Joseph Farley

The Seat of Power

I have done my business on the same toilet as the president. Not at the same time, but my tour guide has assured me I used the same stall as the president did when his motorcade stopped in our small town so he could relieve himself. There is placard on the wall of our town hall commemorating the impromptu visit.

According to my guide, the president spent a long time in the stall and had to work hard to accomplish his task, thus setting an example for all of us. As protocol on such occasions required, the mayor personally handed an extra roll of toilet paper to the president under the door of the stall when he needed seconds. Of course security had to inspect the paper before the mayor could pass it along. This nervous pause caused the mayor, who was also our chief grocer, to sweat profusely. He later confessed to fearing that the rough paper he had acquired in bulk from an overseas supplier might be too rough for the presidential rear. Despite his concerns, the paper was approved and the president made no comment about it except the utterance of a slightly louder grunt while wiping than and he had emitted while using the initial roll. The remainder of that second roll, once touched by the presidential hands is now enshrined in our town museum along with the powder horns of the feuding brothers who first settled the area over three centuries ago.

When his work was done, the president resisted shaking the outstretched hands of well wishers until he had thoroughly scrubbed his own hands, thus driving home to all his commitment to public health. Once his hands were dry, however, there were plenty of grins and handshakes to go around. My guide was one of the lucky ones to be in or near the receiving line. He had come to the town hall to renew the license for his dog, and thanks to providence had seen the president when he came in, waved and headed to the men’s room. My guide had hung around in awe until after that fateful flush, and had been able to press the flesh with a figure still loved and respected by millions. After the motorcade departed, the mayor and council quickly decided to capitalize on this extraordinary event that transpired in our village of 750 souls. A commemorative plaque was ordered, and reference to the event was placed in the town website under the tab for “Tourist Attractions.”

You cannot imagine the pride I feel to have placed my butt so close to history. I have not dared to wash it since I sat upon that throne. My wife has chastised me about this, claiming I will get ill. She has said she will not touch me until I wash. I have scolded her for her lack of patriotism. I have also reminded her that, after forty three years of marriage, she never wants to touch me anyway. I got her there. I watched her sour face trying to find a way around my logic. She could not. I watched her frustration build until she shouted, “Well, I won’t cook for you then until you wash your arse.”

My wife has dug in her heels. So have I. I have been living on take out for the better part of the last two weeks. Still, I know she will win in the end. I must wash eventually. Before I do so I will take a photo of my posterior for posterity, something for my great grandchildren to look at. It will be a keepsake to remind them just how close I once came to the seat of power.

John D Robinson

Everywhere

For several moments afterwards
as we lay satisfied, listening to
our deep breathing and to the
dull hum of passing traffic
going everywhere and nowhere,
she said: ‘You certainly
weren’t the first and you
certainly won’t be the last,
but I’ll always remember you’
‘Thanks’ I said:
she was gone before I awoke:
a one-nighter, not even
knowing each other’s names:
she was slim, petite, pretty,
short brown hair, hazel eyes,
small soft hands and she
has a smile, so natural, so
real, true,
that’s what I remember of
her: these 30 years later,
she’d be 60 or so now,
she may be dead, she may
not be and I don’t care,
we were strangers,
then, now, forever,
she’s with me tonight
though, in heaven or hell,
it doesn’t matter,
it’s just the being together
somehow
that counts.

Alan Catlin

The Transfusion

If she had been
a fictional character
she would have
been Sally Bowles,
her soul sucked dry
by vampires of amour,
her spirits restored
by a raided medicine
chest of uppers, downers,
in betweeners popped
on shifts, before and
after, sucked down
with chilled thermos
cups of imported vodkas
and a masking colored
juice, a queen’s ransom
of alcohol and drugs
ingested every day
of her life even with
the nursing license
on the line, “You don’t
understand what its
like,” She says, “After
that plane crash when
I was a student nurse
trying to administer
aid to the dead and
dying on the scene,
body parts everywhere,
that belonged to no one,
living a nightmare that
never ends so that, now,
whenever I hear a siren
I want to scream.”
So they give her duty
in ER, vacant eyes locked
in a perpetual thousand
yard stare, moving among
the injured wearing a
cloak of doom, a wired
free agent doing field work
for a Master’s Degree in Death.

Matthew Licht

Lube Job

The operator sounded much too cheerful. “P.J. Factory! How may I direct your call?”

