Joseph Farley


I had been working the evening shift for the past month, and I’d just pulled my first double. I was tired, but needed a bite and something to drink. I stopped at Bronk’s Bar on East Allegheny Ave to get an eye opener, or in my case, a sleep aid. The bar also served breakfast. I needed something to eat. Eggs would go fine for dinner.

I was shocked to see Tommy Monaghan sitting at the bar with a shot in front of him. I had known Tommy most of my life. He was never a big drinking man. He was more the religious type. Always had been. Altar boy. Mother’s pride. He could fight, but rarely cursed. Attended mass most mornings before going to his job at Lucky’s Appliances.

So I asked him, “Tommy. What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at Nativity BVM?” Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Catholic church in the heart of Port Richmond.

Tommy looked up from his drink with eyes red and drooping.

“Oh, Jimmy. It’s all changed.”

“What do you mean?”

I thought he meant the liturgy. I don’t go to church much, but when I do I like being able to go through the routine with my eyes closed. It’s jarring when the familiar words aren’t there, a new version of a prayer or ritual. It’s like when they edit scenes from a movie you watched in the past and show it on cable, the now forbidden lines or gestures removed and replaced with a scrubbed script. It’s just not the same.

“We’ve had a falling out. An argument.”

So it wasn’t the liturgy, I thought. His wife must have left him again.

“She’ll come back, Tommy. She always does.”

“It’s not Abigail. We’re doing fine. Patched up our differences. Renewed our vows. It’s God. We’ve had a falling out.”


Maybe it was the liturgy after all. I asked to be sure.

“Did they change something again with the mass?”

“No, it’s not that. It’s much bigger.”

“What, are you an atheist now?”

“No. I could never be an atheist. It’s just that God and I are no longer on speaking terms.”

“How did this happen?” I asked.

Tommy downed his shot.

“It was a week ago. I was on my way to mass, you know, before catching the bus to work. I had this twitch, the kind you can’t resist, and let out a fart. I think nothing of it, then I hear the voice.”

“A voice?”

“Yeah, a voice. Loud and clear. ‘TOMMY. TOMMY MONAGHAN.’ I looked around but didn’t see anyone. Then I heard the voice again. ‘TOMMY MONAGHAN. I’VE BEEN WATCHING YOU.’ I looked around again but still didn’t see anyone.”

“What did you do?”

“I asked, ‘Who are you?’ And the voice said, ‘I AM YOUR LORD, YOUR GOD.’”

“You’re kidding me.”


“Look,” I said, “even I know from parochial school that if a voice says it’s God, it may really be the devil.”

“I know. I know. But St. Thomas Aquinas also taught that if we hear a voice that says it’s God, we have to do what it says if we believe it is God. Or something like that. I can’t remember how Sister Hilda put it. Even so, I asked for proof. The voice showed me visions of my life, secret things, memories I have not shared with anyone.”

“So you believed?”

“I did. I believed and I listened. The voice said, ‘MY CHURCHES ARE EMPTY. MY PEOPLE DO NOT ATTEND MASS. YOU WILL CHANGE THAT.’ So I asked, ‘How can I do that? I am no preacher.’ And God said, ‘WITH THE GIFT I HAVE GIVEN YOU.”

“What gift, Tommy?”

Tommy looked at me with his red eyes, “Just let me finish telling the story. God said ‘THE GIFT YOU SHARED WITH THE WORLD BEFORE I SPOKE.’ So I think, what’s God talking about?”

“Go on,” I said.


“Is this like a new plague?” I asked, sniffing the air.

Tommy’s mouth gaped. “That’s just what I asked God. And you know what He said? ‘ONLY IF YOU TAKE IT THAT WAY.’”

“So, I asked God,” Tommy said, “What about me? Does this mean I will never be able to attend mass again? Surely my farts will follow me there and drive the people out?” And you know what God says? ‘THOU SHALT NOT FART IN CHURCH. IT IS ANATHEMA.’”

“Anathema?” I asked.

“It’s like forbidden,” Tommy explained. “Only more formal. You know. God talk. Something really not nice. Can I continue? I need to tell this to someone.”

“Go ahead, just let me order first.”

Tommy waited while the bartender listened to me ask for a shot and beer and a plate of eggs and bacon. When the bartender went back to the kitchen, Tommy resumed his story.

“So I asked God, ‘Do you mean my stench will turn off in church?’ And God says, real clear and emphatic…”

“Hold on,” I said between bites of bacon. “What does emphatic mean?”

Tommy’s brow wrinkled. “I think it means serious. Serious and loud. That’s how I heard it. So anyway, God says, ‘NO. YOU WILL HAVE TO LEARN TO CONTROL IT IN CHURCH.’ Can you believe it? Who can control that sort of thing? I mean, when it has to come out, it just comes out.”

I drank my beer and set the mug down. “Did you tell God?”, I asked.

“Of course I told him. I said, ‘That seems awfully hard.’ I told him farting is natural, uncontrollable at times. And a fart comes out so much easier when you are relaxed in prayer or mediation.”

“Or while exercising,” I added from experience.

Tommy nodded, then continued with his story.

“But God said, ‘THOU SHALT NOT FART IN CHURCH’. So I ask, ‘Why? I can’t understand it. Farting is common in church. After all, you are relaxed and you’re sitting in your own…’ God interrupted, ‘DON’T SAY IT,’ but I had to. You know how I am. Once I starting talking, I can’t stop until I get what I have to say out of my system.”







“Then God went all fire and brimstone on me, burning bush, pillar of fire, the whole thing. He told me I was no longer his disciple and I was going to Hell. I suffered severe burns and was hospitalized for two days. So, now we’re not speaking anymore.”

“Sounds harsh,” I said, slurping down the last of my eggs.

“It is. It is so hard to be separated from someone you love. And I love God. I really do, but He can be such a jerk sometimes.”

“I hear you.”

“And no sense of humor.”

“Very little, it seems,” I agreed.

Tommy sighed, “I always thought there should be more jokes in the Bible.”

I agreed, and let out a big one. The bartender scowled and propped open the door.

Stray Dogs and Deuces Wild

JSB cover

Stray Dogs and Deuces Wild,
by Judge Santiago Burdon
130 pages

Horror Sleaze Trash proudly presents, Judge Santiago Burdon.

When I first read Burdon’s work I instinctively realised that here was a man who knew the score. That he was not a fake or dilettante. I could feel a bitter, hard-won experience that lay behind every line. These stories are both beautifully written and capture conclusively the humour, excitement, sadness and disappointment of a life lived on the edge. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

—Ian Copestick

Burdon presents a highly amusing collection of bohemian stories from the fringe. He finds literary pearls at the bottom of a dark ocean of smut and sin, propelling us into wild and unhinged terrain in a fashion similar to such luminaries as Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, and Denis Johnson. Buy this book today!

—Matt Nagin

(Review copies available upon request)

Dominic Leah Conda

North Carolina 24/7 Self-Storage

They were eating subs in front of the TV in the main office. It was four in the morning and ninety-degrees outside. Lightning started to flash on the horizon.

“You gonna finish that?” asked Bob.

“Nah, take it,” said Darren.

“Guess what I got?” grinned Bob as he held up a DVD.

“No fucking way.”

“Two bombshell sisters cross the great USA in hopes of acting careers in Hollywood. Their huge, D-cup sized tits and full lips will set your body ab . . . will set your body ab-laze.

Watch them play together in the back seat, as they travel the country, one hitch-hiker at a time. . . What ya say?”

“I say we’re in for one hell of a ride.”

“Pussy, pussy, pussy.”

They put the DVD in but as Darren unbuckled his pants, he turned to look through the massive panel window.

“The fuck was that?” he said.


“A clown just walked by.”


“A clown just fucking walked by. One of those messed up ones, holding fucking balloons.”

They both looked out the window and Bob said, “Do we call the cops?”

Darren rolled the idea around in his head and said, “No. No, we should fuck back with him. Who the fuck does this guy think he is? Like those other assholes from the conservation park the other day.”

“My brother told me about that.”

“No, we should fuck this mother-fucker right up. Go get Mike’s lucky bat.”

“You get so much as a slut’s hair on that and Mike will bust you right through this goddamn window. His dead dad gave him that.”

“It don’t make a difference. I’m gonna sit here and watch the window and you’re gonna go and get the bat.”

Bob went into the backroom and took down the bat from its mantle. He hesitated with it in his hands because he knew how Mike felt about it and how Mike got when he was angry.

In the main room, they saw the killer clown again, totally in black and white, even its balloons. He gave out a wild laugh that they heard faintly through the glass. Bob and Darren looked at each other and then back at the killer clown as he disappeared behind another unit.

“You stay here,” said Darren. “I’m gonna go out the back and after five minutes you come out and start yellin’ that you called the cops.”

“Call the cops now. You can fuck with him while they get here.”

“No, we ain’t doing that. I want to bash this mother-fucker’s lights in and I can’t do that with the cops comin’.”

“Mike will fucking destroy you when he finds out you did it with his lucky bat.”

“Fuck Mike. Mike won’t do anything except thank me on TV for beating the shit out of this guy. This is what these fuckers do. This is what they do all the time. They sit in their day jobs like how you and I do at night, only they don’t jack off to chicks. They jack off to little kids and then they go out dressed like freaks and fuck with little kids. I’m gonna teach this freak a lesson and then the other freaks will know what’s comin’ to ‘em.”

“Fuck, man, just be quick. He comes ‘round one more time with those fucking balloons, I’m callin’.”

