Sunday, June 1, 2008



In the middle of levitation practice, Anya began to regret that she'd polished off a Big Mac, large fries and a strawberry shake for lunch.

Sunday, March 30, 2008



It wasn’t Hera or their children or his jealous brother Hades. When Zeus fell it was finally to Christopher, patron saint of truckers and long haulers.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


"That tree looks rather like..."

No, I must have been imagining things. My mind plays tricks on me sometimes and makes me see things.

For instance, sometimes I see faces on the bark of pine trees, and these faces resemble the people I have loved over the years and throughout time. In moments like these, best to not read too much into them.



Wilkins wasn’t the kind of person who normally quoted cultural theorists. Nothing kills a party like saying, “Well, Baudrillard would say….” If you’re busting out a line like that, Wilkins liked to joke, you better hope you hate getting laid.

Wilkins didn’t like sounding pompous, and he certainly didn’t like quoting things he didn’t fully understand. And yet, ever since working for the internet non-profit, he’d been thinking a lot about Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others.

On Monday morning, Wilkins poured himself some coffee. Then he put on his putty-colored headset and dialed the phone. “Hello Mr. Phelps,” Wilkins said. “I’m calling on behalf of the Improved Life Foundation. Would you like to make a difference in the life of a child for the small donation of only a few hours’ wages?”

A complicated sigh from the other end of the line: agitation, displeasure, guilt. “Listen,” the potential patron said, “I’m on food stamps right now and between jobs. Can you just send me some pamphlets and I’ll get back to you?”

“Of course, sir, thank you for your time,” Wilkins said.

Back when he first started, Wilkins had joked about the people he telephoned. He had called them “marks”: “I sweet-talked this mark and got a grand out of her.”

Now, he just called them “patrons.”

He put a note in the database to send potential patron Phelps a pamphlet that afternoon. After lunch, Wilkins slid the glossy brochure into the business envelope. Before sealing the envelope with his soft, yellow sponge, he removed the shiny, high-resolution brochure and studied it.

There are so many photographs of suffering, but the human being only has so large a reserve of empathy.

After sealing the envelope, Wilkins stepped out to the gray parking lot for a break. He watched the smoke of his cigarette climb upward as he felt the nicotine refuel his body. How big was the world, he wondered, in relation to the size of his cigarette? He could understand the cigarette, but not the size of the world.

Almost Famous

I look like Maddox. Do you think Angelina and Brad would adopt me?

I want to travel around the world, go to a French school (until I have to travel around the world), and be in People magazine (my new parents would get paid for those photos).

Maddox and I could hang out. It'd be cool. But don't think I'd be a babysitter for the rest of them. That's not happening.

Still, I could hang.


Four hundred million years ago, my ancestors pioneered these shores, crawling up from the ancestral salt of the ocean to test the land. We were the first.

Before us, the land was still, moving only at the pace of the algae, the moss, the fern. My people ruled them all, and the edges of the waters as well.

We broke this land, and after four hundred million years of shuffling and scurrying and watching the rise and fall of others, you, mammal, take hold of me with your opposable digits, pick me up helpless.

But, I think I will be here when you are gone.



I rolled over and patted the cool spot on the bed. "Jared?" I called. "Jared?"

Someone moved on the other side of the room, near the window, someone who had Jared's height and bulk, Jared's rough shape and gestures, but he didn't do what Jared would do. He didn't come to bed, or answer reassuringly. He didn't scratch his ass or fart as Jared would. He didn't strain for the sound of my voice as my husband did in the daytime.

He just stood by the window, a stranger in my bedroom.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


“Does it meet the specifications?”

“Yes is does, it looks so real.”

“Well it IS REAL,” he said in his jovial manner, always inappropriately happy, “it’s 100% human, physiologically. Of course no brain functions, not until the transfer anyway.”

“And it’s me?” I asked, still incredulous to the process.

“100% your clone, except of course for the brain activity, and we have made the standard upgrades, AIDS resistant, standard cancer immunity, dual food-pipe windpipe to avoid choking and of course the mega-metabolism you asked to be installed.”

“What happens now?” I asked, he answered me with a clinic description of the euthanasia; he was going to kill me, but so slowly that the mind stays active long enough to transfer.

