Jason Gerrish

Wall of Pervs

We were renovating five floors downtown, 
office space in the Atrium Building, 
and at noon, all the trades 
took the passenger elevators down 
to eat lunch, on the street.

More than a hundred construction workers 
that spring and summer, sat down on the edge 
of the veranda, out front, 
facing the sidewalk, all along 4th Street, 
from Main down to Sycamore.

The office women shed their winter coats and 
we could see their endless curves again 
bouncing within their blouses,
their haunches loose, then shifting taut 
again as they strode on by.

And for every quivering, 
wobbly peach in yoga pants, 
we hurried down to gawk
while chewing some basic boloney 
and cheese or egg salad sandwich.

‘God damn,’ said DC. ‘I’d do that.’ 
‘Thick,’ said Wade. 
Big Dummy just stared.
‘I’d eat the corn out of her ass,’ said Griff.

And while most the guys talked discreetly
to the persons next to them, 
Pretty Boy stood and whistled at a 
young blonde in a pink dress and heels.

‘Come on, man. You can’t do that,’ I said.
‘What?’ said Pretty Boy. 
‘These women aren’t dressed to sex you. 
They work here. They’re dressed to feel confident.’

‘Shut up,’ said Wade, 
‘She knows how she’s dressed. 
And if she didn’t want you to look 
she wouldn’t be showing it off.’

‘Well, she ain’t dressed like that for us,’ I said. 
‘You don’t think she’s hot as fuck?’ said DC.
‘Go sit somewhere else,’ said Wade, 
‘You’re ruining my fantasy.’

I couldn’t argue with them, and then 
Herb summed things up: ‘My girlfriend walks 
by here with her coworkers sometimes,’ 
he said, ‘They call this the wall of pervs.’

‘Do they, really,’ said Wade.
‘Yeah,’ Herb said, chuckled. 
‘Oh well,’ said Wade, 
‘I guess they’re right.’ 

Judge Santiago Burdon

‘Fingers In The Fan’ is another odyssey about Santiago, a recovering addict, ex-con, womanizer, gambler and ill-fated pilgrim, along with his ex cellmate, loose cannon, alcohol and drug fueled, Colombian carnal, Johnny Rico. 

While working as drug smugglers for a Mexican Cartel, the two encounter situations of structured devastation. This collection of short storíes is filled with the same gritty dialogue, dark humor and adventurous mayhem Santiago has popularized in his previous books. ‘Fingers In The Fan’ complements the Bohemian tales of bizarre and twisted states of mind first exposed in  ‘Stray Dogs and Deuces Wild’ and ‘Quicksand Highway’.

Adding to the book’s irresistible appeal is that these cautionary tales are well written. Santiago’s prose is clear and his language concise: spiced with the Spanish of his streetwise bilingualism. The indelible portraits of even minor characters in other stories of life’s disappointments make this collection something to get high on.

Dave Wolff
Editor/Publisher
Asphyxium Magazine
Cerebral Agony Magazine

BUY A BOPY HERE

Anthony Dirk Ray

5 Star Review

A lot of bad happened to Jimmy in a short amount of time that led to his walk on that lonely, dark road.  He didn’t have a destination in mind, other than a fresh start, wherever that may be.  After his wife had a miscarraige, his whole world broke down drastically and turned to absolute shit.  His drinking amplified, which led to physical altercations with his wife, an arrest, and a pink slip from the factory where he worked.  A court ordered stint at a sober living facility was short lived due to his continued drinking.

As Jimmy walked the desolate road, he pondered the decisions and events that led him to where he was at that very moment.  This frustrated and further depressed him.  He wanted nothing more than to jump in front of the next set of headlights that sped by.  However, the lack of cars on this stretch of road made that plan highly unfeasible.  Jimmy knew that he was damaged and would never be a pleasant memory in anyone’s mind.  He just didn’t see the point in going on living.  He thought, maybe there will be a rocky ravine up ahead.  Then I could just disappear, and never be found.  That thought alone was enough for him to take faster and wider strides toward the darkness in front of him.

A car could be heard approaching from behind and the landscape in front of him became illuminated.  The vehicle slowed and pulled next to Jimmy.

“Hey there friend.  Are you alright?”

“Yeah.  I’m good.”

