DOING WHAT I CAN FOR THE MINOTAUR MIND
"We were quite a pair; out on our nightly strolls, him whimpering away while squeezing my arm, holding on for dear life, his fear of humans at an astonishing level, coupled with his narcolepsy and Tourret's Syndrome, plus his ADD and disturbing bouts of seasonal depression ringing in at an all time high, meant I had my hands full." By Timber Masterson.
NOT JESUS YET
"'Harrison, do I look to you like the kind of fuck who doesn't know a monkey when he sees one? Of course Duchamp is a monkey. I am well aware of that fact H.B. and that's exactly what makes him so.. so --' 'Hairy.' 'Gifted Harrison, gifted. His work, it's so raw, so primitive. Duchamp puts people in touch with something old and primal, something that came before -' a sweep of the arm '-- all this.'" An extract from Steven Hall's The Slashmodernists.
WHEREVER I GO, LICORICE FINDS ME
"The licorice harps from my computer terminal, about how the mother must be consulted before the baby is put down, about how the President of Pizza Hut will want to know why I killed the next big thing. But I continue typing out a memo to the guy in copying, and I feel like a spy. If I don't write out my life soon, the baby will get me. The licorice will tell all." By J. Marcus Weekley.
"A week ago, Janet found out she was pregnant. She did not tell her husband. It was not her husband's baby." By Kim Chinquee.
YOU DESERVE TO SUFFER
"I was there when you hit the \ guy by the jukebox over the \ head with a beer bottle \ leaving seconds before the \ cops came \ and though I should have \ I didn't give them your name" By A.D. Winans.
"One of history's greatest criminals, this guy donned his triple tiara, cross-dressed in his silks and satins, and flaunted himself in front of overcrowded, starving, AIDS-ravished communities, holding up two plump fingers in a meretricious salute, and announcing that simple cream-bags were mortal abominations." By the always delightful Tom Bradley.
"The pillaging of my possessions could only mean one obvious thing: my home had been completely removed. My father had terminated my apartment's lease when I was hospitalized, simply getting rid of my residence - which, for most people, is part of their existence itself. My apartment might have been trashy and dirty, but it was mine. My dad could have just locked it up, stopping my bills. It took me a while to forgive him, but eventually I did." By Ashok Rajamani.
"She has watched Rafi practice many times before and has never been caught, careful to watch him slow down from his tight patter of punches to a more slovenly pace. Whenever she notices he begins to favor his left leg, she lightly ascends the ladder to her own balcony and picks up a book left on her feather-white deck chair and begins to read. She figures it is more believable to be outside reading on such a blood-warm evening. Indoors is too obvious." By Jonathan Messinger.
"Tired of serving as husband / to suffering and skin, / I cough up resistance, / solitude, absence, even especially / small death." By Monica Fauble.
"Breasts exposed / she ran / to the curb / grinning" By Erin Bealmear.
THE SMOKER IN WINTER
"He was a viper with a clean face, and he was turning me into another monster like him. There was some devil in me-he didn't craft it, but he whispered and promised life to it if it would just spew and smother him. I could own him. I could own a boy body for the night." By J. Corley.
YOU MUST HAVE KNOWN AMBROSE
"So his name was Jack Woodward, your lover, your fancy-man? Ursula's father-in-law. You missed that bit out, Mam. Try this: Son, I left you, I let them put you, your sisters, in a home, because I was getting fantastic sex, because I was in love. I ran away." By Alex Keegan.
"You're obviously the kind of punter who wants the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the said truth. Well, this must be your lucky day because I'm the fellow with all the facts at his disposal. Pull up a pew and I'll tell you all about it. Now don't be tight with that bottle, son. I'm a little parched and the telling will come a whole lot easier after a little lubrication." By Bob Short of Blood & Roses fame.
BURNED IN AMSTERDAM
"The bartender put on some Mozart. The sound washed at my ears. I thought I could make out a clavichord and a viola da gamba. The tall girl came over to me. She hooked her thumbs in her belt-loops and looked me straight in the eye." By David Veronese.
QUIET NIGHTS WITH THE CLICHÉ
"At the laundry, folding my dry clothes, I find a shirt of hers, small and familiar, and imagine it filled, pressing against me. I hold it, warm from the machine, against my face. Later, it and I become more intimate, and I collect in it the hairs I¹ve gathered, pasting them there with my own adhesive, calling the resulting construction by her name, whispering to it, kissing along its edges." By Spencer Dew.
"I move in to life, / my slippers black from the street - / dumbstruck." By Marqus Bobesich.
"Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch recline on adjoining sunloungers by a swimming pool. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the pool is full of blood. In such vast quantities it looks black. It looks like a sheet of black ice. Stagnant blood sours after a few days, so the air has a strange metallic tang to it that visitors agree is 'quite charming'. Gates and Murdoch are wearing snug-fitting Speedos and designer sunglasses. They sip strawberry milkshakes, eat Oreo cookies and leisurely thumb their way through a book. Gates is engrossed in a children's pop-up, Murdoch in a biography of Meatloaf. Both slurp their shakes and sigh contentedly, neither feeling the need to say much, relaxed enough in each other's company to not consider it an awkward silence. 'Well Bill,' says Murdoch after some minutes have passed. 'I think I'll take a dip'. He takes off his sunglasses, walks to the deep end and executes a smooth dive with a minimal splash. Small spots of blood fleck the flag stones around the pool". Read several exclusive extracts from Ben Myers' new novel-in-progress.
"'She knocked on my door two months ago. It was raining, and she needed shelter. I let her in, and told her she could sleep on my couch. I wanted to help her. I gave her warm, dry clothes and I started cooking her a meal. Stew. She joined me in the kitchen when I was cutting the meat. When I saw her eyes, looking at me from where she was sitting… I wanted her. I had a knife in my hand, and it gave me courage…'" By Jay Heisler.
"I would think the guy would be happy that I was attracted to him. I suppose his performance is a problem. I feel responsible to do the turning-him-on thing which has now back-fired -- he perceives me as insatiable, thus creating the opposite to intended result. I know guys tend to think of these things as overwhelmingly their problem, but it surely does put the woman in an awkward place too. How much extra encouragement and attention can be given before it starts to impede progress? How much should the woman say that she doesn't mind, that it doesn't matter that he can't get it up?" By Jean Smith.
"The inner self speaks a language / that won't translate nicely / into the socialized vernacular / of the outer man." By François Benoit.
"Though he was one of them, he mostly hated men who love men. They swarmed the city core like glittery termites, chewing through department stores¹ most masculine-looking designer shirts, chattering in unison up independent movie theater aisles when he simply wanted to hear the final music in solitude. During his adulthood, they¹d tugged and gripped and massaged and kissed and tongued and suckled his fleshy body, and during those same years they¹d gouged his emotional self, making holes equal in depth of shock, diameter of hurt." By David Massengill.
THERE'S NO ONE QUITE LIKE GRANDMA
"His dentures were lying on the stairs." By Ben Myers.
POETRY AND PENSÉES
"I like it, I like it / That my wife is a little bit lesbian: / It is very droll to watch her / Go down on you" By William Levy.
"Boyfriend, mean and cool. He is wearing unfortunate, brightly colored slacks. He licks her up and down with his eyes then bleeds teen corruption on her small white toes. He lights a cigarette and she worships that, his personal fire." By Catherine Moran.
HYMN FROM BOOMING GROUND
"It was dawn when we harnessed the penguins to the buggy board, marked our departure in the logbook, and began to trudge forward again." By James Grinwis.
"I sent her / home to you / disheveled, / lemon hair / lit, impaled / alive" By Craig Kirchner.
LEW, EXCESS PENIS
"When I first met Louise, I didn't tell her my secret. I never told anyone at first. It was a hard thing to understand. It took months, sometimes up to a year of gradually leading them to the truth in my pants. I had to play games. I had to tease them. It was my only option. I loved women still." By Scott Bickmore.
"A measure of all things is the same river / twice. On profiteering winds, / my very slender neck puts on a bulletproof vest. / We pass over people who classify ketchup / as a vegetable. I am wary of Truth, / the story other persons find truly convincing. / A fog raises baby from my hair / and I go as deep as death / only for the hairspray wearing clerics / who appear closer in the mirror behind you." By Amy King.
HOW MANY MICE DOES IT TAKE TO PULL A TRAIN FROM GLASGOW TO EUSTON?
"My new falsetto voice sounded like a choirboy's as I ordered another drink, and the barmaid stared perhaps too long at my quivering heart that pumped blood around my delicate glass interior. After carefully making my way back to my seat, I made a start on my drink and amused myself for a while by watching it run down into my see-through stomach and slosh around. This was particularly funny when I twisted my hips a bit." Paul Ewen takes a stroll through London's drinking holes, all in the name of literary endeavour.
"Earlier, on Commercial Street, Carol had seen a black cat unlucky enough to have been hit by a car -- or given a vicious kicking by some particularly stupid and sadistic kids. With cracked back and smashed head, the broken little beast flipped around like a landed fish in the middle of the road. Eyes rolled and blood sprayed from a shattered mouth, as the cat danced its violent death flip." Richard Cabut of Brigandage fame brings you the second story in our series of song-inspired fiction..
THE LISTENING WALL
"After she cut his ears off, she pinned them to the wall with the others." By Jon Swan.
TWO WEEKS' NOTICE
"Yes, Mr. President, it is a full-time job, but with all due respect, we¹ve given you more vacation than anyone before you. And don¹t forget all the perks you get. You¹ve got exciting co-workers. You get to work as part of a team. You¹re developing leadership skills. It¹s everything we promised you it would be." By Dave Dvorak.
SOME THINGS FOR TODAY
"In Japan, baseball managers traditionally exchange flowers before a game. I would like to see this custom take hold in America." By Mike Topp.
THE SWEAT FROM A BROW
"My mother grew her hair as a promise to San Expedito or it may have been another saint. In return the saint was to heal my father from his psychosis - whichever psychosis he was going through at the time." By Didi Menendez.
"The guy I met in this bathroom the other day got to talking; when he had my underwear down around my knees (I was wearing underwear that day) and one hand around both my ankles, and his face set deep into my bum. He said I had something there and that I 'shouldn't waste it'. The words 'Don't throw it all away'... 'Don't be a fool'... echoed in the empty stall and I got to thinking. Not like my ass was some kind of precious jewel or anything. It was just that I realized that I might not know who I was. Maybe I was someone else, someone yet to be discovered. You get filthy, you share your treasured possessions with strangers and they give you advice." By Van Scott.
DIAMOND RINGS AND PRETTY BOWS
"The Pacu, / as big as his head. / The Pacu, / uncontested master of fresh water tanks. / The Pacu, / gulper and gobbler of all breeds of aquarium fish. / The Pacu, / BIGGER than a Piranha." by Darien Cavanaugh.
"In my sweetest dream/you are tattooing /my trussed white ass/like flour-dusted pizza dough/on a heart-shaped /cutting board" By Dennis Mahagin.
MOVING TO THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD
"The real estate agent put on her sunglasses, lenses so small they barely covered her eyeballs, and talked into the steering wheel as she shook her keys. 'I thought we would see the United Methodist Church of Connecticut first. Colonial chapel. Lovely parlor.' She inserted the key in the ignition. 'We're going to a church?' said Margaret. She pulled her plaid skirt a half an inch closer to her knee." By Debbie Ann Ice.
ZYKLON B ZOMBIE
"Ted had been a fan of the group from the first moment he heard the excruciating tones of Second Annual Report in 1977. At last he'd found something that could approximate the alienation he felt from late capitalist society. TG's disbanding in 1981 had caused him real psychic distress and created a lack in his life that he was still finding difficult to come to terms with. This was all, however, about to change. The idea of forming a TG tribute band was just so perfect he wondered why he'd never thought of it before." Simon Ford's story inaugurates 3AM's series of stories inspired by specific songs (for more information see Buzzwords).
"Soapstone eyes. No surprise.
Wanks from sunset to sunrise." By Clive Murphy.
SLOW DAY AT THE S.A.
"Kayla sticks the hatpin back into the folded blue jeans and spits her gum out. Today her hair is pink. Her mother says if she keeps dyeing it she'll go bald, but she doesn't listen. My knees are turning purple around the bones. My mother says I need to gain weight. We sit like this for a while trying to figure out what to do. I wonder if you bleed less when you're skinny." By Mike Hampton.
FINGER PUPPET EEL
"General Kamazaki's ankle itched. He was out of uniform and gulping cheap wine in the back alley of a Tokyo brothel. He can say all he wants that he was doing under cover work for the government but my name's not Andrew. And there's a good reason for that." By Sean Brijbasi.
"Beauty loves the ride/in the red convertible, hair/flying, road winding,/skin frying, foot/to the floor, un-/concerned" By M.S. Rooney.
THINGS THAT MIGHT MAKE A COW RUN
"Nellie lies on the couch, though she is much too large for it. It is uncomfortable, but the doctor -- an otherwise reasonable man -- insists that she make this concession to tradition. Perhaps he has been watching too much television, is too caught up with maintaining the appropriate forms, but she acquiesces." By William I. Lengeman III.
"it's a tough day for prophets / library computers are down / and the check-out line stretches / all the way to the children's section" By John Craun.
"I cursed and walked back to the guesthouse. It was eleven at night and I had no car. I was screwed. I went back to bed, took 5 10milligram Valiums and tried to sleep. The night seemed endless. As the sleeping pills took hold, I managed to fall into a drugged half sleep for a couple of hours, but by 2:30 in the morning I was wide awake again, wet with junk sweat, and doubled over with stomach cramps. I watched the sun rise on the wall of my room, checking the clock every ten minutes convinced an hour must have passed by now. I vomited continuously into the trashcan by my bed, even when my stomach was empty still having to lean over and regurgitate burning yellow stomach acid every so often." Fiction by Tony O'Neill.
WARM, IN YOUR COAT
"It was a movie running on a limited screen, just one, with an audience of just me: you and her silhouetted against the warm yellow backdrop of the living room. You paced, growing big, small, bigger in the window as perspective shifted. She was holding something against her small chest, then curling it outward like the opening of a song, revealing a wine glass. You disappeared for a moment, offscreen into the kitchen living room dining room bedroom and then reappeared, a new scene, shuffling off your coat. That coat." Flash fiction by Randee Dawn.
"while last night positioned me to speak against / a poisoning that I could neither prove nor quite / define all I knew was people whom I loved / were dying and I could only protest to whores / who had sold more than bodies in the dream / I specified that real whores were not the same / they had a service the transaction was repaid" Poetry by Sheila E. Murphy.
