Tohm Bakelas

I Never Knew That Church Could Be Rewarding

I’m sitting in church
while women around me
talk about birth
their dilation
and whether
anything ripped
they don’t seem to
care that
I am here
listening in

I’m sitting in church
thinking about Oswald
and the CIA
while women talk about
loneliness
and how
long it took
their vaginas
to heal
after giving birth

I’m sitting in church
with a pending divorce
listening to women
speak
of neglectful husbands
while I am fully erect
looking at panty and thong lines
on the seams
of tight black
yoga pants

I’m sitting in church
not for holy reasons
but with purpose of
registering
my daughter for school
while nations are arming
nuclear weapons
banks are opening
and vegetables are
being stocked

I’m sitting in church
watching a woman bend over
exposing green panties
and soon bare ass
as her pants slide down
while another adjusts
her breasts in a concealed bra
and on the US-Mexico border
families are tear-gassed
and the pyramids of Egypt stand tall

I’m sitting in church
taking in all the action
wondering how the luck arrived
feeling much better
about things
feeling much better
than I have
in a long time

Angelica Arsan

Narcissus

Spreading its petals
Your flower
Blooms
Wet chalice
Pouring nectar
On my fingers
Drenching me
With your sweet
Intoxicating
Poisonous juice

Bodies
Sprouting
Hands like roots
Sucking sap through the skin
Thirsty tongues
Drinking spring
from each other’s
lips

Breathing it
Oozing it

Flowing out of us

Our dirty
Regeneration

Our filthy
Blossoming

Josef Desade

Gressil, or A Baptism In Depravity

The soft padding of boots on the bottom of the stairs. The sun illuminated strips of old torn carpet as his feet sounded like approaching thunder as they took each step closer. Old wood creaking beneath the pressure as the light played tricks and the stairwell seemed to stretch before his eye. His hand ran along a railing that had been worn smooth with age, as the fabric on his jeans brushed up against a leather bag. Dust floated before his eyes as he entered a beam of warmth; the chill of the hallway momentarily relieved, as he reached a landing. The frame of the door was silhouetted in a shadowy corner that the sun retreated from forebodingly. As his eyes adjusted, he could make out the number two faintly painted on the wood above a peephole; the sound of eager breathing greeting him from the other side in the silent building. He heard a giggle from the chamber beyond and retreating footsteps as he put his gloved hand upon the handle.

The door swung open, and he saw a young girl kneeling on the floor in front of him. Her skin was moist with sweat, as his eyes took in her porcelain skin, mascara slightly smeared upon lustful eyes that guided his to her breasts; adorned with crimson lace. She ran her hand along her thigh teasingly as he pushed the door shut behind him with a smile. He towered over her in the scarcely lit room as she looked up at him, silently begging with pouty lips as he smiled, pleased she followed directions so well. The ad had said she was submissive, however, ads had a tendency to lie. He dropped his bag to the floor and slowly removed his black leather driving gloves, placing them in his pocket as he kept his eyes connected to hers, watching her lust build within. A soft click as his bag opened; rough leather against his skin as he pulled a long, thick strip of pliable hide out and gripped it tightly in his hand.

A crack and a slap as he quickly lashed her with it, a fluid movement in the blink of an eye as leather connected with skin, snapping her head to the side with a jerk. She ran her fingertip along her bruised flesh as a red welt began to appear, a facade of a devilish grin painted across her face, while tears welled up in her eyes. He grabbed a fist full of her hair and sharply yanked her head back, satisfaction, as her smile broke into a wince of pain, and he leaned in close. He could smell her skin, the sweet aroma of vanilla and honeysuckle mixing with sweat, as she exhaled, and he tightened his grip; his face inches from hers. He watched as her eyes turned from a dull sapphire to a feral green; her body shuddering as he felt her hands reaching for his pants.

