“Alcoholic’s Almanac”

A music video from writer/director Pablo D’Stair

Lyrics/Guitar/Vocals: Scott Laudati
Bass: Brain Weakly
Drums: Travis Scelia

Starring: Sebastien Giles D’Stair

Director-of-Photography: Paul VanBrocklin
Edited by Emmanuella Scott

Produced by Denver Gregories and Lisette Goines

Written and Directed by Pablo D’Stair



Andrea Jane Kato

Death Joke

And then she collapsed like a star. And then
he collapsed like twelve stars. And then she

was reborn as a mermaid. And then he transformed
into gases and rose into the atmosphere and reached

out toward black oblivion as if it were his wife
and he was seeing her for the last time. And after

her scales sparkled and she drowned, she dissolved
into the water and then evaporated into the clouds.

And then he remembered things in bright bursts like
the black stitches across his face like little railroads

the large box of oranges he threw at the girl running
away, small puddles of ice cream everywhere. And when

the sunlight struck her, burning through her wetness,
she spent days dying on repeat and then coming back to life.

And then he became scared of these memories
and drifted off to sleep. And then when

she came back from her multiple deaths,
she clawed onto a place in a dream with

luscious green everywhere, lovely rivers
running, five-story watermelons to run

in circles around. And in his sleep
he saw many pretty girls and these

many pretty girls danced for him,
like majestic trees swaying but then

all stop to vomit gold and jewels,
everything becomes like a kaleidoscope,

and he dies and goes to Heaven. And then
she got a chainsaw and carved a cave

into the watermelon to climb into and some
of the pink-red innards collapse and she

dies and goes to Heaven. And when in Heaven
he starts to sing like he never knew he could.

He starts to dance like gravity does not exist.
He starts to feel a boundless love for everything

that he has never felt comfortable with before.
And there, in heaven with watermelon juice still

fresh and sticky all over her, she is overwhelmed
and starts to sob. And there in Heaven she gets

sent elsewhere and she realizes that her existence
will consist of falling from the sky, puddling, and

evaporation, forever, doomed to be eternal rain.
And there, in Heaven, he realizes he is not in Heaven at all,

he is at a rave.

John Gartland

The Eye

Man, I’m an ex-Private Eye, I can strike a cool pose
while listening to others’ production-line prose,
self-published wunderkinds who believe their own hype,
burned-out actors on valium bogarting the mic,
tales of drug-hauls and bar girls and crooked police,
and hard-drinking dicks who’ve adopted the east.
Look! I‘m old-school detective, I’ve seen the whole bag,
Spillane-heads, in trench coats, Dash Hammett in drag.
Just a crime-writers’ gig, at the Mambo hotel,
but outside it’s for real, and they’re guilty as hell.

It’s a crime-writers’ gig, at the Mambo hotel,
where whorehounds had partied for fifty odd years.
But life, like a crime scene’s not all it appears;
the old cathouse is cabaret, now; it’s a fact,
and, under new management, the riskiest act,
would be squeezing the original mama san’s hand,
which once, like the anthem, could make a room stand,
and left a broad smile on the girls in the band,
at the Mambo Hotel.

Two floors of short-time ghosts,
a locked-up beauty shop, and dust;
now pulp writers rap about crime here,
and must shoot the fictional breeze on stage.
But, as the Eye on the case, I’ll cut to the chase,
the major heist is on the street,
and there’s fresh blood on the page.

Bent judges and psychopaths, hustlers and has-beens,
professional liars, Bangkok is a crime scene.
Hey, I was an Eye, wrestled crime for a living,
and still have a hunch for who’s making a killing.
The patriots and flag sniffers, feeling the force,
play patsy for billionaires, hit men, and punks,
they’ve closed down the city and cheered themselves hoarse,
till the tourists and hookers are packing their trunks.
Man, the hacks know the issue, but no one dares say;
destabilization is sent from upstairs,
since they can’t get joe public to vote the right way.
More generals than doormen, tear-gas everywhere,
there’s gold braid enough here to carpet a whorehouse,
gridlock on the streets, and a coup in the air.

Look, I’m just an Eye, with an odd tale to tell,
at a pulp writers’ gig at the Mambo Hotel.
But, outside? It’s for real, pal.
They’re guilty as hell.
You’d better believe it, they’re guilty as hell.

Zoltan Komor


The teenaged boy sneaks into his room and closes the door excitedly. From under his pillow, he pulls out the porn magazine he found last week in the attic.

To his surprise, when he opens it, only blank pages yawn back at him. And soon, he hear the sounds of moaning coming from under his bed. Looking down, he discovers the tiny porn stars – miniature, naked people having sex on the floor everywhere, in all kind of positions.

