Joseph Farley

The Seat of Power

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew Licht

Lube Job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Huh?”

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

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

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

“Milk out of ‘em…what?”

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

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

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

***

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

“Big tits, that’s our motto!”

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

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

“Show me what I’m supposed to do.”

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

“Mick. Mick Stiff.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a squelching sound.

“Yah! Just in the nick of time!”

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

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

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

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

“Wuh!” she said. “Wuh-uh-uh!”

“Easy, girl.”

“Wuh! Wuh-huh-huh-uh! Nnnnngh—GOD!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mick Stiff vanished in a pink cloud.

***

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

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

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

Matthew Licht

Zoo Tail

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

She headed towards the zoo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least there was no admission charge.

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

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

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

No more zoo trips for me.

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

Wesley Hunt

Loam

The old man, seated in the chair, moves his lips because his hips can’t talk. They’re too old. Too fat. But he doesn’t think she sees him that way. He thinks she sees him as a mystery-father because she’s too young, too stupid, to know otherwise.

Her fingers trace the lip of the glass of the drink he bought her before she sat down next to him and she listens. Her eyes move with his lips and she waits for him to drink before she laughs—a little too hard and a little too loud. He touches her shoulder for emphasis. He wants her tonight, she thinks, naked and splendid.

My husband is a writer, she says.

I’ve never read a book cover to cover.

How did you get so smart?

Television.

She takes a drink and smiles and waits for him to do something daring. Something a man aware of the urgency of death would do. He doesn’t. He thumbs the tumbler in his hands in a way he thinks she may find sexy. She doesn’t. She doesn’t bother to notice because she’s thinking about the audiobook she downloaded last night, and the way it made her feel this morning when her lips felt loamy and hard to chew on. And she’s thinking about her husband and the way his lips felt pressed against her loamy lips when he left for work with a lunch box and tool box in hand—and how they didn’t say anything to each other all morning—not even goodbye, just a peck.

Do you ever feel like you’ve been chewing on dirt since you spoke your first word? she says.

He hasn’t, but, oddly enough his wife had a year or two after they’d first married and has tried to make him understand the feeling ever since.

Are you related to anyone famous?

No, he says, but I’ve been told I look like a young Harrison Ford.

When were you told that? she asks.

When I was much younger and looked like Harrison Ford.

She laughs but doesn’t smile, her eyes focusing on the tumbler in his hands reflecting a silverfish sheen on the crotch of his dress pants as a subtle rainbow.

Are you gay? she asks him.

No, I’m middle aged, and at this point it’s best to dress nice to distract from the fact of my dying.

She thinks he’s witty and she knows he’s read more books than he lets on, but she also knows he’s taken medication to facilitate his sexual performance, and this makes her horny.

Would you fuck me?

Probably.

Would you enjoy it?

Probably.

They’re both quiet for a long time until she laughs softly but with a smile. He places the glass on the bar and readjusts his pants. She traces her finger along the edge of her lip. He motions toward the bartender.

Good.

She leaves without paying. He stays until after they close, and the bartender has to call him a cab.

Brian Rosenberger

Dead Guy in the Basement

Mom willed the house to me. Unexpected.

Ours was a strained relationship. I’d runaway twice before I could legally drive.

My biological Dad was absent more days than Santa Claus and seldom discussed. My few male role models were the dudes Mom dated. Those relationships were short term at best.

Whatever family values I learned came from basic cable TV.

The dead guy, Harold, knew Mom. He never goes into detail.

Judging by the dent in his skull, I figure Harold wronged someone. Mom had a temper. One that I inherited.

How he came to be in the basement, Harold hesitates to discuss.

“Things happen,” he shrugs what is left of his decaying shoulders.

He tell me things – scratch-off lottery numbers, never a big pay-off, but enough to pay the utilities, days to stay home to avoid a traffic accident or being fired from work, dudes not to date again.

On that, he’s been spot on. Imagine that, dating advice from a corpse.

Sometimes I read to Harold. He likes those old detective magazines – stories with titles like “He Strangled Woman with their Panties” or “Nude Model was Too Sexy to Live.”

