David Erlewine

No More Carl
I went into the playroom to start another recorded show for my son, Eric. I glanced out the window, eyeing the neighbor’s pool. A boy was floating face down. The boy appeared to be Carl. It would be easy, and somewhat cathartic, to mention reasons I didn't like Carl but that would be poor form, in light of everything.

Okay, I'll do one: last year, in kindergarten, he called Eric stupid for not knowing how to spell his name. It's something I'll undoubtedly stew on for a long time, whether or not Carl had already been floating too long by the time I saw him.

I left a card in his parents' mailbox yesterday. They went to her mother's after the funeral but might appreciate it when they return.

Fine, one more: Carl liked to take Eric's toys and hold them out of Eric's grasp. Every time Eric wanted to go outside and play, I had to stand around the front yard, telling Eric to stop whining and asking Carl to give things back. Carl's dad and mom almost never came out.

I've been in a bit of a funk the past few weeks. I keep thinking about the light feeling in my stomach when the ambulance showed up and Carl's mom yelled at the guys to keep blowing into Carl's mouth. I keep thinking that Carl's parents, now childless, will divorce and put the house up for sale. In this market, the sign could dangle out front for years.
Eric keeps asking why his friend died. When Eric is older, maybe I will quietly tell him the truth, away from my wife. I might say that he should know Carl wasn't a true friend and never would have been.

Stories by David Erlewine appear or are forthcoming in Necessary Fiction (So New), Ghoti, Word Riot, Pank, and a number of other places.


Joel Griffith

Sara Meets A Duck

And Evil Duck I
Say low and she
Brags of migratory
Travel plans
Trips to Rio etc

And laughs so
Scandalously people
Coming out from
The bank stare at
Us and a girl

Drops her ice-
Cream cone and a woman
Smears their lipstick
And a man spins
His head around in

The sun once and I
Run my tongue
Over my bottom
Lip and Evil Duck
I whisper

And she shows her duck
Tongue and quacks
And I go ahead
And meet

A man in the
Sun who’s Just spun
His head around
And I ask
Him for his pen

And he looks
Down my blouse
And I hear
Duck Laaaaauuugh
Away off

Behind me in the sun
And the man
Shouts something
At my chest
And he gives me

His pen
But I’m not listening
And I snatch
The pen and I
Turn hard on

My heel
And I shout loudly
In my head
Evil Duck and I shout
Evil Duck

And duck quuuuuaaaaaaacks
And laaaaaaauuuughs
Joel Griffith plays guitar and sings in the superhero rock band, Dean Trinity. He lives in Baltimore, MD.


Joseph Young


The milk truck was down on its side, headlight broke and spilling weak contents of light on the grass. The side had bruised to metal, with a taillight blinking left in the street. The rear door had come open and hung rather dick-limp free. Spots of eggs scattered along the whole of one block, perioded in bursts of milk, cuts of glass holding sun like ice.

The milkman sat on the hood of the cop’s car, sometimes checking his hands. Broken? he thought, flexing the knuckles and tendons. Except that nothing had happened to them, they’d not gotten any injury. Only over his eye was a smudge of blood where he’d jammed against the passenger widow. That and the ache in his seatbelt shoulder.

His pocket rang. His girlfriend was expecting him home—The Milkman—for lunch. He liked that she liked that and he liked it now, the inseam of his pants against him. But it passed, the phone went dull, and he inspected his hands.

“A kid?” The cop asked.

The milkman scrunched. “What?”

“You said it was a kid?”

“No. I never said that. A dog. A red one.”

They looked up the block, searching the different chunks of grass for signs of a red dog. It had passed in front of him, and he’d hit the brakes, thrown the wheel. It was a red dog, though he couldn’t say why.

“You didn’t say a kid before?”

“No. A dog.”

The cop went to talk to another cop, a lady one. She was cute and redheaded, gray slacks fitted slim in that way around the thighs. She could even be pretty. His girlfriend rang again, but he left it, and she quieted.

It took 2 hours for the tow truck, and then for his boss at the dairy, and then for the boss and the cop to sign the things. The ambulance drove off disheartened—against what his boss said was Policy—but nobody was forcing anybody. His boss, he knew, was mostly so unhappy.

She did drop him off at the office, and they talked in her car.

“My daughter,” she said. “She might come home Thanksgiving. But not before. I think.”

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s how it is.” He wanted to add, especially the pretty ones, but he said, “Especially the serious ones.”

When his phone rang, she said, “Is that your girlfriend, maybe?” He said, “Yeah, that’s her special ring.” She brightened a second, and her eyes were really blue.

Finally, as he was driving toward the beach, he answered and told his girlfriend about it, the eggs being like eyes in the road and the milk and the poor white truck.

“No doctor?” she said.

But no, he wouldn’t let her either. “It’s just my hands is all.”

He hung up then, then texted her sorry, then got out and looked at the water. It was so blue, those birds and their freefalls toward the fish. It smelled like weeds and flies and table salt.

He walked down and took off his shoes and put his toes in the cusp of the foam. When the wave came up, it was nice. It was cool and fresh.
At 533 words, “Galaxy” is the longest story Joseph Young has written in three years. Easter Rabbit, his book of microfictions, will be published by PGP later this year.


Brenton Rossow

railway gherkin
won’t do you no harm
railway gherkin
ain’t grown on a farm
railway gherkin
ain’t no false-chest-wig-mirkin
railway gherkin
there’s no time to shed
your shoes or be shirkin’
pick up your sticks
and grab your railway gherkin,
grab a paddle and a shovel
as you head down the track
there’s a land filled with gherkins,
so don’t lose your mind
just throw ‘em in a jar
and put your future behind
Brenton Rossow has disgustingly thin lips and a sweet dyed red comb over. He was wounded in Athens by a stray beer glass and shot in the leg by an electronic shoe pencil in Grease. He has been living next to a mountain swimming with monkeys for the past nine years.


Brian Allen Carr


Oh wondering monk
Caucasian playing Asian in
seventies TV, will
you ever find your brother?

Searching, searching, America.

How is it you were found
by a cleaning lady in Thailand
a cord around your neck
face gone blue to death
auto-erotic asphyxia
to teach the grasshopper
how to finally snatch
the pebble from the handin time for you to leave.


Andrew Borgstrom

Reflected Off the Occasional Bone
We thought about learning the intricacies of intricate things. We decided to just watch more television and sleep more. When I looked the other way, you talked to the empty spaces where the words used to be. You could use the company. Graphite stretch marks, blood-seep, bubble’s pores. Staring at painted walls at the blood no longer there. Bundles of sixty. The same amount of time it took to tie your shoes or brush my teeth. Forty wiped up already. Ten back into the pill bottle. Ten down the drain. Fifteen tying knots and kicking over chairs. Five in the knife block. How much depends on how much. We measured the distance from Formica to linoleum. It seemed longer, I said. Hardened cinnamon rolls, you said.

Andrew Borgstrom's fiction almost appears in Caketrain, Syntax, Wigleaf, and The Anemone Sidecar. His collection reflected off the occasional bone will be published in This PDF Chapbook in 2009.