Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sorta Free Gas

by Kit Andrews     

The car had been parked outside for about a half an hour already.  I saw the couple who owned it approach and talk to people as they pumped their gas.  I knew the type; they were passing through, out of money, and probably selling crap out their car.

 We get about two of these a month, people relying on the kindness of strangers.  I was only interested because the girl was decent looking and I hadn’t had any in a while.  I was really hoping they would come into the store instead of making me go out there.

Eventually, towards the end of the night when the store was getting empty the girl walked into the store and sheepishly approached the counter.  She asked if I was interested in candles.  Candles?  Yeah, they were selling candles out of the trunk of their car; in a failing attempt to fund their trip away from their judging families.

 I offered twenty bucks in gas for a blow job in the bathroom.  She feigned shock.  She didn’t blush though and we both knew why.  She went back to her boyfriend and they argued a little bit.  She came back in and told me it would cost at least fifty.

We negotiated it to thirty-five and they could have the food out of the deli that I would be throwing away at the end of the night.  She went out and talked to the boyfriend and came back in.  She wanted some of the food now, while it was hot.  I gave her two chimichangas, a chicken breast, and half a dozen corn dogs.  I even threw in a couple fountain drinks.

Later that night when my relief showed up and took over the register I went out to let her know I was ready.  Neither of them would look me in the eye.  We went back into the store and the girl followed me into the bathroom while her boyfriend hovered around the beer aisle.

I went to sit on the toilet but decided to stand.  She got down on her knees and sucked me off.  She was hurried and lacked all technique.  I eventually came in her mouth.  She spit into the sink and used some water to wash out her mouth.  I don’t remember saying much but I did mock her for murdering my unborn children.

We walked back out where the boyfriend was waiting.  I gave them a larger paper bag that reeked of fried chicken and had grease seeping through the bottom; we double bagged it into a plastic bag.  I had my coworker put thirty-five dollars on pump four and I signed the form to have it put on my tab.

Kit Andrews is a living failure at the age of twenty five who's biggest accomplishment is that he's a mediocre World of Warcraft player.  Not really his favorite song to have to sex, but a recurring trend none the less is Marylin Manson's The Beautiful People.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New World Love Poem

 by Peter Schwartz

i want your super perfect pink cheeks
your daily fruitful
your nightly fruitful
your sweet and undying fruitful 
i want so much of you
that you must grow to give it to me
yellow flowers would be
precious but even more  
i want your germs and bacteria
your sludge and misanthropy
(of which there is perhaps
a single atom)  
i want to feed you an entire
thanksgiving dinner by teaspoon
to pet your rice paper armor
as gently as sleep itself  
i want to give you thousands
and thousands of dollars then turn
and walk away from you only to
show you what i mean  
i want to be your migrant worker
your sweaty lovething, return to your
fruitfuls even after a whole day
in the fields because i want to 
i want to make a peppermint gun
and pull the trigger every ten minutes
till i win your breath, to carry it
in my own lungs too 
i want to scissor with you and
laugh and laugh because that’s
not what men do to women and
then call you the silly goose 
seriously though, there is a part
on my body where my upper thigh
meets my ass that feels so spongy
and loose and dead i despise it 
like a stranger’s, for you, i’d be
just that, nothing else, and fight
my way back to regrow myself
right back into the man i am now 
for you, really.  
Peter Schwartz's poetry has been featured in The Collagist, The Columbia Review, Diagram, and Opium Magazine.  His latest collection Old Men, Girls, and Monsters was released as part of the Achilles Chapbook Series.  He's an interviewer for the PRATE Interview Series, a regular contributor to The Nervous Breakdown, and the art editor for DOGZPLOT.  He'd love to make love to 'Mean Girls Give Pleasure' by Daniel Johnston. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bad Night At The Bar

 by James Mannix

Even though I was in a tequila coma.
I could still.
Notice your face.
That condescending look I always receive.
When I'm that fucked.
Wish I didn't.
Run into you.
While in my coma last night.
My shirt might as well have said.
But I told you what clothing store.
I shopped at.
The Disappointment Store.
Located on the corner of.
Piss Drunk and Fuck My Life.
So that was your warning.
From the start.
Yet that face still stabbed me in the stomach.
Even while in my coma.
Tequila coma.

Its raining and.
My disappointment poncho.
May be dirty and reeking of booze.
But yours.
It's clear.

I am jealous.
Of your sobriety.

Not jealous.
Of your see-through poncho. 

James Mannix lives in New York. He thinks any Sade song is great to have sex to. Either that, or Pantera's 'Cowboys From Hell.'

Monday, September 20, 2010


 by Lavinia Ludlow

I can tell you all about rock bottom. I’ve choked on the gravel of
rock bottom. Hell, cop it up to fucking rock bottom. And I liked it. I
liked it so much that I let it fuck my brains out for years, and here
I am: its gang-bang on a leash and all its glory. Or maybe faking a
fetish for rock bottom is a shitload easier than taking ownership and
clawing away from it.

