“Discovery Period” by Mike Sauve
“‘Tooth orders and despair from seizures…’ this one is called.”
“‘Attended second rap class, Jessica’s wooing by instructor led to great humiliation for me. Now mine she only humiliates me.’ Was he in a rap class Redge?”
“Not sure about that one Deb. I am opening a folder right now called ‘Invocation of My Demon Brother by Kenneth Anger.’ I do not like the sound of that name.”
“‘Wallace Jests about M*A*S*H time-code, but is humour just veneer for truth?’ Redge, did he have a friend named Wallace?”
“I am playing this video Deb and it is like a straight-on incantation of Satan, like, The Dark Lord himself.”
“Some denture catalogues.”
“Here a folder called, ‘Shiny White Teeth’…appears to be filled with many pictures of teeth.”
“A homework assignment, Greatest Artistic Influence on me….his subject: Jim Belushi.”
“Possibly some sarcasm there Deb.”
“Pentagramic and phallic symbols abound, scribbled all over the back page. And not after grading either, because the teacher has notated: ‘What is this? Be more serious!’ And then there is a -5, so he lost five marks for the pentagramic and phallic scribbling.”
“Oh Deb, here I find a trove of gay pornography. Much of it violent.”
“Here are schematics to build something called a DreamMachine (TM).”
“Now a more violent amassment of heterosexual pornography, like, gasp-inducingly violent Deb.”
“Here detailed plans for a ‘Coxwell Subway Station Dirty Bomb.’”
“From your scanning of that Deb, are you seeing like a level of planning that parallels that which our son put into today’s events?”
“It’s nearly a superior level of planning I’m afraid.”
“This should not fall into the wrong hands.”
“The police will want to see it.”
“I’m thinking we destroy some of this worst stuff Deb, or we are going to look like, Grade-A parentally clueless.”
“I think we need to cooperate with the police Redge.”
“Beyond clueless, my real concern is like, Grade-A culpable.”
“Here is his high school yearbook with bullets and daggers aimed at certain individuals. Oh dear. I saw one of these people on the news just now.”
“I feel something like that has just got to go.”
“What are we going to do, have a bonfire? Will that not raise suspicions?”
“Coming across a large number of Guns/Ammo-style publications here. Did you not once come in to clean his room Deb? I mean, I was busy at work. You know how crazy things have been for me lately.”
“He didn’t like me going in his room. He threatened me with a knife when he was 13 and that’s the last time I was in here.”
“There were signs. Do you recall the sardonic way he’d laugh at the sitcoms we’d watch on Thursday night? It was like he was laughing at us Deb.”
“Here I’m seeing a long, heartfelt letter to this Jessica person. Actually it’s quite sweet.”
“Corresponding folder of photos of this Jessica, an attractive, if somewhat dark and ominous girl. Well-endowed I might add.”
“Not appropriate under today’s grave circumstances Redge!”
“Just making an observation, given the hormonal impulses of adolescence this would have been a factor for him.”
“Maybe there’s a correlation between the final dates of the pictures he saved of her and the advent of the violent pornography.”
“Checking on that now Deb.”
“Because if so we might be able to spin this off as the work of some temptress, and all parental culpability will go out the window. It’s in bad taste to blame parents anyway. If only we could find some particularly nasty breakup email she sent him.”
“Found previously requested correlation, doing a Gmail search now Deb.”
“Only a few minutes until the police are here.”
“Found it Deb, particularly nasty series of emails from this Jessica and her friends, possibly one from the rap instructor, a person named Flash Master Luci anyway.”
“Okay so we are not deleting any of this material, and we are printing some copies of these emails for the reporters.”
“Think distraught Redge.”
“I’m thinking beyond distraught. I’m thinking one of us needs to appear distraught and the other hysterical.”
“You were the one who took the acting classes.”
“Yes, but it’s much more believable for the woman to be hysterical.”
“Yes, but the less convincing the hysterical person the more likely it is that culpability-oriented questions will arise.
