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Sam No Shirt talks on and on while cupping the telephone receiver to his ear and taking swigs off a brown quart bottle of beer. A black stripper comes in at ten; she bends over the desk to sign in.  I look down the front of her dress and she smiles. She looks a little like Haley Mills, the actress…Then a taxi cab driver; then a guy who works as a proof reader; then some punk rockers who use the hotel studio; then the drunk, walking as if pushed from behind, and crashing through the door to the elevator; then a dope dealer dressed all in black like Johnny Cash; who even looks like Johnny Cash–a Johnny Cash who has spent time in a concentration camp. Then the girl who brings guys up to her room comes down and demands I move the drunk, who passed out in the hall in front of her door.  I get up from the desk and walk to the elevator, big stack of keys jingling at my waist.  I get off at 4.  The drunk is face-down, his dress shirt and red face soaked from the bucket of water the girl who brings guys to her room at any time night or day doused him with.  The drunk’s keys are in his door.  I drag the drunk into his room and throw the keys in after. The girl who brings many guys up to her room not to play checkers, and whose face is painted like several kinds of flowers, slams shut her door.

Wayne Burke

Wayne Burke's short stories have appeared in HAPPY and the fucking Gihon River Review. His poems are in FORGE and miller's pond e-zine.

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Corporate Marrow

Monday morning at the water cooler. Another day in the rat race. Another arm of the universe speeding inexorably to the absence of usable entropy.

Plans after work: drive home, watch episode of Alaska State Troopers, masturbate to interracial midget porn, collapse into miserable catatonia.

Steffan walks up to the water tank and grabs a cup. “Morning, Ed,” he says.

“Morning, Steffan.”

After my third sip is when I notice Steffan’s hand, a wicked witch’s claw of gauze around his little finger – where his little finger was. The materiality of absence. Sartre’s anatomy.

“What happened to your hand?”

“Just a project I was working on over the weekend.”

“Some kind of power-tool accident? Did you go to the doctor?”

Steffan takes a drink, palpably indifferent.

“Nope,” he says.

Seconds pass: one, two three.

“Nope to which one?”

Sip.

“Both.”

“Oh.”

S-I-P.

“So how’d it happen?”

“Hatchet.” He crumples his cup and throws it towards the trash-can, placed at the fury-inducing range of just more than a strong overhand toss, taunting the entire office with its unobtainable malevolence. Somehow, the cup goes in.

“Miss a swing?” There’s just a drizzle of blood on the gauze; a dusting of human oil.

“No,” he says, grabbing another cup. “I got it on the first try.”

“What do you mean?”

“I did it on purpose, Ed. Is that what you want me to say?”

“Are you kidding me? Why would you do that?”

“To demonstrate agency over my own life. We only truly possess that which we are capable of destroying.”

My existentialist side doubts the veracity of my ears and their ability to translate airborne particle vibration into logological significance.

“What,” I say.

“The willful absence of anything is more palpable than the thing itself. As components of an inscrutable and seemingly inescapable series of necessities, compulsions, and processes, the only mastery we are able to obtain is over our material consciousness.”

Flashbacks, college Philosophy flashbacks. I finish my cup of water. My mouth remains biblically dry.

Like that, the conversation is over. Steffan crumples his cup up and tosses it again as he walks towards his office. The cup lands in the trash-can with a barely audible plf – like the sound God might make in your ear to stoke the flame of a dogmatic schizophrenia. You didn’t forget your pills, there are no radios in your teeth, your skin is flesh; not insects.

A missing finger as free will.

I lob my cup, uncrumpled, towards the garbage can. Halfway there, it flutters uselessly to the floor, like a paper bird bereft of hope.

“Hm,” I say audibly, to no one, for no reason.

 

Two weeks later, Steffan and I are fucking each other bareback in a thatch hut in Indonesia. The night is a hot cloak of tribal stars, and tomorrow is the blinding flash of absolute morning; hands locked, rough, raw digits stripped to the bone, with just enough blood to remember we are capable of bleeding.