Back and forth; repetitive motion, a sticky wetness. It spread down the front of his pants as she swung the blade into his genitals, shock overwhelming him as he gasped in pain. She pulled the blade back and licked it clean as he watched horrified, the copper taste sending electric shocks throughout her body. With a quick motion she swung the butterfly knife up and into his throat, twisting as blood spurted out of his mouth and onto her chest. She shoved him to the ground and rubbed the warm blood into her skin, playing with her nipples as she straddled his mutilated genitals and slid a hand into her panties. Tears streamed down her face, and she began to laugh as she felt her sanity slipping, fighting back the scream she held within. A wave of nausea almost overwhelmed her as she continued her task, her blood soaked fingers sliding in and out as she felt an unwanted pleasure welling up; a warmth spreading throughout her body as she climaxed, her body spasmed with the intensity of orgasm. She fell to the side, the corpse slowly growing cold beside her and vomited. Her body shuddered in pain as she was consumed with dry heaves, and she let out a cry of anguish as she pounded her bloody fists against the broken floorboards that shook beneath her violence.

A slow clapping emanated from the shadows, as she lifted her head to see the figure that shrouded itself in the shadows; a pile of used syringes surrounding him as if obscene offerings to a long buried god…but this wasn’t god. The old man looked ancient as he sat in a lotus position, hisskin hanging like flaps against a sunken skull adorned with black eyes that saw no light, glazed over bya film of disease. His bones shown through a brittlelayer of skin; a broken grin mocking her as a river of white silk ran down his back. He held frail arms out in front of his body, wrinkled palms held out to face her. He looked so fragile beneath the torn, stained cloth he wore, that at one point in time had held a semblance of clothing. She pulled herself to her knees as she heard the soft cooing of children to each side of him and dragged herself on hands and knees forward, until she could see more clearly in the gloom. Protruding from his palms were two umbilical cords that throbbed as they extended down to the floor on either side of him, feeding twin babes whose purple, bruised faces, contorted in pain as they cooed from within nests of barbed wire that left little cuts all across their skin, a lake of blood forming beneath him. Their eyes were sewn shut, without vision they gurgled in the innocence of childhood, their mouths spider webbed with a yellow mucus that stretched and burst like a bubble with every breath they took.

The demon let out a moan of pleasure as she reached for her children, her knees scraping against loose nails and splinters that stuck out of cracked floorboards, the smell of sweat and death choking her as the world spiraled for a moment. She coughed as she blinked her eyes, slowly refocusing from the bout of dizziness. Peeling wallpaper came into view, decades old nicotine stains creeping along the walls, broken only by a dirty couch in an outdated pattern that glinted with exposed metal from long rusted springs and a mattress stained in piss and semen that rested against a wall. For a moment her children left her head, and she collapsed onto the filthy mattress, knees to her chest, her sorrow consuming her as the world began to spin around her. With a slight nod of the demons head, a chain rattled, and she felt a cold steel collar clasp itself around her neck. She let out a scream, the infants beginning to wail. It was all too much…she couldn’t do this…the scent of soiled flesh…the shimmering reality around her…the noise….she needed to make it stop..

She realized that she had begun to laugh again, as she squeezed her eyes shut and began to pray in whispered murmurs. A small beam of golden light fell upon her from between tangled blinds, dust dancing slowly within its gaze and then the darkness returned, oppressive and heavy. She struggled for breath between frantic mantras, as the demon laughed and the children cried and it hit her suddenly…At that moment it was all clear, that god was no longer there.

Two years…it seemed like it had already been an eternity…that nine months had been the longest she stayed clean in years. Everything had seemed to be turning around, the world seemed clearer as she looked at it with a clean mind. She had been happy, truly happy, but then it all came crashing down around her like an avalanche. She lost her job at the local diner and decided to pick up a bottle of wine that night…if only she had just gone home and to sleep, but the crossroads weren’t brightly lit that evening for her. The babysitter had just left, and she slumped down to the floor, her legs stretching across the chipped linoleum underneath her, head back against worn wood and the tears had just flowed. A warm wave of so many emotions tangled up inside her soul as she opened the bottle and began to drink.