I thought rock bottom struck about a little over a year ago, when I
had a substance-addicted ex-con with a court-recognized anger
management problem slapping me around in an insufferable relationship,
when I was fleeing to another state, scraping the bottom of a CD made
up of twenty-five years’ worth of birthday cards because no one would
hire me, not even Starbucks—yeah, I was that desperate for work. But I
know now how that was just a type of rock bottom, because rock bottoms
change with the scenery, they come and go, then they’ll hunt you down,
and never let up, just like the perfect mind-fucking manipulative

Lavinia Ludlow is a musician and writer from the West Coast. Her novel
alt.punk is forthcoming from Casperian Books in 2011. One of her favorite words is pharmocopeia.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Love Is Not A Home

  by CJ Hallman

The worst part about being a girl is getting fucked, Jen thinks. She is sitting on a bench that advertises some real estate agency (surely intended to persuade the income-earning individuals passing in their cars, and not those, like her, condemned to hourly wages and public transportation), and she stares across the street into the strip mall that stands behind a massive sign full of Spanish words. A homeless man with scraggly hair and work boots stomps up to her and asks her for change, but she says, no. She is not being an asshole or anything; she needs the change for the bus because Derick wouldn't drive her home, and not because he was being an asshole or anything, but because his car wouldn't start again and where the hell was he even going to get the money to fix it? Look, I'm not being an asshole, she tells the homeless man, it's just circumstance.

The homeless man shrugs and says, ok, and sits down on the bench beside her.

(But maybe Derick was being an asshole. Maybe he had always been an asshole and she was just too dumb to see it. At that bar downtown the night they met, he told her that his band had opened once for Black Flag. Three weeks later in his pot-paraphernalia-strewn apartment on the east side, Derick confessed that this was a lie, and as it turned out, he wasn't even in a band anymore. But whatever. By this point, they already had a thing going, and Jen thought Derick spoke earnestly and had a very gentle way of kissing and maybe a gentle soul too, and all this despite his scruffy appearance and penchant for illegal substances and the pleasure he seemed to derive from riding out long stretches of unemployment, and so she didn't say anything about his lies then, though she wishes now that she would have.)

Jen opens her purse and reaches inside and does not look down, but feels the foil wrapper, many wrappers, none of which she can see, but all of which she knows are blue, Trojan. It will be a nice surprise, she thinks, next time Derick has Theothergirl in his room and is all hard and ready to fuck her, if he opens his nightstand drawer and finds it devoid of condoms. Yep, what a spectacular surprise! And didn't he know, Jen thought, what a terrible idea it was to start a “relationship” with someone who lives not just in your apartment complex, but your very building? It has its conveniences, yes, but. Nothing works out, not here, not in this town. And hadn't he ever watched a sitcom?

(Theothergirl, the girl who lived below Derick was named Myra or Mia or something equally pretentious sounding, and she worked part-time at Target and attended some private Catholic university and majored in art or design or something else pretentious. Jen was introduced once to Theothergirl at a party at an apartment complex a few blocks away, and she remembered noting that Theothergirl was both devoid of personality and of body fat on her arms and legs, because it was all collected in her stomach region (but Jen noticed too that she managed to hide it pretty cleverly with a loose fitting ethnic-y top), and that she had pretty big boobs, considering her short frame. Jen, by comparison, was just kind of medium-sized all over, and was concerned that her boobs were already beginning to sag, and had to drop out of community college after a semester because there was no more money left to pay for anything, and so she got a job working as a waitress at this place downtown that served immensely over-sized and overpriced portions of pasta to large families. [Take drink orders. Check up. Take orders. Bring plates. Check up. Bring bill. Fuck my life. Etc.] Jen's life had become routine, and this routine spread like a cancer, and even her dating life caught the routine. Every few weeks, it seemed, Jen met some other new guy and began a “relationship.” [Flirt. Text message. Watch a movie. Eat fast food. Kiss. Eat more fast food. Drive around. Fuck. Eat more fast food. Call it off. Etc.] But then she met Derick while out one night with Kim, a fellow waitress and community college dropout, at a hipster bar downtown, and Jen thought maybe Derick would be the end of the routine and the beginning of something new, spontaneous, stable. He had this smile that stabbed her, killed her, resurrected her, and while the sex was not overly exciting, it happened with undertones of emotion, which was a first for Jen, and he just seemed like a good guy, a guy she could maybe learn to love.)

Jen removes her hand from her purse, from the condoms, and the homeless man turns to her and says that if she has something as important as a funeral to get to, maybe she shouldn't be relying on the bus because the bus is never on fucking time. Jen tells the homeless man, no, again, though she realizes after she says it that it doesn't really make any sense, but what, she thinks, can you do? Jen considers the man's odd remark and attributes it to the clothes she is wearing—all black, the same clothes she wore the night before to a rock show up north, these clothes, now goth in broad daylight, ridiculous. She thinks, well, at least he didn't tell me to cheer up, to smile. She thinks, at least this man has a goddamn sense of humor about things. She looks over at him. She notes that his clothes, jeans and an Alice in Chains t-shirt, are actually fairly clean, cleaner than Derick's usually were, and he isn't that old, thirty-ish, and he isn't terribly disgusting, and his face has decent bone structure, a classic Greek look about it. This homeless man, Jen thinks, maybe he is alright. Yes, she thought, I believe he is, why not?

(Because last night, on a twin mattress on his bedroom floor, Derick held Jen and told her that he loved her. She believed him. She believed him despite the stale stench of Lone Star on his breath. She believed in the power of the fingers that stroked her hair, stained fingers that reeked of cigarettes. She believed Derick weeks before when he said that someday he'd maybe like to possibly start a family or whatever together at some point in the distant future. She believed him when he said that he thought Mila or Mitra, Theothergirl, was a little on the bimbo side, and that her nose was too big for her face and that he thought Jen was much more intelligent anyway. And when Derick said that he was going to enroll in some business courses alongside his film ones at the community college so that someday he would be able to provide, and that maybe when that someday arrived, Jen could quit her job and focus on whatever it was that she wanted to achieve in life, well, yeah, she believed him. She believed him like a religion, she believed him all night long, and then the sun came up, up, up, and she read his fucking emails, and why was he even sending emails about longing to a girl who lived one floor below him?)