“The difficult bit will be first few years after the transfer. You’ve completed the psychological profile but that still doesn’t mean you won’t find it difficult. You’ll be living with an adult’s mind in a baby’s body.” He paused, I remained silent in acknowledgment. So he continued more seriously: “There’s no other way to do it, the body will not live for long with minimal neurological activity, the heartbeat will slow and eventual stop.”

“Ok.” I said, I was not ready but it was too late to back out now. He tried to reassure me.

“Remember the level of education you will be able to attain in your new life will be unparalleled. You’ll carry all your previous life experience into your new body, and of course, you can live forever, just transferring again when you need.”

Me and the million other people who have used the process I thought to myself.

“Are you ready to begin?” he asked, again with his inappropriate joviality.


That was three months ago. I’ll be falling asleep again soon. Being three months old is hard work; always tired from the constant growing. For now I’m still being looked after by the doctor’s team, and he was right, it is hard psychologically, it’s torture. But once I can walk I’ll join the millions of other children across this freak-show city, living as adults.


"Hey, mom! Look, I made a penguin!"

"Wow! That's a really good penguin. How did you make it?

"Out of clay. I even baked it in a kiln."

"Why did you choose a penguin?"

"Well, first, I think they're really awesome. Then, my teacher told us about how the earth is getting warmer, and she told us how things are melting and that's hurting all the living things. So, I wanted to make something important."

"That's wonderful! You did a great job. Your father just pulled in. Put your penguin on the table so you can show him."

"Hi, daddy! Look what I made!"

"Hi, honey. No! Don't put the bags down there!"

The penguin was crushed under a pile of paper and plastic bags.

Pickle Jar

Laura looked at the thing on her lab table.

"Okay, seriously, WTF!" She very nearly raised her voice. "What am I supposed to do with that? I mean, disssect it, pickle it, What?"

The poor girl was at her wits end. She had taken this job as a lab assistant because it paid well and worked with her party girl hours. But this thing was crossing the line. It was hideous and for the life of her she could not think where the Dr. would have found it.

Laura had learned not to ask questions of the Dr. He bordered of completely creepy. And his work crossed that line, as far as she was concerned. Laura was pretty sure that the good Dr. would be getting her letter of resignation in the morning. She just hoped that she didn't wind up in a pickle jar afterwards.

The Bride

It is supposed to be my day. Well, I sure won't forget it. That's me, the bride. See the girl behind me? That was my maid of honor. See that look on her face? That is the look of a drastic mistake.

That is the look of shock and horror after discovering that no, I did not know that my fiance was sleeping with his best man. I had no idea. Maybe it is my innocent sheltered upbringing, in Portland.

I don't have any excuse for not seeing it. None at all. But holy crap, she could have waited to tell me until my mom was gone.

The First Coming

“What am I?” I ask myself, I already know the answer.

”I am the result of science, I am omniscience.”

But that’s not all. I know it’s not all, a power flows through my knowledge, I can feel every quark, every boson acts by my word.

”I am the result of technology, I am omnipotence.”

”Where am I?” I become aware slowly.

”I am the result of reproduction, I am omnipresence.”

”Who am I?” It feels good to flow through what I left of our dark universe, our dead home.

”I am the result of morality,” I answer myself again, “I am benevolence”.

WHERE DID I COME FROM? I no longer speak it: rather I let the question vibrate through the empty overflow of existence.

A vibration echoes back.

You are the conclusion of consciousness: The First Coming.

”It’s so dark, I am alone…” but I don’t finish, we don’t finish… we know what I must do…


Friday, January 4, 2008

Flasher Bio: Dragon (Co-editor)

Dragon is a misanthropic, anthropophagic, poikilothermic monster, prone to biting when provoked. Under her nom de guerre, Monica Friedman, she has successfully masqueraded as a human being for over three decades, earning degrees in psychology (BA, Antioch College, 1996), English (BA, NEIU, 2001), and creative writing (MFA, WMU, 2004), and working for such illustrious institutions as WW Norton, Third Coast, and Oxford University Press. Currently, she lives in the Sonoran Desert, where, for the last three years, she has undertaken a longitudinal experiment to determine the exact span one can exist as a starving artist without actually starving to death. For many years a fantasist, she is gradually transitioning to non-fiction because she is sick and tired of being told, "that could never happen," when she tries to pass off true stories about her life as fiction.