Volume 1.16 4 February 2012
A Tasty Variation on Literature, Photography, Food and Music
Photo by Joe Krauska
Slice It Up
Letter from the Editor
“Mother Ghost” (Jennifer LeBlanc)
4 “Answers” (Jennifer LeBlanc)
“Wisdom Teeth Persephone” (Jennifer LeBlanc)
“Storybook Love, Part III: John Daniel Ripley” 4387 words (Daniel Ripley)
“Mope the Impaler” 3136 words (Nick Michalak)
Apple Cider Doughnuts: A Recipe (Joe Krauska)
About our Authors & Artists
Letter from the Editor Dear Friends, I am mostly gathered here (parts of me are elsewhere) today to talk about that old cliché, “I know______ like the back of my hand.” We all should know this implies that one knows something quite well, impossibly well perhaps as to the point of not even needing to see it to know it. They are a writer’s tools, they are the painters’ tools they are the workers’ tools. Moreover they define humanity. Humans are the only species on Earth that points using their digits. (Dogs, coincidentally are the only animals besides humans that understand pointing.) The back of the hand, so used and connect to our human experience is memorized photographically. But how true is that? I do not know the back of my hands that well. I would even wager I know other people’s hands better than my own. Right now I can recall my father’s hands well enough to draw them if only I had the capacity to draw. I can remember my mother’s hands down to the way the very backs of them felt pressed against my many feverish foreheads. I can remember the hands of an ex-lover and exactly how and where they fit into mine. But as for mine? I have to look down on them as I write this to even recall if the tear shaped scar I earned from a burn during my days as an amateur pyrotechnician (read juvenile delinquent) is still there. It is; smaller and fainter than I recall. Look for the hands in our writers this month. Imagine the hands of the Ripley’s embalmer working over the cold body of his own wife; the hands of the mother in LeBlanc’s poetry or the hands that extracted the tooth. Look for Michalak’s hands and how they idle and wile as he spies on spouses per his commission. How much better can you see these hands than your own? These hands are fleeting and must be remembered deliberately. Those still stitched to your wrists are most likely permanent and easy to forget when not in use. Perhaps to know something like the back of our hands is really to think that we know something better than we do when forced to deeply remember. All the best, Stephen Krauska Executive Editor
Mother Ghost Poetry by Jennifer LeBlanc The separation alienates me the most, bars me from church where I want to call out— Father, Son, why is the Mother a ghost? Under the moon through the window— the Host set in the night. Round mouth, a shout— I loathed this separation that alienates me the most. It is a patriarchal god of whom the Church boasts. Men pace the altar. Women are shut out. I call— Father, Son, why is the Mother a ghost, shrouded in alcoves, robed in thick coats of rose petals and beads? Passive, a muted shout. This separation alienates me the most. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— the oath to call the male divine, the female less devout. Father and Son, why must we keep the Mother a ghost? Sometimes, at home, I consecrate my own Host. God without gender, god without the cross— I refuse the separation for the most part, pray to the Mother, freed of her ghost.
Answers Poetry by Jennifer LeBlanc Why do I hate cities smelling of women and urine? Is there anything in the world sadder than a train standing in the rain? â€”Pablo Neruda The filth of the city smelling of urine and men, businessmen dressed in suits and shoes they have shined on side streets, the box and brush left behind when the shoeshiners go home to small houses built close to old railroads, and no, Neruda, nothing much is sadder than trains standing in the rain seen from ripped screens behind stained windows while the business meeting in the historic restaurant is going well, very well, another batch of crisp cash guaranteed in by the time the shined shoes reach home on the shelf beside the door, then the man trips upstairs unknotting his tie, his wife rolls over and sighs, I drank so much wine, darling, waiting for you.
Wisdom Teeth Persephone Poetry by Jennifer LeBlanc I. Closing my eyes, they take me under, the mask attached to my nose and my chin dropping slow when they ask me questions. You have good veins, but clench your hand anyway. I form a fist and hold it tight, flinch when the sharp prick of the needle bites my inner elbow. You can unclench your hand nowâ€” a calm voice near my ear, and I present my palm as though receiving seeds. II. They return me to my mother waiting in the recovery room, the room narrow as a cell, but with a soft bed. They hand her my teeth to show or stow away. We leave with an appointment card reminding us of the scheduled date I must returnâ€” a stern note. In the car, my mother touches my head and says she will take me home.
