Mathias Nelson

Pretty Girls

One college night, Stacy sat at a small café counter in little white shorts, her legs long and fresh. She licked at an ice cream cone, lapping around its edges, her tongue dappled creamy white. Her friend Nancy was dressed more modest, in jeans and a low-cut sweater. She ate a banana split with a spoon, slowly cutting into it like a soft phallus. The two of them sat on their stools together, swiveling like schoolgirls and laughing.

“But Mark has such a huge cock!” Stacy whispered to Nancy. They covered their mouths to keep from spitting.

Nancy swallowed, then whispered to Stacy, “Johnny has rhythm, but he always wants to titty fuck. God, I can’t stand it much longer! My heart’s gonna bruise!” She put a hand over her chest as they both cracked up and ice cream dribbled down their chins.

Meanwhile, the owner of the café was busy washing dishes back in the kitchen, periodically turning an ear (and an eye) their way.

“Well,” Stacy said, “you think that’s bad, once Mark was giving it to me doggystyle and he slapped me in the back of the head! Called it a donkey-punch!” They both keeled over, dying.

As Stacy regained her composure, she locked eyes with her BFF and had one of those weird moments where she wished she was bi.

Then, cone in hand, she looked over at the tables lining the wall where a lean, older man sat in a frayed, dirty green coat. The bright lights reflected in his dark sunglasses, and long strands of greasy salt and pepper hair hung around his ears. The only other customer in the late-night café, he stared steadily at Stacy, slowly drawing on a cigarette with perfect, unwavering accuracy, though his gaze never seemed to leave her naked legs.

Stacy quickly swivelled in her stool so her legs were beneath the counter, out of the man’s line of sight.

Nancy studied her disgusted expression and asked, “What is it? What’s the matter?”

“That guy,” Stacy said, her voice barely a whisper. “Behind us, in the sunglasses. He’s been… watching me.”

Nancy pretended to brush a loose hair from her shoulder and casually glanced over. The man took another drag off his cigarette, its tip flaring like a smoldering eye, and blew the smoke her way. She pretended to focus her attention out the window at the passing traffic.

And under the table, had she really seen it? The man rubbing his crotch?

“Creepy…” she said, cringing as they both sat with their backs to him.

It was then that the owner ambled out from the kitchen and began to wipe the counters. He leaned over and whispered to the young ladies, “Be careful with that one over there. He’s a real kook…”

Nancy slowly pushed her banana phallus away with disgust. Meanwhile, Stacy’s ice cream had begun to melt; it wove around her fingers.

“What’re we gonna do?” Nancy asked. “I’m sick of old sick fucks… Remember what happened to Clara, in that alley? How’re we gonna to get home?”

“Uh, I know,” Stacy answered. “The dorms are seven blocks away, but I don’t think he’ll be able to catch us if we run…”

The owner was walking all around the café now, cleaning off tables before close. As he approached the man’s table, the man said, “Get me a beer for the wait, would yuh?”

“Sure thing, mister,” the owner replied. “What yuh waitin’ on, anyway?”

“Heaven,” the man said, still facing the two college girls.

Bustling off with an armload of dishes, the owner cast a sidelong glance at them on his way back to the kitchen.

“What the fuck was that all about?” Stacy gasped.

Before Nancy could reply, the owner came back around and brought the man his beer.

Still staring at the girls, the man grabbed it off the table without even looking down. And then, draining it in several slow, steady chugs, he licked his lips, set the empty bottle down, and took another long drag off his cigarette.

“What’re we going to do?” Nancy squealed, pulling down the back of her top to make sure her thong wasn’t showing. “Just leave?”

Stacy chanced a quick glance outside. “There’s a gas station across the street,” she said. “We can run over there and watch to make sure he doesn’t follow us. If he does, we’ll call the fucking cops.”

Nancy faltered for a moment, then gave Stacy the briefest of nods.

“We’ll just leave it on the counter!” she called to the owner as they jumped up and bolted for the door. “Keep the change!”

Jaywalking between headlights, flashing by in the misty night, together they made it past the pumps, through the parking lot, and into the safety of the gas station. They pretended to peruse the shelves, periodically glancing back at the brightly lit café where the man still sat, unmoving at this table.

