Thursday, April 27, 2017
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Resist the urge to bite yourself

Archive for the ‘Nightmares’ Category

Ryan Day

Marketocracy

November 6th, 2009
by Ryan Day

PHOENIX, AZ-

I am, unfortunately, in no position to refuse $75 for one hour of my time, pretty much no matter what the the contents of that hour. They could have asked me to drink six bottles of catsup (ketchup?). They could have asked me to have tea with Glen Beck and soothe his uniquely bruised ego with prefabricated whispers about the peaceful forces at the center of the conservative universe (you are a child of the marketplace… the invisible hand will always lead you towards the light of the DOW…). I would have mowed lawns, bagged leaves (though I imagine the going rate of yard maintenance is somewhat lower), run backwards into the weird smelling basin at the end of the Salt River. But, alas, all they wanted was that I watch some movie trailers and tell them, no matter what I really thought, that the Rock was just the actor to breath renewed life into that excalibur of cinematic roles, the Tooth Fairy. (more…)


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?

(more…)


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…)


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.

(more…)


John L. Singleton

Chicken Wing Floozie

October 5th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA—

I left home when I was in high school without a diploma and shacked up with a floozie. I call her a floozie not just because my mother called her that, but because she was a floozie. She was a floozie to end all floozies. If being a floozie was anything like being in the Army she’d have been a general. And instead of painting skulls on her helmet to represent vanquished opponents, she’d have painted dicks, to represent vanquished dicks. And to accommodate all the dicks she’d need something like a million helmets and a whole convoy just to transport them.

(more…)


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.

(more…)


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…”

(more…)


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.
(more…)


Greg Olear

A Sad Song Made Better

September 1st, 2009
by Greg Olear

ASTORIA, N.Y.-

We moved on the first of September. Left our 400-square-foot fifth-floor walk-up on East Seventh Street in Manhattan’s East Village—an apartment that cost a staggering $1,800 a month—for a bigger, cheaper, cleaner, safer one-bedroom in Astoria, the part of Queens comprising the westernmost extremity of Long Island, directly across the East River from Yorkville.

We haven’t even been here two weeks. The cable hasn’t been turned on yet. The guy from Time Warner is supposed to come tomorrow—Wednesday, September 12, 2001.

(more…)


Matt Baldwin

E-mailing the Hurricane

August 28th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin

NEW ORLEANS, LA-

Note to the reader: I lived in New Orleans from 2001-2005. For the last six months of this period I held a position both on the security team and as an ER intake/administrator at the Oschner hospital, the largest medical facility in Orleans Parish and one of only two to remain open in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. As a member of the Disaster Relief Staff remained within the city for the storm and the first few weeks of the aftermath. The following document is a collection of the emails I mass-sent to friends and family during that time. I have edited out some bits of personal information of no interest to the casual reader and have made some minor corrections to the spelling, but have otherwise left the text unchanged, grammatical warts and all, so as to preserve the immediacy in which these were originally written. Some of the second-hand information reported herein was later proven to be hearsay, and some of it turned out to be worse than originally thought. I was very torn as to whether I should publish this at all, and am doing so largely due to the encouragement of some friends and fellow TNBers.

The paragraph titles are taken from the subject lines of the original emails.

(more…)


Matthew Gavin Frank

Evolution

August 24th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

BAROLO, ITALY-

At the end of Via Crosia, at least a kilometer past the Macelleria, but before the vineyards, the street’s rose cobblestone is cracked with anthills.  Surely these bugs are, right now even, communing under the town, perhaps under a single block, waiting to bore holes through the bathtubs of Barolo.

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Brin Friesen

Musical Chairs I

August 14th, 2009
by Brin Friesen

VANCOUVER-

My hunch is that if Havana’s your mother you’re going to have a tricky time making another city your wife.

My hometown has breezes it treats like hurricanes, Havana has hurricanes it treats like breezes.

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N.L. Belardes

The Night I Told That Radio Guy I Was Searching for Frozen Babies At Disneyland, or Why We’re All Captivated by Urban Legends

August 13th, 2009
by N.L. Belardes

BAKERSFIELD, CA-

One night I was a guest on the Red Eye Radio show with host John Wessling. It was midnight. I was sitting in a bathroom near Disneyland. I had called in and started telling the show host how I was on a mission to find out if some of the dolls on the “It’s a Small World” ride were really little people from around the globe who were cryogenically frozen.

