SNOW - hardy jones


hardy jones

She, being from the tropics and having seen the Olympic Winter Games on her village’s TV, named her only child Snow. She had never been in snow and Snow had never been in snow, so it became the village’s – whose name is not pertinent and is difficult to pronounce – one desire to get Snow in snow. This cause was helped along by Snow’s grandparent the village leader, who each year after Snow’s birth saved part of the village’s profit from its harvest of mangoes, tamarinds, lychees, papayas, pineapples, and rice to pay for Snow’s trip to be in snow.

The grandparent and the rest of the village could not decide where the best snow resided for their Snow. The Himalayans were suggested, but that place, the villagers heard, had the abominable Snowman, and no one, especially she and the grandparent, wanted Snow to be taken by an evil Snowman. She, after the others had reached their wits ends, thumbed through the atlas and found the perfect place: Iceland. She remembered the Winter Games had ice-skating, ice hockey, and the luge and bobsledding were conducted on ice; ice, she concluded, must be a requirement to have snow, and a place named after ice would have snow for Snow.

After six transfers and twenty-seven hours in planes, Snow was in snow. Snow froze Snow’s mouth, so Snow didn’t like snow. Snow decided that snow was not Snow, and that hating snow, Snow did not hate Snow, but hated snow.

Hardy Jones
The Ballad of the Sad Café
Carson McCullers

22. - drew kalbach


drew kalbach

She put on a top hat and a feather boa and asked me to tell her a universal truth. The captain showed her an old dirty sock and told her to go fuck herself. The captain lit a fire in the middle of the room and roasted a duck. The pigeons were offended but the captain told them the smoke mingling with my wallpaper would produce a very important universal truth. We all watched as he turned the duckover and over and over. The smoke began to rise and mingle with the wallpaper. The captain strained to keep his rhythm smooth and even. She stood nearby and shifted from foot to foot. A nervous tribal dance. My entire room was full of duck smoke. We coughed and hacked. Nothing happened. The pigeons tried to open a window but the captain told them to stop and watch. The wallpaper began to peel away from the wall. The wallpaper fell to the ground and formed the word 'because.’ We watched in silence. The captain nodded to the pigeons and told them to open a window. We fanned the smoke outside. The wallpaper did not move. She stared at it for a long time. The rest of us feasted on roasted duck. She twisted some yarn into rope and tied her teeth to mine. She crushed a porcelain tea cup. We fed each other the shards then made love on the bathroom floor without flushing the toilet.

COME BACK TOMORROW - tania hershman


tania hershman

I'm open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I'm closed. Weekends, it depends how I'm feeling.

You try and open me on the wrong day. I say, No, it's... (Tuesday) or (Thursday), but you don't seem to know. You don't see the sign. Closed. Shut. Sometimes, I'm closed for a week and you pace up and down and you want me to be open but I'm not. I can't. I can't open just for you. Don't you see? It's about more than that, more than me. There are shutters that have to be lifted, curtains pulled apart, items laid out in rows, on shelves, everything in its place. I can't just open like that, waving a wand, some kind of magic.

I lie in bed and I hear the sounds of you and inside I try and make myself. Even though it's (Tuesday) or (Thursday). I want to. For you. I want to be open-all-hours, all day, all week, every month of the year. Even Christmas. Then the sounds of you come closer and the touch of you and I spring back. Closed. Shutters up.

Maybe tomorrow.
Try again tomorrow.
Come back tomorrow.

Tania Hershman
The People's Act of Love
James Meek

GUINNESS - crispin best


crispin best

The priest drinks Guinness. He sits and drinks. He reads a newspaper.

He is humming. I listen. He is humming ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On.’ The sun has no hat. The hat would burn. Also, the priest was lying. Outside it is very cloudy and cold.

The priest has a dog. The dog looks bored. It sits beneath the table with its eyes open.

I am sitting two tables away from the priest. The dog is either a boy or a girl, I know this much. I try to stare at the dog’s genitals. I cannot tell. I crane my neck. The priest sees me looking at the dog’s genitals. I smile at the priest. The priest does not smile.

Crispin Best
Dan Rhodes



matt ryan

Roxette, rawboned and badassed, figured Santa was on his own naughty list. She knew he’d like her letter, the way she drew floating breasts above her signed name, the way she wanted Bucky dumped down the black of her chimney--tape-over-mouth, rope-around-wrists.

Roxette would take care of the other supplies: the gloves, the bags, the rags, the chainsaw.

And later, she’d give a gift of her own and send a Mime-O-Gram. They’d do the Edgar Allan Poe and rap, tappity-tap on the chamber door of Bucky’s girlfriend—the klepto-whore-o with a penchant for engaged men.

Oh, these mimes were multi-talented. They were also reenactors: War of 1812, The Battle of Thermoplyae, The Seven Minute War.

Seven Minutes of pure mime realism.

That’s what Roxette paid for. That’s what was needed to incorporate the gloves, the bags, the rags, the chainsaw. That’s how long it took her to win her not-so-nice little war.

