Wednesday, August 24, 2011

THE INCHWORM by Robert E. Petras


The few who knew him called him the Inchworm for his passion to go as near as possible to the fulcrum balancing creation and destruction.

He first neared perfection on a Saturday afternoon at a small airport during a stunt plane performance.  While Cessna planes moaned overhead, wheeling spirals and figure eights, he elbowed his friend Mackey, then pointed to a young woman standing within a packed crowed of spectators.  “See that girl in the purple sweater with the big boobs. I bet I can place both my hands on those babies without her or anyone else knowing it.”

“You’re on for fifty bucks,” Mackey replied.

eHHHHe watched the Inchworm wedge through the crowd, all heads tilted to the bright blue sky, riveted to the airplanes as the Inchworm positioned himself behind the woman, wrapped his arms around her and ever so slowly drew his splayed hands upon her breasts, exerting no more tactile force than a shadow.

The nearness of perfection intoxicated the Inchworm—attainment of the mastery of going ever so close.  But he was so cool.  He learned how breathing deeply and slowly could calm the nerves, giving him the steadiness of a surgeon, no an artist—an artist in the midst of creation.  The Inchworm also learned how this controlled breathing calmed his entire being, even his soul, by lowering his heart rate below 30 beats a minute. 

Achieving this rate while performing his art, time became still, sound the hollow ringing of a seashell, like riding his Suzuki near the edge of a cliff, inching closer and closer and closer until finally the wheels teetered along the edge, teasing gravity, time an eternity between two heartbeats.

He inched toward the limits of his subconscious while skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, always shadow-caressing that final inch.

Only remaining now was the egoless I, the taste of cold steel from a .38 revolver inside the mouth, trigger cocked, squeezing as gently as an infant, a little more, a little more, a little…

ABSTRACT ART by Ken Goldman

“Your home is beautiful. Simply beautiful,” the Earthman informed his Beta-4 hostess. “The lines, the form. And what a spectrum of color! This is art!”

The female alien smiled. “Our culture recognizes genius. We employ artists in every aspect of everyday home design. May I show you the rest of our residence?”

“One moment,” the Earthman replied. “George, Mary, come look at this piece!”

His flight crew joined him.

“Fantastic!”

“Incredible!”

“I must meet the sculptor.”

The hostess blushed green.

“Sirs . . .  Madam . . . I will gladly accommodate your request. I should inform you, though, that what you’re looking at is our toilet.”

THE SECOND MOST SOUGHT AFTER by Colin James


The sanctuary's garden was virtual.
You sat in a stone chair and a holograph displayed.
Fifteen minutes absolute.
The rigidy of the stone was necessary
to keep your torso in movement.
Music was incidental Celine.
Peripherally, the waiting lines of escapists
were visible if you strained, which was not suggested.
You could see one of the eyes of each.
Eventually grayness framed the fa├žade
and concentration payed off
in the form of pristine images.
Hobit shacks and festering brooks.
A button could be pressed on the chair's crotch.
A drawer delivered tepid tap water.
Humming was allowed.
When the 'ONE MINUTE TO NORMALITY' warning
sounded, it was best to prepare by twisting your head from
side to side and stretching arms and legs
in the opposite direction of which they were intended.
Celine's lovely euphony decreased to a barely audible whisper
and an escalator path caused the floor to move toward
a welcoming door. As soon as you consented you were replaced.

THE VISIT by Matthew Dexter


My son would come see me. He didn’t know about lung cancer, why I couldn’t come home to read stories anymore. He rubbed my head, bald from metastasis. We sang songs beneath blooming bougainvillea, strewn across the grass I smoked that killed me. He visits every other morning after breakfast. He stays with me for a few hours until his mother peels him out of my fingers. He smells like eggs and bacon. They may say that marijuana does not kill people, but it does, damn it, or maybe it was the crack? Horses were not meant to live forever.

Friday, August 12, 2011

IDENTIA by Wol-vriey

Your phone rings. It’s Herr Bormann.
 
“A job for you Identia,” he says in his Germanic tones.   

“What sort?” 

“A killing; make it look like an accident.”

“And my disguise?” you ask.

“The courier is outside your door now.” He hangs up.

You open the door and let the courier in. This time it’s a middle-aged man in red latex bondage gear. You take him upstairs and whip him for an hour as payment, then kick him out.

You now open the suitcase he brought. It contains a bloody severed Asian woman’s head, a pair of arms, two breast implants, a blue silk cheongsam dress and gold slippers, and a set of instructions.

You read your instructions. Today you are Shan Wu, wife of Dr. Fu-han Wu, the geneticist.  You are to kill your husband.

You head for the basement.

Switching heads is always painful. It’s like being raped: you know this from experience—you once arranged to be raped, just so you could compare notes.

Your doctor demon is however the best. It decapitates and repairs you in under a minute, so you don’t feel violated too long.

Soon you’re seeing through Shan Wu’s dead eyes. You admire the seamless join of your new head and neck.