He likes story time. Me, not as much. I like that Harold enjoys my readings but can’t shake the feeling that maybe Harold’s skull could use another dent.

But then I think about the bills to pay.

Josef Desade

Corpus Dilecti

Shadows flickered across the walls, as the flames protested to the breeze, created by the violent disruption the towel had caused in the air. Teeth chattering, as the ice cold water spiraled slowly down the drain; a slow drip echoing around the small bathroom, as the damp fabric slightly relieved the chill, as she ran it along her backside. Moving closer to the two candles on either side of an ornamental full length mirror, she could see goosebumps along her flesh. They reminded her of an untold story, written in braille, indecipherable without the proper eyes, or lack thereof.

A rivulet of red wax slowly wound its way around the shafts of the candles, as her body blocked out her view of the one that rested behind her; its motion almost phallic in her mind, as she placed the towel onto the toilet, its pink velour in sharp contrast with the ivory porcelain. The scent of disinfectants drifted through the cracks around the wooden door behind her, interweaving with the scent of lilac and jasmine, that wafted from the tub, and for a moment she felt lightheaded as she stepped forward into the light to grip the edge of the sink. She lifted her head slowly, her auburn curls framing her face, so that in the dim light her features seemed to almost blend seamlessly in with the darkness, her eyes gemstones that reflected the fire.

What are you doing…you don’t even know who he is.

Her reflection stared back, a glimmer of doubt in her eyes, as she slowly scanned her body. Her eyes traced scars that ran along her skin, remembrances of the cause of each and every one flirting with her mind. She felt her nipples grow hard, and her gaze fell upon a snakelike design that crisscrossed from one breast to the other. She felt a thrill of pleasure as she ran her fingers across it’s length, the violated flesh glistening like fat on a steak. She closed her eyes, the voice of the author of that story, whispering in her memory.

Such a good girl…

The air around her felt electric, as she picked up a puff that had been dipped in loose powder and began to apply it to her skin. It felt strange on her, as if it were an armor that helped brace her for this, as she took on the pallor of death. She could hear him in the room behind her, preparing the chamber in which she would portray a corpse for his pleasure, as she lined her lips in a crimson shade. It was as if a different person looked back at her, as she analyzed herself in the mirror; exposed, yet hidden by the facade created by the makeup.

How did fate bring me to this moment…in the arms of such a strange vice, that I wonder if I look deathly enough to arouse the passions of a faceless man, who craves the comfort of the grave, over those of the living?

The room behind her had grown as quiet as a crypt, as she gave herself another glance, hoping that she had done a satisfactory job for him. She turned and looked towards the door anxiously, a tremor of fear running through her, as she waited in the oppressing silence that had fallen; broken only by the slow, steady drip of the faucet in the tub.

How did I ever talk myself into such a thing…what if he doesn’t intend me to leave here as anything but what I’m about to portray…

She could feel her nerves getting out of control, as doubts began to voice themselves. A million questions ran through her mind, as she chewed nervously on a fingernail, when the silence was broken by the sound of a fan turning on. She was taken aback by a burst of icy air from the ceiling, as the candles were extinguished, and she found herself in complete darkness, as a forlorn melody began to play in the room outside the door. Grasping at the air in front of her, she stumbled forward until she felt the cracked wood before her, and ran her fingertips carefully down until she found a brass doorknob, that felt frozen to the touch. With a deep breath, she found herself oddly aroused, and with a turn of her wrist, entered the chamber beyond.

The room she found herself in was as cold as a morgue, as she felt a cool breeze being pumped throughout, from ventilation on the ceiling. It was wholly unfurnished, except for a four poster bed, that took up the center of the room, and lay naked, but for a single white sheet. Two candelabras illuminated the bedchamber, and as she padded closer it dawned on her that the bed was composed of blocks of ice, that had taken the place of a mattress, beneath the thin shroud that adorned it.

Her initial response was to flee this scene; to run back to the bathroom and lock the door, she was in over her head. But how could she of come this far, just to retreat like a wounded animal. Rent was due, and without this she would be two months behind, and her landlord was not going to be as forgiving as he was last month. She closed her eyes, and conjured up the image of her past lovers; the beautiful pain of the lash, the exhilaration when she heard them praise her for her submission…the harsh words as they chastised her, that brought her euphoric joy. With a tentative exhalation, she opened her eyes, and slowly walked to the bed that awaited.

