Unlikely 2.0

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Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Proud to Be a Pig
by Bob Ritchie

Yes, I am proud to be a pig. And I think I will tell June, my wife, just that. When I see her again. If.

Perhaps you sleep with the TV on. It works that way sometimes.


About two years ago, I began to doze in front of the television. A comment on the state of American TV or my attention span. That is not for me to decide.

Look: The sofa felt soft and warm on a chill winter's night. The cushions gave and sighed with my every move. A lovely sofa, it held me in its relaxed embrace like an overweight lover. The rich taste of hot chocolate floated on the back of my tongue. What pleasure my nose felt; that piquant scent of cinnamon does it every time.

I didn't hear June open the door to our spare bedroom/TV Room. I didn't hear her light tread on the wood floor. Sleep had claimed me.

She woke me with a tap on my balding pate. As the world swam into focus around me, she said in her playful kitty voice, "No sex if you fall asleep before ten."

Mmph! I'd been dreaming of breakfast, my favorite meal: Sizzling strips of lean bacon, light, fluffy eggs sending tendrils of delicious-smelling steam into the clear morning air.

"Okay," I answered, closing my eyes again against the flicker and flash of the muted TV.

She bit off my ear. The left one.

The pain flared like a roman candle. My hand shot out, reaching for something to stop the flow of blood. It encountered an open bag of pork rinds. Good enough. I fished out one of the tasty treats and shoved it up against the side of my head. The flow of blood stanched, I turned back to the TV to enjoy the latest video treats.


June wanted her Masters. Following this desire, she'd enrolled at Crafton Hills College. A Physical Education Major, she spent her evenings running and shouting and sweating. Yucch.

I used to greet her with a kiss and a hug when she came home. Then this falling asleep thing had become a regular habit. A problem with an easy solution: I set an alarm clock to wake me a few minutes before she was due to arrive.

Almost foolproof, except when the teacher canceled her 20th Century Exercise Habits class for the night.

Had I been awake:

The front door opened with its usual groan. Laugh tracks and other features of Prime Time TV probably masked the sound of her books thudding to the floor. Had I been awake....

As a little aside, my Mom was an avid National Geographic fanatic. Her fanaticism ruined my school years. Oh yeah, what's in a name, right? A lot!

"Jacques," she called, "I'm home."

Her heels probably clicked on the parquet entryway, turning to a faint thump when she moved onto the carpeted hallway. Had I been awake....


Kissing lips moved softly down my jaw and throat. A darting tongue licked and teased the curling hairs of my chest.

Mmph. I simultaneously farted and snorted; a drop of saliva spattered her nose.

She bit off my right nipple. Not from anger, she later assured me. The combined shock of slime and scent.

Blood slicked my belly and spattered the hall carpet as I ran toward the kitchen. No biggie, I knew that rust-color would come in handy one day. The linoleum chilled my bare feet. I had run out of my slippers, in my haste. On the refrigerator, I found a tiny suction cup. From its bent metal hook dangled a gaily-patterned potholder. I read the word "Hormel" on the plastic deelie.

From promotional item in a package of bacon to replacement body part. I licked the cup and stuck it in place.

June called from the bathroom, "Honey, we're out of mouthwash."


The blood stopped and I opened the refrigerator door. Grazing time in the Simptie household.

Her voice got louder as she walked from the master bath to the kitchen. "Can you pick some up on the way home from the studio tomorrow?"


"Mouthwash, Jacques, mouthwash." She had her hands one her hips, a favorite what-an-exasperating-man-you-are stance. Blonde bangs curtained her blue eyes.

I had a couple slices of bologna in my mouth, so my answer was a little garbled, "Okay."


With the touch of the "Perform" button on my computer editor, I finished my documentary on the early Warner Bros. Cartoons.

My chair's wheels squeaked in protest as I backed away from my desk. Have to take care of that; I couldn't even hear the final "Th-th-that's all folks".

I'd gained a lot of weight recently. A combination of June's night school and my own laziness/lack of imagination. Franks 'n' beans played a large part in my night-time routine. As did chili, stew, and ravioli. My wrist was looking quite buff from working out on the can-opener.

I slid off my chair and onto my couch. Every office should have one. Remote in one hand and a can of Vienna Sausages in the other, I zapped the TV into colorful life. Idly, I opened my zipper and pulled out my penis. Fondling myself, I daydreamed of tall, naked, Latin beauties. One in particular caught my attention. She carried a tray, overflowing with bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. With no lettuce or tomato. Before me, the opening shots of the movie "Babe" filled the screen. Sometime around the little pig's introduction to the animals on the farm—his new home—my eyes fell to a close. My erection remained intact.

I know the air whooshed out my door when June opened it. It always does. I know her heels clicked on the marble tiles as she approached my recumbent form. They always do.

I know the fire leapt from her eyes, hot sparks of rage that burnt all in their path. She has a temper. She always does.

"I'm leaving you Jacques, you bastard son-of-a-bitch."

Mmph. Right in the middle of a helluva dream.

She towered over me. One hand waved a sheet of company stationery. I recognized the blue logo at the top. I recognized, too, the illegible scrawl that filled the front and half the back. Not so illegible that I could not have deciphered the "Dearest Maryann" and the "much love, J" written at the top and bottom respectively.

Dick in hand, I stared but made no sound.

"I said I'm leaving you, goddamn it, don't you have anything to say about that?"

I shrugged. "Okay."


Quicker than thought, she bent at the waist, pushed my hand away and bit.

I wish I had been eating a hot dog instead of Vienna Sausages.

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Bob Ritchie lives in Puerto Rico. He has a pretty fantastic wife and as many as five kids. Editing, yeah, teaching, sure, some translating. Ritchie (as his wife calls him) is a musician whose greatest claim to fame (so far) is that he has collaborated with Jon Anderson. Perhaps one should mention that Bob (as he calls himself) is also a writer of stories and that he has written a novel that might even be good.