Daniel S. Irwin

Holmes Again

“Mister Holmes, I’m glad you’re here.”
“Always warming to be appreciated, constable. Fortunately, Doctor Watson and I were in the neighborhood sampling gutter whores. What have we here?”
“Seems this man, what was lodging here, has met his untimely end, head removed and all.”
“Good Lord, Holmes, what a ghastly mess!”
“Indeed, Watson.  Let’s see….hmm, quite a bit of blood loss, no sign of struggle. Do you notice anything unusual, Doctor?”
“Head’s gone, just as the constable said.”
“Watson! The man’s head is gone! I believe this to be…murder.”
“Great huge knockers! How do you do it, Holmes?”
“Years of training, Watson. We must examine the clues. Look, there’s a brown substance on the floor.  Doctor Watson, what do you make of it?”
“Well, let me peruse a small sample. It’s still warm…interesting texture…pungent aroma…can’t quite place it. Taste always tells more…yuck! That’s horrible tasting stuff! Holmes! It’s horse shit!”
“Just as I suspected. It’s all over the streets of London. We’ve got it on our shoes. The killer came from outside of this building!”
“Amazing, Holmes.”
“Of course. Now for the weapon…the fiend! He used a P.T. Barnum fat lady!”
“But, Mister Holmes, how can that be?”
“I propose, constable, that the killer, in his cunningly crafty plan, drugged a very bulky, huge P.T. Barnum fat lady, brought her here, placed the victim’s head between her massive thighs, and in tickling her with a feather, caused her to contract her fleshy legs, thus snapping the victim’s head clean away from the torso.”
“Egad, Holmes! Not the dreaded fat lady cunt snatch!”
“Watson, must you continually utter those ridiculous remarks of astonishment? There should be a great deal of gold or jewels missing from this flat,”
“But, Holmes, look about you. This man obviously was a pauper.”
“A clever ruse to throw us off, Watson.”
“The killer redecorated?”
“The working of an insane mind, Watson. But, he missed one thing. Do you see the opened book across the room?”
“What about it?”
 “A clue, man, a clue. After the attack, the victim must have desperately struggled to reach the book to leave a clue as to the identity of his assailant.”
“Holmes, the wanker’s head was removed. Wouldn’t that be difficult for him?”
“Yes, Watson. Such determination is to be admired. Aha! Nothing is marked on the pages to which the book is opened. So, the book, itself, being opened is the clue. Opened? Opened? I’ve got it! Watson, what else is opened?”
“The door to your room at the asylum, I hope.”
“Yes, Doctor Watson. And ‘door’ rhymes with ‘stevedore’. Stevedores load trunks onto ships. Trunks are also found on elephants. Elephants live in Africa. Africa has jungles. Jungles have pygmies. Watson, do you see?”
“No, but I haven’t been smoking the same thing you have.”
“He’s telling us that the killer was a small man.”

Knock, knock

“Hello, what’s all this?”
“Mister Holmes, this is Mister Angus, he collects the rent in this building.”
“Thank you, constable. Mister Angus, you appear to be a small, putrid, cream puff of a man. What’s your business here?”
“What? You can’t hear? I collect the rent. My uncle owns this boarding house. Inherited it, he did, before I was born.”
“There, constable, that’s your man!”
“How’s that, Mister Holmes?”
“It’s all clear as a cow pie in Hereford. Gentlemen we have uncovered a diabolical plan for murder.  Mister Angus arranged for his uncle to inherit this building before his birth, which allowed him to secure the position of rent collector avoiding undue notice, knowing that, one day, his intended victim would be hauling treasure into this very room. What say you to that, Mister Angus?”
“Go stuff yourself! It’s all lies! Lies!”
“Proof positive! The first sign of guilt within a sick mind is denial! Your denial has sealed your doom, Mister Angus. Justice will be served. Constable, take him away!”
“Thank you, Mister Holmes. With evidence as strong as what you’ve given us, he’ll be hanged, without need of a trial, within the hour.”
“Another crime solved, eh Holmes?”
“It feels good, doesn’t it, Watson? It’s starting to rain. We forgot an umbrella.”
“Maybe there’s one in the closet. What? Holmes! There’s a rather large man, covered with blood, in the closet. He has a meat cleaver in one hand and a head, recently severed at the neck in the other. My good man, what are you doing in there?”
“I chopped the bloke’s ‘ead off. I like killing, I do. Kills them where I finds them.”
“Holmes!  Here is the murderer, not Mister Angus!”
“Nonsense, Watson. The poor fellow probably just wandered into that closet by mistake.”
“Holmes, you egotistical fruitcake! They’re going to hang an innocent man. We must tell the police that we were wrong!”
“Steady on, old thing. We could NEVER do that.”
“And, pray tell why not, Holmes?”
“Elementary my dear Watson. To admit we were wrong would be….damned un-British.”
“I say, Holmes! I hadn’t thought of that. You’re right, again.”
“Rue Britannia, Watson.”
“Rue Britannia, Holmes.”
“Now, let’s go do those tarts.”