Jen reaches again into her purse, fingers the foil. She glances over at the homeless man again and smiles slightly. Beyond him, in the distant, she can see the number twenty bus approaching. It is, indeed, late. She tells the man that there is no funeral, and asks him if he has any place to be. She thinks, when you use a condom, everyone is clean; a convenient feature of the modern age. And ten minutes later, with sticks and dirt and circumstance pressing into her bare back, with change unspent and rattling in her pockets, now down around her ankles, Jen smiles into this stranger's shoulder and thinks, but oh well, maybe this is the best part about being a girl.

CJ Hallman spends the majority of her free time hatin' on illogical words. Irregardless, she lives in Austin, TX, and her fiction has appeared in Identity Theory, Everyday Weirdness,, Sphere, (Short) Fiction Collective, and The 322 Review, among others.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Los Angeles

 by Aaron DiMunno

On a recent return to Los Angeles, I was walking the hills off of Mullholland drive. I stood at the peak of some raised area or another. Not sure what you would call it. A cliff? A mountain? One of the jagged arms reaching from whatever the hills that make up Runyon Canyon are called. The shining kingdom of urban suburbia sprawled like an oil spill from the smog choked Pacific in the distance. I looked around at the captivating geography, the rugged canyons so alien to my east coast glacier scraped mountain eyes, the lush vegetation, the palm trees fake as hell. And it struck me how sad it all seemed, crushed under the weight of human development. Beauty battered and oppressed but still there if you looked hard enough. Like the most delicate and beautiful specimen of a woman, sporting a black eye and trying to carry a sofa down the street on her back. That is Los Angeles. If you help her carry the couch up to her apartment, she'll fuck you. She may even let you stay the night. But she'll dodge your kisses and in the morning there will be nothing but a note on the night stand asking you to lock the door behind you. You will never see her again. And every now and then, when you're real low, you will to masturbate to her memory. That is Los Angeles.

Aaron DiMunno enjoys camping every once in a while but he thinks each time that he should do it more often. He had a cat named Moochie LaRue but she died. He is forthcoming in Jersey Devil Press.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Traveler's Vows

 by Kit Scanlan

I want to travel with you.

I want you to gently bite my nipple as the sweat from the tropical sun drips down between my breasts and slides onto the thin hotel sheets.  I want the cries from our love to echo through the thin walls and startle the monkeys.  I want to laugh with you inside me.

I want to fall asleep with my head on your shoulder as the crowded bus takes us through little desert towns, amidst the crowing of chickens and loud, unintelligible chatter.  We will get disapproving stares from wrinkled old women and smile softly to ourselves in a silent apology for a breach of local culture.  We won’t feel that bad.

Our schedule stays the same: arrive at a new place, the next stop, another hotel.  Naked, we would caress and cuddle, staring out the window at the ocean, the sky, the stars, the uncrowded beach; our clothes reeking from one too many days without laundry, the hotel room nothing but a bed and a dresser and maybe a mirror.  I want to have you in a tent by ourselves, separated from the universe by a thin layer of high-tech plastic.  An echo from a wild predator and a cool breeze make me shiver, and I snuggle closer, deeper into you.

I long to feel your touch, light, between my shoulder-blades as we stare at some relic in a museum.  Through it I would feel your need for me, ever-present, ever-burning, even though we would spend every hour together, sleeping and snoring and eating and shitting and arguing through the stress of travel until we fall into bed to work out our restless hormones.  Even then I would pull your hair just a little harder than usual, but I would write it off as the heat of passion.  You, being you, would pretend to believe me.

I want to fall asleep still angry with you about the missed train or an improper tip, and I want to wake up to you gazing down at me in an unfamiliar light, in an unfamiliar bed. 

That bed would still be ours, though, since you would be there.

Kit Scanlan works day jobs to make money, but has a professional career in hopeless romanticism.  One of her least favorite words is "babe" if it is used to refer to her by someone she doesn't know, and one of her favorites if used to refer to her by her lover.

Monday, September 13, 2010


by Isabella Ling

I wear my heart on my sleeve and you stabbed it again and again. So I will cut your chest open, I will cut your heart out. I will hold it in my hand, I will throw it on the floor. I will watch it wither and die, but it will be too easy for you. I will let it rest there, I will watch it beat and pump. I will pick it up, I will look for the stains life has left on you. I will not miss the areas where you have hurt people. Your heart is ugly, an angry mess and tangle of red and tendons. I will see the stains, not of what life has left on you, the stains of your own hands.

You are a troubled soul, looking for trouble where there isn't any. You hurt me, so now I will make you hurt. I will put it on the floor again, I will put a knife through it. I will take my hand off the handle. I will watch the blood flow, the blood will gurgle over the open wound. The blood will come towards where I am standing. I will cry, the salty tears will mix with the blood. I will keep some of the blood in a vial. The smell of iron will be pungent, I will smell blood everywhere I go for the next week.

I will take the knife out. I will wear my heels, I will dig the heels into your heart. I will step and stomp on your heart. I will take my heels off and grind it against the bottom of my feet. It will feel softer and softer as it turns to mush, until it is hardly recognizable from the blood on the floor. I will try to scoop up whatever I can, till the floor is clean and shiny again. I will drink it, I will keep you inside of me. I will stitch up your hole. You will have no heart now. You will be empty now, just like how you have always been.

Isabella Ling thinks feelings will fade over time, though she won't say she is a fan of time. It just doesn't work fast enough sometimes. She is trying to put need and want in her list of least favourite words.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


by Adam Kinsey

Hi everybody. My Name is R. I'm an addict. It's good to be here. I just need to check-in.

