A BETTER LAY - elizabeth ellen

A Better Lay

elizabeth ellen

I drive a baby blue Celica and don't do acid or smoke weed and Paul and Domino suspect me of being an undercover cop. This is what they tell Gage when I'm not around. They can't understand what I'm doing here if I'm not.

"Are you a cop?" Paul asks as I make my way to the bathroom in a t-shirt and underwear and nothing else.

"Funny," I say.

"No, seriously," he says. "You have to answer. If someone asks you if you're a cop and you are, you have to answer, you have to say yes."

"I'm not a cop," I say. "Now can I go to the bathroom?"

Two nights later I take my first hit of acid, partly because I'm curious, partly to get Paul and Domino off my back. I sit in the living room between Gage and Paul and watch The Wall and drink piss-colored Gatorade straight from the bottle. It's seven o'clock and no one else is here yet. By eleven the living room is full of spilt beer and cigarette butts and underage bodies. This apartment is a haven for runaways. I'm twenty-five. I'm the oldest one here. Gage and Paul are each eighteen, most of the girls still in high school; I end up making out with one of them in the backroom on the waterbed.

"I used to fuck Gage," she tells me, twirling her matted hair, flicking her ash into an empty beer can on the floor. "Until you came along. Now I'm with Domino. I think he's a better lay anyway."

I don't answer her. I'm not here to listen to her talk.

I push her back down onto the bed hard and the water slaps the headboard. I spread her thighs with my elbows and hike her skirt up over her hips.

Someone knocks on the door and I yell for them to go away.



Certain Facts About Squirrels, Brown, Black, or Otherwise

barry graham

It was my understanding that squirrels hibernate for the winter. But here we are - February. I have only encountered two types of squirrels - those that run when you get too close, and those that notice you approaching and begin taking advanced measures long before any plan is devised pertaining to their capture. Cars park along the street in no parking zones. If I park in a no parking zone my car would be towed away, never to be seen again. Here, cars run stop signs at intersections, run over squirrels trying to cross the road, then illegally park beside the fire hydrant in front of the Post Office. If squirrels can see a person coming from one hundred yards away, why can't they see oncoming traffic? Suppose they could, and car dodging is an unconscious mating ritual where only the bravest car dodging squirrels are chosen to reproduce. If that were the case natural selection would leave only brave squirrels who would not run when they see people coming from one hundred yards away. Blissfield is the only place I've ever seen a black squirrel. I have never seen a black squirrel run across the road into oncoming traffic. I have not seen a black squirrel since winter has arrived, just regular squirrels, only fatter. Regular squirrels, black squirrels, no flying squirrels.


Burning Through It

j.a. tyler

Crossed ankles impaled one against another he reaches into pages. Orange light blares and there is cold concrete. And there is a fire. And he holds it between two knuckles. Two fingers cupped and curved to accept and match and meet. And it burns like light or wind or thunder or rain when the burning is so much that he needs a break. So he reads slower. Word by word. And his attention is drawn to her death. When she leapt from it. When she stepped in front of it. When she stabbed downward then up again pulling through tendons and meat like butter knives through cupcake frosting. And it still burns there. Between his first and his middle. Train smoke curling upward in visions of ghosts and people. Passing. Like other shades. Like other beings. Like cars counting one two one two three blue red red blue. White. Green. Orange. And it's coming down to the filter. The lines. The circles of gold. So he chains another one from the first and he reads on. About a boy who leaves and then comes back again and is changed somewhere in between. About a kid who doesn't know anything to begin with and is now kept from knowing. Held out. Trapped beneath layers of tobacco smoke and night. Reading on a pedestal of cement. Burning through it.

Among fifty or so other publications, J. A. Tyler has work recently with or appearing soon in The Feathertale Review, Thieves Jargon, Underground Voices, & Word Riot. He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious. Check out more at www.aboutjatyler.com


Meta - Castellamare - Sorrento (via Pozzano)

jan windle

Mutton dressed as lamb, I exited the subway at Meta station. Binario 2 was deserted and hot as hell. Sweat pooled in my navel.