Darren went out the back and Bob watched Darren’s reflection go around the corner. He waited five minutes and then went out to stand in front of the office.

“We see you and we’ve called cops! The cops are on their way!” yelled Bob but nothing happened. “The cops have been called and they’re on their way!”

Then a new killer clown, one dressed in all colours, with a hideous grinning face, silently walked past Bob on his right before disappearing behind another unit.

Bob whipped around but there was no one else. Then Darren suddenly screamed and Bob heard a chainsaw come to life. Darren kept at it in high-pitched agony for some time and then stopped. Bob ran over to the more shadowed storage units on his left when he heard another wild but different laugh.

Bob’s mind visibly racing to figure out its next move, he decided to hop the barbed-wire fence and run straight through the open field to the highway. While in-progress though, he noticed his massive gut wouldn’t quite let him do it before his sleeve tore and his feet gave way, making him dangle like a fish.

Then he heard soft footsteps on the gravel.

“Who the fuck is that?” he whispered. “Leave me alone you bastard!”

“The fuck you doing up there, Bob?” said Mike.

“Mike! Oh Jesus, thank God! There are fucking killer clowns runnin’ ‘round the place tonight. I think they fucking did Darren in.”

“What?” Mike whispered.

“I think they –- uh God –- used a chainsaw to hack him to pieces!”

“Jesus Christ . . . and you’re here hopping the fence?”

“We gotta get outta here. I say we make a break for the interstate and hitchhike. We can call the cops with a driver’s cell.”

“I dunno. Doesn’t look like you can make it over the fence. Besides, it’s quiet now, can’t you tell?”

Bob, now listening again, became very afraid.

“Here. Let’s get you down first. Then, tell you what, we’ll sneak ‘round to the front and bolt from there.”

“Sure, yeah, that’s a good idea.”

“If we can, we’ll get back into the office and call from there.”

“Yeah, you can let us in.”

“Probably our safest bet.”

“What about Darren?”

“What about Darren? Thought you said he was dead.”

Bob nodded and together they crept back to the front of the property. Mike looked around the corner and then signalled to Bob to push forward. Mike kept looking around slowly and calmly while Bob’s eyes darted in all directions, ready to bolt at a moment’s notice. When they re-entered the main office, Bob remembered the bat.

“I didn’t touch the bat.”

Mike slowly turned around to look at him.

“I didn’t wanna do it. Darren kept telling me to get it and I kept telling him to leave it the fuck alone.”

“It’s fine, Bob. Wait here while I make the call.” Then walking into the backroom, Mike said, “Don’t forget to lock the door,” and tossed to Bob the keys.

Bob violently nodded and hurried to locked the main office door before waiting for Mike in front of the massive panel window. As he surveyed the rows of storage units, he looked over to his right and figured that’s where Darren’s body was now lying in hacked up pieces. Then it thundered directly overheard even though there was still no sign of rain.

“It’s done. Now we wait.”

Bob jumped as Mike walked back over to join him.

After a while, Bob said, “What ya think they wanted tonight?”

Mike didn’t respond right away but eventually said, “They say those guys just like to fuck around. . . I guess they figured you two were easy targets since there’s no one else on this side of town at night.”

“Sure there is. The lubricant factory down the road never stops for nothin’.”

“That they don’t, and they have cameras just like we do — so I guess I don’t know . . . Maybe they fucked with the guys down the street first.”

“We wouldda heard that.”

“Maybe that’s where they went now.”

Frightened again, Bob said “Do you think they’ll come back?”

“Doesn’t matter now. The cops are coming.”

“Right. Fuck what a night. I was just hoping to jack off and eat my supper.”

“Oh yeah, which DVD?”

Bob pointed to the one on the desk.

“Holy shit, I can’t believe you found that. Vintage.”

“Ol’ lucky Davie’s box.”

“The guy on the south end, the one with the —-”

“Cuban cigars, yeah,” and they laughed.

“Why you would ever mouth fuck one of those things, I dunno.”

“It’s true, so true,” and then they were quiet again.

Bob went back to looking out the window and waiting for the ring that would tell them the cops were there. His mood changed and secretly he started hoping that the killer clowns would show up again.

“Where ya think they came up with this shit?”

“The clowns or the DVD?”

“Those freaks.”

“Probably in their dreams, where they wait for little kids.”

“That’s what Darren said,” said Bob surprised.

“Oh yeah? Well I say he probably was right.”

The phone rang and Mike went to answer it. Relief hit Bob and now he felt sorry for Darren. Then he wondered what cops did with leftover bodies like that.

Mike came back and said, “Time to go.”


“You gonna quit now after this?”

“Nah, was like winning the fucking lottery.”

They laughed and Mike said, “Yeah, I fucking guess so.”

Mike stepped out of the main office and held the door for Bob who happily walked down the steps and waited for Mike to lockup at the bottom. As he turned around, he saw killer clowns silently coming at him from the behind the units on all sides. Each one with a different look. Each one with a different weapon.

At first, too stunned to speak, all he eventually managed to say was, “Mike, get back inside.”

Then he ran back up the stairs until halfway when he noticed Mike grinning down at him.

“The cops ain’t comin’, Bobby.”

Bob, now slowly walking backwards, said, “No?”

Mike shrugged, and said, “No. They told me they didn’t think you two pisspots were worth their time. Rightly so. They’re cops, man. They don’t have time running around saving guys too fat to jump fences. They have little kids to worry about.”

As Mike slowly walked down the stairs, he pushed Bob into the centre of a ring. Then with one hand Mike put on his own killer clown mask but kept his other still behind his back. Bob started to whimper and moan.

“Now what did I tell you two fuckers about my touching my lucky bat?” asked Mike and for the briefest of moments Bob had hope.

“Your dead dad gave it you; I remember.”

“That’s right.”

Joe Prosit


What would you do if you could do whatever you wanted without any repercussions? I can tell you what I’d do. Last week I told off my boss.

Called him a bitch-faced cocksucker who can suck the shit straight from my asshole. He never wrote me up. Never called HR. Nobody was going to fire me. The week before that, I brought a twelve gauge into the local bar and just shot the shit out of everybody there. Not because I didn’t like them. Not because I was angry. Just because I wanted to see what would happen if I did. And it thrilled the hell out of me, turning my local drinking establishment into a level of Grand Theft Auto. We’ve all done that before. Hit the save button in a game and then just went full psycho killer. Only now, RealSim let us do it when and where we lived.

The realism of it all… it was off the fucking charts.

This week, I didn’t know. Maybe I’d steal that shiny Camaro with the big red racing stripes from the local dealership and watch the cops try to catch me in the rearview. Or maybe rob a bank. Or maybe just take a dump right in the middle of Main Street while giving the finger to passing traffic. I could do whatever the fuck I wanted.

Ain’t technology amazing?

I sat at my desk, took a long pull of beer, plugged the VR remote into the base of my neck, and leaned back. The menu came up and I perused what pre-generated options they had to offer:


Settings: Local / Single Player / Private

Select a curated adventure:

Play quarterback for your High School Football Team

Solve a local murder mystery

Parade for you as a returning War Hero

Hunt velicoraptors is your own backyard

Compete for Homecoming King/Queen

Everyone else is a Zombie!

Walk the runway as a fashion model

Drag race through downtown

Free play

RealSim Entertainment Unlimited. All rights reserved. Copyright 2021. Scheduled maintenance 20211026-20211027.

This week, I thought I’d take off the training wheels. I clicked on Free Play.

A flicker. Hardly noticeable. Nothing around me changed. That was how great RealSim was. You hardly noticed when you went in. You couldn’t tell the difference. When I told my boss to press his wrinkled dried up lips around my pulsing asshole, the look on his face was exactly as I imagined it would be. No pixels. No lag. Nothing that would suggest you weren’t actually doing what you were doing in real life. Only you log out, and everything goes back to normal. You’re at your desk, you’ve worked out your frustrations and fantasies, and no one’s hurt. RealSim was totally anonymous. Your boss or your bank or your church couldn’t see what you did. Couldn’t hold you accountable. You just did your thing, got the demons out, logged off and went to work on Monday morning happy, productive, and sober. That movie, The Purge? This was what that was supposed to be.

Coming down the stairs, I threw my bottle of beer against the fridge and watched it shatter and foam. Then I grabbed the bottle of Canadian Club from our liquor cabinet, spun off the cap, and let it spin like a top on the kitchen floor. What did I care? My wife, Anna, wouldn’t have to pick it up. I loved her. I’d never do anything like this in real life, but this was all a game, and god damn if it fun wasn’t to act out.

I burnt the tires of our Hyundai Sonata as I backed out of the garage. I had to turn off the traction control before I could get the tires to slip. That’s how real RealSim was. Attention to detail. That’s what real sold the experience. I downed a quarter of the bottle of whiskey (it burned just like for real) before I put our shitbox four banger in D and peeled out of our neighborhood. Drinking and driving was child’s play compared to drinking while driving.

Maybe I’d knock off the liquor store for some good whiskey. Or maybe I would steal that Camaro after all. Maybe stop off at Bed Bath and Beyond. I didn’t know if there’d be time. I laughed to myself.

I parked the Sonata sideways on the middle of Sixth Street in front of Bulldog’s Bar and Grill. Cars swerved. Brakes screamed. People honked. I gave them all the finger and strode into the bar like a fucking boss. I wanted some good whiskey and maybe some random social interactions. Sure, I could go off on some weird adventure. But sometimes, I was just a man who enjoyed the simpler things in life.