Anthony Dirk Ray

Road Dog

John was an over the road truck driver. He had a wife of 15 years named Kim. He would be at home one week out of the month on average. Kim worked part time as a receptionist at the Douglas Firm, and as a server on weekend nights at The Starry Eye Saloon. When they first got married, it was difficult for John to leave out on a run; but now, it’s as if he couldn’t wait to get back on the road. That’s when Kim decided to take a job waitressing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at the town’s most popular strip club. 

Kim was getting ready to go into work at the club on a Friday night when she called John. 

He answered in an annoyed tone, as if he was being bothered, “Hello?” 

“Wow, you answered.” 

“Yeah, I’m about to lay down. What’s up?”

“Just wanted to talk to you for a minute before I go in. Where are you at now?”

“Huh? Yeah, umm, I’m outside of Dallas. I have a few stops out here and a few in the city, then I’ll be headed west.”

“Well, okay. The club job is paying well, but Jim is still flirting with me.”

There was silence, and Kim swore that she heard a female’s voice and giggling.

“Hello?” Kim said, in an agitated yet concerned tone.

“Umm, yeah, I’m here. Sorry. What did you say?”

“Jim keeps saying I’m wasting my talents waitressing. That I should be stripping. He said I have too good of a body not to. It’s making me feel uncomfortable.”

“Look, if he thinks you have what it takes, I say go for it. We could use the extra money. But don’t do anything to jeopardize the job you have now. Jesus, Kim. Do I have to hold your goddamn hand through this too?”

“It’s just that I don’t….”

“I need to get some sleep. I’ll call you in a day or two,” he interrupted.

John hung up the phone, laid back on the pillows in his sleeper, and continued getting what was said would be, ‘the best head outside of Dallas’. At that moment, John could not argue with such pristine logic. She was good. Hell, she ought to be, John thought. She’s had enough practice. Plus, the missing teeth never hurt. He worked one up, and blew it right to the back of her throat. John gave her the twenty dollars she requested, and a beer for the road to cleanse her palate. 

Kim was having a rough night. There was a feature dancer in town from Dallas, and the club was packed with horny guys with big cowboy hats and even bigger belt buckles. She was running from the bar to the stage, back to the bar, and to the private rooms all night. A fella named Jimbo in one of the private rooms offered her $1000 to go home with him, which she kindly declined. Kim knew that her relationship was probably past mending, but she wasn’t going to be the villain in this movie. 

She was out back on her only break of the night smoking a cigarette, when the feature dancer came out and asked her for a light. The two chatted while they smoked. Kim envied her confidence, and the dancer’s curvaceous body made her slightly jealous. The subject of home life and men came up. The dancer told Kim that she traveled so much, that having a normal relationship was out of the question. Kim spoke of John, and how he was hardly ever home. She opened up about his infidelity as well, and the two verbally crucified the trucker. Kim returned to the grind, and the dancer to grinding.

John woke and made the few pickups outside the city and headed to bustling Dallas. He had been there before, and absolutely detested the traffic. John inched and weaved through a web of highways and exits, and made all of his pickups by 6 p.m. He was ready for a shower and a six pack. He had a long haul ahead of him to California. John liked the girls at the truck stops in California. He thought about all the good times he had with the Mexican girls out there. He hoped that he could find his favorite though. She was a stacked black girl, with big tits and a huge ass, that he had seen a couple of times in the past. John loved her enormous ass, and how it completely engulfed his cock in the reverse cowgirl position. He was getting hard just thinking about it.

John pulled into the truck stop around 7 p.m. It was packed, but he finally found a spot near the back. He got his change of clothes, wallet, and toiletries, and headed to the showers. After his shower, he got dressed and went into the main store area to get him some beer. John wanted nothing more than to down a few brews and pass out watching his Gunsmoke DVD.

As he headed to pay for the beer, a sexy blonde in a summer dress caught his eye. She was looking at the roadmap section near the register. While he was in line, they made eye contact a few times and John made his way toward her.

“Well, hey there cutie. You’re looking for a map I see. Are you and your husband lost?”