“There’s nothing out here for miles. Get in and I’ll take you closer to where you need to be.”

“Really, I’m fine.  Go on.”

“Nonsense.  Get in. I insist.”

Jimmy reluctantly got in the car with the stranger.  Jimmy thought, what’s the worst that could happen?  Maybe he’ll be a serial killer, and do the hard work for me.

“My name is Carl,” the driver said, with his hand extended.

“Jimmy,” he responded, as he shook Carl’s hand.

“Where are you headed?” Carl asked.

Jimmy remained looking forward, and said, “West.”

“Ok.  West is pretty vague, but I can get you a little closer in that direction.”

They rode in silence for the good part of an hour, when Carl pulled into a gas station.

“Need to fuel up.  You need anything?” Carl asked, as he got out of the car. 

“No, I’m good.” 

Carl went into the store and returned with a six pack of beer and a pint of whiskey.  He opened the passenger door and handed the items to Jimmy.

“Here.  It looks like you need this.”

Carl began fueling the car as Jimmy opened and turned up the pint.  The entire pint and one of the beers were emptied by the time Carl got back in the driver’s seat.

“Wow. You don’t waste any time do you?  I knew you needed a drink.”

“Yeah, thanks. You have no idea.”

As the two were back on the road, the alcohol allowed Jimmy to open up a little about what had recently transpired in his life.  Carl reminded Jimmy that life had a way of being shit sometimes, but it could always be worse, and that there was a good chance that it would get better.  Jimmy wasn’t in the mood for a pep talk.  He just sighed and continued on the beer.  Carl told Jimmy about a young woman in a purple dress that he gave a ride to recently on the same stretch of highway as him.  How she was at the end of her rope as well, running from an abusive husband.  However, by the end of the ride, he had her smiling and confident in her decision to leave and start anew.

“See.  Sometimes you just need someone else to put it all in prospective for you,” Carl said in a comforting tone.

“I guess you’re right,” said Jimmy, as he contemplated what Carl said.

The horizon began to brighten, as Carl slowed and turned right into a closed restaurant.  There were no cars in the parking lot, and most of the lights on the inside were off.  Carl pulled around to the rear of the building near the back door.

“This is my buddy’s place. I make runs for him roughly two times a week.  He’s not the most social guy.  As a matter of fact, he doesn’t really talk.  I just have to drop off a few supplies and we’ll be on our way.  Come on in.  I’ll see if he has anything ready yet.”

The two of them got out of the car and Carl knocked on the rear door.  A short, fat man with greasy hair and sauce stains on his apron opened the door.

“Bubba. How’s it going? This is Jimmy. Can you fix him a couple of your famous sandwiches?”

Bubba grunted and gave a slight nod.  Carl showed Jimmy to the counter in the front and pulled out a stool for him.

“Bubba has the best barbeque around. He’s been in the paper and even on the local news.  Look at all these awards,” Carl said, as he pointed at framed pieces of paper above the counter.

Jimmy looked around, nodded, and said, “That is a lot. Smells good. I am pretty hungry.”

“Here it comes now.  You’re going to love it. I have to get some items out of the car so he can open up in a few hours.  Eat up.”

Bubba placed two huge barbecue sandwiches in front of Jimmy and he didn’t waste any time digging in ravenously.  Through the order window, Jimmy watched as Bubba and Carl hauled bags of items into the kitchen and walk-in cooler.  Carl poked his head through the square opening and said,

“Pretty good, heh?”

“You weren’t kidding.  The meat is so tender and the sauce is the best I’ve ever had.  Everything is terrific.  I can see why he has all those awards.”

“I told you.  Hey, when you get done, do you think you could help us move a pig from the cooler to the smoker?”

“Sure thing.  I’m about done.”

Jimmy used his last bite of sandwich to sop up the remaining sauce on his plate and leaned back in his stool, full and content.  He took his plate to the back and Bubba motioned for him to put it in the sink.

“Bubba, if I could give you another award for that meal, I would my man,” Jimmy said, as he patted his stomach.

Bubba let out an appreciative grunt, and shook his head in acknowledgement.  Carl came through the back door with another bag, placed it on the counter and motioned for Jimmy to follow him to the cooler. 

“It’s a big fucker.  Might take all three of us,” Carl said as he opened the cooler door.

