RA 0h 42m 44s | Dec +41° 16′ 9″ by JAMES NULICK

My eyes are a camera. When I was a young boy eight nine ten years old, I’d keep my left eye close to the wall, at eye level as if I were a living breathing Steadicam, my right eye closed, an eternal tracking shot, my left eye forever open, the score always in the background, the score I had written on a one hundred dollar Casio. I pan down the hall, to the left, past the bathroom, Mama’s room, into my bedroom, I pivot and the left eye closes and the right eye opens, it’s seamless, undetectable by the human eye, a marvel at 50 FPS, my tiny bedroom a diffused here and now, Mama’s voice coming to me from the kitchen – Nathan, what are you doing? Nothing, mama! The camera finally telescoped into a close-up of the Snoopy plush on my bed, resting on my pillow, excited to see me, the director of everything. You’re a daydreamer just like your daddy was, Mama says. The world isn’t kind to daydreamers, Nathan – remember that.   Continue reading

“STONE FUR SKIN FISH BLOOD” by TRISTAN FOSTER

Something like. Like track ballast. Igneous, dense and heavy. No, weighty. Full. When you were young you had a friend who lived near the freight line. Ballast would appear in his backyard. Once when you visited you put coins on the track, waiting for a train to come by and warp them into smooth, useless flakes. Like the ones he’d brought out in the school playground at lunchtime. While you hid in the bushes by the track you thought of your mother and this waste of money. This literal sheering of cash; it made your palms sweat and your ears drum. Made you want to piss. But the train didn’t come and when your mate suggested following the tracks to the signal hut to throw stones, you were quick to hop up and pocket your coin, a fifty cent piece, now worth more than the five and the oh on its face.

Coin in your pocket, you followed your friend. You kept an eye out for the train, an ear out for its approaching rhythm; dogs barked at you from backyards. Eventually you arrived at an old hut. The door was kicked in and each wall had a scribble of graffiti on it. Every window was already broken but, even so, it was a thing to throw rocks at. The scrub around the signal hut sprouted from small pebbles. Before long, you were scooping them up in handfuls and catapulting them into the air. Of course, soon, your mate threw the coin he was ready to let the train press flat. Threw it at one of the broken windows but it curled sharply and missed the hut altogether, tinkling as it landed on the other side. He turned to you, as if expecting you to do the same with your coin, but you grinned and hurled another handful of pebbles at the hut’s roof. Continue reading

TWO STORIES by JORDAN CASTRO

Aunt

 

My aunt spoke to me quietly, in a confused and troubled tone, on the landing of the stairwell in my grandmother’s house, which was inexplicably crowded.
__I know you’re sad and you have problems and things, she said, but please do not bring them to Twitter.
__A tall, thin creature with a human head and the body of an iguana walked slowly past us up the stairs.
__My aunt waited until the iguana man was out of earshot then whispered, It’s just, then paused. Nevermind, she said, visibly struggling to hold back tears.
__I noticed paintings on the walls behind her. They looked antique, but had shiny new price tags on them.
__Running, she said. Or basketball? What about basketball? You used to love playing basketball, she said. Continue reading

“WE THINK HENRY DESERVES HIS COMEUPPANCE” by MICHAEL MUNGIELLO

Henry shuts the door behind him.

 

He is Professor of Graphic Novels at our college.

 

*

 

Rather than unfollowing his ex-wife on social media, he has stopped using social media. “You should focus on your work,” his sister says over Skype. “Maybe adopt a dog?”

 

*

 

One of his students presents him with a reddish puppy. Henry loves it, welcomes it into his life, buys it a bed. He notices it still has a tag on its leash. The tag is pink. The tag reads:

 

COPING MECHANISM

 

Henry removes the tag but does not discard it. He renames the dog Death. Continue reading

EIGHT POEMS by JAY JADICK

THEORIES

 

you go, we stay
thinking about
the possibility
of my friend
who believes
in aliens

my brother
says, just checking,
just checking, if
this conception,
this human, I’ve spent
twenty years remembering
is real, why can’t
now erupt into
expanding
time traveled thru
piece and peace,
the guide, TV
IS ME, and
you are the
one I love,
paranoia,
my one
and only
is grounding Continue reading

“PURCELL” by LOUIS JONES


Purcell’s fingers tarantula twitch
draining mauve in the pocket of his close fitting tracksuit bottoms;
poor circulation;
mithering at a piggish erection with dictionary definition disdain.
Purcell’s sallow lips purse and thin;
on a cracked black plastic whistle;
to modulate increasingly shrill blasts of spittle sodden disinterest,
brought to issue with a slight slurp;

that drool pools,
on his weak bottom lip
depending on the qualities of the boy shivering in line for the shower

