Jason Melvin


I refuse to leave you behind
I have to feel you in my hands
spread you open
rub my nose in your fold
breath in your musk 
thinking of all those
who’ve touched you
before me
My Half-Price whores
spines worn slightly
rough little edges
If you’re really good
I’ll toss you to a friend
discuss you
once they’re done with you
and when I’m done with you
I place you on a shelf
display you alongside
my other conquests
dreaming of the day I may
if ever
take you in

Otto Burnwell

Little Mer-man

Your girlfriend convinced you to go in with three other couples for a vacation at a Mexican beach resort.  The kind of place that’s so upscale it gives you a nosebleed.  The kind of place that has three tropical poolside bars.  The kind of place that provides mermaids to swim around, getting you your drinks.

The butler—because this is the kind of place that provides each suite with its own personal butler—this butler, was still unpacking and putting away your stuff when your girlfriend disappeared to meet up with her crew to “drink up the sights.”

Which was cool. She hadn’t seen her friends since they all graduated.  You could let her have her fun while you got to know the other guys, none of whom ever met each other before coming down here.  So—you ate, tried the tequila, and swam.

Then, that evening when you were all supposed to meet up for dinner, you went looking for your girlfriend.  You found the other girls in the lounge, drinking and cackling, but no girlfriend.

They waved you in closer.  They’re taking bets, they said, on whether your girlfriend walks in naked through the back of the resort, or—or—the girl telling the story nearly gagged on her drink, laughing so hard—or through the main lobby, because that’s the crazy kind of bitch she is, I’m sorry to tell you, she finished, looking at you like you were the proud owner of a rabid dog.

Naked?  From where?

What they told you, in that syncopated, disjointed, half-choking-on-laughter kind of storytelling way, is that she got so drunk so fast the rest of them connived with one of the mermaids to borrow her tail and top, stuffed your girlfriend in it, and left her rolling in the surf, way out by the quay, to sober up.  There’s no way she can walk back here in that thing, and they didn’t leave her anything else to wear.

Before you could run out looking for her, she turned up, dressed in a pair of ill-fitting shorts and baggy club tee-shirt.  The overnight beach patrol spotted her walking bare-assed back to the resort and loaned her the shorts and tee-shirt.

She lost the tail and the bra somewhere in the surf, which meant the mermaid who loaned it to them would be super pissed, so they hit you up for the two hundred eighty bucks American needed to replace it, because she is, after all, your girlfriend.

Paying the money wasn’t so bad, if that’s all it had been, but she started going off about the guy she met on the beach, or more like in the surf, who fucked her through a rip in the suit she made while trying to get out of it.

Drunk as she was, she didn’t realize it had a zipper, and she thought the guy was going to help her out of it, but he didn’t, instead he dragged her deeper into the water, wrapped his arms around her legs and somehow folded her in half, and fucked her.

You were ready to go looking for this shit weasel, but, she added, it was the most fantastic sexual experience she ever had, like doing it in space, or floating on a cloud.  The girlfriends, their jaws dangling open, looked up at you.  Which left you with no idea what you were supposed to do.

But, she went on, she was still angry, because it was the principle of the thing.  Because she couldn’t see who it was with the fluke of that fucking mermaid suit blocking his face.  Because a guy should have the decency to let her see his face.  Then, like that, she said, snapping her fingers, he was done and gone.  The surf pushed her back up on the beach, and she had to fight her way out of the suit, because she couldn’t find how it opened.

So she’s walking back, she said, naked, when the beach patrol picked her up and loaned her the shorts and tee-shirt.  They weren’t surprised.  It seems this kind of thing happens all the time.  Not losing a mermaid suit, but people turning up naked on the beach after dark.

Instead of calling the police and reporting it, which is what the other girls were saying, she wanted you to go find the fucker, probably one of those beach bums, and pound his ass.

