Saturday, April 28, 2012


By: S.T. Cartledge

Lou married a small apartment building in Downtown, and the next thing, she's invited him over for dinner with his new tower-in-laws.

Her name was the Claire Street Apartments, and they took the number six bus to meet up with her parents, the Pegasus Towers. Claire was pretty big, but her parents were massive. They were right on the foreshore, two big shiny silver buildings that punctured the sky. Over time, they had grown closer to each other, with a number of bridges connecting the buildings to each other, and the creeper plants climbing up the walls and getting tangled.

This was the first time Lou met the Pegasus Towers, and the first thing he did when he saw Mrs. Pegasus was pull a cat face. She laughed and invited him into her elevator. Claire smiled with her windows and Mr. Pegasus nodded with his doors and gave Lou the go-ahead. Walking into the elevator was like giving Mrs. Pegasus a kiss on the cheek, without the grimy building after-taste.

The inside of Mrs. Pegasus Tower was completely different to the Claire Street Apartments. It was like walking into a kitsch museum. Pink floral wallpaper and polished timber pedestals with ceramic dogs and clowns and milkmen, and framed embroidery artwork of cats with captions that were supposed to be funny, but were only really funny in that warm-and-fuzzy kind of way that appeals to sentimental old buildings.

On the forty-seventh floor, Lou came out to the balcony and Mr. Pegasus was right there, his radio antenna blinking and Claire was a little way down and her fiery red roof tiles were as beautiful now as the day Lou met her. On their first date they went to the Sistine Chapel and Lou climbed onto Claire's roof and picked boogers from Adam's nose. She giggled and the windows rattled. Then they went to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and pushed it over. Just pushed it the fuck over. One thing lead to another, led to a train entering a tunnel, and then smoke was billowing out of her chimney.

Lou said to Mr. Pegasus, “are you excited about becoming a grandfather?”
His rooms shuffled awkwardly and said, “sure, why not.” Lights flickered. “Are you thinking of having kids soon?”
Claire looked up at Lou, big flickering lights and heavy curtain cheeks.
“You didn't tell them?” he said.
“Tell us what?” the Pegasus Towers asked.
“We're pregnant.”
“Claire,” her father said. “Is this true?”
Claire whimpered and burst a water pipe. It leaked through her floors and soaked the carpets and dribbled down the side of her face. She was an ocean inside.
“No,” she said, in her little night-time voice. “I'm not pregnant.”
The towers went dark and cold and silent.

“What happened?” Lou asked.
“Nothing happened,” she said, sniffling.
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing happened! I'm not fucking pregnant, I never was, ok! I was scared. Can we just drop it?”
“What were you scared of, Claire? What were you scared of?”
“I was scared you would leave me.”
“So you lied to me? About a fucking child!? You're insane.”
“Don't do this to me. I knew this would happen. Stupid fucking chimney-sucking prick!” Her roof-tiles trembled and started coming loose.
“I can't take this... I was trying to do the right thing by you! I can't take this any more.”

He climbed over the balcony. It was a long drop. The impact was forty-seven floors worth of splinters and broken porcelain. It was like a hurricane came through. But it just came through right there and touched nothing else, even though it felt as though the geography had been permanently altered.
Mr. Pegasus turned to Claire with a twitch of a grin and said, “honey, baby, clarinette, my little fairy princess... that boy wasn't right for you.”
 Bio: S.T. Cartledge is a professional flâneur, part time turtle-trainer, and part turtle. He enjoys long turtle walks in the park, long turtle walks from the beach to the ocean, and occasionally snapping at leaves and old people. He has also made a habit out of writing things he sees. Everything he writes is some variation of the truth. You can visit him and his turtle friends at Turtle rides: $5.

Edward, The Brooklyn High School of Sciences, IBM and the National Weather Service

by Quinton D. Chastain

A couple times a week when I’m out on my front stoop smoking a cigarette I encounter a gentleman we’ll call Ed.
Ed is very talkative, and very intelligent. And every time we bump into each other he uses my phone to call the National Weather Service in San Francisco.
Today he put it on speakerphone. Hey says “Hey, this is Ed over by…”
The guy at the other end of the phone cuts him off “…over by the Bay Bridge?”
Ed laughs and laughs, “Do I call that often?”
“I recognize your voice.”
“Well, in case they’re recording this call to monitor performance and customer satisfaction just let me say, uh, what’s your name again, sir?”
“Steve,” the voice says.
“You’re doing a good job, Steven. If this is being recorded give Steve a raise. He deserves it. Steve, tell me, you know about this train that runs up the west coast, it’s an Amtrak, uh, the Coast Starlight, goes from Los Angeles up to Seattle?”
“Yes, sir.”
“You ever been on it?” Ed asks.
“Once, just from Santa Barbara to San Francisco.”
“Uh huh, uh huh. Well, I met this young lady at the Amtrak station the other day, and she worked for NOAA. Do you work for NOAA? Which department are they under? I used to work for the Parks Department, but they’re the Interior, and me and this young lady were trying to figure out which department NOAA is governed by.”
“Well, I work for the National Weather Service. Which is a branch of NOAA which is a part of the Department of Commerce.”
Ed is relieved to finally have solved this riddle. “Commerce! Well then. This lady who worked in Antarctica, do you know what she did down there, Steve? I’m gonna tell you, and I want you to laugh. Do you know what this young lady’s job was in Antarctica working for the Department of Commerce?”
“She… shoveled… SNOW!!!”
Steve laughs, “Well I guess there’s plenty of work.”
“Alright, Steve. Now what can you tell me about my commute today? I saw some clouds, and I misplaced my umbrella this morning, so hopefully it’s good news.”
“Tonight is going to be clear, maybe a little cooler than last night, and tomorrow is going to be in the mid-sixties. Remaining clear until the evening when we might get a little fog and some mist.”
“Well, thank you, Steve. I’m gonna keep pushin’ for that raise.”
Ed hung up the phone and we talked for just a while longer about just about everything.
No Bio.