The boy panics. If his parents find out, he’s fucked.

So he gets a pickle jar and tries to collect the small muscular men and silicone-breasted women inside it. He manages to capture a few, but the others are too fast: a couple in the missionary position gets up and runs away on four arms and four legs, just like a spider, crawling up the wall and disappearing into a crack.

It’s all just a bad dream, decides the boy, and he goes to sleep.

In the morning, waking up, he finds a tiny woman kneeling on the bridge of his nose, smiling for an invisible camera, while an equally tiny dude stands before her jerking his cum onto her face.

The boy sweeps them off and jumps out of bed. He finds that the spider couple has spun a jelly-like web of their juices, squirming now with flies caught overnight. The couple swoops down on a shiny sperm-string and begins to feast upon them, their filmy little wings cracking between perfect, white teeth. The boy looks away in disgust, his gaze drawn to a woman on his night-stand. Her body lays draped across the digital alarm clock, moaning, sliding a dildo between her legs.

The boy steps closer, and a word, like a heavy stone, comes falling from of his mouth: “Mom?”

It’s really her, but she’s much younger. The boy grabs up the porn magazine, searching for a date, finally realizing that it’s nearly twenty years old. And the woman looks just like his mother did back then.

His stomach churns. Snatching up a hankie, he attempts to cover up his mother’s tiny naked body, but she immediately crawls out from underneath of it. Down on all fours, she smiles and winks at him over her shoulder, sliding that teeny-tiny little dildo into her tiny little ass.

“Now what?” the boy sighs, just before a voice from downstairs calls, “Breakfast is ready!”


“Good morning, hun!” says his smiling mother, standing over a pot of cooking oil. “What’s the matter? You look worn-out. Haven’t you slept well?”

The boy simply cannot face her. He mutters something unintelligible, gazing at the empty white plate in front of him. Moments later, a serving fork enters his field of view, a ten-inch fried black fly impaled upon its tines. It falls onto his plate.

Looking at its fried legs facing skywards, the boy pushes his plate away, saying:

“Can I eat it later? I’m not really hungry right now.”

His mother doesn’t answer, she just stands there and frowns. When the boy runs out of the kitchen, back to his room, she yells after him: “What’s wrong? Are you sick?”

“I’m fine!” the boy yells back, trying not to vomit as he witnesses his tiny porn star mother sucking onthe very dildo she’d just pulled out of her ass.


The boy decides that, some way or another, he will rid himself of the tiny porn stars. Taking an empty shoe box, some string, and a used hanky from under his bed, he rigs them all together in the middle of the room. Soon enough, the tiny porn stars are crawling out from their hiding places to investigate. Sniffing the air, they gather around the soiled hanky with looks of hunger on their tiny faces.

Once all of them have gathered around the hanky, collectively munching on his old, dried semen, the boy drops the shoebox on them, capturing the little intruders in one fell swoop.

“Gotcha!” he laughs, taking the box in hand.

Cracking the lid just wide enough to reach inside, he randomly pulls out a barely legal, redheaded girl with fake tits. Then, slapping her with a piece of cellophane tape, he sticks her back onto one of the blank pages of the magazine. He pulls out another tiny porn star and repeats the process.

A few minutes and half a roll of tape later, the entire magazine has been populated with porn stars once again. The boy looks away with shame on his face, however, seeing that in his hurry, he accidentally taped over some of their faces. He cannot bring himself to watch them squirm, suffocating as they slowly stiffen and die.

By this point, the only tiny porn star left in the shoebox is his mother. The boy looks down at her, then back at the magazine with tears in his eyes.

“Why haven’t you ever told me?” he asks, but she doesn’t pay any attention to him; she just moans as she starts fisting herself.

The boy closes the magazine with a sigh, pushing it back under his pillow where it belongs. He’ll throw it out, he decides, but first, he must take care of his mom. But what can he do with her? He can’t just tape back her into the magazine with all the rest. And yet he can’t just set her free either; he would die of shame if someone saw his mom like this. He could always keep her, in a cage or a terrarium of sorts, but then he’d have to face his mother’s tiny, naked, porn star antics for the rest of her natural days.

Holding the shoebox before him, he slowly walks out of the room.

“I’m sorry, mother…” he whispers, holding her over the toilet. The tiny woman doesn’t seem to acknowledge him, riding her climax to a faraway place with the help of her tiny vibrator.

She falls into the water with a splash, and the vortex spins and pulls her down.