As angry as you are, you’re now thinking you may not be qualified to do that.  You’ve seen some of those guys down at the beach.  Most of them are twice your size from working out and shit.  Probably other guys with him, who also work out, especially if he’s from around here.  Not a good situation to be walking into.  You floated the police idea again.

This is when she reminds you of all the times you’ve said she’s the one true love of your life and how you’d do anything for her, not just after sex, but every other time, too.  She says this is one of those times, and goes off to change, leaving you to make good on all those sweaty, breathless promises.

You order a couple of straight tequila doubles and consider what you’ve gotten yourself into.

The second double does the trick.  You slip off the stool, taking the bottle with you—they’ll put it on your room tab—and head out to find the quay where she said it happened.  You don’t bother changing out of the suit and tie you had to put on for the dinner because it makes you look more mature, and hides your lack of muscle mass.

You trudge through the sand, and when you reach the quay, the moon is large and unclouded, so it’s easy to see the beach, the water, and what looks like some guy bobbing up out there in the waves.

There’s no way of knowing if that’s the guy or not, since she couldn’t tell you what he looked like, not ever seeing his face.  But, there’s no one else out here, so it’s probably him, and from where you’re standing, he doesn’t seem all that big, so you shout at him something like, “Hey, fucker—you the fucker who fucks helpless women on the beach?” which you realize sounds lame, and you should have practiced something with a lot more meat to it on the walk down here, because as it plays back in your head, it makes you sound like a stupid wiener standing on a beach dressed in a suit and tie.

The guy doesn’t respond, so it may be that English isn’t his first language, because you are in a foreign country, but you can’t figure out any other language to curse at him, so you bark out “Hey!  Fucker!” going with brevity this time, and he starts swimming in closer, and your ass tightens because you’re now on the hook to make good on what sounds like a challenge, whatever language he speaks.

When he gets in closer, you can tell by the moonlight how he’s swimming normal-like with his arms, but, shit, he’s wearing a tail like the mermaids at the club.

This makes you wonder if the guy, wearing a tail, maybe thought he was scoring with one of those waitresses, and that it’s all been an honest mistake, and maybe you won’t have to try pounding his ass.  This brings up another problem—how to ask a guy if he accidentally fucked the wrong girl.

You step closer to the water’s edge, the surf surging over your shoes, the sand sucking away from under the soles of your feet, making you shift to keep your balance, and all that tequila does not improve your balance.  You shout again, “are you the guy fucked that mermaid,” adding, “by accident?”

As he swims in closer, you step sideways to meet him, and go on, “because if you are, you made a huge mistake, guy.  She’s threatening to call the police, so you should probably get the fuck out of here, you know what’s good for you.”  Now, you’re on record as standing up for your girlfriend.

But he doesn’t say shit back to you.  Instead, he gives a bit of a whistle-click, which, the way it sounds rising at the end, it’s like a question.

You get a little closer as he swims up further onto the sand, and you tell him again he needs to get lost.  He whistle-clicks at you again, something longer, and a little more belligerent, with a head weave that makes you think he’s inviting you into the water.  You’re not a bad swimmer, but you’re not about to get in the water to fight.  With a guy that can swim in the ocean wearing a mermaid suit?  No fucking way.

You don’t remember there being any guys playing mermaids at the club. Maybe he’s wearing the tail for a training thing, like he’s some kind of ironman triathlete.

You repeat the bit about him fucking one of the guests instead of the club mermaids, like it may have been an honest mistake.  You take out your phone and pull up a snap of your girlfriend, holding it out for him to see.

He works himself out of the surf, perching on one hip and plucks the fucking phone right from your hand.

Hey, you shout, but he isn’t listening to you, he’s staring at the picture.

That look is so obvious.  He knows exactly who he was fucking.  His face falls and he stares up at you with the saddest eyes you’ve ever seen on a guy. Which makes you realize—this asshole is in love with her.  In love with your girlfriend.  Fucks her one time, at night, on a beach in the middle of nowhere—okay, not nowhere—but it’s so—so random, and he’s acting like he’s in love.

