The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

2018 Halloween Contest Finalist: “Lila in Hollywood,” by Timothy Day

Lila was almost home when she saw him. He lay beneath the flickering street lamp just around the curve from her apartment. His eyes were closed and there was a pool of dried blood on his shirt. Lila looked around. No one else in sight. She knelt and checked for a pulse. Nothing. His neck smelled like coffee. Lila checked his pockets. In his wallet she found an I.D. card from some talent agency. Travis, his name was Travis. Lila knew she should call the police, but he was so beautiful. And he looked light enough to carry, or at least drag. Lila lifted up his shirt. His ribs were visible around the wound. He was kind of dirty. She checked the road again, then looped her arms beneath his shoulders and began tugging him around the corner. His shoes made soft scrapes on the concrete. Lila took them off. My floors are soft, she whispered.

 

When they got to her building, Lila brought Travis through the back door. The hallway was–thank God–empty. She scrambled for her keys and unlocked her door and dragged Travis inside. His legs crossed the threshold just as her neighbor Kyle opened his door. Lila jumped over them and into the hallway. She tried to pull the door closed, but it caught on Travis’ feet. Kyle stepped out and smiled at her. She swung the door hard, knocking Travis’ feet aside, and pressed it shut. Kyle stopped in front of her and put his hands in his pockets.

“Hey Lila,” he said. “How’s it going?” He took one hand out and scratched the back of his neck.

“Hi Kyle,” Lila shouted. “I was just checking my mail.”

“For sure,” Kyle said. “No mail today huh?”

“I don’t know,” Lila said. “What I meant was, I’m about to check it.”

“Oh got ya,” Kyle nodded. “Totally.”

They stood in silence.

“I have to go,” Lila said, not moving.

“Oh for sure,” Kyle said. He stood for a moment, then started walking down the hallway. At the exit he looked back over his shoulder, smiled at the floor, and left. Lila hurried back into her apartment and locked the door.

Lila sat Travis on the couch. His head slumped to the side. She took hold of either end and gently centered it, leaning it just so against the cushion so that it remained upright.

She beamed. “Make yourself at home!”

~ Continue reading

“In a Pickle,” a short story by Katelyn Terry

It was October and my friend, Lance, had invited me to a costume party in the ritzy part of Boston that a friend of his friend was hosting. Of course I was excited, but politely declined when I saw the entry fee of one hundred fifty dollars. However, Lance was determined to go and begged me to join him.  He used every form of bribery there was beginning with stating there was a cash prize of 10,000 dollars for the most authentic and realistic costume and ending with his offer to pay for me to go. He should have started by waving my fee because the moment he did I was in.

Knowing that there were large cash prizes at stake I quickly began planning my costume.  I scoured Pinterest for “original costume ideas” which actually really defeats the purpose so I switched to “semi-original costume ideas” and eventually found a winner.  After scrolling through images of trolls, aliens, and girls dressed as nerds I finally found a costume that spoke to my true identity. I wanted to be a giant green pickle. I could already imagine being called to center stage, the lights glistening of my slightly sweating green form as I accepted a giant check made out to Pickle Girl. Continue reading

Book Review: We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit

Review by Tess Tabak

we are the nerds Reddit book coverIn this thick tome, Christine Lagorio-Chafkin faithfully traces Reddit’s history from its 2005 inception to the present day. We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory reads like a real-life version of HBO’s Silicon Valley. Caveat: real life is a bit less interesting than TV, so this book may only appeal to those with an interest in business or diehard Reddit fans.

This book is part biography of Reddit, and part a story of the company’s path from conception to corporatization, and its rocky journey towards becoming self-sustaining (turning a profit). Chafkin touches upon the problematic aspects of Reddit: users who choose to share revenge porn, child porn, as well as the harassment and doxing of women, and so on. However, while she frowns on these, she doesn’t dive deeply into the ethics of the site. For the most part, this is a faithful biography of Reddit’s founders and of the company itself. It’s organized event by event, going through every significant event in Reddit’s history. Some of these are intriguing – I didn’t know that Reddit played a part in organizing the Daily Show’s Rally to Restore Sanity, for example. 

However, Chafkin goes into what was (for me) a boring amount of detail about the personal lives of the founders. Unless you already care about Alexis Ohanian, Steve Huffman, and Aaron Swartz, this book goes into way too much detail – like, we get updates on the health of a woman Alexis Ohanian once dated briefly in 2004. They had a rocky relationship! I’m going to file that under ‘things I didn’t know I didn’t want to know, but now I do, oh well’. Continue reading

“Deadlines,” a short play by Jyotsna Hariharan

SCENE ONE Continue reading

Poetry by Gianna Teresa

Be My Girlfriend.

 

Show me how you pray.

I would bring you peppered

Avocados, and baking-powder-

Biscuits every morning.

Continue reading

2017 February Writing Contest Winner: William Henry Harrison by Franklin Temple

Thank you for this opportunity. If you look at my resume, you’ll see I have the experience to manage the Burger World Cash Register, in a way you have never seen. I will massacre errors, just as William Henry Harrison massacred Tecumseh in the Battle of the Thames in 1813.

You’re unfamiliar with Tecumseh, well, if you have time…

Let’s just say I know how to use a cash register and defend myself in a massacre.

What is your time off policy? I know you haven’t offered me the job yet, but if you look at page six of my resume, you’ll see that I am a Presidential impersonator – oh, I have a thought. I could man the cashier in my full Presidential costume. “Would you like some information about America’s history with those fries,” I’d say. No?