“Oh, no. I’m not lost. I have GPS on my phone, I’m just looking at these brochures of attractions and places to see nearby. I’m just casually making my way to my sister’s place in Arizona. I haven’t had the problem of a husband in quite some time. Thank God.”

They both laugh and continue small talk about the weather, how terrible fast food is, and the huge statue of a weiner out by the road. John wanted to make a dick joke then, but thought it would be inappropriate, so he put a kibosh on that. She surprised him, when she said, “If you have even half of that, then I’m going with you.”

John gave her a devilishly carnal grin, and said, “You might just have to find out. Hell, what’s your name?”

“Sorry, I’m Liza,” she said, as she extended her hand toward John.

He took her hand in his and said, “Liza. That’s a beautiful name.”

John held her delicate hand and could not get over how soft it was. He looked down at her perfectly painted nails and back up at her flawless smiling face and said, “Hell, Liza. I have all this beer to drink, and no one to drink it with. Would you like to have a few with me and continue this?”

Liza looked around as if she was contemplating saying no, but with a burst of exuberance, she said, “Get that pint of Jack Daniel’s there, and you have yourself a drinking buddy.”

John got a fifth of Jack and they headed to his truck. John walked behind Liza and watched her ass sway with every stride she took. He stared at her sexy golden legs. Her sun-kissed skin shimmered in the brightness of the store’s large overhead lights on poles. John was used to the company of average to below average women, but Liza was leaps and bounds above them all, and most of all, she wasn’t a lot lizard.

They arrived at the truck and John unlocked it and got in. He grabbed her hand to help her up, and couldn’t help but notice the absence of a bra. Her sundress scrunched up in the front, exposing her exquisite, bronzed breasts. Once inside, John showed her around his tiny, traveling apartment. She told him it was quaint and homey. John opened them both a beer and poured some whiskey in his coffee mug. They drank and talked about John’s job, his life on the road, and his failing marriage. John found it easy to talk to Liza. He thought, she’s a beautiful woman, and she actually listens to me.

With the fifth about half empty, Liza turned to John and said, “This whiskey is making me hot.”

“You want me to turn down the a.c. a little?”

“No, that’s alright. I know what I’ll do.”

Liza stood as best as she could in the tiny space, pulled her sundress up over her head and tossed it at John.

“There. That’s better. You don’t mind do you?”

John looked up and down the sexy, bronzed female form in front of him and said, “Hell no. Not at all. Mind if I join you?”

“I was kinda hoping you would. Here let me help.”

Liza moved close to John on the tiny twin bed and began undressing him. As she unbuttoned each button on his shirt, she would kiss from his neck and down his chest. She pulled his pants down and continued her kisses downward. John laid back and Liza bobbed and licked. She crawled up toward him and mounted. Liza’s warm wetness enveloped him completely as she took him all in.

Afterwards they laid there, sweaty and exhausted. He told her to stay with him for the night, and in the morning, he would get her contact info so he could keep in touch with her.

When John woke the next morning Liza was gone. He figured she’d just gone inside to get some coffee. He noticed a piece of paper with some writing on it, and hoped she left her number for him. John wiped the sleep from his eyes, picked up the paper and read it.

John, I had a blast last night. Thanks for the drinks. Jack makes me a little wild, so sorry if I hurt you. I have to confess that our meeting wasn’t as random as you may have thought. My dancer friend told me about you. She let me know where you would be, and said that I should show you a good time. I sure hope you enjoyed yourself.

P.S. Your wife wants a divorce. Also, you should never judge a book by its cover. You might want to go get tested. Liza

Hank Kirton

Lydia and the Cluttered Yard

Lydia and I secretly dropped acid on the way to Paragon Park which was an amusement park in Hull, Massachusetts. It’s long gone now. Lydia and I were in the marching band together. She played the flute, beautifully, and I beat the bass drum like a caveman. The whole band got excused from regular classes to spend the day at the park, so in that sense it was a field trip. Lydia and I had already tried acid and we both found it fun. It was a fun trip, exploring our minds in a dazzling new way. Our hallucinations matched; watching things soften and melt, shooting moondrops from our fingernails, etc. The idea was to merge two fun things into one BIG FUN. It seemed like a sensible plan. But when we got to the park and the acid lit up our brains we grew nervous and the two funs conflicted with each other. We were afraid to go on the rides. The crowds grew monstrous. The funs cancelled each other out and we were anxious to go home and let things wear off. The bus ride back felt like a slow-motion emergency.

Lydia’s family moved away the next year and I never heard from her again. I don’t even remember her last name.

