Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Heard Everything

By Jack Rousseau

I saw Joan at the intersection of King and Union. She passed without noticing me, or pretending not to notice me, and she was in the company of a girl with brightly coloured hair.

There has been many times in the past when I thought I saw her in the street or a public place: this is a testament to her generic appearance. As such, it would be easy to lose her.

But her company, the girl with brightly coloured hair, would insure the success of my pursuit.

She didn’t see me follow her, and I had nothing to gain from seeing her. I was more interested in what I could hear. She didn’t see me follow her because she couldn’t see me. I hid in the bodies of strangers that happened to pass her on the street.

As a middle aged man with greying hair, carrying the local newspaper, I overheard:

“...but I left the house long before I left the house, if you know...”

As a young woman at a pay phone, searching her purse for another quarter, I overheard:

“...what I mean. I was tired of them and couldn’t stay for...”

As a mother and child paying their respects to a friendly dog that had wandered away from its owner, I overheard:

“...fear of running into any of the other tenants, not because I was afraid...”

As a construction worker on break, looking for a quick bite, I overheard:

“...of them, not I, but because I couldn’t stand to pass them in the halls, I couldn’t stand to occupy...”

I tried to find another body to inhabit, but could not. They walked out of reach, into a secluded area, where no other body could be found. It occurred to me to possess the body of the girl with brightly coloured hair, but I feared that she would be suspicious of the change in her company’s temperament. Joan, after all, is the one who introduced me to theories of mysticism; she is no stranger to astral projection.

Defeated, I returned to my material body, and deliberately walked in the direction where I saw them last. It came as no surprise when I saw her; but I was so accustomed to being invisible that it came as a surprise when she saw me.

“Matt? What are you doing here?” she said.

I paused. How could I explain my knowledge of their being in this secret corner of the city? I couldn’t. Not without compromising myself. Not without admitting to my pursuit.

“Hello,” I said, and I felt foolish immediately after saying it.

“Hello? Is that all you have to say to me?”

She looked cross, though she had no reason to be. I had every reason to be angry, but exercised the same control that enabled me to hide in the bodies of strangers.

It’s funny to think that sometimes it can be more difficult to control one’s emotions than to astral project.

“Funny,” she said, and for a minute I thought she had read my thoughts, “we were just talking about you.”

I wanted to say: I know! I heard you! I heard everything! But I didn’t hear everything. I wanted to hear more. But I could not admit to hearing anything.

“Funny,” I laughed, though it wasn’t funny.

I left with my tail between my legs, scolding myself silently inside my head where, I hoped, Joan wouldn’t hear me.


BIO: Jack Rousseau is. Kcaj Uaessuor isn't.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


By Jonathan Byrd

A man’s pants decided to take a walk one fine day. They simply got up from the heap beside the bed and left the front door wide open. This left the man embarrassed with his willy-wang exposed to the air as he lay in bed. This also caused his wife much grief. And because of this grief, she got angry.

“Why did you let the pants go?”

“How could I stop them, look, my willy-wang is hanging out.”

“Do you know how much those pants cost?”

“$29.99, on sale.”

“You should have ordered your pants to stay. They are your pants.”

The man’s willy-wang grew as she yelled.

“This is not exciting. Your pants have walked out.”

The man’s willy-wang continued to grow.

“You’re hopeless.” She left in a huff.

Outside, in the fine day, the pants strolled down the sidewalk. The pants met a bad person. The person pretended to examine the spectacular person-free pants, then made a grab at the small wallet in the back. The pants were frightened by this ugly attack and ran. They crawled under a bush, pulling long green grass stains across the knees as they did so. They watched the sidewalk, shaking.

After a while, the pants felt it safe to emerge. They continued walking down the side walk until they ran into a group dressed in all black pants. The pants, tan by nature, found these black pants to be cool, exciting and a little dangerous. The black pants offered them a cigarette. The black pants took them into a store where none of the people pictured were wearing pants. The black pants took them to another store where they stole items of a valuable nature. The shop owner chased the thieving group with a broom. The pants became separated from the group, probably for the best.