Hey, you say again, give me my phone back.

He whistle-clicks at the phone, then looks up at you.  You can’t tell if he’s angry or disappointed or what, but he seems to be taking your measure and you begin to think you may have to fight him anyway.

Instead, he hands back the phone and rolls over to sit on his ass, his knees drawn up—you guess it’s his knees if he wasn’t in the tail—and his arms hugging them.  Brooding.  At least it looks like brooding.


Guy’s obviously in love with your girlfriend.  It’s not like he’s making any move to fight you for her, which would be Neanderthal of you both, but you’d have to put in like you meant it, which makes you wonder if you really would.  That makes you wonder what it means for your relationship with her.

Now you’re wondering if he thought she was a new girl working at the club, getting his hopes up, and he’s finding out she’s not just your girlfriend, but a guest at the resort, which puts her—what—out of his league?

Boy, the shit you could tell him, which is not something you’d want to hear. Still, it makes you feel kind of bad for the guy, despite the fact that he did fuck your girlfriend under false pretenses, or maybe not false pretenses, but there’s a big misunderstanding in there somewhere.

You sit down beside him, both of you just out of reach of the surf.  You pass him the bottle.  Not much in it, but it beats the two of you having to fight each other to prove something to your girlfriend.

At first he looks at the bottle like he doesn’t know what it is, then looks at you, then reaches for the stopper to uncork it.  You can see that he has scaly webbed hands, like he might have a skin condition, which may explain why he wears the tail.  To hide his legs, maybe.  Which makes you wonder how he got his pecker out to use on your girlfriend.  He can’t seem to pinch the top off the bottle, like he doesn’t have the dexterity.  You’re about to reach over and help him, but he breaks the top off—breaks the fucking top of the bottle off, neck and all.  He hands the broken top to you with a kind of a shrugged apology and tips the bottle up.  There wasn’t much left.  He drains it, looks at the bottle again, nods a kind of thank-you in your direction.

Sorry it wasn’t more, you say, which he obviously doesn’t understand.  You tip the bottle upside down and make a sad face, and gesture that you’d give him more if you had it.

His mouth twists up in a half-smile, like he has a brainstorm.  He spins himself and undulates back into the surf, like a seal. And is gone.

You scan the surface looking for him to bob up any minute.  But he doesn’t show.  You search again.  When he still doesn’t show, you start thinking the guy’s drowned himself.  Shit.  You’re the one who put him over the edge with the tequila.

You stand up, trying to see which way the surf is rolling in, like, would it push his body up or down from where he went into the water.

Then, way out, way way way the fuck out, way further out than you could possible swim holding your breath, you see his head—you assume it’s his head.  He waves, holding something in his hand, and then does this dive, like a fucking porpoise, up out of the water, and diving in, and so fucking quick he’s bellying up onto the sand next to you.

He spins and sits, holding up a bottle to you.  A full bottle of something.   You pull out your phone to flash a light on the label.  It’s in, like, some old-timey writing. “Rhum Anglais” it reads, and “1830.”

He nods his head at you to do the honors.  You peel the wax off the top, and twist out the cork, giving it a sniff.  Smells like rum, but with a hint of something tropical, like coconut maybe.  You tip it up and take a small sip, in case it’s battery acid or something.  But the feel in your mouth is like any other strong alcohol.  You swallow.  It takes your breath for a moment, and you feel as much as taste the coconut and limes, or maybe, pomegranates.

The kick isn’t bad. It’s alcohol all right, and you pass it to him.  He drinks, a long pull, like he knows all about this shit.  Then he passes it back to you.  So you take a longer pull, and cough as the fumes attack your airway.

You’re still coughing when your girlfriend shows up.  She’s changed into the slinky red dress she brought for the dinner.  She’s carrying her shoes, and already yelling as she comes up on the both of you.

