When I was in sixth grade, my family moved to a town composed of four stoplights and air perpetually tinged with the smell of chicken shit. With the subjective delicacy of a middle school worldview, I adjusted to my new surroundings like a Harvard Ph.D. candidate dining in a Waffle House at 3 a.m. That is, with mere anthropological interest trimmed in judgment. Burgeoning teenage angst coupled with a superiority complex along with being new to a cohort of kids together since kindergarten lead to the inevitable: I made only one friend.
Her name was Tyler, and she hated it because it sounded too masculine. She tried adding her middle name “Anne,” which to me made her sound more like television redneck heroine Roseanne and less like a delicate feminine flower, but it never caught on anyway.
The first time I went to Tyler’s house, we were dropping her off after she had dinner with my family. Tyler and I sat in the back seat with my little brother, a second grader high on ADD medications. Continue reading
You Are Nightmare
lapses, lingering at the corners
of my consciousness, a flower-
petalled dagger I cannot refrain
from touching. Poisoned,
your passion is a needle
that renders me numb. Brain-dead
zombie, I return automatically,
submerge myself in the familiarity
of your darkness.
Jack 30-40, male, tall, overweight artist with tattoos
Miranda (Jack’s ex-wife) 30-40, female, dark haired, pretty and strong
Jack’s mother (played by same actress cast as Miranda)
Magda 25-30, female, beautiful and voluptuous, Polish
Irv (Magda’s husband) 50-60, male, grey haired business man
Lupe 25-50, female, housekeeper, Hispanic
Nutella is a problem. Sure, it’s creamy and fucking delicious, but it is just way too accessible. It’s the lazy person’s dream come true when it comes to instant sugar gratification. Open jar. Insert spoon. Emerge minutes later in a sweet stupor – with a gross, waxy taste in your mouth.
Nutella, I can’t quit you. Although once I did. I put a ban on Nutella (got legitimately pissed at my husband when he thought I was kidding and brought home a family-sized jar), and after two weeks of Nutella abstinence, my cravings legitimately diminished. Apparently two weeks is the average amount of time needed to kick an addiction. Heroin, crystal meth, Nutella. All the same really.
When I was younger and less intelligent, I blissed out in my ignorance of sugar’s nasty conversion into fat, and regularly ate strawberries and Nutella for the sake of protein. Like, “I’m feeling a little low-energy – I need a protein boost. Grilled chicken? Tuna? Eggs? No. Let’s go with the jar of dessert disguised as a critical part of a healthy, well-balanced breakfast.” What are we talking here? 2 grams, 3 grams of protein? But yeah, I’m just forcing this glob of chocolate down because I need my daily allotment of protein. Uh-huh. Continue reading
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
A short play
By Adam Seidel
A bare stage. A man, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, stands in front of a microphone.
My fellow Americans. Tonight I would like to talk to you about the rumors which have been recently swirling around the media. These rumors concern an alleged comet, which according to television pundits, fringe scientists and conspiracy theorists alike, will strike the Western Hemisphere of our planet later this week resulting in as they put it, “complete and total destruction of the world as we know it.” (Beat.) I before you today, as your elected leader, to tell you that this is simply not true. (Pause.) There is no such comet and our world is certainly not in danger of extinction. My fellow Americans, in times such as these, we must think objectively and not fall victim to figments of the human imagination. Our ability to imagine is what makes us great. Imagination is the tool of progress, the beacon of hope in times of darkness. But imagination can also be our greatest foe, persuading us to give into fears predicated on the fictions of Hollywood. Tonight I ask that you refrain from giving into fear, but instead turn to sound logic. (Beat.) Again, I repeat, there is no comet and we are under no imminent… (Pause.) I’m sorry. I can’t do this.
PRESIDENT starts to walk away. He stops. He looks at the crowd. He returns to the microphone.
Aidan bangs on my door, yelling at me to “get up already, faggot.” This is usual. What isn’t usual, though, is the fact he keeps saying he needs to show me something. Against my better judgment, I get up and unlock the door. Aidan barges in and I shriek, throwing my hands up out of instinct. Aidan is pointing at me with a handgun.
“I’m not gonna shoot you, Parker. I’m not an asshole.” Aidan laughs and lowers the weapon. “Pretty sweet, though, huh?”
I ask where the hell he got the thing. He says he found it in Dad’s gun cabinet in the basement – the combination is on a notecard in his nightstand. Then, he hands it to me and calls me a wimp. The thing is heavier than I thought it’d be. Continue reading
Pattie Boyd’s Greatest Hits
by Matt Russell
He buys you a drink and says his name is Hutch and you think there are worse things to be named after than a song. Like a seventies TV character or piece of furniture.
“Layla,” you say, and shake his clammy hand.
“Layla, Layla,” he says, rolling your name around his mouth like a toothpick. And he’s still squeezing your hand when he says, “Like the song, right?”
You roll your eyes and slide your hand from his grip.
“Right,” you say. “Like the song.”
“Right, right. Clapton. It’s about banging George Harrison’s wife or something, right?” Continue reading
The end of a century flipping like a calendar number,
and here I am kissing a short squat building where
everyone says hello, and no one recognizes me.
Upstairs there are families I once lived in, but
pawnshops have moved in like stray cats. In the garden,
rhizome dreams borrow the curiosity from a stare,
sending up tomorrow as a stalk and teaching it to listen.