“He’s not getting up,” Nancy said.

“Let’s stick around a little longer,” Stacy said, “just in case.”

And they did, until they saw the man slowly begin to rise from his seat, pulling something long and knob-shaped from between his legs.

“Is that his cock!?” Stacy gasped as the attendant glanced their way.

“No…” Nancy laughed, shaking her head in disbelief. “It’s his cane…”

Tapping it from side to side, combing the floor for obstacles before him, the man set off in the general direction of the cafe’s entrance. The owner came around the counter and took him by the arm, gently guiding him out and closing the door behind him.

Once outside, the man waited on the curb until a car pulled up and took him away.

The girls giggled hysterically, embarrassed by how wrong they’d read the situation. Once they’d regained their composure, they decided to just forget about it, instinctively wandering over to the magazine racks for some much-needed distraction.

Meanwhile, back in the café, the owner flipped over the closed sign, then proceeded to shut off the lights. There would be no more customers for the night, so he undid his apron, removed his cap, and went back into the kitchen to finish cleaning up.

The girls bought a magazine with a shirtless pop singer on its cover. Together they strolled out of the gas station, smiling despite themselves. Traffic had slowed down quite a bit. It was getting late.

As they began their walk back to campus, Stacy couldn’t help but glance back at the café they’d previously just escaped with their lives.

Suddenly she stopped and grabbed Nancy by the arm.

“Look…” she said, pointing.

Inside the darkened café, there was owner, sniffing the stools they’d been sitting on.

Ben Newell

Best Bra Ever

Hippie Manson freaks wrote in their victims’ blood—


—but there was no blood, so he couldn’t do that. He didn’t stab or slash, didn’t care for the mess. Strangulation was his thing. It was more intimate, watching them slip away as he tightened the garrote. There was nothing like it in the world.

Still, he always tagged the wall: pentagram, inverted cross, 666. He kept a canister of black spray paint in his kit. He wanted to shock and offend. In fact there was nothing satanic about his motivations. He just liked to kill women, rape them and kill them. It was a compulsion, a savage force within.

The rapes had started years ago. But like an alcoholic, his tolerance had gotten higher and higher until that was no longer enough. Murder was inevitable.

Now, spray paint in hand, he stood there in the bedroom eyeing the wall above her headboard. He started to spray the number of the beast, but decided against this. As much as he liked the occult angle, he had to admit it was getting a bit stale.

Something fresh was needed. But nothing would come. He was at a loss. The white wall mocked him. So this is writer’s block, he thought, peering at the surface with mounting frustration.

Maybe a snack would help. It was part of his M.O., raiding the victim’s kitchen for food and beer. For some reason the media had made a big deal about this. He had no idea why.

He opened the fridge and smiled. Beer and a fresh loaf of bread, egg salad, pickles, any and every condiment a person could want. He made a sandwich, took it and a beer into the living room where he dropped into a plush sofa.

She had a large, wall-mounted flat-screen. Remote in hand, he leaned back and surfed. Fifty zillion channels and not a goddamned thing worth watching.

“Unbelievable,” he muttered.

He ate his sandwich and nursed the beer, blazing through program after program. Shit, nothing but shit. Until…

Some high-maintenance blonde was modeling a bra for three other high-maintenance blondes, all of whom had gym-toned figures and perfect TV teeth. They talked on and on about the bra, its remarkable features, what made it superior to other bras on the market.

“This truly is,” one of the blondes said, “the best bra ever.”

He actually choked on his beer when he heard it. Suds dribbling from his mouth, he hacked and coughed and slapped his knee before finally regaining his composure. He couldn’t believe it. That his problem had been solved by an infomercial was just too much.

He got up from the sofa, leaving the bottle on the table. They could swab it all they wanted, but it wouldn’t matter. He had never been arrested, never even gotten a lousy speeding ticket. His DNA wasn’t in the system.

Entering her bedroom with purposeful strides, he grabbed the spray paint from the nightstand and shook it vigorously. Ball bearings clicked and clacked. He raised the canister to the wall. And pressed the nozzle…


After it was done, he stepped back to admire his handiwork. Perfect, absolutely perfect.