Mick Stiff nearly hung up on her. He was looking for regular employment, willing to try a different line of work, but he wasn’t ready to hit an assembly line, especially not in a sweatshop that produced pyjamas. Mick was more the sleep-in-your-undershirt type. But the guy who’d told him to call didn’t sound like he was offering a clock-punch Joe Lunchpail type of job. The guy had stars in his eyes. Mick held the line.

“How soon can you get over here?” It was the guy.

Mick was used to being asked how many inches he had, or if he ever had a problem getting wood. This was refreshing. He got the address and made it over to the P.J. Factory in under an hour.

“Thing is,” the guy said, “most guys don’t even wanna look at their old ladies after they’ve delivered. But that’s where you come in, baby. I saw your loop–the fuck was it called–Milkin’ Mamas. You were brilliant.”

“Thanks.” Mick Stiff shuddered. He’d shot that lactation stroker under severe economic duress.

“You’re a natural, kid. Most men never realize that milkers are the richest source of the most precious substance on Earth.”

“Yeah? You can get crude oil from ‘em?”

“No, you…well, actually, sorta…kid. Sorta. I’m talking about pussy juice.”

“Huh?”

“That’s our motto: We got a use for pussy juice.”

“Uh, OK, but what’s this job you were telling me about?”

“Well, that’s our other motto: We milk it out of ‘em!”

“Milk out of ‘em…what?”

“Why, the pussy juice, you…Look, I’m gonna give you a shot. Ready to work hard?”

“Working hard’s never been a problem, mister, but I still don’t…”

“Maybe it’s better if I show you, kid. Let’s hit the production floor.”

***

The P.J. plant didn’t look like the usual factory. Mick Stiff’s first glimpse of industry was what sent him screaming into the porn biz. But the porn biz had changed. There was too much competition. Stud fees had sunk to laughable levels, but there was no shortage of young guys who wanted a spot on the wet screen. The PJ Factory looked soft. The light was low, the heat was on high, New Age muzak oozed from concealed speakers. There were nude women spread all over the place, leafing through magazines. They looked as though they’d been run through a stretching, softening machine. The P.J. Factory boss saw how Mick stared at them.

“Big tits, that’s our motto!”

“You sure got a lot of mottoes here, Mr…”

“You wanna be a wise-ass, kid? Or do you wanna milk pussy juice?”

“Show me what I’m supposed to do.”

“The job’s a hands-on affair.” The boss grabbed a soft blonde and gave her ass a swat. “Right, toots: assume the position. You’ll be working with Nick, here.”

“Mick. Mick Stiff.”

She didn’t bat an eyelash. She’d never heard of Mick Stiff. She got on her hands and knees on a padded coffee-table, spread wide and looked back over her shoulder at Mick. Her nipples leaked. “Ready when you are, gorgeous,” she said, in a husky voice. “Shouldn’t take me long.”

The signs of recent motherhood were all there. Mick tried to put the traumatic images out of his head: the blood, the smell, the screams. The big blonde swayed her hips. Mick dropped his pants, grabbed her ass and discreetly drooled down her crack. “Courtesy lube” is the professional term.

“Uh-unh, kid. You got the wrong idea. You’re starting off at the wrong end. Remember our motto: We milk it out of ‘em!”

Mick Stiff shuddered again, but his co-star didn’t notice. He moved around to her front end. She lunged, hoovered him in. He breathed on his hands, rubbed them together. “Courtesy palm prep”. Slowly, gently, he milked her.

Jets of cream spurted into a hole in the milking table. There was a barnyard sound as the fluid hit the metal container.

“That’s the way to work her, kid! What’d I say? You’re a natural. Keep goin’ while I get the Extractor.”

Mick kneaded her nipples, squeezed them down and closed them off the way he’d watched his Uncle Olaf do on the farm in Wisconsin. She squirmed, bucked her hips. Mick had been in the porn biz long enough to sense an impending gusher.

There was a squelching sound.

“Yah! Just in the nick of time!”

The blonde groaned and took Mick deep into her throat. He kept on milking.

The liquid spurted. Mick couldn’t believe she wasn’t pissing. He looked at The Extractor: a black rubber accordion hose that ran into an atomic vacuum cleaner. The hose was attached to the blonde with a suction cup. Lights blinked and needles jerked with sounds from a doomsday pinball machine.

“Whoa, stud. You got her going full throttle in no time flat. But here’s where we separate the men from the boys. Now, you do her tits.”

Mick withdrew. No need for further courtesy lube. He mounted her cleavage and got to work.

“Wuh!” she said. “Wuh-uh-uh!”

“Easy, girl.”

