Chas Hawthorne is a cynical gourmand from Baltimore. He believes fine dining jumped the shark around the time Wolfgang Puck started peddling his wares on the Home Shopping Network.
Liz McShane left San Francisco somewhere along the way and is now a senior client service rep at a major payroll company in the Seattle area. This is her first publication. Image reproduced under a Creative Commons license; credit FiveRings.
Dear Mr. Schoeffling, Attached, please find residual check number 1139 for your 1985 karaoke cover of “If You Were Here” by Thompson Twins. It is our most popular song in the following bracket: Caucasian women in the Midwest, ages 48-51½. Additionally, it remains the lead-off track in our evergreen playlist, “Jacking Off to the 80s.”… Read More Fanmail Received Today by the Jake Ryan/Michael Schoeffling Fan Club, Even Though It’s Been 34 Years Since “Sixteen Candles” Was Released ~ celebrity fan letters by Leigh Lewis
It’s been thirty years since a mysterious black notebook was found in a dingy alleyway on Mission Street in San Francisco. The small collection of hastily scribbled and, at times, completely unconnected words would typically be regarded as trash and discarded as such, were it not for local bartender, Josiah Campbell who picked the book… Read More The Sapphobook ~ literary inquiry by Mitchell St. John
In the McMansions there was a lady who Saran Wrapped her house. She never did make it to the roof. It took her two days. She had three kids but it seemed like five or six. She rode a bulldozer to her wedding. There was a picture of it on her hall table in the… Read More The Saran Wrappers ~ fiction by Xenia Taiga
Carla Brochton wrote fantasy. Real fantasy. No, not real, I know fantasy isn’t real. But her Doomlords of Islayana series had been a sensation and was quickly snapped up for TV by one of those streaming networks. Pompous mock-medieval fantasy with lots of sex, nudity, torture, 21st century swearing and splattering innards always goes down… Read More Author Visit ~ fiction by David McVey
The great lady of Monte Carlo knows when she is needed. Her host family is practicing verbs at the table. They are loyal to the French language but will work with any verb they can get their hands on. Only the mother and daughter are left now. The great lady knows the mother is in… Read More The Great Lady of Monte Carlo ~ fiction by Jan Stinchcomb
(1) Giant Leaps I can’t read a novel without skipping around. First approximation: to the end. Second approximation: every hundred pages. Next: every fifty pages. And then every twenty or ten. I keep lessening the increments until I’m satisfied satisfied enough to relax and skip, like a normal reader, to the next word. (2) What… Read More Skipping Around ~ essay by Marion Deutsche Cohen
Exiter Riddles III. I place my emphasis on penetrating Matters: desiderata as the personal Errata satiates my savagery, and I, Its. Cynical, meticulous, the mapless Man in white officiates my yaw, These graceless arabesques into and through Internalized, familiar song-and-dance, The names and reproductions of delights, Etcetera. The wizened wizardry I whiz by Has taught… Read More Two Poems ~ poetry by Jake Sheff
Just over a year ago, I launched The Disappointed Housewife with an eye toward gathering nuggets of writing that perhaps couldn’t be found elsewhere. I had some particular kinds of works in mind, works that took the generally accepted rules of form and style and bent them into new shapes like literary balloon animals. I… Read More The Disappointed Housewife is One Year Old!
All-day Lone Assassin™ paintball package on location in your ex’s neighborhood, complete with equipment. Package also includes a training session from a former Army sniper and a getaway Uber driver waiting at the curb to ensure you hit your mark and escape without getting caught. $39.99. Flea-infestation kit for three rooms and a hallway. Sneak… Read More Living Social Shopping Cart of Your Vindictive Ex-Girlfriend ~ post-relationship tools by Ashley Memory
Just before my thirteenth birthday, my mother broke her leg in four places. Spiral fractures, osteoporosis. The healing did not go well. She was in a cast for thirteen months. For the first few months, she was in a cast up to her hip. When the breaks in the thigh bones healed, the cast was… Read More Plaster Cast ~ essay by Joy Wright
Salvatore Difalco splits time between Toronto and Sicily. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He is the author of four books, including The Mountie At Niagara Falls, an illustrated collection of flash fiction. Show Salvatore some love via PayPal at sammydifalco(at)gmail(dot)com.