Storybook Love, Part III: John Daniel Ripley 4387 words Short Fiction by Daniel Ripley I sit in a back pew during morning mass every day after I bury a person. I do this to help ease the souls of the departed because many other morticians cannot stand this job. I do not blame them. Most are unable to embalm children. A person who has lived their life to the fullest, a soldier who gave his life for God and country, a junkie in their twenties who had one too many highs; these are easy; A young, beautiful child taken away by God at the beginning of life is too hard, many say. I keep them in my prayers. All of us possess a purpose in life. My parish priest, reading the Holy Gospel today, gave up the touch and love of women to serve his purpose. Myself? I continue the family tradition stretching back hundreds of years to when the first Lajeunesses were forced out of Acadia (Nova Scotia to most) by the British and relocated to Louisiana. I, Benedict Bellefontaine Lajeunesse, bury the dead. Every since I buried my wife, my first burial, I knew what God intended for me to do. St. Mary Queen of Angels is a large orange brick building containing a massive worship chamber. Every time I come here I admire the plain, white room and the wooden pews. Around twenty to thirty people are attending right now. I recognize every one of them, and I have served several of them. The homily is unremarkable; the priest saves the better ones for the weekend. Normally I attend the early Sunday I never cared for the Saturday evening mass because it is when the drunks atone for their sins before going to the bar. Such a sad way to die. I make my way to the altar to receive the eternal oblation of Christ. While I make the sign of the Cross and kneel before my priest I think of Marjolaine,, Madeline, and Evangeline. Marjolaine Lajeunesse nee Fremont, Madeline Lajeunesse, Evangeline Lajeunesse. My own personal trinity. Marjoline away in Heaven looking down on me, my beloved Madeline serving the sick and destitute, and Evangeline bring spirit and love with her sister. Why, why did this happen? Mar-
joline, why did Evangeline forsake us? After I receive the Body and Blood I return to my pew for silent prayer. Standish, Gabriel Miles Standish is the name of the father of my first grandchild. I remember putting Mr. Standish’s grandfather and grandmother in the ground together, and I am repaid by him this way. At least they are not children. When the mass was dismissed I walk outside of the chapel. The sunlight shines down on me. I notice the people exiting the parish. A younger man helping his mother moves past me. “Mr. Lajeunesse, good to see you,” the man said. His mother sat down in a car driven by whom I assume is the father, and the two drove away. “Aren’t you missing your ride?” “No, I can walk to work. Burns off the extra calories.” I do not remember meeting this man but faces blur because of work. Even in this small town I cannot remember every single person who comes by. I place my hand out. “And you are?” “Oh, my apologies. Sunny Mancha. I‘m a lawyer up in Kansas City, but I live down here and keep a small firm open for the locals.” “Ben Lajeunesse. Mancha and St. Laurent?” “Yes. My mother and father were down visiting the family from Kansas City so I took them out.” “Very kind of you. Your wife?” “Is Greek Orthodox. Hard to make her show up. “Understandable.” At least he isn’t stuck to a protestant. “Are you a communicant here?” “Oh, most of the time I attend mass in Kansas City. The business of my schedule prevents me from coming here most of the time. My law partner grew up here so I let her handle most of the local work.” “I didn’t know Georges-Étienne St. 6
Storybook Love, Part III: John Daniel Ripley cont’d Short Fiction by Daniel Ripley Laurent was a lawyer.” “Not him. Simone, the sister.” “Pardon me for asking this Sunny, I do not wish to come off as disrespectable or wanting to question your ethics, but you allow a woman full standing as a lawyer?” “None taken.” Sunny shakes his head. He has a terrible poker face. Women have their place in life, a supportive place. “I’m told that all the time.” “And your wife?” “Dr. Helena Alcmene.” “The psychologist.” Cannot fully fault psychology. Several of my clients were referrals by Dr. Alcmene including several suicides, but I must not judge the people brought before me. Forgiveness and atonement are the sole providence of Almighty God. I provide a temporal service for those suffering. Not my place to berate others with my own beliefs. I dislike Mormons and Evangelicals showing up at my door as well. Why replicate? “The one.” Sunny pulls a flask out of his suit jacket, and drinks a shot. He offers me the flask, but I decline. I have enough calls at three in the morning by the hospital. Not my place to examine a corpse while under the influence. “Helena’s from Greece, and her parents died while she was young. Helps her connect back to her heritage.” “Understandable,” I say. “The Tridentine Rite will always be to me the most perfect of all services, but I have sat through several Orthodox masses, and they are beautiful.” “Divine liturgy. Sorry, Helena’s a bit of a stickler on proper pronunciations.” “Things we must do for women. They’d be lost without us,” I say. The 7