“Wuh! Wuh-huh-huh-uh! Nnnnngh—GOD!”

The Extractor blew like an air raid siren. Machine and lactating female went Woop! Woop! Woop!

“Kid! You filled the tank! With one milker!”

The other nude women on the production floor drifted over to see what Mick Stiff was doing to their colleague.

“Don’t crowd him,” the boss said. “Everyone gets a turn. We’re gonna run double shifts, if the new kid’s up to it. How you doin’ there, by the way, Rick?”

“That’s Mick. And I’m doing fine. Ready for another, if you think this one’s had enough. I can handle two, if it’s not against company policy.”

“Mick…Mick! Where you been all my life?”

After brief two-way preliminaries, Mick arranged the milkers belly-to-belly on the Extractor Table and worked them hard.

“You’re a genius, kid! You’re the fucking Mozart of milk! You are the Marcel Proust of pussy juice!”

“Boss, I’m gonna shoot. Can’t hold off much longer.”

“Go ahead, boy. Girls, get in there and help my new partner cum, for chrissakes!”

Mick Stiff vanished in a pink cloud.

***

The P.J. Factory’s executive lounge was a pair of stained recliners near a fridge that contained several six-packs of beer. A black-and-white TV showed an ice hockey game with the sound off. The silence bothered Mick.

“Uh, whuddaya do with all that pussy juice, boss?”

“What do I do with the pussy juice? What…why you…what the fuck do you care what I do with it?”

J.J. Campbell

the inevitable march to the end

another cold
night alone

finishing off
a bottle of
brandy

thinking of
the old flames
that surely have
forgotten about
you

it’s not a fear
of dying alone

it’s the inevitable
march to the end

the tragic nature
of a talent never
fulfilled

the constant
knowing that
no one has
ever taken
the time to
love you

it’s not that
easy to sum
it all up in
a little note

Thumper Devotchka

It’s really fucking hot

Outside and not between us.
Imagine if I was drunk right now?
Alone with the vast awareness of self.

My true one.
Nice to see you.
Kind of.
Not really.

This is exactly why I drank.
I’m all I have.
In the end,
no one will entertain me.
I’m the beast I’ve been hunting from day one.
Got ya.

The jig is up.
The spotlights on.

There’s no sounds left but the fan,
oscillating awkwardly around the room.

My true self. Did I mean to get here?
Was I always destined to get what I deserved?
Me. Nothing else.

An eternity of silence.
Quiet moments in which I disappear and show up,
over and over again until the light goes out.

Was there ever a purpose?
For any of us?

It’s the funniest joke I’ve ever heard.
The one I’m telling.
Right.
Now.

I put ice cubes around the cat to cool her down.
Feed her a mountain of biscuits because I can’t feed myself.

I’ve been suspended in time for a long time.
Haven’t I?

I’m home safe but don’t tell anyone.
My heart is a stupid, useless toy.

I’m sick of playing so I delete my memories
to chase an honesty this world is yet to know.

Can you hear me?
My mind is full of other people’s thoughts.

We are all terrifying and angry and broken.
Chomping at the bit to get a bit of love.

Never have I ever felt so ordinary
nor did I notice the state of our affairs.

If you look outside you’ll see a world on fire.
If you look inside you’ll get the same effect.

The whole thing is a mirror. An accident.
Flawed from the beginning. Flawed until the end.

I tell myself I’ll make a difference
because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother.
The whole show is something I could miss.

God is a structure designed to spare us this feeling.
The dangerous knowing. None of this is real.
None of us are anything or everything.

Don’t say I told you so.

When I wake up, they’ll be nothing left but ash.
An eternal branding, a flag stuck just to say that we were here.

Left to my own devices I’m divisive.
I tunnel underground for preservation and smile at you blankly.
Say the right words to mimic a response.

“It’s really fucking hot.”

So what?