"Second: never date another patient. This seems obvious and no doubt covered elsewhere, in the songs of The Counting Crows or the novels of Susan Sontag or the movies of Carrie Fisher, and yet, he seemed so irresistible, and he wasn't really in the mental ward, just spill-over from detox, and he was kind and smiled and congratulated you on your Jeopardy answers and hell, what did you have to lose?" Flash fiction by Tiff Holland.
AN ACCOUNTABLE DEATH PART 7
"Then he heard the booming noise of the rifle shot as it came downhill to him, the dull roar of distant shot suddenly as live as thunder. The echo boomed and boomed again and Sheriff Holender screamed and he heard Max's voice again screaming his name and the machine was chattering like an old maids' sewing circle gone on a drunken spree." Read the much-anticipated final chapters of Tom Sheehan's serial.
"There are practical difficulties associated with carrying bookcases. Even when small and light, with only two shelves, they are usually a little thick to fit under the arm. And with the heavier sort made from solid pine or oak, there is no real alternative to carrying them hefted on the shoulder. On a crowded pavement even one bookcase carrier causes congestion. And on a sunny day during that summer, fully one in eight people were packing." Flash fiction by Gavin Inglis.
TWO PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED COLLABORATIVE POEMS
"sweet red pepper fascist ripe tomato fresh/one fingered fraternal order/of artichoke of mine/O Allah, Allah by Jove/cumdown to earth, come down/to my California of fluids and their dispersal" By Andrei Codrescu, Laura Rosenthal, Mark Spitzer and Robin Becker.
"The posse out to hunt down / God's kingdom, / hoofbeats respond to / the plains like shibboleth / and testing ground for those who / hear the coming of the Word." By Stephen Oliver.
A PRODIGY SWOONS
"Bodies, naked, rolled in languid somersaults before the bulldozer. Forms draped together in an embrace more intimate than sex. A filigree of barbed wire rose against the white stark sky. The trench gaped open, a muddy cunt, a lacerated womb begging for its children to return. Angled haphazardly like letters exiled from the alphabet, the swastikas were somehow primal and intriguing to the boy. The guards and the guarded, all bore a certain awkwardness akin to what the boy knew as shyness." Flash fiction by Jason DeBoer.
CHARLES STREET ROMANCE
"She had blue eyes and yeah, they were something to look at but you wouldn't stop breathing if she looked at you or anything. I liked the way she dressed, in jeans and some button up shirt of some sort that said "I'm from California" even though she was only from some town outside of Baltimore. For whatever reason it didn't seem fake on her, she wasn't trying to be what she was, she was just being it. You have no idea how attractive that was to me at that moment." Flash fiction by J. Tyler Blue.
TAMMURRIATA OF THE BRONX
"Barbara, the wife of the accordeonist, was also sitting nearby, I did not talk to her although it was clear to me that it was my duty to start a conversation, if there had to be any conversation, humble people never start conversations because they have not so much to talk about, there is no time to think, they have to fight over things that for us are simple and they live in a small world, family and friends, to defend themselves against a very unfriendly bigger outside world, both she and her husband are clandestine immigrants from Poland, people like them are called "extracomunitari" because Poland does not belong to the European Community, it is okay to be a foreigner in Italy (I am, in a way) as long as you are from North America (not Mexico) or the European Community, or places like, I don't know, Japan or Switzerland, if you are from Africa or Eastern Europe it seems to be a problem. I smiled to her a lot. She is not good looking. She is maybe fourty years old but looks older. She is ugly." Fiction by Lapo Boschi.
THE MURDER RULE
"In this mortal world of tangible objects, in the place where they display things to be bought or sold you'll find some of the most irreplaceably fantastic items ever. Of course you've got to know what those items are. They come in packs of fifteen, long rolls, boxes a half-pound in size. Individually wrapped in their own twisted plastic. Sometimes there will be two or three forms of one very popular item, and one will always be fat-free. For instance, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, although up to this point there are no 'fat-free' versions of this chocolate-coated peanut butter filled oral pleasure, there someday could be. But then again, things labeled 'fat-free' aren't, if you eat the entire bag." Fiction by Jason Rice.
IDIOT AND SUCH IS THE PRICE
"He was a complete and brilliant idiot. When she came home with the messed up hair, all unmade just how he liked her (he loved her) he didn't want to be. He didn't want to be there." Flash fiction by Ryan Robert Mullen.
"Often, I would lay awake at night, studying the assorted lumps of dark that in the daytime were my dressers and toy trunks. Like most little girls, my furniture was white, each piece glowing on full moon evenings like quiet sentinels waiting for the night to begin." Fiction by Tracy Boychuk.
"Kate's favorite story was the penis story. The penis story was shocking in the same way many of Elisia's stories were. She wore an air as if she were far beyond her years and merely needed the few girls that were around as listeners, disciples. We sat in a circle around her bed covered in pink frills and cushions, basking in the glow of the most beautiful new Michael Jackson poster on the wall, the one with him in pale yellow, looking almost preppy, the one only Elisia had. She told us this day, of her father on the toilet one morning and her walking into the bathroom to do something, no doubt to spray her perfect curls or powder her Victorian like face palette. There he sat, large and round, defecating. Peering up from under his belly was a small round nobule. "What is that?" she demanded righteously." Fiction by Catherine Moran.
"Polarize the community / puncture the common wealth" By Edmund Berrigan.
"grandmother has a birthday / with the afterdead. ilan / ramon is joining her. / i am awakened by the news / one saturday morning. / the afterdead explode & die all over / again as a spaceship glows into pieces. / shoah grandmother leaves door ajar -- / it is february 1st." Poetry by Evelyn Posamentier.
GENTLY RIDE THE BRAKE, BUT BEWARE THE SCORPION IN THE FOOTWELL
"For four solid minutes you drive in silence through the high-fret guitar solos and lonesome West whistling - that's Berlin, not Barstow - and at last, the road dissolves into beach and you can finally kill the engine and escape the long, drawn-out outro, ('Taaa-aaaake me, to the magic of the moment, on a glorrrry night-!')" By James Hughes.
BABY BOOMERS, BOOMING BUSTERS
"Listen to the chant: We were different, broken off and away from tradition, because they who were in power changed the rules on us, all the way through. No annual baseball trip for the crossing guards. No formal dance. Negate the ongoing with New Math. This war, unlike the one our parents fought, had no heroes, posed no clear-cut threat to our shores, was shrouded in gauze. And at college graduation, the promised jobs dried up. Take your Ph.D. and drive a cab in some city." By Jnana Hodson.
"What kind of man was he, he wondered, that he couldn't reveal even to his best friend something as simple as the fact that he smoked? Was he so paranoid or was it just an odd quirk, the sort of secret that was inconsequential but that everyone harbored?" By Dave Clapper.
THE DREAM BEFORE
"After work Hansel sits in the Potsdamer Platz feeding crumbs to the pigeons. He watches the flutter of gray wings and tries to forget the past. He tells himself that he is a fool: because there is no reason for any of this, the discontent and estrangement that shadow his days. He has, both of them have, a good life now. They have escaped. But even now on certain nights when he cannot sleep, he finds himself wandering the streets, his hat pulled low over his face. For hours, sometimes in the rain, he lets his steps be directed by the most haphazard of signs - a pair of dropped bottle-caps, white cobblestones, the shift of traffic lights from green to red. At these times he walks without destination, each random turning an act of self-effacement. And each time, against his will, he arrives at the same place." By Matthew Flaming.
TWO SHORT STORIES
"But Swayzo was all dressed up like a squaddie and just looked scared of Nancy and fumbled nervously around and handed her a piece of paper and she took it and all of a sudden the tiny blue fizzy fuzz sparks went fuzzy again and followed each other, zooming out of the window like a comet." By Maggie Fortune.
ONE HAPPY MORNING
"'Who cares about you understanding. You've been an eternal rebel in life and yet you only know orders. You cannot understand what is as plain as plain can be. You have to make up your mind for this task, and you beg me to give you an order, and what's more calling it understanding. The conversation has come to its end, anyway. In an instant you will be back in time and you will have to consider your options. What I have done is just to bring them to your mind in a different perspective from your suicidal desire. So now go on back to time and decide for yourself. The interview is finished.'" By Jacques Coulardeau.
BRAG NO. 1 AND SUMMER NO. 1
"Flew backwards against the curve of the night, / through the gates of Airportlandia, city of perfume, / duty-free cigarettes, / and whiskey bottles / shimmering golden-honeyed in the sun. / (As the poet Mehrhoff says, it's over and over again through the fields / of / paradise...)" By Ian Christopher Hooper.
JIM GIRAFFE'S STORIES
"Some dancing girls came in. Jim bought them a bottle of champagne and they said they liked him and gave him their phone number. Then Daren got killed." Three stories by Jim Giraffe and Daren King (whose second novel will be published shortly).
"'You need to know, it's like this. You got talent, right, A to Z . . . registered, rated, dozen dimensions - hard stuff, demolition, hacking, disruption, mismanagement; three-stooges stuff, pie-facing, whatever; soft stuff, intelligence, psychographics, mayhem preference, willingness to be mutilated . . . '" By Joel E. Turner.
"You will be / A poem, / A voice on a page, / A leaf rising / From the ashes / Of a winter tree. / If never comes / We shall never forget: / Grass ripe, / You rich, / Me urgent." By Tom Sheehan.
"Everyone's attention was suspended in midair and they all waited for some initiative. Rosemary took the lead. She got up and served some meat, vegetables and wine to the ghost and told him: "Welcome home, Mr Eric!" before going back to her seat. Then they all started eating, though the food or wine served to the ghost went untouched." By Jacques Coulardeau.
"The audience stared at him, dumb and bewildered, like children trying to figure out an impossible mathematical equation. It was as if an invisible hand had reached inside of everybody and yanked their personalities out of them. Even the man who had been impersonating Clubber Lang seemed anaesthetized. The once-was impersonator wanted to tell everybody to snap out of it so he could curse and holler at them in greater detail. But before he could a trap door opened up in the stage beneath him." By D. Harlan Wilson.
JACK TAKES A WALK
"The sky grows darker -- as it always does in stories like this, in which themes of decay, anomie and violence, which inform the impending sense of doom, hang like black clouds." By Richard Cabut.
THE JEFFERSON THEATER
"The counter girl, who resembles / the singer, Jewel, buried in her textbook / cross-legged on the highchair / by the ice machine has learned" By Dennis Mahagin.
YEAH I FUCKED YOU
"I'd seen you around and caught your crazy eye. We flirted on the street. I knew you wanted it. So I went to the fag bar strip show contest. Your Spanish eyes widened when I caught you hustling on stage. You followed me all the way home like you were in a spell. It must have been 7 a.m. when we finally fell on my bed. Oh boy what a huge freak of a cock you have. Jesus Sweet Jesus. I am damned now." Read three micro-fiction stories from Jeri Cain Rossi's chapbook.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER
"But after a few days something else changed. He was sitting in his study, reading a book when he heard some cracking noise. He was not surprised really because an old house cracks naturally, but the cracking was louder than usual and it lasted longer. So he stopped reading and listened to that noise. At the same time he could hear the birds chirping lightly in the yard through the open window. And the two noises became some kind of dialogue, some kind of story that was told to him. He listened and listened and little by little delved himself into that story and tried to follow it." By Jacques Coulardeau.
THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
"No, Godless Heathen, this does not count. There are always more mood-altering drugs available to mitigate the situation. Only if your insurance or gateway provider or HMO or PPP no longer covers the prescription because your soul has transmogrified out of network would you be justified in executing yourself for the greater glory of the multinational state." By Davis Schneiderman and Henri d'Mescan.
"He looks at me. His eyes are dark, amused, and I blush like a teenager. Then he turns away. On the train I study the back of his head. The haircut was recent: his smooth neck so pale, his face a warm brown. At Ludlow, as I step off the train a mass of dark suited men rush to get on. This is so unusual that I pause, and find my stranger beside me. His hand is on my arm; he is smiling. He helps me off the train, takes my bag of groceries like a husband." By Mary McCluskey.
HUMAN SUFFERING AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT
"Injection blow holing is a similar process except that it injects a certain shot size of frustration into the gun. As with any agony processing and suffering, it is easy to shoot oneself in the foot when using an injection blow holer. However, this danger can be almost completely eliminated by slowing injection speed, running large batches of pleasure (greater than three pounds) or designing a life devoid of all expectations." By Doreen Becker.
"It seems to be a good time, waking up / After a night of art and then starting / To feel again" By Jordan Davis.
"'It's so hot in there,' Ruby is clutching her cigarette, her toes pointed in, as she waves her hand vaguely in the direction of inside. It is starting to rain and Marlin sits on the stairs while Ruby smokes and they listen together to Natalie talking inside, a nearby television, children fighting and yelling in the yard next door. A woman in a plastic red coat stares at them as she walks by. They watch a man with his dog, as he stoops down, plastic bag carefully wrapped around his fingers." By Susan Buttenwieser.
REAL MEN TRAVEL ON THE GROUND
"Kenny Rogers Honey Glazed Thighs! Can you imagine being the person who first put those words together, Joe?" By Peter Relic.
"'Nobody knows you when you're down and out,' Japer sang to no one, and, thinking quickly, he wrote it on his hand with a pen he kept in his jacket in case any such breakthroughs occur." By David Sparks.
"in mongolia i had nightmares about close friends / leaving me & woke to see the plastic radio / with one station & no on & off switch / in the middle of the night / lying plugless across the small table" By Evelyn Posamentier.
AN ACCOUNTABLE DEATH PART 6
"All of them realized that the dead man had lugged it and probed with it through fifteen or so long years. Hill and dale. Swamp and meadow. Crest of crown and foot of gulch or gully. Maybe it was longer when it was new. Maybe it had been shortened by all its work. Maybe it had found at last gold or silver or some lost mine or had endlessly and fruitlessly searched for them. Maybe a forgotten foundation of an old house or a barn long since gone to mold and decay. Maybe in another time it could tell the strange story of its use and its existence." Read the latest from Tom Sheehan's excellent novel.
"He had many years' experience sitting bald facedly before examination committees and graduate seminars, pontificating on texts he'd never even laid eyes on, whose vicinity he had never knowingly been in, whose contents the old professors had methodically, over decades, fused onto the walls of their arteries like cholesterol plaque. Known all over campus as the Botticelli of Bullshit, he used to brag about never setting foot in the varsity bookstore." By Tom Bradley.
