Andy, crouched under the dense buzzing of solar-powered fans, screams, “Yes. Are you bleeps getting out or what?” His condensed cry sets the bleeps in question leap off their power-out NCs.

     Rubina taps at her sadly self-manicured thumbnail to trigger green texts blow up before her face. Junk texts and texts of unpaid bills.

     “Next. Next-t. Next-t-t,” Anand joins the reverbed refrain as Andy pretends to nap just as he prays to god only knows how many gods.

     Rubina chews on a power-out toothbrush even as Anand chews on a guava leaf he nicked last night off a 10-rupee Fruitbot.

     After fifteen nexts, Anand almost chokes on his leaf just as Rubina lets out a stifled,

     “Bleep yes. Appointed.” (more…)

Julie Collins – I’m very pleased to be able to have another interview with Dook, a representative of our closest relatives, what we call the yetis and what they call the Angwin.

We have talked about some Angwin basics and your successful attempt to create homeland. Today I’d like to talk about your daily life. We’ve already learned about your sustainable life, and your creative romantic life. Would you tell us what a normal day is like for you folk?

Dook – Glad to. We always try to get a good night’s sleep and then work on our homes and communal structures and harvest our food. None of those activities take very long, so we have plenty of time for entertaining ourselves.

Julie Collins – I’m sure that our in house audience and those listening and viewing at home would like the details filled in. (more…)

My dad’s name is John Josephs Jr. and he’s a ghost, and what he misses most about being human is: SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIES.

On his plane of existence, they taste like cigarettes and feel like razorblades going down.

I know this, because Father still speaks to me, even after death. I mean really talks, which is the way it always was, and the way it seems its always going to stay.

His voice in my head, blabbing about outsourcing production and quality inspections and liability risk and my failures as a daughter. It’s torture.

‘Torture you deserve,’ is what he says.

Debatable, really. If he hadn’t been such a dick father, maybe things might have turned out better. No response to that one.

All he can talk about is how pissed off he is to be dead, trapped with all the other Astral Bodies I’m carrying around in my head. Like I can do something about it, like I’m something more than a vessel – a Life Raft stuck in the Not Quite Afterlife. (more…)

When we were 11 I held a fragment of smoked glass up to the eclipsed Sun. The moon moved, and the sun’s bright edge was revealed.

Light burned through a scratch in the sooty film and coagulated my retina. I didn’t look away immediately because I thought the glare was normal, what we were meant to see.

I was fascinated by the shape, the curve, the intensity. The pain came later. I didn’t tell my parents at first, because we had been told not to look. On no account should you look. But a group of us, an informal gang of boys and girls, snuck out to a crop field.

Then my eye swelled.
(more…)

     Yourself

     The automatic doors snark an impatient hiss and he rushes out. Clots of rain thrum the sidewalks. He ducks into a phone box and it is a muddier, submerged rattle.

     She is croaky and detached through the line, as if the elements traverse the circuits to wash her away.

     It’s just dying a slow death, she says.

     It would be a terrible shame if we stopped speaking or spending time together, though.

     It would be, he agrees.
(more…)

     My sister jumped and I did not see her oily head resurface.

     I walked away from friends and deeper into the forest. I looked for a place suitable to take a minute, as they say. I was barefoot. I left my sandals on the rocky cliff where everyone was launching themselves into the air and into the lake’s water.

     The glass positioned itself past my skin’s surface and softly clinked one of the twenty-six bones living among a hundred muscles and tendons and ligaments.
(more…)

Expiration

TIME has to let Marjorie go. They are very sorry, they tell her, but she’s trapped inside the minute—and possibly, very soon, she could fall prey to the second. She is infinite in the dogless dog park.

History repeats itself, Marjorie counters, but TIME, uncaring, has vanished already. Dogs expire all around her, in sister cities, slumped dead onto lawns, one of them smiling. Later, their humans mourn privately in bed, fantasizing about lost puppies or lovers. TIME, of one mind, lay waste indiscriminately. (more…)

     Double patty combos, plastic toys and $7.50 an hour- it’s one a.m. and these things bleed together.

     My mind’s somewhere else far from the blur of people on the other side of the counter mumbling words from the sign above me. They snatch brown paper bags sodden with grease and I imagine that I’m back home in my boxers, watching shitty hour long documentaries that circulate forever on droning stations.

     My mind oozes information I didn’t know I knew as I shuffle behind the counter, assembling burgers and filling drink cups till they overflow.

     In the growing swirl of soft serve ice cream is the rise of the Roman Empire. In a splay of fries is the steel beams of the Industrial Revolution. Tongues swipe white cream from cones and I think of ancient civilizations that sacrificed people atop temples. They were feared warriors that disappeared without a trace, a tragedy to every historian and unmotivated individual who watches their history on cable.
(more…)

     I run the crab shack by the marina. The crabs are good here, and the walk’s beautiful. Also people like me. Whenever I open up my big plywood window for lunch, people flock over here like boats to a lighthouse. Actually I guess boats try and avoid lighthouses. Or maybe they don’t. I’m a little hazy on the functionality of lighthouses — lighthouses aren’t my job, the crab shack is. And my crab shack’s popular, and I’m popular with it. I’m like a pillar of the community in a lot of ways. Two ways, really: good crab meals and nice service. I’m nice.

     If there’s one thing I’m not nice towards, it’s flies. I kill them all the time. Part of the job. Of course flies are everywhere, but if customers see flies buzzing around the shack, they’re less likely to buy a crab lunch to eat while looking at boats at the marina. So I make sure to have extreme prejudice, fly-wise. I got sticky paper, swatters, rolled-up newspapers, poison, the whole deal. I’ve been pretty good at minimizing their impact on shack business — that is, until last week, when this whole problem started.
(more…)

     Slowly, tenderly but with some force, Anna’s fingers pulled apart – with the soft sound of long-trapped air finally now releasing – what could maybe be seen as a mouth. Felt to think to call a mouth, she did, yes, ‘mouth’ – but no. What could fit? She puzzled her head in a swarm, uncertain.

     Uncertain as she’d been when wandering through these darker woods and having chanced upon the clearing, her eye seized at what faintly seemed to stir beneath the small pile of brush and ivy that swelled within its center. Curiosity aroused, she’d picked at the shadowy mound and found thereunder, this, a sudden musk, thread-thin veins webbing out ‘neath whey-white skin.

     Mouth, she decided, and gently scooped away the mucus. She smiled, wiped her hands clean on some nearby leaves. (more…)