She had blacked out, awoken by the cries of the twins from their bedroom, her head groggy as she blinked her eyes and tried to block them out. She could hear her heart pounding in her ears as the room swung sharply to the left, and she fell, her face pressed against the floor. She could still feel her hands pressed over her ears as the noise all seemed to grow louder. She still could feel the cold sweat covering her skin as she nervously pressed the buttons on the phone. The dial tone as she waited, her breath held; a voice on the other end. Her chest had felt tight and then a jubilant rush of relief as she heard the click on the other end of the phone. She could remember constantly checking the peephole with every sound that emanated from the building and then finally her angel had arrived.

Her fingers tore at the little bundle of wax paper. She could hear the twins wailing in their bedroom as she prepared her savior, that brought her mercy; true relief. Between tears, she could hear her voice, cracking and shrill echoing into the dark rooms beyond the light of the kitchen. Mommy’s busy right now. Busy…so busy…mommy just needed a little solace. The plunger slid, and she was transported to a crystal silence on lonely shores, here she was safe…here she could just rest a bit. The rest was only a blur in her memory.

She remembered the babies cries, but they were in safe hands. She could check on them later. She turned on the radio and fell back into a love seat as she floated away on a fluffy cloud, her company the vibes of musical notes as she closed her eyes. The crying was still there, lingering in the distance though but oh well, what could she do? She leaned back as a wave of ecstasy flowed through her body, and she dropped the syringe. Everything was perfect, if only she could turn off the sound of the twins like a lamp. She sighed and let the music drown them out, but yet it still tickled her ears, whispering in and out.

Like a lamp…just turn them off…she remembered pulling herself out of the cloud and tiptoeing out of the light and into the twins room. The music was so damn good that night as she ripped an electrical cord from a lamp. She approached the crib, and she remembered how calm they were for a moment. She smiled at them sweetly, feeling such pride at her little creations, and then she slid the cord around ones throat. She awoke with a jolt, the twins screaming fromthe crib she had slumped against. Well the twin, of course, now she remembered. She needed to turn them off, everything else was perfect. The plunger whispered love songs to her as she felt the warm release and faded off into sleep, everything was perfect…everything was just right.

She remembered the birds the following morning, chirping as the sun shone brightly through the windows behind her. She had fallen asleep on the love seat and the night before had been a blur. She had blinked her eyes, the silence in the house striking her as unusual. Something wasn’t right. Her body had frozen in fear as she had tried to comprehend the silence, an empty bottle and the glint of light off of a syringe catching her eye from the floor. She stared at the door to the kids room that was slightly ajar, hardly breathing as she rose and gathered the courage to open it.

They looked like little cherubs, all snug in their boxes. Gazing down at their contorted, discolored bodies, she had felt everything inside her die that day. With each shovelful of dirt she felt another piece of her soul shatter like glass. It seemed as if an eternity had passed as she dug, her tears staining her face as she sobbed. She kept telling herself that everything would be okay, but inside she was empty. She was found stumbling down the center divide of an expressway, her barefoot feet balancing with every step on the cold concrete. She remembered flashing lights, concerned voices and then just pain.

A few days passed and the pain subsided a little. Each day became a little easier as the last petals of the poppy left her body but her thoughts had begun to grow harsher. A cruel taunting reality of what she had done that ate away at her psyche like a rat, taking each piece, crumb by crumb. It was unrelenting, a constant hunger that grew stronger every day. It was at that moment, she had begun to feel his presence near. In the dark corners of the hospital he had watched her, an unseen dread that hung in the air. Her thoughts had grown sporadic, the childrens pained, final death masks flitting through the hallways of her mind. She was growing more desperate within, the guilt and longing was too much to handle; when he had first spoken.

He had promised to make it all better. He said that he could put everything back the way that it should be, if she was willing to make an equal trade. She had thought that he was an angel, that perhaps god knew it was a mistake and was giving her a mulligan. She would have agreed to anything just to be able to do it all over, to feel the warmth back inside her little ones. Four didn’t seem too bad…two for each one of her angels…she could make this sacrifice for them.