Obey The Whisper

By Andrew Danielsen
When I was growing up, my brother Matthew and I were raised in the same house by our grandparents in Chico, CA. Matthew is two years older than I am which is a big age difference in youth, but we still got along very well. From the time that we were young until our mid-teens we did everything together as close brothers should; but the morning that I woke up to Matthew standing over me wearing our grandmothers pantyhose over his face holding a knife, telling me that it was time to take the alien out of my stomach, things became a little rough. But like in many kinds of relationships, anything can happen between two members in a family, and it can affect the lives of both forever in a negative way.

            Matthew and I had a close friendship in and outside of the house. We would walk to school together every day, and being the good boy big brother that he was, he would make sure that I was safe at all times, hold my hand when crossing the street, and always walk me to my class room. We would spend our recesses and our lunch time together, and update each other on how our days were going, as well as give one another encouragement when needed.
            Over the next few years, my brother began to tell me about a little voice that would whisper to him at night and tell him to do every day normal things such as use the rest room, wash his hands, eat, and drink. He explained to me that if he did any of these things without the Whisper’s say so, he would grow a third arm in the middle of his back that would constantly spank him throughout the day. He did not want this to happen so he abided by the Whisper’s rules.
            While all of this was going on, our friendship began to get a little complicated. I had told our grandparents about this new “friend” of my brothers, but they quickly shooed me away with my fantasyland stories, ignoring what I was trying to say, and told me to play with a stick. I felt very alone, and completely misunderstood.
            Matthew and I would still walk to school every day and would continue to have our recess times and lunch together, but it was not like it was before. We would talk less, we wouldn’t make as much eye contact, and every once in a while he would have to excuse himself and go talk to his “friend.”
            This all began to get very strange to me, and I wondered if there was anything that I could do. I ended up going to speak with the school’s counselor and see if he would listen to me and give me advice since my grandparents would not. The counselor told me that what I needed to do was either separate myself from my brother, or try to make friends with the Whisper as well. He told me that if I was able to identify with what my brother was going through, I might be able to repair a lost connection that he had with reality. I knew that the last thing I wanted to do was to make friends with an imaginary voice that was beginning to destroy the relationship that I had with my brother, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
            I couldn’t separate from my brother no matter what so I figured it was time to face the Whisper myself. Every night before the two of us went to sleep, we would eat some cookies and enjoy a glass of milk. At this time, neither my brother nor I had ever experienced with alcohol, but I knew that it was a type of medicine that helped our grandmother sleep at night. Therefore I decided to take some of our grandmother’s tequila and mix it in to my brother’s glass of nightly milk.
            I figured that after the medicine put my brother to sleep, I could tie him up in his bed and prove to him that the voice he’d been hearing over the last few years was only in his head and he was able to make decisions on his own.  If I was ever going to have a relationship with my brother like I did in the past, I knew that this was the only way to show him.
            We enjoyed our nightly snack and he never mentioned the funny taste of the milk. When we were half way ready for bed, my brother collapsed onto the floor in his temporary coma, and I knew this was my only time to tie him up, so I did just that. I used our grandfather’s argyle socks to tie his wrists and his ankles to his bed posts and waited.
            An hour and a half after tying him to the bed, he woke up in a fury. He easily escaped from the ties and stormed down the stairs screaming and proclaiming that the Whisper was angry. This saddened me, and I worried for my brother’s well-being. He stormed out of the house and sprinted down the street, not to be seen for the rest of the night.
            The next morning was when I woke up to my brother standing above me with the knife. I quickly kicked him in the knee and made him lose his balance. He fell off of the bed and I was able to escape to tell my grandparents what was going on, and finally they listened to me. The police came to the house, arrested my brother and took him in for evaluation.
            The relationship between my brother and me was greatly affected by a rare case of schizophrenia. After the pantyhose and knife incident, I seldom saw him. He was taken to an insane asylum and he still remains there today. I will never forget the great times that we had during our youth. We were such great friends and it was all diminished by a sad disease.
            If there is anything that I’ve learned from all of this experience, it’s that I will always love and appreciate my brother no matter what. But hey, I must obey the Whisper, right?   

Monday, April 16, 2012


By Stephen Gilchrist

Welcome, Mr. steve.jensen!

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