Ben Fitts


“Sorry, can I help you?” asked the oil painting.

“No, I’m all good,” I replied sheepishly.

“Then why are you staring at me?” demanded the painting.

“Well,” I answered, wringing my hands, “You are on display.”

The oil painting looked around at the world outside his canvas, his big wig wiggling on his scalp. He tried to crane his neck to peer outside the confines of his two dimensional reality, but gave up when it clearly wasn’t going to work. I’m unsure of how much of the gallery he was able to take in from the effort, although he certainly couldn’t have seen the plaque labeling himself as a portrait of the Revolutionary War general Charles Lee.

I don’t know if he managed to spot the yuppies dressed for the occasion as if their presence tonight was a validation of the modern aristocratic lifestyle they desperately wanted to be living and I don’t know if he spotted the throngs of misbehaved children whom should never have been allowed here in the first place or all the other works of art adorning the walls, but evidently he saw enough to make him change his tone.

“I am?” he inquired at last.

“Yes, I’m honestly surprised you didn’t know. I paid twelve dollars to see you,” I answered, waving my ticket to the event. The painting snorted.

“Twelve dollars! What a waste, for that much one could purchase himself a small apple orchard and you spend such a handsome sum just to come and gawk and at me in my canvas?”

“Right,” I said. “Well it was nice to meet you, but if you don’t mind I think I’m going to go look at some other paintings now.”

“Good luck,” called the portrait of Charles Lee after me. “None of them are as personable nor as pleasant as I!”

I shuffled away, still dazed by my interaction with the painting. The gallery tonight was celebrating the work of John Saltsman, a late 18th century American painter whose work is considered a major precursor to and influence on the hyperrealism art movement that would develop nearly two centuries later. John Saltsman’s art was known for its extreme lifelike qualities, but I had not expected the paintings to be lifelike to the point the of possessing cognitive development.

Feeling like maybe not knowing this made me not as good of an art history student as I had fancied myself to be, I examined the next painting on the wall. It depicted an unsaddled, paper white stallion drinking from a stream.

The painted horse was lapping up the water vigorously, the clear liquid dripping down its muzzle and rough tongue. A drop of water splashed out of the canvas and onto my forehead. I wiped it off, realizing that the stream was much murkier and more unpleasant than it appeared in the painting. The stallion sneezed as some of the water went up its nose and it instantly sported a massive equine erection. Remembering that the horse was able to splash water on me, I hurried away from the painting before the possibility of anything any more unseamly could happened.

I carefully peered at the plaque for the next painting before I approached it closely. For all I knew, I could have depicted cattle in a state of perpetual mid-slaughter or something nasty like that. I was wearing my favorite plain black t-shirt for the occasion, and I really didn’t need it splattered with bovine blood. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the next painting was of something rather tame that would be unlikely to get any fluids on me whatsoever.

“Hello, and welcome to my gallery,” greeted the self-portrait of John Saltsman, smiling broadly.

John Saltsman portrayed himself as a pale, hooked nosed man wearing a wide brimmed hat. He had been painted as being in the act of painting itself, and was currently working on an idyllic countryside. Each brushstroke he made added both to the real painting and to the painting within the painting. The painting within the painting was mostly calm, its only movement being a flock of geese gently cruising through the almost finishes skies, although the actual painting was a rush of activity as the self-portrait of John Saltsman worked.

“Is this really your gallery?” I asked the painting of John Saltsman.

“Of course it is! Why wouldn’t it be? I painted everything in here.”

“But you didn’t,” I reasoned. “The real John Saltsman did. You’re just another thing he painted, albeit himself.”

“Exactly!” exclaimed the self-portrait of John Saltsman. “I painted me, and here I am! I am John Saltsman, in the oil if not in the flesh. Just as this is John Saltsman as well,” he added, digging around the edges of his canvas at objects I could not see.

The self-portrait of John Saltsman returned, holding another painting of a painting up to me.

“Hello!” said the self-portrait painted by the self-portrait of John Saltsman.

“See! We’re both John Saltsman,” said the self-portrait of John Saltsman, putting the canvas away again. “Just like if I painted you, young lady, then there would be two of you.”

“Please don’t,” I begged, but the self-portrait was already pulling a new blank canvas onto his easel.

“My my, you do wear an awful lot of black,” he mused, as he dipped a painting of a paint brush into a painting of a palette. “And why are your spectacles so large and square? That seems highly unnecessary, since the lenses only need to cover your pupils in order to function.”

“Ok, I think I’ve seen enough paintings for now,” I said.