"Signora!" The ticket clerk was waving from Binario 1. I got the gist – something like "Over here, you fool!"

I made "Oh silly me" signs (finger to straw hat, rotating), and rushed back into the subway. "Piano, piano" slowed me down.

The ticket clerk hurried me into his office, introduced me to his colleague and interrogated me about my mission in Castellamare. Buying paints? He shared a name with Van Gogh. Conversation blossomed. When the train drew in they waved me goodbye like Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Returning through Castellamare was a Through the Looking Glass moment. With a friendly roar Vincenzo appeared in this ticket office too. Questioned closely, I accounted for my movements.

I ended up in Pozzano. Pozzano was a cold dark tunnel with only graffiti to remind me the rest of humanity existed, until a harmless looking young man in red trousers appeared. Semaphore was our common tongue.

I looked for Vincenzo when I got off at Sorrento but he'd given up on me. I hoped it wasn't the straw hat.

CIRCLE - bill barr


bill barr

'Propagation of the species' is an unusual term for me to dream about as a four year old. I'm thirty-five. Why dream that I'm four, and think thoughts that a kid shouldn't? Am I attempting to aggrandize my decelerated circumstances, or populate an acceleration? It's all just about tits.

Steve slipped into his son's room. Little Stevie was sitting up in the crib, rubbing his eyes. "ah'm 'tempin 'gran sir cuss tans, Daaad, antits," he drawled with his sleepy four year old mouth. He dropped his head back onto the pillow. His father admired for a moment how big his son was for his age. Stevie yawned into his father's face and jumped up, suddenly hungry. He vaulted over the short rail and sped past his father, out the door, down the stairs and leapt into his mother's arms. He buried his face under her chin, into the crook of her neck. She squeezed him tight.

"Pa'cakes? Saa'sages?"

"Just for you, honey. Get a plate and the syrup. I'll bring it to you." She kissed him.

Stevie followed his mother's directions. He kneeled onto a seat at the breakfast table, then grabbed silverware and rolled the knife between his fingers, eyeing his father coming through the door. He plopped his hand onto the table and played mumbly peg, tapping the knife on the table in the spaces between his fingers as fast as he could.

"That's pretty good. Stevie, where'd you learn to do that?" His father asked as he slipped into the seat beside him.

"I've known it mah whole life," Stevie smiled. He leaned over and slammed the knife down between his father's legs, skewering him to the chair. "Mother dear, no pancakes, just coffee, please."

Bill has various persona that he keeps in a box on the bureau, removing to dust occasionally. Last year, he appeared in The 50/50, he won five awards: for a column and for vacuuming and he placed fifth in a dance contest in front of over 500 people. Next year he plans to only associate with the number six.


HOLINESS - shaindel beers


shaindel beers

Lise wonders how many of the women who lie naked on her fur throws wonder how many other women have lain there. Are they thinking about anything other than themselves when she captures them, making the present eternal? Yesterday was a girl who had just found out she was pregnant and scheduled nudes immediately, paranoid that her body would never look the same. Today, it's a brunette who has a theory that cigarettes will become illegal during her lifetime and smoking photos will be a black-market fetish item. So far, she has reclined on the white bearskin, a pearl necklace and cigarette as her only props; now she is in black leather thigh boots, leaning over a chair, gazing into the distance. The smoke follows her around the room like a spirit, and Lise realizes this is what she's capturing for these women—a palpable boldness that emanates from them throughout the shoot. She's still waiting for someone to choose the tiny glass butterflies she picked up at State Street Market last weekend. Then, she will affix the ornaments to the body one by one, letting the lights shine through them like stained glass, the body as temple, literally.

Shaindel Beers' poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Poetry Miscellany, Minnesota Review, and The New Verse News. She is currently a professor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, in Eastern Oregon's high desert and also serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary, and as a Poetry Reviewer for Bookslut. Recent work can be found online at damselflypress.net, www.projectedletters.com, and www.ignaviapress.com.