On my way in, Brett Thompson stopped me. Familiar faces were all a part of the fun. After all, what was the point of taking a piss on your church’s front altar if you couldn’t see the look on your pastor’s face when you did it? Anyway, Brett was a local jerkoff father of a friend of my son’s. He stopped me as I came in the bar, held me by the shoulders, looked me dead in the eyes, and pointed a finger straight at my nose. “Your son can’t box out to save his life. And it will be a cold day in hell before he’ll ever hit a three.”

That was oddly specific. I mean, Brett was a douche and RealSim didn’t pull punches on the dickishness of other people. That way it was as satisfying as you imagine it to be when you told them off, but god damn!

It was just RealSim challenging me. I had to step up. Had to play the game. “Hey, Brett! Your wife is a fucking hippopotamus! Sit and spin, buddy!” I called after him, but he was already out the door. I laughed because I got the last laugh, and then pushed my way deeper into the bar.

Bulldog’s was busy for a Sunday night, but that was cool. The more people the better. The next local jerk that had something to say about my son, I’d have some burns ready to unleash. Mentally, I prepped a good one for every parent on the A Team Boy’s Traveling B-ball team. Who was I kidding? I’d been saving these gems up for months!

Pushing through the local slobs and suckers, my vision tightened and focused on one table in the middle of the crowd. Natalie DuPree was sitting all by herself, sipping on a pinkish drink through a cocktail straw, and throwing the crowd one long sideways glance. Natalie and Mark had been married for, I didn’t know, fifteen or so years. And Mark was one of my closest friends. Never, ever in real life would I dream of creeping on his woman, but had I never envied his life? His wife? His ever so slightly higher salary? Money was one thing. The look in his wife’s eyes… I mean, I was only a man and this was only a game. And she had a killer butt.

I snaked up to the bar, grabbed a bartender by the shirt sleeve as she passed and told her, didn’t ask, “Full bottle of Glenfiddich. No glass.”

If the bartender ever looked at me, I didn’t notice. My eyes stayed on my friend’s wife. The bartender said, “Two hundred dollars, asshole,” and I slapped down my credit card on the bar. It wasn’t like this was going to show up on my bank statement after I logged off. When I heard the bottle thunk against the wood, I abandoned the credit card and carried off the full bottle of top-shelf scotch.

Natalie finally saw me coming her way. I had one chance to get this right. I cracked the cap, spun it with the meat of my palm, and didn’t look to see if it did that cool-ass spin-like-a-top landing on the bar floor. I watched her eyes follow it, and knew I’d pulled it off. I sat down at her table. She stirred her drink with that plastic straw and did this aloof thing with her eyes that told me everything I needed to know. Even though this was just a game, even though I knew I was really just at my computer desk, rocking a semi and a cheap plastic-bottle-whiskey buzz, my heart was still thumping. The realism man… I never could get over it.

We looked eye to eye. She melted me like I was back in middle school, crushing on the cute girl I knew I could never have. No way, no how, never would this happen in real life. She was out of my league and anyway, I’d never actually mess with my best friend’s wife. That shit was purely off limits. Even the idea of it here, in RealSim, where nothing mattered and everything would be forgotten the moment I logged off, still gave me hesitation. But with the hesitation came the thrill.

I smiled. “Hey, Nat. Do you… uh… Do you want to fuck?”

She let out a laugh from deep in her throat. A knowing, inevitable laugh. Then she looked up from her drink and said, “Uh, yeah. Where do you want to do it? Right here on the table?”

Shit, RealSim! These were some off-the-wall scenarios! But god damn if I wasn’t down for it. Or at least the idea of it. But on the table in the middle of the bar? Jesus!

“How about the bathroom?” I said. “I’ll make you scream and we’ll make the whole bar jealous.”

She didn’t say yes. Just said, “I am so fucking wet right now,” and took me by the hand. We left her pink drink with the straw and my bottle of scotch behind.

The bathroom was a wood paneled room with a toilet, a sink, and a paper towel dispenser. We locked ourselves inside and got right to work. When we were done screaming each others names at the ceiling tiles and I was done dribbling out onto her leg, she collapsed back against the wood paneling.

She exhaled, “Whew! That was a good one. Fucking aye, this thing just keeps getting better.”

“What thing?” I said, pulling up my pants, feeling a little ashamed of my behavior, and itching for that log off button on the implant at the base of my spine.

Natalie ignored my question, reached for her own neck and said, “RealSim, log off.”

“What?” I mumbled. This… This wasn’t in the script. Nobody in RealSim was supposed to use the word RealSim. Even in multiplayer mode, it was a major faux pas to use the word RealSim. Took people out of the immersion to say RealSim out loud.

Wait. Holy fuck. I was in single player mode, right?

“RealSim, settings,” I said and touched my own implant. The settings appeared before my vision.


Settings: Local / Single Player / Private

RealSim Entertainment Unlimited. All rights reserved. Copyright 2021. Scheduled maintenance 20211026-20211027.

“Oh thank fucking Christ,” I said.

“Why did you say that?” Natalie said. The look on her face was sheer panic.

“Say what?”

“What you just said. You said ‘RealSim, settings.’ Why would you…” she reached for the back of her neck again. “RealSim, log off.”

“You’re not supposed to say…” I touched my implant again. “RealSim, log off.”


Natalie was saying “RealSim, log off. RealSim, menu. RealSim, log off.”


There we were, crammed in a one-stall bar bathroom, both of us repeating the same shit over and over again, as frantic and energetic as we’d screamed each others names just moments before. We weren’t quiet. Hadn’t been quiet before. Why be quiet now?

Eventually, Natalie said, “Fuck this,” and made the decision to leave the bathroom. One peak out the door changed her mind. She slammed us inside and pinned her back against the door.

“Everybody’s looking,” she said. “Oh my god. My kid’s math teacher is out there. Karen from across the street is out there. They all heard us. They saw us go in here together. Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck meeeeeeeee.”

That wouldn’t help. That’s how this whole problem started. Only, it wasn’t a real problem. Couldn’t be. This was some… some new scenario. A part of the game. It had to be. Cause if it wasn’t… I drove here drunk. I parked the family sedan in the middle of the street. I cheated on Anna with my best friend’s wife, and Brett really thought my son couldn’t play basketball.

I laughed. “This is just part of the game. This is just some…”

The glare Natalie threw me cut off my words.

“RealSim, menu,” I said and gave it a good look for the first time since I left my desk.


Settings: Local / Single Player / Private

Select a curated adventure:

Play quarterback for your High School Football Team

Solve a local murder mystery

Parade for you as a returning War Hero

Hunt velicoraptors is your own backyard

Compete for Homecoming King/Queen

Everyone else is a Zombie!

Walk the runway as a fashion model

Drag race through downtown

Free play

RealSim Entertainment Unlimited. All rights reserved. Copyright 2021. Scheduled maintenance 20211026-20211027.

“Scheduled…” I read the words and let them fumble out of my mouth. “Scheduled maintenance? What is that supposed to mean?”

“This never happened,” Natalie said and left the bathroom. A quick opening and slamming of the door and I was all by myself.

Those numbers that followed those words. 20211026-20211027. What the hell did that mean? 2021 10 26. The year. The month. The date. It was October 26th, 2021. The system was down for scheduled maintenance. Everything I’d seen and said and done… it was all real. I never logged on. Neither had Natalie. Neither had anybody else. None of this was any simulation at all.

“Oh fuck. Natalie!” I called after her, still buckling my belt and zipping my fly as I plowed into the bar crowd.

They were laughing. Some of them cheered and clapped. The familiar faces were pissed off, ashamed, wouldn’t look my way. I was either a joke or a degenerate to the whole bar. Natalie too. She hadn’t left the bar just yet, but was standing near the front door looking back at me. Her face crushed me. When we did what we did, she hadn’t realized we were offline either. Never wanted this to be anything other than a private fantasy no one would ever know about. And now this.

When Brett came back into the bar with an AR15 at the ready and his work tie wrapped around his head like a bandana, it was almost a relief. Then I realized why he looked so eager and happy.

“I got a lot of problems with you people,” Brett called out across the bar. “And now you’re going to hear about ‘em! Say hello to my little friend!”

Oh god, he was going to kill us. We were going to die to the tune of an asshole spouting off movie quotes.

Only it wasn’t the last thing I heard. After all the screams and pleas were silenced, after the gunshots had echoed and reverberated into silence, Brett walked through the bodies until he got to me. I coughed up blood. Gurgled red froth. Called out for Natalie. She didn’t respond. Brett straddled over me with his AR15. He pressed the hot barrell against my forehead and said, “You’re kid is B Team at best. Tell him to follow his shots. Like this.”


Settings: Local / Single Player / Private

Select a curated adventure:

Play quarterback for your High School Football Team

Solve a local murder mystery

Parade for you as a returning War Hero

Hunt velicoraptors is your own backyard

Compete for Homecoming King/Queen

Everyone else is a Zombie!

Walk the runway as a fashion model

Drag race through downtown

Free play

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Alister Bell


Jim put his hand on Delia’s knee just as they drove past the “NEVADA 25 miles” sign.

“Stop it,” she said.

“Why?” he asked. “We are almost there. Besides, what I want isn’t illegal in California.”

“What I want, is. Are. You know what I mean. And slow down. I really, really don’t want us to get pulled over today.”

Jim let up on the gas a bit. “Here. 65, exactly. I can’t wait, hon. I wish I could floor it.”