Jimmy entered the dark cooler and the door slammed behind him.

“Quit fucking around!  Open the goddamn door!”

Jimmy beat on the door and continued yelling in the pitch-black cooler.  Moments earlier Jimmy thought he wanted to die, but now his instinct of survival took over.  He continued beating on the door to no avail.  He started feeling faint and dizzy and staggered around the refrigerated death trap.  Jimmy was losing consciousness and realized he must have been drugged.  He located a pull string and a light illuminated the cooler.  He couldn’t believe the horrific things he saw.  Bags of body parts and buckets of blood surrounded him.  Jimmy lost his footing and fell to the cold floor.  Just before everything went black, he looked into the lifeless eyes of the girl in the purple dress.  

That day during the lunch rush, a dad and his son, who were traveling through town, sat in a booth next to the door.  They finished their meal, and the dad told the waitress that it was the best barbeque that they had ever eaten.  Before leaving, he left a glowing review online.

Jimmy had made a lasting memory in someone’s mind after all.

John Tustin

Hemingway’s Shotgun

I need Hemingway’s shotgun.
I need Dylan Thomas’ shot glass
Filled to the brim.
I need Bukowski’s Leukemia,
I need Anne Sexton to leave the car running.
I need a stein filled with heart attacks,
Strokes, aneurisms,
A robbery gone awry.

I need birds streaking across the sky
As I fall to the earth with a dull thud.
I need wolves tearing at my empty flesh
As the carrion-devourers 
Await their turn.
I need my words tossed unnoticed
Into a dumpster
When the sad little estate sale is over.

I need them to cry,
To think about me a decade later.
I need you to never recover from such a loss
Although you already dismissed me
Like a General too old, wise and senile
To lead more children into battle.

I need the affliction that would end me.
My hands are too shaky,
My mind too disabled
To load a shotgun
And aim.

Robert Beveridge

Anaphlan

You walked in, 
found me naked, hand
clenched around my cock,
strain for release as dominant
as necessary as breath now
ragged with manipulation 
and exertion. Your eyes never 
leave my hand as you strip, 
slow, lean over me to pull 
the pillows from behind my 
head, give me an all too brief 
taste of pure pink nipple 
before you kneel, your thighs 
astride my ears, eyes still fixed
on my now-faster hand
as my tongue delves
into your deepest secret
places. It is never
long before the
outcome you
expect, desire,
the beautiful,
sticky release
and your shudder
against my 
tongue collapse
to chest and
belly

John D Robinson

TAP TAP

The knock on the door
always comes
at the wrong time,
when you’re lovemaking
on a sunny Sunday
afternoon,
during a drug-drop
when relatives pay
a surprise visit,
when the post delivery
hands-over a court date
as the landlady hammers
the door for way overdue
rent,
when your new lover drops
by with a surprise bottle of
wine and you’re already
fucked-up on narcotics
and your previous lover
is waiting on a call,
when a political or
religious pusher
relentlessly pounds 
or when the
season of ghosts and
demons from your past,
rip the door clean
off its hinges,
it’s time to throw
away the key and
look out at the
countless shattered
doors left in
your wake.

Judge Santiago Burdon

Kill Them With Kindness 

“Ah good it’s you. Come on in Carmine. I’m glad you’re here. There’s a situation I need to discuss with you. Sit down.” 

“What’s up Capo?” 

“You know Thomas McKenna, the President of First National Bank?”

“Yes sir, the fellow who was arrested by the FBI last week.” 

“That’s right, he’s out on bail. He might decide to make a deal with the Prosecutor and spill his guts. That could be an unfortunate turn of events for us.”

“I understand. Do you want me to make the problem go away?”

“Yes, he’s become a liability. It’s time we dissolve our business relationship.”

“Okay Boss. Who do you have in mind to do the job? Want me to call the guy from Detroit? He’s a no muss no fuss cleaner. Or maybe that cold-hearted broad from Los Angeles, she’s always stealth.”

“No, it has’ta look natural, like a heart attack or somethin’, so if there’s an autopsy they’ll find it was due to natural causes.”

“I know who can do the job, but he’s expensive. You know who I’m thinking about?”

“You’re thinking Petruchio? Petruchio ‘The Gentleman’?”

