By Filip Wiltgren
When Raphael was born his mother took him to church. His father, not being inclined to such things, held the boy in his lap and read him the newspaper.
When Raphael was five, his mother took him to choir, and his father took him to play-school.
“Such voice,” said the priest.
“Such brilliance,” said the teacher.
“It is clear he has a calling,” said the priest.
“It is clear he has a gift,” said the teacher.
And Raphael’s mother and father smiled, and congratulated themselves, and basked in the radiance of their offspring.
When Raphael was ten he was a soloist in the diocese choir, where the old, soberly dressed matrons cried at the sound of his voice and kissed his mother on both cheeks.
“He is blessed by the Lord,” they told her, and Raphael’s mother nodded and smiled.
Continue reading “SEPTEMBER 2021”
By Cody Pease
Michel waters the plants in rotations. He starts with the tillandsias hanging in the copper-wire cages, then the oreganos and vanilla orchids near the south-facing window, then the begonia on the dining room table. The succulents need to be split, and the philodendrons need more sunlight. His hands are too weak to lift the watering pot; instead, he uses a wine glass like I showed him. It’s a small task to strengthen his muscles. “How are you doing?” His movements are slight and slow, but he smiles. “Well,” he says. I’m afraid to press him further. I leave him to water, then I peel the sweet potatoes for dinner. Continue reading “ISSUE 25: MARCH 2020”
Here We Are on Planet Earth
By Meg Pokrass
Today we are tanning near each other on bright red beach towels on the sand at Hendri’s beach. This time I don’t let my mind worry too much about Blythe’s exhibitionist traits. I’ve overcome my shyness, and we both have our bikini tops off. They’re lying next to us like useless rags.
Sometimes, there’s a language in her eyes that makes me freeze in my tracks, but my goal in this world is to become less uptight. We are thirteen, and happily, only one of us has an attractive face. The other one of us has an attractive body. My body has some potential but there is no way to know if things will turn out.
Driving around in Blythe’s brother’s SUV, we make weekend plans. We whisper in the back seat. Blythe calls him Jeeves and we hate his jokes. Sometimes he flips us off in the rearview mirror. Continue reading “ISSUE 22: JUNE 2019”
A Pain Artist
By Leland Neville
Before YouTube and reality television there was a brief but passionate interest in pain artists. I performed in the cutthroat Rust Belt. Local TV news crews were often present. Men laughed uneasily, women screamed, and children watched open-mouthed. The occasional groupie would even follow me from an Econo Lodge in Buffalo to a Super 8 Motel in Detroit and back again. I posed for photographs and signed autographs. Times really have changed.
My boss, a serious-minded operator, never ad-libbed. “Ladies and gentlemen, according to the FBI you will probably be stabbed, shot, or raped at some point in your life. And if—God forbid—you should resist and injure the man who is attacking you … ” My boss melodramatically paused. “If you should harm that man who wants to kill or rape you, well, you will probably end up in jail. And what will happen to him? He will get your house. He will get your life savings. He will be entitled to a lifetime of government benefits … ”
The complimentary chicken dinners remained untouched. All eyes were fixed on me, standing off to the side, stoic.
“In my pocket,” said my boss, “is the user friendly state-of-the-art devise that will save your house, your money, and your life.” Continue reading “ISSUE 8: JANUARY 2016”