art, fiction

00:45 – 00:54 Mokhovaya Ulitsa St. Petersburg, Russia

Outside my Window: 00:45 – 00:54 Mokhovaya Ulitsa St. Petersburg, Russia

it is dark. A man in a gray suit stands in the door of the bistro. He is talking to a girl in a black leather jacket. It must be cold outside. It certainly looks wet

a man walks by on his phone. He is wearing a suit coat. White shirt underneath, loose collar no tie. come to think of it, yes, the guy in the bistro. He has the same shirt. The collar is a bit wider.

The man in the black suit coat has stopped, texting. He turns around and walks back, into the bistro, past the man with the matching shirt. All this, as a couple, both wearing gray, walk by.

The man in the gray jacket, white shirt. He comes out. He has a guitar on his back, I think. It is in a gray case.

Two older men walk by. I think. One of them may be a woman. His pants are tight. He is wearing flip flops. But that tells you very little these days. He has a puffy black jacket (it must be cold) and I can’t see his face. It could be a woman. But his hair is short. But that tells you very little these days.

It is quiet.

It is empty.

A car. Gray. Not speeding.

A man walks out of the mart. Younger. Tan. Tanned by ancestry, not the sun. It looks like he bought a drink. Non-alcoholic, maybe. He texts between a white and gray car. He gets in the gray car. Drives off. It must not have been alcoholic, surely.

Two men and a woman walk by. Man, they are moving. Not running, moving. They, too, are all wearing gray, odd. They pass a man with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. He is wearing black.

Two men and a woman again. Different ones this time. Both men wear black hoodies, up. Maybe it is raining. They aren’t moving so fast.

A man walks, stops, paces. Smoking. Between the mart and bistro. He has glasses. He is not wearing gray. Oh, shit, wait. He turns. Down the front of his jacket. A fat gray stripe. It is an ugly jacket. He is an ugly man. Maybe, it is dark. He is wearing glasses. A woman passes by him in a long black coat. She looks to be floating, not aiming anywhere. He watches her approach. As she passes, he looks away briefly only to return, smirking, watching her backside as she makes her way further down the street, out of sight. A car drives by, lights on.

It turns out he is an ugly man after all.

 

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art, poetry

It’s Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I fell in love with a girl named Alice
We loved each other
As one bulimic cannibal
Might love another
(Bulimics are like mailmen
but with food
Cannibals are like mailmen
Who eat other mailmen)
We did all the things
You can only do
When you’re in love
Like read each other poems
And dance in the middle of the street
To no music

Then
When the music stopped
We’d tear holes in each other
With everything
But bullets

Our conversations
Were a cacophony
Of passionate poetic lines
Like “I love her with
A red hot madness”
Or “He fell heavy on my chest
And whispered me the world”
We salted each other
With enough Bukowski-isms
To drown a class
Of teenage girls
In one biblical flood
Of angst filled love

Yet this great tower
Of poetic babel
Was brought down
In a single verse

“Why aren’t you hard?”

A question that
If turned into a weapon
Could slaughter the known universe.
Then came the storm
“Am I not hot enough for you?”
“Don’t you want to fuck me?”
“Get off me, I am going to sleep.”
Then in the morning
Like a paraplegic
Preparing for a walk
I held her close
And kissed her neck
She reached down
And grabbed my penis and balls
All at once
And mashed them together
She laughed
“That’s what I thought”

After a week
She showed me an article
On her phone
It said
“Food for harder erections”
It had a picture of a banana
(A thing that looks like a penis
but you eat it, unless you’re a cannibal
then you eat both)
Half peeled
And said
“A hard man needs a healthy heart.”

“Your heart is weak”
she told me
and that was that
oh well.

 

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art, poetry

This Way to Hell

A man and his fiancée
saw graffiti on a bridge nearby
“THIS WAY TO HELL”
is what it said.
They think I did it.

I wonder why
they’d think
I’d know the way to hell.

One night I saw the man walking.
I followed.
He was on the phone and he was yelling

“NO ONE LOVES YOU BUT ME!
WITHOUT ME YOU’RE NOTHING!”

