5/29/12

Went to high school...
By Scott Harmon


Allow me to introduce myself. The name's Womfat, Wizzle Womfat. I know, it's one of those boring names. I wish my parents had named me something snazzy like Waddy Wampum. Sigh...life is unfair occasionally. Sorry I'm rambling. Not! The point is I went to high school today, you know how it is. Got harassed by the peaceful pink feminists. You know, the ones that’s got to be surrounded by their pink chi 24/7? What a drag! Luckily I had a load of homework that I didn’t do. Made my day awesome. I’m being serious fool! Anyways, with a capital Q, I ran into my buddy, but it turned out he was in a semi fluxiant state of high matter disintegration. Dang woman! I can deal with a lot of things, but not that! Told him to go hit up some Karl Marx! That fixed him. And then! You wouldn’t believe who walked down the hall. It was those gosh dang wannabee illegal immigrants, with their ridiculous peasant costumes. All moaning about their parents having too much money and stuff. One claims to be Russian, the other Mexican, and the third Irish. It’s so stupid! Then they get into fights over who’s the best. Man high school is so awesome. I’m being serious fool!


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I'm 31 and I have been actively writing since 2005. I started out doing micro fiction(although not realizing it until later) and poetry. I progressed into longer short stories. I spend most of my time writing screenplays or comic books. I have a feature length written and other shorts, but right now I am outside of the actual business.

5/22/12

Your Own Best Friend
By Esme Benet


Forty-eight is a terrible age to find out the truth. You stand in front of the window on a bleary morning, and you look even worse than the world at which you stare. Your eyes are bloodshot wrecks and your hair is scraped back from your face into an ugly bun that shows every exhausted shadow. Your skin feels like it's sliding off your body the way your youth is falling from you. Your shoulders sag with the weight of your life and the need for the medication.

It wasn't always like this. You used to stand and stare into the distance, a little smile on your face, pleasantly lost in a world of your own making. You would listen to the voices in your head, little friends that kept you company through all the lonely days. Oh, of course you knew they weren't real. You knew that the voices were just the way that you thought, just the way you perceived the world. Still, they were company, and you loved them, and they were better friends to you than any living human has ever been.

But now they are gone. The medicine got up in the middle of the night, the terrible sleepless night, and pulled the voices out of your head and flung them against the walls and beat them until they died.

You used to be able to tolerate the world with them, but now you have to live in the world without them. Chicago's a cold place.

You don't want to take the medicine. You imagine yourself flushing the pills away, down the toilet, and you’re gleeful, free. You may not get your skin to stop sliding off your body. You cannot get your youth to court you again. Time can't be undone. But you could be free of nights without sleep, of mornings creeping over to the bottle.

But you don't flush the pills. Times are tight. Salaries are being cut. Jobs are being lost. You take the medication to start your day, so you can walk through the world the way society wants: quiet, focused, subdued, and more utterly alone than you knew a human being could be. The Company will no longer be happy to let you work at your own pace, so long as you get everything done. In the past, the boss lady walked into the room, and if she saw you staring out the window with a faraway smile on your face, she laughed and reminded you that you have a home, and you should go to it, so get your work done. That kindly reminder, that playful acceptance, that's gone. Now she comes in, grim, snaps "What the hell are you doing!" She gives you the proverbial hairy eyeball and you jump to it. You wait until she's gone, and you take your second dose of the medicine and you focus, and you produce, and inside your body, your heart breaks into a thousand thousand pieces.

It's a hard thing to learn you are not who you always thought you were. All these years, you thought you were just dreamy: a pleasant, kind, thoughtful, scattered sort of girl. Your friends loved you as much could be expected in this dark and haunted world, and they accepted you for who you were, and even delighted in the quirky way your whimsical nature inspired you. But now, they are gone too. The childlike nature that came with the dream of yourself has gone to sleep, perhaps even died, and the friends you thought you had were really just your audience. You aren't entertaining any more. You crunch through your life, doing your best to live with having sacrificed everything you love about yourself to hold on to a job in these treacherous times.

When the day is over, and you punch out, and you make your way back to the solitude of your house, you stare out the bus window, isolated amongst the passengers, and wish for the day when you can stand on the shore of the freshwater sea, your toes in the sand and your eyes wet with tears and turned to the far horizon, crying "My loves! My darlings! My dearest friends! Come back, come back, come back! All is done, and I may lay down my burdens. I pray you, don't leave me here, now!”

