by Richard E. Dansky
“You got beaten up a lot as a kid, didn’t you?”
That’s what Jerry Brower asked me, and the entire Central Carolina Writers’ Workshop burst into nervous laughter.
I looked up from the short sketch I’d been reading from and turned to face my questioner. Jerry Brower sat at the end of the table, down past a gauntlet of laughing faces. He, at least, wasn’t laughing, and for that I was silently, desperately grateful. I nodded to him, slowly.
He nodded back. The laughter stopped.
music by Instant Ambient (a side project of The Secret Life)
Waiting Up for Father
by Greg van Eekhout
Jars line shelves like delicacies in a shop.
Hands clutch brown water.
Eyes and ears and tongues bob lazily in their containers.
Testicles lie shriveled against cold glass.
I have seen these things many times in many ways.
by Scott Sigler
I swallowed. I didn’t want this to happen. I knew the game. Bag Man always called the cops and gave them a code. He gave that same code to the victim. Even after two years of killings, the fucking cranks were still calling 9-1-1, claiming the Bag Man had called them and that they needed protection. His codes solved that problem. He was a damn courteous kid.
Thing was, the codes became more of a warning to the cops than a way to separate out the sick, attention-starved loonies. The cops wanted to confirm Bag Man’s targets — not so they could stop him, but so they could stay the hell out of his way.