Delia smiled at him. “Me, too. That’s why I don’t want to start, not yet.” Her smile widened into an evil grin. “’Cause I know you, and I know me…”

“I can hold it if I try…”

“You can hold it any time. Look, it’s the weekend, we are almost there, and I know exactly what I want and how I want it, and – “ she slapped his knee for emphasis “– timing –” slap “–is–” slap “–everything!” She squeezed his knee. “So hold your horses!” She giggled. “Or… whatever.”

The drove in silence for a bit. “I can control myself, you know,” Jim muttered. “Look, 65 on the dot, didn’t budge. “ He caressed her thigh, pushing the dress up. “Look, can you see it? That’s the 20 miles to Nevada sign. Practically there.” He caressed her thigh in circles, ending further up each time. “Aha – just as I thought! No underwear, and – shoot, you are hotter than I am!”

She did not answer for a time. Jim took that as a yes. Certainly felt like a yes, where his right hand was at. His left was on the wheel, his eyes on the road and the speedometer. And, occasionally, on Delia. Hers were on him, mostly. Her hands were, too, shortly.

“So you think you can control yourself, huh?” Her voice was lower, out of breath, her cadence catching and starting as the syllables came like pops from a popcorn popper. “I’ll make it… difficult. I mean hard. I mean hard AND difficult…”

Jim felt the buzz of his zipper going down, then her hands tugging, then her mouth. It took some concentration to curl only the left toe, and not the one pushing the gas pedal, and even more to move only his right hand in the welling wetness and keep his left steady on the steering wheel. He checked his speed again as they passed a speed trap; 65, right on. They could not search a car in California if it obeyed traffic rules, unless they observed illegal activity in it; and, seatbelts being securely fastened, what they were doing was legal in California.

Concentrating on driving was a great way to control himself, Jim thought. Delia had no such trouble and, as they passed the 10 mile marker, shuddered into another orgasm. Third, Jim thought. Third. This gave him an idea. He let go of the wheel for a second and downshifted with his left hand. Delia had to arch her back to let the lever move back an inch, but as the engine revved higher and the drivetrain began to vibrate, her shudder, too, rose in pitch.

“Oh, Jim,” she moaned around a mouthful of Jim, or possibly “God, Jim,” all he was sure of is that it was two syllables with a labial at the end, and with 10 miles to go he hoped to hell she would not say “floccinaucinihilipilification”, or even “Los Alamos”, as he wasn’t sure how many vowels he could handle before exploding.

The sight of another California Highway Patrol car parked on the median brought him back to reality. The cop followed them with his radar gun, probably wondering why a car doing exactly the speed limit was making so much noise. Jim thought that was one boring job. Unless the cop had a partner. A female partner. A pretty brunette female partner who, out of sight for now, was doing for the cop exactly –

Jim abandoned that line of thought in a hurry. There were still five miles to go. Numbers were good distractions, always had been. Speed, 65. RPM, 2900, high because of that downshift to D-3. Temperature, in the green. Gas, ¾ tank, plenty to get there and come back. Radio on 101.1, volume turned down to nothing. Delia. Delia was still there. Jim noticed that he was no longer moving his right hand, but Delia did not seem to mind. The occasional small shudders she gave were most pleasant for Jim but did not threaten the fragile status quo. Soon, he thought. And if he remembered correctly…

In the distance, the hot asphalt made a quivering mirror, the large “WELCOME TO NEVADA” sign visible as a hazy rectangle over a rippled reflection. Jim signaled a lane change and merged into the right lane. He allowed the car to drift closer to the shoulder until…

He timed it perfectly. His right wheels hit the rumble strip just as the sign became clearly visible. The car shook just as his fingers renewed their caress, and Delia responded wildly, shuddering to near-convulsions, moaning and gasping into his penis, and as his orgasm exploded first behind his eyes, the road disappearing into a flash before his semen, too, exploded into her mouth.

His vision cleared. The road was still there, in front of the car, the rumble fading as he corrected to the left, the dashes flowing smoothly past his fender. Delia raised her head, licking her lips, smiling. Her smile widened when she saw WELCOME TO NEVADA loom large in front of them. She pushed the lighter. Jim upshifted; the noise dropped, it felt like silence after the roar of overrevved motor, and in the silence Delia kissed his ear, whispering, “I love you, Jim.” He heard her purse zipper open, then its contents rustle as she searched inside. Then a crackle of cellophane. The lighter popped; Jim smelled cigarette smoke just as the back of the sign appeared in his rear view mirror, and heard Delia’s deep, slow sigh.

“Welcome to Nevada,” he said. Delia giggled, spilling smoke from her nostrils.

Tim Frank

Pastor Nelson Grimes’ Surprise Reunion Show

‘Now Mr Kaveat – what would you like to be known as? Can I call you Sohrab?’ said the TV show assistant, moisturising her dry cracked hands, kneading them like dough. Sohrab nodded imperceptibly.

‘Have you seen the show? Are you familiar with the format?’

‘I’ve seen stuff like it,’ Sohrab snapped. ‘I’m not scared if that’s what you’re getting at. The fact is I’ve signed the contract, I’ve got my money and that’s why I’m here, but if you think I’m going to get all riled up and embarrass myself over some nonsense you’ve got another thing coming.’

Before the assistant could retort there was a crackling in her headset and she raced out of the green room that was slowly filling with other guests – the barbie dolls and their oversized breasts discussing carbs and UFOs, the mime artists pretending to be dead by the water fountain and the group of ballerinas stretching their legs on the jukebox that played The Doors.

Sohrab paid them no mind and instead stared at the ticking clock that hung above the litany of daytime TV awards – a giant cross graced the ceiling, a gold-plated confessional in the corner with a couple inside making out. The face of the host, Pastor Nelson Grimes was plastered on every wall. Sohrab’s upper lip curled in disdain as he noticed the Pastor’s neon teeth and the gold earrings, chunky as peanut M&Ms.

‘Sohrab you’re up,’ the assistant called, and then turned to boss a tangle of grips and interns. He manoeuvred his way through electrical equipment – lights, speakers, cables – and arrived at the side of stage where he was confronted by two bouncers.

‘This is Mog and Jit,’ said the assistant. The bouncers looked like out of shape marines, seven-foot-tall, wearing cheap linen suits with swollen ankles bulging out of their socks. Jit had a poppy badge pinned to his lapel.

‘They will make sure you leave the set in one piece.’

‘I’ll be fine,’ said Sohrab waving his hand as if swatting a fly, ‘I won’t be needing them.’

‘That’s what they all say,’ squeaked Mog, ‘but this show never disappoints.’

‘Can we just get on with it?’ Sohrab sighed.

Excitement began to ripple through the audience as the theme music for the show blasted through the hall.

‘You’re on in five,’ said the assistant counting him down, chewing gum in time.

‘Stay safe,’ bleated Jit, as Sohrab tripped on a cable, steadied himself, then eased onto the stage, receiving a warm applause.

He came face to face with the Pastor who stretched a disarming Gatsby-esque smile. The Pastor wore snakeskin loafers and a diamond encrusted cross dangled from his neck.

‘Welcome to the show, Sohrab. Let’s get right into why you’re here,’ the Pastor said, addressing camera two.

‘I believe I’m here for some kind of class reunion,’ Sohrab said, acting bored.

‘Yes indeed! Let’s bring out one of Sohrab’s old classmates!’

The audience went wild as the Pastor left the stage and placed himself amongst the crowd. A woman with swastikas tattooed on her face yet dressed in a conservative trouser suit, shuffled onto the stage and sat on the seat opposite Sohrab. He sat up in his chair and his leg began to fidget.

‘As you can see,’ the Pastor said, ‘this is no ordinary reunion. This is Athena. Sohrab, tell the audience, here and at home, what your connection to her is, please.’

‘We went to school together. Listen I know what you’re doing but…’

‘Let’s go to the VT because clearly Sohrab is dragging his heels and we only have a couple of minutes left for this segment.’

The lights lowered, a hush descended on the crowd and a film was screened at the back of the stage. There was a shot of a curved road, on a gentle gradient – trees lining each side, birds fluttering about on the concrete. There was a voice-over as the screen zoomed in portentously on the centre of the empty street.

‘Eighteen years ago, Sohrab’s little brother, Alessandro, was run over by a Chinese delivery moped sending shock waves through the local community. No one felt the death more keenly than Athena. Alessandro was particularly close to Athena’s mother as he volunteered at the local old people’s home where she lived. Blaming the Chinese in general for the loss, she became a neo-Nazi, messed up her face and became suicidal.’

The lights in the auditorium came on and every camera in the room focused in on Sohrab.

‘This is low,’ he said, feeling the heat of the lights. ‘Pretty damn low.’

‘Would you like to tell everyone what happened next, Sohrab?’ the pastor asked.

‘There’s nothing to tell. Are you really going to exploit the death of a young boy, who did no harm to anyone?’

‘I’m just delivering important stories to the masses. They’re hungry for the truth, for life, it’s as simple as that. Now are you going to tell the tale in your own words or do you want Athena to narrate?’

‘Go ahead, you won’t get a word out of me.’

‘Such a pretty face Athena,’ said the Pastor, ‘tell us, why did you destroy it?’

‘I loved Alessandro like a brother and when the Chinese killed him I wanted everyone to know how I felt about them.’

‘But, Athena, the Chinese didn’t kill him, a Chinese takeaway moped did.’

‘What’s the difference?’

‘Fascinating. Can you tell me more about what happened with Sohrab?’

‘Yes. About three years after Alessandro’s death, roughly fifteen years ago, I was feeling suicidal. It was all too much and I just wanted it all to end. Then I got an invitation to a school reunion. For some reason I felt I had to go. And I was right because I reconnected with Sohrab. He saw my face and sensed my pain. We spent the night together.’