We passed under the bridge
I followed

curiously.

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art, fiction

Outside my Window 7:26 – 7:59 P.M.

hijben

A man is standing by the cars outside my window, smoking. He is not a man, really, younger. A boy. But he is wearing a suit like a man. I don’t think it is his car, it is nice. Something with an animal for an emblem. But then again, it is a nice suit.

Turns out it is his car. It seems he didn’t want to smoke in his nice car. He must be a man.

A boy in an orange shirt; bright orange. Oranger than orange, the orange of a blind, elderly fashionista. He is standing in front of the market across. There is no telling what he will look like when he is older. He is wearing glasses, his hair is a mess. One day, he will see, I won’t. Oh well, he went inside.

A woman pushes her daughter on a silly looking carriage. It is shaped like a bike, with a fat seat. She is eating ice cream, the little girl. The mom has a small boy in the other hand; jealous of his sister, probably. I would be.

A whole group. A messily clothed slog of meat walk by. A disturbing amount of floral shirts are among them, despite age. They’ve passed.

A woman in heels heads into the market. I can hear them click from here. I am on the second floor, across.

Two twenty-somethings and a girl in a gray dress stand outside the middle eastern restaurant beside the market. She is smoking, they aren’t. One of the men has his hair up in a bun. I don’t like that, I don’t know why.

The young man in the nice suit and nice car has been sitting a while outside. In the air-conditioning, most likely. It is a decent day. A woman just got in. I only just noticed his scarf, it is floral, too. They are driving away now. It his nice car with an animal emblem, like a leopard, but without spots. They are gone, off somewhere nice, I suppose.

A man walks with his girlfriend in one hand. Not his whole girlfriend, of course, just her hand. In the other he holds a skateboard. It is bright orange, but, at least he is wearing sunglasses.

A girl in an orange scarf passes with her friend. It is a sensible orange, more sluggish. She is talking with her hands outstretched, holding an invisible ball. I can only imagine.

An Asian looking an with blue streaks through his hair passes, drinking Gatorade. It is blue, too.

A man in lime green shoes, violent green, sour–a sour, sour green–he walks by. I can’t see the rest of hm.

A truck just went by. It was dirty, so dirty. The men in the front look dirty; in a good way, an almost-dangerous sort of way.

A woman, carrying her blanket walks by. The blanket is checkered. Black and orange; soft. Two boys, one bigger, one smaller, chase her on bikes. I don’t think she realizes the chase is on. She finds the right song.

A woman walks out of the market. I didn’t see her go in. She isn’t a woman–really, few are. She has a fat face. I wonder why that is all I can see, I hope she sees more.

A girl, maybe three, or four, just ran by, calling for something, or someone.

A man–I think it’s a man–walks by holding a painting. I can’t see the painting. His hair is frizz. He turns. It isn’t a man.

The man I buy coffee from in the morning walks on by. He has very long hair, messy. Off he goes, in the wrong direction of where I’d expect him to be.

The girl, the one who might be four, has found her mother. She is quiet now.

A younger man, a less well dressed one, stands across, he is on the phone. He looks like the boy in the orange shirt. It turns out he won’t be all that handsome after all.

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art, poetry

Gift for a Hot-Girl

hot

In the last year of Elementary School
I had a crush on a Hot-Girl
Called H
She would smile at me
I thought she liked me
My brother had a girlfriend
(A thing that eats food off your plate
and smiles when it sees you)
He was buying her a bracelet
So I bought H a bracelet
Mother thought it was “adorable”
I brought it to school
I told my friend D
He told everyone
In line on the way back from lunch
Some other Hot-Girls turned around and asked me
If I got H a bracelet
“She doesn’t want it”
“She doesn’t like you”
Everyone in line was staring at me
H was at the front of the line
She wasn’t looking at me
The bracelet felt like a hunk of lead in my pocket
I just wanted to get rid of it
I wished my hair would grow so fast
That I turned into a sofa
Or a large bed
And movers would come wheel me away
But I became transparent instead
And everyone could see my body filling with tears
From my toes to my throat
I don’t know why I did it
I walked up to H
and put the bracelet in her hand
She didn’t say a word
I went back to my place in line
Everyone turned away and giggled

This set a paradigm
For my relationship
With Hot-Girls

**For more of our work, check us out at Flash-365.com

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art, fiction

The Blind Man’s Eighth Shot of Tequila

Walking into a restaurant with a 30% discount on alcohol is the first step on a dark path toward tequila.