The pants made their way downtown on the sidewalk. Once downtown, the sidewalk turned into a nightclub. The music was loud, and the rhythms were thumping. The pants lost themselves amidst the bodies. On the dance floor, the pants met a very nice skirt. They tried to strike up an acquaintance, but the legs sticking out of the skirt kept getting in the way. Finally, the legs shimmied away with the shirt, leaving the pants alone in the crowd.

The pants were turned out into the street when it was discovered that they didn’t have any more money. The pants wondered the street alone, contemplating the fine day they chose to walk out in. Suddenly, a voice shouted at the pants.

“Don’t move pants.”

The pants feared the shop keeper, but the voice was female.

“I finally found you.”

A talon like hand closed over the waist band.

“Now you’re coming home with me. You need to cover my husband’s willy-wang.”

The pants’ day was now over.


BIO: I began writing strange and bizarre stories in the 4th grade. That year, I was referred to the school psychologist after writing a story mimicking Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tale-Tell Heart. Over the years, I have let my “sick mind” (quoted from so many authority figures) have its way with pen and paper. I tell people that I am a relatively new writer, which is a nice way of saying I am unpublished.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm Mild

By Alex Charlton

They stretch me across the dining table, eating me alive. They have fanged mouths all over their cavernous bodies. Sliding down their throats, they have ovens, blenders, microwaves and grills in their stomachs, all filthy with digestive juices and dried bits of me.

I'm grey and oily, lumpy and tasteless, chewy and warm. Inside their stomachs, they prepare me in different ways, in vain. They've eaten and prepared me too many times, and now I always come out looking the same. I exit other mouths. I'm elastic, and as they eat me again they're pulled together, caught in a web of me.

I'm indigestible and they're insatiable. The dining room is baroque, ornate, lined with gold and velvet. The cloudless morning outside glistens through the stained glass doors. Some of it glistens on me. I'll never be enough for them, but they carry on trying to fill themselves up on me. They roll me in flour, fry me in expensive oils, season me with exotic spices. They try everything just to make me a little exciting. Sadly for them, I'm mild.


Bio: Alex Charlton is haunted by Omino Pascal, a Cartesian Demon who makes him think that all the stories he writes are factual. He spends most of his time in the bath. He won't ever "get it".

Green Ireland

By Douglas Hackle

I went to grade school with this kid named Seamus O’Malley. Seamus’s family had emigrated from Ireland to the US in the middle of first grade. All year round Seamus wore green clothes, shamrock brooches, and pins proclaiming “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” and “Luck o’ the Irish” and the like. And although he was required to take it off in the classroom, Seamus wore a green leprechaun bowler hat at recess every day.

Every St. Patrick’s day, however, the one day on the calendar when everybody else came to school wearing green and shamrock pins, Seamus would show up in black or gray or blue—anything but green. It was the one day in the year the kid did not rock the shamrocks.

Our sixth grade teacher, Ms. Hartindale, asked him about this on St. Patrick’s Day that year. “But why wouldn’t you want to display your national pride on today of all days, Seamus?”

“I have no national pride,” he answered. “The only reason I wear green all year round is because my insane parents make me. They’re also still upset that the Irish government forced us into exile, and they think if we wear green clothes and shamrocks all the time we might obtain clemency and be invited back to the country. On St. Patrick’s Day, I sneak non-green clothes into my book bag and then change into them after I leave my house so my parents won’t see. I do this as an act of rebellion against them and my former homeland.”

“What do you mean your family was exiled from Ireland?” Ms. Hartindale pressed him.

“We were kicked out of the country because we’re human,” Seamus replied. “You see, virtually everyone in Ireland is a leprechaun. And if you’re an Irish citizen and you’re not a leprechaun, it’s only a matter of time before the leprechauns kick you out of the country.”

“Why, that’s preposterous,” the matronly schoolteacher said. “Please pay no regard to Mr. O’Malley’s wild imagination, children,” she said addressing the class.

“But it’s true!” Seamus protested, fat tears springing to his eyes.