Sohrab jumped out of his chair and shouted, ‘How could you?!’

Mog and Jit readied themselves.

‘Let’s go for a break,’ said the Pastor, ‘back in a minute people.’

‘Why are you doing this Athena?’ said Sohrab.

‘You saved my life, Sohrab. I wanted you to know.’

‘You could just have texted me, hit me up on Facebook, something.’

‘And we’re back,’ said the Pastor. ‘Now this isn’t really about a reunion is it Athena?’


‘Tell us why we’re here.’

‘Well, that night we were together we talked about just how much we missed Alessandro and Sohrab told me he could never bring another child into the world.’

‘Is this true Sohrab?’

Sohrab chewed on his cheek and remained silent.

‘Remember Sohrab, this is a safe place. I am a man of the cloth. Speak your truth.’

Sohrab shook his head, holding in his rage.

‘OK,’ said the Pastor, ‘we don’t have time for you to find it in yourself to be honest so let us move on to the real reason we’re all here. Ling please come and join us on the stage.’

A teenage girl, with numerous nose studs and stretched rings in her ears, stared at her big black boots as she dragged herself centre stage. The audience whooped and cheered.

‘Hello young lady,’ said the Pastor, ‘welcome. How are you?’

‘Fine,’ she mumbled.

‘So,’ the Pastor said, ‘can you tell the viewers who this is Athena?’

‘This is my daughter. She’s fifteen and Sohrab is her father.’

The audience exploded. Sohrab balled his fists.

‘Do you have anything to say Sohrab?’

‘It’s a lie, a damn lie.’

‘What do you say to that Ling?’

Ling shrugged and kept her head low.

‘Athena, Ling is a Chinese name but she doesn’t look Chinese at all and as far as I’m aware you hate those people. Please explain.’

‘Well, Pastor, to be honest, I lied earlier. I don’t blame the Chinese for Alessandro’s death. Not anymore anyway. When Ling was born I wanted to make changes. So, I called her a foreign name to make amends and put my racist ways in the past. It felt like a natural tribute.’

‘If Ling is Sohrab’s daughter why are you only telling him now?’

‘Well he said he never wanted a child. I was scared. But as she’s grown, she’s become troubled, and I believe that now she needs a father’s guidance.’

‘Sohrab?’ the Pastor said, ‘any thoughts?’

Sohrab leaned forward, pointed at Ling and said, ‘That girl has nothing to do with me.’

The Pastor said, ‘Oh come on! Look at the bright blue eyes, the angled chin, the Lenin nose. Lord help me it’s obvious you’re related! Luckily, we don’t have to rely on your word. No, we have science on our side. Remember the blood we took before the show? Well now we can reveal the results of the paternity test.’

‘Paternity test?’ Sohrab cried, then burrowed his head in his hands. ‘You said it was a flu jab.’

‘Why would a chat show give flu jabs!’ the Pastor snorted. ‘You really are in another world aren’t you, my friend?’

The lights dimmed and began to sway across the stage as suspenseful music filled the studio. In the shadows, Sohrab began to pace up and down across the platform, plunging his hands in his pockets, until he stopped in his tracks, centre stage, and stared into the audience, as if hypnotised.

‘He’s gonna do a runner,’ Mog warned.

‘Nah he’s gonna punch the mother,’ Jit countered.

Either way the bouncers sat on the steps leading up to the stage and prepared to pounce.  The Pastor waved a large golden envelope in his free hand. He peeled it open dramatically and smacked his lips.

‘It’s positive! Sohrab is the father!’

Everyone leapt to their feet and lost their minds. As the crowd erupted Sohrab began to fall into a fit of giggles. As the audience settled down the Pastor addressed Sohrab, saying, ‘What’s so funny? I think we’d all like to know.’

‘This, all of this. It’s just one big joke.’

‘I’m afraid not Sohrab, this is as serious as life and death. Now, don’t you want to get to know your daughter? It’s about time don’t you think? We have four minutes. Ling why don’t you tell us about yourself?’

‘Um,’ Ling mumbled.

‘Do have any hobbies? Like tennis?’

‘I’m psychic.’

‘She is not psychic,’ Athena interrupted.

‘I am.’

‘Psychics!’ the Pastor said. ‘We love psychics on this show. Especially goth psychics.’

‘I’m not a goth. I’m just depressed.’

‘OK, fantastic. Tell me Ling are you feeling a presence from the other world at this moment?’

‘No not yet, but I know my fate and it was destiny for me to be here.’

‘Well everybody at the show feels the same way, Ling. Now shall we test your powers? Now let’s think, who can we talk to? I know! How about we contact Alessandro? Is that at all possible?’

‘That’s it,’ yelled Sohrab and feinted like a rugby player to attack Ling, dummying the bouncers, only to dart in the opposite direction and launch himself at the Pastor, toppling him to the ground like a bowling pin. The Pastor struggled – legs flailing, the seat of his trousers tearing, his silk underwear exposed. Before he knew it Sohrab was dragged off the Pastor by the bouncers and they flopped on top of him like two sacks of potatoes. Sohrab struggled for a minute but quickly realised he was trapped. The lights dimmed and the sound of footsteps could be heard pattering out of the auditorium.

‘Thanks boys,’ said the Pastor, his snakeskin loafers in Sohrab’s line of vision. ‘Good work Sohrab, you were perfect. Remember life’s great pageant has no intrinsic meaning. One must give birth to the meaning. Yes?’

‘How can you say that?’ Sohrab said incredulously. ‘You’re a Pastor.’

The Pastor shrugged and gazed at his bulbous gold signet ring.

‘Anyway,’ the Pastor said, ‘death’s a preacher. And sometimes a redeemer, it’s just how you angle it. Goodbye, Sohrab.’

Then the Pastor and his torn five-thousand-dollar suit merged with the crowd and disappeared into the foyer. Sohrab wrestled for freedom again but the bouncers didn’t budge – their layers of undulating flab restraining him. A few minutes passed and Mog sighed, ‘Do we need this, Jit? I don’t need this. I don’t need this at all.’

‘I stay for the chicks, to be honest,’ said Jit.

‘You can let me go now,’ said Sohrab, wheezing from the pressure on his diaphragm. ‘I repent.’

‘So,’ said Mog, ‘you gonna do the right thing by that child? Be a good father, now you know the truth?’

‘I’ve been missing from her life for so long, what difference does it matter now?’

‘That girl is hurting,’ Jit said, ‘she needs you now more than ever.’

‘I told myself I’d never get close to anyone after Alessandro died. When I had that night with Athena fifteen years ago it was what I needed and it really meant something to me. But she disappeared soon after and now I know she’s been lying to me all this time. I don’t owe anyone anything.’

‘No, you don’t,’ said Mog, ‘but you could do something great today. Not many people have that opportunity. Children are like tender flowers; they need to be cherished and cultivated. Here, let me shift the weight of my belly off your neck.’

Mog and Jit rolled off Sohrab and he stretched and groaned. The assistant joined the men and said, ‘Great show Sohrab, would you like a quick drink in the green room before you go?’

‘Sure. Goodbye lads,’ Sohrab said, shaking the bouncers’ hands. ‘Thank you.’

Mog winked. Jit wiped something that could have been a tear from his eye.

Sohrab traced his way back stage into the green room where there was a mob gabbing about this, that and the other. Sohrab seated himself beside a ventriloquist with a stuffed giraffe on one side and a Buddhist nun counting beads on the other. Sohrab wanted out and was just about to split but then noticed Athena seated opposite having a quiet conversation with an old man carrying a canary in a cage and Ling sitting a few places over sipping a glass of lime spritzer as a woman in a poncho read her tarot cards.

Sohrab picked up a salted cashew nut from a bowl and flicked it into her drink. Ling smiled. Sohrab smiled back.  And then the moment passed. Ling returned her gaze to the tarot as the woman laid a death card symbol on the table. The room seemed to suddenly swim into a crescendo of chatter. But next thing Ling knew Sohrab had placed himself right by her side. The roomed drained of people as another show began. Athena looked on with a smile as Sohrab analysed Ling’s tattoo on her wrist.

‘What is it?’ said Sohrab.

‘It’s a funnel web spider. The deadliest in the world,’ replied Ling.

‘Lovely,’ said Sohrab said whimsically, ‘just lovely. What say you and I get each other’s name tattooed on our knuckles and then we can go for a real drink?’

‘I’d like that,’ said Ling, ‘I’d like that very much.’

J.R. Pfeiffer

Jealous Ghoul

Greg brought the bone ceramic to his lips. The coffee steam swirled up his sinuses and soothed his soul. He gazed over the white sheets as they soaked the buried hills. Down the hill, a film of fog blurred the distant sticks, once holding thousands of orange and red specs of fluttering candy. New England animating inside his oak framed living room window: inspiration to write.

Journalist Greg’s writing deadline ended at five PM. The story argued for allowing graffiti to be painted on the town’s skatepark as long as nothing obscene. The city’s bourgeois against graffiti’s “low art”.

A black squirrel hopped in the snowflakes carrying Greg’s eyes to a queer arrangement: Two tan breasts protruding out from the fresh snow. He squinted out the shapes of two flesh-skinned water balloons with scarlet nipples. “…a dead body,” he said.

He reddened his ankles as he strangled on snow boots. He marched out twenty yards to the two humps. On his knees, he sculpted out the breasts like a sandcastle. With his fingers, he dusted a feminine neck like a fossil. The oval shape of a face formed with blond frozen hair like crystalized honey.

