4.12 / December 2009
James Tadd Adcox
I Keep Finding Things I Thought I’d Lost Long Ago
For example, this morning, I was cleaning out the bathroom sink drain. It hadn’t been cleaned for, God knows, five years maybe, and water had started backing up every time I washed my hands. I was digging down in it with [...]
Mortimer fingered through all the catalogs and placed his order for a New World.
In 6 to 8 weeks a large box marked “Fragile” arrived in the mail, with instructions manual outlining what little assembly’s required.
Mortimer tore it open, arranged the pieces as he found them — he filled the [...]
Sheldon Lee Compton
Drugs, Rock and Roll and Sex or Three Things That Go Together Like Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
Shifted into high gear about three hours in. I played off-beat most of the time until then. Forced Calvin to restart the mixing board, shot me dirty looks with droopy [...]
Kristina Marie Darling
[pastoral: in which one's faith may be seen and touched]
Always night, always a listless moon as we drive into the prairie’s thistled heart. Around us, knotweed. Its twisted foliage, the anxious spark. His body still rooms opening within a room, the staircase burning in a locked [...]
He’s too rough. She has other complaints as well. She doesn’t like his friends. He doesn’t make enough money. There is a bruise of many colors on the soft skin of her arm.
The red of the Coca-Cola signs is the same all over the world.
This face [...]
The Ugliest Drowned Man in the World Washes Ashore Lake Michigan
A cover of a story written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The first children who saw the orange speck bobbing in the distance let themselves believe the sun had dropped from the sky, as their parents had warned would [...]
The Incredible Teeth of Bobby McGraw
Bobby was a man with a passionate temperament and very few of his original teeth. The two were closely related—his mouth had sustained extensive damage in bar fights. He was also extraordinarily taken with the technology that replaced what nature had given him and alcohol [...]
Be Your Own Boss
Before getting fired I’d never measured how much empty time makes a day. I’d spent years writing blogs on the company’s dime, leading dozens of made-up lives with their own careers and diseases and hobbies, and all those voices I had to keep speaking carried me through [...]
THE PACIFIC TRASH VORTEX
When I first discovered
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,
Twice the size of Texas
And currently on the move
I thought, “Star Trek, Star Date 4202.9″
As the Doomsday Machine
Ate every planet in sight
And it blew my mind!
How do we dispose
Of so much shit
That it is now mutating at horse latitude,
Migrating tenfold [...]
What to Do in the Event of a Plane Crash
Pilots can smell panic, and it makes them jumpy
like horses before a storm,
or the way an ape might cradle an egg.
Count the times you said you were sorry.
Subtract out the times you meant it.
Multiply by a numerical representation
of the way [...]
“The Woman and the Basement,” which originally appeared in the December 2009 issue, was taken down by request of the author.
The woman awakens when it is not quite yet dawn. She reaches out to take a cigarette from the nightstand. And it is then, as she lights it and [...]
Hanna expected a romantic chalet at the foot of the Laurentian Mountains, not this simple cabin for three seasons buried deep in the shag of an airless green monster, pines for hair, a black lake its one evil eye — the fishing here was out of this world. If only [...]
When I was in middle school, I tried to be a cutter.
I couldn’t press the blade down hard enough to draw a drop of blood.
But give me a butcher’s knife and a pregnant belly and I am practically a gynecological surgeon.
Danny, I know what you are thinking—
It’s an old [...]
Dear Mr. Wilton,
I’m sorry that when I tried to deliver your pizza to you, you were in a coma. My co-workers and I tried to figure it out. We were amazed that you called and ordered yourself a pepperoni thin crust. We wondered if maybe it was a miracle of [...]
We never spoke, which made him perfect,
this blond haired boy in my choir class.
It was the first winter my father stayed in bed.
On the school bus older girls stuck chewed cherry
Bubble Yum in my hair and poked me with tampons.
At home my father called, Rachel, come lay by me.
They’d missed each other, had passed each other by with precision. Minutes were windows to escape through and nothing was wrong until verbalized.
They communicated via Post-its, stuck them on the mirror in the hallway. Cancellations mostly, but reminders, too — the tax return, a signature. The notes grew shorter, [...]
Tracy didn’t like working nights at the gas station, too many crazies and stupid kids, although she was essentially her own boss for the eight hour shift and had little to do.
She reminded herself of those perks when the burly guy in the gray hoodie walked in shortly before midnight, [...]
Men at Work
Not using protection, that’s why I first noticed him. From upstairs where I was working out. He was in the street. The street is always getting dug up.
I brought him around to the patio to show him the scat. He said it was ravens. I said I’d never [...]
On our first date we bought a plant.
We watered the plant every week. The compost was so fresh we tasted it with our tongues just because. Then we made out. Fingers to skin, finding new ways to feel with human hands the strange glow of a body in the [...]
Bad Wife Spankings
My wedding dress is stale in the closet.
You crumble drunk on the stairs,
still plagiarizing your vows,
while elsewhere, girls are getting married.
The tablecloth wilts beneath the roast
and the cats lap up the melting butter
before it hardens in the china dish.
The buried box, full of all your gifts—
regret, tattoos, razorblades, [...]
Make a Mistake with Me
Here’s the deal: I’m looking for love but I don’t have to time to fuck around trolling for pussy in bars. I work in finance. Yes, I have money. Yes, my apartment building has a doorman. I’m 29, 6’1″, brown-haired, 4-pack abs (yes, that’s right, I’m [...]