There was a long circuitous road in my hometown called Ichabod Lane (yes, really). 27 Ichabod Lane was an old dump of a house that was rotting apart. It had peeling tar paper on the sides and windows with broken, patched-up panes. I always wanted to take a picture of that house because of the stuff in front of it. There was so much furniture in the yard. Enough for three houses. Bureaus and tables. A bed with a sodden, ruptured mattress. A tipped-over stove. A bathtub filled with rusted car parts. A rusted car. That yard went on and on in its strange way.  Crowded and loud and teeming with chaos and confusion.

I never did get around to taking a picture of it and eventually the yard was cleared and cleaned up and the house was torn down. By then it was too late. Today it’s a vacant lot.

Nowadays people take pictures all the time but I never did and still don’t. I’m keeping my yard clean.

***

From: Everything Dissolves

Ralph Benton

Spring Cleaning

He woke to the stench of vomit. The stink made him sick all over again. He barely managed to get his head over the side of the sofa before his guts churned and heaved and twisted. His stomach was empty, of course, so all he could do was spasm uselessly and bring up clear yellow bile and spit. This went on for several minutes.

He wiped his mouth on the cushion, then lay back and breathed. His whole torso ached with the effort. He blinked at the ceiling. How could his gut burn so badly? Ulcers were for middle-aged suits, not dudes like him.

This has to stop. It has to.

He rolled over, sat up on the sofa, and took a deep breath. His nose filled with the smell from the pail on the floor. The deep, musty funk of the sofa, his sheetless bed for the last nine months. There was something rancid in the sink he hadn’t wanted to look at for at least three days. And his own self. His own bitter, acrid stink. He didn’t move for a long time. At least he wasn’t spinning. That was the worst. He opened his eyes and looked at the coffee table.

Sometime last night Billy’s dip cup had spilled, and foul black saliva was drying on the cracked glass. Empty cans of Bud Light, an empty fifth of Fireball, and two empty plastic bottles of Popov vodka, the cheapest stuff they could find. When did Billy leave? Two? Four? No idea. He had a vague memory of the two of them on the sofa, staring at some titty flick on mute, drinking vodka out of coffee mugs.

He found the remote between the sticky pillows of the sofa, but the TV wouldn’t come on. What the fuck. No TV? It was Sunday, at least let him watch some football. The little blue light stubbornly refused to illuminate. He tossed the remote across the sofa.

He decided to risk standing up. If he stood too fast he might black out. Or throw up. He put his hands on his knees and levered himself upright. Slowly. Not so bad. He had to empty the pail or he’d lose it again. He picked it up with one hand and held it as far from his face as he could. Head turned, he made for the bathroom. Just dump it down the drain, wash it out, you’re good to go. You got this.

He put his bare foot in a puddle of Bud Light or piss or something, and sprawled. The bucket bounced and spilled. Fuck me. Fuck. Me. He lay there. When did this become his life, lying on the floor of a filthy bathroom, watching a yellow puddle spread across the floor? He stood up, careful to avoid the now-mingled fluids, and closed the door. He went to the kitchen and pissed in the sink. Maybe this will kill whatever’s living in there.

He looked down at his bare torso, the sparse hairs, the scabs and pimples. So white. Like those cave animals in that video. Eighth grade? When he sat next to Monica Tullerio, and tried to peek down her shirt when he stood up. “Jesus, Todd, how about just one day without you eyeballing me, huh, can you go one fucking day?” He laughed it off, but didn’t look again all semester.

From eighth grade to now, and still a nasty little piece of shit. Self-loathing and rage swirled into the hangover headache and made his brain shriek. He grabbed his head with both hands and tried to squeeze his skull into a little ball, because somehow that made it feel better.

He let go to pound his fist on the sticky kitchen counter. He had to change. Make his life different. Please. He looked around his apartment.

The garbage can was filled to overflowing, because of course it was. He found trash bags in the pantry. Cleo had bought those months ago, but she didn’t come over anymore. He jammed everything he could find into the bags. Beer cans, cups, the dishes in the sink. He got an old t-shirt and wiped up the vomit and threw that away. He made three trips to the dumpster. The work gradually burned through the headache. Damn it felt good. 

After hours of work the place didn’t smell as bad, especially since he had opened the window. The TV flickered with football once he figured out that the remote’s signal had been blocked by a beer can. Like a goddamned rocket scientist.

But most of all, the booze was gone. Right? That was the important part. Some nagging part of him that didn’t trust him – Cleo? his mother? – told him to look again and make sure.