Greg’s penis grew in his beige long johns. It marbleized when his wrists flattened the warmness of her tits. He squeezed them and watched her mouth gasp open. Her arms lifted. He palmed her burning right tit and sucked the nipple. Her fingers crawled under the webbing of his long johns and tickled the underbelly of his scrotum.

She climbed out of the snowy grave. Tan as a California blonde, she flipped over and buried her palms and knees into the cold. Greg slapped the frost off her ass as his erected dick leered the wobble. New and bathed in the early sun; a firm smooth honey ass for his cock to hide. He fucked her. A million-dollar ass that jiggled as his smacking pelvis echoed across the Berkshire mountains.

A red barn a mile down the road reflected Greg’s eyes as he cried in disbelief. This being the first hot pussy since college twenty years back. His knee caps slid apart as he fondled her tits like heavy sacs of water. He slid her knees flush, tightening her bubble butt. Her bulging ass swollen ripe, the head of his cock smooshed into a slippery slope back inside and filled her pussy for five more minutes.

Holding her hips firm, semen flooded and spilled down her gingerbread flesh into the frozen blanket below. His eyes contemplated the distant red barn.

He looked back down to see his dick inside a zombie unicorn. He jumped back and left a trail of vomit to the blue wooded planks of his patio. Oh my God. I fucked a zombie unicorn.

Greg showered and squeezed half a bottle of shampoo over his fleshly temple. Particles of wild magical beast and hardened blood twirled into the drain specs. Vomit fountained off his torso and into the porcelain curves. Everything splashed clean before he ran back and found the oak framed window. Nothing outside but a brown spot the size of coconut.

Ashamed of his continued numbness from the best sex ever, he spilled tears over his keyboard. He needed to finish the skateboard piece, or he could lose his job at Farmville Times. The morning light in the monitor reflected the deer’s head behind him. Drilled into the living room wall, a hefty buck that his father put an arrow into.

Greg’s stiff fingers pounded away seven hundred unsophisticated words, the monitor smeared movement. A brunette with leviathan tits like Elvira leaned forty-five degrees out of the wood paneled wall. Her juicy crimson lips kissed vowels, “Come here big boy.”

Greg hopped up like a spring rabbit and watched Elvira slither out of the wall. Her milky skin and snowball tits swayed with each step. She peeled down his jeans and stroked his hard cock. He rubbed her tits and sculpted her ass with firm smearing.

She bounced on his arched cock on the flowered sofa by the window. The red barn swelled in her ice blue retinas. He palmed her cold tits and unloaded his left-over juice. She squealed from the abdomen.

In the vanity mirror over the fireplace, the severed neck of a purple zombie unicorn crowned his cock, and he death gripped the glowing pegasus. I am losing my fucking mind.

In his orange mushroom bathrobe, he tossed the shampoo bottle in the blue recycling bin. Dried his hair and tried to swallow. The phone rang and pierced the empty cabin’s stillness.

“Greg, you finish the skateboard story?”

“No Ralph. Give me a half hour,” Greg said.

“Hurry up. One half hour,” Ralph said.

Greg penned the graffiti pros and cons on the tiled kitchen counter. His pad laid flat in the shadow of a skyline of hemorrhoid cream, his wife’s stone urn, a stack of delinquent mortgage statements, and an empty .38 special.

After twenty minutes, he finished the piece with blue ink but needed to type and email it. Jack Daniels burned his esophagus as he emailed a mediocre story to his boss. An hour later, no email back. The phone silent like the third batch of afternoon snow.

An intoxicated Greg examined his dick in the bathroom light. Over the toilet, a framed watercolor of the red barn brushed by Debbie, his late wife. The same cherry red as the pick-up that ran her over. The medicine cabinet squeaked to a forty-five-degree angle; its reflective surface carried the shine of the silver .38. The doorbell chimed.

He opened to the pink winter landscape obscured by a transparent apparition: his wife bobbing up and down with fluorescent green eyes. “I’ve been fucking with you.”

“By having me fuck zombie unicorns?”

“I will make it up to you,” she said.

“I think I lost my job. I cannot pay the mortgage. I miss you and I have been fucking zombie unicorns. I figure, what a good time to blow my brains out.”

“Go to the red barn silly,” she said. Her ghost soaked into Greg’s bone marrow. He then layered his gaunt body with old winter clothes and carried a shot gun. He marched two miles to the barn.

The front door opened to a black crevice. Cold air with gardenia fragrance inflated his lungs like sweet gas. He lifted forward the darkness into a warm lantern. A hearth rug covered in valentine’s hearts flickered by a crackling fire. The most beautiful calligraphy black haired woman with emerald eyes walked out naked. Her torso soft like butter that shaped into perked swollen tits. As she moved, her shaved pussy smiled. She carried a red cape.

Greg charged like a bull with rotating testicles. She dodged and unveiled behind her cape; one gold typewriter. His wife’s voice as tough as gravity filled his ear drums: “You must type a forty-thousand-word bestseller,” she said. “You will keep the cabin, have your hemorrhoids laser beamed, and fuck this woman for the rest of your reclusive life.”

Three months later, Greg’s bloody finger prints stained the alphabet keys. He wrote a story about an artist that almost committed suicide but stayed alive. After years of misery, the artist found himself having the time of his life—even better than his greatest childhood memories. The book became a bestseller and he built a fence around the cabin to keep out the zombie unicorn.

The emerald eyed woman knocked on the door. Her violet silk thong covered nothing but a dimple above her ass. A bra hung from her neck and obscured the rings around her nipples. His wife’s voice dripped out the air vent: “This is your reward my darling.”

“Can I have kids with her sweetie?” Greg said.

The air vent continued to blow freezing air like a flamethrower kept on by the rigged finger of a dead soldier.

With his teeth, he revealed her farmer’s tan. After pulling the violet silk past her toes, he spread her white thighs on his cedar writing desk. His erection plummeted. Debbie watched her living husband’s pelvis slap the woman’s belly. “Oh, this pussy is so nice baby. I wish you were here honey,” Greg said. The flesh of his bare ass wobbled with each thrust. His floating wife had it.

Greg flooded the inside of another zombie unicorn.

“You are a fucking bitch,” Greg said.

“It is the best that I can do,” Debbie said. “I am a jealous woman.”

Greg ran to his van. He turned the engine for CVS to buy a fresh bottle of Head & Shoulders.

James Babbs

Dead Leaves

The leaves were scattered around the tree in the middle of the yard. The leaves looked like crumpled pieces of paper. Maybe they were discarded love letters that had been caught up and blown by the wind. Summer was over and the shadows fell across the grass stretching toward the house but not quite reaching it.

I was standing near the window with a beer in my hand and I kept looking at the dead leaves and the shadows on the ground and I knew I was no longer young. I drank some beer and in my mind I didn’t feel old. I mean, maybe, I felt lost and, maybe, I felt afraid and, maybe, sometimes I felt like I was stuck and there was something above me that kept pushing downward and something else under me and it kept pushing upward and I felt like I was trapped and I couldn’t breathe. But I didn’t feel old.

I finished off the beer and tossed the empty in the trash. I heard it clinking against the other bottles that were already there. I came back and looked out the window and I saw Rachel pulling into the driveway. I wondered what she was doing here since the last time I had seen her I thought she had made it pretty clear she didn’t want to see me anymore. But it was definitely her and I watched her get out of the car and come up to the door.

“What’s going on?” I asked her when I opened the door. She looked good. She looked really good.

“Hey,” she said. “Are you going to let me in?”

“Sure,” I said, stepping out of the way. I watched her glide slowly into the room as if she had wheels instead of feet.

“Did you miss me?” she asked, throwing a smile my way.

Her smile splashed against the side of my face and I raised my hand to touch the dissolving layer of heat. Rachel came over and put her arms around me.

“I missed you,” she said.

Now everything was getting warmer and I pulled her into me and tried to put my mouth on hers. It wasn’t much of a kiss because she laughed and turned her head before breaking loose and taking a few steps away from me.

“Hey,” I said.  Rachel laughed again.

“Easy now,” she said. “I didn’t mean to get you all fired up.”

It made me angry but I tried not to let it show.

“So what do you want?” I asked. “Do you want a beer?”

She waved her hand at me. “No,” she said, “I don’t want a beer.”

It was my turn to laugh.

“Well,” okay, I said. “I’m going to have a beer.” I went to the fridge and got me another beer. I came back and looked out the window again. I saw the shadows had reached the house. It was going to be dark soon.

“Have you been thinking about me?” Rachel asked.

I took a long pull from the beer. It felt good going down my throat. Instead of making me feel drunker, the cold beer cleared my head.

“What do you want?” My voice came louder this time and it startled her.

She gave me another smile but I saw in her eyes something had changed. She didn’t come over and try to touch me the way she had before.

“Okay,” she said. “I was wondering if you could give me some money. I’m kind of in a jam and I could pay you back in a few weeks.”

I took another drink of beer and waved the bottle back and forth in my hand.

“How much do you need?” I asked her.

Rachel pulled at the front of her blouse so that the fabric stretched tighter across her tits.  Damn. She did look really good. I turned away and looked out the window again.

“A couple of hundred,” she said.

I didn’t say anything. I had some more beer and then I looked at the bottle. I saw how little was left and finished it off. I took the empty to the trash before going to the fridge for another one.

“You sure you don’t want a beer?” I called out from the kitchen.

I heard Rachel’s voice flare up from the other room.

“No,” she said before she caught herself. “I don’t want a beer, thanks.”

“I’m sorry,” I said as I returned to my spot near the window. “I don’t think I can help you.”