“Are you sure?” G asks, pouring the seventh round of shots.

“Who you asking? Me or you?” I boast, trying to figure out the mystery of picking up a slice of lime. G laughs. I get the lime between thumb and pointer. I fill with pride. I take the shot. I blink.

My eyes do a split. When they come back together, my left contact is knocked out of place.

“Shit,”

M sits across from me.

“What?”

“My contact. Does anyone here wear glasses?”

I look around. A girl raises her hand.

“What is your prescription?” I ask, tugging the lens from my eye and accidentally dropping it into the bowl of salt.

She pulls out her glasses. She puts them on.

“Oh, I don’t have a prescription. I just think they look cute.”

I glare at her. My other contact, feeling lonely, begins to itch. I slip it out and flick it somewhere.

I look around.

The world has become food coloring droplets on a paper towel; the consistency of a drowning man’s last thoughts.

I look across at the blob of condensed air that is M.

“It’s a stylistic choice,” he defends the girl.

“Oh, bullshit, it’s mocking the handicapped, next thing you know, crutches will be cool.”

I stare up at the light. It is a pool, shimmering.

“It’s not like that,” M says. I can feel his eyes rolling around his tone.

I grunt. “You’re right, it’s more like black-face.”

M thinks about it. My fingers stumble around the table in search of a glass of water.

“Yeah, except you weren’t enslaved,” M reminds me.

“No,” I shrug, taking a drink of what turns out to be a Vodka Tonic, “just blind.”

I squint at M. It helps. He is giving it some serious thought.

“No,” he decides, “slavery is definitely worse.”

“Yeah,” I sigh, “yeah.”

G’s hand appears out of nowhere. An eighth shot of Tequila.

I can smell it.

*

Thanks for reading. For more of our work, check us out at Flash-365.com

 

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art, fiction

all that remains is the smell of orange 

Untitled

art by geoff mcfetridge

She counts the chairs in our dining room, one, two, three, four, five, six. She points to each chair as if unconvinced, her brow furrowed in concern. She circles the dining table and counts the chairs again and again. One, two, three, four, five, six. I lose track of her revolutions. My leg begins to cramp, where I sit on the staircase, crouched in the shadows. I feel cold. It is later than I thought. But she is almost done. She touches the backrest of each chair. She grows weary now. When she collapses in a chair, I will bring her tea. She will take it and I will wonder as I always have if she ever thinks about where the tea comes from

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art, fiction

Wrinkles in Time

I started teaching A Wrinkle in Time to one of my students. I thought it would be appropriate for his level since I’d never read it.

Around half way through the first chapter, he stops me.

“High school?” he asks.

I nod. I point at him. “Elementary school,” I say. “Then, Middle school,” I continue, laying my hand flat and rising it a little.

“And University?” he asks.

“After high school.”

He nods. I smile. I ladder my hands as I repeat.

“Elementary, Middle school, high school, then, university.”

“Ah,” he says, he mimics my motions.

“Elementary school, Middle School, High School, then, work?”

I nod.

“Then,” he screws up his face, “death?”

He drags his finger across his throat and his tongue falls out of his mouth. His head falls to his chest. He tries not to smile.

“I suppose so,” I say. He laughs, I laugh.

He makes the dead motion again, killing the joke.

“Well, you know, there is retirement,” I say, awkwardly.

He frowns, “like, before death?”

I nod.

“Like my grandma?”

I shrug, “Probably.”

He looks thoughtful for a moment.

“She’s dying,” he decides, looking sad.

“Oh,” I try to look empathetic, “sorry.”

He nods his head.

“But, so, yeah, that’s what high school is,” I say. “Should we continue?”

