“An inmate has escaped. Her name is Medea Stavropoulos. She’s a thirty year old woman of medium height, slight build with very short brown hair. We consider her extremely dangerous. She was sentenced to life without parole in this institution for butchering her husband and a woman while they were still alive and then feeding the body parts to stray dogs in the city.”
Unlikely Stories turned 20 years old on July 1, 2018. The 20th Anniversary Issue was released on July 4, 2018 and included more than a hundred authors and artists.
Hands entangled in Mother’s hair, I had pulled her head back and exposed her throat to the sun. Suddenly many figures emerged in the dream, confrontations in a wooden booth.
Which is why I’ve kept my secret cold. Blank. Unforgiving. When I’m out walking it calls to me. Sounding high and strained. As if a string instrument gone out of tune. Something to reach toward. Frayed yet determined. It eats to my bone working its way beyond.
You’re stretched out over a motel mattress staring up into a chip of neon that streaks the ceiling, its light bleeding in through a gap in the curtains. You hear voices, low and disinterested, which could be coming from the next room, from the t.v. at the foot of the bed.
The shop’s walls are covered with colorful stencils. The choices are many: I could get words, abstract patterns, images of figures, or drawings of mythical beasts scored beneath my skin. But I want the devil’s head with its tongue hanging out.
There was also some weird thrill — “thrill” is probably too strong a word — that Sam couldn’t articulate, but that nonetheless played around the edges of all this, and that was this affair was at least a distraction from the soul-draining boredom of living on a desolate planet.
When she awoke the next morning, one of the butterflies told her that her name was Walter Woo. You must be joking, she remembered thinking as she reached down and checked her engine. No extra parts.
I looked down and saw blood drips on the floor and stairs. Everything became blurred. Men in dark glasses stopped anyone from leaving the building who displayed the willful expression of a would-be martyr. All I was trying to do was go home.
War Orphans float above a wheeled apparatus, waves jig-sawed out of fiberboard, of plywood, like chicken fingers. Chuk-chuk-chuk the dead one’s stick-like legs, their click-clack hair ties and criss-cross neckerchiefs, their soft napes. Their shades slide down, and with soft darts assail the chorus. Slap by slap they say: I see you, see you, see you, slap.
I felt myself bound to humanity, bound in haziness and ambiguity. I asked what will come of it, a voice answered nothing ever comes of it, and so I asked what can I know with certainty.
Our friend Jeffrey has traveled to many cities: Cucamonga. Bentonville. Portsmouth. Providence. In each city he has gotten on his knees. He has prayed to the local god or goddess. In Newark he spoke to Sarah Vaughn in a cocktail lounge and to Allen Ginsberg floating high above the Jewish cemetery next to the traffic jam. Getting the okay from Allen and Sarah, he renamed the airport so we can fly into Allen Ginsberg. Then he flew into Louis Armstrong and learned how to second line.
I remained as afflicted by self-deprecation and most of the maladjustments that attached to it as ever—I had, with her assistance, finally stopped trying to go down on myself. And for helping to rid me of this hazardous, independence seeking compulsion—it had already resulted in a couple of blown-out discs in my lower back and several hospitalizations—
Most people you forget, but some you choose to no longer recognize. If chance had brought Em and me face-to-face on Worth Avenue, I would have steered around her and kept going.
He wanted to tell him that he could not buy love or respect. He could purchase a venue and a stage set and a position, along with any number of actors to simulate all the salient points of love or respect. But, in the end, it would all come apart because it was merely simulation;
She burned corsets, stockings and tasty fetish gear as she waited for her climaxes. Just passing time. Just passing time. They misunderstood her experiments for an elastic insanity.
We discover NORA masturbating on an expensive leather couch in a railroad apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The front door is barricaded by two chairs; a layer of broken glass covers the corridor to the main room. The apartment looks like someone has been smashing everything that can be broken or smashed, which, in fact, Nora has been doing.
She had a strange neighbor of an indeterminate age. He could be twenty, she thought, or maybe forty. She was new in the building, she had moved in a few months before, armed with fresh hopes, hopes that seemed to have materialized, except for this one neighbor who became a blot on her anticipated existence
when i became convinced that i'd used up all that came in the original package i developed a perhaps unhealthy, but i was certain, necessary obsession with getting my hands on anything to aid in jacking the volume back up to at least a 'tolerable' level.