Heart racing, she ran her fingertips over the sheet, the ice underneath biting her skin. Heart racing, she lowered herself onto the pedestal, letting out a gasp as her skin came into contact with it. The sheet was hardly protection, and it took her a moment to adjust, before she could stop her chattering teeth. She leaned back, fear gripping her body, as she felt the ice beneath slowly molding to her form. Regaining control over her breathing, she turned her eyes to the ceiling, and was greeted by grotesque visions.

Safe word…safe word!

Her brain screamed at her to end this, as she traced the images painted above her. A devilish scene played out in the heavens, as demons tortured their hapless victims for unspoken crimes. Their blood forming a spiral that wrapped itself towards the edges of the molding, like a river draining out into hundreds of little tributaries. A wave of nausea rippled through her stomach, and she fought back the acidic flow that threatened to scald her throat, as she narrowed her vision to one image on the ceiling.

A pale white figure, bent over on bended knee, its back exposed to the creature that stood over it. The demon held a lash in one hand, and its victims hair in the other, as it looked down upon its handiwork. Four red stripes across the woman’s back, tiger stripes, as she took the punishment meted out, and exposed her frail body to her judge and jury. The demon had long black hair, as it dripped saliva, and more offensive fluids onto her lowered head.

Concentrating on the scene above her, she found her stomach at ease, her breath shallow. She traced the curves on each of the figures, and felt a warmth inside as she immersed her thoughts in the fantasy world inspired by the artist’s hand. The warmth spread throughout her body, and she felt her muscles relax as she sunk into a complacent state of mind, a rush of euphoria consuming her as she closed her eyes. A click echoed throughout the room, and the flames of the candles danced behind her closed lids, as an unseen door opened, and heavy footsteps broke the silence.

Panic overcame her thoughts as the footsteps fell closer, her mind telling her to call an end to this before it was too late. She pictured the fantasy on the ceiling, as she tried to maintain steady shallow breaths, and steeled herself for what was to come. His footsteps seemed massive in the frozen room, commanding. She fought the urge to crack her eyelids just a little bit to take an innocent peek, knowing that if she did it would break his fantasy.

This is just role play…just an act. There is nothing to be afraid of, we negotiated all the terms. The safe word is always there…calm down…it is just the room…just the ambiance of this scene getting to me…breathe…it is all in my head…

She heard his footfalls at the foot of the bed, the scent of hospital disinfectant, and aftershave flooding her senses. A wave of nausea threatened to overtake her, and she focused on her breathing to keep it back; the temptation to peek becoming an urgent need in her thoughts. He had stopped before the bed, his breathing growing heavier, and as she heard his breathing she found it harder to keep her breathing shallow. She felt as if drowning, as she fought the urge to break her role. She could feel her body rebelling, her mind panicking, as she found a pinprick of light on her eyelid and forced all her thoughts towards it.

A heavenly pinprick of light in the darkness, breaking the terror that was trying to force itself into her. For a moment she felt weightless; a free falling body that focused inwards, putting herself into a trance like state, as she felt her yearning to submit begin to take control. The sudden touch of his hand upon her foot, slowly sliding its way up her leg came as a shock to her body, and she twitched, as she heard a noise of disapproval come from the unseen face above her.

Shit, I blew it. Shit…shit…shit…I am such a fuckup…

She held her breath, not daring to move a muscle, as she could feel his eyes analyzing her body. His breathing like a great beast that lurked just beyond vision, prowling the darkness that huddled around her, as it looked for the smallest sign of life. He dropped her ankle against the ice with a hard smack, stars dancing behind her eyelids, as pain rippled throughout her body. She concentrated on the sound of his breathing, as she managed to stay calm. He was moving along the side of the bed, the sickening scent of soap threatening to drown her.