"The girl ignored his outstretched hand and climbed into the truck, her eyes burning with anger and red from crying. She stood with her arms crossed, looking at her mother and brother and a dozen neighbors, all women and children. The men and older boys had been taken the day before." By Amy Kozy.
POEMS BY DANNY DYBUS
"train boppin me around and around / the gentle sound of the siren singing / numb skull laughter rings / the essence of being" By Danny Dybus.
POEMS BY DANIEL NESTER
"I plunk it out, this song exists / whether I know it or not." By Daniel Nester.
"Anthony's girl was in the front yard, hunched on the brown grass. Her face was wet and puffy and her mini-skirt was bunched around her. This was often how her fights with Anthony ended. It wasn't that he hit her. He didn't need to hit her. She did most of the damage just with her own bloated heart." Our second short story by Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal.
"Jesus, Tom! He's writing about the M25 these days, for Christ's sake. Be knocking at the door with a bloody camera crew next, asking about the old days. Trying to connect me to some bloody conspiracy or other." By Tony White, author of the acclaimed novel Foxy-T.
"The woman who had cut his hair was not his regular stylist (Cheri), was, in fact, a younger, sexier sort of stylist, with large, soft breasts that pressed pleasingly against his arm as she snipped." By Steve Almond, the author of My Life in Heavy Metal.
NEW POEMS BY SHANNA COMPTON
"She flips on the TV. The world floods the startled room. / They're two tight citizens stunned by its geographic presence. / Perhaps it's not a multinational crisis, yet." By Shanna Compton.
THE PUNK ROCK STAR
"This woman, a blonde girl of around 30 years who learned everything she knows about me from reading other puff pieces, she isn't really interested in me. She thinks she is, and the moisture in her panties tells her she's right, but she's fooling herself." By 3am Chief Editor Jim Martin.
"The noise from the games is deafening. Danny casts a craftsman's eye over the well-worn keyboard. He's seen worse. At least the keys on this one have been hastily repaired. By a ham-fisted aphasiac. There is a package beside the keyboard, something wrapped in brown paper and sealed with sticky tape. Looks like half a pound of minced meat. I'll have a look at that later, says Danny to himself and sticks it in one of the pockets of his cargo shorts." By Philip Wiley.
FOUR POEMS BY ALLEN JESSOP
"What do you see / When you see me? / Someone short and not too wide / Who doesn't disappear when seen from the side" By Allen Jessop.
"The club is open and there is a queue starting to filter their way in. The man at the door knows who we are and it is great to be able to walk past the waiting, paying public without a pause. We go straight into the dressing room and never mix with any audience before playing. A bubble is only a bubble until you stick a pin in it: that is one of the things we always keep in mind." By Neil Grimmett.
NEW POEMS FROM MITCHELL FELDSTEIN
"the coroner's seamstress/ imagines windswept/ corrugated/ vistas" By Mitchell Feldstein.
TWO POEMS FROM TROPIC/OF/CUBICLE
"Len is a miniature through burnt coral Levlor / He begat the VULTURE intra-office listserv / @4:03 I will eat w/respect two slices of pesto/ / black olive for Len" By Roderick Maclean.
DOWN BY THE RIVER
"She is already imagining the telling of this story, tonight to her friends and later, to her husband, to her children, when she has children, her daughter. She will tell this story to her daughter, and by then the story will be a warning. Tonight the story will be a score but twenty years from now she will do everything in her power to stop her daughter pushing through the bare trees by the river on her way to stop being a girl." By Peter Wild.
"She finally managed to shift herself up onto her elbows, her back peeling itself slowly off the lounger one rubber stripe at a time with a thunk-thunk-thunk. She was considering a drink. She was considering a Manhattan. That was when he fell through the bushes. She was considering going to the bar to mix a Manhattan and he fell through the bushes, and landed facing her, a thin strip of red glistening open across his cheek where a pricker had scratched." By Jonathan Carr.
CARNIVAL OF FLESH
"Possibilities play their game of weave and cover, I try not to think about what was said. Having fun with his fares that's all, the rain must have me paranoid. I ease back in the seat and watch the city flicker by, green turning red becoming blue. Faces slither across the sidewalk, weathered by time and all of its children." By Luke Palermo.
HELLO. TWO HOURS. HER KNEES. LIPS AND JAWS.
"I put my buttery hands all into the silky drawer of my sister's underwear. It was crazy in there. Her dresser drawers smelled like baby powder and sweat all mixed together. Sometimes she caught me. I would feel like staying awhile to feel the warming cream of the butter slink sideways up against the silk bottoms like eels -- I wouldn't run." By Lina Ramona Vitkauskas.
THREE NEW POEMS BY TRAVIS JEPPESEN
"A fine rash establishes itself on my torso. Another yellow morning to get lost in. The day will become the adventure of ants in a cage, burying their way towards oxygen. All they'll find is a black man's skull. I don't want to stay official on that one. Wish our leaders made us docile. But instead, we're merely allowed." By Travis Jeppesen.
THE ENDS OF THE EARTH
"The guard told me to wait while he made a call and so I sat there at the entrance to the Ends of the Earth eating complimentary pretzels and listening to the same Muzak CD loop over and over so many times I lost track. Finally the guard returned, handed me back my passport and the gates opened slowly and choppily, like a garage door deciding whether or not to function." By Matt Leibel.
WE CAN STILL HAVE A GOOD DAY, CAN'T WE? AN EXCERPT FROM DELI LIFE
"There is no room for insubordination behind the counter." Read this excerpt from Jami Attenberg's Deli Life.
THREE MICRO-FICTION STORIES BY ELLEN LINDQUIST
"Or is it the banana you love more than me? She can be whatever you wish her to be--a telephone, a yellow tree. It's so sexy how she drops her yellow dress, leaves it on the floor in jest. I can see you and her miles away from me sipping pina coladas beneath a yim yam tree."
THREE NEW POEMS BY JONATHAN PENTON
"There are many reasons I don't write love poems." By Jonathan Penton.
"She looked so sad, like she put the lorn in for. She was inanimate, stripped of throb, quiver and bob. Then, through the wall, came an arrow that shot through her heart. It's tail wobbled as stars and moons sprayed from Imagina's body like raindrops from a rose." By Paul A. Toth.
NEW POEMS BY SIMON PERCHIK
"these fish learn when it's time/ for the lid to open --from above" By Simon Perchik.
LONDON IS A GOOD PLACE
"Go-go girls are the hottest bitches on the scene, they're the queens of the night. When you see them twitching their thighs and shaking it, it makes you want to shout out Go Baby Go! Go Baby Go! as you wipe nervous randy sweat from your forehead with a spotted hankie." Two stories --"London Is a Good Place" and "I Was a Teenaged Go-Go Girl" -- by Charlotte Cooper.
"To do something finally good for the world, I decided to give sunflowers to lunatics. Always appreciative, those lunatics. You can't beat them for sincere appreciation." By Jamey Gallagher.
"Virtual is opposed to the actual. It is not opposed to the real. The virtual future is not a potential present future furthur along the line of linear time, but the abstract motor of the actual, "an actual-virtual circuit on the spot, and not an actualization of the virtual in accordance with a shifting actual". (Deleuze and Guattari) Time produces itself in a circuit, passing through the virtual interruption of what is to come, in order that the future, which arrives, is already infected." By _A. Gargett.
"And so, in this way, standing beside each other in the warm breeze, they listened to the brutal intimacy of one man methodically beating another. He felt like a child again, eavesdropping on his parents' fighting. At one point, she went outside onto the porch and yelled, 'We called the cops!' She returned to bed and curled up into a tight ball." By Sebastian Matthews.
THE DEAD MAN
"The dead man was an immediate success. People loved him. They wanted to invite him to dinner, even if it was only to have him sitting at the table. Politicians from around the world and religious leaders from every denomination wanted to consult with him. They felt that he had insights into life that only a dead man could relate. What became immediately apparent was that his mere image on the TV screen instilled a sense of happiness and contentment in the viewing audience that was unheard of in the annals of television broadcasting. No one could account for this phenomenon." By J. L. Navarro.
NEW POEMS FROM ALEX GILDZEN
"the silver-toothd man/ in Stetson & shitkickers/ calld us 'sweet boys'" By Alex Gildzen.
"Hell could not have been more obvious. / It was Sunday from the fold of her skirt, / the arch of her brow, and the feel of her..." By Krisette Y. Sia.
FOUR POEMS BY BRENTLEY FRAZER
"There are those who would plunder the / displeased of her dying word, and others / there to lick clean all her wounds. / In the pure undimmed symphony of / morning, while we idle watch the kites / of boys and old men stoop beneath the / towers, she comes." By Brentley Frazer.
NEW POEMS BY DEBORAH STAAB
"Is there time yet to leave? I'd give your gloves back if there was. / Born and died in 1975, my brother got out but I'm still alive."
THE ODD FRENCH VOWEL
"panty waste crooners for American booty, / irresistibly convenient, with toothpaste commercial smiles / velvet rope taunts, / teaser chill bitch, / do the dramatic / fashionista DJ muggin' / yelling so loud it hurts / wasabi fire, / comically spangly spinna moocha / out the top, / flashing plumps freshman firm titties, / full blooded style, / at the street pizza hecklers with neck tats and traffic court crushes, / stylin' like sniffer dogs" By Charlton Metcalf.
TWO POEMS BY KURT KITASAKI
"Campaigning. / Kissing two year old babes, / to be elected. / After being elected, / kissing twenty year old babes. / Then appearing on CNN / Kissing Larry King / To keep from being un-elected"
AN AUTHENTIC SOUND
"'Mrs Charles?' McNab alters the position of his head trying to get a better look inside hers. Even if they're responsible for it, people-- especially women, zone-out when it comes to death. 'You understand you're being charged with murdering your husband?'" By Mad Mom Newtopia Catherine O'Sullivan.
NEW POEMS BY TODD SWIFT
"Cold Russian submariners morose/ on an Arctic floor; exploded German/ tourists in the burst supersonic;/ a child penetrated, later dumped in a bag"
NEW POEMS BY JIM BEHRLE
"We just can't wait to fuck our young/to fuck them Up" By Jim Behrle.
SHEPHERD OF SHARKS
"I reached into my pocket and slowly felt around for my change. My fingers were shaking; they were slipping around the money. I was staring at them the whole time. I stared at them as if they just killed my mother, as if I was about to cut their throats. I dropped the money into their hands, staring, and as the money fell, so did the Lemmings in the game. The money landed in their hands and my Lemmings fell to their death." By Andrew Iliadis.
"The main peculiarity of the picture showed when the dark was drawing on: a pattern composed of dark colours in the centre, from a blurred spot, which resembled a quadrate standing upon one of its corners so that one of its diagonals would be vertical and the other horizontal, turned into familiar objects. Moreover, it appeared that for everyone who looked at the picture objects were familiar, everyone saw his or her things there: some saw a glade at sunset, some saw rain, and some saw a bookcase with Tibullus' bust upon it. Another peculiarity consisted in the fact that the quantity of those images increased with each time the picture was looked at. When it was seen by a great many people, images of some of them began to coincide." By Sergey Karpukhin.
TWO POEMS BY STEVE GUBBINS
"Misleading Imagery on a diaphragm that was/Built on vision and now held in Vain/From a brain that is drained and/Clearly Insane/To the mouth of a Monkey/Who tried hard to speak/To the voice of a Wanker/You would not repeat/To the mouth of a baby/Who's just lost his sweet" By Steve Gubbins.
Read this wonderful poem from 3am's beloved co-editor Guillaume Destot.
GOD'S WORDS TO BUCKY GUISMAN, AIRPORT ANGEL
"As the little girl watches, silent, the grandfather will slip the pistol into the woman's coat pocket. The grandfather will put finger to lips, motion that this is a secret between him and the little girl, and then hand the little girl the roses he bought for the funeral. She will love them. No one has ever given her roses. The girl will smile and give back to the grandfather a single rose, a total show of eight-year-old generosity." By Jason Sanford.
"My husband is a weatherman. I don't trust him. Well, I trust him okay with some things, but mostly I just do my own research if you know what I mean." By Shya Scanlon.
MONDO REICHMANN (AS GESTA MOURQUET.)
"It was the dawn, vituperative against the cult of beauty and mysticism, coming at the night like a Filippo Marinetti sports, and it brought A Frances G to her senses. She jumped to her feet and raced out onto the landing, ignoring the rising panic in the screams of Singh Moonga. She swirled down the stairs and began to strike the door of the stranger with increasing hysteria and violence. The door finally splintered and fell at an angle before her. She stepped over the wooden wreckage and crossed the threshold." By Selima Kyle.
"I won't lie. I knew damn well what he wanted her to show me. He'd been after my father's store for too many years, there were too many other Chinese trying to buy it, he knew I'd cave in and sell, and he wanted to make sure he was the one to get it. He wasn't stupid, and neither was I. I took a long shaky breath, and followed." By Jennifer Macaire.
GET ALONG HOME
"Seeing where her eyes went, I said: It's all right. I arranged her gown about her, helped her onto the bed pan. Flesh on hips and stomach had collapsed, folding in on itself like a tent being taken down. She seemed almost weightless. Breasts, too, hung limp and deflated. Our selves, our identities, are so linked to sexuality. When we no longer have that, in a sense I suppose we become something else." Read this exceptional short story by James Sallis. This piece was part of our feature on James Sallis.
THE ROMANTIC HEROINE
"From that moment on, Angela and I were inseparable. Heroin kills your sex drive, so it wasn't a typical relationship in the adult sense. It was like being back in elementary school, we simply wanted to be near each other and have fun. On weekends, we'd go my place in East Harlem. Sometimes we'd spike up there, then walk hand in hand down Carl Schultz Park by the East River. Then we'd walk back up to Gracie Mansion, scream obscenities at the Mayor and run away. We couldn't run very far. We were on heroin after all, not cocaine. But part of being in a relationship is trying new things." By Michael Stuart.
A SMALL EMPTY ROOM
"Alan calls me Billy and I assume he is thinking about his friend or lover while I think about my wife. His breathing quickens, and in an awkward movement he rolls over and places his lips against the fabric of my pants. His teeth trace the lengthening shaft of my penis as his fingers fumble with the zipper. Alan hesitates before taking me in his mouth, his breath like feathers along the head of my cock, then his warm mouth swallows me and the darkness brightens behind my eyes." By Sean Meriwether.
