settlement i’m receiving -write and print cover letter at library -mail apartment application binder -mail book packages -call dad about getting keys to storage unit thursday -refill birth control -pack one box

Read More »

OLIVER by Kevin Maloney

I was sitting in a McDonald’s in Elkhart, Indiana, eating a Big Mac, crying and swallowing. The beef, or whatever gray rubber they wedge between the white bread and Thousand Island, was foul and made my stomach churn, but under my disgust was the pleasure of my unshackling. In Burlington, Vermont, the communist outpost where until 13 hours ago I’d lived in unhappy matrimony, everybody was vegetarian or vegan. Somehow, I’d gotten sucked into that nonsense; for eleven years, I’d subsisted primarily on kale, a leafy green that tastes the way doilies look. It was my wife’s doing. She wanted

Read More »

LITELIFE by Jimmy Chen

The receptionist hid the instant message regarding the logistics of an imminent gathering behind her work email, though the only thing visible to others in the waiting area was the back of her computer, which featured a ubiquitous apple with a sole bite mark in its side. Those who waited did so with the fragile purposefulness of people completely consumed by their phone, and so weren’t actually “waiting”—an anti-event generally marked by ennui and restlessness—but rather, simply tending to labyrinthine text threads and neglected emails which, therefore, imparted a sense of accomplishment they ultimately found pleasurable. Behind her, on a

Read More »
m.c. zendejas

MEANING OF NIGHT by M. C. Zendejas

Dean never came around too much to start with, but after his dog died he stopped coming altogether. Claudia had just moved out, and there wasn’t anything to do anymore. I sat in front of the TV, flipping through channel after channel until I eventually hit static. The quiet became too much and I decided to go over and surprise Dean, but he told me no, that he wasn’t in the mood to see anyone. He said it through the closed door and I had to press my ear against its worn wood to hear him clearly. As I walked

Read More »
rebekah morgan

DENTIST TRIP by Rebekah Morgan

I drink three nescafe coffees before i leave Iași for the rest of the weekend, heading north on the 10:49 CFR line. Sometimes on Saturday mornings i halfway tumble my ass all the way down to the railway station in Gară from my bloc near the top of the huge hill in Copou. The rail station is one of the oldest ones in Romania with huge ceilings and big windows and lots of bright white pigeon shit for the floor. At christmas time they put up decorations and some blue and white lights that blink so fast they make you

Read More »
michael seidlinger

PEOPLE WATCHING by Michael Seidlinger

You aren’t alone even though it still feels that way, long gaps of nothing between discussions that seem to have everything to do with the weekend, which leads you to the assumption that tonight won’t be much. You are with someone familiar, been around, floating along with the same circle since as far back as you’re willing to remember, and you are both searching the shopping mall for the others, convinced that they had told one of you to meet them at the food court. “Why, I have no fucking clue,” he says. But that’s really not ever worth considering

Read More »
troy james weaver

DOG PERSON by Troy James Weaver

For over an hour she’d been thinking about killing the baby. Was it a baby? A toddler? He sprawled between two exhausted, resigned parents four rows behind her. They had been in the air for six hours, somewhere over the Pacific, and she’d just had it already with the carts of stale food, the fake smiles, the snoring old men, and now, now more than anything, the crying of the kid, especially after having had the worst sex of her life that morning. It went on and on and on. She tried to plug her ears with her fingers, some

Read More »

OH, THE MEADOWS by DAVE K

Five pairs of hands let me go on Monday morning. Only one pair was needed. My supervisor did a lot of the talking, though the other four men in the room would chime in at intervals to finish his sentences. There was no pattern to their interruptions. Poor head for numbers. Ledgers carious with miscalculations. Antisocial personality, unfit for the camaraderie of professional life. These were their words, their nasal Ivy League voices shared like a common uniform, their faces scrubbed and shaved waxy under the lights, their ties and suspenders, their matching socks. I sat in front of them

Read More »

WHERE WE LEFT IXIAN COUNTY by Tobias Carroll

The suburbs of tiny Ixian County were unmade in the torrents and floods of 2003. After the waters had abated they left behind a highway exit, a handful of roads, and little else. Four towns’ worth of ruins and a farm, abandoned to bankruptcy years before, that had gone largely untouched. That was it. The ruined barn and the decomposing silos, now home to hundreds of bats that dined on the county’s grotesque moth population, mocked us all. The mudslides, swore the relevant parties, were finished; the mudslides would never come again. Infrastructure was being built, they promised, at this

Read More »

