Special Thanks to Jessica Standifird for her editorial assistance. This week’s artwork is by Marc D. Regan.
Gabriel, Oh, Gabriel
by Jonathan Oak
She lay on the insertion room table. Her DNA screening had gone well. The GBRL came alive, unfolding as it approached her, wings of light illuminating the workspace between her legs, its arm extending a gently curved duck-billed facilitator. It hummed like Sunday mornings; early, sleepy dawns when her mother moved like a half remembered song, making pancakes, listening to sermons. Then the miracle of modern science happened, the immaculately conceived child, not born of lust, or desire, but in the clean, comforting atmosphere of purpose. They were making the world a better place, one unblemished child at a time.
Without A Song
by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri
The boy chases after the Chevrolet, rain falling from graying clouds. If he’s fast enough, he can stop Mother before she leaves him at Deerfield Academy. He doesn’t know anyone. Back home, he was Piano Boy, writing compositions about autumn and lonely kingdoms. It was hardly a compliment, but he knew where he fit. He remembers Mother smiling when he wrote his first composition. Rocking him to sleep after nightmares about dung-beetles. Dung-beetles who chased Mother across their favorite ice-skating rink.
The boy stumbles, the car fading into a pebble-sized speck. He cries into flickering shadows in the rainy, wind-swept street.
Every Time I Look
by James Croal Jackson
You sat alone in bed as the others filtered out. You did not inch away when I got close. You said “hey” so quietly I imagined it. Your head was on my shoulder like in a dream. I said, “I’m drunk.” You were, too. I felt the roughness of your jeans. Your fuzzy sweater clung to my arm. Your hairs brustled my cheek. I said, “I like you.” A chill inflicted the room when you told me I should have saved it for another time. From bed I watched the rest of the party dissipate into vast, empty space.
by Edward Palumbo
She was my Venus, and she had four limbs, although it was rumored that she was missing a toe. I never found out. “Make love to me in the dark” she would say, “and don’t look at my feet.” She painted in reds and umbers, odd, as she was a musician. “Someday I will be the greatest pianist in all Russia,” she promised, “if I ever get out of Milwaukee.” They came for her one spring evening. She called for my help, but I had a face full of shaving gel. Perhaps this is better.
by Marc D. Regan
Max decided a backdoor might be necessary. Like a dog door. Just in case. Because things don’t always work out. Divorce was huge in those days. The prospect of being left alone terrified him. Thus, without her knowledge, he devised a plan. A series of steps. He could go here or there. He would stash money. Just in case. Because people kept secrets. Media corrupted morals, bred fear. Friends modeled new possibilities. His wife had changed. She radiated independence. He needed a plan. Just in case. When he looked up from his scheming, she was grinning. Which meant what?