THE RED PILLOW
"The faint trickle of perspiration excites her. And disgusts her. It slithers onto her sheets, an exhalation of numbness, intermingling with the silk, with the dried blood. She stares at the window, the moon staring back. Both alone and tired and wishing for sleep, for a change. She picks at the bandage. Fingers nimbly working away the seams, delving through the streams of darkness, through the sodden fleshlessness. It wasn't a bad break. Worse than she first thought, but hardly bad. A snap, a slice, a pound of flesh. Her romantic notion of agony. She twirls her fingers in the material, ensconcing them. Warm and cold." By Edward Vukovic.
THE BOOK OF LISH
"In my bib overalls, on my way from the farm to the United Broken States Federal Post Office as I liked to call it, to drop off a post and drop into the library of Babel as my brother liked to call it--but picture the post: a picture postcard, the kind sent out on Christmas with the whole family gathered round the Christmas tree, only this was of my brother's dog, Jake, sitting on my brother's tractor, a picture postcard headed for somewhere near the Arabian Sea..." By Trent Walters.
NEW POEMS BY MATVEI YANKELEVICH
"In 1932 I had special-made boots/ and a cup of coffee tailored to my size./ Were I a layer, I would lie." By Matvei Yankelevich.
THREE POEMS BY ELIZABETH GLIXMAN
"Florid is your style./I've seen you in shoes that top the ceiling,/scrape the eaves./Silver spangled sweaters clap/stretch pull into wild whirls./Piercing symphonies blaring in the night./A dark eyed clown whose palette is gilded" By Elizabeth Glixman.
FIVE POEMS BY JIM SALLIS
"Now at last you can unpack / the luggage of the heart, / roll up and put away / these ill-fitting clothes, / this loose second skin / too long lived in." Five poems by world-famous James Sallis. This piece was part of our feature on James Sallis.
NEW POEMS BY TODD COLBY
"I don't care/ if you don't have/ a care in the world-/you see me and I see/ the day is not-so-quietly exploding" By Todd Colby.
"To his credit, Darryl tried his hardest to do right by her. The two started dating, and he did his best to try to help her with the pregnancy. When he turned 18, he dropped out of school and got a job on the same construction site his father worked at so he could move out and live with Angela. Naturally, things didn't work out. Darryl liked to drink, and often came home drunk and angry. No matter how hard he tried, he just seemed incapable of staying sober, and eventually Angela knew that she had to break it off." Jim Martin shines his little light on crime, domestic violence, and vindication.
FLAG FRACTAL IN THIRTEEN PARTS
"Cut a flag in two (don't get caught). Discard half. And again. And again. Repeat this down to the atomic level--then STOP (very important to stop here). Store at room temperature for one week. Then magnify. What do you see? Undivided flag floating in petri dish like a microscopic campaign button." By Bob Kottage.
THE THIRTEENTH DREAM
"...simple old fashioned justice necessitates your father the writer call you up, long distance bed to bed, dream to dream, disturbing the quiet predawn promise of an almost perfect morning, waking you from slumber you have worked for and earned..." By Bob Thurber.
"I asked my Dad where my Uncle was. He said, 'Not now.' When I asked him, the few heads around him walked away. My dad kept looking over my shoulder watching them leave and placing their faces with the cars they drove. " By Luis Campos.
"'Dignity or fame?' He belted in the face of the next person, a beautiful woman dressed up like a tart. I was only two people away now; the glow emanating from Him was blinding but His breath was worse. He had obviously been at the proverbial teat for days. 'What?' She said, stalling for time. If I had heard Him three people back, she sure as hell had but like me, she'd been watching and was trying to make damn sure she walked away with what she wanted." By Catherine Sullivan, Mad Mom Newtopia.
A HOLE IN THE HEAD
"I couldn't understand how it was possible to bleed that much from my head without dying. Maybe I had died already, I thought, and was sitting up in my bed looking at a blood-soaked pillow in a scene from a skit up in Heaven. Or Hell. I'm not going to fight anyone on where I end up." By Rebecca Carroll.
TRACEY I NAME CONSTANTINOPLE
"This girl / Is Madonna / Without child / But not virgin / This girl is more / Eastern than western / This girl / Knows that / Our fervours each / Holed up inside the other's icon / Become a Nirvana like state / Rather than a conquering / Flag in all it's imperialism / Atop a mountain defeated" By John Bryan.
"But still, the left hands, their smallest fingers. Removed. So maybe the children were the clue, the two little boys, seven and five years old respectively. Come away little children, we wanted to cry. Who could have wanted to chop you up? And why take your tiny fingers too? What could you have done, how could you have figured in such a catastrophe? Too late, of course." By Retro.
LIKE BEADS ON A NECKLACE
"They mix love and whiskey, belly buttons and wine, skin and honey. Their tongues trail down their spines, climb the softness of their buttocks, dive into the folds. They interlace their thighs, their fingers, their lips. They burst. They grin." By Avital Gad-Cykman.
LYDIA'S ORANGE BREAD
"When the loaves have cooled, slice them and you're done, unless you have just broken up with Jamil Backer, who has apparently forgotten that he gave you a set of keys to his apartment. In which case, put the sliced loaves in a paper bag along with four softened sticks of butter, drive to his apartment while he's at work, and let yourself in." By Bruce Holland Rogers.
"Romulus has no patience for the street urchins on Piata Victoriei, those grimy kids who attach their suckered tentacles to us every time we step out of the hotel. With eyes shiny and hard as pebbles, glistening with a paint-thinner high, they never stop their operatic chant for a handout, appealing to us and the Savior in whines, or wailing like some boy's choir with soft sophistic arguments about charity." Read the revised version of Bruce Benderson's story.
"We will start an ant colony here, Philip and I, no kings or saviors admitted. Reality has melted away -- it's miles behind us. No fears. No sorrow. By eliminating that type of stultified iconography, our trust will be instilled in more natal forms. We've always lived at night, breathing toward the future, as facile a concept it may seem: writing through the future to avoid living it." By Travis Jeppesen.
"I had only been living in this particular spot for a month or so, but before the end of the first week Adrian had become Poor Adrian in my mind. I considered the dimples in her knees. She rented a room in the main house with her boyfriend, a beefy surfer and full time drug dealer. He was dark and squat like a retaining wall, like a harbor buoy at nightfall, with eyes pursed into a perpetual squint by the Venice sun and years of smoking product. My second night there I was out at the table tossing back a few with everyone. Adrian and her boyfriend had gotten into it, first muffled intense whispers in the shadows of the big rose bush, then louder and stomping back and forth to the kitchen to get more drinks. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I wasn't sure what I should do." By 3am's own Jonathan Carr.
"I was the last to arrive. It had to be that way. Her friends were common with a dullness that was fatiguing. Not common like you, but common in a way that can occur only when the pretentious aim for arty." Wayne H.W. Wolfson wrote this particular story for our own H.P. Tinker, so read on.
SCENE 7 from SARCOXIE & SEALOVE
"It sucks being dead. I can't find new facts for you. But I can remind you of the sordid little facts you may have forgotten. My life was threatened after I survived the first media barrage. They didn't like that I was back, and that my stories would be republished in your paper. On the phone, they said, 'watch your back, watch your wife, watch little Adriana.' As easy as phoning in a bomb threat to your high school, and we've all been there, right? But I'll be damned if I didn't take it seriously. Hell, it was on my mind when I took the pills, and drank the OJ with two thirds of that liter of Smirnoff." Read the seventh scene from Sander Hicks' play, Sarcoxie & Sealove.
SPELLMAN, BASTION OF FINE SARTORIAL STANDARDS
"Rosanne and I did our damnedest to break the conformist regime of Spellman's hallways, not because we wanted to mess with rules so much as that floating in that sea of anonymity would have been too painful and wasteful of our spirit." By Irene Tejaratchi.
"He couldn't define what it was, precisely, about the gutter vernacular and bent, prone, and spread-eagled young women that gave him solace. Empathy, perhaps? Regardless, it was the only thing that did. He had sought the counsel of a stripper during a lap dance." By Allison Floyd.
THREE POEMS FROM THOMAS RAIN CROWE
"I wash your dishes, America/ I scald my hands in boiling water/so that you may eat in style. I brillo my fingers/ raw to the bone/to keep you fat." Three poems from Thomas Rain Crowe.
NON-ENTITIES BATHED IN BLUE
"What she said does not surprise him, rather it gives him chance to think about how many ways one can be a child, and how retreating to a less responsible state of being is convenient in the face of accountability. He rises again from the couch, restless, caffeinated, nicotated, cocanated, awash in ponderous inertia. He returns to the secure confines of the window, framing himself against a backdrop of blue and shadow, holding himself against the chill and the penetrating inquiries from across the room. He appears to whither, receding further, back into the darkest corner where his form is swallowed up by the cracks and crevices of the old, painted-over molding. His geometric limbs become part of the architecture, his head sags as he stares painfully at the floor." By 3am's Charles Shaw.
ADVENTURES IN KIDNEY FAILURE
"A nurse unhooks him and takes his wasted plasma and hemoglobin from the poly vinyl straw. It's not blood now; it's silly string. The nurse folds it back on itself like somebody's grandma winding a new skein of yarn into a ball." By Gail Louise Chagall.
HERE SWIMS A MOST MAJESTIC VISION
"Miranda knew a little peace each day when Caliban was at work. She too found compassion in his rye and by the sixth glass she was uplifted, severed from the apparition of her life. As the fumes killed her senses she would embrace the table, perfumed with sloth. Lost. Forgetting for a while the sun's slow burn on the earth. Drunk. Some stray grief dancing in her head. 'I long for the night, when even my blame sleeps.'" By Jason DeBoer.
THE OLD MAN BY THE SEA
"There's a rumor going around that people in LA don't pay attention to each other, but that's not totally true. For even if the dozens of others lined up to hop on the merry-go-round for $.50 a pop don't notice, I do. I have no choice. He is making me watch. I can't help but trace the line of his gray unshaven cheekbone. See his wild ashen hair billow about as if he was walking underwater. See that fucking stump of his obscenely gesticulating uncontrollably through the salty air." By Jim Marquez.
CLIMAX: SIX BIG ENDINGS
"Rival salty snack smuggling gangs from Krzykhstan encounter each other for the final showdown in a foam-filled night club in Ibiza. Wielding glass 'yard-of-beer' drinking containers, decapitated cosmo tumblers, beer bongs, and concertino-wire rimmed coasters that they have surreptitiously concealed in crush-proof plastic boxes that have been surgically implanted in the quadriceps of their lowliest foot soldiers, they fight to the death until only one man, Viatcheslav, is left standing. As he surveys the blood and ruin from within a go-go dancing platform/cage, he sniffs the air deeply and vows to dedicate himself fully to his amateur track and field career and give up his life of crime." By Andrew John Ignatius Vontz.
TWO POEMS BY MARIE KAZALIA
"In a downpour of a tropical depression
His semi-soft penis twitches, fills and swells
against the right side of my knee"… Read mexico City Day One: The Poor and Communication Pressures In Hong Kong by Marie Kazalia.
AGAINST THE AGONY OF MATTER
"so the dancing beads of blood move tenderly in their circuits, and await the deconstruction of the hour, for you are my meditation upon a blank wall"….Poem by Jesse Glass.
THREE POEMS BY SHELLY REED
"You probably thought I was just a girl/A blonde with a tight ass you knew you had to/touch" Read three poems by Shelly Reed.
PaRiS SeX TêTe
"She could stop dead in her tracks too, fixed on a pigeon on a ledge, not even snap a photo but just stand there lyrical and dewy-eyed and then grab you and kiss you right there on Boulevard Voltaire, her whole body poised on her toes between the potential and the actual, between the Paris of abandon (night) and the Paris of discipline (day)." By Bart Plantenga.
THINGS TO TELL YOUR NEXT LOVER
"Most of the nerve endings on your clitoris are on the left side./Your G spot seems to be about two inches in, slightly to the right./There is nothing worse than breaking rhythm, unless it's doing it too hard./You like your coffee with lots of milk." Read Susan Taylor's Things to Tell Your Next Lover.
"mind shine through goofball/eyeball lantern lenses lighting tender/script rendered/from your tender/living/hand" Check out three poems from Mike Watt.
EVEN THE DOG WON'T TOUCH ME
"'Afterwards, Moosie, I'll wrist-wrestle you for scotches in the art-deco Sino-Russo Honeymoon Hotel.' 'I am an adherent of the Muslim faith,' he replied, already heading for the exit, a wicked grin growing on his face. 'You insult me to the quick. I don't gamble. You're buying.'" "Even the Dog Won't Touch Me" by Tom Bradley is the winner of the Harper/Collins-3A.M. Magazine competition in the short story category.
"'I toured Germany and we had this Black Forest food, you know, haunted food, full of poverty. That's the thing about the Germans. It's as if they're under a spell and when they buy their big Mercedes Benz's and BMWs it's just a way of trying to forget the spell. But it's there, and you can trace it in their crazy food. You know what their food is - all that omellete of bacon and potato, black bread with butter and bacon - you know what they call that - Carlos, heh, you listening up?' he called to the little figure following him through the night like dwarfish solitude himself." 3am is pleased to present this excerpt from our very own Richard Marshall's novel in progress.
"i toss in another bed, the lamps crackling in the dark just after being extinguished, and my life is alien to me. i miscalculated somewhere in my past and now i have become utterly alone. greyhound buses take me to the people who write me letters, and their faces are only familiar when they are not focusing on me, or when they are sleeping. haven't they all been my face, my mannerisms, my talk? haven't i lived in all their bodies, all their mediocrities that i have tried to cancel in myself, all the aristocratic features that want to break through their faces like compound fractures repaired?" Read some mad-as-a-stick fiction by Luke Buckham.
who wants the night to belong to them?
"i finished shaving, cutting myself a few times because i was watching the bat in the steamed background of the mirror. it's mouth continued to open and close softly every now and then, its little rodent teeth exposed. it looked almost synthetic, in the way that animals you don't often see up close look synthetic. i wanted to cradle it, to pat it's strange black leather ears, but i could smell it's strange forbidding musk and knew that it didn't belong indoors. i wiped some of the blood off my neck and tasted it, thinking suddenly that it might attract the bat, then remembering that it wasn't a vampire, just a common city bat. i went into the kitchen and grabbed a sweater to grab it with, so that i could pin it without hurting it and then release it outside." By Luke Buckham.
