Maté Jarai

Bear Food

I went to the mountains
the bears didn’t eat me
the snowfall didn’t bury me
there was no plane crash
I made it back
but she wasn’t here anymore
and whenever I think about
getting eaten by a bear
which is often
now I can only picture
Leonardo DiCaprio in my place
because of that film he did
and bear food is no longer
an authentic death for me
so I’ll live.
It was the only death
I wanted.

Ben Newell

Plenty of Fish

“Can I get you a menu?”

The bartender’s question pulled Ed out of his funk. He had been sitting there drinking for a good two hours, becoming more and more despondent with each swig.

“Sure,” he said resignedly. “Might as well.”

His Saturday lunch date was late. Two hours late. No call, no text, nothing. It was official. Another no-show.

Ed peered at the menu. He craved some old-fashioned beef tacos with crunchy shells. Of course he would’ve preferred a taco of the hairy variety, but this wasn’t happening. Not today, anyway.

He placed his order.

“Another beer?” the bartender asked.

“Sure,” Ed said.

This online dating game wasn’t working worth a damn. Women were more than willing to exchange messages, but when it came time to actually meet . . .

Today marked the third time that he had been stood up. Third and last, he thought. Enough is enough. No more online dating for Ed.

***

Back at his apartment Ed deactivated the account and grabbed another beer from the fridge. He had bought a six-pack of tallboys on his way home from El Palacio; nothing to do today but get shit-faced and wallow in self-pity.

He grabbed his cigarettes and went out on the little balcony overlooking the pool. Eye candy galore. Women laid out on chaise lounges soaking up the afternoon sun, others swimming, laughing, talking. Good-looking women, too. Young, probably single.

Ed was young. And single.

But he had no desire to join them. He had gotten plenty of sun in Iraq. And now he was home and working a shitty job and trying to meet a woman.

One of his coworkers at the garage had recommended online dating; this guy claimed to get all kinds of action. Desperate and horny, Ed had been intrigued, so much so that he had opted for the premium membership package with all the bells and whistles. Now he felt like a total fool for wasting his money.

Ed smoked and drank and tried to enjoy the view, but it was hard. Those women down there in their bikinis were out of reach, unattainable. He might as well have been watching supermodels on TV. They didn’t want some grease monkey veteran plagued by nightmares . . .

He finished his cigarette and went back inside. It was too hot out there. Unless you were swimming. Ed regarded the dreary walls of his apt. A dip might make him feel better, help him sober up. He wasn’t supposed to be drinking at all.

Dr. Libby would’ve been disappointed.

***

Ed slammed the door to his apartment, threw the bolt, and rushed to the bathroom. He stood at the sink and splashed cool water on his face, hoping this would extinguish his shame and rage. His excursion to the pool couldn’t have turned out worse. The whole thing had been a bad idea from the beginning.

All that beer, the tacos, the savage sun and heat, the supple flesh, everything had made him dizzy and sick and he had managed to climb out of the pool but that’s as far as he got before it came out in a torrent. Some had actually laughed when he puked. Heartless bitches . . .

Four months ago, in the leasing office, he had all but demanded a unit with a view of the pool. Now he never wanted to see the pool again.

Unless . . .

Ed’s rifle was in the bedroom closet.

He pulled it out.

The AR-15 was loaded, ready to rock, ready to roll. He opened the sliding glass door and stepped out on the balcony. They were still down there, all of them. A few guys had shown up since his ugly departure.

He felt the reassuring pressure of the stock against his shoulder. Just like old times, he thought. Ed was back in Fallujah.

The opening round pierced a brunette’s eye, bored through her brain, and exited the back of her head in a fine pink mist.

Niklas Stephenson

Her First Time

I pushed it in.
Her first time.
It changed her life
she wanted more
than I could give.
She begged and begged,
I gave in,
repetitive pushes
inside of her.
Blood rushes to the head.
Chemical disbalance.
Endorphines.
Feeling of power
laying lifeless on her bed.
God came home
when I pushed
the insects in her veins.
Those jittery fuckers
that will never leave.