The house was yellow. There was no wind. All night the porch howled. (Wind howled my yellow house inside your porch) We fucked against the wall. The sofa sat on the dog. Your lies coated my teeth. (We fucked the sofa and the dog sat on lies) Afterwards, we ate spaghetti with our fingers. Tomatoes… Read More (not) thinking of you at 3 a.m. ~ poetry by Cinthia Ritchie
INT. THE BREAKROOM, TRENDY GROCERY STORE—10 minutes ago. The BREAKROOM of TRENDY GROCERY STORE. NICOLE (mid-30s/obvious brunette with blond hair/black glasses/looks exhausted) is sitting at a table next to JENNY (late 40s/brown hair/frumpy/real fucking annoying). JENNY Can I tell you something that you’re gonna judge me super harshly about? NICOLE Okay. JENNY I’ve been watching… Read More Lunchbreak Confessional ~ script by Nicole Walkow
The blender buggered up. Sent the day out of whack, getting partially smushed fruit out of bent blades, the future smoothie halted to become a pithy lump. My only meal, slopped into a plastic breakfast bowl. Scooped out with a tea spoon, as the washing up piles up. Better go out and steal some meat.… Read More Stealing Meat ~ fiction by Rebecca Gransden
What does one do when nobody picks up your calls? Leave a voice message? Maybe that’s actually better. People don’t really listen to those properly, but you can shout your heart out. It’s almost like a dramatic performance—you’re the only one talking— but without the stage, you’re not in the spotlight, and you don’t have… Read More Mulberry Monologues ~ fiction by Tejaswi Rawal
Johnny Quanta stared at his shattered prosthetic leg in disbelief. A full bot had speared him in the knee. It was a cheap shot. “Johnny,” Dr. Fagan said, “we have no replacements left.” “What are you talking about? There were three good ones last week.” “What can I tell you? You play hard.” “The game… Read More Better Ballers ~ fiction by Salvatore Difalco
Jonathan Stark lives among the hills of the lovely Ohio Valley, sharing his little slice of heaven with his sweet wife and three ambivalent cats, and serving up steaming bowls of rich, creamy wisdom to anyone who wants it.
We knew we didn’t belong, my sisters and me. We knew by the way the saleslady tightened her mouth, the edges of her lipstick pulling so hard the corners cracked. “Girls,” she clapped, and we huddled together by the winter sweaters, our worn sneakers sinking the carpet. “I haven’t all day,” she snapped, and we… Read More A Fancy Department Store in Cleveland, 1970 ~ essay by Cinthia Ritchie
You owe her ・excitement over her new job, ・enthusiasm about the hiking trip she’s been planning, and ・delight that your karaoke duets are consistently hitting level 8. But you’re in severe emotional debt and should feel for others first—for colleagues and loved ones who have been waiting longer for more substantial emotions: ・Werna: sympathy as… Read More Stopgap ~ fiction by Soramimi Hanarejima
The lady who kept her lover’s used Trojans in a shoe box, anglers in a dirt-filled aquarium, to feed her four hens along with their own eggshells— the lady with the toy poodle always sniffing the cat’s ass, a first edition Yeats on the shelf— dreamed she lived by the sea, on the outskirts of… Read More Sign of Jonah ~ poetry by Anna Cates
“It is real,” he said, “but you can only do it on the Sega Genesis version. It’s down-forward-A-B-down, or something.” The south Jersey sun was hot, and the community pool was closed for repainting. “My cousin showed me.” “You lie so bad.” “He did,” Josh insisted, shrugging. “We can call him right now.” Chris mopped… Read More Secret Fatalities ~ fiction by Ben Spies
Well, I guess the skyscrapers need to be there, they create jobs and jobs create love between people, and people buy houses or rent apartments and make places like Walmart vacation destinations, and then the schools fill with more children and while the parents are away working or driving around looking for a fix, the… Read More Some Call It Destiny ~ poetry by Jeffrey Zable
Black Brassiere From the top of the Roman arena I watch groups of schoolchildren move in clumps and think: Children are not our future They’re merely the next set of pawns Across the street on a balcony with cracked tiles an old woman hangs out wash— black brassiere, black panties Maybe she’s doing laundry for… Read More Two Poems ~ poetry by Mitchell Grabois
I was at the bus station. I wasn’t going anywhere, I was just there. A guy was standing next to me. He had an old trumpet in his hand. I looked at it, and when I looked up he was looking at me. “You’ve got a trumpet,” I said, for lack of a better thing… Read More Dialysis ~ fiction by Steve Sibra
Jack Shannon is a hoarder of appliance operation manuals from Pianto, CA. His goal is to write a novella based on the Sears Kenmore electric range instruction book, which is definitely overly complicated.
