by Benjamin Marr
I married my dishwashing machine and we had triplets. These half-machine, half-human babies had a dishwasher with a door latch instead of a stomach. They had hoses for arms, but their heads and legs were human. At first, they could only wash one plate, but they grew to accommodate more. All three of them together could wash the same amount as their mother and they would whenever we needed a date night
One day, I opened their bedroom door and caught them with their friends’ heads in their dishwashers.
“We are washing away traumatic memories,” one said, “so many memories…”
On Commissary Consumptions (and Cautions)
by Jen Schneider
Penelope was a good neighbor. Sweet to greet. Quick to tidy trash. Perfect, but for her perpetual musk. Her owner was reserved. Stayed mostly inside their RV. Penelope viewed soaps through the window. Attentive from dawn to dusk. During commercials, she’d barter for sustenance. Closed exchanges with a snort. Her fears were relatable – commissaries often came up short. The RV Park was as safe as any. Skies heavy of robins and larks. Each of us woven in the year-round flock. I wonder if Penelope ever contemplated the differences amongst us. Born and bred a piglet, on sublet she’d always be.
The blancmange was electrified, had joss sticks wafted over it, was shoved through a scented cheese grater, was surreptitiously attached to a Rastafarian’s dreadlocks, had a bucket of whey poured on it from a height of thirteen feet and nine inches, was subjected to loops of bagpipe music simultaneously with having the silhouettes of Jim Bowen and the Nolan sisters projected onto it, and then photographed and put on a poster offering a reward for its safe return after being smeared on the inside of a mouldy pair of tartan trousers.
Before I lost interest in experimenting with it.
This week’s artwork is by Shadowlance.
Coffee Shop Encounter
by Steve Bates
Dom remembered the first time he saw her two months ago, sitting alone when he came into the shop after moving to the city. He returned every Saturday, and she was always there. He’d nod, and she would smile. Today the place was crowded, people weaving and chattering like caged squirrels. His usual table was taken. When he asked if he could sit down, she said, “Alright, I’m leaving anyway.” It was the only time they’d spoken. As she walked toward the door Dom sipped his drink, then pulled out his phone to search for other coffee shops nearby.
by Benjamin Marr
The boy in the corner was visibly frightened. He shivered even though the fire roared just four feet away from him. Even after his mother wrapped him in a blanket, he continued to shake.
“This hot soup oughtta cure ya,” said the pirate at the stove. He wasn’t a real pirate. He was an old family friend who liked to dress as a pirate.
“Yes it shall,” a voice bubbled out of the soup. A tiny man swam to the surface. “Our whole village has never felt such warmth.”
The pirate sighed as his mind drifted back to sea.
by JR Walsh
There’s ways out of squabbles, even trapped in Nissans. The smallest bladder shall lead to salvation. Gas up first. Ask if chocolate will help. Two grunts for savory? Clenched jaws unclench. It’s the worst time to buy the amethyst rhinestone sword. Settle for a friction folder with bottle opener tang.
by Margret Wiggins
When you left you took the paintings and the blue chair. Half of the glasses, a shelf of books, a bottle of twenty-five-year-old whiskey. You took the Italian restaurant on the corner of 10th street and the ramen place on 2nd. The bar down the block, the museum, the coffee pot. You took entire neighborhoods. You left me plates I never liked and a sagging couch. Empty dressers and the sushi joint that gave you food poisoning. You left me the right side of the bed. But each night I stretch out, creeping over.
Change of Plan
by Keith Hoerner
Every time he checks the blueprints, something’s different. When he questions the architect, he sneers, as if to demand “What are ya talkin’ about bub; you were on board with the designs – just yesterday.” But upon today’s examination, the roofline has taken on a monstrous fortress-like appearance. Worse yet, each day, it continues to grow in strangeness. Now, as the house is complete, he does not question its organic shapeshifting. He lies in bed aware—as walls fold and floors slide around him. The house lives, takes on new forms, and against his will, locks its doors and windows.
Big in Japan
by Andrey Pissantchev
Sandra was already a nervous mess, but the pilot’s tinny voice sent her over the edge.
“Our slight diversion will take us over Japanese airspace. In a few minutes, you will be able to see the southern tip of Kyushu Island to our left.”
Sandra whispered to the stewardess, then pleaded, then shouted. Her fellow passengers found themselves having to restrain her as she yelled “we need to turn back” again and again.
It was all futile in the end. As they entered Japanese airspace, Sandra grew four times her size. The plane’s pieces rained all across the tranquil Pacific.