“But I’m almost finished!” declared the self-portrait of John Saltsman.

“Wow, you work quickly,” I mumbled to myself.

“And, there! Finished!”

The self-portrait lifted up the canvas to show me a painting of a painting of myself.

“Hi there,” said the painting of a painting of me to me, waving.


John Grey


Just make sure
you don’t slice your finger.
Everything else
will take care of itself.

Yes, that’s an eye,
but it’s really not staring at you.
And those are innards,
not guilt
you’re cutting into.

Off comes the skin.
Out pop the bones.
It’s filleting,
not desecration.

Pretend it’s
just a fish you caught.
Save its name
for the funeral.

Jeff Bagato

Point Blank

the lemon fresh in her mouth
as I kiss her, and the gun in my belly—
she’s a hot one;
the bricks at my back
have been baking in this sun
for weeks without rain—
you are the lover, this time,
stockings pulled up over knees—
and the sun gleaming
on the gun

this one
time I have crossed
the street without looking

the smell of her hair a net
to look through into the crowd,
the cars, shoppers—
gut tightening on the finger
of the gun and she
straightens it perpendicular
to my soul

lover, a peppermint
in your pocketbook is the only
release I desire,
your shooting of me will
have no meaning on a marked
sidewalk with chewing gum—

tigress rippling short fur, striped
beneath a high skirt, white
ruff at your neck, and
the blouse not sticking
to your breasts but I am
caught around your finger,
hooked into steel

have you come for me,
my blood

the lemon passed into my mouth,
and the bricks receiving

all the hot flesh of the world
in strips—this old
lady bids on a choice
rib and you accept
money for the fall

that was paradise, there and this
too could be called
a world

a short summer
love on a bed of nails

a hooked finger leaving
me hanging and the beefeaters
crowding around—
the lemon passing through
me to a crack in the sidewalk,
a taste of you on my lips

the history of man by men,
and the savage blows
to their own kind

redeems us,
as we have made
hell, like chatter,
a waiting room for eternal

she was so right to walk away

J.J. Campbell

a siesta of beautiful sunsets
i’ve danced with the
devil a time or two
in my life
the problem always
was i had two left feet
and was whiter than
white when it came
to rhythm
but eventually i found
the right alcohol
the right drugs
the right muse
and life soon became
a siesta of beautiful
sunsets and the candle
burning at both ends
and as long as i can
continue to lie to
myself and pretend
everything is going
to be okay
it most likely will be
of course, i don’t sleep
much anymore and have
visions that my death
is rapidly approaching

Angelica Arsan

The Greeting Party

“Not so bad for a first time,” says Tony with a smirk on his face. He takes a drag off his cigarette; tilts his head to blow the smoke. He comes closer and whispers in my ear: “You’re a fast learner, Angie. Young and smart and sexy. Just perfect for this job. The world is yours babe… and now the sky, too.”

“Oh, thank you so much Captain Tony. I felt so… you know… insecure.”

“Don’t be. We’re all friends, here. Kind of a family. You’ll see.”

Captain Tony is a handsome forty-something guy, blond and tanned with bright blue eyes. His hand lingers on my shoulder as I gaze out through the glass wall of the terminal. Planes are landing on the sunny airstrip; others will soon take off. I pretend to ignore the slow, inexorable movement of his thick fingers, already tickling the straps of my bra. All I can think right now is God, I’ve made it. I’ve fucking made it. I’m a hostess. No more being broke, no more sharing a filthy dump with schoolmates, no more dating nobodies from nowhere. I’m going to…

“Here you are, naughty guys!”

Reluctantly, Tony’s fingers give up their exploration of my anatomy. The rest of the crew joins us after having raided the nearest kiosk, hands full of takeaway coffee cups and muffins. Sammy, the only (gay) male and co-pilot, has stuffed his mouth like a hamster and keeps munching on a doughnut while staring at me. I stare back. Ooh, the little twerp must be jealous.

Tony claps his hands: “Okay, time to go now. We’ll be at the hotel in ten minutes. Shit, I’m dying to get a drink and a steam…”

He doesn’t miss the chance to encircle my waist as we walk through the staff-only exit. By the time we’ve left the crowded terminal — out into the Mediterranean sunshine — his hand is placidly resting on my ass.


The room I share with Melissa is quite comfortable, with a cream-coloured carpeted floor and a huge shower. As soon as I close the door behind us, she throws herself onto the closest bed and flings her shoes across the room.

“Aaaah, holy shit… it’s over. Away with these rags. I feel the eyes of those bastards plastered on my ass for hours after work. You know what I mean, don’t you? You really are a knockout in uniform, Angie.”