Vivid Greene, By Jacob Ian DeCoursey

cover skeleton VG baby Large Font with grime

A young woman with a horrifying secret embarks on an erotic adventure punctuated with bloodshed…
A displaced holiday figure enacts his messianic calling in the cavernous subway below New York City…
Two brothers carry their father’s ashes across a flooded town in an apocalyptic American South devoid of rainfall…

In these stories and more, DeCoursey effortlessly transports readers from the familiar, to the uncanny, to the downright surreal! At once chilling and darkly humorous, vulgar with pronounced moments of tenderness, VIVID GREENE explores the humanity within monsters and the monstrosity within humans.

BUY A COPY HERE

 

 

Alan Catlin

Strange Visit

Lost somewhere in that limbo
place where dreaming meets
a total drunk, the two fusing into
one, overlapping the way loose skin
does on top of what lies beneath.
She comes, then, as half-human,
half-apparition in that hour before
dawn in the bar, lights down,
only the EXIT signs clear and well
defined. Certainly not the place
where her eyes should be
in the tarnished back bar mirror.
Nothing but shadows
and dust and flakes where her face
should be, where vision has lost clarity,
nothing as it should be and what moves,
does so fast and almost formless
just below the horizon
on the edge of sight,
beckoning as it does so,
for all to follow
to that place
where she is going,
where all dreams end.

Matthew Licht

jh ghost 5

A Big Star, Part 1

A ghost made of egg shampoo flew through the air in broad daylight. Mr Johnson held an over-designed remote control ray gun. He made the opalescent UFO shuttle back and forth from nowhere to nowhere in a game of video ping-pong. When he got bored, he hit the freeze button. 

“That’s me, basically,” he said. “Or half of me. This is where I come into the picture, if the story’s true.”

He pushed another button and the load splashed down on a high cheekbone and the bridge of an upturned nose. The brunette whom those features belonged to ran her tongue over her lips and slightly crooked teeth.

“Mom,” the client said. He sounded sad.

In the final frames, a sunken face mimed, “Phew!”

“And there’s Papa.” He softly repeated, “If the story’s true.”

Mr Johnson pushed another button and the TV screen died. He went to his desk, pulled another remote-control from a drawer, zapped open the wooden blinds to reveal the Hollywood hills where the porn loop was shot. 

The client was some species of Hollywood executive. 

He looked into the distance from his office window. A woman with flowing blond hair drove a jeep slowly up the canyon. “My mother already wasn’t looking too hot the last time I saw her.”

The woman in the jeep disappeared behind a blind corner. Nothing left on the hills but the landmark sign and TV antennas. 

“I know a man,” the client went on, “whose mother claimed he was Jimi Hendrix’s love-child before she died of a drug overdose. He’s the right color, got long fingers, but he can’t play. This guy lives in a car. Parked permanently on Venice Blvd. With a crazy German lady who sells love beads on the Boardwalk.”

“Life’s hard.”

“My mother’s life was. I’m glad she ditched me with her father in Palmdale. The old guy taught me values.”

The client pulled $500 cash from his pocket, and slid a copy of the videotape across his desk.

“She said that,” he tapped the black plastic rectangle, “was the high point of her life. I want you to find out if her story’s true.”

The client winced when I lit a cigarette. “Not my kind of case, Mr Johnson,” I said. “I’m in the living missing person line. This’d be a matter for the Coroner’s Office.”

He snorted. “The moral of the story about Hendrix’s alleged son is that he might not be living in a car if he could prove paternity. He’s got nothing to go on except his mother’s say-so. The music biz, in case you don’t know, makes the film industry look soft.”

“I doubt there’s a John Holmes estate. He smoked whatever he earned up a crack pipe.”

“I’m not concerned with that sort of inheritance. Holmes didn’t contribute much to the culture, but he was a star. Understand?”

I didn’t, but said I’d do my best. We didn’t shake hands. Mr Johnson didn’t show me out. 