He regarded his victim on the bed. “What do you think, baby? Fucking hilarious, huh…”

Of course it was a different make and model, the bra wrapped around her neck.

Dave Newman

At a Strip Club in the Middle of Pennsylvania

She moves my beer bottle out of reach
and says “I have a clumsy ass.”

Spread across the bar she scissor-kicks
and grabs her ankles then cradles her tit.

Some Japanese writing is tattooed
a few inches to the left of her g-string.

I try to make out the design
while she makes sexy stripper faces.

She points at the ink and says “Mother first.”
“As in?” I say.

She crawls back on to the dance floor.
“As in” she says “I have kids at home.”

I take a swig off my beer
and stop to applaud the moment.

She leans in to me with a smile
her tits pushed together like a basket.

I give her one dollar for the performance
another dollar for the kid at home.

She thanks me with a kiss on the cheek
then pets my head like a small poodle.

J.J. Campbell

the older lady in the corner
i have been
awkward all
of my life
i can sit for
hours in a bar
or anywhere
and not say
much of
i’ve never
had anyone
approach to
see what the
mystery could
everyone is
trapped in
their own
shitty story
i suppose
and i’m not
sure if this is
the right place
to approach the
older lady in the
and ask if
she would be
interested in
punishing me

Dave Newman

Nothing Was Going On

so Louie and I packed it in
and headed for the Strip Club in Smithton

and it was snowing outside
beautiful flakes messing the roads

and the owner said
“I just sent home my best girls”

and one of the three remaining strippers
said “Fuck you, Frank”

and walked towards the stage.
Louie and I handed over 20 bucks

and the owner said “I’ll take $10
because of the weather”

and we each got 10 back
and found chairs around the stage

which was not much of a stage
and the walls were all aluminum

and the floor was muddy
and flecked with road salt

and Louie said “This really is a dump”
and I said “You never noticed that?”

and the women danced a little
which is to stay stripped a little

and I handed over some singles
and Louie handed over some singles

and the blonde stripper—
well, the older blonde stripper—

said “You can beat it
in the back room for 15 dollars”

and I said “Sounds great”
and Louie just sort of sat there.

A couple other women
came from the back room

and they were talking about
how expensive it was to get your nails done.

I got up to head to the back room.
The strippers concerned with their fingernails

started to give the same pitch
to Lou about beating off.

Louie is a more complex person
than I am, and nurturing too

and significantly more masculine
which also adds to his kindheartedness

so there were things for him to consider
like the impact of prostitution on women

ages 38-56 during a snow fall
on a Thursday night in Smithton

whereas I accept that most people
make choices in their own best interests

and jerk-jobbing at a strip club
probably beats working at McDonalds

or sitting in a cubicle somewhere
so I headed for the booth

and paid an extra ten dollars
for the stripper to finger

her ass and pussy at the same time
and she was nice, knew all

the right words and sexy sounds
and when I came she said

“Did you have fun?”
and I said “I did, thanks”

and I went back to the stage
and she did too

and I pulled up a chair
and she sat crossed legged

her robe covering her lap
and she said “Your buddy’s back there

with Sheena and Tina”
and I said “Sheena and Tina?”

and she said “It’s a winter special”
and laughed and I said “Oh”

then Louie appeared
but not Sheena and Tina

and Louie said “Let’s get out of here”
and I said “Sure”

and the stripper said “Thanks
for the extra ten bucks”

and I said “You’re great at what you do”
and she said “I know.”

Outside, I asked Louie
why he wanted two strippers

and he said “I don’t know”
and I said “What’d they do?”

and he said “Giggled”
and I said “What’d you do?”

and he said “Nothing.”
Then he said “I asked them some questions”

and I said “That was a nice thing to do”
and the snow was everywhere now

the flakes bigger than pennies
and the road reflecting white

and Louie said “At least
they’ll have money for manicures”

and I said “At least there’s that.”