Stephen McQuiggan

Charlie’s Chunky Munching Meat


Charlie rolled the word around his mouth like a hot chip but could not bring himself to utter it. He looked around the drab confines of his cell and tried to take it all in, but he would have a lifetime to do that and there really wasn’t that much to see. He prayed for his sister’s visit, checking his watch constantly, but time crawled by more slowly now he was aware of it. Charlie had lots of time; he had been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and all because of a Spam sandwich.

When some men take alcohol they turn into wife-beaters. When some men take drugs they turn into thieves. When Charlie Walls took a Spam sandwich he turned into a pair of panties; one slice of the sickly pink meat was sufficient to transform him into the nearest female’s undergarments, and in that form he would stay until she deigned to remove them.

It hadn’t always been this way.

He could remember childhood picnics, fighting off ants and aunts from the sandwiches, wolfing down Spam with youthful gluttonous abandon and remaining the fat little boy he awoke as. Countless weddings of poor relations where Spam was compulsory fare and he had scoffed it all through the reception between rivers of cheap German beer, and nothing untoward had happened to make the bride blush further.

But one day as he sat working late in the office, swamped by the accounts of wealthier and happier men, he nibbled errantly at a Spam and lettuce on rye and found himself wrapped inexplicably around the hips of big Donna, the office slut.

Donna, like most fat people, was a stranger to the concept of personal hygiene, and it was over a week later before Charlie found himself stuffed inside her laundry basket. He climbed unseen from her bathroom window that night, putting his misadventure down to sleepwalking. For the next few days he suffered from vivid uncanny nightmares where he tottered perilously on the edge of a vast and hair-strewn canyon.

He explained away his absence from work by feigning illness, and his colleagues were quick to comment on how pale and drawn he still looked. By the time Donna arrived in late, hitching at her skirt and announcing that her panties were simply eating her, they wondered if perhaps they should call a doctor for him.

He took some time off instead, visiting his mother to placate her habitual animosity toward his bachelor status and to save his phone from melting from all the visceral pleas she poured upon it like boiling oil every other night.

She asked politely, as is a mother’s way, of his job (are) and his flat (you) and his plants (seeing) and his friends (anyone) and was he eating enough? He looked rather thin, and did you know primrose oil would clear up that spot malarkey on your nose in a trice? A million inane, inept questions that were the vanguard for the great assault (When are you going to get married and give me grandchildren you selfish little bastard?) that was always left unsaid.

Charlie didn’t mind the head games. All in all he was genuinely pleased to see the old girl; it was nice to be made a fuss of, and she was still the best damn cook a man could wish for. A few years away from home, living on a steady diet of microwave noodles and boil in the bag curries had left him with the physical attributes usually reserved for people on Oxfam posters.

A dream of roast potatoes had lured him here, of chicken and sprouts and mum’s homemade gravy, and perhaps a sherry trifle for afters, but with one wayward slip of the tongue he lost all hope of those culinary delights.

When asked what his immediate plans were he had replied without thinking, ‘Oh, the usual, pissing the weekend up the wall.’ He noticed his mother’s stern set of jaw too late to turn back; mother didn’t like smutty words, and ‘pissing’ was smutty bordering on filthy in her well-thumbed book.

She stormed off into the kitchen to whip up two rounds of spam and tomato (a double act in the same vein as Hitler and Himmler) and brought them to him with a look that said, ‘If I wasn’t worried about breaking one of my good plates I’d thump you up the snot-box with this’.

She went back into the kitchen to wash up some of the crockery she seemed to keep perpetually dirty in anticipation of family upheaval; he could hear her clanking the plates together, spelling out ‘piss indeed’ in Morse code, and sighing to herself in the confines of her lino martyrdom. Charlie ate the sandwiches as quickly as he could. The last thing he needed was the ‘people starving in Biafra’ lecture which would surely get an airing at the waste of so much as a crumb.

Charlie wasn’t sure where Biafra was, or if it even still existed, but to his mother it was synonymous with hunger; if a child from Calais appeared on the news looking a little on the thin side, then Biafra would be a stone’s throw from Dover.

But before he had time to chew his crusts he found himself wrapped around the loins of his origin. He felt his mother pluck him hastily from between her butt cheeks (smutty place!) and issue a little sigh.

It was a dreadful experience and one that left Charlie frantically trying to recall if his mother ever did have that bowel operation, the one she said would tighten her stool. Even if the smell was familiar and strangely comforting, he could not wait to be free; it was one thing to be close to your mother, but…

He finally came to in her muddy back garden, clothes pegs still attached to his shoulders. Finding him in such a state, nude in a mess of her washing, she could only assume he’d made good on his threat of getting pissed the night before. With how suddenly he’d vanished from her parlour, just like his no good drunk of a father, she hadn’t even had time to tell him about the lovely clean girl who’d just moved in next door, and how single she appeared to be.