How she decants herself, abandoning the priests’ pressing: the whirl of soft yellow petals opening leaves me breathless, form refusing limit. I clip the spent blossoms with shears, collecting their orange hips in an enameled bowl. All the stories are old, syllabaries of lauds told.
Float, too fast for comfort, down through the cloudcover into a cave mouth. Bounce down a tunnel into the cavern where the bat bites my nose and I in a panic succumb to visions of the Thane of Polyurethane, in under a bridge out of the rain, squatted on cardboard, bored as a sheet of wallboard.
From my car I carried two stacked trays of deviled eggs toward the church when a short chubby man in a purple Ku Klux Klan outfit stepped out from inside.
‘Secondly, you get the credibility with the kids.’ In a high pitched voice; ‘”I want to be Mohammed! I want to destroy the Imperialist Monsters!” Right?’
Upon the scrotum's fell evacuation
the musculature normally declines--
or so the common wisdom of our time
lets one (that would be me) anticipate.
But here I feel a pair of muscles thrive
on my castrated travel-partner's sides:
I search the web: why can’t I locate any record of any the film? Was it actually a sheep, or a duck or even a llama, perhaps not Cuba, but Peru or Chile—although I believe it was a goat and Cuba—but the point is, I am thinking about a boy and his goat today, May 2, 2017, two years to the day since she asked for divorce.
Childhood games. Hide and Seek. He must seek someone. Hide and seek. He hides. He sneaks along the duck shit covered path encircling a pond. The quacking rushes. Don't go near, you'll slip and drown. The slippery shitty pond bank.
Aida greets him at the door with a smile and lets him in. He is disappointed that she has changed clothes as if her outfit held the magic that had enticed him; she is wearing a white dress less revealing at her cleavage and he can make out a bathing suit top underneath. There is a talk show on the flat screen that she quickly turns off as he comes in. She seems a little awkward.
"It is not my fault if you cannot understand what it is I am going to be talking about, if you lack the duende necessary to understand my poems on the run."
As I adjusted my glasses, he adjusted his. I felt dizzy and unreal and out of this world. My hand fell to the ground for much needed support. So did his. His dumfounded expression forced a nervous smile from me - same on his face! I remembered the water and drank half of the bottle to calm my nerves. So did he.
“Enter night,” she whispers and crawls to be under her bed – she has become numb to the gouges that pierce her flesh – the bleeding has stopped – her wounds are three days old and Doctor Iseman has not seen her in a week.
Just look at your face so wasted playing a man so real, as real as charred skin in your hair can get. How far will you trudge down this never-ending path of enlightened servitude? Wade into the river to soothe your feet as many times as you’d like, but the ringworms keep burrowing.
You can’t fall asleep. Where is your mother? You haven’t seen her in so long. You asked your daddy and he said she went away. He said she’s never coming back. He said she doesn’t love you anymore.
ringo meets a girl-silhouette in a short black dress her legs are long, as alluring as throwing oneself into the thames to get over a bad life maybe the dress is what erases her having been called "tone-deaf" by george or web-handed by the south 5's drummer he suspects everything is distorted
There’s this fucking game I used to play with my shit-head brother and my punk-ass cousin, I don’t remember its name. It’s got a Get Out of Jail Free card you can get. Can you fucking imagine? Get Out of Jail Free? Shit.
After their initial greetings Frank turned the subject very quickly to that of drugs, and more pertinently whether James knew of somewhere he could get him something to help this impending madness stop, a little smoke to help ease his mind off to some much-needed sleep.
I sit across from him scrolling through the feeds on my phone. I'm not really reading, just trying to avoid witnessing the excessive alcoholic intake of my employer, the way one might avoid looking directly at someone dressing in a locker room.
“Fine, don’t answer me. You just show up with your fancy, omniscient powers and give me these vague orders. George, go an’ fight these terrorists in Afghanistan. George, go end the tyranny in Iraq. George, go bring peace to the Middle East. Like I oughtta know how to do all that without more detailed instructions!"
I’m ready to cash in and call it a shift when I make this mug in a green toupee, gold golf shirt and cocky khakis. He’s all huddled over a stack of $10 chips at the blackjack table. I recognize him, that coyote—that boozer, liar, cheat and irredeemable loser who once went out with my wife.
“Does it bother you that I’m dying?”
“What? Of course it does.”
“Just checking. I’m starting an experimental treatment. If it works they’re talking full remission, total cure.”