"The swirling spirals on her wings,\And in the ocean and on the sand and in the heavens.\And in the Depths below.\I close my eyes and see the same patterns.\And the same colors. And the same brightness.\The same rich tapestry!\Just as real, just as imagined." By Mason A. Porter.
GOD #204 and GOD #209
drinks green tea
10,000 tomorrows"…Read Mark Pashia's takes on God.
UNTITLED (BLACK ON GREY)
"I bring him his tea in the morning. He had to teach me how to make it, milk first, heated. He brings me treats at bedtime: a glass of red wine, a bar of dark chocolate, raspberries. He is clever with fruit." By Maryanne Stahl.
"They did not look at me. They were silent and they looked at each other. Then there were tears and the younger said to the older, "Here is my shoulder. Do you want a shoulder to cry on?" She did. She laid her hair and then her face on the other's shoulder. And there was nothing in the entire bar but the pieces of two people. Two heads and a shoulder." By Maker Clark.
"I ran in place like a rabid dog chained inside a junkyard. I made no progress, and yet I was exhausted; I was slowly being drained of any and everything that I could call life in favor of a non-existence that consisted of taking up space and form, like a neutron, inert and purposeless, passing between opposing charges, only to be decimated particle by particle." By 3am's editor of all things political, Charles Shaw.
"my blood is a cadaver and the same rank and do palpitation to air: the comeback impossible body organ of the wolf that parallels to the chaosmic war of a vital body chromosome of: brain cells that bore the tube of the womb against the mass of flesh of the madman: is incubated the infant of the wave of the zero who is latent in the world the happiness of the blue sky to the DIGITAL=placenta of the wolf that becomes extinct and conduct the equal soul that brain the desert of the drug mechanism of an embryo visual hallucination to the reverse space of the certain sun within the end of the world!" Another short story by Hokkaido's odd son, Kenji Siratori.
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"Simultaneously, in spiritual centers and sacred prana repositories around the world including Goa, Beawar, Tibet, Vanuata, and Menlo Park (California) among dozens of others, hundreds of boddhisatvas astrally project themselves into the roots as well." Experience the thoughts of serenity with Andrew Vontz.
ADVENTURES IN RACE
"She'd never been here before, and was unsure about the codes of conduct, the unspoken expectations that seem to lie dormant until unfulfilled, erupting then in uglier forms."…Read Adventures in Race by Shya Scanlon.
"They'd teased her about it, too, which now seemed terribly cruel--turning the mailbox numbers backwards, sideways, upside-down, knowing she'd soon check for mail...knowing, just as well, that this slight imperfection would disturb her so that, even expecting an important letter, she wouldn't even peek--not until she'd reassembled the numbers, all in their proper places, perfectly aligned. This was her address, identifying her home, and, perhaps, for her, her world. Maybe these pranks turned her world inside-out; what they'd assumed mere family playfulness had driven her to the edge..." By Laura C. Alonso.
"That fucker, everybody knows that black orchids mean death." Read The Orchid by Matthew Kirby.
WRITTEN IN INK (A RESPONSE)
"thinking of the girl i was,/drawing blood, luring you along" Read this wonderful new poetry by Roxanne M. Carter.
DILDO AND GHAST WRITER
"tissue type clenched/in ink blots and bleeds/erase that satisfied smudge/i drew upon you"…Read DILDO and GHAST WRITER by John Bryan.
THERE ARE GECKOS
"There are geckos crawling up the sides of the tent. The moon is so bright that I can see their silhouettes as they trot across the canvas. The only problem is, I can't tell if they're inside or outside the tent." There Are Geckos by Jennifer Macaire is the winner in the flash fiction category.
"Your tongue on my flesh/Lifts me heavenward/And I press myself closer/To your godly mouth,/To your saintly lips." Read six pieces of desire by Tracy Scarpino.
"We first met by accident. I had just cut Wendy loose and was going through the motions. Going through the motions. A pantomime of what one half of a split should do. Long faced whiskies, sad songs and that long walk home." Read more about Wayne Wolfson's bitter Parisian romances, with his latest story, Vera.
WHO NEEDS HEROIN
"when I'm afraid of life/i see the dealers smiling/promising/to wash out the static/with oil and vinegar potato chips/hurricanes/and french schoolgirls dancing disco/in living color/i'm sold/what I don't need/in a beautiful hell/no one asks to be saved" By Erin Bealmear.
Read this brief but enjoyable poem by Kurt Kitasaki.
"Come back when night has fallen and the sky spits stars: little gems to razzle-dazzle the high ceilinged streets." The winner in the poetry category is Deborah Staab's "Meat-Packing District".
THREE POEMS BY BILLY CHILDISH
"i am a desperate man who loves the simplicity of painting / and hates gallarys and white walls and the dealers in art / who loves unreasonableness / and hot headedness." The Strangest Thing, A Terrible Thing and I Am the Strange Hero of Hunger: three poems by the White Stripes' hero Billy Childish.
MENSTRUATION, RAT RACE, AND THE LAST BATH
"and gleefully I catch/the clear arcing stream in my mouth . . .when my parents walk in/on that last bath we all took together." Read these three new poems by Bob Slaymaker.
"This said, Jackson Donne lifts up his shirt and exposes two screaming assholes where his nipples are supposed to be. Then he juggles a flock of screaming shrunken heads. Then he oils up and flexes his tricep muscles. Then he stuffs his fingers in his mouth, whistles, and a jungle stampede of circus freaks scurries on and off stage, excecuting ungainly dance moves. Then he pulls the grinning skeleton of James Dean out of a hat and crucifies it on a rotten wooden cross that he also pulls out of the hat. Then he vomits a small child into a paper cup." Read D. Harlan Wilson's corrupt sense of sensuality.
POETS: NO MORE WIND-SWEPT HILLTOPS
"In its report, Poets Against the Hackneyfication of Similes, or PATHOS, denounced the continued use of received ideas, repetitive language and below par versification in general by individuals published in obscure and popular periodicals and collections." Read Ethan Gilsdorf's farcical look at the state of poetic affairs.
"to the fingertip of the marionette=brain cell of the embryo that accumulates the happiness type of the past of an artificial paradise on the gimmick of the drug mechanism of the angel that my soul begins to split on the brain of the murder of an ant the cell wolf toys with the cyber=aerofoil of the clone catastrophic internal…" By Kenji Siratori.
"I distinctly remember separating my personal from my professional life back then, and when it came to doing it with boys I liked I preferred it plain and straight. And I really loved Jack for six full weeks when we were both twenty-four. Maybe it's the case that when you've been a porn actress people pin all sorts of sexual modus operandi on you." By Cantara Christopher.
"Christ, Vicky! What do you want? A divorce? A separation? A sandwich? Or a glass of water? This is brilliant! Brilliant! If it wasn't so bloody awful!" By Maggie Montford.
"It opens upward from the floor./I know because I'm one of them./She gives all of us just enough water to survive,/but not enough to grow./We are dwarfed and neglected,/but feel teased and important when we're fed./Such is the life of a boy, collected." By RG Van Kolken.
AN ACCOUNTABLE DEATH - PART IV
"'What the hell, Merchant,' he said a little louder, 'this is dead man's country anyways. Never knows what's gonna hit you from yon winder. Or where it might come from, being so dark out there it appears. My mother, rest her pore soul, always said to be ready for your Maker and have clean drawers on, case'n someone else's lookin' on.'" Read the latest installment of Tom Sheehan's serial.
"So the big baby bird quit trying to play with the other baby birds. Pretty soon, he didn't even want to play anymore. But the other baby birds still wanted to play with him. They pecked and pecked away at the big baby bird, but the big baby bird didn't feel a thing because the other baby birds couldn't even reach his eyes. The baby birds pecked and pecked away, and the big baby bird smiled and smiled through his beak. And the mommy bird smiled right back." By Alex Munkachy.
THE CIRCLE, OR APPENDISECTOMY: FROM AN (AGING) BOOK ABOUT A WRITER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF-A.K.A. HENRI d'MESCAN
"The Circle track thumps like an obscene baby mouth drooling beneath the speakers in a long string of gelatinous DNA or an alloy of popular imagination and super-reinforced copper filament projecting its fantastic sis-boom-ba over the public in its multivalent forms: emissaries from the secret chemical concern in civilian incognito, homesick wives staffing the ol' day-to-day while husbands fathers brothers lovers die in the blackout confusion of the Blitz, a small monkey wearing a grey fedora angrily swinging a boom mike near a pyramid of large crates." By Davis Schneiderman.
"Nobody honked, in spite of the gnarled flow thorough the shrunken artery of the intersection. As the blood dried, the surface of the road became a giant, puckered welt. Nobody noticed; or at least nobody seemed to notice. But as the asphalt began to roil and twitch and groan like the sound of a giant ice sheet shifting and moaning on the surface of a lake, a small girl approached the taxi. The road surface, where the blood had been, had now fallen away to reveal a mirrored surface which shone like a magnificent eye to the heavens above. The little girl slowly walked clockwise around this giant dilated pupil; and as she did, the sky above her became streaked with clouds that shifted with an almost imperceptible cadence in unison with her tiny feet as they struck the ground." By R. D. Kushner.
ROUTE 50, 50 MPH
"You nod slightly, trying to swallow the lump in your throat. Avery begins to play and you study his every move. You watch his eyebrows furrow as he concentrates, the way the muscles flex in his arms when he changes chords. He is pouring everything he has into this song - into playing this song for you. Your hand moves up to caress your blackened eye." By Jennifer Fields.
VENGENCE ON THE DANUBE
"The hazmat suit begins to twitch uncontrollably. In a few moments, the suit is jerking ghoulishly across the small ledge. Delighted, Pista claps his hands, as if keeping time with a gypsy dance. 'Ho-pa! Clap with me!'" By Alan C. Baird.
"I saw only the almost delicate-looking spider's web/fracturing wildly out and out/from its cruelly precise and irreparable center." A poem by Christina Kallery.
PLAYING TENNIS WITH KAFKA
"'Brilliant! A million-dollar idea. Inflatable Golems in all sizes. It could be bigger than Mickey Mouse,' I said enthusiastically. Laughing uncontrollably at the idea I almost fell off the bridge, just at the spot where the legendary St. John of Nepomuk was thrown into the water in this city of heretics. Heresies and defenestrations. Regaining my balance, I elaborated our daydream: 'It could be sold as both a religious fetish and a sex object. I see it now. We could have a huge hot air Golem-balloon floating above the city.'" By William Levy.
"ISKRA ignites as a rampant harlot/through lamp-lit city streets/placing her mouth around each /dangling cock of philosophy." A poem by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas.
"With his eyes closed, he found her lips with his own, and he did not mind the sticky taste of balm. He did not mind the scent of berry lips." By Scott Neumyer.
"this is after the bottle of myrrh had long been empty," a poem by kris t kahn.
"Karen comes on with a Barbie doll dressed in 70s threads. She says, Barbie doesn't smoke or drink, Barbie doesn't even think. She leans in close so I can almost smell her breath on my face. Her teeth are capped. They are black underneath. Perpetual puking will do that to you. She says, Barbie doesn't fuck, Hey Ken, tough luck. I think Karen Carpenter doesn't fuck either. She's in her twenties now and hasn't even been kissed properly except for that time when Richard set her up with an A&R guy. A nasty joke. He tried to feel her up and told Richard it was like playing a xylophone except no sound came out. Karen's a virgin and Richard's gay, that's what all the people say. " By Simmone Howell.
ONCE BY THE SHORT HAIRS
"Through her teeth she muttered, "You dirty rotten bastards." The girls got into the Caddie, which moved slowly away from the pumps. A heavy-set man was at the wheel. She took a deep breath and let every muscle in her body relax. It was now!" Read Tom Sheehan's latest work of short fiction!
"The President gave a speech recommended for ages 2 to 6. Bewildered into madness by these proceedings, Failsafe was sat among other blanks on floor-bolted chairs, lip-reading cartoons with the sound down. The lines blurred. By the time all the attention had moved on, even he'd forgotten who he was, and the bars of his window had merged with the shifting shapes in the sky." By Steve Aylett.
AN ACCOUNTABLE DEATH - PART 3
"Recessed under a heavy skull, his dark eyes seemed full of curiosity. 'Who're those fellows over with Carlton Evers last week? Hung around' most of the day I hear. Were up on the hill too? Nice little car they had, that little black one. Kind of pert and sassy if you ask me. Seems awful small for that big feller, the bigger of the two, the one with the doo-dad clothes. Looked mighty prosperous he did. Fact is, so did the other feller, sum total of that.'" Tom Sheehan's An Accountable Death continues...
A BREAK FROM HER ROUTINE
"She had cleaned it earlier. Now she let a deluge of hot, hot water flow out of the spigot, and she watched as it surged to the back of the tub and ebbed slowly back toward the drain. She poured a carton of Epsom salts in the water and chased them with a few capfuls of bubble bath." By Ernie Shoemaker.
In his 3am Magazine debut, Asim Rizki analyses the intersection of Western and Middle Eastern cultures from the point of view of three British students, who just happen to be Muslim, as they prepare for the Christmas holiday in London, while one receives word of his arranged marriage back home in Pakistan.
DRIVING (OR HIGHWAY 14)
"The city, my new home/It has its allure/But the South/It's in my blood/I need this air/These sounds/I need the feel of driving 60 in a 45/on a deserted highway/with the wind off the Mississippi/blowing silky, soft strands of sun-kissed hair/across my face/getting in my eyes/The cool/clean/night air/caressing/Burnt sienna skin/From a summer of sunning in the front yard" By Cassie Olivieri.
"Nathan was dressed in stonewashed jeans, Primitives T-shirt, second-hand Oxfam cardigan, NHS style specs and scuffed eight-eye DMs. His hair was shaped into a huge quiff supported by scoops of wet-look gel. . . . From his appearance, I guessed Nathan was a Morrissey fan, like me. Within moments we were discussing the new album and how it compared with Hatful of Hollow and Meat is Murder. We swapped our favourite tracks; like the pretentious students we were, we both chose B-sides." As 24 Hour Party People hits the British screens, we bring you an exclusive extract from former Hacienda dj Mark Dawson's next novel." By Mark Dawson.
"Scrumptious without nutritional value. Super-rational with cherries on top. Scientific Elucidation of Divine Plan for divine works of art. At Dairy Freeze. Dairy Queen. Smothering 60 flavors with flavorings, nut toppings, hazelnut, walnut, peanut butter slabs, chocolate sprinkles, cookie crumbs, sublime fudge . . . With cherries on top." By Michael Rothenberg.