He fled before she could vent the full force of her Christian spleen upon him. He had more than a few things to think about, but a life of tea totalitarianism was definitely not one of them. As obnoxious as spending an entire day girded around his mother’s festering love hole had been, he simply could not put it down to sleepwalking this time, like he’d done with his experience as Donna’s putrid panties.

No, this had been real. He looked for connections, and it didn’t take him long to put two and two together, coming up with Spam.

Over the next few days he began experimenting with a feverish intensity he had never felt before. As with all great endeavours though, his first efforts at reproducing the Kafkaesque transformation proved utter, abject failures.

First there was Tracey from the upstairs flat. One night as he watched her leave, rather than hiding behind the drapes and rubbing himself like usual, he decided to follow her out instead.

When she stopped off at a shop for a pack of fags, he produced a tin of Spam from inside his coat pocket, palming it nervously as he watched her from across the street. ‘I’m Popeye the Pervert man’, he hummed to himself for courage, devouring the poor man’s steak as he marched off after her.

When suddenly he found himself nuzzled up against his neighbour’s voluminous arse, it was pure heaven. For about half an hour.

Some greasy tool monkey from the local garage gave her a lift, and in no time at all Charlie had been discarded and stuffed into her handbag.

He exploded from the faux leather in a storm of sanitary towels and lipsticks, almost causing Tracey to miss her stroke in the backseat. Bolting from the car for a nearby thicket, he tried to convince himself that although he’d likely frightened them both into premature post-coital smokes, he had not been recognised.

Then came Sara, who worked in accounts and whose thighs were the talk of the toilets. He snuck up behind her in the stationery cupboard and, one bite of salty processed ham product later, finally got to see just how she kept those thighs of hers so firm.

He spent the rest of the morning being slowly suffocated by lycra as Sara indulged her passion for exercise bikes, rowing machines, and countless other forms of unnatural madness down at the local gym. Later, back at her flat, he waited breathlessly as she prised him from her sweat-sodden bangle, discarding him mercifully under her bed.

Charlie was off work for a fortnight after that whole experience; he simply couldn’t move his aching body. But, though his muscles had been torn and his back seemed all but broken, his pioneering spirit remained intact.

He discovered Malandra on the bus home one evening; she was the kind of perfection he had only ever seen before in adverts. He followed her for the remainder of the week, convinced that he had finally found his special one. She lived in a lovely little suburb ten miles from the city centre, catching the bus every day to the shop where she worked. Lingering Lingerie was an establishment that catered to every red-blooded male’s (or pink-blooded transvestite’s) taste in feminine undergarments, be it lace, satin, rubber or shaving foam.

Charlie hung around the shop watching her avidly, peeking out from behind the peek-a-boo bras, sweating frantically behind a rack of latex cat-suits. It was all too good to be true. Not only would he become the panties of a sex siren, he would also be the hottest pair of panties imaginable.

After a week of trailing her to make sure she had no bad habits (such as heavy exercise or mood swings brought on by PMS), Charlie made his move.

It would be nice to think he got his wish, that he spent the remainder of his days adorning Malandra’s creamy hips, caressing her peachy buttocks, and grazing her holiest of holies whilst wolfing down untold tins of Spam between changings. Yes, it would be nice to think he finally made it, living happily ever after in the golden-snatched cottage of his making. But, let’s just say that’s not exactly what happened.

Life’s kinda like that; deal with it.

Not two blissful days into his vulvar vacation, Charlie’s idyllic little world all came crashing down. As it turned out, Malandra’s Greek boyfriend had just returned from visiting relatives at a Soho strip joint, and he spent his entire first day back attempting to rewrite the Kama Sutra.

At first this didn’t overly bother Charlie; it was obvious that a girl like Malandra would have a plague of male admirers. In fact, during his surveillance, he had seen a long procession of vermin accompany her home, rattling her headboard long into the night. He really didn’t mind she was such a pied piper, and if truth be told it quite excited him; there was sure to be a surplus of bodily fluids bubbling all Jacuzzi-like around him whenever she slipped him back on. If he had wanted a virgin, he would have snuck into a convent with an entire hamper full of his precious pink meat.

But what Charlie hadn’t counted on was the peculiar kink harboured by Manos, Malandra’s Mediterranean lover.

On the night that was to change his life forever, Charlie lay draped invitingly over his beloved’s pudenda, bathing in her juices. Manos, his jeans jutting out alarmingly, leapt on top of her and tried to swallow her face as Charlie felt himself dampen, praying that the lusty Greek would probe his fingers through him before he was removed.