The pipe servicing the urinal trough that runs the length of the wall has leaked ever so slightly all season;
and so Purcell has, really quite entrepreneurially,
had the run off stewing;
in a crusty blue bucket;
for the duration of that mornings training session, and for however fucking far back the team has failed, docile, to perceive total trauma;
Today’s piss;
sat curdling, as froth on the already collected;
slop bucket cushioned by cut wet grass;
slicked to the once white tiling;
steaming;
a small font of sorts;
for a baptism of belittlement in the offing Continue reading

“GAGG” by GRANT MAIERHOFER

You lose an absurd weight, you become and, frankly, I worry. Today we can give the venous injection to you. But do not forget the fact that important thing eats despite your feelings here and now. I listen to the few things and… I must not eat do not want to pass over what kind of line although… just. Becomes. You the body scoop out sit afternoon all through with the needle. To spill the arm, and when bends the body and the people sound to be removed is audible, to be cursed with the behavior. Really, to that place. No, no. I think that the interest goes. Through the necessity which is unconscious will hold you from you from the memories which still sit before your mind drifts making a dream. When the dream started improving after their first stuporweeks, your mind your dream to believe firmly, your dream measures a perspective to, any more as the place which is an enemy. It is not real, not the fact that reached, is very. I must think as the existence attention person. Completely me, appears to be being normal.

 

The room shifts with pleasantry.

 

We giving to each other about task and aim of the family do to be very simple, and does not reach with that more than. I most respected their house and when although, I moved to that place, I almost had sold everything immediately. I can buy the articles which got in year sufficiently made the space: Several hundred books (almost like exactly there are these, I reading and loving, and I will like) with I am being divided. Continue reading

“AS I KILL HERE IN THE NOTHING-HEART” by TROY JAMES WEAVER

I wake up and it is dark. The waves sound like flesh-smacks and bottle-cracks. Sometimes the sea is like a hook in the mouth of an orphan. I do not know what that means, but that fact alone should not lesson its meaning. It mainly has a pull, that’s its triumph. The nights here are generally beautiful, cool, almost tangible, like webs of spiders multicolored as if from other worlds, but in this moment, the beauty of this very night here eludes me. I feel as though it is a vacuum, sucking at the sky that birthed it, and I find myself coughing often, as though my wind is being sucked, though I don’t think this illness has a name, nor is it my illness alone.

A fine mist of stank comes over me, bile and curdled milk, the horizon at this hour a smudge of coal, but there is a seed of a light out there, I see it now, coming for me, coming for somebody, moving inward. It glows dim, and is aureoled by the fog. I watch and watch. I watch it bobble and move closer, until, the minutes killing the hour, it comes on suddenly bright, breaks through the weather, and settles itself as a rising sun.

Swollen thick with urine, I go over between the cargo containers to relieve the pressure. I remember precisely how it felt that first time. His mouth was quite soft and moist, but there was a roughness on the roof. He would have fared better were he to not let it touch that spot.

As I empty, I go to a time of a few weeks before he was dead, to a place where we skirted the mist about the dockyards and two miles away from all of it found some clear air to breathe in a pocket of beach. We sprawled out together in such a way that our heads were cradled in the other’s thigh. Continue reading

“55 REMAKES” by BIG BRUISER DOPE BOY

Remake of The Matrix that’s security cam footage of me drunkenly breaking into a Best Buy and passing out with a VR headset on.

 

Remake of Memento where I’m stoned in a room trying to remember what I was talking about.

 

Remake of Batman where I walk around at night in a cheap mask hitting cops in their ribs and shins with a bat while shrieking dementedly.

 

Remake of Life of Pi where I fall off the raft and drown in the first 5 minutes and the rest of the movie is a 2-hour shot of the ocean.

 

Remake of Bloodsport where I spend an hour and a half trying to do the splits and rip open my taint and bleed out on a gymnastics mat.

 

Remake of Say Anything where I show up uninvited at my father’s funeral holding a boombox over my head playing “Hippa to da Hoppa” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Continue reading

“THE REPUBLIC” by USERCORPSE

Box

Box began work on The Republic at that time in a young man’s life when he wanders too far and tries to trace back to his roots. But can’t find them where he left them. So he starts digging holes. Still none found, he resigns to digging the holes deeper and into the shape of his missing roots, and casts a concrete mould of a past; “Must’ve rotted. Pretty sure they were here.”

Box is Dutch, Protestant, and American middle class. Digging said three tunnels through time, he struck the Dutch Golden Age thrice. Examining it, he found it was not just a coincidence of his making, but a serviceable model of his world, and one he was personally connected to (if only by concrete). Wasn’t that what he was looking for?

The huckster OhK once comforted Box through a time in the land “too far”. His muscles so ached without will that he let an OhK YouTube ad play, finish, redirect to the whole of its advertised video, and finally kick off a whole playlist, all as he peered out from the wrappings of a chilled blanket. Continue reading