She heard him turn back towards her feet, and quickly took a silent gasp of air. She could feel her heart beating rapidly in her chest, and for a moment she feared that he would hear it. She felt the blood begin to rush to her head; when all of a sudden her body violently spasmed, as he roughly gripped her ankles and threw her legs apart. Her head hit the ice, and for a moment she felt an odd pleasure from the way he had manhandled her, and then she fell into an onyx ocean.

Pulsing..rhythmic waves…strobe light vision…where am I?

The pain felt like hundreds of shards of glass sliding through her face, her body in shock as the cold seeped into her bones; the ice forming a sarcophagus to entomb her in. She fought the urge to blink as she took in her surroundings. She felt a wetness along her skin, traveling from her calf up to the inside of her thigh, as an uneasy pleasure derived from the sensation. The loss of consciousness dawned on her, as she realized that her leg was lifted upon his bulk, and fear overtook her. She parted her lips, intending to yell out the safe word, when his tongue came to its goal. She felt her back slightly arch, as the warmth touched her frozen body; stifling a whimper as she played her part.

It was an accident…I can still move…I’m not really hurt…just a mistake…but…oh…but if it happens again…

The pleasure was overwhelming, as she felt his tongue delving into the depths of her. She involuntarily put her head back, a sleepy smile across her face as he devoured her. She could feel herself wet beneath him, as he forced her other leg onto his shoulder, and lifted her up to the heavens; his nails digging into her soft flesh. She wanted to scream out, but she regained her senses, and resisted the urge.

A corpse wouldn’t do that. Good corpses lay still…corpses don’t feel…corpses don’t feel…corpses don’t feel…

Without warning he dropped her legs, the abrupt impact on the ice causing her ankle to crack.

Corpses don’t feel…

A hand across her throat, the other forcing her leg to the side.

Corpses don’t feel…

A strange mixture of pleasure and agony as she feels him force himself deep inside her.

Corpses don’t…

She felt his fingers tighten around her throat, the world was swimming as she felt his thrusts begin to tear her.

Corpses…

The ice…the damn ice…her vision began to go bright.

Red! Red, red, red!

She gasped the safe word as she struggled to breathe, his hand pressed tightly around her throat. She felt him thrusting harder into her, and she cried out as his hand loosened it’s grip. Gasping, she sucked in as much air as she could, to have it struck right from her as his palm connected with her jaw.

Her vision sparked to life in brilliant hues, and then a rush of reality hit her, as her body contorted. She wished the blow had killed her, as she felt his hand grip her breast, squeezing until she let out a sudden moan of pleasure. Sheer terror, as she began to struggle against him, her icy limbs refusing to cooperate. His hand came down again, the impact causing her head to bounce off the ice, as he grabbed her by the waist, pulled back, and flipped her onto her stomach.

How did I get into this…he is going to kill me…red…red…please don’t kill me…

He knelt between her legs, his hand on her back. The shock of the ice against her breasts caused her to kick her legs wildly. She tried to struggle, but a sudden calmness began to overtake her, as he slid his hand up to her neck; lightly gripping it, as if a collar. She lay still as he forced himself back into her, her head falling limp to the ice, as a silent moan escaped her lips; the only sign a puff of breath. She closed her eyes, the weight of his fingers around her neck causing an unwanted reaction.

Good girls lay still…

The voice thundered out from behind her, as if guidance from the gods. She fought back the urge to moan with every motion of his body, and then opened her eyes. There was something in the shadows…something hidden behind a sinister veil. She tried to ignore the ripples going through her body, as she squinted to see into the gloom.

She began to make out shapes, strange outlines as her eyes adjusted. She could feel his hands grabbing her ass, as her body betrayed her; the spreading warmth melting the ice beneath her. She struggled to keep focus, and then the picture became clear. She let out a scream, her cries bringing him to a frenzy, as she realized what she was seeing. Against the wall, putrid flesh, bits of skeletal material, and decaying eyes that swam in a stew of rot. The girls were lined up, sitting against the wall; their legs spread apart, touching toes. Their necks were bent at unnatural angles, and their mouth, and eyes sewn shut with a thick twine, that was coated in congealed flesh. Their hands had been positioned to cover themselves between the legs, as if in a mock show of the modesty that would of prevented them falling to this fate.