I smile, looking at my reflection in the mirror. You bet I am, I think to myself. Slender figure, fierce dark eyes, pert breasts pouting from beneath the company blouse. I glance at Melissa’s reflection and notice that she’s staring at me, propped up on the bed, swinging one crossed leg in my direction. I slowly start to unbutton my blouse, keeping eye contact with her.

“So, darling. You’re very young, aren’t you?”


“Twenty-two,” she sighs. “A nice age… one feels like experimenting. On the other hand, one already has enough experience to know how to have fun, right?”

“I guess so,” I shrug. I let my blouse fall and I turn to face her, my bra now exposed to her gaze. I feel her eyes running over my skin just like invisible hands.

Mel. Green eyes, red hair, lovely face — a perfect Irish type in her early thirties. She’s sexy as hell with her milky skin and her slightly freckled nose. Her lips part almost imperceptibly as I make a few steps toward her, asking her for help.

I turn my back to her then, feeling her fingers unhook me. Her nails send shivers down my spine. I close my eyes, sighing in delight as the black bra falls at my feet.

“This job is tough, you know. Exhausting, more often than not. Be pretty, be nice, smile and let the filthy bastards squeeze your ass up and down the aisle. We all need an off-duty outlet, to loosen up a bit…”

She reaches down, caressing my belly from behind, her fingers playing over my navel. I turn to face her then, feeling strange. Dizzy. I feel the sudden impulse to shove her down, pull my black thong to the side, and push her face against my cunt right then and there. To finally release today’s tension. No doubt Melissa knows what I’m thinking, because the tips of her fingers are slipping downward now, prying at the edge of my panties.

“You’re part of it now, Angie. You’re going to have your share of fun.” She settles back down onto the bed. “Only one rule: Keep our secrets… and we’ll keep yours.”

I’m stroking her silky red hair as she kneels on all fours before me. Her face is so close that I can feel her warm breath on my cunt. A wave of lust is mounting inside, intoxicating me, driving me wild with desire. I’m thinking, oh fuck… Just do it, you sexy bitch! Do it or I’ll go insane!

“Good girl,” she murmurs low, still playing with the lace of my thong. “I feel we’ll get along quite well, honey. Just you wait and see…”

Oh Christ. I’m fucking melting…

“Well, let’s get ready for your greeting party!” she abruptly exclaims, jumping up and slapping my ass. “What are you going to wear? Something sexy, of course. Captain Tony will look like the Godfather’s Californian grandson, as usual, and Sammy… oh, Sammy found Boy George’s outfits in some Chelsea trash bin while whoring for a fish and chips dinner. But we girls are going to look just stunning tonight!“

“Crews don’t waste their free hours,” she continues, walking over to the mirror. “What else do they have, after all? Plus, this is your first time. Tonight we’re all yours…”

I’m still so hot and bothered that it takes me what feels like ages to answer. I mutter something about a short black dress. Actually, I’m not even sure that I have such a dress; all I know is that this fucking bitch has left me utterly dripping with lust.

“That’s divine, darling,” she replies. “As for me, my hair requires green. Absolutely.” She studies her face in the mirror, letting her copper-coloured locks fall upon her shoulders. “Sarah and Claire must be already at work on their hair. Leave yours like that, by the way. The unkempt look is unbearably sexy, you know.”

She winks at my reflection. I smile and poke out my tongue at hers.


The place is the coolest club in the city: 80s-inspired atmosphere, classy trance played by top DJs, crowded with wannabe models and talent scouts looking for an easy blowjob in a toilet stall. We’re sitting in a corner in the back of the club, watching Sarah dancing with a guy under the lights of the dance floor. As for Sammy, he’d disappeared with some high-school kid an hour ago. “Southern Sun” by Paul Oakenfeld is blaring all around us. Tony, who’s wearing a tuxedo and expensive Italian shoes, keeps filling our glasses with Dom Pérignon. He’s sitting like a king between Melissa and me, his hands resting on our shoulders. Needless to say he’s already drunk.

I’m talking with Claire, this impossibly beautiful blonde of twenty-five who’s admiring my black and gold Versace dress. I had to save money for six months to buy it, but I keep such nice trivia for myself.

“How long have you been crewing?” I ask her.

“Well, I mean, it’s only been two years. But, I mean, I’ve already had enough. I mean, this job is so fucking exhausting, isn’t it? I mean, of course you don’t know yet, but, well, what I mean is that…”

As she keeps I-meaning beneath the mercifully deafening music, I glance down at her cleavage, where a golden pendant dangles between her small breasts. I’d love to take those tiny little nipples in my hungry mouth, sweety… and then… Shit, Angie, pull yourself together!