‘Oh Malandra!’ moaned Manos. ‘You so sexy, I’m gonna EAT THOSE PANTIES RIGHT OFFA YOU!!!’

The last thing Charlie remembered, before his rebirth in the stomach of the doomed, hungry horn-dog, was a scream, an explosion, and a muffled ‘Ohh, SHEEEET!!!’

Later, the police found him curled on the floor, wrapped in a tangle of innards.

‘Spam,’ Charlie told them.

‘Porridge,’ they replied.



He still couldn’t bear to think about the word, but he’d have a nice, long time to practice. A lifetime, in fact.

Where the hell was his sister? She was late, and the guards were strict about visiting times. He needed to see her, needed someone to say they understood and loved him no matter what.

And then there she was, Eileen, sweet Eileen.

There she sat before him, her lips all aquiver; her glistening Bambi eyes… Raising her hand to the shatterproof glass (the way she’d seen them do in all the prison movies), she was just able to whimper, ‘Oh, Charles…’

‘Oh Eiuurrruurrhhg,’ Charlie gurgled in response, his mouth full of Spam he’d smuggled from the commissary.

What the hell, he thought; Eileen always had a cute ass.

John D Robinson

The View

Hunched down in my front porch,
smoking a joint, looking out at
the tree-tops of the public park
and beyond into blue skies,
birds are heard near and distant,
cats lounge and sleep on the
warm pavements, I can hear
traffic moving far off and the
moment feels perfect, it looks
perfect, the world before me
is perfect but I know from my
radio and t.v. reports that
people are killing and hurting
one another in the most hideous
of ways in our streets across
the globe; wars and conflicts
claiming countless lives
rampage endlessly across the
world and so it has done so
for thousands of years and
it’s not going to change,
world peace will never exist,
it’s not wanted, too few
people would lose too
much; those few that
govern the many:
but the view I have from my
front porch is a perfect
view of the world and
for that moment,
it was just perfect.

Kyle Kouri

God Shines Brightest on the Highest Man

In college I had a roommate named Jason. Lord knows I gave that poor kid hell. The year was full of heavy drug abuse. My girlfriend accused me of being a pill popper. She said, “Jack, you’re going to die!”

Jason told me, “Jack, I come home sometimes and think you’re possessed by the devil. I get nervous when you lock yourself in the bathroom to take a shower because you’re in there so long; I never know what drugs you might be on, and if you’re still alive.”

I laughed and laughed and laughed. What fools.

In fact I was the happiest I had ever been. There’s nothing like snorting a bunch of painkillers and sitting down to work on a story. You sit there staring at the words you’ve written and suddenly an idea strikes you. You realize how it’s going to end. You understand that you have pieced together the impossible. You have scrawled lines, swirls, and scribbles on a piece of paper that vaguely resemble a maze and with one fateful stroke you’ve created the thread that’ll lead the mouse to the cheese. Your nonsensical ramblings have become a masterpiece.

One day I stood up at the desk in my dorm and yelled, “Jason, my beloved friend and companion! God has graced me. I have created something brilliant.” I ran over to Jason, grabbed his shoulders, and shook him violently. “Don’t you understand? Don’t you ever feel like everything has been put into place more perfectly than you could have ever anticipated? God has picked you, man!”

Jason trembled uncomfortably. “That’s great, Jack. What’s your story about?”

“I can’t tell you now. It’s too soon. But the time will come. Now I must go. There’s much to drink on this campus.”

The next day I caught a train to visit my girlfriend in Connecticut. I arrived at her house and found her on the patio, smoking cigarettes with someone I didn’t know. I was about to talk to them but got distracted by how green the grass was and how purple the sky.

“A storm’s coming,” I mumbled to myself and wandered around the patio’s perimeter, staring at the clouds, patting the bushes, trying to gauge how much time we had.

“Jack, what the fuck are you doing?” my girlfriend said.

“Me? Jesus, nothing. Stay where you are.”

“What the fuck are you on?” she asked.

I looked at her and flashed a devilish smile. “Be patient, baby. Be patient.”

“You’re such an asshole. If you’re going to do this stuff, you should at least wait until you’re here. I’m sick of you showing up to my house high out of your mind.”

I sighed and made my way back to her. I sat down and kissed her arm. “I’m sorry, I love you.” I licked her neck, her face, and then I threw myself on her. She started laughing, but tried to stop.

“Stop it, you’re crazy. Stop.”

I turned towards her friend and said, “Hello, Suzan. Kate? Mary? Who the fuck are you, lady?”

“Don’t listen to him,” my girlfriend said.