LONGBEARDS by Chris Dankland

Before The Smiths signed the contract for the brand new house they were set to purchase, the real estate broker said: I have to tell you that in the last few weeks a few of the construction workers have sighted some Longbeards near the woods. I’m only mentioning it because you said you have a small dog. Yes, said Mr. Smith. Thank you. We’ll be sure to keep him inside the house at night. That’s what I’d do, said the real estate broker, nodding. Just in case. I’m sure that as more and more people move into the neighborhood, the

Read More »
stephen mortland

THAT ABSENCE YOU SEE WAS FORMED BY MY FRIEND’S FATHER by Stephen Mortland

JORDAN To imagine what Jordan’s dad looked like, I pictured Jordan’s face stripped of his mother’s features. It was like clearing away layers of earth to find the remains of some unidentifiable structure. The scavenged and featureless result was the face of his invisible dad. Jordan planned on changing his last name when he got married. The disembodied and scarred face of his father heard about it and showed up in Jordan’s dream the night before the wedding. “The name was fine for twenty-something years,” he said, “and now what, it’s not?” “I learned how to wear your name,” Jordan

Read More »
zachary kennedy lopez

SALT by Zachary Kennedy-Lopez

You’ve come to cherish the fragility of snails, come to love them in a small sort of way. When you see one attempting to cross the sidewalk, you pick it up—and it shrinks from you—and you move it to the other side. When it rains, you become more careful, you walk home with the light on your phone on. When you step on a snail in the dark, the shape and timbre of that sound taps something deep within you, and you imagine paying someone to take a needle and ink and carve colored lines into you, marking your own

Read More »
jeff phillips

THE CUPS by Jeff Phillips

Orel Gammon stopped wearing his cup the second day he played in the “majors.” This wasn’t the Major League Baseball. The rec center named their little league for ages 10-12, “the majors.” For all who played in “the minors” before it, this new league was a big deal. It meant kids pitched, and the kids pitched harder than the pussyfoot dads, who were notorious for tossing slow balls to make their kids feel like all-stars when they knocked a homer over the fence. League rules in the majors required that kids wear cups over their crotch, something all the preteens

Read More »
gene morgan

XBOX VIDEO GAME REVIEWS 2018 by Gene Morgan

Fortnite Fortnite is a riot simulator for children. Characters lives are short like ours– the game is filled with moments to reflect upon hard choices, choices in the format of a fun cartoon-like murder game young boys love. Fortnite for Xbox is a perfect way to get killed over and over again and feel emotion as you grow old and work a job and come home to smoke weed from a battery, make vegan hot dogs, take kids to basketball practice, and fall asleep before making love. This game is an easy diversion in an otherwise asinine journey where you

Read More »

THE JANNICK OVERTURE by Avee Chaudhuri

Nacogdoches, Texas Jannick Meissner claimed to be from Eastern Bavaria. He spoke theatrically, e.g. “I will revenge myself upon Castro.” Castro had slighted Jannick by not inviting him to an ongoing, Sunday afternoon table-top role playing game. Jannick was livid. “I am an excellent storyteller,” he told me. We were drinking on Jannick’s front porch. I sat and he paced back and forth in a very tortured manner. “I will revenge myself upon Castro,” he repeated. “You don’t even like role playing games,” I pointed out. “This is accurate,” Jannick conceded. Jannick was a very cultured, seemingly intelligent German male

Read More »
lanny durbin

LIBERTY KID by Lanny Durbin

I saw the kid’s face when he got hit by the car. He was standing there on the sidewalk with a blank look and then the car jumped the curb. Just nailed him. The blank look stayed on his face when he flew through air, stared right at me. Like he meant to do it. A party trick. He was wearing a statue of liberty costume, which, for a short moment, made the visual a little funny. He stood out in front of the Liberty Tax building a few nights a week, one of those preying fast tax return spots

Read More »

YOU ALWAYS GET CAUGHT ON THE LAST ONE by Steve Anwyll

Ain’t it always the case. I’m bored as fuck. Life’s like that. So I fill my coat pockets with cans of beer. Drink as I cruise the streets. Stopping to look in windows that aren’t obstructed. And ain’t it always the case? You get caught on the last one. The whole night going good. Then blammo. Out of nowhere. It’s over. Some fucking do-gooder concerned citizen. Prodding into affairs that ain’t their own. Acting tough. And as soon as they start yelling. You know you’re sunk. Like tonight. I’m standing there in the darkness. Behind these shrubs. Tall ones. I

Read More »
claire hopple

THIS IS GONNA BE GOOD by Claire Hopple

“Do you know where Bernie is?” a stranger asked the man as he was headed in to change. “Not sure. I think I saw him in the parking lot a minute ago,” said the man, trying to be helpful to the stranger even though he was technically a stranger. “Who’s Bernie?” the stranger then asked. “I thought you were looking for Bernie. How can you be looking for him if you don’t know who he is?” “Why can’t I be looking for someone I don’t know?” The man had had enough. He went inside to change for his shift so