Rachel was doing something with her mouth, and I was just about ready to tell her I was only joking with her and she could have anything she wanted, but then she turned and headed for the door.

“Okay,” I heard her saying. “Okay.”

She opened the door and went back to her car. I watched her until she was gone. Her face never gave away any sign of anger, but I was sure she cursed my name all the way back home.

I laughed again. I stood near the window and looked at the dead leaves. I looked at the shadows on the ground. I drank some more beer and I still didn’t feel old. No. I didn’t feel old at all. I just felt tired. I felt so fucking tired.

Matthew Licht

Big City Dreams, Part 6

Mr van Alen didn’t waste much pencil lead or blueprint paper on his masterpiece’s netherworld. Polished cement floor, and a labyrinth of plywood doors straight from 8th Avenue hardware stores. The Chrysler Building’s basement reeked of disinfectant and mildewed mops, but it was a secret agent Shangri-La for Jena Panhard, the rich girl who dreamt of washing dishes.

“Where’s this theater you dreamed up? We don’t have much time. There’s cameras everywhere. Chrysler security guards are watching to see if we do dirty stuff. They’ll call the cops. We’ll wind up in handcuffs. They’ll throw us into separate cells at Riker’s Island. Dyke matrons will rape me with a mop handle.”

Mop handles are the stuff of wet dreams, for some rich girls.

No alarms sounded as we tried door after door. Liveried Chrysler Corp security couch potatoes snoozed as ghostly images danced from square green screen to square green screen. Soundtrack of snores, an audience share of zero, our late show was a brain-dead sleeper.

Unless Lester Frills was watching. What Security outfit would hire a wild-eyed, flowery weirdo as a rent-a-pig?

Security camera scans might be good meditation material. Zen adepts rack up hours like airline pilots. I lost count of meditation time long ago, but the zen clock never stops ticking. I popped locks, shouldered doors. Jena acted impressed.

There were no secret stairwells, or sliding doors behind the elevator. No hollow floors, no batpoles to slide down. Besides, Jena was wearing a Poiret gown.

During the search, I tried to telepathically transmit Deco dream pictures to Jena’s Deco-radar.

When the Deco Theater case closed, and whatever in-Deco-rous disaster followed on the heels of Lester Frills’ musical ambitions, the next job would be to remove Jena Panhard’s dull-as-dishwater dream life. Figure out how Lester’s dream-projector worked, and give Jena Deco Technicolor Nirvana-dreams. The words and music came from out of nowhere:

“Take my dreams,

Make my dreams,

Come completely true…”

A song for groggy muted horns and torch singer in the Rainbow Room. Jena took up the melody.

“Attractive dreams

moon-light my way/

Banal nightmares will fade away.

Dream me to serenity/

Dream for two in the Big City.”

Piano notes tinkled and trailed off like flowers from a happy childhood. Jena said she had to use the little girls’ room.

The sub-basement grotto had a little girls’ room. The door was suspiciously ornate. Sparkplug inlays sparked and metal-flake comets streaked. Nickel-plated letters spelled out “Little Girls’ Room”.

A Deco architect’s signature on a top-secret collaboration.

The women’s toilet was a small Art Deco treasure chamber. The streamlined stalls were pink shellac. The sea-green tile walls had a waving seaweed motif. Jena hummed a song from intertwined dreams, and hoisted Poiret silk. I pushed panels, rapped for false walls, tapped the mirror over the sink where jazz babies sprinkle their pinkies after they tinkle.

Live, Strive, Dream was etched on the silvered glass. A phony reflection gazed out.

Lester Frills snorts rails of crystal Brain Drano off Deco mirrors, lifts his head, offers the rolled C-note to the next person in line. That was me.

Too late to pull back. The mirror was stuck to the wall with Deco-rative nipple-shaped screws. Jena giggled as I twiddled them. I pushed the glass. No give to it. No choice but to smash the thing. I shrugged out of the jacket borrowed from Jena’s dear departed grandfather. Off with the wig-hat. Off with the pants too, what the hell.

The key to breaking things is to concentrate on the space behind them.

“Stand back, Jena. They hadn’t invented safety glass when this was made. Close your eyes.” Too bad about the last part. I wanted her to see me smash something heavy. But if I messed up, she wouldn’t see a fist turn into a bloody cauliflower.

Hadn’t done kung fu in ages. Take a stance, go into a trance. The mirror image became an opponent.

Before I could yell hi-yah, the mirror slid inwards. The sinks sunk into the floor with a hum and were covered by a trapdoor whose intarsio inlay read, Live Strive Dream. A woman in a pointy-ear bat headdress spread her bat-wing cape in a gesture of welcome. There was a door where the mirror once hung. Beyond was the Deco theater of New York dreams.

“How’d you do it, Zee Gee? Power of peaceful meditation?”

“Uh yeah something like that I guess.” A glimpse of oneself the way one is was the price of admission.

We went in. The mirror door and fake-sink floor whirred shut behind us. Chrysler goons would burst in on an empty Deco Little Girls’ Room.

Jena waltzed to the proscenium. Her gown rustled, her heels clicked. She vaulted onstage. I settled on a gilt-and-black velvet seat.

“Dance,” I said. “Bring the place to life.”

Fresh air blew in from a pine tree forest in the Poconos or Adirondacks. The pressure of Jena’s feet on the stage boards summoned a Wurlitzer organ from the orchestra pit. Jena’s clothes fluttered in a major-chord breeze. A spotlight shadowed her like a moonbeam on a lake as she danced. No underwear, no hair down there, Jena’s silhouette laid bare in bas-relief.

Satori, or as close as this zen garbageman had ever been. I stomped, clapped, whistled like a wolf while Jena whirled, twirled and frugged. “Whoo! Aw, take it off, baby. Strip! Peel! Shake it!”

Nirvana, transcendence, cosmic consciousness, right in your face. Twenty years in pursuit of The Way, and you act like Joe Lunchpail.

A Paul Poiret gown fluttered like a butterfly wing. Where had Jena spent her off-hours from the Hayden? Billy’s Topless? The Baby-Doll? In answer to the koan, a Zeiss projector descended on cables from the ceiling and bombed to life with strobes, red-and-blue laser beams. Jena’s nude body glowed. The Man in the Moon snorted neon cocaine from a magnesium-flare spoon and turned into a banana on Josephine Baker’s Van Allen Belt.

Champagne corks popped, the fizz flew. The music said, Dance, dance, dance, dance.


Dazed, Jena and I circumambulated the Chrysler Corporation’s skyrise. The phone rang in one of the last glass phone-booths left on Manhattan Island.

Lester Frills drooled into an over-designed techno-mouthpiece on the other end of the line.

“You brilliant, beautiful Sanitation Department sanitary napkin, you. You found it. They hid a diamond on 47thStreet. Can you comprehend the genius? I’m ready to take possession. In other words, gimme!”

“Not so fast, Frills. First, I want Rei. And if you harmed a hair on her head, I’ll personally tear you a new one.”

“Slapping Japs ain’t my style, Garbage Dumpster. Wipe the jism out of your mind’s eye and you’ll see where she’s stashed. And you can have her. Man, I’ve had more fun playing parcheesi with showroom dummies. Collecting stamps is Studio 54 compared to her aphorisms. You two’ll get along like a fucking maison de couture on fire.”

Lester’s dream projector blazed a Japanese Living Treasure™ of avant-garde fashion design, suspended from a ceiling in a squalid shopping mall. Rei Kawakubo was a prisoner of SoHo.

“Tell,” Lester rasped. “Give up the secret for entry to my stage. I wasn’t able to glean the proper phrase or gesture from my dream-surveillance mechanism network. Tell me how you got in, or I’ll send 10,000 volts through little Rei’s fashion-puppet strings. She fries like teriyaki.”

“You mean tempura,” I said. “Go down to the little girls’ room. Look in the mirror, and Live, Strive, Dream. See yourself the way you are.”

“Cinch! It’s show time!” Lester crowed in triumph. “Make sure you reserve your banquette seats now, you socially mismatched lovebirds. Attendance shall be mandatory.”

The early-morning Chrysler doorman yawned as he held the door to Jena’s Hudson. Instead of a tip, I handed him a koan. “If you stage a musical and no one shows, does it count as a no-show?”

The key is to never take no for a Noh.

Rei Kawakubo was strung up in the sub-basement of her former flagship store. The place was packed with overpriced sneakers, designer jeans, and T-shirts. She must’ve suffered horribly. I cut her down, pulled the gag from her lips. After a few minutes, I put the gag back on and left it there until we reached the zen diner. Rei broke her fast with edamame, sea salt and green tea.

“Green is most problematic color,” she said. “But look ah-so smashing next to black.”

She handed me a perforated disk of sea-green jade on a string braided from human hair. Hers. “Amulet,” she said. “Protect you from vanity and acquisitiveness.”

The zen waitress misunderstood. She brought Rei a tempe omelette with banana tea and asparagus mist. We laughed, then contemplated uneaten food on the table.

Pollice collared Lester Frills in the Chrysler Building’s sub-basement ladies’ bathroom. Security staff spotted him pressing his face against a mirror, muttering magic mumbo-jumbo from old movies, turning chimp-like backward somersaults of rage and frustration.

The cuffs went on—snap! Entrance to the Theater of Deco Dreams forever denied to those incapable of self-perception. Lester begged the arresting officers to put him out of his misery.

Police dumptrucks carted off his state-of-the-art Karaoke sound system and costume changes.

