Featured Stories

In Vino Veritas

Future-Drunk-Love
by

I hit the bell boy up for breath mints and on the way up to the bar in the lift and finger combed my hair and repeated my drunken mantra which I believed would allow clear speech: A proper cup of coffee from a Proper copper coffee pot A proper cup of coffee from a proper Copper coffee pot A …

April 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

Serpent’s Tale

Giver-of-Knowledge
by

My eyes are like diamonds, finely cut in the mirror. The outlines of my face waver, melting into the cracked walls behind me. My tie represents who I am. Neat, perfectly-strewn, nice. Together. There is no image in my head as I drive through the night. No faces of my dead mother or vanished father, just the recurring voice of …

April 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

Diane

Goats-7323-(1)
by

The way I see it, Diane, you know, I did her a favor, the way things were going I hate to say it, but I would have needed to kill her, reporters flying in from New York and Los Angeles to interview her and write her up in magazines, she got her colored picture in Gentlemen’s Quarterly, couples we knew …

April 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Contributed Stories (Past Year)

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A Mother’s Sorrow

by on November 13, 2015 :: 0 comments

I floated on golden cloud from place to place. All I had was my soft brown and white fur, my tiny pink tongue, my piercing blue eyes that melted the hearts of everyone who saw me. Meow! Meeee-ow! There were so many ways to express myself. But no meow could capture the way I felt when they cut me open. …

A Previous Life

by on October 23, 2015 :: 0 comments

It was their wedding night and Priya didn’t want to tell her new husband all about it but Bill kept asking where she had learned to walk like that. Finally she told him it was inherited from a previous life, a life she had lived many years ago in India, not far from Bangalore. She had been a cobra kept …

A Shout of Bones

by on August 7, 2015 :: 0 comments

Happy would have been the astral night when nothing moved of its own accord but moved instead according to indistinct laws none of us supposedly normal people comprehend, yet as we walk together, my girl and myself, downtown streets echo like the distancing and forlorn tunes of a Shakuhachi flute, an end-blown Japanese instrument that, while it does exist in …

A Spring Awakening

by on August 14, 2015 :: 0 comments

Seventh grade chemistry class. Kenneth dug deep, like a planter’s hand. He worked a potter’s green thumb. He scratched his thinly haired groin beneath the school desk. Mrs. Garvin, his infatuation, used a walking cane that tapped tapped tapped. Her skirt fluttering in synchronicity. O Mrs. Garvin wielded her cane, O she tapped tapped broken pieces of blackboard chalk, O …

A Whistle

by on May 8, 2015 :: 0 comments

So many evenings, while sitting at his desk, typing, the poor, hungry writer heard a whistle. And it was an exceptionally skilled whistle. The lips captured to a tee the sliding up the scale, then suavely sauntering back down the scale whistle associated with paying a compliment to a hot lady. Put your lips together and blow. Easy, for dreamers. …

Acid, Mom

by on October 30, 2015 :: 1 comment

When I was 16 my mom told me not to do acid. She told me a cautionary story about two people she knew who took acid and drove on the highway. It was late at night and they were the only drivers on the road. Then they saw a refrigerator in the middle of the highway. The guy in the …

Ado

by on July 27, 2015 :: 1 comment

I had a girlfriend who got caught up in a tornado. And I mean up. An actual tornado. It was in Iowa, I think. One of those shitty vowel states. She was babysitting and took the kids to a silo apocalypse shelter that the crazy farmer dad had made and the youngest kid wanted her stuffed giraffe named Ollie or …

Aksinya

by on January 29, 2016 :: 0 comments

I can’t for the fuck of me understand Aksinya. One moment she’s bald and the next she wears blue hair. One moment she is demure and sad and nothing will cheer her up, than she is the tumult of the falls and starts to fight. That day we sat on a bench in broad daylight on Kozlov St., near the …