Please..don’t kill me…please I will do anything…corpses don’t feel…corpses don’t feel…

She felt his seed filling her up, as her body spasmed, her mind empty except for the mantra that ran through her head. She heard him let out a cry of ecstasy, but it seemed as if it came from a far away land; as she looked at the ceiling, and the dark fantasies it hid. His weight lifted from her body, as she felt him slide to the edge of the bed, pushing himself to his feet.

Corpses don’t feel…

His hands slid beneath her, lifting her up like a child. She felt her head roll against him.

Corpses don’t feel…

She swam on distant shores, pleasure sweating out of her pores, as the candlelight faded into the darkness.

Corpses don’t feel…

Cold tiles…blood trickling from her nose…her eyes gazing towards another realm.

Corpses don’t feel…

The sound of running water…warmth…comfort.

Corpses don’t feel…

Footsteps fading away. The sharp sound of a bolt sliding into a lock.

Corpses don’t feel…

A smile crept onto her face…she was home…she had found her grave.

Kane Salzer

Ten

The house is an absolute shambles. Unwashed plates and cups lurking just below cold, oily dishwater in the kitchen. The trash needed to be taken out three days ago and I can’t even look at the dirty clothes in the laundry.

It’s so embarrassing, the place is totally unfit for guests and yet here one sits. Anxiety churns my stomach turning coffee and toast into a sour lump. I’m still in my dressing gown!

“This wasn’t as well planned as I had hoped, I’m sorry. You won’t count this against me will you?”

My house guest shakes their head vigorously and I can finally relax.

“Your arrival was a surprise to say the least. I genuinely wasn’t prepared for visitors today, but it’s always lovely when someone drops round so we’ll make do.”

I’m dithering, flustered. Need to pull myself together and focus. Whether I’m ready or not, today is the day.

“Can I tell you something? Something I’ve never told anyone else?”

A quick nod in the affirmative from my guest.

Leaning forward in a conspiratorial manner, my lips barely touching their ear, it’s warm, intimate, almost like a kiss. I whisper “I’ve never killed anyone before, you’re going to be my first.”

All things being equal, they took that revelation much better than expected.

“You’re going to help me work out my modus operandi. Apparently, all serial killers have one. But as yet nothing’s set in stone so I thought I’d put it out to the floor. What do you think it should be?”

As soon as the gag comes off my guest…no, my victim, starts to scream. It’s pretty tedious to be honest. I ‘gently’ remind them it’s a soundproof room. That seems to take the wind out of their sails a bit. Hammers have that affect on people.

“Look, I need be totally candid with you, bargaining’s probably not going to work today. You don’t have anything I want.”

Now come the tears and the bargaining. Why don’t people listen?

“Don’t cry, it makes me uncomfortable.” I have to put their gag back in, the sobbing and screaming are distracting.

My ‘tools’ take some time to lay out. Mostly gardening supplies bulked out with a selection of craft knives and stuff from the kitchen. The time had arrived, nothing would be gained from further delays. And yet I find myself anxious. What if it wasn’t everything I had hoped for? What if I couldn’t go through with it? Humans are very different to neighbourhood cats and dogs. My hands are clammy, stomach in knots.

I give my hands a quick shake and tighten my grip on a pair of secateurs.

“Right. Fine. Ok. Let’s begin.”

“I tell you what, I’ll start slow okay? We’ll start with fingers and count down to zero. Once we get there I’ll do the deed. Does that suit you?”

Laughing self consciously, I realise what I said “Oh, sorry! You’ve got the gag in. I’ll just assume you agree and get on with it.”

In the light, the secateurs gleam dangerously. They make a metallic slicing sound. They were only sharpened a couple of days ago.

Gently I take my victim’s little finger, laying it in the razor caress of the garden shears. I filter out the high pitched whining. There’s no going back now.

“Right then.” I take a deep breath.

“Ten,” snip.

“Nine,” snip.

“Eight,” snip.

“Seven,” snip.

“Six,” snip.

“Five,” snip.

“Four,” snip.

“Three,” snip.

“Two,” snip.

“One,” snip.