Read More »
chad redden

FROG POND by Chad Redden

After you open the door lying on the bottom of the pond it can go two ways. The door will open to deeper water that shimmers in an unusual way. The water behind the door connects to another pond, in another world. To get there, you will swim downward, through the doorway. You will force every bit of air from your lungs, to keep you from floating upward, remaining in your world. When this doesn’t help you will grab onto the door frame, pull yourself through the doorway to the other side. Or The door will open the door to

Read More »
xTx

A GOOD BARGAIN by xTx

I am 4’9, 323 pounds. I cannot leave my house. I cannot lift myself from the couch. I cannot find the remote control. I cannot rub my feet. My butler robot can only make so many fried egg sandwiches. My maids have been instructed to black out all mirrors. I cannot remember what my face looks like. The sheet I wear is beige. How will I clean myself without you? If you went to KFC and bought a bucket of chicken and drove to my house, when you used the intercom at the main gate and I heard your voice

Read More »
rebecca gransden

BABY WITH A FLAMETHROWER, CHEWING GUM ON A MOUNTAIN by Rebecca Gransden

Stay back! I will melt your mugs with fire if you move an inch, you police cordon shitmorons. Your pink stinks. Especially you. Stares at squat policewoman centre left I’ve filed my baby teeth into pointy baby fangs, and I will bite with my baby jaw if you try to stop me. The pitball in the alley showed me how to do it. I watched its eyes too, you know. Baby arcs flamethrower flame overhead making an infernal rainbow against a starry ink sky My burping today is toxic gas, regurgitated from last night, from the barrels of radioactive waste

Read More »
sam pink

INTERVIEW WITH SAM PINK by Benjamin Scott

Sam Pink is the author of a dozen books, including Person, The No Hellos Diet, Hurt Others,  and Witch Piss.  I interviewed him about his latest book The Garbage Times/White Ibis, his paintings, and his time living in Florida. BS: You lived in Chicago for a while but several years ago you moved to Florida. What sparked the move and why have you moved back to Chicago? SP: I moved to Florida for the person I was dating. I moved back when we broke up. BS: Sorry to hear about that. Does Chicago seem different? Where is the best place to

Read More »

PLANT REPLANT by Jon Berger

I smoked Bubba Kush with my cousin Will. He got it from a guy who grew hydroponics.  It was my first time smoking anything other than midgrade. Will had this evil clown hookah thing with hoses hanging out of its head. His friend Joe got so stoned the clown gave him a panic attack. On the drive home I kept checking myself because it felt like I was pissing my pants and driving felt like a videogame. I got home and went to the bathroom to find out I was totally dry. The next morning I’m driving back to my

Read More »
jim ruland

RECOMMENCE by Jim Ruland

Carol is calling from Los Angeles. She wants to know how the cat piece is going. The cat piece isn’t going is how it’s going. I write for a golf magazine. Not the magazine per se, but the blog. A golf blog. I hate everything about it. Its obsession with swing mechanics. Its upper crust entitlement. I even hate the way it sounds. Golf blog. It reminds me of the noise that escaped from my brother-in-law the time he got a piece of $6 gristle stuck in his windpipe and almost died. When the waiter delivered his filet mignon he’d

Read More »

“YEEZUS IN FURS” EXCERPT by Shane Jesse Christmass

NINE CELEBRITIES WHO ARE HONESTLY LOW-KEY WITCHES. Cult Leader is vice chairman of a shady company. He exerts political influence. He commits securities fraud. Bomb crews scurry across the alien surface. Red lumps beneath my skin. Skateboarding to the awful motel. Car door slams as I watch morning cartoons. Dirty jeans purchased from thrift store. Smoke coming from a small paper packet. Burnt tyre beneath steel chassis. An invisible tether tied to small rockets. Cult Leader performs several skateboard tricks. Cult Leader talks about nakedness. Cult Leader brushes his dark hair. Cult Leader tells me about his secret pleasures, about

Read More »

FOLK SINGERS, SKINHEADS, AND BEARS by Alistair McCartney

Folk Singers We have never enjoyed folk songs. In fact, we had a profound dislike of folk singing—all that plaintive strumming did not agree with us—that is, until the other evening, when we reluctantly attended a smoky folk club in downtown Los Angeles and the sleepy folk singer with the pair of lips tattooed on his neck sang the lines Ravage me, tattoo me, I’m a window, put your wrist in a soft bag and smash right through me as if he were singing directly to us. Ever since that evening, we have been huge fans of folk singing, folk

Read More »