“PAN 4450” by JDRIS PERIGRINE SEAGUEULL

I

These people in this city aren’t ready to look like me, thought Markus, in a subtle but sick self-own. He looked at his ciggie, took one more drag and flicked it away. A baby started screaming.

—OI!

Markus was already walking away.

—Oi you!

Markus turned around

—Me?

—You know you just flicked hot ash at my son?

—Oh, sorry buddy.

—Do you think that it’s alright to just go around flicking ash in baby carriages?

—It’s not like I intended to set your kid on fire.

The man looked in Marcus’ face, and his expression turned from belligerent to pitiful. His wife had picked out the ciggie end and was consoling the baby.

—Just, he said, tapping his head, wake up. Continue reading

“FINDING LOVE IN THE AGE OF THE BUG” by CID BARRET

My memories and musings are so detailed and real I often find myself lost in my mind, while my body operates on some kind of auto-pilot. I am already considered “absent-minded” or ADHD due to this, as my existence is spurts of examinations of the self and reality, punctuated by intervals of unawareness in which the majority of my life exists. I barely remember ordering food earlier, but it certainly did happen. I was just somewhere else, my body and mouth working in unison to interact with the cashier while my conscious mind flees to higher plains. Imagine your ride to work. Do you consciously process every visual cue; every instant of the drive you make daily? Or do you sometimes arrive at work, with no real recollection of the journey there? It is very much similar to that. This, combined with intoxicants, has an interesting effect. For instance, right now while my mind is composing a thought on the nature of memory, I am physically present in my bathroom, staring at the bottom of a red solo cup as I wash down a capsule of pure MDMA. Ready for the party, I grab my coat and head out the door. It’s about a ten-minute walk, and cheaper than taking an Uber. As I stroll, my mind wanders, fabricating complex thoughts to entertain itself on the un-stimulating walk down the road. A dog, perhaps loose from its leash, trots up to me with trusting eyes, expecting a pet from me. The willingness of this animal to trust me, and its seeming belief that I am kind, struck me as profound when compared to his best friend – Man. Continue reading

“A NEW WORLD” by Christopher Bollinger

Its 1971, somewhere in the summertide.

The only oceans I have ever known churn vast and unencumbered out there beyond my tiny window. The endless plains undulate; kinetic energies of prairie wind and hidden mountains of air become unseen vectors of fate. I understood the structure of the world, heard in hidden whispers the dynamics of fatherhood, the melancholy of motherhood; the sting of punishment and the rewards of good behavior. Continue reading

SOUVENIR by ALICE FLORIDA XU

Billy and Oliver were their names. They lived two houses down. We went to the same elementary school and rode the same bus. (I remember jabbing one of those green vinyl seats, pushing my pencil into the yellow foam, and Oliver–or possibly Billy–laughing hysterically.) They were twins, non-identical. They had the same blond hair, but Oliver was taller than Billy. I remember their home, their backyard, their tree house. I remember Lucy, their gooey-eyed black poodle. I remember the living room, Billy and Oliver sitting Indian-style on maroon carpeting, watching cowboy shows all afternoon. Continue reading

“A DIFFICULT OPERATION” BY SAMUEL STEVENS

He saw the girl on the side of the parkway. She looked about as out of place out in the Blue Ridge in her nylon shorts and crop top and gaudy floral thigh tattoo as he did in his suit. She waved to his car. He drove past her. He’d only pick her up if he thought he’d get lucky and even if the chance arose he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He was working a case. Continue reading