She could hear him moaning slightly as he finished his business with the mans soul. She squeezed her eyes shut as she heard the rattle of used syringes beneath him as he shuddered with pleasure. The cold steel of the collar around her throat was making her claustrophobic, and she gasped for just a little more air as her naked body shivered in the sudden cold that had descended upon the room as the demon finished its meal.

“More.”

With just one word she felt a tremor of fear that struck deep into her soul. She leaned over the side of the mattress and vomited, the scent of dry blood and rotting flesh invading her nostrils as she momentarily relived her recent deeds. The children had begun to cry softly and it reverberated throughout her mind as she tried to find the strength to commit such an act again. This was wrong, nothing about this was right. How could she continue to take the lives of these strangers, commit such violent acts, with only such a small glimmer of selfish hope? She tried to slide into the shadows, to shrink into herself and drift off to a hidden place within, but the collar held her tight. The demon turned its empty gaze upon her and with a curled finger she was dragged closer to him by a chain that anchored somewhere out of sight. Her skin scraped across the ground, and she tumbled forward until she found herself below him, the vacancy emanating from him invading her entire being, an oppressive weight that trickled into her every thought.

She cowered before him, his dead eyes looking into her soul. The scent of frankincense and stale tobacco drifted from the rags that adorned his body. His out turned hands vibrated slightly as the cords in his palms kept her children in purgatory, their souls hanging in the balance of her decisions. She wanted to slip away…to drift off into insanity, but she knew that there was no escape from her fate. The creature smiled at her with a sly grin and lowered its eyes. She looked down as a single syringe rolled across the floor and stopped in front of her.

It was like a flood of relief greeting her with open arms, as she felt the rush of poison flow through her. Instant relief, temporary silence from everything around her. This was necessary…just a few more souls, and she could leave this behind just like she had before. But for now, it was necessary to rest in itsarms, tasting the seductive kiss of the opiate as it numbed her senses. She could think more clearly now, without the crippling fear of what she was doing taking hold of her. Footsteps were coming closer, she knew what had to be done as she felt the collar unclasp.

He didn’t see it coming as he passed her in the threshold of the door. The needle had slid into his oil stained flesh so smoothly and as he turned and admired her nude body she saw the heroin taking effect as she smashed the hammer into his skull. He stumbled back, his hands covering the broken skin as blood seeped from between his fingers. Grunts of pain escaped him as disoriented, he fumbled his way across the room. She followed after him and his fist connected lethargically with her face, knocking her to the ground. She pulled herself to her knees and ran her fingertips along the inside of his leg as he stared at her in a numbed confusion. She could smell the blood that was slowly trickling and could sense approval from the dark recesses of the room. The hammer connected with the mans kneecap with a loud pop and a howl broke his lips, an inhuman sound that caused her to hesitate and in that instant he kicked at her with his good leg, his boot connecting with her face. She watched from the floor as he crawled towards the door, reaching for the handleand escape. He froze as she saw two flames ignite off to the side and the man was faced with the grotesque sight of her master and children.

She pushed herself back to her feet, the weight of the hammer comforting in her hand as she brought it down again on his knee with the sound of splintering bone, tearing flesh. A stream of blood crossed her vision, and she felt a warmth spreading between her legs. He was screaming as she tried to remove his jeans, the splintered bones catching on the denim. Emotionless, she slowly kissed along his leg, eyes interlocked with the demon, as she traveled up. She ran her tongue along the exposed ivory, the man writhing in pain beneath her as she felt her body quiver. She slid up, the blood lubricating her body as she felt herself grow wet, life and death in a sea of sacred fluids as the demon smiled at her eagerly.

She found herself entranced as she slowly ran her tongue between the mans legs, tasted the sweat as her teeth sank deep into the soft tissue and felt her body spasm with rolling waves of ecstasy as she tore her head from side to side. A river of blood poured down her shoulders as it used her skin as a canvas that splashed along each curve of her body, draping her in a shade that made her snow-white skin glow in somber hues. She pushed herself up, letting the blood caress her breasts for a moment and then crept her way up until her hands were upon his chest, straddling a fountain of blood as she smiled with his severed member in her mouth.