Every now and then, I head the Hayden Planetarium towards closing time. A pretty lady locks the place up for the night and we walk downtown to take in a show under the Chrysler Building. The show is us, our dreams.

Lester can’t interfere with our dreams from his cell at Riker’s Island. He wouldn’t be interested, anyway. His life has changed. He got married. His husband, who’s built like the Sears Tower in Chicago, claps, laughs and shakes his head whenever Lester performs, “Drag Me In! Drag Me Out! Drag Me Off!”

Jena said she dreamt of a wooden house near a beach, set among dunes covered in waves of sea-grass. The house was full of happy mixed-race children.

Rei Kawakubo opened a new store at an undisclosed New York location. The phone number is unlisted. No one is allowed in to shop. There’s no merchandise on display, nothing to buy.


Judson Michael Agla

The Job

I was waiting at the usual spot pretending to enjoy my drink; it was the same venue as always but as that icy December winter wind blew the door open I could see that it wasn’t the usual agent walking in, as he brushed off his coat and scarf I could recognize that it was one of our top guys. This either meant one of two things: One of us was going to end up with a fork in his neck by the end of this meeting, or there was going to be a very important “mark” in my future. The agent sort of slithered over to me with a haunting look of trepidation in his face; I immediately readied my fork which was already in my hand beside my thigh, but as the gentleman arrived at the table he just tossed an envelope in front of me, turned, and made a beeline straight to and out the door.

I was a bit taken aback as the whole nuance of that encounter left me with a macabre sensation, and an insatiable urge to find out who I was going to have to murder this time. The envelopes were always quite thorough with photographs; residences, behaviors, family and friends, a full chronological history, and of course the best way to locate the mark. As I teared open the envelope with great anticipation, I couldn’t believe my fucking eyes, I couldn’t believe what I was fucking looking at.

Fucking Santa Clause? I’m supposed to motherfucking kill Santa Clause? What kind of fuckery is behind this demented lunacy? He’s not real, he’s not fucking real. I started to peruse through the contents of the envelope and they had all sorts of shit on this guy; photos of him in a sleigh with fucking reindeer pulling it through the sky, blue prints of his house up in the north pole, locations of all his toy warehouses, connections with disgruntled elves willing to sell out the fucking fat guy at the drop of a hat. It was all there; his whole fucking profile, with copies of all his I.D., I was completely dumbfounded, I thought I was going to shit myself, Santa Clause was real and I’ve got to murder the bastard.

I payed my check and left the pub, I scurried home as fast as I could, almost bailing on the icy sidewalks. I immediately went over to my desk to give this another more extensive inspection, Jesus fuck! This guy was a fully-fledged whack job, some of the photos were so fucked up that even I was disgusted: Fucking around with elves, whips chains and all sorts of dildos, he even got in there with the reindeers “and I mean GOT IN THERE”, “my fuck those poor animals”. What kind of an abominable organization was he running up there?

“Up there” Jesus fuck! I was going to have to go all the way up to the fucking North Pole, how could I survive those temperatures? How could I even get up there? There’s no airline that lands next to Santa’s village, what am I supposed to do, rent a fucking dog sled? Piggyback on Frosty the fucking Snowman?

As it turns out, the Agency had already arranged transport on a Soviet submarine that would take me close to my destination; it would break through the ice about a mile away from the coordinates, then I was to meet some agent with a ski-doo to take me the rest of the way. “FUCK ME” this Agency’s got everything covered, it sure beats working solo; I mean, a fucking “SUB” man, agents working in the North Pole, they’ve really got their shit together. The only drawback really was that they’d eventually kill you, no one leaves the Agency.

My luxurious journey in that fucking under water tin can was a lot less than settling; a left over from the cold war, Christ! It was older than I was; I couldn’t believe that people actually spent months in these fucking metal tombs. After about six days or so, I’m really not sure; these sailors sure knew how to put it back, Vodka seemed almost required amongst the crew, they were pissed the whole time, and when I thought I heard someone utter the words nuclear and problem, so was I.

We cracked through the ice right on the coordinates; I think my head cracked a little too. I crawled up and onto the top of the sub and saw absolutely fuck all; the sun was fucking blinding me, all I could see was white nothingness. I felt a tug at my leg; it was one of the boys tossing up a bottle of vodka with some goggles, after my eyes adjusted I could see the agent within a few hundred meters, I waved goodbye to my friends who I really would have killed if I had to be locked up any longer, the only problem would be driving the sub, thank fuck it never came to that.

The agent was like any other agent; faceless and foreboding, he had two ski-doos with him and my usual kit: fire arms, knives, explosives and the like, he also provided me a fully detailed satellite picture of Santa’s compound. He said security was no problem and the only trouble I might have would be the elves; they’re hard to spot and they’re quick little fuckers, but they’re not armed.

The other agent took me about half way then he veered off into what looked like nowhere; actually everywhere looked like nowhere out here, and it’s really hard to drink from a bottle of vodka on a ski-doo while you’re trying to take compass readings. I finally came up to the top of a precipice that looked like the agent had described; I got off my ride and scurried along prostrate to get a better view, and there it was, motherfucking Santa’s village, and it sure as hell didn’t look like Christmas, it was more like the images I get when I read fucking Kafka.

It was like a shanty town; with shacks upon shacks and it was all covered in what I assumed to be reindeer shit. The elves didn’t seem to be doing well at all; their clothes were all torn, their faces looked frost bitten and miserable, this was no happy jolly fucking place by any measure, I got a good glimpse of what might be Santa’s castle, it really wasn’t a castle it just looked like one against the rest of this dilapidated monstrosity. I spent a few days on reconnaissance; the compound was easy to get close to and I found that I could get into some of storage shacks, I couldn’t believe what I was uncovering, this place was rigged up to be a full on fucking sex dungeon.

Most of the shacks were piled to the ceiling with all kinds of cash, all nations and denominations were represented in 5ft squared cubes wrapped in plastic and loaded up on top of one another. I came across a few creepy corners and got myself lost, it was a fucking maze of shit being built over the shit that was built before, I opened a few doors that I wish I hadn’t, the fucking carnage left over from a slaughter that was quite obviously sadistic slow and painful, and done with the most frightening blood soaked machines, none of which I’d ever seen before or even imagined. Scattered around these terror shacks I could see all the torn and shredded pieces of what were once the elves, just lying there rotting, the fucking stench was insipid like these shacks had been used for this evil fuckery for decades.

I fucked up; it was one night when I was working out how I was going to get in to Santa’s place, I heard a stirring sound so I ducked into the closest door. The place was full of fucking elves, all chained up, some in these little cages and even ones strapped to the goddamn wall with barbed wire. They all started fucking talking at once; I immediately pulled out my assault rifle and educated them on what could happen if they didn’t shut the fuck up, NOW! One elf quietly asked if I was there to free them, and then a few more started in with “please free us” and “please take us off the wall”. Jesus Fuck! I wasn’t there to save any fucking elves, man; it was going to be hard enough hauling those bundles of cash out of there, I didn’t need a community of malnourished and half dead little people with pointed ears following me out of this shit hole, I wasn’t fucking Moses, there was no mass fucking exodus going down here. Anyhow, I told the elves what they wanted to hear; I’d come back for them after I get the big guy, which seemed to bring some form of hope to their collective misery, so I booked, the time had chosen itself, there’s no telling what those elves will say under torture, it’s time to murder Santa Clause.

I had to enter through the stables and those reindeers stunk with a fucking funk that made me wretch as soon as I got in there, JESUS FUCK! It was unbearable, but I did catch a glimpse of who I thought to be Rudolf, half of his fur was fucking falling off, and that shinny glowing red nose was nothing more than a strange type of fungus that had infected his face. I was in; I could hear screams and whips and some boisterous howls that dominated over the other noises, as I approached the room I could only imagine what I was in for, different marks get different deliveries, and this motherfucker’s going to get a straight razor for sure.

Opening up that door changed me forever; Santa was in full on garters, although, retaining a nuance of that Santa I once knew and loved as a child, he was still sporting that fucking red and white toque, while he was sodomising a baby reindeer while the reindeer was sodomising a fucking elf, there were about four elves tied up with rope all fucking beaten bruised and whipped, they’ve obviously already had their turns with the big guy, and he really was a fucking huge motherfucker. As the ferociously malicious degradation of these weird little fucking elves and the baby reindeer took place, I hesitated in awe.

As it turns out I hesitated for too long; Santa spotted me out of the corner of his eye and pounced like a cheetah, he had me on my back in seconds with all 300 pounds of him on top of me, no way this was going to be a fucking bear wrestle, that fucker would crush my ass. Within a few moments Santa stopped moving and the blood started pouring out and all over me, I went half way through his neck with the razor and I was drowning in it, but I couldn’t get the fucker off me, finally I kind of rolled him over to the side and sort of squirmed my way out.

Dead is dead and Santa was as dead as they come; the blood from that fat fuck pretty much filled the room, I released the elves against my better judgement, who knows what they’re going to want from me? Christ, they’ve been sex slaves and presumably beaten all their lives, what kind of jobs are they going to get? How’s modern society all of a sudden going to deal with 4ft high pointed eared little people walking around with P.T.S.D.

Ah! Fuck it! The elves started to free each other and I beelined straight into one of the cash shacks, gabbed what I could, and got the hell out of hell. I speed off in my ski doo to meet up at my extraction point; this time there was an airplane pick up, I could see the agent who looked half frozen, then I thought of how I looked, completely covered in blood carrying Santa’s toy bag which happened to be full of money, he asked me how the “JOB” went, I just gave him a cold hard stare.