Lint by Lyle
When the single cloud, white, harmless enough, earlier in the day, had drifted behind the sun, people stopped talking. Instead they began to pick up objects in a display, which I found to be quite despicable, of communication. Television sets went dead, but there were so many things on the ground and low up on the walls. Animals became action verbs while plants were used more sparingly to show passivity (this, of course, was a cultural understanding of the plant). Dryer lint, renewable, and readily obtained became the obituaries. People began to fill buildings with dryer lint and hair, sometimes used in conjunction with each other to produce parcels. People became aware, for the first time, how many people actually die and began to pick up cats with more regularity. This was the beginning of the end. When the buildings overflowed, it marked the end of the beginning of the end. No one knew what would come next.
Catkilla by Forrest
Technique, extensive photographic documentation, a show how grabbing feline scruff puts him in it—before the snapping of necks—that feeling satisfied for, up until afterwards, never dwelling on snuffing one despite its sinking teeth into his hand, him sucking on the wound, You know you won’t miss the taste as much as I will, and would he refer maybe to his alley safaris out back, benign catnip bag with cartoonish fish skeleton strung together to a batting stick (filled water-pistol in other hand, cocked-ready-like) though he can’t in his accomplice’s touched-up trophy pic, not for being strictly positive, anonymous at the final moment, however, but just further baiting now with a blast he has among the summer dumpsters, Sunny, yeah, sun’s out you little shit, I’m giving the universal thumbs up here.
When We Murder by Bill
My shoulders are so hot I feel like I've a laser mounted on them, like a predator. The heat sits across my forehead and my neck too, a bow fiddling the strings of simmering frustration. The trees look ready to sit down and spread those bright sun-exposed leaves along on the ground, leaving the squirrels to fend for themselves, keeping firemen out of the business of rescuing cats, which they don't really ever do anymore anyway. The clouds are staying away, the coffee is almost done, and I think someone stole our fan.
Untitled by Beth
The next morning, the rabbit’s hutch smashed in. Winter so cold the snow squeaked under her mother’s boots, boots too big. She slid bare feet into boots, opened the door that stuck, moved slowly over dry snow to the rabbit hutch, hutch her father made with scraps of wood and chicken wire. Hutch he didn’t make, exactly, but built onto with wood and chicken wire. Hutch of an old rabbit long dead, one she never knew. She knew her rabbit, knew it as well as she could know a caged outside animal. Outside unlike the cat that slept on the patchwork quilt her mother made as a teenager, the cat that pounced and bit her feet through the quilt every night. The snow squeaked under her mother’s boots, the wind blew the skirt of her nightgown, flannel. Morning sun pale in the trees. Rabbit’s water frozen in the margarine container – no need to break the ice for him this morning. No tracks, no blood around the hutch her father made. The cat in the hutch, sniffed around. Chicken wire smashed, the rabbit gone.
Little Story from a Picture by Michael
There were certain things that were encouraged when he was growing up. They were accepted things, often considered rites of passage. Mostly, it seemed, people around him did these things without thought and basked in the attentive acceptance that came with doing them. He basked, too; he loved the attention and accolades as much as anyone. But at night he would grind his teeth in his sleep and have unsettling dreams.
He was generally considered a good sport. It stood out that he asked too many questions, but most wrote this off as a mild slowness on his part; a need to have everything spelled out. Really, he was stalling. He hoped, prior to whatever new task was set before him, that someone would provide for him a good, or at least practical, reason for doing what he was about to do. He pried about alternatives once or twice, but the uncomfortable silences and condescendingly patient raised eyebrows caused him to laugh off his own ideas of how things should be done. This last time, he had done that. He would never do that again. He wasn't sure if he would ever do anything ever again.
It was still twitching when he posed for the shot. It wasn't a being anymore, it was just a thing. The shutter clicked, and they murmured their approval, and encouraged whatever modest showboating he numbly engaged in. But he could feel it melting down his face. Until his face wasn't his anymore and it slipped over his shoulders and down his arms, chest, back. He felt it leave him, and he didn't think it was coming back. And the spasms ended and the thing in his hand and the thing he now was stood there, both surely unaware. That was it.
Fuzzy by Alan
I want to smile at the thought of this. I want to shake out the lightning that is inside all of our heads. Make it real. Something you can touch, feel. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you. There’s an impulse inside every lover that wants to undo everything that has been done. There’s a desire to unravel that pervades the bedrooms, the locker rooms, the long drives of our pasts, presents, and futures. It’s a little funny sometimes and tickles the small of your neck.
If I were a kitten and this impulse were my mother, it would drag me around to new places. It would keep me away from danger. Yes, it would. Fires, potential drowning, the Doberman up the street. It would transform my understanding of what’s immediate, what’s misunderstood, it would provide definitions. But when hungry, alone, pensive – the mother and life together for the first time…that cute little face (mine, yours)… I mean really together – the shock of it, yes, the shock of it might send one back, far back, so far that the unraveling will be unraveled, the reality will be fiction (not complete), the error now a ghost.