“RED-SHIFT” by RYAN SILVA

Down It went — direct, sans demur — descending as if determined by doubtless deities. On the palace’s poolside patio, a picked selection of patrons puckering lips on Perrier spritzers perused the parabola of the projectile dematerialize into the pink horizon point.  Murmurs manifested throughout the mansion as the missile disappeared from view. The reaction of the soiree’s host, M. de Kuhn, was a simple stretch of his supremely ambivalent expression into a subtle smirk.

I had the opportunity to watch the whole affair from the patio’s private mezzanine. The gasps, the booster’s disappearance into the desert scrub, and the angular, severe face belonging to the angular, severe body of M. Martin de Kuhn, whose eyes were squarely laid upon me in his dashing dinner suit.

“Did you want to visit Cyrene tomorrow?” He asked, lifting an eyebrow.

I reeled at the suggestion rather reflexively, but I did my best to remember the advice of my editor, Tony Bactria of Wire — “go anywhere he wants to go, agree to anything he wants you to agree to.”

Wire is Silicon Valley’s premiere tech magazine. Prior to this, I was a one-time contributor. Now I’ve got the fancy title of “Guest Editor”. A month ago, I had written an article of sorts on my own personal blog called “40 Years of Vaporwave 2009-2049” that one of Bactria’s associate editors, Mara Wesley, enjoyed and syndicated on their entertainment sub-vertical, ArtWire. The site traffic app recorded 3516 hits. ArtWire averages 750,000 hits a day. It appeared on Election Day, when no one on the country is reading musical sub-genre retrospectives. I had been jobless that month. Continue reading

“LANDFILL” by *_*__ *___*__ *_

The unnamed village lay in a wide shining circle of sheet metal shacks and engineless trucks all blackened by fingertips prodding for balance and coppery blistered with rust bark-like and eating. Beneath floor and feet is spread a bleached desert of gritty pallor and collapsed white stone and concrete; all is colorless save for the glass and mirror shards that hold gilded day-shimmer and the pollen-colored dust laying as a veil on all unmoving things and the flaking sheets of blood that cut their color into dry wind like would sere crumbled roses. White-dusted faces peer from smeared windows. Packs of feral adolescents throw sediment at unflinching gulls. Skeletons with faces of black gorges glare. The dead lay as bones picked smooth as river stones and crushed under child feet. All other movement is windblown.

In the scant distance, the eleven loose-packed mounds tower over all things. They are built up daily by the stout planes that fly low; planes that, with a cacophonous hydraulic release like some great mechanical sucking, unlock their bellies and rain down great wet shining clumps of trash collected from that somber hungry city to the west. The planes go small then gone, doors dangling, salting spare salt-hued land in sparsest color.

The low sun turns the mounds to blushing copper and flushed out by cooling dimness the people emerge from bare shelter. In the soundless slow-motion of hungry aching strain, the gaunt and bearded fling together little mountains of tires and bags and soft paper in the image of the great giving larger ones and they are all set aflame. Then when the fire is high and eating and its mephitic black haze clouds the deep blue dusky sky and befogs the moon and the day’s last planes drop their final tumbling loads the men start their climb. Continue reading

FROM ANALECTS: ABYSS SEQUENCE by R

Actus Impurus

The Abyss was a map of its digressions from its essence, an infinitely broken chain of its being, a labyrinthine passage from its right path, a misshapen and impossible sphere that contained itself within its all-embracing circumference, alongside a dim image of its centre in the distance.

 

Cosmological Argument for the Existence of the Abyss

The Abyss, a thing of seemingly absolute complexity and infinite contradiction, was that of which nothing more confusing could be imagined, and from which our slightly less confusing and contradictory existence must thus have descended.

 

Contraphatic

Analogies of the Abyss are true only in their imperfection in illustrating the Abyss, for only that which is false to coherence is true to Abyss, and thus it is only by misleading and deceiving that this sentence can be true to the Abyss.

 

Tunc motu vitae suae intellectivae in se descriptum reperit quod quaerit

The Abyss, which was absolute imprecision itself (or at least so in language, in which it was almost always described imprecisely), baptised the mind in immeasurability itself when the mind delved into measuring Abyssal things, and then emerged from itself somewhere in the imprecise distance.

 

Abyssinia

A peculiar feature of Abyssinia is its tendency to make minds marginal in their imagination of its landscapes: to make the mind an incongruous caravan in its visualizations of Abyssinia. Continue reading

“69 FUCKING DOLLARS” by BLAKE MIDDLETON

I had a day off today.

I was sitting in my closet-sized bedroom scrolling through twitter.

Felt bored.

My girlfriend was at work.

Decided I was going to walk to the restaurant I work at to pick-up a tip-out.

I put on sweatpants and walked outside.

The first thing I noticed was all the trash everywhere.

I walked down the road and saw a shoe on a roof, and that was nice, too.

Saw some more trash.

Saw a punching bag punch in the shape of a person. The person-shaped punching bag was wearing a gorilla mask. It was in the driveway of a cinderblock house with at least a dozen NO TRESPASSING signs.

I saw a house with too many American flags to feel okay thinking about.

The fenced-off retention pond across from the Family Dollar seemed to be a little low.

I crossed the street.

Saw a car coming towards me.

Felt like the car sped up to hit me, but I did a little jog.

And for some reason I thought, “Yee-haw.” Continue reading

“STILL THOUGHT HAVING” & “NATURALLY” by SHANE KOWALSKI

Still Thought Having

 

It could be not true but I’m pretty sure my family had a plant with a face that could sing when I was young.