A Baby In The Belly Of A Prostitute

justin blackburn

The cool midnight air building an easy bridge between here and there, between the world you know and the world you can't even imagine.

"Before Adam I did exist as the servant of God" She mutters."Before Adam." Her father says. "That is a good one." He takes a deep breath of solace, pretending to himself he can resist all signs of nature's purity, "Are you ready to kill that thing?"

"He has wings, you know, he has wings!" Tears shooting every which way, the air ducking to miss the pain of the beautiful woman.

"Well good for him!" The man screams, not really making any sense at all while the moonlight pours in like a doctor.

Author of two books, Gifted Disabilities, a book of poetry, and "It's Hard To Get There When You Are Already There"

INSIDE/OUT - david byron and jane timm baxter


david byron and jane timm baxter

I was born ugly. My mother told me that when I was born. I had some kind of rare skin disease, like leprosy. The doctors told her it was a severe form of eczema vaccinatum, but it just affected my face, and my mother couldn't afford the treatments. She told me it would get worse before it got better, which was putting it mildly. It would, in fact, never get better. It might even be fatal, she said. But, I was still pretty on the inside.

My mama had been a whore; a pretty whore that sold her ass on the street for a few bucks, gave blow-jobs under highway overpasses. But I didn't fault her for that; it wasn't what she'd done, but how she'd done it. She'd make me wear a Halloween mask so nobody could see my face, then make me watch her put their dicks in her mouth. After they left, she told me I'd better pay close attention to what she'd just done, because that is how I would make my living someday. My lawyer asked me why mama made me watch, and I told him because she was crazy, strung out. That's how she died; an overdose. I was there. I couldn't help laughing as she choked on her own vomit and blood. She didn't look so pretty then.

MARKS - claudia smith


claudia smith

They have sex without asking, no words. His belly is soft, he's gained weight; her breasts are sore. Their baby has been suckling, kneading, asking for them. Once, when she swam into a man 'o war, he'd pulled her from the water and got the tentacle out with meat tenderizer, then kissed the wound. He was thin, thinner than she was, even; he could wear her jeans. Sometimes he did. There is a strawberry mark behind his left shoulder. When she traces it, he stands up and goes to lie down in the bathroom. When he falls asleep, she leaves and looks in on their child. Transparent hair and blue eyes; perhaps his eyes, his hair. She would like to touch the whorl but it would wake him.

Claudia Smith's collection of short-shorts, The Sky Is A Well And Other Shorts, is available from Rose Metal Press and Powell's. More of her work may be found at www.claudiaweb.net

WINTER - zachary c. bush


zachary c. bush

Ester's parents are in Paris over Christmas break. Twelve naked bodies pack the downstairs living room, playing Santa Claus, fucking to Christmas carols and vanilla scented candles. Ester and I are upstairs in her parent's sleigh bed. I don't remember what all I took tonight, but I feel just right. Ester's got a glittery leather belt wrapped around my bicep. She pops the skin of a blue vein running up my forearm with the small spike tip. I feel the warmed wave. I look up, blink my eyes, and everything in the room is moving towards me. Ester whispers something into my ear and the rest is a blur.

Zachary C. Bush, 24, is a writer and a co-editor of poetry for Thieves Jargon. In 2007, ZCB authored three chapbooks of poetry: Outside the Halfway House (Scintillating Publications), We Swallow(ed) Spiders in our Sleep (Pudding House Publications), and co-authored NEXT EXIT: FOUR with Brad Kohler (Kendra Steiner Editions). ZCB is a member of the Guerilla Poetics Project. Check us out: www.guerillapoetics.org.


A Game of Spillikins

Jan Windle

With a metallic rattle and a screeching, grinding, roaring rumble like a thousand faulty supermarket trolleys, the train passes within an inch of where my hammock is slung on the station platform. Overnight, it has gradually taken on the contour of the inside of a drainpipe.