Philip Gordon

philip gordon is a creative writing student from vancouver island, recipient of the 2014 kevin roberts poetry award, an editor of the literary magazines Ash Tree Journal and Text (launching in September, 2014), and reader for PANK. his work has been published in The Puritan, The YOLO Pages, theNewerYork, (parenthetical), and in numerous other places. philip is a sex-positive pansexual feminist, lover of shades, and proponent of the Oxford Comma. he can be stalked at twitter.com/greymusic_ and grey-music.tumblr.com.

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The Bells

The town was quiet on most nights. All the shops closed at 8:00 and most of the streets were clear by 9:30 because of the curfew enforced by the local law. Like I said quiet. Fuckin Mayberry quiet is what it was. Drove most of us abnormal folks into the underground.
The underground! Yeah that is what most of us teens called it. It was a crypt is what it was. So we would all sneak out and meet behind the old church in the old cemetery. In the middle was a giant crypt with one of those massive gargles on top of it. One day we were fucking around with it and Johnny kicked it in the right spot and it opened. After that it became our after curfew spot.
The crypt itself was nothing special. A few drawers with bodies and what not. What we found underneath was why it became or go to places. You see inside the crypt were stairs leading down into catacombs which my sister  discovered one day by leaning up against one of the walls. The door opened and at first it was a game. I dare you to go down there. After a while it became our new hangout.
We were all brave souls with well very little fear. In the catacombs were more graves hundreds maybe even thousands. I don’t know how far they went. One night Johnny and I were walking around there so long we didn’t come back out into the sun was up. We almost got caught. From then on we only hung out in the main gravesite just under the crypt.
 It was cool we partied hard with those dead people. We shared our liquor with the bodies. Dance with them. Until one day Johnny thought it would be a good idea to share a cigar with one of them. It was all fun and games. We all laughed, danced, and chanted.
Yeah it was a good time up to that point the body was engulfed in flames and none of us could stop it. Soon the catacombs were all a blaze and we all ran like rats from a sinking ship. Some of us made it. Most of us didn’t. Those that did watched as their friends burned alive.
They say the smoke came out of every grave in the yard. The fire department came and pelted the place with water but all it did was wash the bodies out. It was like a Romero movie come to life.
The last thing I remember was the ringing of the church bells. The bells which still haunt me today as  I sit in my room made from rubber walls. Oh the bells, the bells, the bells, forever with the bells.

Samuel Southwell

Samuel Southwell holds a BA degree in English for the University of South Florida. He has published two books entitled “Dread” and “Twisted American Fairy Tales”. He currently lives in Saint Pete. Fl.

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Swimming at Paloma Plage

Magnus imagined himself to be flying, though there was no way of confirming this because everything around him was dark, except for a pinprick of blinding light up ahead, which grew by magnitudes until he found himself bathed in its luminescence, shivering, and a man as big as a giant, enrobed in blue with a blue mask and a blue skullcap, was grappling with him.

He screamed in a voice that he did not recognize as his own, a baby’s.

After being cleaned and handled in a way that was offensive to his dignity, he was placed delicately into the outstretched arms of a worn looking woman who referred to him from that point onward as Jamie.

He yelled out that a mistake had been made, but again came the incoherent scream of a baby. There was no use, he realized. Magnus—Europe’s greatest swimmer, conqueror of the Baltic, Adriatic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas—had become a newborn.

He tolerated this new reality to the best of his ability. He kicked his legs and grasped at the pink flowers dangling from his mobile overhead. Though he knew it was futile, he longed to escape, and it kept him preoccupied in the long hours he spent recumbent in his crib.

Patience, he realized was the only virtue he needed. Soon he’d be a grown man again, and these usurpers who called themselves his parents would fade away. Then, he’d reclaim his identity and once more conquer the seas.

He learned to understand some of their words. Among them, help, which he tried to utter each morning, knowing that none could save him. All he had was the past, yet even it had become as vague as a dream remembered upon waking.

He tried to remember that day at Paloma Plage.

Gulls had been crying overhead. The sky was washed blue, blasted with thin, languid clouds. On he went farther into the sea. When he turned to look back, the people on the beach looked as small as ants. This pleased him. He whooped aloud and laughed, even as a terrible pain gripped his chest. The sun fell behind a cloud and shade fell across him.