“Ya. He’s perfect for this job. no guns, no knives, no staged accident, no Jewish Lightning, no blood and guts bullshit. He ‘kills them with kindness’.”

“Exactly, that way there won’t be any investigation or questions.”

“And no suspects.”

“See if you can get a hold of him. Listen to me, don’t get into a conversation with him. Make it short and unfriendly. No small talk. You got it?”

“Okay got it boss.”

“Just thinking about that guy scares the hell out of me. I’ve never met him in person but I talked to him on the phone once, couple of years ago. You gotta be careful. If he starts making all kinds of compliments, you can’t be sure, there might be a contract out on you. And he could be ‘Killing you with kindness’.”

“I’ve been told his method is surefire and he never raises any suspicions.”

“That’s right. Listen, if he mentions how nice your house is, then starts in on how good you look. Or mentions that you look thinner like you’ve lost weight and asks if you’ve been workin’ out cause you look buff and bullshit like that, you’re a goner. Like I said, he ‘kills you with kindness’.”

“Now that you mention it, you do look good for your age Vicente.”

“Okay, enough. And don’t discuss this with anyone else. We can’t have this getting out. I know I can count on you. It’s the reason why I’ve given you the responsibility to take care of this. You’ve been a loyal and trustworthy member of the family Carmine. I’m very proud of the man you’ve become.”

“Thanks Capo. I’ve never told you this but you’ve been like a father to me. I want you to know there’s no one else in the entire world I respect more than you.”

“Okay, don’t you start. It ain’t gonna do any good. You know when I retire next month. I’m turning control of the family over to Arturo. My son will be the next Godfather.” 

“Of course Capo, an excellent choice. No one can ever question your decisions. You’re a wise and ingenious man. You’re made in the image of the great King Solomon. A more honorable and fair-minded man than you doesn’t exist.”

“Thanks for your compliments. No need to voice your appreciation.”

“It’s just important for you to know. I am and will forever be indebted to you for your kindness. You took me in when I had no one. I was alone after my parents were murdered. You took me in and gave me a home, welcomed me into your family. You treated me like I was your son. You have a heart of gold. I will never be able to repay you for your benevolence and unselfishly sharing your home.” 

“Carmine, please stop. Enough with the compliments. If I didn’t know better I’d think you were tryin to ‘kill me with kindness’.”

“I’m sorry Capo. I felt it was time to express my gratitude and declare my admiration for someone who exemplifies generosity. A man deserving of respect and to be regarded with esteem. You are a God among men. So much bigger than life size. A living legacy.”

“Carmine, something’s wrong, I’m not feeling so good right now…”

“What’s wrong Capo? Are you okay? It’s nothing you can’t overcome. You’re stronger than anything in the universe. A Superman. There’s nothing that can harm you. Even God is jealous, in awe of your magnificence.”

“I’m having chest pains. I think maybe you should call me an ambulance.”

“Are you sure?” 

“Yes! I’m not fucking around!”

“Right away il mío Re (My King). There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for such a great man. I am such a better person for having known you.”

“Carmine, what are you doing? I think I might be having a heart attack. With every compliment I feel chest pains. You’re literally ‘killing me with kindness’.”

“Whatever do you mean?” 

 “My heart, please, my heart. Did someone put a contract out on me? You’re Petruchio, aren’t you?”

“Once again you demonstrate your vast knowledge and extreme astute intelligence. Let me introduce myself. I’m Carmine Petruchio Martinelli, son to his father Giorgio Armani Martinelli and his mother Franchesca Rose Pedone Martinelli, brother to Marco and Elena Martinelli. All murdered in their home in their sleep. My uncle Martini told who the killers were before he too was killed. I took care of Tomaso and Riccardo, your accomplices a few years ago. You remember when they died unexpectedly and within a week of one another. Neither of them begged for their lives, they enjoyed the kindness I bestowed upon them right up until their deaths.” 

“I’ll give you anything you want. Please, I can’t take much more.”

“What I want, my dear man of distinction, is for you to bestow upon me your dying wish. You are the man who showed me that patience is a virtue. My teacher who taught me to reciprocate to those that you have wronged. Although you are the supreme master of vendetta è dolce (sweet revenge).” 

“Arturo, Arturo help come quick! Salvatore, someone! Somebody call an ambulance! Arturo!”