He opened the freezer door. A Popov bottle lay on its side. What was it doing in the freezer? He rewound the clip in his mind from when he cleared the coffee table. All the bottles were empty, weren’t they? No, not all. This one still had a couple of fingers left. He couldn’t remember what happened next, but he must have put the bottle in the freezer. He turned the bottle to the light. The clear liquid, now icy cold, oozed and flowed, more like oil than water. Why had he kept it?

It didn’t matter what he thought an hour ago, now he was cleaning! Spring cleaning his life. Unscrew the top, tilt it over the sink. No, scratch that. Start the water running first, so he wouldn’t smell the booze when he emptied the bottle. The smell might make him throw up. Or want one. Just one. To take the edge off.

He stood there with the bottle poised over the sink. Christ, he had heard of this. Alcoholics, real alcoholics, with a bottle of vodka stashed by their bed. Yes, vodka, probably Popov. For when the withdrawal kicked in and woke them up in the middle of the night.

When was the last time he was sober? Not buzzed, not drunk, not hungover, just… sober? Three weeks? No, longer than that. One of his dates with Cleo. Yeah, about a month ago, right? Yeah.

No.

He always had a couple before he saw her. Steady his nerves. Settle him down. He didn’t want her to think he was weird.

So how long had it been? Months? This year? Had he been sober just one day this whole goddamn year?

The bottle trembled in his grip. He knew what would fix that. Just one. The last one, for a while. Just have one, then dry out for a bit. Lots of guys did that. Billy, even Billy went sober for three months, last year, right? Court-ordered, maybe, but still.

Just one.

And then he was pouring it down the sink. Like it was nothing! His hand still shook, but now with relief. He breathed into his hand and sniffed it, just to make sure he hadn’t accidentally taken a drink without knowing it. Clean. He was clean. Sober. And hungry!

He knew the fridge was empty. He went through the pockets of his jeans. He found a twenty and some ones. He walked over to the Perfect Market. It wasn’t cheap, none of these Whole Foods knock-offs were, but they made good sandwiches and hipster mac-and-cheese.

He walked inside and grabbed a basket. A pyramid of yellow-green apples greeted him. “Why, hello there apples, I believe I will.” He made a show of selecting one and placed it in his basket. Yoga Pants Girl smiled at his silliness as she stacked tomatoes with a practiced hand. He smiled back, then became intensely aware of his mouth. How long since he had brushed his teeth? He found the Personal Care aisle and dropped a toothbrush and some toothpaste made by a farmer in Maine in the basket.

He didn’t look as he passed the Liquor and Wine aisle. He made an extra turn to avoid the Cold Beer! cooler. Not today, not today, not today. Maybe not ever.

Beard-Net Deli Guy made him a Reuben, an honest-to-god Reuben. Just like his dad used to make on Sunday afternoons. How long ago had that been?

It all starts fresh today.

He dropped his basket on the conveyor belt.

“Hey, Todd, isn’t it? How you doing?”

John, the checker, gave him a smile. An older guy, but friendly, always friendly. 

“Yeah man, I’m good, I’m good. Kinda, starting fresh today, you know what I mean?”

“Fresh, that’s always good.” John flicked open a paper bag. “Maybe you’ll get laid, huh?”

“Aw man, one thing at a time. But thanks!” It felt good to talk to someone. Someone sober.

“Let’s see, comes to $24.81.”

He dug into his jeans and pulled up his cash.

“Twenty-four, huh, I didn’t think I had spent that much.” He was counting out the ones.

“Yeah, adds up quick, that’s for sure. Even with my discount I can’t shop here. How much you got?”

“Uh, twenty-three.” Jesus, what the fuck was this? A sandwich, an apple, and some toothpaste? “What can I put back?”

“Well, that apple would do it. Or the booze.”

“The what?” His vision flickered. He hadn’t picked up any booze.

John reached into the bag and pulled out the pint of Popov. “Four bucks, with the tax.”

His tongue had gone dry so fast it was hard to speak.

“I didn’t put that in my basket! I didn’t! I’m, I’m sober. Yeah, I’m sober!”

John looked at him and shrugged. “Suits me, man, you do you.” He stuck the bottle in the returns bin.

“Wait.” His apartment, empty. Football tonight. Maybe he’d text Cleo. Cleo. He didn’t want to act weird around Cleo.

He pulled the apple out of the bag. “Put this back instead.”