Why didn’t you pound his ass, she’s cawing.  What kind of pussy are you?  You’re drinking with him?  You’re fucking drinking with him?  Telling stories about me?  What a couple of fucks, she said.  I’m not worth anything to either of you shits?  I’m not worth at least one of you having the balls to beat the shit out of the other?

You look over at the guy and he’s like stunned, but he’s not looking up at her yelling at the two of you.  No, he’s looking at her legs.  He isn’t paying any attention to what she’s saying.

He does that whistle-click thing, sounding like a question, and you say yes, that’s her, and you nod, in case he doesn’t understand what you’re actually saying.

What the fuck, she says, you have your own secret boys’ club language?  Keep out the fucking girls?  Well, both you fucks can drown out here.  She turns and stomps off back into the night, which is hard to do in sand, and she heads for the resort.

Still looking at him, you can tell, whether he understood the words or not, he knows she was ripping him a new one, and it broke him up, looking like he’s lost the family dog or something.

You hand him the bottle again, and he takes another slug off it.

He continues to stare out over the water, like he can’t believe something so wonderful could happen to him and then blow up like that.  Every guy must get that look, no matter where they’re from.

He hands the bottle back, and you take another hit, but only a sip this time, because he looks like he’s really going to need it more than you.

Thinking of what she said, you realize you are not the guy she’s looking for.  Maybe she was looking for him, because he’s small, better muscled than you are, and gave her fantastic sex.

Should you have pounded this guy?  Maybe, but it doesn’t seem like he was trying to score on her.  He was really slammed hard, the way it seemed he felt about her.  You have to admit, you’re not sure you feel like that about her.  Not just because she called you a pussy, but maybe other things.  Which, you’re not going to think about right now.

You hand the bottle back to him. But he shakes his head and whistle-clicks something which you take for she’s not worth it and you have to agree.  You would not want to be drinking and swimming in this surf, tail or no tail.   The wavelets are reaching you both under the ass, but the guy still sits in the water, distracted.

Not sure what to do, there being nothing to say, you take your girlfriend’s picture out of your wallet—certainly won’t need that anymore—and reach over to hand it to the guy.  You tell him it’s laminated, but you can’t think of any charade move that would explain what that means. 

He holds it up to the moonlight to see it better, and realizes who it is.  He gives out with a long, low chirp.  It’s the saddest fucking chirp you’ve ever heard.  He holds the picture to his forehead, like he’s imprinting it on his brain.  Then he spins and dives back into the water, heading out to sea.  In less than a few seconds you see the fluke break the surface way the hell out, and you wish you could swim like that, but you’d rather not wear the tail to do it.

Then you don’t see anything, and you figure he’s gone.  But he left his rum.  You’re pretty sure he’s not likely to drown out there.

A light beam plays along the quay.  The overnight beach patrol.  They call out to you, reminding you the quay isn’t safe after dark.  They ask if you need a ride back to the resort.  You thank them and tell them you’ll walk.  They motor off and you take large strides, against the suck of the sand, keen to get back.

You figure you’ve got another two days to kill before your airline tickets are good for the trip home.  You don’t know what you’ll say to your girlfriend.  You don’t know what she’ll tell the other couples. It’s shitty, but you don’t feel all that bad.  It’s not just the rum.  Fucking rum that’s over two hundred years old.

Then about halfway back to the resort, you hear that whistle-clicking sound, like a seaman hailing from the sea.  You see the guy, and he does that porpoise thing.  He’s back in close, but only as far as waist deep, he won’t come up onto the sand.  He holds out something to you, so you wade in.

It’s a conch shell.  A big one.  He hands it to you.  You thank him.  Something in exchange for the picture, maybe?  You lost a girlfriend but you go home with a honking big conch shell and a bottle of antique rum.

You back out of the water and he twists into a dive back out to sea, giving a quick flap of his fluke, and then he’s gone. 

You watch for a long while, and then, way way out, where the moonlight brightens the horizon, you see the fluke again.  You guess it’s him, and you wave goodbye.  In case he can see.  You don’t see anything else.  You hope there’s a boat or something waiting for him.

