Thursday, April 4, 2013


Little Meat by Forrest

Rayburn tosses me the claws because there’s never enough meat in them. He is sad and lonely in southern Louisiana, promised crawfish big as Maine lobsters, and grumbles over and over. In the park the weather is fine; in the calicifed coffee pot filled with briny water a survivor keeps its claws up. Rayburn looks into both and keeps saying, I shouldn’t’ve came here—loud enough for the Thibodeaux clan to perk their ears at him and share a laugh over transportable pot they’re putting away in their flatbed truck. I want to show him. I have the idea to rip a claw open and show how just a little meat can work, and approaching some sweetness. The one in the coffee pot makes me feel guilty instead: I don’t know where it’s going, until Rayburn picks up the coffee pot, carries it over to a sewer grate, and dumps it in. Even the Thibodeauxs are long gone at this point. There are children on the swings with no one to push them, who Rayburn watches, standing over the sewer grate, while I walk over to him holding the smallest claw I can.


The Breakup by Alan

The evidence was lost in the whirl of the evening’s maelstrom like a syllogism torn from syntax. There was a bit of unrest when the issue of proximity was drawn up under the folds, but that was before the lunatics took over the asylum. Every single note was struck so the symposium published its results, and when it did trumpets flared like wildflowers on the side of a Virginia Interstate. Therefore, the trumpets were the symposium. The color red was chosen to symbolize truth laid flat on its back. All across the county, swarms of clerks descended upon the realization that there would be only a measure of time before some sort of residuals were enacted. Strangers would gallop. Umbrellas would launch. There might even be a lagoon-faced toddler amidst the wreckage holding signs in cipher balking at the moon. Only if some shred or token might be found under refrigerator or chilled next to the weights that make muscle into mass. Then the holding on wouldn’t last so long.


The Missing Parts by Johanna

She had one reoccurring dream throughout her life, so frequent that it haunted her daylight hours when she neared cliffs and rooftops. Though each dream varied, she was always flying, not like a bird, but like a fish, swimming though air currents, dive and spin. She told her parents about it when she was five. They told her she was strange. She kept it to herself after that. So she was surprised when, on her sweet sixteen, an estranged uncle that she only heard about when stories of wacky relatives were passed around with cocktails, that she was born with wings. Dubious of him at first, the more he drank, the more sober he became until he told her the truth, “You were born with wicked wings, child, like webs of dark green skin connecting your elbows to your knees.” She examined her left elbow, the light scar her parents told her came from falling out of her crib. “Where are they now?” she asked. “Well, they've been removed, of course. Your parents did you that one service. Probably stored away in formaldehyde in some biologists office somewhere.” She kissed her uncle on the mouth and his smile leered.

The dreams stopped soon after, but new ones took their place, ones involving an objective clarity that made her feel uneasy. In these new dreams, she was searching, always searching, knocking on heavy doors, studying glass jars, hoping to recover her reptilian wings.


Crawl by Lyle

They cancelled the birthday party, of course. But Clay couldn't let it go. It was a big day for him, all told, & the party was where he had planned to make the announcement. Had planned for it, in fact, for months. So instead he sat in the corner under a dim floor lamp, glowering & drinking rum & scheming as the party guests -- impromptu mourners — consoled & cooed & also drank rum, until, through the open window, a parrot entered & perched with a great grip of claws on his shoulder. Clay alighted from his chair, apologized quietly & removed himself from the scene.