Apuleius

by on May 15, 2015 :: 0 comments

for Dr. David Hillman My best friend wears the head of an ass. It’s not an easy situation, but it’s one we can deal with. The head of the ass gives him access to the super-temporal realm, i.e., makes him a total nutball. He is, without question, great at parties. People are sad here in the developed world these days, …

Boundaries

by on November 20, 2015 :: 0 comments

It is 7:35 in the afternoon and Kris is sitting in the middle of a row of kids at church. She is sweating and her leg is shaking and her heart is beating fast and the back of her eyes hurt. She is the most awake that she has ever been in her entire life. She has a lot of …

Clinical

by on June 12, 2015 :: 1 comment

My Mom was the first candidate to be subjected to those medicines. It wasn’t voluntary. We had no choice. I was tied to my imaginary chair, hands tied behind my back. Can’t I stop them? As a child, Mom had protected me from any harm, when a neighbor boy had bitten my arm, she told me I didn’t deserve this …

Coiffeuse

by on October 2, 2015 :: 0 comments

Mary worked as a coiffeuse and drank rather heavily. She even sold the toilet bowl in the apartment. Then she met a businessman named Volodya, fell in love with him, quit drinking and married. With Volodya’s help, Mary bought a bistro, where in the old days there got together all sorts of local drinking profligates. She herself often dropped in …

Coroner’s Office

by on January 22, 2016 :: 0 comments

I thought the worst part of going to work for the Coroner’s office would be the emulsified bodies, the stink of rot hanging in my clothes, an air of finality about my demeanor, decay of the soul and spirit, moral jaundice, an urge to buy new shoes every other week, and wondering at the end of each shift what the …

Cured

by on September 25, 2015 :: 0 comments

Featureless, he sat before the therapist. Blank faced, serene, just a slit of a mouth in his smooth round face to go on, to speak, to answer; no eyes, no nose, nothing. So how do you feel, asked the therapist. How do you feel today? What brings you here? The mouth moved in the smooth peach fuzzed face making words. …

Cussin’ Paul Gets Religion

by on January 15, 2016 :: 0 comments

Word spread fast at the poker club where the retired men of the community meet to play almost every day but not on Sunday out of respect for those who went to church. But this is Saturday and the word is out that Cussin’ Paul, in his 80s now, a charter member, wouldn’t be coming to play anymore. The word …

Dr. Chapman’s Insight

by on April 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Dr. Chapman had been valedictorian of his class in high school and college but had finished second in his class in medical school, something that still bothered him after 30 years of successful practice in a small city. Many patients traveled from all over the state to see him. Over the years, he had hired a number of practical nurses …

Dream On

by on August 18, 2015 :: 1 comment

“Dream until your dreams come true.” — Aerosmith Who minds making love to a beautiful woman? B5 was a man like any other, and making love to a lady who had powers was indeed special. But it was late at night when he dreamt of his soul mate and his reason for being. He fought this before, when to him …

Dreams in the Kingdom of Chaos

by on October 9, 2015 :: 0 comments

There was a man in the kingdom of Chaos. His name was Melodious Music. He was all contrasted by the warring elements of the kingdom, by their uproars, their thundering beats and plays. He was silent, all pervading among the syllables of coarse voices, hence being-less the passers-by believed him to be. For decades there came no Columbus. And one …

Echoes

by on May 29, 2015 :: 0 comments

Ralph got the phone call around 3:00 pm. The sun was at that place in the sky where it always seemed to hit his eyes the hardest. He had gone inside to take the call, a welcome relief from the afternoon heat. The relief didn’t last long. The voice was dripping with prepackaged compassion, and the official tone made the …

For Rosealie

by on January 8, 2016 :: 0 comments

Outside, the chair was right in front of the building, and they were drinking rotgut wine. I noticed two Latinos and a West Indian with one of those high caps with yellow, green and red swirls. One of the Latinos wore a waist length, brown army jacket. The third guy was in a big, overstuffed armchair, springs splitting through. He …

