Category Archives: Fiction

acqua alta

story by ricola suave

we were both sitting in a gondola.  the man with the oar was not singing.  because of that, we could clearly hear ourselves talking.  it was hot and the water was a mirror.

“did you just pay thirty dollars for your meal?”

“it was more like forty euros.”

“that is the same thing.”

“but this money is prettier, so it is more worth mentioning.”

when we got to our destination and when it came time to tip the gondolier we gave him a ten dollar bill.  the tip was in our currency.  he did not look amused, but we were not trying to amuse him.  i didn’t know how to say ‘don’t be insulted, this is actually a good tip,’ so instead i smiled and nodded insistently.  that was all I had in my pocket.  when we turned back i saw the ten floating in the water.  it took every ounce of self-control i had, we had, not to jump in and grab it.

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The Quest to Nirvana

dramatic vignette by Matt Ziegler

Disclaimer- Warning: A close reading of this play may cause enlightenment.  READ WITH CAUTION.

[Classroom Setting- Sometime in the future]

Teacher: Now Class, Since today is your last day at the Ratiug Center for self-Annihilation, we will be taking a comprehensive exam to test whether you are ready for enlightenment.

[Starts passing out tests]

As you know, failure to complete this exam perfectly and in its entirety will result in 10,000 more lifetimes in the cycle of suffering.  You have all worked a very long time to get to this point in existence, so I wish you all the best of luck

Snyder: Holy Guardian Morrison?

Teacher: Yes Riccardo?

Snyder: As you know, in my last 36 lives I was confined to the dung heaps of Southern Notlem and lost the ability to comprehend written language.

Teacher: Shit, I almost forgot. Yes, I’ll administer your exam orally. Number 1: How did Saint Toby finally relinquish the final form of Hitler, also known as Giga-Hitler?

Snyder: Saint Toby first located the capstone in the second realm of the Caspian Sea, and then used it to summon Sylvester Stalone’s undead manifestation. Saint Toby knew that Stalone’s zombie form was the only creature capable of defeating Giga-Hitler due to his proficiency in boxing, rock-climbing, and talking incoherently.  Saint Toby then went to Giga-Hitler’s lair and summoned Zombie Stalone in a surprise attack on Giga-Hitler.  After this battle, Giga-Hitler and the sixth reich were defeated once and for all.

Teacher: Correct, you really know your Korean History. Number 2—

[someone in the class giggles]

Damnit Montee, I’ve completely had it with your immature, fucking horrible sense of humor.  That’ll be 93 lives as a microbe feeding on cat piss, followed by 8,423 lives as an anima cactus infected with the infamous Sedicius Parasite.

Charles: What? No, c’mon. I didn’t mean anything by it. It was your inflection, I swear. Please don’t send me back to the cat piss.

Teacher: Too late for begging.

[The teacher snaps his finger and Charles immediately drops dead for the remainder of the scene]

Sorry about his shenanigans Nick. Where were we? Ah yes, Number 2-

[looks quickly around the room]

Why did the High Antarctic Court deem Europe the loser of the third and final transatlantic Armageddon showdown?

Snyder: Um…Well after Chancellor Barthusser of the South American Confederation created the super-virus which accidently wiped out the world’s communication infrastructure, General Washington was able to bribe the Court with a wax statue of Helen of Troy II. The American Requiem Agency promptly found out and sent a counter-bribe of the restored body of the original Helen,and since the court was comprised of uncontrollable necrophiliacs, America won the showdown.

Teacher: Excellent answer. So far so good. Now for the final question which will determine either your eternal enlightenment, or whether you have to wait another 10,000 lifetimes to get back to this point. Are you ready?

Snyder: Saint Obama I hope so…

Teacher: Who won the final race in the 20th century 2-D classic, Chariots of Fire?

Snyder: Oh fuck, um….fuck, I know this….um, shit, um, the character….played by….fuck….what’s his name….um, ben cross was the actor….um, who the fuck was that….um…Harold Abrahams??

[There’s a long dramatic pause. The teacher stares at him, then at the ground, building tension and suspense. After way too much awkward silence, the teacher jumps up and lights start flashing vigorously.  Music begins playing, confetti falls from the ceiling, and everyone on stage begins dancing as if on the Ellen Degeneres Show.  The teacher then takes Snyder by the shoulder.]

Teacher: Congratulations Micheal, You have finally reached enlightenment!!!