I don't need an alarm clock here at the Hotel d'Anna. The first train came through on the dot of seven am. By 7.30 the activity dies down a little, replaced by restless city background noise: clanging metal sounds suggesting a giant game of spillikins being played with RSJ girders somewhere nearby; urgent male voices calling instructions; the roar and nasal hooting of the traffic. Somewhere someone is hammering a nail into a wall and a cleaner has begun to sweep the corridor outside, banging the broom against the walls and, by the sound of it, a metal bucket. The trains arriving and departing every five minutes or so add an unpleasant counterpoint to this rhythmic feast.

You learn - never mind Feng Shui. Just check the orientation of your hotel room to the railway line before you book.

Jan Windle trained as a fine artist at the Central School of Art and Design (1966-9), then went to the London University Institute of Education for a postgraduate course in teaching (1969-70). While working as an art teacher, she enrolled in the British Open University and gained a second, academic degree(BA First Class Honours, mainly in Psychology - 1992). In 1981 she went with her husband to Brunei, and in 1983-5 moved to Bangladesh. Jan took up teaching again in 1988. In 2006 she retired. She began visiting the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and Naples, Italy, in 2004 and now goes there several times a year, mainly to paint and exhibit her work. She has been writing a blog about her experiences in Italy since 2004 and has now begun writing poetry, also published on her blog and on Poemhunter.com.


10 Most Beautiful Things I Have Ever Experienced

Shayn Nicely

the night sky; knowing that everything underneath it
is everything from which I have ever
felt seperated

the uncanny vector of significance
that is street lamps, parking lots, solitude,
and 4am

petting my sister's head laying in my lap

laughing gas

stealing wildflowers off of private property;
the terror of leaving a letter before you get caught;
it's called live-action love poetry

wandering through rain storms, climbing as close
to the sky as you can, intersections of space and time that seem
to DEMAND god and fate are conciousness

late-night tv

the safety of knowing
there is at least one doorstep left

magic, simple as openings in traffic
or having
exact change

acceptance of impermanence, even just transition,
finally allows you to stop fighting the forces of nature and merge,
which has only truly settled on me in times I thought I was about to
die (in case you're wondering; 2)

Shayn Nicely, ex-sexy Suicide Girl Xip Suicide. has a tattoo that says she's a writer and a complexion that agrees if you won't take her word for it. She's been published in Bound Off, edifice WRECKED, FRiGG (January 08), Eyrie, and DOGZPLOT, which isn't bad for someone who's 21--too bad she's 57.

NON-SELF: LIGHT; DARK - beth thomas

Non-Self: Light, Dark

Beth Thomas

A fire burns in our fireplace while we sleep. The fire casts shadows on the wall, creating silent players from lamps and figurines. Past, movement, fitting into spaces where we cannot follow -- shadows have purpose. They return to their identifiable form by the act of our waking and seeing.

The Morning Glories turn out of their envelopes. Your calmness at the rising of the sun renders the moon silent and ashamed in its withdrawal. The Morning Glories open their mouths, gasping as though nearly drowned. You gather their faces in the palms of your hands and their purple eyes blink, blink, unseeing.

Desert heat creates an optical illusion. The walk to town is two miles. The sun creates wavy wet patches on the pathway that disappear as we reach them, the end of a rainbow. We pass blue-tailed lizards, their fat bodies warming on the rocks. They flick meaty tongues and tell you that their lives revolve around sun and shade. Do you realize in the retelling that the lizards, too, are illusory? That when approached, they move away and can never be touched? You have already forgotten their words, but your eyes are forever open, watching the sky.

Beth Thomas lives in California where she spends all her time writing something or another.

8:30 AT THE BAR - kevin michaels

8:30 At The Bar

Kevin Michaels

Bobby T. is on his second Jack and Coke at the bar while outside the rain continues falling in torrents. Free Bird plays on the jukebox. A handful of the people inside pay attention. None of them worry Bobby; at least not once Eddie Vega shows up. But Eddie is already fifteen minutes late; typical, and waiting makes Bobby tense, but the twenty-two tucked against the small of his back gives him the kind of cool that takes the edge off.

