Monday, November 28, 2011

The Wave

By Jonathan Byrd

The wave comes washing down the street and ruins my lunch. What the fuck is a 20 foot tall wave of sparkling pink lemonade doing coming down the street anyway? Doesn’t the wave know I have to go back to work answering phones? The public must be served, and this damn wave comes along.

From my spot on the company logoed picnic table, I can see people surfing the wave. A few of them are laughing, but most look scared to death. They are probably frightened of what their bosses will do when he/she finds them away from their desks. “Swept away by a sparkling pink lemonade wave,” he’ll say. “I’ve heard that all day. Come up with a better excuse.”

The wave is about a minute away.

I lick the last bit of cupcake frosting from my fingers and think of my wife’s nipples. Not that cupcake frosting or 20 foot tall sparkling pink lemonade waves inspire thoughts of my wife’s nipples. It’s just that we haven’t had sex in three weeks and she was completely naked when she handed me my lunch this morning. It certainly made it hard to come to work today.

I wad up the last of my lunch in the environmentally friendly paper bag my wife insists on. This seems funny now, seeing as how a 20 foot wave of sparkling pink lemonade is tearing up the environment she’s bent on protecting. I turn back to see that the wave has advanced quickly, it has also grown. I’m now looking at a fifty foot wall of sparkling pink lemonade.

The wave is thirty seconds away.

At the crest of the wave, a man in a business suit rides a brief-case surf board. He wobbles as he yells some team building encouragement slogan at the people around him. I can’t hear anything, the roar from the wave is deafening. The brief-case flips from under his feet and goes hurdling through the air. The man goes down into the wave and doesn’t resurface.

I look at the door, it leads back to work: cubicles, phone calls, mind numbing stasis. I look back at the wave and I am confronted by danger, fear, uncertainty, refreshing sparkling pink lemonade. I know I’m going to be swept away by the wave. I guess I have to decide whether I’m going to see it coming or not.

BIO: Jonathan Byrd says: I began writing strange, dark, 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 Tell-Tale Heart. Over the years, I have let my “sick mind” (quoted from so many authority figures) have its way with pen and paper. My work has been featured on the Mustache Factor, Bizarro Central, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finding the Lion in Los Angeles

By Andrew J. Stone

The So-Cal sun boils my flesh as I tantalize reality up-down the sidewalk. I am alone, am I alone, when that golden being leaps from the arctic bushes. No, they aren’t arctic. They are purple, or orange, or yellow, or green, golden green, Aslan roars a hole through my eardrum.

Johnny: The fuck? Aslan?

Aslan: The fuck? Johnny?

Johnny: Yeah?

Aslan: Not again.

My feet hit light speed, no, ludicrous speed, until I find myself in the middle of a Los Angeles blizzard, the kind that creeps up on you in the middle of summer, like homelessness attaches itself to the homeless, except I’ve never been homeless, have I, no.

Johnny: Aslan?

Aslan: What?

Johnny: How’d you catch up to me so fast?

Aslan: You didn’t go anywhere?

Johnny: But the blizzard?

Aslan: You’re in LA… What blizzard?

Johnny: Oh… yeah…

His tongue laps itself haphazardly across my chest, thighs, pinstriped eyes, and I wonder… wonder what would happen if Aslan disappears.

Johnny: The fuck? Aslan?


Johnny: Aslan?



Johnny: Aslan? Oh, Aslan?

Shawn: Johnny?

Johnny: Aslan?

Shawn: The fuck? It’s Shawn.

Johnny: Yo, Shawn, how’s it hanging.

Shawn: Erect.

Johnny: Good one.

Shawn: Thanks.

Johnny: Shawn?

Shawn: Yeah.

Johnny: You see Aslan come through here? I was just talking to him, but I can’t seem to remember where he has gone off.

Shawn: Dude…

Johnny: Yeah?

Shawn: …You need some serious help.

Johnny: Aslan?

Silent crickets chirp eeriness.

Johnny: Why God? WHY... Aslan. Come out come out wherever you aren’t.

Shawn: Stop.

Johnny: You hear that…

Johnny: Aslan.

Shawn: Where?

Johnny: Over there.

Shawn: Johnny.

Johnny: Aslan?

Shawn: Shawn.

Johnny: Oh.

Shawn: You really need to stop talking to yourself. People are starting to get kinda freaked out. You’re starting to turn people away from you. Including me dude. You’re kinda freaking me out.

Johnny: You already said that.

Shawn: I have this psychiatrist who is top of the line. Top notch.

Johnny: Aslan?

Shawn: Want his number? He’ll be able to help you?

Johnny: ASLAN?

Shawn: Aslan isn’t here. He’s back in Narnia with the rest of your friends.

Johnny: Aslan…

Shawn: You really need help.

Clouds soar overhead. Swords dagger from the sky into my flesh. I catch one. Except it’s a fork. I remember I’m eating something. It’s warm. Nuked fresh from the microwave. Just like mother made it. Before she hung herself. Now I do the nuking.

Mother: Johnny?

Johnny: Yeah.

Mother: Dinner’s ready.

Johnny: Coming.

She serves fish. Cold. Stiff. Like her corpse. Teeth quake.

Johnny: Mother, have you seen Aslan?

Mother: I love you Johnny… you need help.

Johnny: Mother?

Mother: Yes?

Johnny: Are you real?