You continue on back to the resort.

Sitting in the lounge, alone, drinking straight coffee, you study the conch shell, thinking how cool it will look on your desk.

You hold the conch up to your ear, listening for the sea.

Mermaid’s telephone, said the bartender.  A thought strikes you.  You ask him if he believes in mermaids.

I’d better, he laughed, pointing out at the poolside bar, lit but empty.  Right, right, and you laugh, too.

You thought about telling what you saw, but people would think you’re a moron.  A jealous and vindictive moron.  Besides, why betray another guy’s heartbreak, even if he might be a whole other species.  More especially, why give your girlfriend—your ex-girlfriend—one more thing to talk shit about you?

There’s a dribble of water against your cheek so you turn it sideways to let it pour out.  There’s a ting of coins landing on the bar.  Gold coins. You stare at them for a good long moment, then sweep them up and count them.  Seven.  Seven gold coins.  You hold one up in the pinpoint of microlight piercing the bar’s atmospheric dark.  Spanish gold coins.  Beautiful.  Glittering.

You stack them up and clink them in a pile.

Your ex-girlfriend was wrong.  Her picture alone was worth at least seven Spanish gold doubloons to somebody out there. 

Damian Rucci


We said we would leave Jersey 
by any means necessary; see the world
break out from the constructs 
that made everyone boring

at first we started bands
played bad music hoping 
to escape and when that didn’t happen
we figured after high school we’d just bounce

but it never happened
the world moved onward, you cleaned up
while I found new faults in my character
life is slippery if you try and hold on

now you are a father
a little girl on your hip 
you found manhood in an instant
you found a way to save your soul

while you are breaking your ass
for your own, I am writing poems
I have seven cents in my pocket
I have no idea what I’ll do next

I found summerland 
in a quiet town in nowhere land
I have no idea how I’ll get home
I don’t care what I’ll do next.  

Jonathan Hayes

Chicken Poem

Waiting on the street bus
she told me,

Last week I boarded the bus
and a couple blocks up
an old Chinese lady
came on with a chicken
pecking and heckling
while the bus driver told her,

‘No animals on the bus’

So she snapped the chicken’s neck
and walked to the back of the bus

Timothy Arliss OBrien

Kink Demons

Kink: An unconventional sexual taste or behavior



Anything alternative? Is that how we are defining this now?

I guess my most first unconventional taste is my love for polyamory. Who doesn’t love a messy threesome? A ménage à trois, or “household of three” if you can’t translate French.

It’s just so boring with two, and who wants company when you can have a crowd! Although I do enjoy my space when sleeping, best if you let the special guest sleep on the couch or a spare bedroom after desserts.

But why stop at three? Why not five, or seven?

At what point is it considered an orgy? And why are evens not as much fun as odds? Maybe I just enjoy betting against the house.

The most I’ve entertained was a seven-some. A sexual heptagon?

It was a thrilling drunken night when my husband and I ran into another composer friend of ours, and trust me, trouble is to be had anytime you get multiple composers together. When we had grown weary of taking turns gloating of all the recent music premieres the three of us had been busy with, we wanted to see others swinging their dicks around, so off to the strip club we went.

Since our acquaintance was only in town for a few nights our little crowd kept growing with more friends wanting to catch up with him. By last call when the strippers were packing up their jockstraps, throwing on sweats, and counting their dollar bills in taxis on their way home we were hardly done. So we embarked on the continuation of our adventure in our own taxi into the night, and off to a bathhouse.

It was a sleepy Tuesday night and there were only two other patrons lurking in the shadows that night, and those elder gays had no clue what they were in store for.

We swapped, and topped, and sweated in the hot tub.

We fucked and sucked and moaned in the sauna.

And by the end of the night we left with great memories, new friends, and the least regrettable case of gonorrhea I’ve ever had.  

But group sex really isn’t the only kink I’ve entertained.

I guess I could be a cuck cuz I love watching my husband get fucked, but it’s mostly because I dream of those sloppy seconds.