NOT A GOOD IDEA
"We spent a week talking about Picasso and his lovers. “When the relationship is ending,” he explained as we looked at contorted pictures of Olga, Marie-Therese and Jacqueline. “He turns them into monsters. " By Susan Buttenwieser.
THE DUCHESS'S HOUSE
"Their coats were all covered in dust. One of them started to say something about a train yard before Reuben shot him a dirty look. The duchess liked them all. Every other night Reuben would bring them by. Rent was almost due again. The Duchess couldn’t think of anything else to sell. She only had half the money she usually gave Reuben. The week before rent she didn’t even have that." By Wayne H.W. Wolfson.
THE CRICKET SUICIDES
"The makers of mirrors/are difficult to place/in the history of art./In one of the first recorded exhibitions/of minimalism,/their works were hung, full-length/in the galleries of Versailles./The audience was select,/but admiring./As symbolists, avant les lettres,/their art/was only in the silvering,/they fell in love/with the brilliance of their reflections" Six poems by John Knowles.
ÉGYPTE VA VOUS CONDUIRE
Her hair shook, and she shook it more. In the darkness of the closed asthmatic dusty museum I could nonetheless see her body, for she was nude except for sandals and underpants, and I was especially intoxicated by her thin, long stomach, quivering in the dark like the shoulders of an Egyptian nymphomaniac..." By Joseph F. Mailander.
MEXICAN SEX HOTEL
"And everything she inscribed on the community, observed by blossoming daughters and driving instructors, amongst others, was it torn down and rebuilt? Or was it a relatively simple process? Did we laugh callously in the kitchen of those early days? Did she regard the soft-spoken county sheriff down to his dismal cock and the dietary dysfunction of the goodness held therein? Did renewed circulation thrill his every vein? Did we ask: 'Will she be good and hold important positions, participate in great deeds, organise Scrabble tournaments, and so forth? Or will she be mean and wear mean expressions and embarrass you in front of your friends by dancing the funky chicken?'" By the mighty HP Tinker.
LITTLE AXE'S GUIDE TO TONGUE REMOVAL
"My father took his hands away from his head and grinned at the doctor. He began speaking very slowly in a way I knew too well: 'But let me ask you,' he said softly, 'if you have any God-forsaken idea of what I have been through,' and now his voice increased, 'during the past two fucking years? I have been purposely pricked-and-dicked-over one time too many by individuals like yourself, and frankly I'm fed up to the balls with the whole goddamn thing.'" By Brandon Hobson.
PRECINCT NEW YORK
"The Big Mac I'd bitten into all of a sudden turned cold/as a jaywalker was run over/by one of our New York greyhound services/and my arms were locked by a streetwalker with sad eyes/...what has happened to you, America, my dreams?" By Prasenjit Maiti.
COPS AND BODYBUILDERS
"In light of the severity of the crime I had reported on the phone, the police didn’t bother knocking on my door when they arrived. They simply crashed through my door like a stampede of mad oxen. There were three of them, each equipped with a bushy handlebar moustache, each wearing two articles of clothing: a ten gallon police hat and a purple Spandex g-string. Their tans seemed to have been painted onto their skin and their muscles seemed to twitch and flex of their own volition. Their grins were as white as the image of God." By D. Harlan Wilson.
"so what of it? betsy is sitting in a pair of cut-offs her thighs are porcelain white and big the moon is out im drunk but not as drunk as her. her apartment is immense no cats and for that im glad thinkin of paul westerburg with his wise-ass rock and roll wisdom and huxley with that big old brain of his, just for a moment i think ive got it but then betsy speaks and once again the sky is falling." By Tony Nesca.
"Evan was always hyperconscious of his drinking habits, though that, more often than not, did little to curtail his consumption. With each drink he took he also acknowledged a corresponding image of his father. He didnt want to end up like him, and he couldnt say he wasnt concerned about it. He acknowledged the liquid panacea for what it was: An Off-Ramp. Even if it was only for a moment, until it passed through him like so many wasted feelings and tics." Read Charles Shaw's exceptional excerpt.
TELL ME A STORY, SON
"Dont look,' she says in a half giggle, shielding her face. 'Just dont look for a second and well see if he stops right away. You cant give them as much attention as they think they need. Theyll be too clingy. Theyll need you too much. Theyll not have their independence.'" By Jeffrey Ross.
IN THE ELEVATOR, BITE ME, AND UGLY
"The South African junkie/bites my breasts/with his broken teeth./He refuses to believe the bruises/are from him./I love him in exact proportion/to his disdain." Read these three poems by Christine Hamm.
AN EXCERPT FROM FAST EDDIE, KING OF THE BEES
"A rat had found the old lobster trap washed up beneath the dilapidated docks of Inner Harbor. I climbed in. Shep padlocked the top and draped the sheet back over the crate. Buckles clinking, bars rattling, the struggle began. 'No way the wound-up wonder child can get out of this one!' A couple of rat assistants hauled the whole contraption over to the edge of the Frog Pond and heaved me in. Portentous bubbles rumbled up from turgid turquoise depths. The Frog Pond's only a few feet deep, but as Shep would say, forebodingly, 'It only takes a teaspoon.'" By Robert Arellano.
"Mother, like a wild animal, jumped onto the counter top, over the register she went, her followers did the same. They stormed the kitchen and like lunatics, they ravaged whatever food they could. Mother laughed as she stuffed her mouth with French fries. They appeared to be a group of circus clowns gone mad." By Kim Rivera.
"The man who had been castrated was now being spoken of as a good man who had never harmed anyone, and that he should be elevated to the status of sainthood if only to honor his memory and to bring closure to this most tragic of events. The priest of course was opposed to this. This must be left to Rome's discretion, he argued. They could not take this matter into their own hands. It was a sacrilege. The villagers decided that the priest must be hanged as well. So, after the girl and her parents were stoned to death, the priest was taken from his sanctuary and hung from the tallest tree in the village square." J. L. Navarro brings us a brilliant parable on the perils of shame, and the price of "peace".
MY EUROPE: A SHORT HISTORY
"A few years later D.T. returned to Serbia in order to take part in the two Balkan and one world war. Between the two world wars he was the owner of a very profitable bank in Sabac. He loved boasting and therefore claimed to have been one of the richest men in Serbia. Or that he was the first to bring radio set to Serbia. On the Second World War eve he went bankrupt and become broke. Later he used to say: 'When communists came to power I had nothing, so they could take nothing from me.'" By Dusan Velickovic.
LOST AND FOUND
"JR lit a fresh cigarette. This guy was great. If he was any more remote, he'd need batteries. 'To be honest, I am finding this whole thing very strange….I feel like I don't exist, or have never existed. No one around here knows me, no one knows anything about me. I could be an escaped lunatic, or an axe-murderer, or a serial killer…'" By Tracy Jenkins.
"Don't give me that wounded look. Speak evil, a thousand arrows fall from my heart./ Lay down and listen to the storm move the pictures tacked to the wall. An attempt to escape on wings dried and cracked." Wayne Wolfson explores the unnamed spaces between the known territories of human emotions: Read Rain Suite.
"The next thing you know, you've got the school whore in the back of the family mini-van near a deserted construction sight, licking vodka and orange juice from each other's naked bodies." By Nathan Leslie.
BENEATH THE RAIN
"Livonia stood in the doorway, looking shy and scared. Her finger twisted around a lock of her hair and she chewed her lower lip. "I was here visiting Taylor the other day and I think I left my earring in his room. May I go look?" Clearly telling the older woman this was much easier and made more sense than telling her the truth: that she had a feeling that Taylor was gone, that she'd never see him again and that the very thought made her sick to her stomach. She just needed to breath him in one last time - one last lingering scent of him." By Jennifer Fields.
"But I was not beneath them when they landed. I had backflipped onto a tabletop, the one that belonged to the couple that had nothing to say to one another. I promptly called each of them an obscene word, then kicked in their faces with my steel-toed boots and knocked them onto the floor (once a battle in the restaurant starts, anything goes and you can let anybody know what you really think of them, whether they threaten you with their mouths and fists or, in the case of these two degenerates, with their ennui-ridden existences)." Take a walk through the quiet side of town with D. Harlan Wilson's Restaurant.
"Page five of the pamphlet, which was printed with public subsidy at public pressure, reads: The Ghettos in your city have been color coordinated according to risk factor. Pine-green denotes a ghetto chased with public works, such as libraries and courthouses. The ghetto and the public works exist together uneasily, but are the safest combination." Read Joe Hirsch's excellent Instant Ghetto.
THE SNAPPING SOUND OF SELF-PITY: A MUMMERY
"How did these things turn sour, he wondered, as he pulled the harness over his thighs and shoulders. Love grown so strong at midnight, withering away like his erection in its lambskin sheath, hunched over her the first time around, love dead as he woke to the dawn light, her faded green jailhouse tattoo, and the ripples of fat on her ass." By Rusty Barnes.
"And by the afternoon they could see that the fog had been driven off by fierce winds driving in from the North, cold and wild forces which shook out the becalmed stillness of the golden fog like waking a dream. By evening they could see the sky, the cumulus clouds clear as cream, even the moon again, the stars. They crawled to the door and stood under the night sky breathing the air." By Colin Sex.
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON
"Why would you die?" Len was drowning in his dream already, and she drew him out by his receding hair." By Mark Budman.
MY FATHER THE VAMPIRE
"That would explain her dad’s lifeless complexion and his overgrown stubble. Was he waking up in the middle of the night to suck the blood out of the neighbours? Sumitra's Grandmother was just the other day saying that she hadn't seen poor old Mrs Moby for a while. Sumitra pondered for a moment, and then carried on reading." Read this delightful tale by Bindu and see what children see.
"Her cleanliness was for another place and circumstance, for another man... I received the remainder, the slime and fuck. There was a violence to her affection that could only blossom in the indifferent turns of flesh, a spiteful collapse into one another as we rolled in blood." By Jason DeBoer.
BOXY AN STAR (PART I)
"She is mine an we are called Star an me. We feel damn dead good together an the bag feels damn dead good on us. We are under it. This big bag of pills. It is a jumbo big bag on us. Feelin good on us. An us feelin damn dead good under it. Us layin together. Me an Star." Read our first extract from Daren King's Boxy an Star which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and reached the top ten contenders for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize.
"The inevitability a depressed writer would one day make her his cash-cow with a dramatic retelling was terrifically great. She didn't like heights or cold weather, but at least a story ran through it." By Susannah Breslin.
ECOSYSTEM DISCOVERED IN SAATCHI'S POCKET
"There's a blonde woman too, with the ghost of a black eye. She's almost managed to incorporate the bruise into a makeup job that's simultaneously subtle and theatrical. She’s obviously thinking Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner, which just shows how deluded people can be. She doesn't speak, doesn’t need to because Gary already knows what her voice is like; sheared off and sharpened by expensive education then deliberately worn smooth again by St Martin's or drama school. She doesn't look the sort to accept a black eye without giving something in return." Alistair Gentry displays the life and times of a modern day rock star.
"Forgive me if I'm wrong, but if you've never taken a chance at happiness you have no clue as to what happiness is. The loud music and Francesca's arms, the sangria on a Sunday afternoon in the Haight, the feeling that whatever I was and all I despised was ebbing away. Away." By Kevin McGowin.
ME AND YOU
"In the street the light makes me squint and sweat/ but in it you’re already beginning to uncurl " By Andrew Shelley.
"There was a ton of blood, but I expected that. It was a messy, thankless job, but someday I knew I’d be rewarded. This flabby, weak-willed bitch wasn’t the first and she wouldn’t be the last. There were plenty as pitiful as she." By Landon Dixon.
"But Pego is busy farting in short bursts, each emission accompanied by an “Ole!”. Felipe sighs as he clatters trays together, what else can he expect – Pego is from the mountains, olives in a shitty bedsit in Edgware Road with his wife, has done so for thirteen years, sending money home to his son-in-law to put into the pig farm he will retire to, still farting,. Still laughing. As he empties half-eaten Cambridge Creams into a huge, stinking bin, he starts to think of his own home town, Lisbon, and the fatigue seems to weigh heavier." By Duncan Ellis.
THE ENIGMA OF RUNNERS. THE STRANGENESS OF DAMS
"The last time Karlson saw the Runner was as he stood facing the spillway of the Howden Dam . Georgeston was standing with him, her face tanned and serene as she gazed out into the blue of the day through her shades. Karlson knew that she too had a strange relationship with the dams and in his heart felt that she would continue his work. In this he was wrong." By Carter Boyle.
"Princess Ewe had the lake built as a home for her pet crocodile. Any local fisherman who fell victim to this beloved pet would have his family sued afterwards, for interfering with the croc's carefully planned diet. It is extremely unlikely that the Princess's intended meals were any more nutritious for her pet, but she relied completely on all of her advisors' opinions. Her staff lived in constant fear for their lives." By David Fischer.
THREE NEW POEMS
"Somewhere in a foreign city/a woman is sitting reading,/shaking her head at what she finds./Maybe a bottle of wine is open,/maybe a cat is on her lap/and gypsy jazz is playing." Exclusive to 3am, top Irish poet Matthew Sweeney publishes three new poems - And, A Woman Staying In, and Siege.
THE THING WITH CHICK IS
"The cop drew a mini flashlight about the size of a nice felt pen. He stood close before Chick. Chick could smell the sweetness of milk, the tang of sweat. Smartass kid must be new to this, he thought. The cop blinked, a little longer than usual. Chick knew that look from pro athletes. The cop was clearing his thoughts. Game face." Read Stephen F. Anderson's The Thing With Chick.
ICELAND: AN EXCERPT FROM ON BRIGHTEST DAYS
"I met some high fashion people and they loved my look. They paid me a lot of money to model. There were parties every night and we went to these cool clubs for dancing, gambling and sex shows. At a party at my hotel, a producer offered me a part in a James Bond film that they were shooting on the Riviera. I was only in two scenes, but they were high profile." Read Iceland, an excerpt from Gary Beck's On Brightest Days.
WAITING WITH ALEXANDRIA FOR HER MOM
"I didn't take the bus to Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania and sit with Alexandria in a booth at Ruby Red's for nothing." By Frank Matagrano.
LOBOS, BULLDOG WRISTBAND
"She is all equation,/A trained observer w/o pretense” By Matt Wascovich.