[Crowd cheers a bunch]

As you know, Enlightenment is the ultimate reward for countless lifetimes of suffering and stress.  How that you’ve achieved this eternal state of being, what will you do next, Jimmy?

Snyder: Well, first I’d like to thank my 96,847th set of parents. They believed in me when everyone else just told me to go exhume some more sulfur. Now, since I’ve always wanted to author a new reality, I think I’ll go hit the shop to start molding stars and alternate life-forms. I now however realize that despite my greatest efforts to build a new universe, that it will only last for about 10 generations due to my insidious fascination for super-lightning.

Teacher: Wow, your omniscience is already kicking in. That’s amazing, Simon had to wait—

Snyder: [Interrupting quite furiously] You mother Fucker. I should have known that you were the one who created the Bubonic plague which devastated medieval Europe.

Teacher: [Defensively] Shit man, that was in the past. This is obviously a big misunderstanding. I knew you loved Sir Ballentine, but it was his time to go. And I mean, he was kind of asking for it by keeping so many rats as pets.

Snyder: No, Fuck You. That was my only incarnation as a human female. SIR BALLENTINE KNEW WHERE MY G-SPOT WAS!!!! FUCK YOU.

[Snyder advances and towers over the teacher. He begins to raise his tightly clenched fist]

Teacher: I’m sorry, I’m sorry. B. B. King commanded me to unleash the plague. Europe was far too crowded with charlatans and brothels.  There was so much sin. I was only following orders….

Snyder: I don’t give a fuck what you have to say. I will fuck yo ass up!!!

[Snyder is about to pummel the teacher into total oblivion when there is an enormous crash and a blinding light fill the entire theatre]

Very Loud Deep Voice: Enough with this petty skirmish. Your axioms are completely out of line…

Snyder and Teacher [in unison and utter amazement]: Oh fuck…………….It’s Kant!!!!  [END]

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Jacy’s Hardware

Fiction by| Rob Samuelson

“Aisle 14. Yes. The one you are standing in. Yep, that one. Over there. You’re looking right at it.”

This is my life. I sit atop the paint counter at my local Jacy’s Hardware, pointing, grunting, and sometimes shoving customers in the right direction. It took me a month to memorize this store, item by item. This was two years ago.

I am 22 years old, stay up all night, come in to work disheveled, unshaven, and unmotivated. Sadly, this behavior has made me the Employee of the Month for thirteen months running. I suspect it is because my name is the only one the owner knows. Continue reading

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Mens Rea

mens reaFiction by | Robert Topping

I woke up in the back of a Hi-Tech security car feeling heinous. There was the taste of stale olive brine and pot resin on the roof of my mouth. I don’t recall the name of the officer, but he seemed nice enough if surly remote. I asked him about his wife. Then I told him he was emotionally unavailable and that I wished I had never married him. He grunted and I told him that was six years ago, a fling, she never meant anything to me. He was the one I wanted, baby. I knew we would be together forever after this; this was simply a flaw in our vain glorious monument to the monogamous institution. Continue reading

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The Willow

Feature by | Franklin K.R. Cline

I.  It happened that there was a tree that had a dream (I) and this is what it was (II) followed by what it sounded like (III):

II. It grew (but appeared might be more accurate) in the middle of a busy American street. It stood tall and brown, proud to split the pavement sharp as it did, its roots engaged in the bowels of the city, its leaves casting shadows on neon signs. Time sped up. Continue reading

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A Work of Fiction

Fiction | By Matt Welker

“A bottle of Robitussin costs about eight dollars when bought at the store. It costs sanity, public and personal image, and potential golden years off of your life when taken all at once.”

-Mark L’Wette

Mark L’Wette wouldn’t be leaving Rivkillsek, Imisours for another nineteen hours. He was heading home late for Thanksgiving and had to find a way to pass-by an entire day while his friends departed from Manta’s Utter University Continue reading

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Momentary Amnesia, or, Recollecting a Blackout From Available Evidence and Primary Documents

Fiction By | Matt Welker

Author’s note (to the author):

Hi there! I am writing this to the me of tomorrow to remind myself that yes, I did indeed want to do this. Remember how funny it seemed? Yeah, pretty fucking hilarious! Well, I hope it still has the same kicks to it.

Momentary Amnesia, or, Recollecting a Blackout
From Available Evidence and Primary Documents
by Matt Welker Continue reading

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