But that day is not here yet. Maybe it will never come. The bus rumbles and shakes and you hit your head against the hard glass as the rough streets destroy your balance. All this time, you haven't been who you really thought you were. It was all a lie. Those dreams of your heart were just out-of-control chemicals, and all these years you've been living a delusion. You close your eyes, rest your head on the bus seat, and smell the stinking diesel of conformity.


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Esme Benet wanders the corridors along the southwest shore of Lake Michagan. She likes reading and writing, and is just now starting to try Things Experimental. She's probably too educated for her own good, but that doesn't stop her from trying to be a perpetual student.

5/15/12

Traffic Signs You Might Come Across
By Miles Gough


Stop Sign - Make sure your vehicle comes to a complete stop. Check to see if it is clear before reinstating movement.

Yield Sign - IF the road you are entering is clear, you may proceed without any adjustment. If the road is occupied, cease movement until you can safely enter the flow of traffic.

Slow Children Sign - This is an area where children live and might run into the street so you must slow your speed and drive cautiously.

Rock Slide Sign - Dive with caution due to the possibility of rocks impeding your way.

Exploding Road Sign - Drive with caution due to the possibility that the damned rebels have mined the road.

Solid Double Lane Lines - Under no circumstance can you pass the car in front of you.

Perforated Lane Lines - You may pass the car in front of you if there is no traffic coming from the opposite direction.

Solid Double Lane Lines with Red Arrows in the Middle - If safe, you may fire bomb the car in front of you.

Ped X-ing - Stop your car if a pedestrian is in the walkway and allow them to cross completely.

Ped XX-ing Sign - Accelerate you car if a pedestrian is in the walkway. It is not proper to back up if you miss, please follow logical rules of the road.

No Hitchhiker Sign - If you pick up a hitchhiker in this designated area, you will be fined.

No Hostage Sign - If you pick up a hostage in this designated area, you will be fined. It should be clarified that you are allowed to have a hostage you previously obrained, but you are prohibited from taking any new ones.

No Littering - There is a fine for throwing trash from the car onto the road.

No Dumping - There is fine for throwing a body, dead or otherwise, from a car onto the side of the road. You won't see this sign much anymore, because it is felt that a no littering sign should take care of this as well.

Toll Ahead Sign - Slow you car and prepare to pay the assigned fee to use the next stretch of road.

Tribute Ahead Sign - Slow you car and prepare to pay the assigned tribute to the local warlord or overseer. You should know the price of the tribute before traveling, be it gold, diamonds, wheat or transplantable kidneys. It is your responsibility as a good driver to know this and other rules of the road.