After a while, Claire gets up and heads for the restroom (“I mean, to check my makeup”). Melissa takes her place beside me, gorgeous in her emerald green dress and glittering jewellery. She gives my knee a squeeze.

“So, what do you think? A good compensation, isn’t it? Crew girls’ Dolce Vita.”

“Yes, and I bet this is only the tip of the iceberg.” I entangle my fingers with hers. We both have blood-red nails, long and sharp like talons.

“I like you, Angie. You seem to know what you want. I was like you when I first started crewing, ten years ago. Still am, to a certain extent. I still know where to take my pleasure… and how.”

Her hand goes further up my thigh, and I part my knees to allow more access. Melissa pretends not to notice my fevered reaction to her touch. I’m not wearing any stockings, and her fingertips are setting my skin on fire. She slips up under the hem of my dress, her nails gently scratching my thigh.

“Crews can reach a high level of… intimacy, Angie. It’s all up to you though. So I ask you: how far do you want to go? Feel free to back off if things go a bit… too far for you. Okay?”

“What do you mean by ‘too far’?” I ask, staring at her luscious lips. I’m dying to kiss you, Mel. I’m dying to feel our tongues entangled… She leans in, giving me a whiff of her Chanel-scented neck, and whispers in my ear:

“I still don’t know what ‘too far’ means, Angie. Hence the problem.”

We look into each other’s eyes as our lips begin to touch. It’s not a kiss. It’s more like a sweet caress sending spasms of pure bliss through my body.

“Later,” she says, nodding over at Tony. He’s snoring half-conscious on the sofa. As R. Miles’ “One and One” starts playing, her fingers are already tracing the lips of my wet, quivering pussy. Somehow she’d known I wasn’t wearing anything beneath my dress.


Back at the hotel, Tony goes directly to the bar to get more booze before joining us up in his room.

The elevator doors open on our floor, where we catch Sammy struggling with the key to his room. He slurs something that sounds like “Goodnight, filthy whores” as we pass him in the hall. Rounding the corner up ahead, Sarah and Claire start giggling like a pair of teenage girls, gossiping over a schoolmate’s first fuck. Mel and I don’t even bother with them, proceeding directly to Tony’s room at the end of the hall.

We begin making out before the door even closes behind us. I’m devouring those red lips, savouring the sweet flavour of her lipstick. Our kissing grows deeper and depeer, to the point where I must wrap my arms around her neck to avoid reeling back.

She’s got me undressed in a heartbeat, tossing my dress on the floor before whipping off her own in a single swift movement.

“How many girls have you undressed in hotel rooms?” I laugh, breathless.

“More than I can remember, darling”, she replies, pushing me down onto the bed.

I’m lying on my back now, naked, watching as Mel slips out of her underthings. How fucking beautiful she is, I think to myself. She looks ten years younger, at the very least. Next thing I know, she’s lying by my side, holding me tight by the ass.

“Do you think he’ll find his way to the room?” I ask. “He was so wasted, he could barely remember his name…”

“Oh, don’t worry. He loves having two girls at once. Besides that, he can’t resist you.” She giggles. “And neither I can,” she adds, with a kiss.

“Have you got any condoms?” I ask.

“In my purse. Now, before Tony comes…” Moments later, her fingers slip in my dripping wet cunt. I moan loudly in ecstasy, but my voice is muffled by her mouth. Soon she climbs on top of me, pinning me down, fingers thrusting into me as she sucks and bites at my neck. Withdrawing one finger and sliding it up my ass, I can control myself no longer. I’m coming as I’m crying out: “Don’t stop oh Christ don’t stop!” when the door suddenly opens.

In steps Tony with a bottle of wine.

“Well,” he says, “you should have waited for the Captain, you little sluts. But please, don’t stop now on my account…” He unzips his fly and undresses, flopping down in an armchair with the already half-empty bottle. He’s got a sizable hard-on, despite the heroic amount of booze he’s consumed this evening.

I roll over on top of Mel then, excited by the prospect of an audience.

I spread her wide and begin licking up and down her inner thighs, until I can no longer resist her pussy, feasting on it as I push my tongue inside as deep as it can go. God, she tastes so good… I’m utterly lost between her legs, my entire face covered in her sweet juices.

It is then that I feel Tony behind me, his pulsing hard cock probing at my upturned ass, preparing for entry.