A shadow shifts in the green pepper bin. Then another. “When does the music start?” “I don’t know, they’ve usually gotten it together by now.” As if on cue, a solid tock comes from the coconut box. Then another, and another. “Finally! How are we supposed to have any fun without a beat?” The sound… Read More Shelf Life ~ fiction by Ralph Benton
obituary for a tornado we will cherish the 33 minutes he had on earth axled out of the sky in the devil heat of early spring an ess butter knife May baby, a Taurus bull-strong for his age a constant feeder not letting go of the earth’s bosom unless to wail like an ogre infant… Read More Three poems ~ poetry by Marc Darnell
“Will you people please stop urinating on my set? I’m trying to do Shakespeare here.” Annie slumped in the director’s chair, and buried her face in her hands. The tinkle of water on water descended to silence. Flush. Zip. “Your set is the only public restroom within three blocks. Should have thought of that before… Read More Twelfth Stall, or What You Flush ~ fiction by Caleb Echterling
“In the movies the pirañas eat the people, in reality the people eat the pirañas.” — Peruvian Amazon guide After being interviewed May 2, 2018, a former Trump aide told CNN* about Bob Mueller’s team, “It’s clear they are still really focused on Russia collusion,” Michael Caputo said, adding, “They know more about [the President’s]… Read More Lemon Garnished Fried Phish Stories ~ poetry by Gerard Sarnat
Melanie and I took the bus from Chicago to Milwaukee on a Friday. We had just started dating and I was in love. Our hosts for the weekend would be Melanie’s Aunt Mary Anna and Uncle Joe — my first shot at meeting her extended family. We were college students, so of course we were… Read More Scavenging ~ essay by Jim Ross
Flounce skirted stranger orders a bourbon, stares only at a reflection between the bottles. Nate the piano player pounds out “Honolulu Baby” even though Hawai’i will not be discovered for a dozen years. “Sandwich Island Baby” doesn’t sound as good, I guess. The two brothers sit beyond the ell, toss back kamikazes, bet which one… Read More My Little Chickadee ~ poetry by Robert Beveridge
You knew you were hot. I knew you knew you were hot, and it was pretty clear that you knew I knew you were hot, and that’s why we were together. Now, all this time later, I think you picked me because you knew I’d know you knew you were hot, unlike some of the… Read More Hot Girl ~ fiction by Brooks Mormino
Sure there’s contour among the bodies in the bushes, as there are notebooks on the flora. It’s the coughing that’s unnerving idolatry, haltering. May as well be at the beach, staring. I was just walking my dog, man. The cars came around the corner fast their high beams blinding me momentarily. I saw little else… Read More As Joseph Adjusts His Charisma ~ poetry by Colin James
A thicket of rangy weeds flourishes beside the riverbank. I put on gloves and goggles. I wear my jaunty boots. Upon my return, outside the Tropical Delights Day Spa and Massage, I leave the entrance sign turned to “closed” and congratulate myself. No one’s around. Perfect. I utter sweet curses, weaving swears together like lyrical… Read More Perfect ~ fiction by Katrina Johnston
I was surprised to find Carly sitting at the Rathskeller bar. Her high cheekbones were blushed and her ash-blond hair was shorter than I remembered. She wore a white ruffled blouse and a light maroon sweater. She made a career of two rum Cokes then switched to ginger ale that lasted until closing time. Our… Read More The Heartland and I ~ fiction by Thomas M. McDade
(1) WEIRD AIRPLANE It’s a local. It makes landings in every major city. They announce the stops beforehand, both over the intercom and on those silly mini-TV’s that drop down in that pretentious way. However, if nobody pulls the cord it skips that stop. So watch and listen carefully. Check your schedule frequently. Don’t get… Read More 11 Dreams of Weird Societal Offerings ~ poetry by Marion Deutsche Cohen
Semis pass us like angry marked beasts. A zit on my chin festers and throbs. Already I see red. Pastor Pete mouths along with Revelation on cassette. I picture Henry Rollins and see red. With feeling, the solitary refinement of your room spits you back out, I’ll practice saying instead. This bed and breakfast smells… Read More Sam’s Seven Bowls of Wrath: a Ghazal ~ poetry by Ann Stewart McBee
GREEN surrounds me as I enter the butterfly pavilion. The leaves of the trees and flowers create an oasis in the Sonoran desert. All seems still inside, protected from the dry winds, until I notice the undulant motion of butterflies winging above me, swooping down to sip at the nectar of the blossoms. The guide… Read More Multicolored ~ nonfiction by Luanne Castle