“Zero…”

Joseph Farley

New Year’s Eve in Holmesburg

It was New Year’s Eve in Holmesburg. December 31st. Just like any other year a crowd was gathering around the firehouse at Rhawn Street and Frankford Avenue waiting for midnight and the annual dropping of the pants. The pants were old and battered, mostly black with some gray from wear. Any new holes that had grown since last year had been patched for the occasion.

I don’t have documents or other proof, but enough people have said the same to me that I guess it’s true. The pants once belonged to a state assemblyman for the area. He’d been found without his pants on in compromising circumstances, and skipped out the back door of a local row house without them. A firefighter coming home witnessed the embarrassing situation. Considering himself an offended party that firefighter took the pants back to the firehouse where he proceeded to run them up the flagpole. There they flapped in the wind just below our nation’s flag.

As I heard it the assemblyman tried to negotiate the return of his pants or at least his wallet and  belt. He used back channels to avoid more exposure. He’d had enough of that when he ran bare assed from the house, across the street and into Pennypack Park right next to Lincoln High School. He hid there in the bushes until his personal driver came to his rescue.

The firefighters rallied round their offended brother and helped him broker a good bargain. The assemblyman got his wallet and belt, but the station kept the pants. They kept the pants flying until their colleague received compensation for his pain and suffering. Some say this was cash. Some say real estate. Others say it was a promotion and transfer to another firehouse. As it turned out the deal was finalized, so they say, on the last day of December, and the pants came down from the flagpole at midnight.

This is local lore. I can’t vouch for the truth. All I can say is the ceremonial lowering of the pants on New Year’s Eve is a longstanding tradition that had to have gotten started some way.

Children line the avenue as the clock ticks down. Teenagers and adults flow out of the bars to watch. Fireworks, illegal for the most part, are poorly concealed on porches and in driveways waiting to be lit. A pair of firefighters in full regalia, ready for a six alarmer exit the station and walk towards the flagpole. They take hold of the rope and begin to slowly lower the pants. By the time the pants have completely dropped it’s midnight. A new year. Champagne. Beer. Fireworks. And occasion gunfire. That’s what makes the night come alive. Will worry about the dead and wounded in the morning.

There will be partying until daybreak. But not for the pants. The pants are headed to the laundry to be washed, dried, and pressed. They will be stored away until next December 31st, when another crowd will gather to watch the pants descend, and shout “Happy New Year!”

J.R. Pfeiffer

Bonnie and Clyde of the Hawthorne Hotel

The park grass folded with moister and pressed by four bricks of snow. Clyde looked like the park’s frozen statue on a green bench. He store at warm yellow windows of the Hawthorne Hotel. He salivated to eat them like blocks of warm cheese. And his growling stomach tilted the heads of curious crows. He accepted his numb limbs as one would an unhinged heartbeat. You just let the seconds sting your body’s vulnerabilities. He replayed in his mind, several Christmases back; sitting Indian style on a crimson hearth rug at his father’s Victorian house. Having a stomach filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, and red wine. His father landed; suffocating the sofa cushions with his beer belly; than clicked on a N.Y. Giant’s receiver dancing in a white end zone. His body drafted air thick in raw garlic, Merlot, and Old Spice aftershave.

“Dad can you see me?” Clyde said. He panned the black theater of the universe as it trickled snow upon his eyelids. A gust of New England waved the branches and gave the charcoal sky, umber veins. A young lady—blonde, bundled in a swollen pink, walked close. Her irises bounced around blue as the surface of the north Atlantic. She looked at him three times and crunched the fresh snow. “Do you have any food?” she said.

“I’m starving sweetheart,” he said. Clyde stroked the blood-stained knife case that strangled his tube sock. Her face’s beauty stretched his cock’s muscles.

“May I sit?” she said.

“Sure.”

“I’m Bonnie,” she said.

“Pretty,” he said.

The cold green planks stung her tailbone parts not cushioned by fat. She listened to the orchestra of hunger playing in Clyde. Snow trickled like confetti on their tongues as they both squinted towards the empty park. Their aligned heads panned across the untouched blanket of snow.

“How can we eat?” she said. “I had a job walking dogs until a stray dog attacked them. News traveled and I was out of work. The dogs loved me more than their owners. But not the snobby poodles, you know.”