It took him, and as the water stung his eyes and filled his lungs, he struggled on. Instinct drove him, even as the darkness came.

When he surrendered, things were better. Magnus felt no more pain.

The baby cooed and uttered a clumsy word.

Mama.

Tyler Munro

Tyler Munro is a Manhattan-based writer. He graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School and is currently working on Deadbeat, a novel about the ghosts of fur traders, bastard canoes, and Canadian whiskey.

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Punch

There’s a frail woman with frizzy hair sitting in front of me at the coffee shop that I want to punch in the face.  She hasn’t wronged me in anyway – she is merely sipping her coffee, inconspicuously nibbling on a blueberry muffin with bony, liver-spotted fingers – but I want to crack her nose with my fist.  I know it’s terrible; the thought alone would make anyone find me offensive and cruel, but I would never do it.  It’s just a thought.  We all have them, right?

Alright, so it’s not the first time I’ve contemplated it.  I had the same thought about my grandmother when I was young and my sister about a month ago.  Don’t tell me I need help.  I’ve been seeing a psychologist for three months and he keeps telling me I’m fine, that we aren’t our thoughts.  But I don’t get it.  If our thoughts don’t constitute what we are, then what does?  He says it’s our actions.  But aren’t our actions just an extension of our thoughts – the point of origin for our behaviors?

But by his logic, if I keep from punching that old bag in the face and only think about it, I’m still a good person.  I can live with that.

I can’t though.  I’m going to punch her.

I stand and walk up to her table.  She turns to face me and I see her bulbous nose begging for it.  The vascularity of her nostrils eggs me and I make a fist with my right hand – my dominant hand.  If I’m going to actually punch an old lady, I want my full force behind it.

I close my eyes; my fist is clenched.  The world is my oyster.

But then I feel something brush against me and the moment is gone.

I open my eyes; my fist unclenches.  I’m a pathetic little shit looking at a man ten years younger than I am.  The man, tatted up in a sleeveless shirt, sits down at the old woman’s table.  He is a behemoth.  From a biblical perspective, if one is tempted to go that route, it’d be a classic David versus Goliath match-up if I took a swing at the bag of bones who is still unaware of me.

The behemoth stares at me.  “Can I help you, son?”

Son?  I laugh.  He doesn’t seem to like that.  He’s about to get up, so I decide it’s now or never.  I ball my hand and curl my thumb across my knuckles.  I take a swing, and before the behemoth can react, I connect with the brittle facial bones of old woman and hear the most beautiful sound.  It is the sound of affirmation.  I am not a good person.

Jonathan Dittman

Jonathan Dittman's fiction has appeared in, or is forthcoming with, Apocrypha & Abstractions, Creative Colloquy, thick jam and The Pitkin Review, and his essay on language and identity theory appears in the book collection “Perspectives on Percival Everett.” Jonathan received his MFA from Goddard College in Port Townsend, Washington and lives in Minnesota with his wife and two children.

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Detente

She entered the break room to find Bana opening his backpack. He smiled, revealing impossibly white teeth. Luminescent incisors and canines protruded from bright pink gums, salient against the ashy black of his skin. His teal button-up shirt snaked into gray slacks, the fabric loose, as if covering only bones. 

“Did someone show you around the break room?” she asked, pulling a mug from the cabinet. 

“Yase,” he said. 

She poured her coffee and waited for Bana to clear the right side of the counter, where the cream and sugar sat. 

“I am surry,” Bana said, noticing where he stood. 

“No, take your time. I’m not that excited to get to work anyway,” she told him, laughing at her joke. 

He nodded, then pulled a lunch bag from his backpack. It zipped three sides of the rectangular shape, the zipper bright green against dingy plastic. He opened the bag and took out plastic food containers that he placed in the refrigerator, revealing a cartoon monkey on the flap. The animal’s mouth formed an O and it was hopping on one foot, a banana in each hand. 

“I love the lunch bag,” she said. “The other kids are gonna be jealous.” When Bana didn’t laugh or smile, she offered a nervous chuckle, thinking he didn’t get the joke. 