"Reichmann shook his head, took himself down into the experiment chambers of the cellars again just to keep in tune with where these notes were coming from, confused by the unbelievable mess of their confessions. It was then that he saw it for the first time, a quick jerky movement at the barred window, something small moving across the light-cube for a split second, a shadow- figure which had for just that moment looked upon him with the green eyes of a terrible yearning." Retro returns to 3am with authority.
"Pathetic, really, when you thought about them. Like the rats that scurried beneath the docks, they hustled from truck to truck, a string of tawdry angels with rainbow hair, crusted makeup, and hopeless eyes. Some were slack mouthed, gap-toothed, sometimes bruised from the last customer. Their bodies were drug-shriveled or wide hipped with flesh as flaccid as he was before he paid the money and they did their dance. It was another ritual of the road, as dull as the face of the woman now peering through his window." By Gina Gallo.
"I see sick people. I see them all the time. They're everywhere, all around me, retching and choking and heaving up the foul contents of their traumatised stomachs." Too much junk food can make a good story: read Ben Pykett's Sick Sense.
"Klump, who was a sometime security guard, used an old pair of handcuffs to shackle Edith to the cook-stove in their room on Friday nights while he went out drinking. With the help of the fatback grease she kept on the stove she usually slipped out of them and joined us on the fire escape where we talked the nights away. In the winter my mom made vanilla snow cream which Edith loved. Mom even gave her the family recipe." Read this compelling tale by Harold W. Bowman.
THE PINK BALLOON CAPER
"The balloon showed bright pink under the circus lights. Down below in the circus ring to the left was the lion's cage and Paulo knew Fergie's high-powered rifle was focused directly on the lock. All Paulo had to do was let go of the large pink balloon and that would be the signal." Who said there's easy money to be made in the circus business? Read Tony Vallecillo's The Pink Balloon Caper.
"She walks with a certain paper-thin panache to the pool table, which is a homage to too much Bud and too many cigarettes. The felt is a collage of Rorschach-like spots. In fact, word is, they hire the bartenders by administering a Rorschach test - most see Angelina Jolie's tonsils - whatever that means." Read Brandy Christensen's hot Molly Ringworm.
THE TYRANNY OF CLOCKS
"They work me hard underneath the burning heat of an uncaring sun, until my legs buckle with weakness. Then, they proceed to beat me until I struggle to get on my feet. When I do, they kick them out from under me, to prove a point." By Jordan Leigh.
ONCE SCREAMED TO THE FLAG WAVING DRUNKS AT THE VETS BAR, LATE IN THE EVENING
"Fifty years now and they come at me, from Chicago, Crown Point, Indiana, by phone from Las Vegas, from a hill outside Pittsburgh or Bethlehem, PA. I tell them how it happened, long after parting, one night when I was in a bar, thinking of them all." One for the brothers in arms: read Tom Sheehan's Once screamed to the Flag-waving Drunks...
"She smelled of cloves, sweat and sickness. I was going to write while she painted. We would take turns cooking for each other." Drifting days, half-hearted artistic vacations: unnamed, sad colours shimmer in Wayne Wolfson's Two Women.
"Garik thinks to himself that he needs to get some fuses and a little time bomb from the depot store because there’s last prayer playing on radio and is shed-world out there in bright sun. He says he needs to blow the stuff away. He says this to noone but the shadows he himself drags unwillingly along. The whole home town dump’s on brink, red alert." By Angharad Myfanwy Catherwood.
WHEN I'M 70
"I have clogged toilets in all three American time zones. By my girlfriend’s nineteenth birthday, I was spending too much time on the commode. These were wrenching bowel movements, often consuming three-quarters of an hour. If present trends continue, by the time I reach seventy, I will have time for little else." Read Daniel Greenstone's sanitary adventures in When I'm Seventy.
"The ole' ranch sure ain't what it was since we got the family business runnin'. Lots o money now, just no time. And no privacy, either. I hate these stupid little troubles in life that you just don't have the time for. They eat at you. Shoulda had the contractors burn the fuckin thing down when they built the new house last year. Need a new fence too. Too many gawkers trespassin'." Don Pike shows us just how human they can be.
THE VASTNESS, PARTS 1 & 2
"Legs broken and one arm missing, he was bleeding from the head but alive so alive! He could smell the onset of spring, even from his worm's-eye-view. There was scattered debris, there were detached, nameless limbs scattered about-" By Joshua Levy.
THE IMBECILE AND THE PENITENT
"At the time of this writing, I have yet to meet my brother wife. It was a shotgun wedding and I didn't have the time or the money to get to Louisiana to see the wedding. But from what I gather, she is from that witless, classless and ambitionless section of society that is referred to in the slang 'white-trash'." The joys of brotherhood are well illustrated in Ivan Whitte's The Imbecile and the Penitent.
":her acidHUMANIX_different vital=plug the hydromaniac eyeball made of retro-ADAM is streamed----I download the softwarable BDSM circuit of her cadaver with the crazy brain of the techno-junkies' reptilian form that captures the chemical quantum decay of dogs to the parasite insanity medium of the spiral mechanism of the human body pill that was infected HIV that accelerates." By Kenji Siratori.
DOWN THE WIND
"‘From here what does she look like?’ said the stranger who now looked away from her and stared over at the Complex building. She obeyed the force of that look and stared over at it too with just a blank Overwhelm Feel in her and Nought else. Blank. Overwhelm." By Retro.
"She pressed herself to the rough ground in a cache dread and impossible desire. Here were two of the weirdings about which she had heard so much in mere abstract and low-down whisper - nothing more - and they were trapdoors to her Most Beautiful Figurines (MBF) She had never seen better, more, they were yum yum - the Most. She had never considered such a life-form possible. Nothing had prepared her for such sights." By Selima Kyle.
"The county would drive by real slow with someone hanging out the window of their truck yelling to her through a bullhorn. Then they’d turn around and yell going from the other way. Bertrand said you couldn’t hear a word of it cause of all the eighteen-wheelers hauling past. Never did see anyone set foot near her fence to talk about it. Even the post office stayed clear of her place. I don’t guess she had no one to send her any letters. After a while, the county must have give up on it cause they stopped driving by." By D. Creason Bartlett.
THE NEW BOHEMIANS
"They are dizzy with decadence, with guitar notes or brush strokes or poetry, with Cosmos or bourbon or Chartreuse or Burgundy, each to his or her own. They are dancing and laughing and making plans they are forgetting to make time for." By Utahna Faith.
THE COUNTESS OF MONTE CRISTO
"Feeling dazed and semi-lethargised, you have oral sex with Xandra Virago on the floor of your hotel bathroom. Unclothed, she reminds you of Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief. 'I come from a place where inspiration, sight and meaning are one,' she says. 'A place where you carry your experiences with you, on your head like your hair, or on your back like a small rucksack.' 3am is privileged to introduce HP Tinker, one of the best young writers around.
"Apparently, two of the tourists are fighting in the dark. They’re wrestling on the floor of the cave. Two other women, I guess they’re the wives of the two tourists, are huddled together in the corner of the clearing. One of the men is sitting on top of the other one. The man on top has his hands around the other man’s throat!" By Alexander Munkachy.
THE BAG THAT BECAME HER
"They gathered around her touching the silky surface of the bag and running their fingers along the strap. Azure smiled with pleasure her spirit floating on a pillow cloud. The elation she felt at that moment exceeded anything she had ever experienced. Overwhelmed by the warmth that filled her from head to toe, she wanted it to last forever and never release the energy their palatable words and sensuous touches gave her." Anna Zeffreys shows us just what a good bag can cost.
"You see, in terms of those guns I had a vision. I wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. I guess it could be called a "political statement." To go to my stock brokerage firm completely armed and just start blasting. It'd be my way of saying to hell with this trans-national corporate system that degrades everything and everybody, including itself." Read Tony Vallecillo's The Performer, a 3am exclusive.
THE RAIN GAME
"Our generation is full of spoiled kids who have nothing to fight for, nothing to live for, and nothing to do but sit around and imagine some great pain. Then we take Prozac to get through all this imagined pain and depression, which is probably simple boredom. I've endured real pain. I'm not compelled to tell anyone about it though. Otherwise, I might be considered another bored youth from a nothing city with a nothing frown. One night stand fiends repent. Read Shawna Chandler's The Rain Game.
THE IRON BOX
"Eventually, I caught on that the bartender, Carl, had a system worked out for alerting patrons to Claggett's moods. Carl would glance at him, smile and nod to you if your presence was welcome. Or he'd frown and roll his eyes if Claggett wasn't holding court that day. And if Carl raised his eyebrows while shaking his head, it meant there was no telling how you'd be received." By Michael Gates.
LOST AND FOUND
"He stood looking down over the edge of the harbour wall and saw down below the bullheaded obstinacy of water. The salt rose onto his lips. He wondered if his sister had been eaten by the sea. The idea stayed with him for a while. The idea of the sea having dinner almost made him laugh but there was a sincere dementia to him by this time. He shivered at the thought of cannibal feastings. He had heard terrible stories. He tried to calculate the difficulty of falling into the sea by accident. The wall was quite high. The sister would have had to have climbed on to the wall and then slipped over the other side. He considered this unlikely. His little sister knew the dangers of the waters. She would avoid such tomfoolery whilst lost. She would be too abroad to have been distracted in such a homely way. She was at heart a serious little girl." By Ibn Khaldoun.
THE DOLL ON THE BEACH
"‘It can’t never drown can it? After all, its wood innit? Fucking wood. So it can hardly drown you see? And I left it there to just drift away and it come back. Its always coming back to me these days. It's grown up by now. It can know things now,’ she said. Her hands were stiff and cold like my judgement. She seemed so terrified, her lips were miracles of lattice work, the skin all broken and shattered." By Carter Boyle.
"Engulfed in the moment, he hops over to Baillie to muse aloud at the strangeness of the end-time crock-out atmosphere viz those monsters in the alleys. ‘They’re remnants already. Like left-overs of a meal no one even finished cooking yet. I had a young thought once, how there’s something a little mad about the way when an author dies the books don’t. Free-floating thoughts, existing in a ghost world. That’s what I call pure. You feel ashamed at being embodied. It sent shivers down my spine when it first came to me, though now of course its just banal, three dimensional acknowledgement.’" By Angharad Myfanwy Catherwood.
"And all he thought was that / Now he would finally be / Able to watch a first class / Serial week after week." By William Levy, the Talmudic Wizard of Amsterdam.
MALICE BECOMES HER
"Johnson sat whistling between his teeth to bluegrass music on the AM radio, its reception fuzzy with approaching dusk. He had nagging doubts. The ruby glass slippers were the real deal, he told himself. Laura had a Xerox of their provenance -- a typewritten correspondence signed by Judy Garland thanking the shoe manufacturer for making her rich and famous. Miserable came knocking later. Dorothy’s ruby glass slippers from The Wizard of Oz were priceless icons, according to Laura’s Hollywood client." by Ed Lynskey.
"We both / Knew that no sky ever actually looked / Like Grien's, that it just couldn't really / Ever have been so blue, but, as ever, / Then as before, we were too alive to care." Read The Hand of God, Andromeda Chained to the Rock, Gates of Paradise, Panegyric Elegy For a Vanquished Pineapple" and "Young Girl, and Death" by Ernest Hilbert.
CHEMICAL STUBB AND THE REMORSELESS ENIGMA OF THE CITY OF THE PLAIN
"He woke with the sound of burning, and the smell of charred wood and stone. He was filled with disgust and fear. Some manner of dying is like that. He felt he had just been taken through an extraordinary experience. It was a multiple death. He could hardly dare to rest his head afterwards. His face was drawn of its blood and there was a deep anguish in everything he thought. He could hardly speak at all. He could never speak of it." By Selima Kyle.
SANTEUIL’S GOOD WORD
"When he eventually fell into a deep sleep he had terrible dreams. The nightmares were always of a brightly lit room full of meat and chains and blood. There was always the sound of some poor and damaged person panting and howling. There were always cries of terror. Something was always being hit but all he saw were purple clots of shadow. There were strange animals, frog like things with human arms, which were forever creeping about just away from the centre of the room. He could never make out distinct outlines of just what or who was in the room except for these few things. And each time he dreamed the cries seemed to be more insistent and the sense of horror and grim brutality was more distinct.........." By Retro.
"This is a humorous short story of fiction, based on life in my family, for this upcoming Holiday season." By Hilary Flanery
"On my way back down I thought that she had been afraid. I could hear my shoes again and where they met the trousers I could feel my ankles. The car in the street was gone." By Duncan White.
"The woman suddenly fumbled in her cracked leather handbag and brought out two photos. “Josephine and Luc,” she said, with a heavy accent that surprised me and momentarily disguised the names. She handed me the photos. “Josephine is eight and Luc is six.” I looked at the photos and then handed them to Jake. I looked hard, wondering for a moment if it was possible that I might have seen them even though I knew I couldn’t have done. In a place like Alexandria you noticed foreigners when you saw them in the street and I was certain I hadn’t seen any foreign children while I’d been there. As the reality of what this woman was saying sank in I wished I had seen them. Jake shook his head and handed them back to the woman, saying something in French that I couldn’t follow. " By Peter Munford.
"With great concentration, Carl inserted the photographs and report in the envelope and clasped it shut. 'They'll be finished by Friday,' he managed. 'I'll e-mail them to you.'" By Jack Strange.
AN ACCOUNTABLE DEATH PART I
"An older professor, head of the accounting department at a local Boston college, is murdered in a men's room at the college. He has been a widower for fifteen years and for all those years has walked around Franklin, Maine every chance he could, since his wife's death by hit-and-run car, probing the earth with a steel rod. He was the person who hired private detective Harry Krisman's girlfriend, Maxine, into his college accounting department as an associate professor." By Tom Sheehan.
A MEASURE OF DIGNITY (REFLECTIONS OF A SPIRIT)
"Every breath you take has the potential to be your last. Never thought about it like that, did you? Every wisp of air you take in is a damn underachiever, never quite living up to its destiny." By Jordan J. Vezina.
"I picked up speed to show Jerry I wasn’t scared. As I swung around, my stomach rippled. I stopped spinning but the grass around the pole kept moving. I clung to the rod with both hands and put my head down towards the ground. I imagined throwing up right there at the flagpole." By Laura Wiltse.
UGLY GREEN BUG
"They offered to take me home, but I refused. I was used to that, too. In a nearby phone booth, I called for a cab. I stood there thinking. It was then that I realized why it had bothered me so--that poor ugly bug was me. I knew what I had to do. He must know what it felt like. I did. He must be made to understand." By Stephanie Savage.