Next the doctor demon chops your arms off at the shoulders and attaches Shan’s in their place.  Then it replaces your breast implants with her smaller ones. 

You head for the bathroom to wash the blood off.

Once cleaned up, you dress in the supplied cheongsam and pretty yourself up. 

It’s Shan Wu’s birthday today. Dr. Wu is treating his wife to a private celebratory dinner at Club Tang in Chinatown. 

You smile. You’re hungry now. Besides, murder always feels better on a full stomach.

FAT MAN PUNCH by Dustin Reade


I walk up and punch a fat man in the stomach. He coughs and sputters for a minute before looking at me with accusing eyes.

“What’d you do that for?” he asks.

“None of your business,” I say.

“I think it is.”

“How do you figure?”

“Well,” he begins, “it is my business inasmuch as your actions had a direct affect on my person. Had you not come along and punched me in the stomach, my business would have remained unchanged for an undeterminable period. However, as your actions involved me specifically, the nature of my previous business was changed, and I am now involved in this current business, into which your actions reluctantly drew me.”

“Whatever.”

I walk into the next room and see a group of teenagers smoking marijuana. I want them to think I am cool so I ask them for a hit. I have not smoked pot in years and the stinging smoke burns my lungs and I cough up blood and look like a fool. The teenagers all laugh at me so I leave. When I go into the other room the fat man I punched in the stomach smiles at me and laughs.

“What’s so funny?” I ask.

“None of your business,” he says sarcastically.

I immediately feel bad for having hit him earlier. I place my flattened hand on his enormous belly and take the punch back.

It hurts my knuckles, but it is the right thing to do.  

ACTORS AND ACTRESSES (AND OTHERS) WANTED by Douglas Hackle


Small indie film production company seeks actors and actresses for new film. We are specifically looking for several males eighteen and older who are endowed with extremely small penises (no one whose penis is bigger than a light switch when fully erect need apply!!).  Males must be suicidal, though not necessarily suicidal because they have tiny penises. We also seek at least two males who are handy with chainsaws, preferably two unemployed lumberjacks (note: these actors need not have light switch dicks or any suicidal tendencies).  In terms of actresses, we are in need of several women eighteen and older who possess nostrils that are normal-sized or slightly-wider-than-normal. The film is a snuff movie tentatively titled Naughty Noses and Fucking Rolling Heads. 

Sorry, but we cannot afford to pay our actors and actresses; however, compensation will be given in the form of exposure and release from this weary world.

In addition to actors and actresses, we are looking for individuals to establish the small indie film production company that will produce the film. (Due to the inherent risks of such an immensely illegal undertaking, we would prefer not to do it ourselves.)

In addition to actors and actresses and individuals needed to establish the small indie film production company that will make the film, we are in need of someone to host private showings of the movie, preferably an individual with a large basement or garage.  (We would host these showings ourselves, but we’d be too afraid of getting busted.)

In addition to the actors and actresses, the individuals needed to establish the production company that will produce the film, and someone to host viewings, we are in need of an audience to attend the viewings.  (We would attend the viewings and watch the film ourselves, but we’re really not into that sort of thing anymore.)

Lastly, we need someone to write this casting call announcement and then publish it.  (We would write it and publish it ourselves, but we really don’t want any kind of involvement whatsoever in this sick, demented business.  So it follows that if you are reading this, we must have succeeded in finding an individual to take care of at least that task.)
All interested parties please contact yourself at your own phone number.  If for some reason you cannot get a hold of yourself, please call Megan at 5-55-555-5555-55555-555555-55555555-555555555-5555555555-55555555555-555555555555-5555555555555-55555555555555-555555555555555-55555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555-55555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555-2.

STUCK by Jake Johnson

In a world where zipper technology has been taken to the extreme…

I wake up. The morning light is refreshing as it peeks over the zipper of my mostly-closed curtains. My bed is comfortable, but I need to get up. Reluctantly I throw my body forward and snap myself into a sitting position.

The room around me is bare except for the entrances to the bathroom and the outside world. Thankfully, I’d made sure the previous night that their zippers were completely up. I look down and resist the urge to fall asleep again. I pull at the zipper closest to me, and it withdraws, racing up its line on the bed to the line on my right arm. The same happens to both of my legs. Finally awake, I start pulling on the last zipper.

It doesn’t move. The metal bites into my fingers as I pull, and soon I have to let go. I blow on my fingers and glare at the zipper. After gathering my strength, I return to the task and ignore the pain. It seems immovable, but I feel a small amount of release. I pull with newfound vigor and it gives way.

The metal line doesn’t unravel and I’m still stuck to the bed, but the zipper itself is now on my arm. I curse whatever physics or voodoo make this possible. I’m now furious, and I wrench the zipper back down its path, willing it to work properly. It opens the metal lines on the bed, but it opens the metal lines on my arm, too. I stare at it incredulously, as if I’d just witnessed an act of magic. My arm is bleeding. I try frantically to close the zipper again.

It closes the lines of metal on my arm and bed. I’m still stuck. I collapse in exhaustion.