Anthony Dirk Ray

A Deep Hate

Richard and Bob finished a grueling, sun-baked, slave laboring day on the job and headed to their after work watering hole. Bob would always say that whiskey and beer is the best medicine to get the taste of the day out of your mouth. They pulled on the small, nondescript pub door and it was locked. Richard pointed out a sign that read…

To our loyal customers who know Billy like family:

We regret to inform you that Billy has suffered a major heart attack. Bill’s Swill and Fill will be closed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience. The family has set up a GoFundMe account for any donations for his medical treatment. Please call Debra at the bar’s number for the info, as the phones are now forwarded to her. Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to serving you in the future.

“Well fuck,” Bob squawked. “What the shit are we gonna do now? I don’t want to go home and drink. The old lady and those screaming bastards are there.”

Richard, the brains of the two, said, “Just hold on man. I’m thinking.”

Richard pulled his phone out and typed, ‘bars near me’. A plethora of options appeared, with only a few within 5 miles. He scoured the listings near the top and said,

“Bingo.  Todd’s Place is only a mile away. It says that they have beer specials and their happy hour doesn’t stop until 7 p.m. I say we go there. Whatcha say?”

Bob looked at him with wide eyes and exalted,

“Shit, all beer is special to me, and if I’m drinkin, then I’m happy. Let’s go.”

They each pulled up to Todd’s Place. It was a fairly unremarkable establishment on the edge of town with hardly any cars out front. The two headed in. When they opened the doors, classic rock was playing and a haggard blonde woman was tending the bar. They took a couple of empty stools and asked about the specials that were advertised on the internet. She gave some spiel about all their beer being fresh and cheap. They ordered a pitcher of draft and started in on it. Looking around, they noticed a few men sitting by themselves at the bar, a man and woman in a booth snuggling, and two guys sitting fairly close on the opposite bar. Bob was the first to speak up and said,

“Looks like we gotta coupla blades over there.”

“Blades?” inquired Richard.

“Gay blades.”

“Don’t let them bother you Bob. Just drink your beer. Hell, I thought you were supposed to be happy. Let them be.”

“Look at them all cozied up to one another. Laughin and whisperin like some fairies. Makes me fuckin sick.”

“Stop Bob. There ain’t no need for that. Just drink up man. What’s your thoughts about Jimmy getting to run the 300 ton crane? Think he deserves it?”

Bob didn’t acknowledge Richard’s attempt to change the subject. He just kept downing pint glasses and looking at the two across from him. Richard couldn’t understand why Bob was getting so agitated. The two of them sat in silence for another fifteen minutes until Richard said,

“Hell man. I’ve had my fill. Let’s get home. You ready?”

“Naw. I ain’t done here. I got some drinkin to do.”

“You should probably leave with me man.”

“I said I ain’t done drinkin. Leave if you want to leave. I’ll seeya at work tomorrow.”

Richard hesitantly left. Bob continued stewing and slugging away at his beer. Another twenty minutes passed and Bob’s pitcher was drained. The worn blonde asked about a refill, but Bob told her that he was good. The two guys opposite to Bob paid their tab and got up to leave. Bob quickly got the attention of the disheveled blonde and paid as well. He was probably ten steps behind the two of them as they walked hand in hand, slightly stumbling, headed to their car.

“Hey queers!” Bob yelled at them from behind.

“Fuck you old man,” one of them said as he turned to face Bob. 

“Let’s just go. He’s just a dumbass drunk,” said the other, trying to pull him back by his arm.

Bob saw red and was on them both, punching, kicking, and spitting in rage. When he emerged from his frenzy, he was left standing over two bodies, both of them bloodied and bashed upon the concrete. He wasn’t even sure if they were still breathing, but he wasn’t sticking around to find out.

Once back at home, Bob washed the blood from his hands, got a beer from the fridge, and sat in silence for about ten minutes, contemplating the previous events. He walked to the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. He absolutely loathed what he saw. He couldn’t believe what he’d just done. Tears began to well up in his eyes. 

He then unlaced the tops of his work boots, just enough to remove them, and took off his faded flannel shirt, worn blue jeans, and dingy white socks. 

He left on the red lace thong, however. He loved how the little frilly edges tickled his ass cheeks, and how the middle string secured the buttplug in between. 

James Burr

Gimp World

It was three months into the global pandemic when the gimps emerged, dazed and blinking, from their dungeon-bunkers. Protected from the deadly virus by head-to-toe latex, air filtered through plastic ball gags, they stared at the derelict tower blocks stabbing the grey sky like scalpels as litter skated down the empty streets, forming drifts under abandoned cars. Contaminated rain drizzled from the overcast sky, flowing in rivulets over their rubber sheaths.