He gasped one final time, no sound left within him before she forced the pen with which he had written his final check, into his mouth. He convulsed as it slid down his throat, and he struggled for air, his skin changing hues as his eyes slowly glazed over, and she fell forward upon him. She felt him turn to stone as she lifted her eyes to gaze upon her keeper. He stared at her indifferently as she felt his warm seed hit her face, wave after wave, a baptism in depravity.

She awoke from a dreamless sleep at the foot of the demon, flashes of the night before echoing through her mind. She glanced over and her little ones were asleep, off in dreamland beside him. She wanted to cry but there were no tears left inside her, just her soul in pain and the craving for his sweets. He sat motionless, silently meditating as she reached over and picked up a syringe from the ground before him. Her hands were still stained with blood, and she shuddered uncontrollably as she thought about the last man and the demons gift upon her.

Did he have a family? Was there someone out there who was wondering why he didn’t come home, perhaps a child who would forever wonder what they did to make daddy go away? She hung her head as she ran her fingers along the shaft of the syringe nervously. She couldn’t keep doing this, whenever she closed her eyes she saw flashes of agony, the silent expressions of the deceased. She felt like she was losing her mind, her leg tapping unconsciously at her side. She needed release…just for a little while…mommy’s angels needed her…

Time went by as if in a dream, the demons kiss flowing through her bloodstream. Within his embrace she could dull the sense of guilt; watch as it slowly dissolved like sugar being licked by unseen waves. She could taste heaven before her as she worshiped at his altar, no nightmares could touch her here. She looked upon her children with love, smiling as she saw the color returning to them slowly, their eyes staring back at her in wonder. Soon they would be safe…soon they would be home.

Nightfall arrived and she awoke in a pool of sweat. She reached for a needle as her redeemer watched hungrily. Her cravings were insatiable, but he had an endless supply that would keep the pain at bay. She smiled at him as she forced herself to her feet and looked for clothes in the closet. She held up a black corset with red fringe to the light and felt his approval. On shaky legs she walked over to a mirror that hung on the wall. How many days had passed? She could hardly remember as she looked herself up and down. She had lost weight and her eyes seemed sunken into her skull, bags below them creating a sultry vignette that mixed with her mascara and gave her a seductive look. She ran her hands along her stomach, flirting with her hips before they went around behind her to her lower back.

The warm water caressed her skin as she washed away the filth that had coated her body. She could feel it all falling away like the heroin took away her pain. Everything was going to be alright…just a couple more and then her babies would be safe within her arms. Soon everything would be back to how it was supposed to be. Soon she would be redeemed.

The door closed with a click, and she guided him by his hand to the bed that had been draped in fresh linens. He was intoxicated by the scent of her perfume and the sensual movements of her body as he blindly followed. He had told her it was his first time as she pinned him down, her legs straddling his midsection as she moved her body on top of his, her hands to either side of his head. She could feel her Masters eagerness for his innocence, as she felt him grow hard beneath her. His hands clumsily fumbled along her sides and up to her breasts as he tilted his head back in pleasure.

She slid her body down, leaning in so that he could feel her breath against his skin as she felt a wave of pleasure run through her body from the reaction she was getting from him. She could get used to this, she thought to herself as she unbuckled his belt and slid his pants down. Slowly kissing her way back up she straddled him again and felt herself grow wet as he slid into her. She worked her body against his, as he arched his back and exposed his neck, the muscular flesh appealing to her most feral instincts as she leaned in and sunk her teeth into him.

She felt his body spasm in shock as she dug her nails deep into his shoulders, raking the flesh as she was consumed with the taste of sweat and blood. She could feel eyes upon her, watching every motion. Every rip and tear as her teeth pulled the sweet meat like taffy, showers of scarlet rain staining her eggshell skin. It was euphoric…life and death intertwining within her grasp. She could feel his body heat slowly changing…see his pupils dilating and slowly retracting, the life draining out of them as she fucked his corpse. She could feel every nerve in her body as she rippled with surrender, overwhelmed with serenity, watching his soul leave his body in a vision of terror. She watched the demon devour it, his teeth ripping it to shreds as she ate at his table.