He smiled thinly, and tucked the bag into his backpack. “It was my son’s,” he said. 

“Oh, I figured as much,” she said. “My boys have outgrown all of that, too. How old is your son?”

“He was foh,” Bana said. He donned the backpack and eased the refrigerator door closed. 

“They grow out of stuff so fast. How old is he now?”

His face darkened, revealing her mistake. Several seconds past before she coughed and said, “I’m sorry to—” 

“He is foh now, too. He will always be foh, I’m afraid. I carry his bog to remember heem.”

She nodded, sucking in her lips. “I’m sorry.” 

“When da rebels attack our village, my son was on his way to school. They wa recruiting young boys for they ohmee. Akee was too young. Dey shot him down and ate his lunch. Da bog was in the dirt beside him.”

“Oh my God,” she said, putting a hand over her mouth. She set her coffee down for fear of dropping it. 

“Aftah the raid, the men of my village swah revenge. To kill those who kill us.”   

She swallowed, moving to take a couple of non-dairy creamers from the porcelain container on the counter top. “Well I can’t imagine how that feels. But at least you’re here now, away from all that violence. You broke away before it was you doing such horrible things.” 

He smiled again, his teeth shining in the fluorescent light. “No,” he said, the O clipped. “I didant.” 

Darren Todd

Darren Todd's non-fiction book Pirate Nation was published in Russia in early 2013. His fiction has appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of A Flasher’s Dozen, the February 2006 issue of The Writer’s Post Journal, and the Winter 2005 issue of The First Line magazine, later performed as a dramatic reading for Columbia Radio in 2007. More recently, he has appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Shadowroad Quarterly, the October, the 2013 issue of Twisted Dreams Magazine, the Chupacabra House horror anthology Growing Concerns in early 2014, and he had a short piece published in Darkfuse spring of 2014.

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Break

Due to various circumstance beyond our control, Fuck Fiction will be taking a short hiatus until early September.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of The Dog Farm and Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult'. In 2007 he founded Beatdom literary journal, and today he serves as the Editor-in-Chief. He currently lives in China with his wife and a number of cats.

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Giving into pain

I would always wonder how that could have been it for me, how that could have been my last day on earth, but I was never lucky enough to be beaten to death. God never listened to those prayers of mine, the prayers in which I asked every night to die.

            The worse part for me was the walk up the stairs to my apartment. With every step I took my heart began to beat faster and the closer I got to the seventh floor the more nervous I became and as I exited from the staircase onto the seventh floor, I could already taste the blood in my mouth. On the seventh floor standing in front of my apartment door, there was no turning back for me now. 

            I stick my key in the lock and slowly turn it unlocking the door. I crack the door slightly open and peak in. If my father was inside waiting for me, he would be waiting in the living room which was the first room into the apartment. When I open the door that day, I quickly notice that he was not in the living room, so I was convinced that he was not home. He must have still been at work.

            I headed straight to my room and sat on the edge of my bed and looked out my window. I was ready and willing to die, just like always. This wasn’t how life was supposed to be. This wasn’t normal, but it was my life so I just dealt with it. I would put up a front sometimes like I wasn’t scared, but I was. I just wanted to be a normal kid and have a normal life.

            I received a phone call from my father saying that he was on his way home and how I better be there when he arrived. I couldn’t say how long I would wait for him on average to come home, but it always felt like an eternity. The thing I would try and focus on the most were the birds on the tree outside my window and how beautiful I found them to be. But no matter how beautiful I found the birds to be, I still wanted to die.

            He’s home! I can hear his key unlocking the door. No sooner than the door flies open it slams shut. The front door to our apartment was on a straight line to my bedroom door. Sometimes I wouldn’t even bother to look back to acknowledge him, there was no point. Why look back and give him the satisfaction of me knowing that he was home. Why show him how scared I was. He already knew anyway. That’s why he did it. Sometimes I just kept to myself.

            He could clearly see me sitting on my bed. And now I can hear his footsteps. They get louder and louder and then it appears as if he is barreling down the hallway towards my bedroom. I could hear his blood boiling. I can hear him grunting. This was the part where I used to pray to God for help, but I had given up on that a long time ago.