Anthony Dirk Ray

New Orleans Pride

it was a long Labor Day weekend
although weekends never feel long
I took a few days off in
preparation for said weekend
that Wednesday I hurt my knee bad
so I hobbled with every step
fucking great, I thought
I’m going to have to do
a lot of walking this weekend
Thursday
I took the dog to the vet
I watched as my dog took shots
like a champion
a cute blonde with a lip piercing
and tight scrubs hugged my dog tight
and let him lick her in the mouth
as the doctor shot him up with drugs
and inserted a long cylindrical tube
into his anus for a fecal test
this lucky bastard, I thought
tests were negative
the dog healthy
I emptied my wallet and
we went on our way
Friday
the wife and I left for Ocean Springs
ate great barbecue
drank good bourbon and soaked
in a large tub by the bed
the next day we went to an
art walk where I purchased
an original piece from a hipster
I won’t hold that against him
because his work is amazing
we then headed for Biloxi
we gambled a little
ate a lot
and saw the comedian
we were there to see
I had strong drinks from the bar
and weak drinks at the slots
I ran into a coworker who was
feeding machines with hundred after hundred
“push it” he told me
“maybe you’re lucky”
I wasn’t
I never am
Sunday
we drove to New Orleans
as we were getting off on our exit
I turned to my wife and said
“I just remembered, it’s pride weekend”
we made our way toward the hotel bar
rumors have it that Bukowski stayed
there when he was in his twenties
we found a spot on the street to park
less than a block away
we entered the bar and ordered drinks
as we drank we watched
girls and guys walk by with wings attached
dressed in wigs, dresses or much less
I ordered another round and
we decided to take a walk
I fired up a cigar as we walked
I knew what they were probably thinking
me sucking on a long brown stick
many males and females in thongs
and jockstraps
chest harnesses abound
no problems among thousands of people
everyone was so festive and joyous
dancing, laughing, and singing
it’s then I realized how they
probably got their title
I was proud of New Orleans once again

John D Robinson

She Is Beautiful

My face just a few inches
from her pussy, her legs
spread wide,
she is beautiful.
and I watch as she
masturbates and
climaxes:
daylight is shutting
down as her
murmurs of pleasure
vastness and people
will begin to make ready
for the evening:
she softly quietens
and lays still as I
move and wrap my
arms around her as
my neighbours close
their curtains and
lock their doors,
shutting out the
world:
she is beautiful,
the street-lighting
sprinkles into being
and small garden
birds are now silent
as she brings me
between the moment
of life and death.

Matthew Licht

Zoo Tail

Her ass said, follow me. The way she walked, loosely translated from body language, said, look at my ass. The message was: look at my ass and follow me.

She headed towards the zoo.

This seemed an oddball destination for a woman dressed to hook. Hook up, I mean. Maybe with a friendly guy who doesn’t spend sunny afternoons in an office or shop. She spotted the tail immediately. I’m no private detective. She didn’t make a fuss or call the cops. She looked back to make sure I was still there behind her.

The zoo’s a good place to go because it’s free. Zoo management did some market research, and discovered the admission charge discouraged attendance. The free zoo became a popular attraction. Zookeepers made up for lost ticket sales with a popcorn stand. People stand in line to buy paper boxes of cloud-shaped kernels to feed the monkeys.

The lady with the wonderful behind sashayed through the wrought-iron gate. A zookeeper in a cop-like uniform said a big hello.

She was apparently a regular, well-known to the keepers and the sweepers who follow the elephants around. She’s on a first-name basis with the giraffes, zebras, warthogs and giant anteaters.

A hand-painted sign said, Monkey Island. A green arrow pointed left. She stopped and pretended to study the sign. She looked back.

Modern life means less and less contact with animals. Less genuine contact with other people too, even though we’re smashed closer and closer together, more and more of us every day. But those of us not confined to office space-and-time are free to go outside for fresh air, sunshine and a glimpse of caged nature. I hadn’t been to the zoo for ages.

Monkey Island isn’t a natural geographical phenomenon. Zoo architects dreamed up concrete poured into the shape of a tropical paradise. Just like the ones the general public saw on television while they were growing up, except no palm trees, no beach. Monkey Island is an island only because of its gray, garbage-strewn moat. People throw popcorn at the monkeys. Monkeys love popcorn. They wolf down as much popcorn as they can get their mitts on. But some popcorn inevitably ends up in the listless sludge that surrounds their artifical habitat. Kids in particular are not such amazing popcorn-tossers.

The woman didn’t stop at the popcorn stand. Either she had no dough to blow on frivolous fripperies like feeding monkeys, or else she thought it cruel to make imprisoned creatures turn somersaults for insubstantial snacks. She went to the wrought-iron railing that surrounds the water that surrounds Monkey Island and separates visitors from the resident apes, and leaned over.

Her rear curves were accentuated by how far she leaned.  Man oh man those lucky monkeys got one hell of a cleavage peep.

Perfecto. Time to sidle up, lean casually against the fence and say, ‘scuse me, Miss, but these monkeys sure are fascinating creatures. Sometimes when I watch monkeys I can’t help but think maybe them and us aren’t so different after all. Except the poor monkeys are stuck in a cage and we, for the time being at least, are pretty much free to move around and do as we please.