She flung her body at his feet, feeling sharp daggers in her legs as she knelt with her head back, awaiting his blessings. Her skin slick with blood she craved more, with an intensity that bordered on madness. She could feel him within, moving with her as she heard a knock on the door. She scrambled to her feet with a handful of death, a poisonous kiss that waited as a viper, eager to strike. Her voice cracked as she called to the man on the other side, her breath held as the doorknob turned. It closed behind him, and she lunged out of the shadows, bringing her fist down on his face, a deadly row of teeth in every blow that stung like razors as the needles punctured him, breaking against bone as he screamed.

She moaned in pleasure as the blood flowed, feeling it move like a slow stream as it snaked between her legs, the man slumped against the wall. She licked his wounds and felt a tremor of bliss as she tasted his dying soul. She could hear movement behind her as she turned her back to the dying man. The demon spoke in a perversion of Galatians, his voice thunderous inside her mind:

Now the nature of flesh is revealed; immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorrow, lust and things like these. I give you the truth, the sinners inherit the Kingdom of God.

Head raised in awe, she beheld ethereal beauty as she watched him rise to his feet. Syringes hanging from pockmarked legs fell to the ground, as snow-white feathers floated throughout the surrounding air. His wing lifted towards the sky as his empty eyes stared into her soul, and she felt a longing within, as he vanished before her eyes. She smiled as she saw her angels at her feet. They were perfect.

Two little bundles that were all hers, her reward, a gift from God. She yearned to be back in his arms, to taste heaven again. Now she knew what had to be done. She would fuck and torture with love in the face of “god”. Let the blood she spilled be venom in the face of the false prophets, who voyeuristic, watched from the shadows for a sense of satisfaction that they were superior to the humans they herded. But she knew better…she knew her God would sing her soul to sleep, as the plunger slid down, and she felt the warmth spread throughout her body.

She had felt true love…she was in the real Messiah’s hands and in tribute she would bring more souls. She picked up the electrical cord, it felt comfortable within her hands. An old friend. She took a step towards her children who looked back at her, awaiting a mothers love.

Leo X. Robertson

No, Hetero

You’re straight?

I didn’t mean to assume. I don’t have a problem with it, no way. Don’t start thinking I’m one of those.

I love straight people. I have loads of straight friends. I tell the guys, “Are you the Jackie Chan and your wife’s the Oprah? Do some kung fu, straighty! Give me some billions, girl!”

It’s all in good fun. They’re funny sometimes. Sometimes I pretend to flirt with you lady ones. It makes us all laugh. The idea of it is just silly. Because what’s the point in you, really? What are you for?

I’m a little inclined that way myself.

Whoah whoah! No more than anyone else though. Don’t start getting ideas. But who can’t see that Angelina Jolie is objectively pretty? That just means I’m evolved. I don’t wanna fuck her in the cunt. Not for a million I wouldn’t. The idea makes me, personally, want to vomit. Like just fucking spew everywhere forever.

God, how do you do it, honestly?

I’m just joking around! Jesus. So I hate the idea of doing it myself, it’s not like I want cunts to burn in hell or anything!

Tell me, are you one of the ones that eats ass? Does your husband fist you in the cunt? Do you peg him? How does it work? Can you lick a vag through a glory hole, or…?

You went silent there. I’m asking, what do you do in that scenario?

Well, what would you do?

What? Some of you do it. How am I supposed to know which kind I’m talking to?

You guys are no fun sometimes. Everyone’s thinking this shit. I’m just asking it. I’m just trying to educate myself. I don’t have to hang out with you. You should be thankful I even care.

It’s not like I’m a bad guy. I’m all about “Live and let live.” It’s no big deal! No one’s business. You wanna fuck a dog? I won’t judge you.

But I’m interested. Surely you’re attracted to someone of the same sex?

You have to be! Why wouldn’t you be?

Tell me who it is!

Tell me!

All right I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna tell you something, but only because I’ve had a few and I know it will interest you.