What about on President’s Day?

Anyway, unplanned time off is critical because I never know when the call will come to appear as William Henry Harrison — an Ocean Liner launch, a children’s birthday party, a lung transplant operation. You’d be surprised at the last minute calls I get because party planners have forgotten to book the William Henry Harrison impersonator.

Well, I have performed at a children’s birthday party.

It went well, except for the accident.

What if I distribute notecards like this one, “William Henry Harrison was responsible for the massacre of the Shawnee tribe at the battle of the Thames in 1813.” If you have repeat business I can write a second card.

What do you mean, who’s William Henry Harrison? He’s the ninth president of the United states you ignorant Jackanape!

Oh, no, we’re not done! I’ll tell you when we’re done!

That wasn’t me talking. That was me channeling William Henry Harrison. I am certain you would love my show. Unless you’re related to any Native Americans, in which case it might not go so well.

Do I start now?

Well, when will you let me know? Time is short. William Harrison died 31 days into his Presidential term.

Really. I had no idea that Burger Land was that interested in American history. But aren’t they a competitor to you? Well, you are most generous sir. Your loss will be Burger Land’s gain.

Good day.

2017 February Contest Finalist: “Instead of a Valentine” by Pamela Sinicrope

If a couple gets married

and one commits suicide on February 11th,

is it anyone’s fault?

Feminists can blame all they want.

Husbands can lament and take lashes

while they rewrite poetry.

 

Like a blinking eye that opens then closes-

what is-is.  Unless it isn’t.

Depression was a black lung hung off

a rat’s tail on the tree by her window or-

asbestos pilled on plumbing pipes-unwrapped

and falling like snow-long before they said, ‘I DO.’

Long before, Sylvia swallowed 48 pills, slept

beneath her house, woke to try again.

 

Marriage is hard, poets complex,

Poetry is hard, marriage complex.

Like pulled threads in a sweater, they unraveled.

Depression created a triangle.  

Factor in children and the figure converted

to a love pentagon-where two people wanted winged

poems sailing space and three sides were left hanging.

Pentagon then add a lover? That’s a hexagon.

The shape shifted, lost all sides, became thread-a heart,

became a pneumatic noose around a head roast.

 

Sylvia gasped air and faltered, fell asleep.  

She wrote every day in the dark before a baby

banged pots on the floor, uttered, ‘ma-ma,’

while Ted left to write, wrangle crows.

Rejection lassoes perfection.

 

How romantic-two poets in the same house-

unparalleled love letters, mirrored muses:

in truth, for them, it was murder-

no, it was a contest-

no, it was academia-

publish, perish, publish, Pulitzer-no

 

noose was wide enough to capture

the universe of words that broke them-

no-broke her.

Instead of a valentine,

the noose became a knot.

Two Poems by Fabrice Poussin

Palimpsest

This is the wall of his memory
A photo to his disappearance
Pale, washed out with years
Yet, still, there he must be found.

His laughter haunts the echoes;
Not too far, she too remains;
A moment so long ago, outside
Of the time they both knew.

There, I will stay, searching
The nooks, the crannies, the seams,
For a signature has been apposed
Perhaps only a sketch of a life.

Palimpsest, the scientist
Will uncover every layer
Of the story finished too soon;
Unshroud a death only in rumors.
His skin reddened by the attacker
Weather of all seasons,
A shirt wearing spots of inks
And many chapters untold.

He laughs into the thickness
Of an unfathomable fortress,
Only from time to time, to
Emerge and wink at finitude.

It is his wall, the cover he built
Upon which his portrait lasts
Author of his biography.

Continue reading

Poetry by Tiffany Firebaugh

The First Day We Met

 

She found words running loose in the Strand,
fit them for goofy hats
corralled them into a corner
and conducted them into photographs.

 

She knew how to assemble them.

You kiss like you are,

she whispered
as I sat stumped on eight across,

You’re vulnerable,

Then you’re not.

 

If Love Felt Like the Water Cycle

Drift out the window
Land in a puddle of silk
Float skyward, unbound.

 

I’ll Be

I wish that my jealousy
Would stagnate like a dammed river.
Instead,
Jealousy rages on—swelling, overcoming.
While the only damned thing
is me.

 


 

Tiffany Firebaugh is a freelance writer and poet, but by day she works in the non-profit sector. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rogue Agent Journal and The Fem. If you like, you can follow her on twitter at @tifficaltiff.

 

“Chemical Codependency,” an essay by Jen Escher

Late weeknight phone calls throw me into a panic — fearing news of car accidents, mangled kids, suddenly dead parents.  I staggered across my bedroom to the dresser and fumbled to unplug my ringing phone. “Hello?”

“Jenny?”  The voice of Nancy, my ex-mother-in-law, one of the few people who called me by the childish name I no longer used. Nancy called me frequently – sometimes too frequently – and always started her phone calls with my name as a question, as if she weren’t sure who would answer at the number she seemed to have on speed dial.

“Yeah,” I responded, relieved but annoyed, assuming I was awoken for something inconsequential.

“Joe’s dead,” she said.  Just like that – two and a half syllables forming a sentence akin to being stabbed with a paring knife.  She continued speaking calmly, as if she were giving me directions to her house instead of telling me that her son – my ex-husband and the father of my teenage sons – was dead at forty. I couldn’t hear her words any longer, just the murmur of her voice.  My mind drifted to the last time Joe and I had spoken.  He sounded happy.  I should’ve known something was wrong. Continue reading

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