Getting My Goat

by on June 5, 2015 :: 0 comments

Long ago I had the bittersweet pleasure of briefly sharing my domicile with an unforgettable being. I had cohabited with cats all my life, yet I never would have envisioned myself the owner of a goat. The word owner doesn’t exactly apply. Not regarding these recalcitrant ruminants. Nor perhaps is it valid for any living creature, unruly or otherwise. Whatever …

Hallucinating Pigmies

by on September 11, 2015 :: 0 comments

The first time I’d dropped acid, I was nineteen and living in Seattle. A guy I worked with at a coffee shop in the basement of the Elliot Bay bookstore said he had a connection. After work we drove out of the city, into the hills, where his guy lived. The exchange was quick but eventful. The old hippie lived …

Headbang

by on December 26, 2015 :: 0 comments

The jukebox dared to play New Moon. “Charlie, who put this on?” “Weren’t me, it’s one of those tossers over there,” shrugged Charlie. Tony cast a fury glance at Soulboy, Dollop, who wore his muscles under his belly and Library Lad. “They come in our pub and stick their crap on, it ain’t right is it, Sid?” Sid followed Tony’s …

Hypnosis

by on August 28, 2015 :: 0 comments

Jacey: “Professor Trigger believes we can rediscover childhood through hypnosis.” Bruce: “Pass the cheese puffs.” Jacey: “Really! Reduced peripheral awareness and all that. Think of it! Back to diapers….” Bruce: “Kidding me?” Jacey: “No. Back to bullies….” Bruce: “Who’d want…” Jacey: “…and high school babes.” Bruce: “Stoner. How’d you get into this school?” Jacey: “Rich uncle. Big donations. Kidding. Good …

If Dog is God Spelled Back Ways, What is Cat?

by on December 4, 2015 :: 0 comments

When Markie was a freshman at Irving High, he used to lie in bed and think about murdering his parents. He did not think about getting caught. He did not think about what he’d do with the bodies. He merely thought of getting rid of their unendurable pressure. Markie planned to do it in the dead of night, when his …

Killing the Rapist

by on March 4, 2016 :: 0 comments

He buried his corpse in an open field. The evening was filled with utter silence and no living person passed the site. The sky looked perfect pale by the rays of glowing moon. Ajay dusts off his hands clapping strongly, lifts the shovel and starts punching the mud to flatten it. After finishing up he stands unmoved, overwhelmed with pride, …

King of the Nighttime

by on September 18, 2015 :: 0 comments

Nick was in the bedroom, occupied with a musical question. He held a red, Guild Sunburst acoustic guitar. Nick was a musician, and contributed to the support of the small family, along with Donna, the wife. She worked mornings as a kindergarten teacher in a private school. The school was one block east, on Utica Avenue. They were on East …

Letter to Myself

by on April 1, 2016 :: 0 comments

Hello, Nearly Departed: Death has visited you, but yet you still remain. Death has no sting, only a stench. I am writing you to keep the light of life burning bright in you. I wrote this to myself after I was nearly murdered two and a half years ago. Here is what I wrote for all of you, who like …

Midas Eye

by on February 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I am aware of the fingers clutching my jaw, the green eyes that incarcerate my shrinking visual field. He won’t come with me, not this time, this time it’s a rite of passage. He blows the smoke into my mouth. I feel my uvula shudder. Today I become a man or I lose my shit trying. Leaves and slicks of …

Milk Thistle and Fenugreek

by on March 11, 2016 :: 0 comments

While I’m the recipient of Happy Springs’ Senior Citizen Prize, I can’t comprehend why my art’s heralded as precious. Five-year-olds can knock together found objects. True sandbox pals attribute value to most refuge, even stuff, which after being turrets and moats, is tossed aside as bottle caps, lost memory sticks, broken rubber bands, and paper clips-gone-wonky. When my neighbor Jim-Jam …

One Billion Stoned

by on February 12, 2016 :: 0 comments

So it goes like this. My good friend Morgan and I assumed the driving duties. Our other good pals Justin and Nick were in the back seats tripping their balls off on mushrooms saying how beautiful the trees were. Morgan drove the first half of the trip from campus and then we switched and I took over for the rest …