Both looked to the sun—a tone of midnight moon, imprinted on a pond rock sky. They both anchored their faces to look upon each other. Clyde’s eyes: emerald green and empty— empty of creativity. But handsome with a carved wooden face, he pulled up a smile.

“You are not bad looking,” she said.

“You look like Angelina Jolie,” he said.

“If we are so beautiful, why are we going to starve to death?”

A limo rolled the snow lumps behind them. Three windows long, it stopped. The exhaust pipe rattled streams of twirling grays. A tinted reflection blurred their heads like a rattled puddle. Motorized; the window opened down. An older man with a pipe and thick black government glasses said. “What are you two kids doing out here?”

“Freezing our asses off,” Clyde said.

Bonnie elbowed Clyde’s armpit. The brief pain enraged him. Instead of punching her neck; he strangled the green teak—the closest thing.

“We are hungry mister,” she said. Bonnie refolded a creased photograph of a white cat with chilled glass eyes: one blue; one green.

Silence ruled as the endless snow tickled the delicate edges of twigs. The limo ticked and idled. The old man sucked the wood flavored pipe into his saliva. Bonnie studied Clyde’s eyes; they sat in his sockets like two hardened pebbles.

“Buy us dinner?” Clyde said.

“I’m Victor…meet me inside the Hotel,” he said.

The three met in the dining room around a white-clothed table. Bonnie sat next to Clyde and Victor across. The waiter passed long laminated menus out and splashed ice and water into three large wine glasses. “Bread?” he said.

“Two baskets, lots of butter,” Victor said.

“What do you want?” Clyde said.

Victor washed the wood flavor off his tongue crunching an ice cube. The cold burned his upper teeth. “I have a twenty-year-old nephew upstairs: a virgin; I would appreciate it if you could cure him of that.”

“You want her to fuck your nephew over a steak dinner?” Clyde said. “Then toss us back out in the snow?”

Victor swallowed the puzzle of an ice cube. He contemplated them, burying a scowl, like two upright cockroaches polluting his table. His limo driver sat in the distance; an unfolded newspaper on a bar stool by the fireplace. “I will get you a room, next to mine, for entire week, we stay. You, my dear—will fuck my nephew for breakfast and dinner, and you both will be fed. Then; you are back out to freeze to death.”

Clyde palmed Bonnie’s jeaned knee cap. “I will supervise so there is no funny business.”

“I will too,” Victor said.

A black spider the size of a grizzly bear came through the bar door. Naked; furry legged; with still, reflective eyes; it found Clyde. Victor ordered wine as the spider walked to the table. Clyde imagined the insides of the spider’s fuzzy rear-end that tilted towards the ceiling. Clear poison dripped on the carpet under the arachnid’s eyes. The poisonous gloss played Clyde’s portrait like two television sets.

“Rib eye for both my guests, Reynold,” Victor said.

The spider’s black shape morphed into a red pour of Clyde’s glass. His madness cleared like a dissipating fog.

An Armenian in a tight dress shirt wearing a heavy black watch handed Clyde a room key card. “You are in 237 and we are in 238,” Victor said.

Everyone shared an elevator to the sixth floor. Crystal chandeliers and a long-flowered carpet laid a path to Victor’s oak door. Brian, hunched in a Steelers jersey, hammered the buttons on a game controller. “Hey Uncle,” he said.

“Brian this is…,” Victor said. His expression bulged with eyeballs made of ice cream dripping for two quick answers.

“I am Clyde, and this is Bonnie,” Clyde said.

“Undress please,” Victor said. “I’m a busy man and if I’m to support everyone, I must work, haven’t I?”

Bonnie dropped her jaw on Clyde’s blankness. Thanks for standing up for me. She thought.

“You heard the man, sweetheart,” Clyde said.

The three men watched Bonnie’s slim figure climb out of her bundled pink womb to exhibit: a firm ass, a round bubble-butt, a flat-iron stomach, and a large set of swinging tits that glowed as she nested her clothes on a cushioned chair.

“You are the best uncle.”