“Don’t strain that lovely operatic tenor voice of yours. Arturo has met with an untimely fate. He had a brain aneurysm this morning after being showered with praise and congratulations concerning his fortunate appointment as Godfather of the Cappelli family. Like the others, he fell victim to being ‘killed with kindness’. Everyone is at the hospital right now paying their respects. I was supposed to inform you but it simply slipped my mind. But being the gracious kind-hearted man you are, I’m certain you will exercise your merciful forgiveness for my faux pas.” 

“Why? Why did you kill my son? You two were like brothers. How could you be so heartless? He was my only son. Please, stop. Show me some mercy, you at least owe me that.”

“Ya, brothers like Cain and Abel I think. Owe you? In all these years you’ve never asked for reimbursement for your generosity and unselfish acts of benevolence.”

“After all I’ve done for you. I even made you a Captain in the family.”

“Once again you showed your incredible managerial skills, rewarding those that have shown loyalty.”

“Tell me why?”

“You think I didn’t know who was responsible for killing my parents? Who murdered my brother and sister? If I had been there at the time, I would have been a victim as well.”

“Please reconsider what you’re doing.”

“Reconsider? I don’t think so. I’ve dreamed about this day for years. Since I first came here at six years old I’ve had to live with the man who made me an orphan.”

“Carmine it was business. The order came down from the bosses in Chicago. There was nothing I could do. I’m going to pass out. Call an ambulance for Christ’s sake. I’m sorry. So sorry.”

“It’s too late for an ambulance. I have no doubt you are an emphatic and compassionate man. You’re definitely experiencing an incredible amount of remorse. Being the religious and God fearing man you are, you’ve asked God in prayer for forgiveness, yet still burdened with guilt. I know that you, more than anyone, will understand that those emotions are just not enough.”

“I’m dying, Carmine, you son of a bitch…”

“Just like you, showing such courage until the end. I’ve always admired your strength. You inspired in me the courage to seek my revenge. You encouraged me to be a man of my word. Now, for the final nail in your coffin. Your death will be double edged. Although I’m pleased by avenging my family’s murders, I will miss your presence, your fondness, your sensitivity and your guidance. Even though you are responsible for the death of my family, I am truly saddened by your own death. I am saddened because I love you. Capo? Capo, did you hear me?”

‘Killed with kindness’

Gene Goldfarb

Wild

Dance with me, baby.
Make me big.
Let’s reconjugate the verbs 
    of life.
Start a whole new grammar
    of joy and abandon.
Put it all up against me—
                I’ll do the same for you.
Let’s be naked 
    and dressed to the nines
    all at the same time.
Let’s go where we want
    right now and forever
    and fly, roll, bounce
    to the music of our pulse.
Let everyone else gawk,
    cluck judgments and choke.
They can go back to dust—
    and we can give Hell a run
    for its blazing money.

John Yohe

JOI

when what you say
is both
what I want to hear
+ what I didnt know
I wanted to hear

when what you say is real
not pretending
shows you understand
w/o me having
to explain

when what you say
amuses you
when my enjoyment
is your enjoyment
is my enjoyment

when your confidence
overcomes my doubt
that this is real
when your words are real
when you are real

Anthony Dirk Ray

Careful What You Wish For

Jeffrey woke to the magnificent sounds of angelic birds.  The sounds of the heavens, and all that hover above, filled his ears.  The ability to open his eyes right away was hindered by the bombardment of brilliant and bright facets of light.  Once able to finally peer at his surroundings, he realized that he had awakened in a beautiful, enchanted forest. What he saw overwhelmed his being.  Colors he never knew existed were visible.  They entered his field of vision and danced around.   Clouds that were usually drab and dreary were bright, fluffy, and almost neon in appearance.  Plants and trees gave off a color that was seemingly off the spectrum of green.  A gleaming, lively green, unimaginable even in the most creative of minds.  Feelings of warmth and contentment overtook him.  Jeffrey felt as if he was getting a warm hug from Mother Earth herself.  He looked around and observed a multitude of flying and crawling creatures he couldn’t quite identify.  Each one seemed to be smiling cheerfully at Jeffrey, as if they were welcoming him to this new land. 