“I’m ready to unravel the mystery,” I said. “These sad little people need not go on display for the sake of international fame!”

My family was flip-flopping in the other room on uncomfortable beds, disturbed by my muffled bathroom cries to save the frozen children of Disney.



(more…)


D.R. Haney

3301 Waverly Drive

August 13th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

Jerry and Mary Neeley used to own the best video store on the east side of L.A. That’s where I met them, and since they closed shop two years ago to sell movie collectibles online, we’ve occasionally met for coffee and talk of, among other topics, true crime. We’ve also kept in touch by e-mail, and last week Mary sent the following message:

As you know, the 40th anniversary of Tate/LaBianca is this August 8th & 9th. (Technically, the 9th & 10th because both parties were killed after midnight.)

I wanted to go to the LaBianca house around 1am on the 10th to see if anyone else shows up. Would you be interested? I don’t want to walk up there alone at 1am.
(more…)


Zara Potts

I Nearly Married a Stranger (Or Don’t Judge a Journal by its Cover Part 2)

August 12th, 2009
by Zara Potts

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND -

In part one of this sorry little tale, I established that reading other people’s journals is a bad thing - especially if you don’t bother reading all the way to the end.

I also established that in my younger days I fell in love far too willingly. Once even, with someone simply because he told me I had perfect nostrils.

This propensity to hand over my heart, and to snoop in other people’s journals, had been my undoing as I watched my love object fly off to another country and into the waiting arms of another girl.

I thought I’d never see him again.

I was wrong. Damn it.

(more…)


Ben Loory

How to Write a Screenplay

August 7th, 2009
by Ben Loory

LOS ANGELES, CA-

(A Helpful Guide)

Step Number One: Figure out what the story’s about. Try to have it not be about bears. No one likes bears; they’re big and stinky. Animatronic bears are even worse.

Two: When you’re done, write your story down. Try to make it about ninety pages. These ninety pages are your screenplay. Congratulations! It’s done!

(more…)


Sung J. Woo

Book Review: J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand

August 6th, 2009
by Sung J. Woo

WASHINGTON, NJ -

Every time I open a new book of fiction, there’s a part of me that hopes for the improbable: to encounter something new, something utterly original.  So as you can imagine, I’m let down a lot.  But sometimes I get lucky.

It’s been two weeks since I finished reading J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand, but here’s this little gem of a book, still sitting on my desk.  I don’t know when I’ll return this paperback to its designated shelf, but it won’t be anytime soon, for I keep going back to it, reading one of the 100 anecdotes in this collection at random, smiling and chuckling along the way.

(more…)


Irene Zion

The Lady in the Chair

July 24th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

I volunteer at a local hospital once a week. I’ve been doing this since we moved to Miami Beach more than eight years ago. Normally I play with kids who have cancer. They play like any other kid, but usually they can’t get out of their beds because of all of the tubes and fluids going in and out. Usually I work with my friend Melissa. We think alike.

(more…)


Ben Loory

The Bad Thing About Being in the Mental Institution

July 21st, 2009
by Ben Loory

LOS ANGELES, CA-

The bad thing about being in the mental institution is that everyone there is crazy.

It really wouldn’t be so bad if not for that: it’s clean, it’s quiet, the food isn’t bad, and on top of that, there are plenty of doctors, so if you choke on something or have a stroke or a heart attack your chances of survival are increased.

But then, on the other hand, everyone’s crazy.

And when you’re crazy, that’s not what you need.
(more…)


Colleen McGrath

Will the Real Sydney Bristow Please Stand Up?

July 12th, 2009
by Colleen McGrath

BERLIN, GERMANY

Lately I’ve been dreaming about being a spy.  It’s a nice change from the usual “somebody is chasing me” nightmare.  These days the tables are turned and rather than running through molasses from some unknown terror, I’m the one holding the machine gun.  Go me!  I’d like to think that the dream analysis is true and this represents my drive and ambition.  Sadly, I think it has a lot more to do with my recent Alias obsession.  Apparently my subconscious wants to be Sydney Bristow.  (more…)