Matt Ryan
Joey Goebel

HUSH MONEY - stefanie freele


stefanie freele

I gave him all the cash I had. One dollar. He was buying this 100mpg moped so he could toddle around, baseball hat backward, hairy legs exposed, black boots, leather vest, unlit cigarette. I said, “for-the-love-of-god drive on the right side of the road.” He said, “drive this,” and tore through the front yard snatching the balloon right off the peg, causing the children to cry and the ducks to scatter. “I only had one dollar to begin with turkey,” I yelled. He flipped me off, driving ninety-nine more miles. I lost him when I pulled over to fill my tank.

Stefanie Freele
A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness
Kathy Fish, Amy Clark, Elizabeth Ellen, Claudia Smith


'Carnivore II' - peter schwartz

TONIGHT - sean lovelace


sean lovelace

I’ll cook tilapia for dinner; use the trip to the grocery as an excuse for a bottle of Pinot. Fill the kitchen with Depeche Mode, and sautéed onions. Then gaze into some man’s forehead and say, “Really? It’s this damn phone. I never get a good connection.” Well, I’m sorry for my serotonin. But if you don’t like sex and secrets; white wine, Percocet, and the most hurtful words; me curled naked into a plastic blue chair and rather happy—please go away. I’m too old to play much older. Too young to gather with others, in yellow closets. And often, very often, I will not reply. There is a steady wind that blows right through me. Lightning bolts down my throat. My life is cloudy, and perfectly lit with the taste of dusk. “What do you mean?” they ask. “What do you mean?” Hours ago, I penned a Patagonia. Wandered a sidewalk of whiskey drinkers. Met a woman who told a wonderful story for every inch of her body. Went to my mailbox, and saw grappling in coils, a snake swallowing a snake. Really. That’s what I mean, tonight.

Sean Lovelace
The Lover
Marguerite Duras

THE DOG - kyle minor


kyle minor

The child likes dogs. The child is not afraid of dogs. The child crosses the street saying woof woof. The Doberman strains at the chain. The chain strains at the stake. The child says woof woof. The stake pulls free. The Doberman mauls the child.

The doctor says stitches, skin grafts. The doctor says the plastic surgeons are good, the physical therapists are first rate, ugly is as ugly does, the child can learn to write with three fingers.

The lawyer says six figures, maybe seven. The lawyer says courage, fortitude. Are you prepared to do what needs done?

The mother says I’d like to kill the bastards. The father says soak ’em, ruin ’em, ruin ’em.

The defendant says the dog was on a chain. The defendant says the child taunted the dog. The defendant says I love the dog.

The defense rests. The plaintiffs, the plaintiffs. The television waits at the courthouse steps. What will the money mean to you? The dog is dead, the dog is dead, that’s all I care about, the mother says.

Later, the defendant pounds her fists against a one-way mirror. Please, please don’t take the dog. Please, please, let me stroke the dog. Please, please, let me see the needle. I love that dog. His name is Sal. Nobody raped me anymore since I got that dog.

Kyle Minor
The Comedian
Graham Greene

CHARLES LENNOX - grocery list


charles lennox

She looked up from the paper. The boy had become a four-legged animal, running the yard in circles. The dirt he kicked up plumed slightly in his wake then settled back down. He chased a dragonfly ‘til it flew over the fence line. She knew his blood was wild, not of her body.

“And what are you supposed to be?” she asked.

“A lion,” he said, sitting at her feet.

“What about me?” she said. “What am I?”

“You’re mommy,” he said.

“Can I be something else for a little while? Something exotic,” she said. “Like a horse.”

“No,” he said. “You’re mommy. You’re always mommy.”

He stood without effort and ran to the opposite end of the yard, arms extended like a bird, flapping, leaping every few steps, a new being entirely. She watched him and sipped her tea. She went back to the paper, pen in hand. She wrote out her grocery list.

Charles Lennox
How The Water Feels To The Fishes
Dave Eggers

ORGANICS - maria anderson


maria anderson

Undertakers entrusted with the burial of vanquished life, caskets of dead ends. This is not a through street. All in which you once took comfort is now meaningless. And these words, they mean nothing, muttered at random by the homeless of the globe, in tandem, at every street corner and from cardboard mansions and beneath marble halls and between the fibers of knit blankets. Millions of lips shuffle through indistinct similarities between themselves and others, talking to ensure that voices still function. All languages are rendered immune from private thought under the shell of fractured skulls.

Organs threaten the dichotomy of the rich and the poor. Three hundred volunteer firemen heave a politician’s broken body from the wreckage of his silver Mercedes, and doctors pop the unfortunate man’s liver into a small boy. This boy had thus far lived in abandoned houses and wandered dying into a hospital, lost and addicted to heroin since conception, although his mother did try to eat organics.

He now had an important man’s liver next to a throbbing stomach, and knew his luck was about to change. The boy was far too humble to smile.

Maria Anderson
The Open Curtain
Brian Evenson



beth thomas

The savages are cutting off the heads of males. They are plucking men and boys from the crowd but no one runs. We are too enthralled to run. Rapt, we are simply waiting.

In the back of the field, I shield my eyes from the sun. The sky is pink. I revel in the safety of womanhood. My baby cries and I offer him a breast. When he falls asleep, I fold him up and put him in my rucksack.

Shhhh, I say, swaying. No one will know you are here.

Beth Thomas
A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness
Amy Clark, Elizabeth Ellen, Kathy Fish, Claudia Smith