Permission Slip

by on February 26, 2016 :: 0 comments

I, __________, do hereby grant permission for my wife, Lucia Lopez-Costner, to have discreet sexual adventures with other men (or women) provided she agrees to the following terms and conditions: 1. Lucia agrees to have protected sex unless provided with current STD test results. 2. Lucia agrees to make clear that their business is strictly for pleasure, and nothing else …

Regular Maintenance

by on March 25, 2016 :: 0 comments

Over the weekend my wife’s Honda wouldn’t start. I went out to the garage to tinker under the hood but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Monday morning, she said she was taking my Pontiac to work and I could walk. The bus stop was just around the corner from our house but I had to get off at …

SGLI

by on July 24, 2015 :: 0 comments

$400,000. SGLI. Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. Fucking Robbie. I hadn’t even heard he had been killed until I got all the paperwork, forwarded from that years’ old address on the base in Kansas. He had died in Mosul, or somewhere like that. Some kind of explosion. I found his name online in a list of soldiers killed that month, but …

Stoop Dreams

by on January 2, 2016 :: 1 comment

We used to lay together on days so hot the hydrants spewed water with firefighter’s blessings and I’d throw off all but my big girl’s panties and feel your holy brown stone on my bare stomach as you cooed the hum of air conditioning units into my soul “Do you mind?” I’d ask, smothering you with chalk till you breathed …

Ten Minutes and One Second

by on June 26, 2015 :: 1 comment

King’s Dominion, July 28, 2009, 5:50 PM. Sharp beaver claws and teeth gnawing, grasping; broad flat tails slapping. They walked along on the crowded hot blacktop. What a day we have had here don’t you think? Yes—I’m pooped. Gnaw—gnaw the wood. Must have wood. Must have lots of wood. Find wood. Look—a Fudge and Fun stand. Want to have some? …

The Brooklyn Hallelujah

by on March 19, 2016 :: 0 comments

I’d like to thank God and Long Island and the Dutch for giving me the Hallelujah of naked sunbathing 300 feet above Red Hook with Russian dicks and rooftop fellatio atop century old abandoned warehouses with their apathetic dock workers, black netting condemning the building and freeing our nights to watch the sunrise, to camp out in this cement sanctuary …

The Bully, the Psychopath, Libby and Lorraine

by on July 10, 2015 :: 2 comments

Fred was a bully who always bothered Lenny on the way to school. Fred was four years older than Lenny. One day Lenny told him that when he grew up he would kill him. Fred laughed and probably didn’t expect to see Lenny that night, twenty years later, when Lenny waited for him in the alley next to his garage. …

The Case of the Cross-Country Skier

by on November 27, 2015 :: 0 comments

At last, at last, Wendell rests his skis at the other side of the lake in sunset, exhausted, satiated. He senses the water conscious and raucous down under the lake, glaring, straining upward, knocking against the depths of the ice again and again, enraged at his escape. He’s unwilling to look away, but does not want to cross the lake …

The Love of a Dandelion

by on August 10, 2015 :: 0 comments

Even as a boy, he felt yellow, even just looking at it on a page, his skin heated by its invisible rays. In school he drew suns with fiery light rays shooting off of its surface. “You should draw something else, Colin,” said his teacher Mrs. Lipshitz. “There are trees, grass hills and houses, too.” “I like suns. I draw …

The Love of Fathers

by on July 17, 2015 :: 0 comments

I woke early, shaved, taken a cold shower, then with a glass of fruit juice and some crackers, I occupied my favorite chair before the television. It was to be a twenty–overs cricket match, meaning excitement non-stop. The channel messaged that the match would be televised thirty minutes later because they were wishing a happy Father’s Day to all fathers. …

The Robot

by on November 6, 2015 :: 0 comments

It may sound simple enough to go to your father’s house for Christmas dinner, but the fact is for me it wasn’t. I have tried over and over again to figure out what happens. I start out filled with the resolve to act natural— just be myself— talk to Father as though he were anyone else. But it’s always the …

