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Archive for the ‘Hell’ Category

Slade Ham

Silent Warrior

November 10th, 2009
by Slade Ham

HOUSTON, TX -

It started at 3:00 am and it didn’t stop. It was relentless. It’s the second attack in as many weeks and my sanity may suffer for it. I am under siege from the most well trained, mosquito assassin on the planet.

I have forever been aware of the buzzing annoyance that describes most mosquitoes. This one though, this one is a special breed. With a regular attacker, you can isolate it by its sound. You listen to it as it gets closer and closer and then slap the last place you heard it. I’ve killed them by the thousands over my lifetime, and I’m afraid that’s why they’ve sent this demon warrior after me. The Uruk-Hai of the insect world.

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D.R. Haney

The Dark Undone

November 6th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

The thought came to me when I was fifteen and trying to sleep on New Year’s Eve. Nothing I recall had happened to incite it. I’d spent the night babysitting my younger siblings while my mother attended a party, and she returned home around one in the morning and everyone went to bed. (My parents had divorced, though they continued to quarrel as if married.) My brother was sleeping in the bunk below mine, and as I stared at the ceiling and listened to the house settle, I thought: Why don’t you go into the kitchen and get a knife and stab your family to death?

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Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)


Kristen Elde

All in the Mind

October 30th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

Ahh, the dead accuracy, the universality (I’ve gotta think) of Don Mitchell’s October 15 post—“Looking Good!”—about his experience running the 2002 New York City Marathon.

“Thousands of them, yelling at me: looking good! I couldn’t stand it.” … “Makes it worse, see, I’m dying, I’m already dead, and what, I’m noticing nice asses? And I’m thinking, What’s wrong with you, shithead. Con-cen-trate. Don’t die.”

What’s wrong with you—concentrate—don’t die. I feel ya, Don.

Rather, I felt ya.

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Ducky Wilson

Possession Is No Laughing Matter

October 28th, 2009
by Ducky Wilson

BFE, TEXAS - 

A bead of sweat pools on the tip of my nose. I want to wipe it, but I can’t move. Light pinwheels around my eyes like a kaleidoscope at a carnival. I hear my breath quickening, but I don’t know why. Other sounds morph into a distant drone punctuated by organ interludes.

Am I in church?

Yes.

Through pinholes in my delirium, I can see Father Tassio talking behind the pulpit, his hands working the sermon like a potter would clay on a wheel. Behind him, I can see the cross where Jesus bleeds, the holes in his hands pulsing dark tunnels to another dimension. I look away so I’m not sucked into them.

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Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 4: Still Loving Morrissey and Shopping at the Gap

October 23rd, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR-

Don’t ever agree to your book being published if you have a fear of public speaking. I can say that, over the past five months, I have almost completely conquered this fear. I have beaten it out of myself. My husband has stood by, helplessly watching the self-berating, doling out the necessary Kleenex and gelato cups, weighing in on every outfit I’ve tried on. My vain (in more ways than one) attempt at looking just the right combination of serious literary writer and hot-ass bitch has culminated in committing the worst of sins: I bought a black T-shirt from the Gap.

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Zara Potts

Take Your Swiss Ball and Shove it up Your Ass

October 21st, 2009
by Zara Potts

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - 

I am thirty-seven years old.

I am having a mid-life crisis.

I have joined a gym.

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Rich Ferguson

Karma Driving School

October 15th, 2009
by Rich Ferguson

LOS ANGELES -

Author’s Note: I want to thank Jessica Larsen for the photo that she took during her recent travels in Varanasi, India.

Let’s go back to the very beginning / get in that car / get behind the wheel / rev the engine to pure devotion / our each and every dream – sparkling motion / relearn brake, gas, and clutch / not so much to speed us through these streets / but to clearly see that our each and every action ripens into results / bad equals bad / good equals good / it’s not some tricky math / nothing like finding the perimeter of all human suffering / what it is is the world coming from us / not at us / karma driving school

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Ducky Wilson

The Pizza Hut Massacre

October 5th, 2009
by Ducky Wilson

BFE, TEXAS - 

“Someone lost his mind in there,” I tell my dog Tonya as we walk up the sidewalk to the abandoned Pizza Hut. I want to see inside.

Tonya yips at me as we approach the building then cocks her head low the way she does when she’s nervous about something.

“It’s ok,” I tell her, but I can feel it, too. The air turns heavy as we walk past a shrine for the people who died that September night. I realize that today is September and a chill skitters over me. Tonya gets one, too, for when I look down at her, the hair on the scruff of her neck bristles like a mane.

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Lenore Zion

Sunday Morning/The Party’s Over

October 4th, 2009
by Lenore Zion

LOS ANGELES, CA-

I call it the “Sunday Morning/The Party’s Over Depression.”

When I was a kid, my parents let me have birthday parties. An entire gaggle of prepubescent girls would swarm my house and play stupid games on Saturday. Most of these games don’t have official names. There was the one where we pretended to put each other into some sort of supernatural spell, a possession of some kind, and even though we all faked it, we also all thought it was real when another girl was possessed. This always made me think there was something wrong with me. Why can’t I become possessed? All the other girls can.

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Tom Hansen

On Junk

October 3rd, 2009
by Tom Hansen

SEATTLE WA-

When I began taking writing courses in college, my instructors at some point all mentioned one thing; write what you know.

What does that mean? What does anyone know? What did I know? I was familiar with, and informed about many things, but ‘knowing’ implied a more intimate relationship than the commonplace knowledge that everyone knows. I knew a little bit about playing music, a bit about this, a bit about that. Nothing special, not like the adventures some of my literary heroes had lived through and subsequently wrote about. But there was one thing. One thing I knew more than anything else, one thing in my life that I’d been totally enthralled with, devoted to, and spent years and years of my life closely involved with. Junk.