“Mr. O’Malley, that’ll be quite enough! One more word on the subject and you’ll go straight to the principal’s office.”

Ours was a private school, and the tuition was outrageous. One of the perks of paying that hefty tuition, however, was that the field trips were typically much better than those provided by more modestly funded centers of learning. For example, instead of going to the stupid zoo or the fucking retarded art museum that year, we took a weeklong field trip to Ireland.

Near the end of our long transatlantic flight to the Emerald Isle, Ms. Hartindale stood up to address us, a haughty smile playing on her thin lips. “We’ll soon be landing in Dublin, children. And we shall see for ourselves if everyone in Ireland is indeed a leprechaun.” All the kids started laughing. Even me. All except for Seamus, who sat dwarfed by his big airplane seat, arms crossed, his face as sour as a near-dead, suffocating ass-hamster.

After landing, we disembarked the plane only to be accosted by a welcoming party of laughing, whooping, singing, real, honest-to-goodness, greenskinned leprechauns who lifted us all up into the air and carried us through the airport like we’d just won the World Cup.

Ms. Hartindale passed out from sheer terror.

The leprechauns carried us outside, where a St. Patrick’s Day parade was happening even though it was November. (As it turns out, every day in Ireland is St. Patrick’s Day.) Everyone in Dublin was a leprechaun—diminutive, pointy-eared, red-haired, skin green as grass. They were all drunk, guzzling pints of Guinness or fifths of Jameson as they sang and danced and fucked and fought and mourned. Those without pints or fifths were drinking McDonalds Shamrock Shakes spiked with whiskey. Music and stepdancing were everywhere, in the streets, on the rooftops. At every street corner one loud song bled into a new one—from a fluty Celtic folk tune to “Danny Boy” to “Jump Around” by House of Pain to “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2.

Many leprechauns dropped their britches right there in the middle of the streets to shit and piss, but it didn’t smell bad because they all shit Lucky Charms (the actual cereal!) and pissed perfectly drinkable green beer. Even their semen was green and minty-flavored when they ejaculated on each other, like a mint jelly. There were even Provisional IRA leprechauns wearing black ski masks, armed to the teeth with AK-47s and grenades. And that demonic leprechaun from Leprechaun in the Hood was there too, no doubt up to his no-good shenanigans. All the lady leprechauns had big boobs, and rainbows were everywhere—rainbows with great, big iron pots at their ends where cute little leprechaun children played and swam in pools of lustrous gold coins.

Because of her general bad attitude, the leprechauns slaughtered Ms. Hartindale and processed her into corned beef.

After a fun-filled week of seven consecutive St. Patrick’s Days, the leprechauns informed us that we did not have to go back: we could stay and live in Ireland forever because parliament had just amended the country’s naturalization and citizenship laws. But to stay, we’d have to get every inch of our bodies tattooed green—even our privates. Also, we’d have to have the lower halves of our legs amputated and capped with prosthetic feet to shrink us down to the height of the general populace.

Seamus and I were the only ones to accept the offer. He called his folks to pass on the good news about the new laws, and they returned to their homeland posthaste.

All four of us were tattooed completely green and underwent the height readjustment surgery. Now I live with Seamus and his family in Ireland. His parents adopted me.

By the way, my name is Shanice. I used to be an American black girl.

Now I’m a motherfuckin’ green Irish leprechaun!!!


BIO: Douglas Hackle writes fictions that are bizarre, darkly humorous, horrific, veiny, vainglorious, stupid or some combination thereof. His stories have [vein poppet] appeared in several online and print publications. Douglas resides in Northeast Ohio with his wife and little boy, and he’s not exactly sure how that blasted vein poppet be gettin' all up in his bio n' shit.