I got my SBF to suck my dick once.

What? I was curious. And really, really drunk. And she loved it—I mean, you all love it, right?—but she was in love with me for the longest time. (No, she never told me, but they always are. Put a gay guy and a straight woman in a room together, you’re asking for trouble!) So it was a great exchange.

The morning after, I felt like absolute dogshit. Like I seriously thought about killing myself. But look at me now! I’m telling you about it like it barely disgusts me.

I don’t envy your lifestyle, honey. Kids, periods. And so on. Whatever. I’m no expert. But we all know you didn’t choose it.

Because I mean honestly, who would?

Matthew Licht

Eggs

We worked for a magazine publisher downtown. Not exactly together. My job was to write a monthly breast fetish magazine. She was some kind of secretary. Everyone called her Flapjacks, but not to her face. Whenever anyone in the office mentioned her, I saw pennants on sailboats, or prayer-flags beating in the wind that howls from the Himalayas.

One day Flapjacks asked if I’d come have breakfast with her. I thought she wanted to buy pot, since that was how I rounded out my salary.

There was a Cuban diner on the same block as the smut factory’s editorial suite. I ordered cafe con lecheand a medianoche sandwich (recipe below*), she asked for eggs, sunny side up.

“Bon appetit,” I said, when the waitress shuffled away.

“Check this out,” she said, and smashed her breakfast all over her secretarial blouse.

The heavy plate clanked down onto the table in our booth. Grease from the eggs turned the shirt transparent. Everyone stared. 

“Don’t ask me why,” she said, “but I always wanted to do that.” 

  • Bocadillo Medianoche: slice a baguette down the middle, toast on griddle, slather with butter, stuff with boiled ham, cheese, sliced pickles. Spurt some hot sauce on it.

Chris Butler

The Dark Side

The dark side of me
hides from the bright side of daylight,
imprinting a pale face
against the drawn shades.

As dark as a demon
cowering in the corner of the achy attic,
bloodshot reddish eyes
is the only sign of life.
Sunburnt by supernova
galaxies lightyears of lifetimes away
eclipsed by crescent moons
as the crowd inside boos.

The dark side of me
screams in my only hour of sleep
and stains the sheets
during lucid dreams.

Being me isn’t being myself.

R.J. Roberts

Dr. Oust

“Dr. Oust, Abortionist,” he introduces himself in his legally changed stage name and hands out his blue and pink business card with an illustration of a stork taking a smoke break. He’s practiced for when they look up from the card with mouth ajaw, he bobs his head as if to music, snaps two loud cracking chomps on the gum in his mouth, lifts his gold rimed sunglasses and gives a sleazy wink as he stretches his lips, accentuating his thinly drawn on Italian playboy moustache, into a sneer of a smile.

Then he leaves.

They’ll call.

In the evenings he cruises his bright red Porsche with the license plate, “Bye Kid,” and makes stops at ice cream stands, video game stores, and the dark corners of public parks where he passes outs cards and pee-wee sized booze bottles to the young boys and jokes with them of the machoism of, “Slamming One Home.”

Parents might be upset if they catch him, but when they approach and see his swaggering manner, his gold chains, his tan orange skin, his technicolor sport plaid suits, as he leans on his Porsche, they might open their mouths to accost when he’ll point his finger guns, bringing down the thumb hammers, flashing his fully square, impossibly white artificial teeth, and say, “I’ll be coming soon to a womb near you!”

They’ll hesitate, then close their mouths and walk away as they know despite his boorish style, he’s factually true.

Winter Zakalwe

Dr. Seuss Wearing Black Eyeliner and a Corset

Remember in all of your raging and strife
That hurting is often the main theme of life

Oh, we will cry fiercely against death and shout
Spilling hot blood, tearing fingernails out

Because, we claim later, there’s beauty and pleasure
As though they each came in fair, equal measure

As though we shall not all one day release
life, love, and promise to make agony cease

And this knowledge of ending can set our hearts free
But, it’s a gentle, wise thing, not so easy to see

I’m sorry if this makes you feel weak, sad, or small
I speak just for myself, and for you, and us all

Matthew Licht

The Essence

The doctor said, “Cancer.”

