By the time Sally died, it was too late for Jack to become a better husband and too late to make amends. Car crashes come suddenly, without any warning, and can be as unforgiving as the wife of a cheating husband who feels no remorse. Jack was alone, five days after the accident, sitting in his kitchen eating breakfast and checking for the fourth time to make sure he’d turned the stove off. He had overcooked scrambled eggs and the toast he’d made looked more like burned charcoal than anything fit for human consumption, but he’d eaten most of it anyway, spitting out the darkest of the black, crumbling pieces into the sink (after chewing them until the taste was unbearable). Those buttery, black bits were now stuck to the greasy aluminum pots and pans that lined Jack’s sink and would be onerous to get off.Continue reading “Burned Toast by Gil Hoy”
Watching the planes take off and land. It’s possible to observe them through a gap between trees. Little glimpses, a flash of light, a roar of the engine. Gone again, come again. I’ve watched so many, it puts me to sleep. It takes a while to realise those sausage tubes contain real people. Pilots and stewardesses in their perfectly tailored suits. When I turn away, the sound of traffic returns, the commotion on the street. Windows don’t close, except in monsoon season. Even then… Snakes slip between unguarded spaces. The monkeys set up a racket. The creatures lurking in the forest make their presence known. There are no trophy hunters; no men emulating Hemingway. The fish have buried themselves in the deepest deep, the wild game have found a habitat across the border more in keeping with their lifestyle. The forest will flourish until the loggers return. And then there will be mayhem.Continue reading “Bobby’s Shadow by Desmond Kelly”
Bubba is such a fat pussy. The bulk of her belly drags along the floor when she walks with her four short legs.
We describe Bubba with all the words we are no longer allowed to use on people.
But Bubba doesn’t care for semantics.
She circles around my legs and demands more snacks. Her soft hair tickles my skin and gives me a kinky mix of annoyance and comfort.
‘Bubba, I’m working.’
If you say so, she jumps on my desk and curls up on the laptop in front of me. She’s very fond of laptops; the electrical warmth comforts her tushy.Continue reading “Fat Pussy by Midori P. Yeung”
You could say I’m an unhappy guy. I just want to blot out the days, smoke away the nights and dump my beloved books into the ocean. Books used to be my everything, but now they simply bore me – I can hardly read a paragraph my senses are so dulled. I have better days, it’s true, because I’m essentially free. I can choose when I wake – I have no alarms, no commitments, but sleeping in my car, that I’ve called home since the divorce, can be a real drag.Continue reading “Sanctuary by Tim Frank “
A hollowness opened in me as I entered the house, a space within a space, as if I already sensed what had been lost. In the TV room the stuffed toys lay piled almost to the ceiling, their little heads and tiny eyes facing up. A whirring in my ears began, from the space within a space, “hello?” I said and the sound disappeared. Where were the cats? I paused at at the stairs to the second floor. The steps up seemed staged, like a movie set, “Follow us, the show’s about to begin,” said the hollow in my head. I went to the kitchen instead.
“I will not give in yet,” I thought, though that hollow space signalled over and over again “this is not going to be good.”Continue reading “I Love You More by Harrison Kim”
My life is a sea of ifs.
What if I’d published this collection? if I’d studied harder? If I hadn’t shot off my mouth at home? What if I hadn’t eaten too many potato chips and drank too much Merlot?
On my thirtieth birthday, they all rise up like the ghosts of Christmas past, whispering. If, if, if, a hollowed-out word that sits next to me in the coffee shops, follows me on my nightly walks, snuggles too close to me.
I procure the biggest whiteboard possible. Eliminate ifs. Draw up concrete whens in lavender marker. No red markers bleeding with psychological pressure, thank you. I lay out goals and visions.Continue reading “What If? by Yash Seyedbagheri “
I try to leave Mom a voicemail. Again.
The voicemail cannot be delivered. Again. She always stores old voicemails. Always says you never know when they might come in handy. Especially if you’re in a jam and need proof that you communicated with X at Y time. Pre-empt the world.Continue reading “Voice by Yash Seyedbagheri”
Once, the coffee shop walls were sunshine yellow. It was a yellow that to Nick evoked the shape of sweet dreams. Dreams that whispered and took him by the hand. Dreams he couldn’t get facing white walls, six months ago. White walls that faced other white walls, with faceless neighbors who never made themselves known.Continue reading “Welcome by Yash Seyedbagheri “
“How are you?” has been a constant question which she learned in a course of two weeks (maybe a year, maybe six). She wondered why they kept asking her that.Continue reading “Cotard’s Delusion by Martie Carol Gonzales”
Once, a good morning or a how-are-you rose from me like a wave. I smiled that little jack-o-lantern grin, as my sister Nan called it. And once I cruised the streets in my Subaru, just feeling empty streets at dusk, while streetlamps came on, feeling the smooth motion of turning wheels, the rise of oldies and classical from radio, Elvis or Tchaikovsky accompanying me home.Continue reading “Good Morning by Yash Seyedbagheri “