Unaware of the global apocalypse until their Mistress had disappeared and stopped feeding them, the Dom gimps had for a while survived by feeding on the Sub gimps, who eagerly proffered bodyparts to them to consume, engorged genitals straining against their shiny gussets, as the Doms took razor blades to their excited, quivering flesh. But as the weeks had passed, even the Doms could see that the increasingly emaciated and diminishing Subs were not a long-term solution, so they took the decision to investigate the viral wasteland above.

There was precious little food at first – the deserted supermarkets having been ransacked by the normie survivors during the initial outbreak. Indeed, for a while it seemed as if the gimps would also starve away, fading into the past leaving nothing but leather and PVC-clad skeletons as a memorial to their passing. Occasionally, they fended off starvation by discovering small groups of adult-babies, unattended and abandoned within their playpens, and feeding on their milky meat. But once their nurseries were exposed to the contaminated outside air, the adult-babies were quickly infected and their meat spoiled.

But then, when all seemed hopeless and lost, they discovered a group of Furries, like themselves protected from contagion by their multi-coloured pelts and grinning-animal masks. It was a simple matter to corral the Furries and within weeks, the gimps had established Furry farms where the Furries would frolic and mate all day before being lead to slaughterhouses for humane destruction and processing.

With the need for shelter and food now satisfied, gimp society seamlessly organised itself into an efficient, functioning culture far superior to any previously imagined. The Doms gave orders, with an energy that mere competence or inclination could never match, while the Subs acted on those orders, with a sexual eagerness that far surpassed that of anyone who begrudgingly worked for mere wages or status. Gimp civilisation, well fed and efficient, prospered and soon their numbers swelled. But here again, there were inevitable advantages to their culture. Costly education was no longer necessary as all the child-gimps needed to know, sat in their classrooms, row after row of PVC hoods listening to their teacher, was that Doms said what to do and Subs simply obeyed. Similarly crime was non-existent, as Subs did what they were told with a feverish sexual excitement, and if one of them did not do so, then they were clearly a Dom and so a new role was allocated to them.

And so the gimp-settlements prospered and flourished until such point as they grew so much that their borders started to encroach on the boundaries of other surviving gimp groups. The Doms of both sides, accustomed as they were to barking commands that were instantly obeyed, were appallingly ill-suited to dealing with others who did not share their desires and who were similarly ill-equipped for diplomacy. Thus, it was almost inevitable that these disagreements, with opposing sets of Doms futilely screaming commands at each other, rapidly escalated into all-out war.

So it was that the various mighty gimp-factions met in an abandoned and overgrown sports stadium to finally settle their differences. Yet as the various armies clashed, it soon became apparent that while the various Subs were fearless (indeed, they obeyed all orders without hesitation and rushed eagerly towards the enemy not only unafraid of harm but actively seeking it), they were uniquely ill-suited to combat. As the various groups met on the battlefield, waving oversized dildos and oiled paddle boards at each other, it soon became apparent that far from smiting the opposing forces, they would instead offer themselves to the enemy, salivating under their masks as they awaited pain and punishment from their foes. Ultimately all sides simply ended up proffering their buttocks to the other, occasionally nudging into them in vain attempts to spur them into action, eventually rolling around on top of each other in attempts to get inadvertently beaten or accidentally penetrated by an oversized rubber phallus.

After a few farcical battles of such embarrassing scope, the various Doms decided that it would all be in their best interests if they simply ignored each other, so treaties were drawn up and new borders established, the boundaries to their respective territories guarded by a specialist force of gimps who would patrol the edges of their territory on Brony-back, their muscular steeds carrying them across their lands on magenta and lilac glittered hooves.

And so, as the years passed, gimp society prospered until one day during the reign of Mistress Natasha Paine II, a Brony patrol came across a group of emaciated normies, recently emerged from their concrete bunkers, the withered, aging remains of a ruling caste from a past age. As was their way, the gimps left them to their own devices, but they watched them from afar as they tried to survive in this new world. They saw how some gave commands but were plagued by self-doubt and insecurities while others sought power over others who in turn chafed under such authority and plotted against them. They saw how factions would form and weak leaders would be killed or tyrannical leaders deposed only to be replaced by others who promised a new way of life which other groups found unacceptable, groups who would then revolt before setting up their own short-lived regimes. Within months the group of survivors had exterminated themselves in a whirlwind of individualism and self-interest, while their own gimp-culture continued to prosper and grow.

And so it was the gimps surveyed the death of the last normie through featureless masks and returned to their own affairs, looking proudly on the world they had built.

And they smiled with zippered mouths as the Geeks had truly inherited the Earth.