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David Breithaupt

Amongst The Un-Molested

October 3rd, 2009
by David Breithaupt

COLUMBUS, OH-

I have to confess, my childhood was somewhat idyllic. I wasn’t molested or fondled, spun or mutilated. I wasn’t MacKenzie Phillips’d nor did I grow up in a cardboard shack in some stranger’s backyard. I wasn’t abandoned, duct-taped, burned, bandied about or water-boarded. Was never felt up by a priest nor unearthed horrid events via hypnotism. My early years, as you can see, were a bit on the normal side. No one wanted me. I felt so left out. Many of my friends had been damaged by such events and I wanted to belong and share their terror. I set out to create my own.

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Ronlyn Domingue

How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Russians (Iraqis, North Koreans, and so on) and Hate War

October 1st, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue

NEAR 91 DEGREES LONGITUDE-

I confronted eschatology too young. Although benign compared to some beliefs, my Catholic upbringing placed me at the sidelines of Armageddon—strange references to a kingdom come, the Second Coming, Judgment Day. I got queasy at the mention of the Book of Revelations. Sermons and syntactically-strained Bible readings led me to infer a tremendous destructive end to all life, human, animal, insect, plant. There were drawings in books, filled with fire, angels and demons, a sea of the damned. For a child, it’s impossible to reconcile a loving Father with one who will kill every one of his children with wanton violence. Children also don’t grasp metaphor.

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Tyler Stoddard Smith

Some Thoughts on a “New Literacy” While Remembering Patrick Swayze

September 29th, 2009
by Tyler Stoddard Smith

HOUSTON, TX-

Pierre Bayard’s ode to philistinism, Comment Parler des Livres que l’on n’a pas Lus, or How to Talk About Books That You Haven’t Read is a unique experience. Upon completion of Bayard’s work (one wonders if Bayard himself ever read his own book), I found myself first outraged, then confused, and finally, a little constipated. I thought to myself, “How does this boorish Frenchman claim that a perfunctory flip-through of Anna Karenina should suffice for an understanding of St. Petersburg’s high society during that time—or Jasper, Missouri’s, home to the Double Deuce for that matter?” Can this Bayard be serious? Can we really talk—intelligently—about books we’ve never read?

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David S. Wills

Hagwon: The First Day

September 23rd, 2009
by David S. Wills

DAEGU, KOREA -

I woke to the most awesome bright light. It was insufferably bright, in fact, and hurt my head tremendously. I could hear a terrible pounding and I wasn’t sure if that was the headache or the light making me crazy, but after a minute of lying there, I realised it was my door.

“Dude!” Thomas said, laughing almost to the point of falling down the stairs. “Holy shit!”

“Fuck off,” I told him. “What the fuck are you makin’ that goddamn racket for? Banging on my door at this hour…”

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Stefan Kiesbye

Azzurro

September 21st, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye

LONG BEACH, CA-

My father drove a blue Opel Kadett. I was three, maybe four, and for this particular trip – maybe up north to my grandparents who lived close to the Danish border — he’d received a company car, a green Ford Coupe with a black vinyl top. I don’t remember what made it necessary, but the new, large car was exciting, and my sister and I had extra room in the back, even though the Ford had a sloping roofline. We were much too small to hit our heads.

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Ben Loory

Tarnishment of the Living Apparatus

September 15th, 2009
by Ben Loory

LOS ANGELES, CA-

There is no point to this. The point is that I’m getting sick. I just noticed it an hour ago. Suddenly I am blowing my nose. Out of nowhere. And now feeling a little wonky. So I took some vitamin C and ate about 14 pounds of sautéed spinach and now I am sitting here waiting to die. If the pig flu gets me tell them I was an okay guy. Kind of quiet and not very good at tennis, but basically decent.
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John L. Singleton

Things I Learned About the Apocalypse Over Labor Day While Vacationing In Palm Springs, California

September 15th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA–

So, I’ve been working pretty hard lately. And by working hard, I mean that I’ve been working really hard, for long hours (12 or so of them every single day) for about the last two years. As a reader of this little article, you might wonder what I’ve been working at for all of these hours, but that’s not important. What is important is that at this point, the only thing that really punctuates my working of really long hours is the drinking of highball glasses of Jim Beam, which helps me work more but alas (according to all of the addiction recovery books I seem to be reading lately) doesn’t really relax me. At least not in the way a good vacation would. A good, sober vacation. And what better place to get away from it all (or at least the burning, wood-fired Tandoori oven that is LA right now) than Palm Springs, California, just two hours away!

At first this seems like a great idea, right? A relaxing desert, a pool, room service… All awesome things. However…

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Adam Cushman

A Thousand Words: Grandmotherland

September 15th, 2009
by Adam Cushman

LOS ANGELES, CA-

Vaselina operates five port-a-potties next to Kazanskaya Cathedral off Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg. In Russian, she’s a Babushka, which means grandmother. Whether Vaselina really has grandchildren makes no difference. She’s one of an army of old post-Soviet women who pour down streets and sidewalks with pocketbooks clutched in one hand, plastic bags of raw meat in the other, linebackers who will, without question, run you the fuck down if you step in their path, especially if you’re inostranetz (foreigner).

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Rob Bloom

A Thousand Words: A Moving Story

September 15th, 2009
by Rob Bloom

PHILADELPHIA, PA -

There’s a special room in Hell reserved for movers. It’s right beside the room holding the cable guy who said he’d be at your house between 9 and 4 and two doors down from the mechanic who swore your car needed a new filibusterator. This room, which is called something fun like The Devil’s Armpit, is only 528 square feet and:

  1. mind-blowingly hot
  2. completely and totally empty.

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