“Yes, yes, don’t listen. I’m Jack, who are you? Sorry, for my behavior. It’s something in the air.”

I sniffed.

She said, “I’m Jen.”

“Jesus, I called it! Didn’t I? Somebody rewind the tape recorder! I fucking called it!”

Later my girlfriend and I went to her room and made out on her bed. I started taking off her pants but she said, “Wait. I want whatever you’re on.”

“God damn it, woman. Why do you do this to me?” I retrieved my pocketed painkillers and decided I’d crush up some Oxycontin for us to split.

We snorted a few lines and she said, “Oooo, this burns my nose.” She started skippering around a little bit, all excited that I let her do drugs. “Wait, I have to go pee before we have sex.”

She ran to the bathroom and I bolted the other way towards my bag and searched frantically for the other pill bottles. I found them and after serious debate decided that the best pill to swallow was the morphine. I could save the Percocets for after we had sex.

I took the pill down the hatch and then looked at myself in the mirror. It was at this moment I realized my true beauty. My hair was all messy and my eyes were so glazed, pupils nearly gone, but that smile still so sharp, I was the sexiest man to ever live. ‘I’m so ready to fuck,’ I thought.

“You crazy motherfucker,” she said.

“You hot little slut.”

“Oh, yeah, fuck your little slut. Do whatever you want to me.”

And I did.

Early evening in the evening, I tucked myself away in my girlfriend’s mom’s office. I sat at her computer and finished my story while rain poured and thunder boomed outside. “Truly the writings of a true writer,” I whispered. “Thank you, God, for this gift. I will not exploit my talent.”

I prepared to print out copies for everybody to read. The story was forty-six pages long and judging by the stack of printing paper stacked by the printer, I could manage sixteen copies. “Meager supplies, but this will have to do,” I said and got to work.

A half hour later, my girlfriend walked into the room.

“Jesus, Jack. What the hell are you doing?” I was crouched down on the floor over sixteen stacks of paper, organizing. I had dropped some copies, slipped on others. Since I had forgotten to add page numbers, the task was long and tedious.

“I have run into some problems with the printing process, but things will work themselves out.”

“No, I mean. That’s all my mom’s paper!”

“I don’t have time to argue with you. Tell your mother I will reimburse her through my love, loyalty, and good care of her beautiful daughter.”

“You’re fucking crazy. What’s your story about?”

“The human condition.”

“What’s that?”

“I couldn’t tell you, but I think it will prove very important to us one day.”

“I want more.”


“No, painkillers idiot!”

“Well, when I’m around you, I have trouble doing one without the other.”

I got what I wanted.

Later my girlfriend and I lay naked on her bed. We were both pretty far gone. She looked at me and said,

“Hey, I think my pupils have disappeared.”

“I know, isn’t it beautiful.”

“And my heart’s not beating anymore.”

“…I know, isn’t it beautiful.”

The next day I left early so that I could make it to my class and hand out the story. My girlfriend was half asleep as I got up. She groped at me and pulled me back towards her. I was trying to put my boxers on and she was trying to pull them off. I was trying to put my dick in my pants and she was trying to jack it off. She said, “Don’t go, stay with me.”

“Listen, love of my life. I will be back soon enough.”

“Wait, I’m still so fucking high from last night. Is that bad?”

“I’ll tell you what, I’m extremely exhausted and I need to borrow some of your ADD medication. I will repay you by leaving some of what we did last night in the bottle. It’ll be a trade, okay? Baby? Have you dozed off again?”

“Don’t go,” she whispered and then was gone. I scrambled to get my clothes on and then ran over to her bathroom to swap medications.

The day started early for me. It was not yet an hour before noon, and I was soaring. I was so high. I had a backpack full of sixteen finely crafted short stories and a head full of opiates and Adderall.

I was taking a shit in a public bathroom at Grand Central before transferring onto the next train, which leads back to school. I was listening to ‘No Woman, No Cry’ by Bob Marley on my iPod.

I breathed in the stink of the loo. I stared at the piss stains in the creases of the marble floor. I studied the leg and feet fashion of people at the parallel urinals. Businessmen in slacks and loafers; truckers in blue jeans and Timberlands; young rockers in purple jeans. Men, unified in the shitter. It was truly beautiful.

It occurred to me that this was the answer and it had been revealed to me. I needed to deliver the message. I jumped out of the stall and yelled, “Friends of all shapes and sizes, occupations and races, monetary statuses, sexual orientations and political sway! God is love and YOU ARE LOVED! Goodbye and take well care of yourselves! We… Are… Chosen.”