“Wait,” I say, “grab a condom. They’re in…”

He doesn’t seem interested.

“Hate those things,” he says, “I want to feel myself inside a woman…”

I almost faint as he shoves it in, he’s so big. He’s pushing harder and harder, enjoying every inch of me. I’m screaming but he carries on fucking me until tears are streaming down my face. He’s holding me by the waist, spanking my ass like the little fuck toy that I am for him. I’m coming now, fast and hard, waves of ecstasy surging through me as my tongue plunges in and out of Melissa’s cunt.

And then all at once, he tenses up, coming right there inside me.

“You bastard!” I gasp, as he throws me off to the side. My heart is literally thumping through my chest, my cunt still writhing in pleasure as Melissa strokes my hair.

“That was pretty nice,” Tony says, “but we’ve only just begun…”

“Put on that damned thing this time, you moron,” she says. “It’s in my purse…”

I sit on her face and she licks me while Tony jerks himself hard again before us. He rolls the condom on and prepares to mount Melissa, who is now really making me scream, eating me alive until I’m overwhelmed by my second orgasm. She’s fingering her clit, shuddering with anticipation as she waits for Tony to fuck her.

Turns out it’s a no-go. Tony sprawls on the bed beside her, his erection having completely vanished. He laughs, not the least bit embarrassed by the debacle. “Well, maybe it will take longer this time, pretty girls…” he says.

This fucking idiot is simply too drunk to fuck, and yet I lean forward to suck him anyway, feeling that I owe Melissa. He moans as I lick the long shaft of his cock.

“Oh Angie, you dirty little bitch. You drive me crazy, you fucking… little…” He doesn’t even finish his sentence, falling fast asleep as Melissa bursts out swearing.

“Wake up, you dirty bastard! Wake up YOU FUCKING DIRTY BASTARD! WAKE THE FUCK UP AND FUCK ME!” I’m trying to calm her down before someone calls the desk, but Mel is slapping his face now with all her might, screaming like a magpie. Finally she jumps up off the bed, fighting back tears as she gathers her shit. The door slams hard behind her.

I find myself sitting there with Captain Tony, drunk out of his head, the useless condom still clinging to his even more useless prick. Shit.

Then I can’t help it — I suddenly burst out laughing. I laugh until my stomach hurts and tears roll down my cheeks.

Welcome aboard, Angie.

Ian Copestick

Buried Treasure

Not far from where I live
There’s a little alleyway, only
About six feet wide, but over
One hundred yards long. It
Has no lighting at all
Which makes it hard to
Walk through after dark
Well, a drug-dealing
 Acquaintance of mine,
Who at this moment
Is doing time, once told
Me a story of how one
Night he was walking
Through this alley
And being paranoid
That he was being
Followed, either by
The police or other
Dealers, he hid a bag
Containing over
£800 somewhere
In said alley. With it
Being so bloody dark
And with my acquaintance
Being so off his face, he
Forgot where the money was
And it remains lost
To this day.
At the time I thought
Nothing of it, thinking
It a druggy version
Of a fisherman’s tale.
You know, the one
That got away.
But now and then,
When times get tough
And I’ve been living on
Frozen pizzas for
Over a week, I
Find myself hunting
Through bushes,
Feeling under fences
And digging through dirt
So far all that I have
Ended up with is
Dirty fingernails.
But I’ve got a feeling
That just maybe my
Luck is about to

Marc Carver

The Piano

I walked into the church
a woman was playing the piano
I went over to her
and told her that she played lovely
She told me it was Tchaikovsky
and then she told me her wedding
was tomorrow
and why didn’t I come
I never went to her wedding
but a few days later
I went back to the church
and thought about playing the piano
not that I can play of course
and when I went over to the piano
there was no piano
almost as if that magical moment
had never happened

Ben John Smith

Say you will remember me

I always wrote poems
But I never told anyone
That I wrote poems
But one time when I was
11 I drank half my mum’s
Bottle of port while I babysat
My baby sister
And I told the hot chick who
Lived next door to me
That I wrote poems
And showed her my note pad
Of love poems
Because I wanted her to
fall in love with me but she
Just she just comforted me and
Said her boyfriend
Wrote poems too
But he was strung out
On heroin and I was just an
11 year old kid
Drunk on port
Listening to Micheal Jackson
And Paul McCartney records
He could have kicked my ass
If he knew I was hitting on his
Woman but he got jumped
By some wog kids
At a playground near
My house and
They cut him up pretty bad
And poetry never got
Me laid
But it has always ever
Since made me feel
Like a little kid
In a world full of
Real motherfuckers