            My door crashes against the wall and now he’s only a few feet behind me, but I still won’t look. FUCK IT! I just accept what’s about to happen. I take one last look at the birds and close my eyes. The sudden pain overcoming my body instantly numbs my mind.

 

            No resistance, only submission and silence.

Richard DeFino

Richard De Fino was born and raised in New York City but now calls Buffalo his home. His focus is on memoir, creative non-fiction and poetry. He has been published in Writers Digest, Two Cities Review, and the NewerYork.

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Starstruck

As I strolled down Pacific Avenue I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would meet a true pioneer of the streets, a back-alley troubadour uncovering the music of the spheres. But, of course, he didn’t realize what he was. He should have a name tag, the kind we’re forced to wear at those fecal studded conventions in Las Vegas: Homeless, Penniless, Disempowered, Not Quite Psychotic (but nibbling around the edges).
I followed him onto the bus. His name was Dexter Turntables. He must’ve made that up, but even that was good. Whatever he said was real, without a shred of self awareness, so how could it be wrong? I told him he reminded me of Saint Bernadette, one of those fragrant virgins who managed to steer that elusive course around the dark bits. But he said he only saw the dark bits. “Exactly!” I shouted it out Eureka!-style and the bus driver turned around to glower.
I told this beacon of unknowing that he needed to record his music and share it with the rest of the globe. The moment he became enthusiastic about my blaspheming suggestion he began to shimmer and fade. He slipped into distortions of crude desire. It was then that I got a whiff of him, a stinking, unwashed insult.
As I got off the bus I glanced back and saw him shrinking, shrinking, shrinking. Another floundering bipolar landing in the soft, wet mud of delusion.

Tod Connor

Tod Connor has published fiction, non-fiction and commercial music. His work has appeared in various publications, including Talon Magazine, Ohio Views, Raphael’s Village, Apropos Literary Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Smashed Cat, Out of the Gutter, Christianity Today and others.

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“It’s not my fault”

It’s not my fault. She wouldn’t do a thing I told her to do. She knowed how I hate my scrambled eggs runny and there they were, runny, sittin’ right in front of me. I told her I wasn’t going to eat that shit. And she looked at me all cheeky-like and said eat it or don’t, she don’t give a damn. So what else could I do but slap that look right off her face. And the dumb bitch hit me back. Now no bitch hits me and gets away with it. So I took the skillit off the stove and gave her a good whop just to teach her how to act. It’s not my fault she can’t take a hit. I thought she was just out cold when I left. How was I supposed to know she was dead.”
The thing is, she wasn’t dead. She had a bad concussion and was bleeding inside her head. If you had taken the time to see that she was bad hurt and called a ambulance, they could have operated and saved her life. But you didn’t do that did you, you went to a bar and got drunk.”
Hey. It’s not my fault. How was I supposed to know. I ain’t no doc.”
It’s not your fault. None of this is your fault. Nothing is ever ‘your fault’. But I understand completely. I really do. However, you called my sister a bitch and that means that I now have to break both your elbows. It’s not my fault that I have to do it.”
Ow-w-w-w-w-w. Ow-w-w-w-w-w. Jeeeesus. It hurts. You got to call me a ambulance.”
OK, I’ll call, but before I do, I have to break your knee. You slapped my sister so there’s nothing else can I do. It’s not my fault. It’s just what I have to do.”
Ow-w-w-w-w-w. Please. It hurts really bad. Please. You got to call someone.”
Soon, but I still have to break your other knee. It’s not my fault you hit my sister with a skillet. So now what else can I do but break your knee. This is definitely not my fault.”
Ow-w-w-w-w. Please. Oh-h-h-h-h. Pleeeeze. Pleeeeeeeeze”
Sure. But before I call, I will have to break your face with this skillet. It’s not my fault. I just can’t do anything else. You killed my sister, so it’s something that I have to do. You understand that, don’t you. It’s not my fault–really. But of course, you know all about ‘it’s not my fault’.”

Lester L Weil

Ex professional bassoonist, ex professor, ex custom furniture builder, ex house builder. Retired in Arizona near the Mexico border and trying hard not to venture past the ranch gate.

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