I ran out of the bathroom and made my way to the train, smiling at the good work I had done. I turned my iPod up and whispered, “Rest in Peace, Bob Marley. Rest… in… peace.”

In class I passed out my story. The teacher began dealing with preliminaries and I watched some of my peers start scanning the first few pages. I stealthily studied their faces. One smiled, another frowned, another yawned and looked at her watch, clearly bored with life. What are you even doing here? I wondered. Another flipped to the last page and began reading that. You fucking idiot, have you no respect! I wanted to yell. I wanted to breathe fire and watch her flesh burn. It didn’t matter, I told myself. Just read it and weep, assholes.

Read it and weep.

Later that day, Jason and I had lunch. I asked him a question. “So Jason, you’re into urban renewal and essentially an anarchist, or wait, was it a Marxist? I forgot.”

“I’m undecided, politically. But I think we need to rework the whole structure of our cities if poverty is ever going to end.”

“But why would you want it to end?” I slammed my fist onto the table, our glasses of OJ waxing and splashing dramatically in the pale, sun-speckled cafeteria air. “It’s so fucking beautiful! There would never have been any great art if this world wasn’t such a dirty, stinking, shithole!”

“I don’t want to argue about this, Jack.”

“Fine, I’m going for a drive,” I said, and stormed off. I went back to my room and took some Xanax, but it ended up being Seroquel, so I passed out until past midnight. When I woke up I was in a truly terrible mood.

“Jason! What fucking time is it?” I yelled, but all that responded was silence. I jumped off my bed and ran to his. He was sleeping soundly. I pulled the covers off him and screamed again, “Jesus, Jason. I don’t have time for games. What time is it?”

“Wha? What are you doing? I’m sleeping, Jack.”
“Yes, fine. This is all well and good. But you need to wake up for a minute and tell me the time.”

“What? Are you kidding, just check…”

“Oh my God. Never mind. I’ll do it myself.” I went over to the lamp and flipped the on-switch. Then I sat at my desk and started searching for the morphine. I found some lying around my desk drawer next to a Playboy magazine which I had hid in Jason’s bed one day to piss him off because he’s a feminist.

I started crushing up the pills with an empty beer bottle and cutting up lines with my student ID. Behind me Jason was groaning and stumbling out of bed.

“Jack, what are you doing.”

“Nothing, man. Sorry for waking you up. Go back to bed,” I said, soothingly.

“But you turned on the light.”

“It’ll be off in a second, don’t worry bro.” I took out the tampon tube from my shirt’s breast pocket and started snorting up the lines.

“Jack… are you… doing… co-cocaine?”

“Does this look like cocaine to you, Jason?” I said, my voice rising in anger.

“I don’t know…”

“It’s fucking blue, man! Come on,” I exclaimed, finished the last line and then got up. I went to my closet and grabbed a coat. I put it on and headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” Jason asked.

“I’m going for a drive.”

When I was younger I used to have to take shits at inconvenient times. I’d be in the middle of traffic on the 405, stuck between Wilshire and Santa Monica exits, and it would hit me. A really messy crap out of nowhere filled up my ass. There’d be no options, and I wasn’t even getting off at Wilshire. I was going to the fucking valley, man! Or I’d be walking from point A to point F, and I’d only be at point C, and bam, the shit came. I’d have to waddle for miles in brutal discomfort. Once I started doing drugs, everything became easier. I barely ever have to shit, unless I want to. And then I do it on command.

I woke up around 6am, finding myself sprawled in the backseat of my car, parked outside my girlfriend’s house. On my lap sat a moleskin journal, scrawled with fresh poems of depression, drug addiction, and the guilty ramblings of a young man who’s lost all his friends. I needed a proper place to sleep. I called my girlfriend’s father. Clearly I had woke him up.

“Hello, Bill? It’s Jack.”

“Jack? What? It’s 6am. What are you doing calling me?”

“Yes, I’m aware and I’m very sorry. But you see, it turns out I’m in the area. Do you think I could come over and take a nap in the guestroom?”

“No, Jesus, are you kidding? Absolutely not. Don’t call back.” He hung up the phone. I decided to drive to the high school where my girlfriend went and park there. I would wait for her to arrive and see how things turned out.

Two hours later I was crouching outside the school’s entrance. As my girlfriend trundled along to the blue boring door I pounced.

“Baby, it’s me. Can we talk?”

“Jesus, Jack! What are you doing here?”

“I came to see you.”

“At eight in the morning?”

“That doesn’t matter, how are you?”

“Ugh, come with me.” She dragged me inside and took me into the closest girl’s bathroom. “You know, asshole. You let me have so much of that shit the other day that I spent all yesterday throwing up my stomach lining. My friends say I shouldn’t even be with you. They say you’re just a drug addict now and don’t even care about me.”