Adrian Manning


The small pool at the hotel, in the dizzying Los Angeles midday heat, looks inviting. Wire fenced from the streets and parking lot, it glistens like a diamond in the concrete. Having just survived a near miss with a big, strong fellow in black shades which hid the madness in his eyes, outside the men’s room at an all you can eat restaurant in Hollywood, to escape and hide underwater seems a good idea. Stripped down to my shorts, I dive in. The water refreshes me – hides me.

It’s then I notice the rats, a black wall along the side of the pool. What I had mistaken for vampire tiles, I now see is a mass of black, wiry hairs, sharp teeth and grinning bloody eyes. They are clinging together – holding onto each other. The hairs float in the water – a rippling carpet.
I think, how will I get out of here without touching the rats? I don’t want to touch them – they may bite and rip at my flesh. Why aren’t they drowning? I ask myself. How can they hold on for so long?
It’s then I realise I cannot swim. I try but it is useless. I cannot remember ever swimming – the idea of it was insane. Now I know I will drown. I cannot reach the floor of the pool to stand and I’m getting nowhere flailing my arms around.
It’s then that I see that I have disturbed the rats and now they are moving, moving towards me, swimming, leading with their teeth. Not one but many, from all sides – an inverted ripple.

It seems futile and above me the LA sun still shines as the darkness in the water grows…

Matthew Borczon

Turkey Buzzards

It had only taken two years for his wife to leave him.

She’d grown sick of the small town, the smell of shit on his boots, and the fact that Ethan was just angry all the time. He could not blame her for wanting to leave, but he also did not follow her or try to make her stay.

Somewhere along the line, Ethan had started drinking in the mornings.

No one was around, so no one ever noticed. Booze made the work easier, or so he thought, but the truth was it just made it easier for him to ignore all the farm work he’d been putting off.

It started when the first cow died. Ethan left it in the field for weeks rotting in the summer sun, and it would’ve stayed there had the neighbors not complained about the smell. As the turkey buzzards began to crowd the fields, his mother complained to him as well, finally paying some local college kids to scrape the rotting carcass off the ground.

Ethan kept drinking and ignored the world around him, fantasies of going back to Chicago and his wife drifting through the haze inside his head. He knew he’d never go, but the idea allowed him to believe he had a plan.

Five more cows would die within the next year, and each time Ethan would ignore their bodies until the neighbors brought the law out to talk to him. In the end, he would hire someone to do the work and he would continue with his drinking, and the farm continued to limp along like a horse that had just thrown a shoe.

Eventually, Ethan and his mother stopped talking altogether. She grew tired of the arguments and disappointed in the son she raised, so they took to haunting opposite sides of the house. She lost herself in mourning her dead husband and wore her sorrows like an old dressing gown.

The morning Ethan found her hung from a rafter in the hay barn, he realized that he hadn’t known his mother at all.

For the first few days, Ethan ignored the barn entirely, telling himself he needed to find the note she was sure to have left. He searched her room and the rest of the house but found nothing.

An envelope of money under her mattress distracted Ethan for a few more days, as he finally had the means to drink like he’d always wanted to. Three days later and staggering drunk, he had finally worked up the nerve to walk into the barn.

The smell and the fact that she was covered in her own excrement convinced Ethan it would be best to leave her hanging for a spell, at least until he’d hosed her down. It took about an hour, but once he’d cleaned her up, Ethan decided to go back into the house and grab some fresh clothes for her, so she’d be dressed when he cut her down and called the authorities.

The feeling of control Ethan felt as he picked out her dress and slipped on her panties was nothing short of electric. After he’d finished dressing her, he went back to the house to get his mother’s makeup kit and spent the afternoon combing her hair as well.

One week later, it was the smell which once again prompted the neighbors to summon the police.

Their visits to the farm were becoming fairly routine by this point, but no one was prepared for the sight of Ethan drunk and doing a slow waltz with his mother’s rotting corpse, still dangling from the rafters.

For the first time in years, Ethan looked like a man contented. In his mind, he was back home in Chicago, his old life finally restored. In reality, however, he’d finally lost everything but his farm and its herd of starving cattle.

The trees were filled with turkey buzzards, and only they seemed to know how this was all going to end.