It's supposed to be easy – in and out in less than ten minutes if nobody gets stupid. Bobby just watches the door and waves the gun enough to keep everyone glued to their seats while Eddie hits each cash register. Bobby knows he's about more than an easy score, and could empty the clip inside the bar if he had to - just to make that point. Might be the only thing that gets him respect. It's either the Jack or the twenty-two that gives him that confidence. He's not sure which it is. All he knows is that Eddie's late and he's stuck waiting at the bar.

Kevin Michaels is everything New Jersey (attitude, edginess, Bruce Springsteen, and Tony Soprano). The author of two upcoming novels (BOUNCE and STILL BLACK REMAINS), he has also written a number of short stories and articles. He lives at the Jersey Shore and refuses to leave.

WELCOME - kat castle


Kat Castle

She laughed. A bitter chuckle to start with, but it developed into something. Insanity? This had thrown them off-guard, for a moment, but hadn't distracted them from their task. A brief pause… then… more punches into her weakened stomach.
"Welcome," the sign read when she arrived two hours ago. She hadn't expected to see so many old faces. Home sweet home.

Kat has been writing short stories and poems for a few years. She is currently a media student at NWK college, and hopes to join the writing scene after completing her course.

RANDOM PHOTOZ - girls rocking out on guitar

BEYOND SAVING - luis berriozabal

Beyond Saving

Luis Berriozabal

If you ever drop food on the floor, and pick it up to eat it, make sure you kiss it before you do. This will take away the devil's touch. At least this is what I have been told. Yesterday I dropped a slice of sourdough bread, the crust just like I like it. But I felt this bread was beyond saving. It was down there for a while before I could pick it up. My arms and hands did not react quick enough. My heart was shaken. No kiss could take away the devil's touch on this bread. It looked too good and I bet his mitts, his drool, and tail were all over this beautiful piece.

one hundred degrees
in the trashcan
dirty sourdough bread

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal was born in Mexico. His first book of poetry, Raw Materials, was published in 2004 by Pygmy Forest Press. His first poetry chapbook, Without Peace, was published in July 2007 by Kendra Steiner Editions.

MISSING POINT - jimmy chen

Missing Point

Jimmy Chen

First, when my head was severely sunburned, you suggested that I should shave my head every day. This notion, while not absurd, is not completely logical. What does shaving my head have to do with the flakes of burnt skin? I’m interpreting your comment simply as: You were disgusted at the sight of my head, and wished to communicate your derision in some passive-aggressive cryptic way. Third, when your sister and Ben came over, your sister said Ben bought the shirt he was wearing because she asked him to. You looked directly at me with a facial countenance which expressed that Ben was more receptive (and better) of a partner because he listens to her. Ben likes stuff. He is part of a culture which defines itself by stuff. To buy a shirt is not any huge over-extension on his part. I get the feeling you want me to buy some $70 hipster shirt. I will admit, I do have articles of clothing with holes and stains, but when you get someone, you get the whole package. I don’t think that an expensive shirt, or a shirt in general, can embellish a person’s character.

Jimmy Chen's writing has appeared in various print and online journals. More can be found at The Embassy of Misguided Zen www.jimmychenchen.com

ALL TOGETHER - barry graham

All Together

Barry Graham

She said there’d be power tools, but there weren’t; only an old Ford Thunderbird her dad talked about restoring and a rusty yellow refrigerator for beer, so we entered the house through the door inside the garage and headed to her parents’ bedroom for the jewelry. There were a few gold necklaces and a little diamond ring, so we took them, and the vacuum cleaner, the DVD player, a two-liter of Mountain Dew, her little brother’s piggy bank, and the remote control to the TV just for something to laugh at later when we got high.

All together, we got thirty dollars from the pawn shop, used ten of it for gas, ten for a dime bag, and bought eight soft shelled tacos and a nacho belle grande. It wasn’t the best weed we ever smoked, but it served its purpose. Nobody had papers so we dumped out the two-liter, poked holes in the side, and smoked off the bottle, even after it melted and we all knew we were just taking hits of ash and plastic.