 

Mendes Biondo

Talented People And Those Who Prefer Paradise

I knew a young man once
we passed a lot of time
in the same room
together

we lived together
but nothing sexual
we both ate pussies
like they were bread

I knew a young man once
I said
and he was just
the best writer
that I’d ever 
read

young
cruel
true

a writer with balls
or at least he had balls
when he wrote
in real life
he was more
like 
a broom

I’m sure he will succeed
in writing I mean
and I hope
he will do it

writing stuff on social media
putting your fucking face
in front of a camera
at 5 a.m.
while you’re dying inside
and the whole world
out there is a mess
is what I call
talent

he was able to spend
the whole night
joining parties
here and there
he was a social beast
while I’m just a bear
that prefers to 
have sex
and get drunk alone
instead of listening
to stupid speeches

I always preferred to die
in my own paradise
made of naked boobs
alcohol
silence
and the moonlight
shining on my
naked balls

I don’t have any
kind of talent
to be sincere
but I’m safe and sound
and that is enough
for me

James Babbs

In The Mirror

I’d only been there for a few minutes working on my first beer when she came over and thrust her finger into my face.

Hey she said. I thought I told you last time you were in here not to come back again.

I grinned at her. Oh I said. I just thought that meant you couldn’t live without me.

A look of disgust swept across her face. You’re a piece of shit she said.

I laughed. Hell I told her. Tell me something I don’t know. I grabbed the back of her head and pulled her beautiful face right up next to mine. I kissed her hard on the mouth and when I let her go she slapped me across the face. Another drink for this lady I yelled at the bartender.

I touched my cheek. It felt hot. In the mirror behind the bar I saw what I looked like. I opened my mouth and stuck out my tongue. I knew I looked crazy but I didn’t care. I picked up the glass in front of me and drained the rest of my beer.

When I was finished I banged the empty glass down on the table and shouted at the bartender. Another beer, barkeep and keep them coming.

While I waited for the next beer this scrawny guy with a shaved head came up and tapped me on the shoulder. He looked like a cancer patient who was losing the fight. What’s the big idea? He said to me. Kissing my woman like that?

The waitress came by and slipped another beer in front of me. She did it so quickly I didn’t have time to thank her.

Your woman? I said to the scrawny guy with the shaved head. Really? How much did you have to pay her? I heard laughter from somewhere behind me. I raised my glass to them before bringing it to my lips and draining half the beer.

The scrawny guy with the shaved head just glared at me then he turned and walked away.

Hey buddy I said. You better strap a two by four on your ass the next time you fuck her. I yelled it loud enough so the whole bar could hear. In the mirror behind the bar I saw the woman and the scrawny guy with the shaved head having a lively discussion. She looked angry and he wasn’t very happy.

You can’t win, fucker I thought to myself. Then I laughed and drank some more beer.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw her coming at me again. When she got close I quickly turned and faced her.

I said Yeeesss? Then I laughed again. I could tell she was furious with me. Her whole body shook and I really liked the way it made her tits bounce.

Why you gotta say things like that to my man? She screamed. She balled up her fist and punched me in the arm.

Your man? I said. Is that what that was?

She punched me again and all I could do was laugh.

You know I said. You’re really beautiful when you’re angry.

She leaned her face a little closer to me. Well she said. I think you’re absolutely revolting.

Then she turned her whole body like she was doing a scene from some B-grade movie and stomped back to her seat. In the mirror behind the bar I saw the different faces and they all looked the same to me. I finished the rest of my beer and called for another one.

It was early on a Tuesday but I could already tell it was going to be a good night.

Thumper Devotchka

Ruthless Mutt

I want to bend her over
and fuck her
ruthlessly
like the dog
that I am.
From behind,
always from
behind.

I want to fuck her
into myself.
Her animal need
for my hands
all over her,
inside of her,
I, always.

Life is a cigarette butt
or the stars above.

Life is a ruthless mutt,
or it could be
eternal love.