Douglas Hackle

Got Me a Date With an Uptown Girl

After owning a beeper for decades and not receiving a single page on the damn thing, I concluded there must be something wrong with my beeper number. So I called my service provider to change it.

As a consequence, I also had to order a new batch of social calling cards, ones that displayed my new beeper number. I placed a bulk order online, got a pretty good deal for 5,000 cards.

After the weighty box arrived in the mail a few days later, I got into my car and spent the day driving around to place my cards all over town—to let people know I was out there in the world, that I existed, that I was a person in need of social interaction.

I left my calling cards on tables and chairs in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices, dental practices, psychiatry practices, and law firms.

I left them on the sinks in public bathrooms—men’s and ladies’ rooms alike—in movie theatres, shopping malls, restaurants, and gas stations. On park benches, in bus stops, on the seats of subway cars.

I tacked them to utility poles underneath garage sale fliers, above notices for missing cats and dogs. I left them strewn about on the floors and shelves of discount retail stores and supermarkets.

I slipped them into the mailboxes of houses, apartments, businesses, and places of worship.

I left my calling cards all over downtown. All over midtown and uptown too. Three days it took me to get rid of them all.

Several months passed before my beeper finally went BEEP, BEEP, BEEP… I was at home in my trailer when it happened, relaxing in my recliner, playing Sega Genesis, and smoking a fat clown tear-laced primo. That my beeper had finally beeped was exciting enough, but I also noticed the number flashing on the device had an uptown area code, which was cause for even more excitement. See, in depositing my calling cards all over my city and its environs, I sought acquaintanceship, friendship, romance, meaningless sex, and anything and everything in between. But the ultimate payoff of this practice was to land a date with an uptown girl. At least that had always been the dream of thisdowntown man.

“Hello,” a young woman’s voice picked up when I called the number.

“Uh, hi. I’m Chesterwinkle Kristofferson VIII. Did you, like, just page me?”

“Yes. Hi, I’m Juliet. I found one of your calling cards in the tomato bin at the grocery store.”

“Oh. Cool. So, are you like a real uptown girl?”

“Yes, I am. I’m beautiful, blonde, rich, classy, cultured—the whole nine yards. Hey, did you just call me on your cell phone?”


“Then why didn’t you just put your cell phone number on your calling cards instead of your beeper number? I didn’t even know what a beeper was until I googled ‘beeper’ after I found your card. You’re probably like the last person on Earth who still uses one of those things.”

“I suppose I could’ve put my cell number on the cards instead.”

“And what’s with this whole calling card thing to begin with? Who even does that? It’s weird. And creepy. I mean, has anyone ever passed out social calling cards like this?”

“Uh, yeah. I mean, I think so. I think people did it back in the olden days sometimes.”

“Is it still the olden days?”

“Are you always this sarcastic?”


“Hey, would you like to maybe… you know… go out on, like, a date with, uh, like, me sometime, maybe?”

“Pick me up at seven,” Juliet said before she hung up.


I used up most of my life savings to rent a stretch limo for the date. Unfortunately, I was only able to afford the limo and not a driver to drive it, so I was obliged to be my own chauffeur. After I picked up the wheels, I purchased a James Bond costume from the bargain bin at a Halloween store. See, I wanted to impress Juliet by wearing a tuxedo, but I didn’t even own a cheap suit, let alone a tux. I sure as shit couldn’t afford to rent one after shelling out the dough for the limo. The James Bond Halloween costume was essentially a fake tuxedo. It would have to do.

Back at my trailer, I shat, showered, shaved, and doused myself in Axe body spray. On my way out the door, I grabbed a CD I’d created earlier in the day consisting solely of the song “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel played over and over again hundreds of times.

Somewhere along the highway during the ride from downtown to uptown, with “Uptown Girl” playing at a low, comfortable volume, I realized I didn’t know where the hell I was going. Juliet had never given me her address. So I called her on my cellie.

“Hello, Chesterwinkle,” my beeper’s unmistakable, tinny, babyish voice answered on the other end.

What the fuck! I thought as my right hand fell from the steering wheel to grapple at my right hip, where my beeper should have been clipped to the elastic waistband of my fake tuxedo pants.