“Goddamnit Deb. Fine, I will be the hysterical one. I see the police pulling into the driveway. Will you please fix me a very strong drink, like, this exact second?”
“Children and Birds”
“Reza Deghati London Portrait”
“Portents” by Gale Acuff
On Sunday mornings I wake early for
church–Sunday School, really–because I’ll see
Miss Hooker, my teacher, who’s prettier
than a spotted pony. She has spots, too
–freckles on her face and neck and arms and
hands and legs, what of her legs I can see,
and maybe everywhere else I can’t. Sin
is what it is to think of those other
places but I can’t help myself, I’m in
love and it’s hopeless because I’m only
10 and she must be 25 or so,
kind of old especially since I’m young.
Still, I dream that she and I are married.
We sit on the sofa and watch TV,
Ed Sullivan and Gunsmoke and I Spy,
and share a pan of popcorn and some Tang
with two straws but no ice. And some peanuts.
Then when Johnny Carson’s over we go
to bed in the same room and even sleep
in the same bed, where I hold her close ’til
she falls asleep. Then I turn on the lamp
on the nightstand on my side and read my
comic books, or if I can’t get to sleep
tiptoe out to the living room to watch
some creature-feature. And we’re rich so we
don’t worry about getting up early.
One morning I woke and between us there
in bed was a baby. Hey, Miss Hooker,
I called to her–she was softly snoring
like Mother does, and my dog–Miss Hooker
wake up, somebody left a baby here.
(I call her Miss Hooker still–I don’t know
her first name, but Honey or Sugar-lips
might be good). She rolled over toward me
and smiled with her eyes half-shut, which means half-
opened, too, and said, Darling, that’s your son,
and I said, Well, I’ll be darned, so that’s how
that happens, you’re married a spell and then
BANG, you wake up one morning and there you
are, I mean, there it is. I mean, there he
is, or she, as the case may be. That was
last night’s dream. Once I dreamt that Miss Hooker
died when she was 100 and I
was only 85. I was alone
except for some pesky grandchildren. I
visited her grave every Sunday,
it was quiet like church and the only
singing was from birds and nobody passed
a collection plate around and there was
no sermon save for the silent kind, when
your mind seems empty but it’s really full
of all the things that words can’t talk about
or at least don’t waste their time trying to.
Hello Miss Hooker, I said. How are you
this fine morning? She didn’t answer but
sometimes silence is that way, Can’t complain,
it means. And then I started to cry and
each time I tried to focus on the stone
it looked like it was moving, changing shape,
but it was the tears clinging to my eyes
like angels that distorted what I saw,
unless of course it was God’s doing, God
bringing death back to life after all His
years of retirement since Jesus was killed,
so I wiped my eyes and everything
was back to normal. I wasn’t as scared
but some lonelier. So I walked on home,
looking back now and then to see her stone
shrinking, and the last time I looked it was
no bigger than a sugar cube, maybe
even no bigger than a tooth–all those
teeth in the mouth of the cemetery
and me walking out that tongue of a road,
and I jumped awake thinking something had
tried to swallow me. I think that’s what’s called
a portent. The Bible’s chock-full of ‘em.
Now it’s another Sunday morning. I
don’t really want to go to church today
but if I don’t I’ll have no reason to
come back home again, or go to sleep and
dream again tonight about Miss Hooker
until my time in dreams of her seems real
and being awake is the real dreaming.
Saying so, I’ve probably sinned again,
and if I die before I’m forgiven
I’ll probably go to Hell, or maybe
go anyway. But if death’s a good dream
you never wake from, I’m glad that I’ve lived
if only to die. I’d do it again.
“Oh, the Wounds You Wore, Death Your Neighbor” by Tom Sheehan
You came on in technicolor, you who licked clean my fork,
ate the leftover leek soup, leaving a line in my mess cup,
your spoon my spoon, or mine yours, Raymond Gatti, out
of Chicago, Sasebo, Inchon, Pusan perimeter, into my trench,
into the hole I wore away into the earth lifetimes ago, end on
end, paralysis at memory.