“Listen, that’s what I wanted to talk about. I think we should break up,” I said.

She looked at me. Her face dropped. The shock didn’t last long and her eyes began swelling with dewy teardrops.

“…What? What are you talking about?”

“We’re in two different places with our lives. I need to be alone so I can focus on my writing. You need to enjoy high school, baby. That’s all.”

“You’re fucking kidding me? This doesn’t make any sense.”

“Listen, you’ve never understood me! You think you know me but you don’t, okay!”

“Jack, don’t do this. It’s the drugs talking. You don’t mean it.”

“The drugs don’t mean a thing! This is the realest me I’ve ever been. I’ve never felt so in touch with myself, baby. I love you, but I have to go.”

“I… I hate you. I fucking hate you!” She started hitting me with her purse, and the tears were really flowing now. I pushed her close to me, kissed her forehead amidst all the violence and then ran to the door.

“I’m, I’m sorry,” I said, quickly dispensing a fresh tampon from the wall machine before I left.
Back in my car I listened to music loud and tried to sing along to the songs. My ex-girlfriend had left her purse on the passenger’s seat so I took a few of her Adderall and then dropped the bag off in her family’s mailbox before leaving for school. The mixture of Adderall and morphine is a twisted combination indeed. Pure ecstatic oblivion. I was having trouble remembering the lyrics to any of my favorite songs, so I started singing gibberish to the tune of the melody.

“Do-da, skippy-town, flip, bla, blow. In the blitz, of a high town woah. Blam, diddy, damn day. Motherfucker, yeah, hey. Whaa”—

A few days later it was time for my story to be workshopped. I took some Xanax before the class and had trouble keeping my eyes open from minute one. It’s true I didn’t realize I had taken so much, but this also worked towards my advantage. Now people knew I didn’t care so much about this stupid class.

“Well, I really, you know, I liked this story. But I think…” Ha, I knew it. Going exactly according to plan. He liked it.

“This story was really, um, unique… but…” Unique. I’m one of a kind. The Xanax was really taking hold of me now. I had to excuse myself.

“Listen, people. I have to be right back.” I went to the bathroom and quickly cut up some lines of my ex-girlfriend’s Adderall and snorted them on the crusty lid of the toilet bowl.

Back in class, another kid cleared his throat and picked back up the discussion. “The narrator is an… interesting one.”

Enough. I understood it all very clearly. Pretty soon class would be over and I would prepare to submit to the publishers. It was all so easy. My body shivered. A smile was creeping on my face and I knew it wouldn’t go away for a long, long time.

Later on, I walked into my room and saw Jason at his computer. My face was grim. I sagged my shoulders and collapsed onto my bed like it was six feet under the ground.

“How’d the critique go, Jack?” my poor roommate asked.

“I don’t know anymore, Jason. I’m doing everything all wrong. I have to get my shit together. I broke up with my girlfriend, and everything just feels so off.”

“Really?” he said, his voice filled with honest concern.

I sighed and paused a beat.

Then I jumped off the bed, ran to Jason, grabbed his shoulders, and shook him, shook him violently. “NO! HA! Of course not,” I yelled. “They love me, man! They really, really love me! I’m going to be a star!”

J.J. Campbell

straight from cuba

seek out the lord
in the piano bar
down the street

maybe in the
curves of the
beautiful woman
playing the bass

maybe the lord
is lining up on
the table in the

or unzipping her
shirt a little as she
tries to make an
impossible combo

seek out the lord
in a plume of cigar
smoke straight from

the lord surely must
be in this glass of

you have to be
a little drunk to
believe in a place
called heaven

Robert Ragan

It’s Only Art

Life gives us the rope
The world gives us the rope
These powers that be
Wait for us to hang ourselves

We deface your murals
Says the shady performance artist
who burns himself with lit cigarettes

He inflicts this pain physically
For all the pain he’s endured emotionally

Before his tormentor
This lost soul sticks the glowing cherry to his arm
This is for the time you fucked a total stranger
in your car

Lighting the cigarette again
He raises his head and sticks it to his throat

The woman starts to cry
She begs him to stop

He laughs and says
That was for the time I caught you in bed
with those two masked men
He calls her a promiscuous demon

The burning continues as well as the stories
behind the pain
He says we’ll black out your eyes
before the camera stops filming

Covered in oozing blisters afterward
He asks the woman he paid to do this
Would you like to go out and have a few drinks
She says No then walks out of the room

Alone, he lights another cigarette
Laughing, he puts it out on his forehead