Silence fell. 

“Where is it, Doc?” 

“Where’s what?” Maybe he thought I meant, the Truth, the Meaning of Life, the gold. Even if he knew, he wouldn’t tell me.

“The cancer.”

“It’d be simpler to tell you where it’s not: the reproductive system.”

High school biology was a long time ago. “Could you please be more specific?”

“The gonads. Genitalia. Your cock and balls.”

He didn’t say how much time was left, but the implication was: not much.

Every human being wants to leave some trace of his existence behind. I should’ve painted a picture, or written a book, or welded some car-wrecks together. Too late now.

Life occasionally shows a sign. This is the Meaning. This is the Truth. This is where the gold is hidden. The sign next to The Sign said WE BUY GOLD$$$, but I had none to sell. I entered the Sperm Bank. 

The reception desk nurse didn’t even look up. She was reading a supermarket tabloid with UFOs on the cover. 

I cleared my throat a few times. 

She looked up, eyes glazed with wonder at the existence of heavenly beings who visit the Earth in sparkling streamlined spaceships. She could tell I wasn’t one of them. “What do you want?”

“This is a sperm bank, right? I want to donate.”

She had a good laugh. “You?”

“Payment in cash, please.”

Oh man I slew her. “We pay some donors.” She opened a drawer in the reception desk, scrounged around for petty cash. “How ‘bout uh, two bucks and 73 cents?”

“Hand it over,” I said. “I’ll go get a burger first. For energy.”

“We only pay on delivery, sir.”

“Where’s the delivery room?”

She jerked a thumb at a hospital-green curtain. “Take some fantasy material,” she said, and shoved a worn magazine across the desk.

“Listen,” I whispered. “We could do this together.”

“Huh?”

“Look, I don’t need dirty pictures. I want you.”

“What?”

“You’re a nurse. You’re supposed to help sick people. I have cancer.”

Her look said, I bought this nurse outfit at the Salvation Army. “I’ll bring you a hamburger when we’re done,” I said.

“Got yourself a deal, mister.”

Satan swung his scythe at my colon.

The donation chamber stank of sweat and embalming fluid. She shoved me in first, to prevent escape, and flicked on the light.

“Pull down your pants,” she said.

She sniggered. “Oh man I’ve seen cock-a-roaches in here bigger than that.”

“Gets bigger,” I said. “Open up your labcoat.”

“You lay a finger on me, I’ll put you in the emergency room.”

She could’ve KO’ed Sonny Liston. I got busy. Nothing doing.

“Turn around,” I said. “Hike your skirt and shake it.”

She laughed, but she did it. 

It was warm in the donation chamber. I unbuttoned my shirt.

“Oh sweet Jesus,” she said. “Have you ever even thought about taking a shower?”

“Hot water lowers the sperm count,” I said. “Didn’t they teach you that at Nurse College?”

“Hurry it up,” she said. “Somebody else might come in.”

“You want a rush job? Help me out.”

She reached for my thing like it was a foaming rat. She grunted and tried to get it hard, or tear it off. Sonny Liston would’ve begged for mercy. 

“Quit whining,” she said.

“It’s not gonna happen if you do it that way. Lube me.”

She hawked and spat. 

“Hey! That’s not what I…” Her lunger was magic. “Oh baby.”

“Yeah I know that’s why they hired me,” she said.

“You’re a goddess,” I said. “Wish we coulda…”

“Shut up and concentrate. My wrist gets tired easy.”

“Could I, like, touch you?”

“You wanna wind up in the morgue, go right ahead.”

The lightbulb frazzed and went out. 

“Hurry it up, fool,” she said. 

Holding back was never my strong suit. She slammed something hard onto my penis and unclenched. 

“Oooh-gah!”

The stuff of life squirted into an inanimate plastic tube.

“I love you” I whispered. 

“Sure. Now go get me that hamburger. I’m hungry.”

She didn’t think that what happened between us was love. But I fixed her. I ate both burgers.