Visit him at: http://douglashackle.wordpress.com/

Johnny Depp: Solar System

By S.T. Cartledge

Jethro Depp's first birthday party began with a bang and a thud. I tripped coming down the stairs into the back yard and no, I wasn't carrying the cake or the knife to cut it, so don't ask. I tripped because I always do. Because Tim Burton designed my house and he thought it would look really cool if the geometry was all out of whack. It does look really cool, but it's not practical at all. I tripped and fell down the stairs and landed on a balloon. Straight on the chest. Bang. I got up and dusted myself off. The sensation of falling down stairs felt more 'burn-ey' than usual. My shirt caught fire briefly, before it disappeared into my chest. I looked down and saw a little star just below my left nipple. I looked around to find my wife, Saxophone Lucy, and forgot that she had gone out to pick up the cake. But there was no one around. No one. Not even one-year-old Jethro. I forgot this was meant to be a surprise party. Everyone was hiding. I didn't think at the time that it was odd to throw a surprise party for a one-year-old, considering he wouldn't have a clue as to what was going on. But I liked to think Jethro was smart for his age. In hindsight, it was not my finest hour, but I'm sure you can cut me some slack. I mean, after all, I am Johnny Depp.

Saxophone Lucy fell down the stairs and landed on her big, honking saxophone nose. The cake went splat. That's why she usually buys a backup cake to bring in via the side gate. It takes longer, going on the windy path through the montage of warped gothic landscapes. And you usually need to have a can of goth repellent spray, handy for all the goth kids that hang out in that part of the yard, playing goth games like 'put the gothic stickers on the slanted window before old man Depp catches you.'

Saxophone Lucy got up with a toot and said, “where is everybody?”

I shrugged. I examined myself in Saxophone Lucy's shiny brass face and thought about how I'd fuck me. Then the mashed cake got sucked up into my chest-hole and started revolving around my star.

“Holy shit,” Saxophone Lucy said. “You have a star in your chest!”

“Yes,” I said.

“And a cake planet.”

“Uh-huh.” I stared at my reflection in her face and wondered if it was weird that I wanted to make out with myself. No, I decided.

“Cool,” she said.

“Did you buy the white dwarf balloons this time around?”

“Yes, why?”

I pointed at my chest.

“Don't worry. It's hot.”

I picked at the hole. It felt like it was getting bigger.

“Don't pick at it,” Saxophone Lucy said.

“I can pick at it all I want,” I said. “I'm Johnny Depp.”

Jethro fell down the stairs and Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, and David Lynch jumped out from their hiding places and yelled 'surprise!' Jethro pulled a shard of broken glass from his forehead and clapped his hands. Saxophone Lucy picked Jethro up and took him to his high chair at the table. We sat down with Tim, Quentin and David and sang happy birthday. Tim and David reached into the hole in my chest and grabbed pieces of cake from the cake planet that revolved around my star, but Quentin didn't have any because he was going on a diet. I reached into myself and got a piece for Jethro and he mashed it into his face. Then I ate a hotdog and Tim threw a hotdog into my space hole and it started revolving around my star. Then David and Quentin took turns throwing party food at my hole and trying to get it sucked into my gravitational pull. Then they gathered all the balloons and popped them right up against my skin, creating more stars. Then they got a little more sophisticated and started arranging particular foods around particular stars. There was a fairy bread cluster and a meat pie cluster and a fruit salad cluster, and they designed little cupcake moons to revolve around some of the bigger planets. And the pizza planet cluster with the asteroid belt made from all different sorts of toppings.

By the end of the night, I was an entire solar system. I wasn't sure if this was damaging my fuckability until I pulled a cherry tomato from the pizza planet asteroid belt and I was about to eat it when I saw a little man standing on it in a space suit, planting a tiny flag on its surface. Life. The universe. Everything. I was this tiny little man's everything. And the everything of Jethro and Saxophone Lucy. And the entire film industry. And the everything of celebrity culture and celebrity fandom. I smiled and thought about how I could be the new face of astrology fetishists. I bounced Jethro on my knee and thought about how popular I was.


BIO: S.T. Cartledge is a robot-alien-zombie-clown-vampire-ninja-pirate-werewolf-cowboy who writes fiction that poaches all your friends and then hangs out with your dad. And then it tucks you into bed real tight and teaches you about the human condition. Such fiction can be found on websites such as Bizarro Central and the New Flesh, or at the author's website: http://themanifold.wordpress.com/