Six ay em this morning, I'm up. I wish I could say I was on my hands and knees by my bed, thanking God for the new day, or calling one of you guys to tell you what I was committing to or something, but in the interest of rigorous honesty I got to say all I wanted was to get the fucking cat to leave me alone so I could go back to sleep. Humble Pie kept jumping up on the bed with all of her sixteen pounds of weight, then walking back and forth across stomach and purring. I knew she was not gonna let me sleep until I got up and fed her. So I finally dragged myself out, but the box was totally empty. I tried just getting back in bed, but she wasn't going to let me do it. She's heavy, like a big possum, you know? So finally I'm totally cursing her, but I get up, pull on my jeans, throw on a t-shirt, and my shoes without socks.

I live just a block down from that Safeway on Market Street, that fucking mongo one, and it's open twenty-four hours a day. Did you know it's the hugest one on the West Coast? Just an extraordinary factoid for you guys there. Wouldn't want you to quit learning just because you're a bunch of fucking addicts. Anyway, I head out, stagger down there half-asleep. The weather is like, spitting, it's so foggy, and I'm cursing fucking Humble. I'm sure I looked very sober (laughs).

Anyway, I get there, I think the security guard is totally going to give me the hairy eyeball, but he doesn't even look up, doesn't stop talking on his cell to his girlfriend or whatever. And I look around. It's six-fifteen now, right? I look around and everybody who doesn't work in there, they all look like they're half-dressed and heading for the cat food aisle too. And I feel great suddenly, because, I think, I have found my people.

So I get the cat food and just think I'm gonna go home, gag the cat and go back to sleep, but for some reason I start walking the aisles, kind of going into the Safeway Trance. Do you guys know what this? Some of you are nodding your heads and some aren't, and I don't care if Tim S. is grinning his ass off over there like I'm some kind of tweaker, I'm going to explain what the Safeway Trance is. It's no big, it's just how the colors are all bright on the packages and the music is always the same. There's just something very comforting about walking those aisles, particularly as a recovering junkie, because in my life I haven't been able to be sure of much so I take my consistency where I can get it.

Anyway, I'm in the trance. I'm walking along with a box of cat food and kind of thinking about going down to the methadone clinic early and how much it would surprise the nurse, but then I decided that as long as I was up I'd fix myself breakfast. I used to love making big breakfasts. I wasn't going to do just Captain Crunch and milk either, but eggs and sausage. And hash browns, none of these homo-fries! Sorry. Present company excepted. What I'm saying is, I hadn't fixed a breakfast with sausage like that in I don't know how long, and I wasn't even sure how to make hash browns. But there I was in this Safeway trance of colored labels and Muzak versions of Nirvana songs and I feel so good that I decide I'm not only gonna feed Humble Pie and make breakfast for myself, but I'll make it for my no-good housemates too. Evelyn and Peter usually don't even get up until two, and Theodore is a night clerk at a convenience store and he always says that the fluorescent lights suck all the chi out of his bone marrow, so he needs ten hours sleep. But I knew if I made a big, big breakfast--with potatoes and eggs, sausage, coffee, I'd juice some oranges and have fresh squeezed orange juice too--If I made a great big breakfast, they'd all sure as fuck get up. It's, like, since we made the no drug-rule at the house and then Peter and Evelyn broke it, none of us really hang out like we used to, and I figured this could kind of be like old times. But in a healthy way, you know?

So, by this point I've gone up to the front and put my little box of Friskies into a cart and I'm filling it with all this stuff: flat of eggs, five-pound bag of potatoes, pound of coffee, coffee filters and one of those plastic cones for making it, a bouquet of purple iris's and a roll of paper towels for napkins. We're going to do this fucker up right, right? So I've got all these things, and I go over to the meat section to get sausage.

Now, have you been in the meat section lately? Have you experienced trying to buy sausages? There's the old Farmer John kind in links and patties like I had when I was a kid, but then Farmer John's got something called turkey sausages, and they're in links and patties too. Then there's Italian sausages--mild, medium, and hot--and some kind made of chickens and apples. There's sausages made out of soy and beef, and there's detached sausages and uncut. And everything--even the chicken sausages!--they come in both turkey and regular!

Anyway, so I'm trying to figure this all out, and my breakfast exuberance level is starting to significantly wane. I look at my watch, see it's only six-forty-five and I start thinking about just ditching the basket in the kosher food section, taking the cat food and going back to bed. But just as I'm thinking that, I see this guy and this woman, and their both either strung-out, or they just got off a real little boat on a real rough ocean, you know what I mean? So anyway, the guy looks like he's about as confused over in the lamb section as I've been in the sausages. He's shaking his head and the woman's laughing, and when he leans his head back a little, his long hair falls away from his face and I see that this guy is Monroe!

Monroe was the son of my pastor back in Iowa City, and while I was always nice enough to him, not everybody was, because Monroe--unlike the usual stories about the wild children of clergy--was a geekazoid and a half. I remember back in elementary school, Monroe used to carry all his fucking books in a briefcase, and one time he sat down to lunch, opened that briefcase and took out a plate, some silverware and a cloth napkin. The entire fucking elementary school--kay through six--is sitting at those foldable tables and this little guy with glasses is having a fucking dinner party. Monroe was still carrying the same briefcase in high school, and sat around reading Kierkegaard or something like that.