The Self Apart of Harriet Sparks

by on August 21, 2015 :: 0 comments

On the day of her mother’s book launch, Harriet Sparks unlocked her second self. This was convenient because she had previously cancelled an important date, in fact a romantic date with a boy, so as not to disappoint her mother. While she didn’t care much for her mother’s free verse she cared deeply about their relationship, and so she would …

The Swim Club

by on August 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

Look at me. Four days later. The black and blue marks only get denser and that arm of mine. “Go to the doctor,” everyone tells me. “You might have a torn rotator cuff.” It’s the arm that’s the worse. When I got home from the competitive swim, with Band-Aids on my feet, I couldn’t move my right arm. Although I …

The Twilight’s Last Gleaming

by on December 19, 2015 :: 1 comment

The thing he missed most was the sound of birdsong. After the change, you no longer heard birds. You might see birds high in the sky, now and again, far from humans, as if too frightened to come near. But you didn’t hear them. You couldn’t hear anything. There was a ringing that droned in his ears but he wasn’t …

The Warehouse

by on October 16, 2015 :: 0 comments

We’d cop 40s from the mafia front on Smith and Union (the one on the corner, not the bodega next to the pizza joint—they’d just laugh at our fakes and tell us to try across the street) and run down President till we hit the water. “Take the F to Carroll and walk to the river,” we’d tell anyone who …

THE WEDDING SINGER

by on June 19, 2015 :: 1 comment

Frankie Mann operated a small, Brooklyn music office. He often hired a junkie sax player named Freddie. Frankie’s father, Mambo, was a gangster down in Florida. He financed Frankie as a front. He also used a fat singer named Peter Vallone, who told jokes, usually with an Italian accent. Now Doctor Frankel stared kindly at Brown. Frankel sat erect in …

The Wizard

by on September 4, 2015 :: 0 comments

I think most people called him the Wizard. To me he was just a monster because there was no way that a guy that keeps an 18-year-old girl in a shed for 23 hours a day was going to win kindest person of the year. Although the shed had a window so it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Who …

Things I Remember

by on July 31, 2015 :: 1 comment

The weirdness finally wears off when there’s only five minutes remaining. It takes the dregs of my limited self control to stop myself from jumping off the nutter couch and pointing triumphantly at Laura and shouting ‘Ha!’ I don’t move. But my face must have. Because she pauses in the middle of her sentence. “You wanted to say something?” she …

Thumbelina

by on May 22, 2015 :: 0 comments

Toys. That’s what the roughly painted graffiti read. Crumbling bricks that had once served as a retaining wall provided the so-called canvas. It was a hard-core fact that most who wandered past the beat-up apartment complex that perched like a dying whale just off I-70 in the Granite City neighborhood, not exactly one of St. Louis’s finest, figured the graffiti …

Trade Relations in the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster

by on December 11, 2015 :: 0 comments

Reid was optimistic. The latest sales forecast located his zone in improved prosperity. Other leading economic indicators, too, looked rosy. There was a sharp increase in building permits in his region. As well, the dollar exchange rate had climbed, and unemployment claims had dropped. Whereas Reid wasn’t yet ready to invite Deidra to sample Champaign in his apartment, he was …

Transfiguration

by on February 5, 2016 :: 0 comments

There was no getting around it anymore—Annie’s stomach had become a definite protuberance. The problem seemed to be her fondness for food. Still, Annie was not devoid of the tendency toward self-evaluation. Browsing through the fashion-filled pages of Damsel magazine, she had become aware of another hunger experienced when studying the color portraits of lean, hollow-eyed models, accompanied by a …

Waiting Room Madness

by on July 3, 2015 :: 0 comments

You know the waiting as well as I do. You hate it too. The terrible waiting. The time you dread more than a five-foot needle stuck in your backside. You feel the rage. You work harder than hell for some decent medical insurance only to wait like a flea-bitten dog for a miserable bone. Waiting in line to fill out …

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