Mother: Relatively.

Johnny: Okay

Crickets cease their chirp.

Aslan: Johnny?

Johnny: Aslan! I knew you’d come back.

Aslan: I never left Johnny. We’ve been here the entire time.

Johnny: But the psychiatrist, the hanging, the nuking?

Aslan: All gone. It’s all in your mind Johnny. It’s all gone.





BIO: Andrew J. Stone lives and writes in a suburb of Los Angeles with two cats and coffee. His work has recently appeared at Danse Macabre, Yes Poetry, The Camel Saloon Gallery, and Short, Fast, and Deadly, among other places. As a recent high school graduate, his work has been translated into English. He sleeps with one eye open. This is a lie. He'll eat you at:

Sunday, November 13, 2011


By Eric Suhem

George walked along the rainy sidewalk and looked through the window of the department store, seeing today’s modern fashions strewn on the white floor of the display area. A colorful beach ball rolled playfully amidst a male mannequin mounting a female mannequin missionary-style in what seemed to be a tropical beach setting. “Damn mannequins,” grumbled George. “They get more action than I do.”

George had separated from his wife Janice two weeks earlier after discovering that she was having an affair with her ski instructor Rolf. In fact, at that precise moment, Janice and Rolf, like the mannequins, were having sex on a beach. Over the next few weeks, George’s jealousy of the mannequins escalated, and their sexual positions became more sophisticated and elaborate in the department store window. One evening, the mannequin scene was a groping orgy in a winter chalet setting, advertising snow-wear, while on another continent Janice and Rolf skied in the Swiss Alps, looking forward to a big night of sexual gymnastics in the ski lodge.

George became obsessed, seeing Janice and Rolf in the mannequins’ plastic limbs. He got a maintenance job at the department store, in order to monitor more closely the actions of the two plastic figures, which he started to call Ms. Lacquer and Mr. Acrylic. In his green-eyed seething, George began to see the mannequins everywhere. As he replaced some fluorescent lighting in the administration department, he noticed Ms. Lacquer sitting at a desk, typing and answering the phone, while Mr. Acrylic sorted memos nearby. With twisted logic, George deducted that a cartridge audio tape had been implanted in each of the mannequins’ plastic throats, enabling voice greetings and requests for information, in a reliable loop. He also noticed that helpful rollers had been applied to the mannequins’ feet, providing mobility. As Ms. Lacquer’s right index finger mechanically tapped the keyboard, her right wrist occasionally slipped off of her arm and fell to the neutral gray nylon carpeting below. Mr. Acrylic would quickly roll to her side and re-attach Ms. Lacquer’s wrist, winking his plastic eye and applying a dab of glue, as a jealous George looked on, enraged by Mr. Acrylic’s gallantry.

In George’s eyes, the relationship between Ms. Lacquer and Mr. Acrylic escalated rapidly. At the park on a Sunday afternoon he spied on the mannequins at play. From behind a bush, his binoculars focused on their roller skating date, which involved collisions and periodic dismemberment.

The following day in the department store break room, George was stirring non-dairy creamer into his coffee when Ms. Lacquer and Mr. Acrylic rolled in. With a boldness she’d never felt before, Ms. Lacquer ventured throatily to Mr. Acrylic, through the voice of the cassette tape embedded in her throat, “Am I making you hard?” while brushing gently his firm plastic exterior. Mr. Acrylic seemed to be momentarily taken aback, but quickly recovered, the tape cassette in his throat intoning suavely, “Why yes Madam, I am of plastic and varnished enamel.”

George watched Mr. Acrylic send a series of love notes to Ms. Lacquer in the office. The notes were romantically written by Mr. Acrylic on a typewriter from the 1960’s. Strangely, each ringing sound of the typewriter’s ‘Return’ mechanism sent the just-typed, wet-inked letters and numbers into the air as a cloud, wafting down the hall. The cloud of typewritten characters settled onto a blank sheet of paper on Ms. Lacquer’s desk. She would typically put the piece of paper into an envelope and read it later, away from prying eyes, but this morning she read it immediately. Soon she appeared at Mr. Acrylic’s desk, as he was starting to type another love note, a small cloud already beginning to form over the typewriter. “I am sorry, Mr. Acrylic,” voiced the cassette tape embedded in Ms. Lacquer’s throat, but I cannot marry you, and I can’t even tell you why.” With that, she unscrewed her wrist, with the engagement-ringed finger attached, and placed it on a stunned Mr. Acrylic’s desk. She then turned and moved back down the hallway. The cloud over the typewriter obscured Mr. Acrylic’s vision as he watched her roll through the mist, out of his life, forever an enigma.

The next day, George was walking to work, looked in the department store window, and saw Mr. Acrylic & Ms. Lacquer, back together again (!), and mocking him while donning colorful spring-sale togs. Apparently they were rekindling their romance. George’s jealousy and rage toward the mannequins had not diminished. Screaming wildly, George crashed through the department store window, and began tearing apart Mr. Acrylic, piece by piece.

Janice declined Rolf’s request to marry, enigmatically providing no explanation. She was realizing what a mistake the affair had been, and resolved to go back to George. This was until she passed by the department store window and saw George sitting in a pile of freshly dismembered plastic limbs, screaming and babbling incoherently.


Bio: Eric Suhem lives in California and enjoys the qualities of his vegetable juicer. He is in the orange hallway (