She said they wouldn’t testify, but they did. They washed their new car and put on new clothes and showed up at the court house, all together.

Barry Graham is a simple man, who writes about simple things, very simply.

DAWN - gregory heaney


Gregory Heaney

And there was that one night at the 8-ball. We drank Old Style and smoked like 600 cigarettes before you finally started getting into it. I was playing pool while you were talking shit until you almost got me into a fight with these kids that looked just like Crips. I thought I had smoothed everything out, but while I was admiring your hips I got pounced. You put a cigarette between your lips while some bastard kid put his fist on mine. You sighed as you emptied your drink and looked put out while I got bounced out. We sat there on the curb and let 4am sneak up on us like you always sneak up on me. You looked up at the light polluted sky and said that nights like this got you feeling less celibate. We kissed there. Your mouth tasted like an ashtray filled with Coney chips. Mine must’ve tasted like cheap beer and defeat, which to me, tasted like a busted lip.

Gregory Heaney is the author of literally thousands of database entries that have almost no impact on your everyday life. He also writes short stories, is an Arsenal supporter, and likes to smoke.

TOM AND CHLOE - michele matheson

Tom and Chloe

Michele Matheson

Tom appears as a large, dark outline, a faceless shape of a man. As he comes closer Chloe sees he has the condom in his hand, his Levi’s are still undone, and he has taken his undershirt off. He weaves his way to Chloe, holding on to the couch and massaging his crotch. He is less angry now, and the pot is mixing with the whiskey. Standing above her, he throws the condom so it bounces off her ear to the carpet. Chloe lowers her head. Veins rise through the pale delicate skin of his feet. She looks at the blonde tufts of hair on his toes. His skin should be like leather. He should have talons.

“What the fuck is this?” he says.

Chloe looks at the big blue bong she had left on its side, her underwear in two pieces, and the foul water seeping into his thick beige carpet. “I spilled.”

“Fuck it.” Tom sways, twisting his toes into the carpet as his giant frame falls to the floor beside her like a thousand losses.

Michele Matheson is the author of Saving Angelfish, her debut novel, published by Tin House Books. It can be found in book stores, on Amazon.com, Powell’s.com and most online book stores.
www. myspace.com/michelematheson

DREAMTIME - vita l. sacksby


Vita L. Sacksby

In Barcelona, I was hit by some strange travel dissatisfaction. The afternoon seemed stifling as we shuffled along La Rambla in the humid heat. I tried to explain it to the girl I was with;

"I mean, tourists all getting under my feet. Got to do something at some point you know..." I rambled on for a while; I knew she wasn't listening but looking at the ducks, rabbits, rats, turtles and lovebirds they were selling from big cages on the street.

A tall German woman elbowed me in the ribs and I tripped over a dog; "Goddamnit!" My friend paid attention and laughed in great snorts down her nose like a horse.

We walked on and bought a big jug of Sangria with lemon and ice from a place that was far too expensive and got so drunk and hungry that I ordered a paella, which we shared. My brain went into overdrive from the rich, warm food I'd been missing for so long, and everything was in colour again and I noticed things above street level that I'd never raised my eyes to before.

Vita likes the Paris metro, people who say: "I'm not best pleased" and the sound of horses' hooves on wet cobblestones. She dislikes ticks, sneezing and stepping on an upturned plug.

KNOW THYSELF - leroy k. may

Know Thyself

Leroy K. May

in the middle of an epormyable month when global warming was supposed to show its butt but rather gloved like subantarctic leopards LeRoy waddled outside Breston's new cathedral imagining hip-hop beats while begging for human heat and manners minus 14 degrees under a violet sun.

he preferred the coldness of custody to delicatessens opened 24/7 even if the temple where the wildcat murders occurred preoccupied him almost as much as the voyeur buried in the ashes of a butt.