Anyway, here he is with long greasy died black hair, wearing a leather jacket and jeans that I swear look like they've been soaked in blood, and he's got a red-haired babe-o-rama hanging on his arm. They both look like they'd really like a nap, and I don't think it was just because it was early in the ay em, you know what I mean? Now, I've been Clean-and-Sober for a year-and-a-half except for the methadone, and I don't really count that no matter what anybody says. The methadone doesn't stop me from being clean. That and God are what keeps me clean. But after fifteen years on The Street I sure as hell can still spot a stone junkie when I see one, even if he was the pastor's geek-o-rama son, and he's sixteen-hundred miles from where I saw him last.

So anyway, I'm watching these two while they're le-eaning over the rib-eye and the chuck as if they're thinking about climbing in and laying down for a little while, and I think "What the fuck?" Make amends. Or at least be friendly, right? I leave my cart where it is--'cause no matter how good of friends you are, when you're walking up to someone that loaded you want both hands free, as you have no idea what's gonna happen--anyway, I leave the cart and I walk up to these two jokers who are now French kissing and nodding out at the same time.

Standing behind Monroe, I've got a moment to think that the dude has gotten big over the years, I mean, he used to be a beanpole, but somehow he's gotten…wide. Standing behind his back it's like I'm standing next to a…a…SUV or something. I consider walking away, then think What the fuck again and tap him on the shoulder. I say "Hey Monroe, dude, how long you lived in Frisco, man?"

The red haired chick looks at me first, kind of peeks around his bicep, but she doesn't say anything. Monroe doesn't even turn around. There's just this really low fucking voice--but I'm sure it's Monroe's under all the menace, you know?--this low voice and it says: "Who. The fuck. Are you?"

Well, fuck him, I'm thinking but I figure what the hell, I haven't seen anybody from I.C. in ten years and I been feeling like now that I'm clean maybe it's time to start being in touch with my roots like the rest of the straight world does, right? Not run away from the past but face it, right? So I say "It's me, Jerry Tyler, man, from Iowa. How the fuck you doing, Monroe? Long time no-fucking-see, dude."

Monroe turns around and looks at me. Down at me is more like it, 'cause this guys has about a foot on me, I swear, and I'm no Napoleon, you know what I mean? He's obviously gone through hell--his face is all brown and wrinkly, his teeth are fucked-up and he's got a big scab by his eye like he's been doing crank and picking, picking, picking.

But you know what's funny? He has the exact same glasses as he did in High school. I'd be willing to put money on it that they're not just the same style but the same fucking ones. Black plastic frames, square not round, and I have this sudden flash of peeking into the band room at lunch time once and seeing little Monroe Quaily sitting in there all by himself, practicing scales on a clarinet with his square plastic glasses on. I remember knocking on the window and when he didn't quit playing or look up I kept on knocking and yelling at him for about another ten minutes, until the lunch bell rang. Same damn glasses, can you believe it?

Anyway, Monroe. He doesn't say anything. The red head's staring at me like from behind a tree. Finally, he smiles at me with, like, both teeth, then he reaches into the meat display and picks up this big package of lean ground beef. I gotta say, what happens next is weird. He just takes that package of meat and holds it right in front of my face. The price was five-oh-four at a dollar-ninety a pound, I remember. Then Monroe, with his other hand, he--really slow and, like, methodical--he pushes his fingers through the plastic the meat's wrapped in, and starts squishing it around, really close in front of my face. He does that for about ten seconds. I can see how red the meat is, and I hear the song that's being played is a Muzak version of "Penny Lane." Then he tosses the mangled package back into the cooler, looks at me and says real calm, "I don't know you."

But then they just keep standing and staring at me, so I finally book and go back to my cart. I wheel on up to the front, pay for my stuff with my ATM card and trudge on home. When I set the sacks down to unlock my door, I look at my watch and see it's seven-thirty. I go up stairs, feed Humble, and put the classic rock station on real quiet in the kitchen. Then I make breakfast for Evelyn and Peter and Theodore and me. When it's ready, I go and wake 'em all up by tapping on their doors. They bitch at first but when they realize it's free food and coffee's ready, they got up pretty fast. We all ate with the radio on, and talked. The fog had burned off early, and it was, like, a pretty sunny day and it was pouring in through the window and we were all wired on coffee and happy. When we finished, Evelyn and Peter did the dishes and the nurse at the clinic was blown away because we weren't just skating in as the doors were locking. Theodore even thought to bring her half the irises.

So it was an okay day, but weird. But I'm thinking about this: making reparations and having history are good things and all, especially for people who aren't addicts, but maybe sometimes they're overrated, and we should just, like, be happy with what's happening right now if something worth being happy about has snuck up on you.

Adam Kinsey was born in Santa Clara County, California, before the phrase “Silicon Valley” was coined, or before even people used answering machines. He received an M.F.A from Eastern Washington University, and has published in Yomimono, Happy, and Hubcap. He lives with his wife and daughter in Petaluma, California. You can check out his ongoing experiments in fiction at, and/or stalk him on twitter @10ScndsNcntng. He likes the word "logy" an awful lot. He is also known for for overusing "antechamber."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rats, Roaches, and Death Ants

 by Thom Young

There are three things in my place. Rats, Roaches, and Death Ants. They come out at night. They take shits in my shower. They laugh when I'm not home. They live in old pizza boxes. They lick cum off my sheets. They get in my girl's hair. The rats try and eat my Honeycomb. The rats are big and not small. The roaches are bigger than the rats. They live in the cracks of walls and lives. They shit on my toothbrush. They wait until I take a shit, then eat the turds. The ants sting like motherfuckers. They love sugar. They hide in old pairs of underwear. They love sweat. The roaches, rats, and ants like fucking up my world. It brings them happiness. I can't reason with them because they hate it. I locked the rats in the attic. The roaches hit the caps lock when I write. I hate them all. I fucked this bitch last night. The rats ate her pussy. I went to piss. The roaches took over. They licked her clit. The ants gave her a finger bang. They are all disgusting like me.