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5/8/12

A Eulogy for Edwin Bogardus
By Henry Lu


Friends, Family and colleagues, we gather here today to pay our final tribute to Edwin Bogardus who left us last Thursday, at the young age of fifty-eight. His passing saddens and leaves us with a lot to ponder. Edwin died a scandalous death. (Note for the readers of this transcript – Edwin died in a Holiday Inn Express hotel room. He had collapsed from a hand stand against the wall. Autopsy shows that he had sustained a concussion from the impact of the floor and also a massive heart attack. He had also taken 200 mg of Viagara. The woman he was with at the time – an escort with whom he was doing a vertical 69, he on his hands and she on her feet – had called 911.) We are here because we choose not to punish Edwin for the way he died. We are here because we want to remember him as a friend, a father, a colleague, an ex-husband, or whatever you may remember him as.
I did not know Edwin too well and am humbled by his leaving me with his beloved Harley in his will. I met him in the men’s room on our floor in the office building – at the urinals, to be precise. A couple of years ago, Edwin and I both were suffering from shy bladder syndrome; and it just so happened that one day we were standing at the urinals side by side, faced with the same predicament. So we struck a conversation while waiting for the water to flow through the garden hose, if you will. The conversation actually helped as it turned out: I asked Edwin how long he had worked with the government and he told me since Jimmy Carter was the President. I said wow and asked him if there was anything interesting when Carter was in the office and he said yea, the son of a bitch ordered hot water to be turned off in all Federal buildings during the oil crisis. By the time he mentioned that hot water was turned back on, our sprinklers were going with a vengeance. I came across with Edwin a few more times at the urinals. Each time we laughed at his Jimmy Carter and hot water story and how well our bladders responded to it. To this day, I motivate my bladder with Edwin’s story whenever I stand in front of a urinal. 
Then I started to run into him in the elevators, cafeteria and etc, and we shared bits of life stories with one another. Two things in my life tickled his fancy. One is my addiction to golf. And the other is my evangelical preaching on Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych. I did not have to do much to lure him into playing golf. But I had a hard time getting him to read The Death of Ivan Ilych. He never did tell me that he had read the book, though now we all know since it is his wish to be buried with a copy of that book.
I was an eye witness to the terrible golfer Edwin had been. Throughout the few months he played golf, he had achieved what would take an average golfer a life time to achieve: inflicting a head wound to a fellow golfer that required emergency treatment, breaking five townhouse windows in one round and crashing a gas cart into a tree while intoxicated. But we will remember him as someone who did not take himself too seriously. And that is hard to do when you golf.
Edwin and I did not socialize much off the golf courses; as a result, I was oblivious to the seismic changes taking place in his life while he managed to show up on time for the weekend morning tees, hangovers notwithstanding. Edwin went through a tumultuous divorce, ending a marriage a few days shy of its silver anniversary. He also went on a spending spree, squandering his life savings on motorcycles, girlfriends, (Note for the readers – a.k.a., whores) yoga retreats, shooting ranges, flight lessons and you name it.
If I may venture a guess, I would say The Death of Ivan Ilych had imparted a profound influence on Edwin. It had put the fear of death in him, as it does to everyone who ever reads it. Edwin had realized that time was running out and he had to hurry if he wanted to leave people with something meaningful or significant to remember him by when he died. As a career government employee, his 38 years of service had accumulated nothing more than seniority and he knew he was just waiting to retire. He was desperately seeking something outside his job to experiment and excel. It strikes a sad note that Edwin also died young, like Ivan Ilych did in Tolstoy’s story. They both held government jobs. They both had normal family. They both had spent their lives living up to the prerequisites of society. I am happy for Edwin, for at the end of his life, he had unfettered himself from the rules and explored life at his free will. As we say farewell to Edwin, we are once again reminded of life’s brevity. And we thank Edwin for showing us his courage to pursue his life, whatever inappropriate means he had employed in so doing.
As to the Harley, I shall cherish and enjoy it for the rest of my life. (Note for the readers – It will be disrespectful to sell it for cash, but I don’t ride motorcycles. In the back of my mind, I wonder if Edwin actually had left it with me as a challenge – you know, a guy like me, all set in every possible way and plays fairly good golf, not exactly eager to step outside his comfort zone. On that thought, I see Edwin’s monkey face and beer barrel torso, with a non-existent neck in between, and his signature buck-toothed smile. )


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Henry Lu is a computer programmer by day, a painter and writer by night. Some of his paintings are installed in certain Federal Government buildings in DC. His fictions have appeared, or are forthcoming, on Postcard Shorts, Nanoism and Absinthe Revival Press' Summertime Anthology.

5/1/12

How I Found Out Who Killed Kennedy
By Edward T. Keller


I used to play the bagpipes when I was a Scotsman, to this day I sometimes try to blow into cow’s udders to make music. In fact, they arrested me just a month ago - charged me with milk theft. I challenged them to check the contents of my stomach, to prove that I hadn’t drunk any of the milk.

The medical examiner used to be an Ancient Egyptian, to this day he tries to shove pencils up patient’s noses – an atavism from his days of mummifying. I told him Scotsmen never surrender. In desperation, he shoved the pencils up his own nose.

I offered him a hankie to dub the brains running out of his nostrils. “Zang you” he said with a nasal accent. But wait! I thought. Maybe this is not a nasal accent - maybe the pencils have activated a German matrix?

After a few experiments I found that if I gave the right pencil a gentle twist, the good doctor spoke Dutch, and if I gave the left pencil a twist, the Dutch was slowly superseded by Norwegian. If I twisted both pencils, and angled them slightly to the left, I could catch shortwave radio transmissions from the early sixties.

And this is how I came to know who killed Kennedy.


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