Drinking Through by Aaron Leyshon

I love a sunburnt mangrove. The mosquitos, sentimental just like family, drain my desire to write. Yet their incessant buzzing hums a tune I know so well. It’s disquieting and somehow comes across as innocence. Perhaps this depraved innocence is in fact a ruse. Maybe, though, it’s a reminder, a note to remember to buy toilet paper. I haven’t shit for three weeks and I’m still drinking my way through the twelve steps. I’ll admit I have a problem with Christmas and Cyber Monday, Black Friday is darker than my last stool sample and yet I’m dealing with it, the savings are phenomenal. Should perhaps give my problem a name: He’s thirty years old and lives under my arm, in the Diamond mines, scrubbing, scrubbing, polishing my fame. Shame is the spilled champagne from my empty sodden shoe. Humpty dumpty had a great cry and the stars came out and circled the sky. I wonder…

Do you…?


About what…?

Is there anything worth wondering about anymore? The Sumerians and Akkadians had a name for the space between the Earth and the sky. I forget it. Forget it, it doesn’t matter as much as the bites and the scratches, and the teeth marks on the bones. Let them lie fallow in fields of their own sown seed. 

Knowledge is nothing, if power, only by chance. Not in the biblical sense. That’s the affair of the goddesses, of Ishtar and Artemis, and Britney. She’s no longer under financial house arrest. It must be time to go home. But to where? 

The kettle boils and boulders form in bubbles, sea monkeys stop swimming. They float to the surface kind of like the putrefaction of Guinness as the bubbles go down the sides and come up the middle. They burst. The switch klicks off. The water cools. The coffee is instant. Ready. Almost. The milk smells of dirty diapers. I drink it in through my nostrils. 


I flush the toilet.  

Aaron Leyshon bends words into unnatural shapes that sometimes resemble poetry and other times fiction. He teaches high school English and suspects that this may be where his love of language stemmed from. You can find out more about him and his writing at aaronleyshon.com which also happens to be his most enduring work in progress.

I-87 to the Styx by Steve Gergley

My speedometer reads seventy-nine when the eighteen-wheeler begins to jackknife. I stomp on the brake. My tires scream on the pavement. His trailer swings to the right and blocks all three lanes of traffic. As the wall of steel roars up to meet me, a beautiful woman appears in my empty passenger seat. Her silky black hair frames her sharp, alien cheekbones. Her glassy white lips cradle a black-paper cigarette. She stares out the windshield and coughs a wet, wheezing laugh. Moments before impact, she pries open my lips and slides a rose gold smartphone into my mouth.

Steve Gergley is the author of A QUICK PRIMER ON WALLOWING IN DESPAIR: STORIES (LEFTOVER Books ’22). His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Atticus Review, Cleaver Magazine, Hobart, Pithead Chapel, Maudlin House, and others. In addition to writing fiction, he has composed and recorded five albums of original music. He tweets @GergleySteve. His fiction can be found at: https://stevegergleyauthor.wordpress.com/

The Late Mr. Blue B. the Beard by Linda Lowe

Everything was Hahaha between us, until the day he left to pillage and plunder, and I unlocked the basement door. I was OMG trying to un-see the bodies, when he came back hollering, Sweetie-pie, I forgot my lunch. I hurried up the stairs to let the happy guy in, but the key was bloody because like all curious brides before me, I’d dropped it on the floor. I finally felled him, but what a match a cheery soul can be! Now, as I sip my tea, I’m wondering what to do with such a famous one, smiling to the end.

Linda Lowe’s stories and poems have appeared in Gone Lawn, Outlook Springs, A Story in 100 Words, BOMBFIRE, and others.