"She turned quickly, sending plates and tray raining down on a cluster of startled customers. No one stood behind her. She apologized repeatedly, eagerly scraping pasta from the floor. The patrons stared down at her, and at each other: the mirrors stared down at all of them, and glinted their satisfaction." By Nitro.
THE CROOKEDNESS OF BEING
"I turned towards the lady. She was so very familiar, I felt as if we were both from another planet, and everyone else, the vignette of a Christmas Eve on the Waterfront. Funny, none of them were in the least bit concerned about my proclamation of death. Perhaps they hadn't heard." By Darren Speegle.
BILL BURROUGHS, SHOOTING HIS WIFE IN THE HEAD
"I am waiting, laughing and drinking a glass of white wine. The sun is as bright as bleach, and the wine is so cold, I don't remember tasting it. I am watching the thin arm of a girl in a yellow sundress cross the table; she is barehandedly sweeping the water ring from her glass onto the ground. The shot is an explosion no one was prepared for. Drinks are spilled, to put it one way. Everyone believes for a moment that it is they who have been shot." By John Potts.
"Edgar made me promise not to tell Jim about the pills, because Jim is a pot fiend and he'd be any other kind of drug fiend if he had access to it, so Edgar didn't even want to entice Jim. "He's weak," Edgar said to me one night as we were floating on our backs in the heated pool on Montgomery Lane. Jim was lying on the grass beside the pool, smoking the remains of a joint that he had found in the pocket of his shorts. "He'll always be weak," Edgar went on, "and it'll be our responsibility, for the rest of our lives, to look after his sorry ass." By Andrew Bomback.
"'Repression: A process by which unacceptable desires or impulses are excluded from conscdiousness and left to operate in the unconscious.' Mickey blinked and went to his father's bedroom." By Neil Smith.
THE CRICKET WAR
"She was a city girl through and through and had no ears when it came to defending vermin. She said a cricket was just a noisy cockroach, just a 'dumb horny bug' that wouldn¹t shut up. . . . No sir, no way could she sleep with all that chirping going on; then to prove her point she wouldn't go to bed. She drank coffee and smoked my father's cigarettes and she paced between the couch and the TV." By Bob Thurber.
NUMBER 32 AND COUNTING
"I felt if I looked up, raised my eyes ever so slightly, she could see right through me. That this time, I was tired of being dumped. That this time she was tired of dumping me. I bit the edge of the bed, hard. I closed my eyes. Tight, tighter. I tried to tear the label from the mattress with my teeth, but only managed to chew on the plastic, manufacturer warnings and legal type staining my teeth black. I gnawed, hungrily. Saliva and plastic. Warm, wet, moist fabric. Her and I, cold, empty -- full of disdain." By Felicia Sullivan.
"Something was falling from the sky just above his head. As the waitress with the curly red hair laid the Mayson menu on his table, the dark haired man suddenly felt a lack of reality. A lone cigarette was sending up a plump of smoke from the middle of the glass table. His brown eyes looked through the smoke at the menu. The word MAYSON appeared on it, but nothing else. Looking up, he saw the waitress was gone." By Steve Cartwright.
"You know your life's in a rut when your bartender gets predictable, he told himself. 'Torbin.' The strident voice cut through the smoky air. As soon as her angry anti-greeting reached his ears, Torbin realized that Sunny had ignored Frederick. He sat up. Frederick wasn't used to being ignored. He huffed indignantly on his Red. Said nothing.He was already ambling away from Torbin, attempting to ferret out a glass that hadn't been polished. As Frederick went, Torbin caught his amused raised-eyebrows expression and felt hotly defeated the skinner little greaser was going to hear every word, and caw relentlessly about it later." By K Wilson James.
THE FULL BRAZILIAN
"I'm not supposed to know how you get beautiful, I'm supposed to just enjoy it. I'm certainly not supposed to take part in it." By Laura Cutler.
YOUR BODY, MY PRISON
"When I am with you; whether caressing your velveteen cheek or kissing your ruby lips; my memories evaporate into aether and fluid time becomes dissolute, unreal. All concepts of the past and future are unraveled, impacted into nothing but the present moment. Gravity holds no bearing there either, save for that of my body pressed to yours. Together in this place we are interwoven, like some deranged Moebius strip, a symbol of the infinite. Blacker than dark matter and heavier than the sun." By Jordon Leigh.
"When he doesn't crawl out of bed, the world doesn't stop. Sometimes after work his uncle takes Carl to his house in the suburbs, and Carl plays poker with his uncle's group. Carl and three old farts from AA drinking seltzers and smoking discounts. Carl winning close-mouthed, doing nothing to piss anybody off quietly cleaning them out. His uncle puts a bony arm around him and says, "Carl you're a real third-shelf kind of guy." By Evan Reminick.
"The Santa Fe Flyer was thirty minutes out of downtown Los Angeles, heading east on a cross-country run. A hazy June twilight painted the landscape black and gray, with flashes of brilliant yet frantic light spilling from the freeways. Streaming by steadily were the loading docks for an endless conglomeration of warehouses and factories" By Charles Shea LeMone.
THE AMAZING GLOWFISH AND OTHER AQUATIC ABNORMALITIES
"My sport was fishing. I was not physically endowed to handle football or basketball. Fishing didn't care what size you were or your prowess. I gave the sport up for several years, but decided to try it again after starting work at a large Texas newspaper. Several of my colleagues were into it and spoke of their conquests." By Delo White.
MATCH-STICK MAN, A CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
"Secretly, I called him Match-Stick Man, his body slender as a aslaping, his arms and legs like thin iron rods. When he blinked, lizard-like, his lids shot back, eyes nearly popping from their sockets. I had known him for a very, very long time. Frightened, he often wondered if he had no soul. No one aside me had ever claimed him." By Rich Logsdon.
"Things happen that you don't understand. And unless they touch you in some individual way, have an impact on your existence, they remain little more than casual, momentary disturbances, isolated fragments without connection, without meaning within the context of the world in which you live." By Ryan Miller.
PROOFS AND NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND
"Does anybody really know what time it is? It was early Thursday morning in the city's Technical District. The early bird commuters, all waiting for the 5:45, already filled the chilly underground subway. Most, cheerfully alert, sat and stood at various places on the platform, some of them aching to turn to page two of their romance novels or thrillers, some chatting, others musing, or humming the latest My Rock hits, while a few others struggled with the effect that the whoosh sound coming from trains in the distance had on them. It was like a soporific for those few, inducing somnolence that hung around their heads like invisible clouds." By Robert Bretts.
THE ALL-AMERICAN GRILL TEAM
"Scowling, Josh pitched the store manager's Buffy St. Marie tape to clear a spot for his ashtray. True to form, the break room was a mess. Plastic trays smeared with catsup were strewn on the 8-track tape player and shag carpet. Sandwich wrappers and soiled napkins along with Styrofoam coffee cups spilled over in the trash receptacles. A red hairnet dangled from the swag lamp. Chocolate and boysenberry syrup jugs were stacked to the wahzoo. He lounged back, propped up his feet. Close was midnight. What was more, Friday night meant Greyhounds as well as the post-football game stampede." By Ed Lynskey.
"Leviathan snores, observing listener. I was on a beach. The sunning bodies were so crowded in. The sea went on forever and purred with soft water roars; infinite and green, serene and blue. Cocobuttered breasts sloping towards armpits. Sunglasses shining back the sun. Kids digging in the sand, burying siblings like cats do turds." By Sergio Ignacio Vasquez.
"The dogs were all filled with air then they exploded. Someone's doing these things. They were not accidents. -You want an account?" By Richard Marshall.
THE VIEW OF MY BROTHER'S PROFILE IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR
"I learned that I loved my brother by dreaming of him. Before then, I didn't know what I felt. He was just there, he was just my brother and I had no say in the matter. But while I was still in elementary school, I would on occasion have dreams in which my brother had died, or been lost, or was somehow no longer with us. And unlike any other dream I have had of loss or sadness or death, the absence of my brother has been the only one in which I felt profoundly empty, waking with a need to assure myself he is still part of the universe. After these dreams I sometimes crept into his bedroom just to prove he was breathing. He was the first person to accept my presence in the world as a given - to assume that I belonged simply because I was there when he showed up" By Randee Dawn.
STARS ON THE CEILING
"If someone were to see Dwight in the back of the bar, hoisting her up out of her chair, stumbling drunk with his tongue in her mouth, they would probably just laugh or be sick. It was funny to watch a drunk man make out with a fifty-something woman in a wheelchair. It was funny to watch Dwight pull her to her feet, her knees bowing and shaking like a newborn fawn, so they could dance cheek to cheek by themselves next to the dance floor during the slow songs. The old folks just sit at the bar, sip on their whiskey and shake their heads. What was it about this scene?" By Mike Mellish.
"Defloration and moody blooms of volume. My ithyphallic Bacchanalian bow. My ebony fingerboard, my ebony odalisque. My houri.My houri. This lickerishness: blond melon, green fig, supple forgiving rosetta. Violonomania. For an intimate sound, use inner strings. Short, fast, sadistic laughter. Long, drawn, loving moans. My doxy, my love, my houri, my death." By David Barringer.
"Nobody ever says, 'I want to be Harvey Keitel in Taxi Driver when I grow up.' Of course, when you're in the broad vicinity of being eight or ten, you've probably never seen even one Scorsese flick, and the world hasn't rolled over and shown you its dark underbelly, not yet." By Jordan J. Vezina.
"He's just another guy. He could be anyone: Joe Blow, literally. My window
inches down. I materialize as he looks up. We trade smiles. He looks straight
and restless, with a healthy dose of anger. I wonder what's his story. In his
brown slash blue slash gray eyes I invent ours." By Travis Jon Mader.
"We're making a fucking stand. That's why. Things change when they don't
have to, and I'm sick of it. Why can't things just stop changing?" By
up-and-coming English author Stephen Lucas.
"She found her father up in the Presidential Suite. Mandy had always found it
easier to talk to him rather than her mother, who would fall apart like a wet
paper towel if Mandy even scraped her knee. She still hadn1t told her mother
about the fake ID incident." By Kaley Noonan and Sarah Ruddy.
"One afternoon when Kevin had wandered groggily into her bedroom -- mistaking it for the bathroom, he explained later -- to find Jade busy in between the legs of an architect's wife while the architect looked on, Jade had rather expected Kevin to act a little shocked." By Emma Kaufmann.
"Satan, the cat, was sitting between me and her, as quiet as a statue on its hind legs, and staring right down at me. Cats' eyes are notoriously inspirational_a T.S. Eliot, a Charles Baudelaire, even the downest-to-earth James Joyce will tell you as much_they convey anything your paranoia urges." See why this particular tomcat inspired Brian Valès.
"The steady click-clack, click-clack of high heels tapping tiles and Matt - the anus'- Coreamus's shit-eating grin faded slowly into a grimacing Sandra Willimus, stripped naked and sweating on top of her desk, writhing underneath John, her educated, roving hands making him squeal with desire, her tongue choking off his moans, her high heels on and her dull-colored ankle-length floral printed dress collecting chalk dust on the floor. Her eyes were no longer piss and vinegar. They had become tear-lined begging brown puppy dog eyes that needed only a good old wholesome hate-fuck to gain self-realization." Get ready for Mike Mellish's return.
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
"Floyd looked through his tears at the item that glistened through the muck. He had to know what it was. He reached into the bowl and extracted a ring. A giant diamond ring." 3am proudly presents Dale Smith's first published work, Diamond in the Rough.
A LETTER TO THE MAYOR OF BALTIMORE
"Richard died in the early afternoon. The old woman nesting in the bed next to him snored loudly, farted incoherently, waiting her turn. There were no last words, only the flat line whistling of a boiling kettle. I left Mercy Hospital, and walked 5,894 steps back to Bolton Hill to an empty apartment." Read T. B. Bower's latest.
HAVE ROCK WILL ROLL
"As a feminist lawyer specializing in young drug offenders and immigrant cases, Gwenn wasn't wearing a bra. I opened the mother-of-pearl buttons of her cream-colored silk blouse, placed a nipple in my mouth and cupped her other full breast in my hand as the music shifted to 'Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire!' . . . 'There's something silly I've always wanted to do,' Gwenn whispered, 'but I've been too embarrassed to ask my lovers.' . . . It's that I want to be spanked in the back seat of the car. Then licked.'" An exclusive short story from William Levy, one of the greats according to Andrei Codrescu.
THE VISHNU ASSASSIN
"They are burning the kiosks in Ann Arbor again." A strange melancholy flavour in Ron Morelli's The Vishnu Assassin.
NOT SOME FEMINIST FANTASY
"'You gonna pay me to sleep with you?' I said as a joke. 'Yes,' he said seriously and pulled a twenty from his wallet. I clarified. 'You're going to pay me. Your girlfriend. To sleep with you.' He held the twenty in front of me and waved it." By Kaley Noonan.
LIKE A FEATHER FALLING THROUGH DUST
"Larry was always falling asleep because he was our school's best diver. He really worked hard at diving. I mean he was dedicated. I was on the diving team too, but I wasn't anyway near as good as Larry, probably because I didn't work as hard at it as he did. Every night, Larry was at the pool, climbing that ladder to the platform, doing his dives, swimming to the edge of the pool, and hauling himself out; over and over, sometimes for hours after I had left." That is what I call dedication. Some people don't appreciate the conseqiences, though. See who in John Sokol's Like a Feather Falling Through Dust.
THE BARBARIAN HANDLER
"She found his usual Virgilian note magnetized to the tiny fridge. 'Promise to burn my oeuvre if I don't return from this journey,' it said, even though he had no particular oeuvre to burn, just some notes toward something or other whose exact nature he'd never troubled to specify inside his own head. And that's exactly why she could stand to be married to the man: he was the only one she knew who wasn't consumed by the urge for 'self-actualization.' He lived his life, most of the time (at least when he wasn't depressed), like someone from a previous, less pampered American generation, whose concerns were still nourishment, shelter and family." By Tom Bradley.
THE STRIPPER IN HER NATURAL HABITAT
"Then, or so it seemed, a hundred furious women went wild on him, kicking and clawing and pulling his hair. Someone shattered a bottle of Eternity over his head. Another jabbed him with a stiletto heel. They elbowed his nose, kicked him in the teeth, twisted his limbs in impossible geometries. They seared his flesh with the curling iron and ripped the clothing from his body, tearing it to bits. His shoulder popped from its socket. Wobbly stars peppered his vision." By Jim Ruland.