There was a magic car movie where the car had no driver but would let couples choke each other inside it.

Yes, I had a teacher, too, who told us that all weather could be explained by God’s disgusting body. Rain was sweat, snow was dandruff, fog was bad breath, the warm sun was pee.

Of course there was a dog. It died playing with a stick. The stick was a stick of dynamite. Continue reading

“A MATTER OF TASTE” by MATT LEE

Through the bulletproof glass, I gave the man my order: two-piece fried chicken with a biscuit, the cheapest item on the menu.

I pushed a few wrinkled dollars into the tiny slit at the bottom of the window and the cashier took it without saying a word.  He rang the order into a beaten register then disappeared to the back.

Stepping aside, I leaned against the wall, which was sticky with grease.  I scanned the adjacent wall, studying the various framed photographs and certificates, old write-ups from long defunct magazines, advertisements promoting the latest and greatest chicken-based consumables.  I had not eaten all day.

One photo in particular caught my attention:  A famous rapper wearing the same emblazoned uniform as the man who had just taken my order.

It seemed the famous rapper had grown up in the surrounding projects, grim and ancient hi-rise block apartments, row after row of cheap brown buildings where the dealers sheltered from the hawkish gaze of the mobile police watchtowers that were posted on every street corner. Continue reading

“LIFE STORY” & “KIDS WHO KILL (BOOK REPORT)” BY WILL WOODS

LIFE STORY

 

A

My name is Will Woods. I am fourteen years old. I was born on August 3, 1984. My favorite game is Mortal Kombat II. My favorite movie is Jason Goes to Hell. When I grow up I want to be a professional video game tester. My second choice is to write for Rolling Stone. My third choice is to be the man who puts old greyhounds to sleep.

 

B

I have seven books on snakes. I guess you could say that I am a snake boy. My favorite snakes are dendroaspis ployepis (black mamba) and ophiophagus hannah (king cobra). If I had a black mamba and/or a king cobra I would put it in my math teacher’s Ford Explorer. Continue reading

“TROPISMES” by MIKE KLEINE

The anthropologist appeared in late July, when the sky was still a cornflower blue & the earth rumblings had stopped. He ate escargots & spoke of published books & of academic lyfe & provided instruction on how to become a better person.

The anthropologist also did this thing with his h&s.

He drank whiskey & smoked Djarum Blacks & said things like, “White Cube is something new & wondrous that will never happen again.” The anthropologist would pause & then continue, “Because we are in an important moment in time right now, where limitations & regulations cannot affect the kind of world-changing work we are doing, literally, the sky is the limit.”

After that, the earth rumblings would come back for a little bit, but with less frequency. At night, the anthropologist would recite poetry & sleep by the pond & play guitar & spend the better part of his days photographing plant lyfe & investigating rock formations near & around the White Cube construxion site.

But not once did the anthropologist take a picture of White Cube or anything around White Cube. Continue reading

“HORROR HOTEL” by ALICE FLORIDA XU

ONE

 

On a Tuesday, Alice decides she will be unfaithful to Peter, her boyfriend of three and a half years. It is 10:43 in the morning and rain is drumming the roof of the building where Alice works. Alice chews on a pen and wonders when she will do it, when she will fuck someone else. Alice looks at the computer. Soon, Alice decides. Alice looks at a window and her gray chair squeaks. She chews on a pen and thinks, I am going to cheat on him soon. I have to do it soon. I have to cheat on him and I have to take control of my life.

 

Alice loves Peter. Or Alice used to love Peter. Or Alice never loved Peter. At one point Alice loved Peter, probably. A year ago, or maybe two years ago, Alice loved Peter. I love Peter, Alice used to think. Then something changed. Or nothing changed and Alice never really loved Peter. Maybe loving Peter was what Alice wanted, so Alice pretended it was happening. When Alice was twelve she believed she would be a veterinarian. Alice was very sure of it because she wanted it to happen. Every day she would think, I will be a veterinarian. Maybe loving Peter was something like that. Or maybe it wasn’t. Or maybe loving Peter and not loving Peter are the same thing, or so similar as to almost be the same thing, and there is no sense in thinking about it, especially not now, especially after Alice has decided that she will be unfaithful to Peter, an idea that feels very clear, and very large, and very unlike the question of loving Peter, which is very vague, and very small, and very confusing. Someone yells something outside Alice’s cubicle. Alice stares at her computer screen. Alice stares at a graph it is her job to make. Alice thinks, I need to finish this. I need to focus on my job. I need to be a good employee so I can keep my job. I need to be a good employee so I can buy a house. I need to be a good employee. My life is not in control. My life is out of control. I need to take control of my life. Continue reading

“ANOTHER STORY ABOUT FISH” by DAVID CATNEY

I guess I just don’t have good luck with fish though. So it’s probably for the best that I’ve only ever been fishing once. A few years ago I thought it would be a good idea to get a few pet fish. I liked the idea of getting stoned and staring at them for hours every night. I needed a new hobby. I started telling everyone I talked to about how much I wanted pet fish and how amazing it would be. I acted as though I was letting people in on some incredible secret I had stumbled upon.

Eventually, after telling enough people, my friend Darren told me that he had a fish tank and some fish. Coincidentally, he had been trying to get rid of them. He couldn’t find anyone to take them. I couldn’t believe my luck. I asked him how much money he wanted. He said I could have them for free. He said he would bring the fish and the tank by my house in a few days. I wanted to kiss him on the mouth. Continue reading