Thom Young is a writer from Texas. His work has been in 3am magazine, Word Riot, Thieves Jargon, The Legendary, and many other sundry places.
His favorite word in the English language is penchant, for example "He had a real penchant for lady-boys."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Saturday Morning

 by Dorla Moorehouse

I struggle into consciousness with the feeling of words forming on my clit.


“It's too early,” I mumble, and try to roll over, but Lily has my hips pinned down. And anyway, I'm not sure I really want to move.


Her tongue is firmer this time; my knees twitch from the added pressure.

“Why should I? It's Saturday; I want to sleep late.”



Lily slows down as she writes, emphasizing "fuck" in huge, wet strokes.

"You were well on your way to fucking me before I was even conscious."


"I'm not sassing you. I'm stating the obvious. Maybe you need to be more observant."



"I'll be whatever I want."


My body starts to liquefy as her strokes become more intense, but I'm not about to let her lick me into submission.

"I'm awake - but I'm not going to fuck you if you're going to be so demanding."






I struggle up, but as I try to swing my legs off the bed, I find my range of motion is limited - Lily already tied my legs up while I was sleeping. With no way to move and no other options, I settle back down.


She even draws out the punctuation mark, jamming her tongue against my clit with the final dot.

"No," I gasp, unable to contain my pleasure, but still not ready to give in.

Lily sits up, crawls over me, her cunt positioned right over my face as she grabs the ropes over the headboard and ties my wrists to the bed. Then she settles herself a little lower, until her cunt is pressed directly against my mouth. She doesn't need to give any orders; I know what to do. Arching my neck for a better angle, I stroke my tongue up and down her lips, then plunge it between those soft folds to get to her clit. I don't spell words out the way she does, but instead make abstract shapes: deep swirls, jagged lines, polka dots. I draw on her, turn her cunt into a work of art visible only to me.

Ever stoic, Lily tries to be silent for as long as possible. She knows I love to hear moans and screams, that vocals turn me on. When she wants to control me, she doesn't say a word, commands with her body and the words she spells with her tongue, and only makes a sound when she comes. I feel her thighs start to quiver and I know she's close; I've learned how to read her body. When her hips quake, she she lets loose a man and almost collapses. But she maintains her composure and slides back down to my clit.


"You know I am."

I look down my nose to see her lift her head, raise her eyebrows.


"Or else?"



The threat makes me even hornier, and I know she's right. I'm tied up, and if I protest, she'll leave me bound in bed for as long as an hour to teach me a lesson. She'll sit right






next to me, reading a book, acting like I'm not even there. Or sometimes, if I'm really naughty, she'll untie me on the spot, let me go and act as though this game never even started. That's worse than the torment of waiting. But I've been horny since I opened my eyes; I need release; this is not the time to tempt fate.

"I'll be good," I whisper. "I promise."

That's all Lily needs to hear. She quits the spelling and plunges full force into my cunt, letting her tongue run wild. Then I feel two fingers ease up inside me, press against my G-spot. The buildup overwhelms my body and I explode, thrashing my limbs as best I can despite the ropes. When the orgasm subsides, Lily breaks away, undoes my bonds, goes downstairs to make coffee. I can go back to sleep now, and join her when I'm ready.

Dorla Moorehouse is a writer and dancer living in Austin, Texas. Her favorite word is "corroborate," and thinks it sounds more beautiful than "cellar door." Her least-favorite word is "underwear," largely because she hates wearing the stuff. Dorla's writing appears around the internet, most recently at The Erotic Woman and You can read more about her work at

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rachel And Leah: The Hate That Links Us Together

 by A.S.

You used to be married to my man and no punishment goes deep enough for that. There are slide pictures of you in his collection and sometimes I watch them; your smiling, confident young face staring at me from some other time, the happiness in your eyes evident. He held the camera and you owned his love. I destroy the pictures of you giving birth to his child, the intimacy between the two of you being too much to bear. 

I lose weight and I dress in my new leather boots, the restrained feeling they provide is liberating. I happen to meet you at the Library and it´s a moment of glee and spite. I´m beautiful and you´re old. The power could have shifted, but it doesn't. Your position is cemented in the reality of you being the first of everything; wife, mother, grown-up relationship - how can I ever fight that?

You were young together with him and your advantages cannot be underestimated. You know all of his friends, they´re your friends too. You bought a house together, all of you, in the seventies. I´ve heard the stories. People are only too willing to share them, waiting, watching for my reaction. I hurt visibly, you know, and I imagine my pain is exhilarating, sensational even.

That house, those memories; a spontaneous evening bonfire, someone playing the guitar, cheap red wine and his arm around your shoulders. No question about where you went from there - was that the night his seed found your egg and linked you together forever? The passion you shared manifesting itself in the creation of life. Sometimes I think I hate you more than I love him.

The condescending looks that say I´m too young are always present. The pity and the frowning faces that say his behaviour is despicable and embarrassing, taking a girl half his age to his bed, into the life of his child. And I never get to fit in, I never feel like a proper adult. It´s always like I´m borrowing the character of someone else, someone more worthy and knowledgeable. Someone real.

I have to meet you, obviously. There are events, gatherings, celebrations around that cursed child that cannot be ignored. And I play my part, someone´s part, any part that I think is appropriate. Over the years I become quite adept at it. I think you must hate me too, on some level, but you behave admirably and I have to applaud, there´s certainly nothing wrong with your confidence.