LeRoy published a short-story in the Falling from the Sky anthology http://www.anothersky.org/in-print/falling-from-the-sky-anthology/ at Another Sky Press last June. He also edited and published a copyleft anthology called Une Histoire Vraie (A True Story) in 2003 http://editionslibres.contre.com/PDF/HistoireVraie2.pdf, and is working on a set of short stories called "LivEvil2K, Memoirs from Another Century". You can read the work-in-progress short stories on LeRoy's blog, http://lkm696.blogspot.com

PREPARATION FOR WAR - cicily janus

Preparation for War

Cicily Janus

The stench permeated his nightmares. Asleep, while watching his father rummaging fields for parts belonging to men, the women cried out from their breasts.

It was his plan which impaled that dagger into their minds. An intellect of driving force behind bloated, savaged invaders, massacring villages containing innocence built upon unsoiled systems of a perfect design. Yet, the sewage reigned. Built upon rigors of rage, his mind was lost first, and what he missed the most. Causal decisions were made, conclusions reached. A charged storm of immorality.

"My God! Why? I am absent of the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the mentality to understand. My actions are futile no more." Taking this animosity, he reached into the gallows of bodies awaiting death, heaved an army upon his shoulders rivaling the brethren of Cain. Satan, pregnant with evil, envied this power. A boy in preparation for war.

Cicily Janus is a writer in Colorado Springs. Her works have appeared in or are scheduled to appear in Aesthetica, Writers Post Journal, Outsider Writers, Eclectica and Perspectives to name a few. Currently she is the submissions editor for Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens and she is working on her first novel, Burden of Betrayal.

TRASH - joseph graham


Joseph Graham

Trash: Our Family's Business Since 1947

Joseph Graham, not He-Man, is the master of the universe.

LIMP-DICK MAN ON DATE - jennifer chesler

Limp-Dick Man on Date

Jennifer Chesler

He says I'm ugly.
Does he mean inside, outside, or both?
I try to sit upright.
"You're ugly, and I hate the way you dress," he says to me.

This is too much.
I lash out across the table. Don't ask me what I say.
I take everything into account: his ass-faced cock, small, narrow,
limp; the smell of his damp, urine balls; the way the crack of his ass
curves to the left instead of in a straight line...

Jennifer Chesler has written three novels, all of which remain unpublished, and is at work on her fourth novel. She is represented by Ben Camardi of the Harold Matson Co. literary agency.


Girls Eating Pizza

MOUTHFEEL - elizabeth ellen


Elizabeth Ellen

I awake beside you, repelled by my thirst, which is voluminous. I fill the bathroom sink with cold water and submerge my tongue. I lap at the water like a dog in a toilet bowl: unselfconsciously. I lift my head and the excess runs off my chin and down my neck.

I crawl back to bed on hands and knees, a trail of water droplets documenting my path across your floor, and wedge myself beneath you, nose first, curling the rest of me into a tight ball like you like, like you requested of me the first time we slept together.

"You taste like shit," I told you then, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand, dragging my tongue down the seam of your shirtsleeve; which was both a fair statement as well as a boldfaced lie.

I remember something else I told you that first night. I told you I couldn't swim. We'd been out on the lake. The ice around the dock was beginning to crack. You told me you couldn't swim either, which felt like something. If I hadn't found your high school trophies in the back of your closet, it might still.

Sorry EE, I lost the bio you sent, until I email her and get a response, just know that Elizabeth Ellen will kick your ass if you insinuate in any way that she might be a pussy. She is also the author of Before You She Was a Pitbull, and her stories can be found everywhere.

EXCHANGE - stefan kiesbye


Stefan Kiesbye

At night she came, carrying a bag stuffed with woodworking tools and clothes she would take back to TJ Maxx the next day. She took off her patent leather sneakers she found on sale and by next morning my room would be thick with their smell. I didn't mind, I said and meant it, and I prided myself on being the only one who could say the patent leather sneakers were dear to me. I went to classes and then worked in the college admissions office till five. Gincy had a car and no apartment and her mom did not want to see her anymore. She audited two classes, had one friend, and six hours to shop until I got home. Then we had sex, quietly because of my roommates, and slept wrapped in each other the rest of the night. She drove me to work, and it was another day that had to be filled. She had a bed to sleep in and I had her to sleep with. She said that she liked being able to give me something in return.

