lexi tess

christina drill

rory fleming

tammy peacy

tanner sherritt

jeff switt

mark mckee

dr. mel waldman

FUCK SEPPUKU - lexi tess

Give me your best bloodcurdling scream.
Do it in your bedroom, barefoot, lost deep in the closet.
Scream at old sweaters. Because they make you itch.

Do it in your parents’ house, at the dinner party, while guests speak but say nothing. Uncross your knees, if you please. Don’t scream with your mouth closed.

Do it in the kitchen, on white tiles, wear shoes painted with mud. Tap dance. Hold all the sharp knives, wedge each tight between fingers, just because…

You are motherfuckin’ Wolverine!

Then for years at your birthday, when friends fail to surprise you, stand in the dark and drop your jaw to the floor. 
Scream like it’s the start of the apocalypse.
Like little do the no-shows know, you’ve got a bomb shelter in your basement. 

Scream, dead of night, in the road, in your underwear.
At unchanging stoplights. And mosquitoes, as they eat you alive.
Scream until your heart screams back, a war cry, eardrums beating with blood.
Until your whole body vibrates.

And you float through brick walls. 
Until you are the air around you, scream. 
Like you’re a doll in a dreamhouse.
Like you’re entirely made up,
of the most beautiful sound.

Lexi Tess
The History of Love
Nicole Krauss

YOU DANCED WITH ME ALL NIGHT - christina drill

Because when we are good, we are inseparable. If it rains and I can't cling to you I get anxious about gravity. When we are bad we don't admit it. In the quiet dark you message young girls online. Twenty-year-old loud ones with big full chests, and I walk over town mumbling my dead boyfriend's name. Neither of us can help it. From our experiences we know that love can get awful, it can get desolate, it can get ruinous, and good. But it is a level playing field on Sundays at the table. Like a festival on grass where I can sincerely congratulate all your hard work. Where you kiss me all the time, all the time, all the time. Where I get a sense that I will understand soon the silver truths of marriage. Why people in the end get o.k. to die.

Christina Drill
Eleanor and Park
Rainbow Rowell


In a world without women he plays piano in the living room. He hears the phone ringing. He runs to the kitchen to pick it up. There is only static. He likes chatting with the phone operators of the different companies that call the house. He once talked to a guy from Time Warner who dreamed about Martians and multiverses. He goes and plays Moonlight Sonata. Disembodied, he watches himself sway, his back turned. He hears a knock at the door.  The music keeps playing after he leaves the bench. It’s a pizza.
"Pizza-man," he says, "Do you have a reason to keep living?"
The pizza-man is in his forties.
"I don’t have an answer to your question.  Is that Moonlight Sonata?"
He shuts the door. He looks at the box, Papa John’s. He rips the top off and dances with it to the melody of Moonlight Sonata. He draws a face on it. He imagined the first woman would look more like himself: with longer hair, a softer jaw. Luckily for him, the sharpie was black like his hair. He puts it down and continues dancing, now with his mother. Today he formed his first memory of her, at age sixteen.

Rory Fleming
The Disaster Artist
Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell

BETWEEN THE CAGES - tammy peacy

I tell you not because it matters at all, but because through this you have been very kind, and too I believe curiosity should be satisfied.
I read a lot, and one of the things I read, not long before — before this — was about Da Vinci. An observation he’d made.
He’d noticed that when goldfinch babies were stolen from their nests, to be sold in cages, as pets, at markets, the mother bird would come with sprigs of poisonous plants in her beak. She’d move between the cages, depositing the greens into her babies’ upturned faces.
That’s the long answer.

Tammy Peacy
The Body Artist
Don DeLillo

BASEMENTS FREAK ME OUT SO - tanner sherritt

I’m just going to say it.
I used to dream your face was chasing me. Up our basement stairs and into the kitchen. Eyes bulging out and into me.
Rubbing, singeing the sleeves off my shirt.
My tweety-bird shirt. It buttoned like a uniform, pin stripes and patches. I wore it open like daddy. I let my beer belly hang out.
I could hear your calloused hands against the railing as you crawled closer to me. Static in the picture distorted your face. You shook yourself to pieces.
I was the fastest kid at school. Playground king with a clean vagina. The boys were jealous. They wanted to touch it. I always touched theirs first.
Yet I couldn't leave the stairs. My baby toes were thumb tacked to the ground, forehead stapled to the wall. You crept in closer and I tried to scream.
Daddy was in the fridge, Larkin was at the plate. My mouth was open, my fingers stretched. I felt your breath beat upon my neck. I couldn't look up. I didn't. You told me to clean up the blood off the carpet.
You told me I looked just like him.
I took off my shirt and went to bed.

Tanner Sherritt 
Debacle Debacle
Matt Hart

ESCAPE - jeff switt

I dab my face with foundation cream and watch each bruise seep to the surface like shit in a cesspool. They scream, "Look at me, damn you. Look at me. Too scared to leave him. Too scared to kill him."

I’ll show him.

I stuff a fresh pair of panties into my shoulder bag. My make-up. The twenty-three dollars he keeps hidden in an argyle sock in the back of his underwear drawer for poker night.

My hand trembles, clutches the door knob with uncertainty. I have maybe fifteen minutes.

I pull open the door. It’s him.

Jeff Switt
Jolie Blon's Bounce
James Lee Burke

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE - mark mckee

I read a story about a drunk character whose creator was drunk when she was created. She stumbled around outside a bar, trying to find her car. According to his unofficial autobiography the writer of this story said he got the idea after getting drunk at a bar in Pomona and after stumbling outside to go home he saw a young woman in her twenties stumbling around the parking lot, trying to find her car. So this writer, according to his unofficial autobiography, goes home drunk and writes a scene for his latest collection about a drunk character stumbling around outside a bar. And then I read about the drunk character and her drunk creator, while stone sober, and I wrote this down. I called it The Circle of Life, even though I dislike the Elton John song of the same name. And maybe if you're reading this you'll write your own story about reading a story about a drunk character whose creator was drunk when she was created. And you and I will help perpetuate it, the circle of life.

Mark McKee
Albert Angelo
B.S. Johnson

FORGET ME NOT - dr. mel waldman

I got this weird phobia you probably never heard of - athazagoraphobia. Yeah. I take a deep breath and let the vowels roll across my tongue and into the human-sphere beyond my flesh. Yeah.

I say the word. A-THAZ-A-GOR-A-PHO-BI-A. The fear of being forgotten. It freaks me out. What am I doing here? Where? Here, on planet Earth.

Only a couple creeps know I exist. Who’s going to remember me in the future, even a year from now? Do you understand? I’m nothing. Get it? Some days I totally shut down. Feel nothing. Vanish. So I cut myself and maybe, when the freakin’ blood flows, I remember who I am. Maybe.

But fuck it. I’ll do anything to feel real. You won’t forget me, cause I’m coming for you with a switchblade or a .38 I bought on the street. You and the world’s gonna know who I am. Just read tomorrow’s paper. Yeah.

Forget me not, motherfucker!

Dr. Mel Waldman
Pierre Lemaitre