In the end I´m diminished. I can´t find it in my heart to forgive you and it occurs to me that I´m the one being punished. I know this, but it doesn´t change anything. I still wish you´d get cancer.

I´m A.S. I write fiction based on stuff I´ve experienced or imagined. Often I can´t remember what´s true and what´s fantasy, and sometimes I accidentally steal my friends´ memories. I prefer my characters somewhat broken. The idea of referring to myself in third person creeps me out. I live with Hello Kitty and Super Mario. I miss Manny Calavera.
Words I like: ´distinguished´, ´sprawled´ - mmm… use a British accent and taste them…
Words I don´t like: ´juxtaposition´ and ´womb´ - don´t try those.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'll Feel This For Days

by Catherine Leary

It’s gray. The sky, the water, the sullen drizzle. The air, cold and biting. We’re sitting on a rail overlooking the sea. The moody water. The roar of the wind. Water has beaded up on the glass, tiny droplets like sweat. They run down the windshield.

You’re holding my hands. Not because you love me, but because they are numb with cold. We are both wrapped up in thick coats. The wind ripples at their soaked skins, pours inside all the vulnerable places. Despite my love of winter, I’m always cold. My fingertips have taken permanent leave. It’s like they’re angry at me.

“I could breathe on them,” you say.

This makes me smile. So you do it. You look in my eyes, a slight smile. The hot velvet of your breath wraps around my fingers. It is ephemeral. As soon as you inhale, the heat leaches away. You exhale again. I admire your knuckles, how big and raw they are. Like knots in a tree.

“Why are we out here?” My teeth are chattering.

“You were tired of being inside. It’s been a long winter.”

“I thought that was you.”

“You wanted to see the ocean,” you remind me.

It’s true. Warm memories of sitting in front of the space heater, fingers and toes offered to its steady flow of heat. Reminiscing about the water. It’s close enough to smell sometimes, sitting on my front steps. The salt gets blown through by weather fronts. Just last week we stood in the driveway, spellbound in the dark, sniffing the air like hounds. Yet by car it’s almost fifty miles. I wish for the space heater, or rather my hands wish for it. My toes, too. They’re getting chilly despite my Siberian boots.

“I know,” I say.

“So here you are.”

“So here we are.”

You try breathing on my fingers again. A strong gust blows my hood into the back of my head. I’m blocking the wind. My back is to the restless ocean. The smell of salt is strong, pungent in my nose. Like it’s been fermenting. Growing old since summer. Dying. You rub my fingers between your palms, trying for friction. I want you inside me. You’re busy. You’re focused. The warmth of my hands is all that stands between my life and your death. I look at your face, trying to catch your eyes. I tell you.

“All right,” you say.

“But I want your hand.”

We walk back to the car. The gravel is soft beneath our feet. We climb into the back seat and slam the doors. It’s good to be out of the wind. It’s cold inside the car, too. You offer to wiggle between the seats, reach with one long arm, jam the key into the ignition. Turn on the heater. I shake my head.

“No, it’s okay.”

We kiss for awhile. You unzip my parka. Your fingers navigate through layers of clothes. My nipples poke through my bra. You play with them. I do a little exploring of my own. You gasp a little at my cold hands. Long moments glide by, punctuated by breathing. A fine scrim of fog encircles the windows. A bank of it envelops the rear windshield.

“Are you ready?”

I nod. I take off my pants, and immediately my skin prickles with gooseflesh. My teeth renew their chattering. It’s okay, though, because your fingers are hooking into the only part of me that’s warm. Hot. Melting into the cigarette-scarred upholstery. You use the heel of your hand on my clit. I suck in a deep breath. It’s cold, but I can take it.

You work me. I smell like the water, but sweeter. Like the sun glimmering on a green wave. Like summer. This is the smell of life. You lean over me, concentrating on my cunt. I shudder a little. I love this feeling, this focus of yours, narrowed into such a tight beam. Chafing at such a sensitive place. My thighs are pushed apart. Your breath warms my face. You start to twist, thick knotted knuckles pushing in. You’re the only one who can do this to me without lube. I gush and gush. I’m soaking the seat. I’m making way for you. It hurts. It’s magnificent.

“You’re amazing,” you whisper. “So strong.”

I’m entering the wordless place. You brace a hand on the door and start to push. Slow and steady. I’m concentrating. Willing myself to let you pass. A grunt, and then bared-teeth cry. I start to pant. All the windows are glazed with moisture, all the views to the outside are blurred. You are breathing with me. I’m straining toward you. In my mind everything is red. There are entrails. Time lies somewhere, broken and bleeding. The birds are falling from the sky. A victorious scream, the cry of a warrior. Your hand. Your wrist. Your fist. You are inside me.

You are filling me.

I come like a natural disaster. Like the wind is ripping me apart. Like you have ripped my heart out through my cunt. I jerk like a fish. I gasp.

You kiss my cheek.

Long after you’ve withdrawn, I’m still laying there. The condensation has fattened, grown into snail-trails. The steely sky winks through them.

Later we’re both back in the front seats. You’re buckling your seat belt. The car is running, the heat cranked up to full blast.

“Thank you,” I say.

I’m tired of the sea. Gray sky, gray water. I’ll feel this for days.