Stefan Kiesbye is the author of the novel Next Door Lived A Girl (Low Fidelity Press). Some of his work can (soon) be read in Hobart, The Stickman Review, Konundrum Literary Engine and The St. Petersburg Review. His short story collection, tentatively titled The Devil's Moor, is forthcoming from Dzanc Books. Stefan lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Sanaz.

KEYHOLE - gina ranalli


Gina Ranalli

If you look through the keyhole, you will see a skinny man wearing red and white striped pants, riding a unicycle across a cloud. You will see a twisting staircase with a thousand steps, carved out of the body of a yellow pear. A schizophrenic whale with a propeller in its water spout, swimming through the sky, convinced he is a helicopter. A beautiful July day, sexy in a slinky red dress and matching lipstick, beckoning you with a breathy voice and curves to stop the world.

You will see a handsome painter named Basquiat, hanging from stars, climbing to Mars. An upright piano, dressed in a button-down shirt and maroon tie, a blindfold wrapped around its head as it waits solemnly on a subway platform. The states of Washington and New Mexico, clutching roses between their teeth as they tango swirls of cosmic color around the wallflower of Montana. A newborn revolution, soft and pink, howling for its mother's milk. A red-haired girl with X's for eyes and a valentine tattooed across her chest, skipping along the edge of a daydream.

You will see these and a hundred other things, including your own iris gazing back at you and the oddities of your world, if you look through the keyhole.

Gina Ranalli has contributed fiction, poetry and essays to numerous anthologies, journals and zines. Her books include: CHEMICAL GARDENS, SUICIDE GIRLS IN THE AFTERLIFE, and 13 THORNS (with Gus Fink.) She lives in Seattle.

editor's note: if gina tells you she'll call you, don't worry, she'll call

CONFESSION - andy riverbed


Andy Riverbed

I follow the orders dictated by my fathers, of absolute truth, truly no denials, suffer and endure acceptance to trauma. Known is the solution to this expression, a new procedure taught in the science lesson; it is to turn the tables, blow the fuse and rotate the room; when enjoyment and pleasure, a carnal pulling of that limb which extends the farthest, is stolen from the slice; when the crimson eyes jump back into the mind and pants of exhaustion are repeated endlessly: a new goal.

Past indulgence cut through the right side of your throat, the mundunugu will place seven fingers on your back and push. New result, a breaking, removal of fragments off your spinal chord. Are you aware? Those men in co-ordinate dress, wearing exotic magnifying glasses; they surround the table. Don't you see?! You are the umbrella on the dissecting table: being pulled, opened, made shorter, or longer, all depending if the instance walks farther.

Andy Riverbed may not be rich but he has class; he has no desire to be served or have you fired. This is why Andy Riverbed has class. Learn to live the good life!; join the Andy Riverbed mailing list at: andy.riverbed@yahoo.com, or check out his body at www.myspace.com/ylarivera.

DIRTY LAUNDRY - kim teeple

Dirty Laundry

Kim Teeple

It was beautiful, the way she looked, so neatly folded like a favorite denim shirt, blue, soft, lovingly creased.

It had taken time, days, stonewashing, before her body became malleable.

He used several brands of detergent. He used scented fabric softener, lavender smelled the best.

He admired the whiteness of the industrial sized front loader, ran his hand over the warm glass window, mesmerized by the pink suds.

He dried her flat, smoothing her, the way she had smoothed his sheets.

Kim lives by a creek in Minnesota. Some of her stories can be found online at Insolent Rudder, SalomeMagazine.com, Edifice Wrecked, and Elimae. She also has a story forthcoming in the anthology: Sudden Fiction From the Upper Midwest (Spout Press).