It wasn’t.

“Where the hell are you?” I barked.

“I’m at Juliet’s mansion. You know, uptown. I’m on a date with her. A fuck-first-eat-later kind of date, if you know what I mean. Heh-heh. Sorry, but I gotta go now.”

“Now just you hold on a minute, you little shit. That’s MY uptown girl you’re with! Tell me where you are. Gimme her goddamn address. RIGHT NOW, ASSHOLE!”

“Sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t do that, Chesterwinkle. And by the way, I quit. Go find yourself a new beeper. Better yet, maybe it’s time you catch up to the twenty-first century and stop using beepers and those ridiculous calling cards. You might want to lay off the terrible Axe body spray too.”

“Why you motherfuck—”

“Don’t be cross, boss. Or ex-boss, I should say. Hey, I’m not such a bad beeper. In fact, I felt kinda bad about this whole business, so after I slipped away from you earlier today, I decided to hook you up, mofo! Press the button to lower the privacy partition in your limo. Take a look in the back, and you’ll see just what I mean.”

Though I was bristling with rage, I pressed the button to lower the tinted sheet of glass that separated me from the passenger area. I glanced up at the rearview mirror to see a ripe corpse propped up all the way in the back.

Despite the bloating and the liquefying stage of putrefaction, I recognized the body as belonging to a former neighbor of mine from the trailer park:

Ol’ Man Jenkins, an elderly, morbidly obese man who had somehow managed to hang himself in his trailer not two weeks prior. Now this colossal stiff was in my limo, still wrapped up in his plus-size death-suit, only now he sported a wig of long, straight, shiny platinum hair, and his thin, receding lips were all gooped up with garish, blood-red lipstick, producing a grotesque clownish effect. That enormous belly of his looked like it might burst at any second under the mounting internal pressure of the corpse gases brewing within.

“Ta-da!” my beeper said. “I made you your very own uptown girl!”

“I’m gonna find you, you obsolete little shit,” I said through clenched teeth. “You hear me, you sonofabitch? And when I do, I’m gonna spike you down on the ground and stomp you into thousand bits and pieces!”

“Hey, good talk, bro, good talk. But I gotta go, yo. Juliet’s about to give me an A+ uptown blowjob!” To my chagrin, I heard Juliet giggling in the background. “Sorry you don’t appreciate the parting gift that took me so much trouble to prepare for you. So I guess this is see ya never again, dickface. Ah-hahahaha…”

My former beeper hung up on me.

I glanced back at the grisly thing in the backseat. Shuddering, I slapped the button to raise the tinted glass so I wouldn’t have to look at it anymore. Not sure what to do next, I turned up the volume of “Uptown Girl” a few notches and just kept driving, eventually getting off the exit ramp to uptown.

As I navigated the mansion-lined avenues of the uptown hills, I couldn’t help but glance in the rearview mirror at that tinted glass barrier, a pit of dread ballooning in my guts. At some point the intercom beeped, startling me.

“Taaaake meeee back to the cemeteeery,” Ol’ Man Jenkins’ croaked through the speaker. “Lower me back into my graaaaave. Then stay down there with meeeeeee. We can play  Empire Strikes Back down there. You can be Luke Skywalker, and I’ll be that tauntaun that froze to death on Hoth. You can cut open my gas-filled belly and climb inside. It will smell bad, but it’ll keep you warm and protect you from the frigid Hoth niiiiiiiiiiiiight!”



But sadly enough, it appeared I didn’t have anything better to do.

“Okay, Ol’ Man Jenkins,” I said, defeated. “I guess we can go play Empire Strikes Back in your fucking grave.” I paused, sighed heavily. “Hey, you know what?”

“Whaaaaaat?” the horrifying, undead voice rasped through the intercom.

“You’re my uptown girl.”

“And youuuu, you are my downtown maaaaaaan.”

I smiled and frowned at the exact same time, blinked away boiling hot, chimpanzee-semen tears from my crispy tater tot eyes, and took a big bite out of a Rubik’s cube that I’d brought along for a snack.

“That’s what I am,” I said, grinding colorful plastic between my molars.