July 21, 2009

by Mr. W

He drifted into the realization that he was awake; the red numbers on the bedside clock glowed 3:23 in the dark. He wrapped the satin sheets tighter to himself. He could overhear a quiet conversation.

From overhead: “You know I’m his biggest fan.”

From the window: “He doesn’t care how big a fan you are. He cares how useful you can be to him.”

From overhead: “You make him sound selfish.”

From the window: “Don’t let your jealousy over my position color what I say.”

The mattress springs creaked as he sat up. “Guys,” he said, “I’m trying to sleep here.”

“Sorry,” the ceiling and box fans said in unison.



The Cost of Shame

July 13, 2009

by Mr. W

He glanced at the clerk at the only open register as she tucked her choppy brown hair behind her ears. She turned her head and they briefly made eye contact; her eyes were wide and clear and beautiful. The shopping basket he clutched to his chest contained a toilet plunger, a fiber additive, and a laxative, and he knew he couldn’t go through with this transaction.

“If only the register was staffed by a grizzled sea captain,” he surprised himself by saying out loud.

“I can wear a mask if you like,” the clerk said. “Aisle seven, toward the back, by the batteries.”

He had no choice but to ramble down the aisle until he found the sea captain masks (by the stationery, not the batteries). They were $200 a pop.

That’s how they get you, he thought as he picked a sea captain mask with a particularly jaunty hat and dropped it in the basket.


A Decisive Announcement

July 8, 2009

by Mr. W

“Fuck you, hiccups,” said the president, who had been elected with a rare 100% vote. “Fuck you to hell.”


Cause for Alarm

June 29, 2009

by Mr. W

She woke up groggy, thinking she was in her bed in her parents’ old house, realizing she was on an unfamiliar leather sofa. The room was dim; some dull light seeped through the closed blinds and reflected off a flat-panel television in the corner. She didn’t know what time it was.

She untangled herself from the scratchy blanket and ran her hands through her short hair. She could taste cigarettes and blood. No need to panic, not yet, she thought as she felt around the carpet for her flip flops.

Wait a second. This doesn’t taste like my blood.


Step Two

June 1, 2009

by Mr. W

He checked his pockets and satchel against the crumpled list. Seventy-five feet of parachute line: Good. Folding ceramic knives, one clipped to his belt, one stashed in his boot holster: Good. Wireless earpiece linked to a police scanner: Good. Lock pick gun: Good. Five cannisters of colored smoke, four yellow, one blue: Good. He was ready.

Now all he needed was a plan, and an objective.


Is It Worth It?

May 26, 2009

by Mr. W

“How do you expect this to work if you won’t give me anything?” she asked, her mouth a darkly lipsticked knot.

He stood, his hands empty by his sides. “I did,” he said quietly. “I gave you what you asked for.”

“It’s not about the money,” she snapped. She leaned forward, elbow on the counter, one hand supporting her tired face. “We’ve been through this.”

“I don’t think I know you at all,” he said. His cell phone vibrated in his pocket; he ignored it. Not the right time. But she had heard the buzzing.

“That your girlfriend?”

“I don’t want to talk about this.”

She snorted. “Just take what you came for. Then get the hell out.” Looking away, she stuffed her black bangs to the sides of her red visor.

He picked up the grease-slick bag from the counter, paused, shrugged and headed for the door. He wasn’t sure why he frequented the Antagonistic Taco Hut–their prices weren’t even particularly good–but he knew he’d be back.


The Watcher in the Night or The Last of the Species

May 22, 2009

by E. Scripsi

            “Another pervert off the streets,” said the Deputy, closing his squad car door behind a man who claimed to be the world’s leading expert on nocturnal birds.  He wiped his hands together as though to rid them of filth, and put the confiscated pair of night-vision binoculars on the passenger seat to be entered as evidence against this sicko.  The squad car pulled away. 

            Unseen, on this night of a new moon, the last existing Double-Crested Night Peeper collided with a lit window of Miss Pritchard’s Finishing School For Young Ladies, broke its neck, and plummeted into the bushes below.