A 19-year-old erection in a football jersey waddled behind her. He fumbled with a condom and littered the purple wrapper by his feet.

“Whiskey?” Victor said.

“Hell yes,” Clyde said.

Both men sat on the edge of a king mattress and watched Bryan’s pale ass jiggle in the lamp light. In mid thrust, he ripped off his Steelers jersey. He cupped Bonnie’s tits, which suspended a left and right sway. His tongue dropped like a cash register drawer—eyes rolled back like the sun being devoured by a horizon.

“Oh, oh, oh fuck, oh fuck,” Brian said. “Ugh……. fuck, oh, fuck.”

Brian swallowed her strawberry shampoo through his burning lungs as the condom drooped down like a cream filled water balloon.

Bonnie wore the large black spider like erotic lingerie. She turned and its eight legs covered everything but her vagina and breasts. Clyde jabbed Victor’s Adams Apple and splashed his knuckles into the spider’s mirrored eyes. Seamen, flying puddles of whiskey, and two men plopped to the carpet.

“You do this after I was sexually assaulted?” Bonnie asked.

They filled their pockets with watches, folded cash—clipped in gold clips, rings, two leather wallets, and a silver .38 revolver. They bantered.

“You have a very nice ass,” Clyde said.

“Fuck you…and why are they not getting up?” she said.

“I used to box,” he said.

“You wait until after I am…,” she said.

They took the elevator down to the basement. The vast cement floor—empty of furniture, covered in crimson red throw carpets. A micro-library with two lavender sofas—lantern lit up the corner. The sweet odor of bleach tickled Clyde’s nostrils. “This way,” he said.

The laundry room had blue air, rattling cycles, pungent chemicals that sparked the musty gravity.

“The chemical smell and industrial atmosphere makes me horny,” Clyde said.

“So you like cleanliness,” Bonnie said.

They both found a mop room—dim lit by a red bulb. The shelves, jam stocked with blue soap bars wrapped in plastic paper. Clyde’s blood-stained thumb pushed the dead bolt over. He turned to Bonnie and kissed the corner of her frown.

They found a steal pipe ladder; climbed it into the laundry room’s attic. Into a four-foot-high splintered room with ancient plywood. Pink cotton spilled out the walls. The soft odor of bleach streamed up a vent.

“It should be safe here…let’s sleep,” Clyde said.

“Well at least it’s warm,” she said. “What if those thugs find us?”

“I’ll kill them,” he said.

The heat undressed the two of them. Clyde slid the revolver and goods (mowing down splinters) into the dark shapes. Bonnie laid into him with her back turned. Her voice erupted as he took in the cuteness of the back of her ear. It looked like a flower with three freckles. She spoke from her belly with words that tasted rich of strawberry perfume. He placed his rough palm on her thigh.

“I do not think we are bad people,” she said. “We are artists and artists are meant to suffer.” Her feminine voice shook her long body and vibrated the creases in her swan-like neck.

“You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” Clyde said.

“You are too, big boy,” she said.

“I’m am sacred and I want you to be inside of me,” she said.

Clyde peaked down the milky valley of her lower back and ass. His penis–ached–hard as it jabbed her firmness. She felt his masculine stiffness and backed into it. Her insides soaked, he entered. She moaned and started talking.

“I think you are a good man…,” she said.

Clyde’s entire soul politely invaded her. Like a beast and protector looking to find peace with pleasure. They both became one. Clyde sucked on her ear lobe as her voice erupted. Each vowel exhaled: feminine, sweet, vulnerable, with the scent of fresh pruned garden.

“I feel we are one…,” she said.

The vibration of her body and her sweet voice touched Clyde to a point of absurd numbness and electricity. “Oh God,” he said.

Everything that strangled his childish thoughts for most his life, spilled into her. The delicate flooding lasted several seconds. It spilled and splayed warmness that both felt. She leaned into him and both their lips stuck together like stickers.

Clyde rolled over and dusted the splinters off his naked ass. He wobbled to a gunshot hole that trickled in New England’s frost. The winter freshness kissed his eye as he looked yonder. Two lanterns lit a sign of the small-town bank next door.

“What do you see out their love?” she said.

“Get some rest,” he said.