Oh, the wounds you wore, Death your neighbor.
When you caught that fireball like an inside slider, the mitt
somewhat tighter against your ribs, wrist at last extreme’s
devotion, a strike was evident, but a call we did not expect.
Once, earlier in war, time over that hill like a weekend drunk
trying on one last binge, you told me Chicago was your mother
and father, brother and sister, firebrand at feeble first touch.
Oh, the wounds you wore, Death your neighbor.
You told me, your voice higher than beer aught or dared
on the perimeter, “Land! Baseball cards! Franchises!”
the easy and promised road to discharge’s riches,
all in that order like a menu at a restaurant where gods
fed the fates. But I’m still kicking the idle gong around
sixty years later. I’ve only remembered the technicolor,
And the wounds you wore, Death your neighbor.
“Kalilocustplague” by S. Arthur Murray
I am the sawing noise in the background
Almost fiddle like—
Want something romantic…fine violin
Chewing naked trees, shrubs, you.
I strip you of everything,
Leaving minimal debris and massive dung.
I come to you on malevolent wings
The (un)fairy wings
I am Kali, in insect form,
No? Count my arms.
I can reach you, eat you ,
Nine hands at a time.
No point in repenting now;
I have played you, my lullaby.
The hair shirt, fed the moths….
Succulence for me;
I drink from the living
I am carnivorous, herbivorous, omnivorous…
I take back what you borrowed on my time not yours.
Dust to dust.
“The Sword Swallower” by S. Arthur Murray
The sword-swallower speaks
While eating esophageal impalement
& speaks about the process
The whole while, nonstop
Rattling on about the obsolete process of sword-swallowing,
“This started as a child
With butter knives…
… butter knives crafted by my father’s hand.
Controlling the sword
& more importantly, speaking around it,
That has become my gift.
It is not the actual swallowing
(anyone can do that);
I speak around the sword
Which very few people even attempt;
A few have lost their tongues and fainted.”
Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Worcester Review, Verse Wisconsin, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poem, Amarillo Bay, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. Acuff has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).
Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15 year old photographer and artist who has won contests with National Geographic,The Woodland Trust, The World Photography Organisation, Winstons Wish, Papworth Trust, Mencap, Big Issue, Wrexham science, Fennel and Fern and Nature’s Best Photography. She has had her photographs published in exhibitions and magazines across the world including the Guardian, RSPB Birds, RSPB Bird Life, Dot Dot Dash, Alabama Coast, Alabama Seaport and NG Kids Magazine (the most popular kids magazine in the world). She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus Run See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010. She was the only visual artist published in the Taj Mahal Review June 2011 and was the youngest artist to be displayed in Charnwood Art’s Vision 09 Exhibition and New Mill’s Artlounge Dark Colours Exhibition. Check out Eleanor’s website.
S. Arthur Murray is a 37-year-old recent transplant to Seattle, studying at Arizona State University. He has recently “revamped” his writing career and has always had great success with poetry. Murray writes “some say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ However, a writer’s job is the thousand words while a poet’s job is the precision to do it in a hundred.”
Mike Sauve has written non-fiction for The National Post, The Toronto International Film Festival Group, Exclaim Magazine and other publications. His online fiction has appeared everywhere from Feathertale, Frost Writing, and Rivets to university journals of moderate renown. Stories have also appeared in print in M-Brane, Black and White Journal, Palimpsest 2010, and elsewhere.
Tom Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry Regiment in Korea, 1951. His books are Epic Cures and Brief Cases, Short Spans, from Press 53, and A Collection of Friends and From the Quickening, from Pocol Press. He has 15 Pushcart nominations, appeared in Dzanc Best of the Web 2009, and has 231 stories on Rope and Wire Magazine. His newest book, from Milspeak Publishers, September 2011, is Korean Echoes and The Westering, a collection of short stories, will be published by Milspeak Publishers in October, and will be followed by at least four more collections in a series.