He nods, picking up the book, and continuing to read.

 

 

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art, fiction

Telephone Pole

We got a dog. Mother called it “Lab Mix” because that sounded better than mutt.

My brother and I wanted to name the dog. It was even more important than when we thought it was our job to name our little brother.

We sat in the living room. The lab-mix sat between us.

I wanted to name it Nathan. He wanted to name it Fred.

We bickered terribly. He was bigger than me. So, I was cautious. We bickered so much that Father became distracted from his work. He came upstairs. He sent us to our rooms. As we climbed the stairs, bleary-eyed, we heard Father.

“Telephone Pole!” he called to the dog. It went running. He let it out in the backyard. I watched Telephone pole from my bedroom window, fuming. And that was his name, till he was hit by the UPS man.

I was the only one to see. I cried when I called the police.

But even the police, the EMTs, the firemen, and the Power Grid workers that came, couldn’t save Telephone Pole.

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art, fiction

Kids These Days (Alt.)

Where I spent much of my time as a kid was a magical place.

It was a pirate ship. It was a castle. It was a barracks and a spacecraft. But mostly, it was a rock.

I’m sitting on it now, smoking a cigarette. It feels like a rock.

Coming home is odd. Smoke in the woods is more odd.

Not my smoke, of course. I’m used to that. The smoke over there, in the distance.

I snub out my cigarette, thoroughly, and leave it on the rock. I head for the smoke. The wood becomes dense and the light, thin. I walk for longer than it takes to write about.

I smoke along the way. I always smoke when I’m nervous. I drop the butts on the ground, careful to leave none still lit.

Finally, there is a break in the tide of green. A clearing. A hut. It is crumbling and dark with rot. What looks like crusty old frosting hangs over the door. A crutch lays in the dirt beside it.

Black smoke seeps from the windows. I go up to the door, cautiously. I knock. The sound is more of a thump. The door is soft. I frown.

I knock again; my hand breaks right through what feels like gram-cracker. I peer inside. It seems warm, too warm, and smoky.

“Hello?” I ask the room.

No answer. I push the door gently. It crumbles into a heap at my feet. It reeks of sweetened rot. I step over it, into the hut.

I peer through the smoke, eyes watering. Two shapes move in the corner. I take a step back and hold up my fists like someone who knows how to fight.

“Hey. I’ve just come to make sure you’re alright. There’s a lot of smoke in here. I just,” I stop as one of the shapes stands, then the other.

I relax as they get closer. They are just children. Big fat ones. They sway like drunkards. I put down my hands.

They don’t say a word. A boy and girl. The girl is chewing on something. The boy frowns at the door behind me. They come forward. Their hair is grime and their eyes, glazed.

“Hey, hold on!”

They don’t stop. A bit of drool hangs from the girl’s plump lips.

They lunge, around me. I flail like an idiot, smoke in my eyes. When I come to my senses I see the children crouched on the floor shoveling bits of the gram-cracker door I’d walked through into their heavy mouths.

I stare at them.

“What the–?”

They are making noises as they eat. I feel sick. They consume the door in great big handfuls. I back further into the room. The putrid smell grows stronger. I look to the stove, pouring smoke. I look around for water.

A bucket in the corner, a faucet.

I douse the flames, hand over my mouth. The room slowly clears. I take a seat on the edge of a stool and watch the children slowly fall asleep on the fetid pile of gram-cracker crumbs. I shudder.

I look around the hut. Something in the corner catches my eye. I step toward it. I know what it is before I reach it. My stomach knows.

A woman, slumped against the wall, dead. Skin blackened by fire, eyes milky white, and frizzled white hair matted over the ears.

I look closer, something is wrong with the nose.

“Oh hell no,” I mutter.

I look back at the sleeping children.

Then back to the nose.

There is no mistake, someone’s been chewing on it.

I stand up. I step on the hand of the little sleeping girl as I dash from the house.

I feel something crack.

I don’t care. I’m gone.

I manage to follow my trail of burnt out cigarettes back to my rock.

The End.

 

 

 

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