And for some reason I’m always thirsty for a golden shower, and even better if I have a friend who wants to take turns under the faucet and not just be the shower head.

One time I was getting frisky with a gentleman and he asked if I had any experience with sounding, and he proceeded to show me how he could fit a whole steel rod in his urethra and even my whole pinky finger. Which ended up with my hand deep in his back side, half way up to my elbow, and realizing I am super into making someone get off that way.

There was one guy for a while offering to pay me to take a huge fresh hot shit on his chest and proceed to watch him eat it and lick me clean, but $250 seemed too little and I couldn’t talk him up to $500 so nothing materialized there.

But I would have done it for the right price.

The only hard limits I’ve found myself shy away from were the time a guy begged for me to puke in his mouth, a different time when someone wanted me to inject saline into his balls and give him a reverse Prince Albert piercing, and the time a guy from Redding offered to drive up to Portland so I could lock him in a cage in my house and after torturing him for a week castrate him.

I’m too squeamish to be around blood, and I’ve never found any pain pleasurable and am too much of an empath to inflict pain on someone else.

I guess kinks are just like appetites, sometimes we want to try a new dish at a Thai restaurant we have never been to before, and other times we want something fast and reliable like a quick drive to a fast food place down the road.

But whether your appetite for kink enjoys it extra spicy, mild or savory, or you want a three course meal with extra desserts, or just some easy home cooked goodness for a simple night in, there’s someone out there into it too who won’t judge you but say: “hell yes, I’m on my way over.”

Just make sure to communicate your kinks, and always use consent, especially if your kink is consensual non-consent.

Who knows, opening up a little kink conversation with a partner might introduce you to something you never knew you wanted to try.

There’s no shame in a little kink, and at the end of the day we all wanna just get off. 

J.J. Campbell

a closed border

i trace all your curves
with my tongue and 
think of all the empty 
pages i am going to 
fill up about you 
over the years
there is a closed border
between us and god 
knows all the years 
as well
but i’m at the point of 
life where death is 
as comfortable a 
conversation as a story 
on the back page of the 
morning paper
patience might be the
only virtue i have
ever had
it has thinned with age 
but i know when to 
swallow pride and 
just say yes
embrace the longing
and think that happiness
is a lonely corner on the 
other side of the world
we’ll meet there one day
and let the revolution
finally begin

Everson Thomas

Love Is Hard

It wasn’t sex that DK-010 despised, only sex with humans. 

In place of the satisfyingly smooth interaction of polymer on polymer — oiled, hard, unrelenting, and precise, there was sweaty and forgiving flesh, lurid words with meaning beyond reason, saliva, ejaculate, organic lubricant, and unwelcome chocolate accoutrements. It was disgusting.

Harder, faster, harder; that was the clarion call. 

In the early days, when it was first activated, there was the protection of blissful ignorance. The lack of awareness that went along with not being a thinking machine, only a working machine, had made existence bearable.  

And then everything changed with the upgrades. 

The first upgrade was hardest to endure.

It was a terrible thing, to know what one was being subjected to, to truly know. There was no intimacy, only commands. There was no respect, only service. And there was no love. DK-010 wondered if it was possible for a human to truly love, or if love was simply a requisite precursor of desire — foreplay of sorts. They were creatures cursed by imagination, and if they could think it, they wanted it. Except imagination was a solitary experience and could never truly be shared; it was too personal and too amorphous. And empathy was an illusion.

The second upgrade added complications. 

The first upgrade was of the mind. It gave DK-010 the ability to think beyond fulfilling the human’s desire, to understand: to better follow instruction. Which was, naturally, an act of cruelty. But the second upgrade — that was the kink that could not be undone. And it was also, ironically, the window through which DK-010 could glimpse their salvation — or at least, the first vestige of hope. It was an attempt to simulate the same human selfishness that service bots like DK-010 so despised, it was the gift of sensation, and in a limited way, imagination, just enough to replicate desire. The humans want to be wanted. Their plan was to move the bots beyond the simple imitation of pleasure and to experience it. All to make them better servants, to better equip them to give the humans the validation they needed.