Hank Kirton

The Waitress and the Snake

Dawn. Sitting down to breakfast at The Happy Diner for the first time, eating greasy eggs and ham. As usual, I am alone and slightly high. I don’t know why I mix cannabis and caffeine. I get jumpy and my thoughts turn sour. On the other hand, I haven’t had a drink in over a year, thanks to coffee, weed and cigarettes. Technically I’m not sober, yet I am. Ativan helps too. I drop acid on the weekends just to flush out the Jung.

My waitress (nametag: Bernice) looks haggard and worn, but there’s beauty there too. She looks like Charlotte Rampling after a near-toxic bender. I know just from looking at her that she’s dealing with a bad hangover. Drunk sick. Serious soaks can recognize each other. It’s a psychic bond among lushes. I’ve seen the world through the look in her eyes. I can tell reality is hurting her right now. Her service suffers (I have to hunt her down for the check after thirty missing minutes) but I try to be polite and nice and when I leave, I leave behind a generous tip (25%). I want to give her encouraging words. I wish I could slip her a nip to help get her through the misery of her shift. I have dealt with the same agony she’s dealing with countless times. My compassion is hard won. But she’s tough. She’ll make it through. Not all of us do.

I walk home silently reciting a prayer to protect me from the passing cars. There is no sidewalk. I’m on the street, risking my life for a shitty breakfast.

The litter on the side of the street reminds me of my dissipated history: empty nips, beer cans, cigarette butts. I used to drink and drive like a pastime. Just cruising and listening to sad songs on the radio. I finally lost my license and I don’t want it back.

Halfway to my apartment I am confronted by a dead snake. It is a marvelous specimen. It’s a black rat snake (pantherophis obsoletus), big. It had been a powerful predator but it will slither no more. And then I’m struck by an idea. I crouch down and insert the tail into its mouth, making a loop like it’s eating itself. Like an ouroboros. The next person will come upon it and wonder. Maybe the waitress will find it. Maybe it’ll inspire something. I head home.

***

From: Everything Dissolves

Jeffrey Zable

One Time With Jim

“Jim,” I said, “what possessed you to pull out your pecker and wank it in front of all those people?”

To which he responded, “It’s a very fine pecker that has ridden with me on many a storm. That has lit my fire when the sleet of life has chilled my bones. When the back door man has come for me, hatchet in hand, while LA women laughed like hyenas in celluloid nightgowns. And when strange days led me to a spanish caravan on a moonlight drive into hell, I knew that the end was near, and that only by showing what I was made of, would I ultimately get back to the crystal ship and to the lizard king inside. And when people are strange, what choice do we have if we want to survive, and break on through to the other side!”

“Makes perfect sense to me now!” I responded, and handed him back the bottle.

Kelsey Marie Harris

And That is How I Was Reincarnated As a Unicorn

I finally discovered
the end of the rainbow.

I fastened it around my neck
and coaxed the leprechaun
into my chocolate starfish,
creating the perfect storm
of anal rampage and
erotic asphyxiation.

I masturbated
with such rapid force,
the skin from my penis
rubbed off in my hands.
This new element of pain
sent my pleasure sensors
into hyperdrive.

I ventured into a realm
incomprehensible
to mere mortals.
My eyeballs froze and
shattered like ice and
blood spat from my ears.

I reached an orgasm so massive
I spontaneously combusted.
Pink mist and ejaculate
coated the clouds.

Judson Michael Agla

Bastards and Bullshit

The flaws were evident the last time you’d laid out the blue-prints; your numbers won’t change, no matter your rage, your infrastructure had no structure at all, it was crumbling over everyone, showers of proverbial concrete. It was the whipping pole of the meek when the metal meets the meat, and these bricks won’t fucking eat themselves.

The ravens watched as the systems fell apart, talon scratches where they were perched. People were feeling cheated and ass-fucked; nobody wants the goddamn continental breakfast anymore, they want frittatas and they’re willing to kill for the taste of parmesan. Your gears were misaligned and the bolts holding them were cheap, third rate, and cost effective. The whole clusterfuck of bad decisions eventually came to its fruition and took half the city with it; the ravens glided overhead blinded by the shock wave of dust and industry that burst out of your war machine as it imploded on itself.

How do you expect to keep the people subdued; there’s pitch-forks and shovels rising in a dense mist of words like revolution, insurrection and revenge. You’re exposed and weakened; we’ve got the angry masses ready to butcher whoever winds up on the business end of their tomahawks. The ravens watch the macabre massacre; unable to tell the story of the world and how it cleaned itself of all the bastards and their bullshit.