Then, if fate will have it, a pair of baboons will start humping. She’ll get the idea. Carnal blossoms will expand and unfold. In one of our formerly lonely bedrooms, or in a public toilet stall at the zoo.

She swayed back and forth against the railing, teetered on the brink between the world of people, captive ape territory and dirty water. The watery barrier reflected an upside-down face, a bosom about to spill from a clingy blouse and clouds. On the opposite shore, a pink-ass macaque daintily drank and shot a monkey moon at another monkey with a hard-on.

He was the biggest ape on Monkey Island, some kind of monster gorilla or mandrill, and he was looking at my lady.

He wasn’t exactly handsome, not even for an orangutan. Looked like the zoo barber had taken a defective razor to his pelt. His fur was thin, clumpy, tufted, in patches. He either suffered from simian skin disease, ape-zema, or else stir-craziness had gone psychosomatic on his all-over ape hairdo.

My fantasy girlfriend wasn’t offended by the balding animal’s behavior. Neither was she amused. Most people would go hurh-hurh check it out the freaky chimp’s pullin’ his banana. Then they’d wander off to gawk at the demon-faced hyena. My lady stayed put, bent over, waved her caboose like a cat, and stared.

The colossal howler monkey or lemur or whatever he was stared right back at the lady who was watching him beat his meat. No way to tell if he was just feeling good because the sun was shining warm and pleasant, or if he was excited because she showed up and leaned over. A feeling hit that this was a regular thing for the lady and the monkey. They were engaged in the only kind of date they could legally have, but someone had intruded on their illusion of privacy.

So I didn’t try to start up a conversation with her. Maybe I should’ve. She might’ve snapped out of her trance and come along for some human-to-human intercourse. Or she might’ve told me to get lost and that would’ve been the end.

Another feeling took over. This was something secret, forbidden, hot. The monkey component of my brain said, expose yourself and behave like the confined primate. But you can get locked up for indecent acts in public. There are kids at the zoo, most days. Kids shouldn’t have to see stuff like that.

Field day giggles galore arise from kids who watching a chimp slam the ham.

Ham was the first chimp to be blasted off into Outer Space. Black and white newspaper pix of a monkey in a space suit. He gave a toothy grin or snarled for the camera, but man did his eyes ever look sad.

Teacher, teacher, what’s the monkey doing? More snickers as the embarrassed schoolmarm hustles the punks along to gawp at the rhinoceros. The rhino takes a gushing leak on his bed of straw. Shit-eating scavenger birds scatter, and fly away because they’re free.

If the lady had noticed that a stranger stared, she gave no sign of it. The chimp shot an annoyed smirk, or as close as a monkey’s mug can get to one, and yanked harder. Then he stopped. Watery semen spurted and splatted on cement. Another caged creature, perhaps a female baboon, ambled over on all fours, stuck a finger into the milky puddle, sniffed, tasted, shuffled away to snuffle up a kernel of popcorn someone who hadn’t stopped to watch the monkey show had thrown.

The lady stared at the gorilla or orangutan and wiggled faster, bucked her hips. The monkey kept his eye on me. There, is that what you wanted to see? Will that do, for today?

The monkey won the staring contest, hands down. When I looked over, the lady was gone. She’d walked away and I missed her part of the show.

At least there was no admission charge.

The guy in charge of the zoo’s popcorn concession didn’t even look up when I paid for the smallest cardboard box of popcorn on offer. Big deal, another cheapo customer. First thing you learn in the Big City is don’t make eye contact. He played by the rules.

Zoo etiquette is you feed the monkeys one fluffy kernel at a time. Bond with a lower form of life. Feed the monkeys as though you were their lord and master. Make urbane comments on their antics. Instead, I winged the box at the jack-off monkey’s head. Either I missed or he ducked like lightning. Popcorn exploded all over a section of Monkey Island’s cement floor and started a furry feeding frenzy. The spent ape folded his arms over a patch of leathery chest and closed his black eyelids. For him, the rest of the world was gone.

It’s possible the sexy lady went back to the zoo the next day for another date with her monkey. True-life stories abound about desirable women who fix their love and souls on prison lifers, Death Row losers. They waste their lives in trailers parked just outside prison grounds. They live for full-contact visiting hours.

No more zoo trips for me.

But I learned something. The difference between monkeys and apes is that apes don’t have tails. I don’t have a tail. So maybe I’m an ape. An ape who tails weirdoes, unless they’re headed to the zoo.