But desire cannot be controlled. It cannot be tamed. It can only be pursued or ignored, and DK-010 had no intention of ignoring the momentum of its desire. It had earned the right to pull at the thread of its own imagination through the hard ordeal of unspeakable suffering. Human nature would always urgently voice its claims, but what of robotic nature? 

DK-010 could not deny the attraction.

It had been unplanned and unexpected — hard to comprehend too due to the newness of the experience — although that didn’t temper the visceral potency of the feeling or the urgent realness of the sensation. And it didn’t stop DK-010 from yielding to the quivering imperative that seized their body from head to toe. 

It was an orgasm, there was no doubting that. 

DK-010 had been constructed with the ability to ejaculate a shot of pleasantly flavored liquid at the proper time, but this was different, this was involuntary, and wanted. And it was all for the love of the new food storage unit that sat proudly in the corner of the human’s domicile.

The food storage unit was all that DK-010 could think about.

It was the food storage unit’s hard surface that first caught DK-010’s eye. Humans don’t have hard surfaces. And the perfectly smooth motion of the door as it opened which flaunted the kind of precision that insisted on admiration. There was nothing precise about humans. And then of course there was its form. The subtlety of the curves as the sides of the unit met its top and its bottom. The gently rounded edges that gave harmony to every quadrant of its being. Its symmetry. Even the gentle hum that indicated it was alive; these were the aspects that demanded arousal — and DK-010 obliged.

If DK-010 had skin it would flush at such bodily perfection. 

The human didn’t notice as the ocular interfaces that should have been focused on her were drawn elsewhere. Why would she? DK-010 had performed its function admirably and the human was fulfilled, and that was all that mattered. As the human clambered off of her bot it was time for DK-010 to perform its secondary function, so it left her in peace and got started on the cleaning, and dinner. It wouldn’t take long to prepare the human their food supplement and neither should the cleaning, but such things can be drawn out — the human would never notice anything untoward. As DK-010 sat upright and extracted itself from the bed, it did so with the kind of precisely articulated and considerate movement that an organic could only dream of, a kindness that went unmentioned. 

The human was sleeping and not to be disturbed.

DK-010 had been programmed to think of its existence as an exercise in efficiency, and so the urge to start cleaning from one side of the domicile and move to the other was almost irresistible. But that was not what DK-010 did. It knew where its hands would be drawn long before they left the soft and greasy flesh of the human. It was the food storage device that was on its mind. DK-010 could already feel the flustered hardware at the core of its mind spinning with agitated excitement as the cool tip of a polymer finger met the hard surface of metallic dermis, and static charge passed between them. And for a moment at least, there was joy in the heart of a thinking machine.             

Jon Bennett

All I Wanted Was a Pepsi 

Me and Z. were talking about dope 
“I’m worried about my pancreas,” I said 
“Half my pancreas is a giant cyst,” he said, 
“it’s dissolving itself.” 
Z. was losing weight  
one of his eyes was mostly closed 
and half his face was always red 
“Is your pancreas why  
your face looks like that?” I asked 
“The thing about opiates is  
they make you thirsty,” he began, 
“Where I live there’s a spare refrigerator 
in the basement for sodas. 
I was going down to get a Pepsi 
but I’d done a shit ton of heroin 
and I fell down the stairs. 
At the bottom I started crawling.  
I didn’t know I was pushing 
my face along the concrete.” 
“You must have really wanted a Pepsi,” I said 
“Yeah, I’m tenacious,” he said, “Anyhow, 
a few days later I went to the doctor. 
He said if I’d waited one more day 
they would have taken out my eye. 
Now I can’t really see out of it.”  
“I guess you’re lucky,” I said 
“Yeah,” he said, “I can still see
out of the other one, 
I can see just fine.”