How he ended up in this mystical, magical environment was unknown to him, but he wasn’t questioning that at this moment.  Jeffrey was intrigued and in awe of what surrounded him.  The tree stump that he was leaning against felt as if it was a pillow filled with the softest of down, as did the forest floor where he sat.

As Jeffrey continued surveying the landscape around him, he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.  He quickly turned to see a small man darting quickly from tree to tree.  Jeffrey thought that he was fast, in fact, too fast to be a normal person.  As the little man reached the closest tree to Jeffrey, he emerged with an abrupt hop, and startled him.

“Ayy!  I am Lornforth,” he shouted at Jeffrey.  “I am ruler of this forest.  Don’t let my small stature fool you big one, for I am mighty as they come.  All of the creatures you see do my bidding, and they will do as I say.  How have you arrived in my forest?”

Jeffrey was taken back by the size and confident nature of the little man, and also didn’t exactly know how to answer the question that was posed to him.

“I don’t really know.  I just woke up here.”

The little man shook his head in acknowledgment, as if he knew exactly what had happened.

“Yes. It’s the elders of Wrathmoth.  They send big normals to my forest to test me.  They’ve indeed done this before.  I always prove myself, but they still insist on trying my magic every step of the way.  See, I am going for lead elf in the committee of the Golderson Faction, and the elders don’t think that I have what it takes.  So they send you dumb, no offense, big normals here to evaluate my abilities.”

Jeffrey didn’t know how to respond.  He just stared at the little man, still in a tremendous state of confusion.

“So you are a magic elf?”

The little man, now seemingly frustrated, as his body language showed, spoke in an aggressive tone.

“Yes!  Did you not hear anything that I just said.  I don’t have time for this.  Just tell me your three wishes and be on your way.”

Jeffrey was as dumbfounded as ever.

“Three wishes?  I thought that was just storybook shit.”

The little man was now getting extremely agitated. 

“No.  It’s real.  I’m real.  You are here, and I will grant you three wishes of your choosing.”

The little man rolled his eyes condescendingly and continued under his breath with disdain.

“If it pleases the cock sucking elders.”

Jeffrey was befuddled at the little man and the claims that he made, but also knew that the land that he awakened in was far from normal.  The little man glared at him with impatience.  Jeffrey thought, what’s the worst that could happen, as he closed his eyes and spoke his first wish.

“I wish I could have sex with a beautiful woman.”

The little man shook his head in disgust, as if he expected Jeffrey to say that.

“Soooooo original.  Your wish be granted.”

Jeffrey opened his eyes to find a naked woman in front of him.  She embodied everything that he considered sexy.  She knelt in front of Jeffrey and gave him amazing oral pleasure, before turning around and accepting all of him.  It seemed as if she knew exactly what turned him on with every sensual, fluid movement.  Jeffrey couldn’t hold back any longer.  He exploded with all of his being into the fairy of seduction.  Before he could collect himself fully, the little man appeared again, as anxious as ever.

“Okay, you’ve got your rocks off big one.  Now, what’s your next wish?  Let me guess, money?”

Jeffrey looked at the little man with wide-eyed disbelief.

“I do wish for a bag full of money.  How did you know?”

“Oh, just a hunch with your kind.  Your wish be granted.”

Jeffrey closed his eyes and awaited the bag full of money.  At the same time, he was pondering his third wish.  Jeffrey realized that he may be thinking way too small.  For his third, he thought, he’ll wish to be an executive at a huge corporation.  He figured that if he was the big boss, he could have all the sex and money that he could ever want.  Jeffrey knew that his third wish could be the one that would truly change his whole future.  He had the rest of his life planned out in his head at that very moment.  He was ready to make his final, life changing wish.

When Jeffrey opened his eyes, he wasn’t holding a bag full of money.  He was clutching a cum-filled condom, with a little person in front of him pulling up his pants.

“What the fuck is going on?” Jeffrey angrily asked.

“Ayy!  You back with us?” said the little man, as he finished buttoning his pants.

“Back with us?  And who the fuck are you,” Jeffrey questioned, pissed, oblivious, and stupefied. 

“They call me midget Tony.  A bunch of us were partying at Phillip’s, and I overheard you say that you wished that you could try the new research chemical T3O-CME.  So we did, and ended up out here behind Phillip’s shed.  Good stuff heh?  Some say it’s magical.”