Catherine Leary
lives in New England with her cats, aging parents, and a whole mess of books. Much to her mother's chagrin, she is exceedingly fond of the word cunt. She is an editor and co-founder of Freaky Fountain Press.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Addiction: Fiction

 by Lavinia Ludlow

Dear Scarlet

It’s me walking in on you shooting up in the diner’s cesspool of a

shitter, and you trying to conceal the evidence while you’re telling
me it’s straight up your first time. It’s the way I’m ready to blow
chunks because I’m forced to understand what I’ve put Mom and Dad
through all these years. It’s my twenty-three-year-old sister now old
enough to glare out at the world with the “fuck you, I’m righteous and
deserving of this shit. You owe me World so I’m gorging on
self-indulgence and destruction. Why? Fuck you, that’s why.” And I’m
twenty-seven with “I’m not mad; just unbelievably disappointed and the
respect I have left for you is questionable” radiating off my face the
way the artificial light reflects off your spider vein-ridden factory
girl legs.

What really gets me is the way you say, “I’m sorry.” The way you

follow it with, “you’re such a hypocrite.” Don’t turn this shit around
on me. I was different from you, and I had things under complete
control so fuck you too.

Tonight, I’ll go home tonight and shower off the industrial concealer

sheathing the track scars on my arms and the superfluous tattoos on my
shoulders. I’ll chase four Twinkies and a fistful of narcotics with
four Guinness, and as the buzz settles in, I’ll fuck my living-in-sin
boyfriend skin-to-skin till his dick deflates back into the nest of
his crotch and I’m slung over the edge of our mattress like a withered
water balloon leaking out the last bits of his cum. I’ll have his
abortion and never once regret or think back about it.

Because afflictions like those have nothing on the waltz between

needles, veins, and blood. They’ve conventional, they’re common.

Or maybe I’ve just been clean for too long.

Lavinia Ludlow is a musician and writer from the West Coast. Her novel
alt.punk is forthcoming from Casperian Books in 2011.
Pharmacopoeia is one of her favorite words.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Strange Ways We Love To Suffer

 by Isabella Ling

The ink is black and dark, just like how I imagined it to be, just like how I imagined I would feel right now. The hum of the machine resonates in my ear as the needle pierced the skin of skin on my shoulder, colouring my skin permanently. I try to imagine how the needle would spIn and twist but I don't really care. The needle drags itself across my now tender skin, as tender as my heart but not as painful. I revel in the little pain it brought, I had thought it would hurt more. 

I think of him as my skin is being pulled taut. Of yesterday, how I had finally seen him again after so long, how we had left each other only this morning, but it seems so far away now. I laugh and smile as a video of me was being taken, I don't let them see how I really feel.
"I think people who get tattoos are sadistic," I said.

"You will be thinking about getting a new one in one or two months, trust me."

"I know, that's why I said people are sadistic, to put ourselves through this pain."

'Well, people are sadistic," The needle continues dotting my skin with ink.

All I can concentrate on is the dull throb between my legs. He had spun me around and taken me hard and rough from behind. I remembered how he had filled me up. I like to think he had been that way because he really wanted and needed me. I am greedy, I want it to be both. I wished he had fucked me till I bled, so he can see the pain he is causing me. He was so gentle when he held me before that, but he has never been with my heart.

Come with me tonight cause I am drunk, I need you near me, I will cuddle you my little baby, the texts had read. I will regret this come tomorrow, I thought. Still I went, along with the wretched feelings that will surface the following day. He said he can never make anyone happy. As the needle continues its journey across my skin, I want to scream and take the needle and put my name on his heart forever. 

I lie on my side as the needle moves across the side of my breasts and down my ribs. The pain this time is more intense, more real, more like how it should be. The pain distracts me, at least for a while. I curse and swear through the pain but the pain doesn't hurt.

There were so many things I wanted to say, have to say, they formed in my mind and died at the tip of my tongue. I kept silent while in the cab with him to his place. If only time could stop with his arms around me and lips on my hair. He is so good at being silent. I searched for hidden meanings in the words he did say, wishing he would say the words I wished to hear. 

Later, I bit his lips when we kissed. How I loathe that he only needs me when he is drunk. But I loathe the idea of him not needing or wanting me at all even more. Need, he had said. Such a powerful word, I cradle it and repeat it like a broken record in my head. 

He has revealed so much yet nothing. I feel like I know him but I know nothing about him. Was there a quiet desperation that I sensed in him yesterday? I want to devour him and keep him inside. I should have been drunk, so I could have said the things he had whispered to me in bed. The needle jolts me back to reality, I held my breath as I wait for the next sting. I know he will not call tonight. I need more distractions, maybe more tattoos. Strange ways we love to suffer. 

Isabella Ling wrote half of this while listening to The National. "Strange ways we love to suffer" is a line off their cover of "Sleep All Summer". She thinks Hello Kitty is disgusting. Her current favourite word is need, but it would be better if it comes with want.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

three lines

by Gretchen Cello

I am addicted.
I wish… I should have…
I thought. You knew.
He has a girlfriend. They’re in love. A few.
I drank an eighth of gin. Popped two pills.
Non prescription.
Addictions. Construct me.
We fucked on her side of the bed.
Cocaine swore to me.
And I ran out of money.
Like I always do.
And I started drinking.
Too much.
Like I always do.
One night.
I. Exposed. Improper. Overuse.
Like I wasn’t worth.
His addiction is named Emily.
His addiction speaks four languages.
His addiction has all of his time.
Chopped. Three lines.
On a broken coffee table.
I compose.
Addicts are like that.

Gretchen Cello
believes that she’s an alien hailing from the Lyra
constellation. She’s presently homeless, jobless, and sleeping on a couch
in Queens. She has a webpage that she dislikes referring to as blog, it’s
updated every day: You heard… every single day.
Gretchen Cello has eyes that change colours.