young lawyer chuckles before drinking another shot. Mr. Sunny Mancha is a striking man. Tall, tanned, dark black hair, nice suit. I pull my cigarette holder out of my suit pocket. I offer Sunny a cigarette, and he accepts. Menthols, a true gift from God. “Do you have a child?” I say. Between each syllable I inhale more of the menthol’s smoke. Each bit of smoke runs down my windpipe to my lungs where the smoke is absorbed. Evangeline should take up smoking. She needs this more than I do. Madeleine never smokes, and I remember Marjolaine and I walking around Lafayette chaining each and every one. “Minerva,” Sunny said. “My baby girl.” “Best ones. Need to make sure they’re raised well so they can fit into society, know their place. Madeleine and Evangeline are nurses. Good jobs for them. Keeps them in shape.” “Good stuff. Not to leave you Mr. Lajuenesse, but I must leave. Take care, and thanks for the smoke again.” I wave my hand at him and he waves back before walking off. Odd fellow. Wonder how many times he uses his little routine. I’m use to people trying to scam me off. Greedy bastard at the state line gas station told me if I bought ice cream bars to place in my funeral home people would warm up during the funeral. Ignorant fuck. This is town is small enough so I walk everywhere. All of the streets in this town are brick. My feet bounce slightly each time my shoes hit the ground. Sunlight finally rises over the horizon, the blue sky cloudless once again. Along the way I light another menthol using the burnt butt of the old one. My mother never wasted a single cent because of the Depression. Cheap, old woman. For most of my life growing up we never used electricity. Air conditioning in New Valois, Cameron Parish, Louisiana during the forties and fifties? Unheard of. Suffering was good for the soul, good for all of us she said. So maybe my job does good, she would say. I reach my home, a small pale house. After Madeleine and Evangeline moved out I purchased a smaller home. One bedroom, one bath-
room, and a kitchen/living room. I keep a Spartan living room. No need for excessive nonsense. A few pictures hung on the wall, an old picture of Mother, Father, Marjolaine, Madeleine, and myself, a picture of me graduating mortuary school, and a small icon of St. Joan of Arc. Moving to the kitchen I pull out several slices of pizza and leftover gravy from the night before, and I warm them up in the microwave. On my small kitchen table I pick up an issue of The Fort Scott Tribune, the local newspaper, and read while I eat my food. Every day I check the obituaries first before moving onto local news. Keeps myself busy and ready to prepare for anything which might happen. While I finish my food I hear the phone ring. Good. The day started boring me. I answer the phone. “Ben Lajeunesse,” I say. “Morning, Father.” Oh, Madeleine. “Good morning to you to.” “Glad you are very excited,” she says. I hear voices in the background of the phone, loud sounds. “Calling from work is not a good thing to do, Madeleine. You will appear unprofessional.” “Yes, you’ve told me that before. I’m having a nice day, by the way. There is a new body from a car wreck an hour ago.” “I see.” I grab a pen and paper. Details, always the details. A person in grief does not need a sloppy amateur worsening their situation. “Just the one person, Madeleine?” I say. “Yes, she died. Husband and young daughter, nine months old, survived.” “Names of the deceased?” “Anne Ripley nee Conroy. Husband, John Daniel Ripley. Daughter, Laura Conroy Ripley.” “Very well. Thank you for calling. I will arrive shortly to examine the body personally.” I hang up the phone before Madeleine responds. No need to add addition wording to the situation. She called me as a professional, a nurse, and there was no need for excessive babying. I read the notes I wrote down. Anne Ripley. The Ripleys, interesting lot. Already thought of Adrian today. Maybe I should set up an ice cream stand for the
family this time around. My distaste for the brother-in-law aside, none of this matters. I bow my head, and open myself to the Almighty. “Dear God, you have brought your servant Anne Ripley home amongst you and the hosts of Heaven. I pray for her and her soul’s journey back to you. I pray for John Ripley, who lost his wife while raising a young child. You brought my beloved wife home to you while giving birth to my youngest. May John endure during this time. And I pray for little Laura, who will never know the beauty and majesty of her mother, much the same as my Evangeline. Evangeline has strayed from the road you set up, and I hope you give Laura the strength to never stray as Evangeline has. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.” When I pushed my head up I wiped a little tear away from my eyes. My Marjolaine, my Marjolaine. Time to honor the dead and go to work. I cleaned up the house before I left. I stroll five blocks to my funeral home; the hearse is parked there. Even I keep a little distance from the job. I never considered having my children and the dead in the same building. Last thing I need is the children playing around with the embalming chemicals. Inside the hearse I find a pack of Marlboro reds resting on the passenger seat. I light a smoke, start the vehicle, and drive to the local hospital. Mercy Hospital is a five story brick building on a large green lawn. Thankfully, the architects placed the morgue at the bottom of the building unlike other hospitals I serve. After I park the vehicle I walk across the parking lot to the hospital. A nurse stood waiting for me at the front door. Below average height, short blonde hair, and blue scrubs. Madeleine Lajeunesse looks at me. “Expect tobacco to help the grieving?” Madeleine says. 8
Storybook Love, Part III: John Daniel Ripley cont’d Short Fiction by Daniel Ripley “No, this one’s for me,” I say. “You smell,” Madeleine says. “The corpse is in the morgue. Not a pretty one.” “From what I’m told.” I pull my notebook and pen out of my pocket. “How are you?” “Peachy,” Madeleine said. My eldest daughter took after my own father. I’d call her a bastard, but Marjoliane and I had married long before she came into existence. Madeleine’s resemblance to my father allowed me to look past several of Madeleine’s distasteful traits. Evangeline’s the one who resembles my Marjolaine. “Good to hear,” I say. “Your boyfriend?” “Still my boyfriend.” “Your sister?” “Not working today.” “Good to hear. You should come back to the parish for a mass sometime. The father misses you, and so does most of the congregation. Introducing your boyfriend to parish would be nice. Good way of showing Kenneth where you were raised.” “Thank you for the invitation. By the way, please do not smoke inside again. The administration threw a bitch fit last time you did so,” Madeleine says. At least the dead are quieter. I remove a Kit-Kat bar from my pocket, and hand the chocolate bar to my daughter. “You sounded bored on the phone. Figured you’d need this more than I do.” “Thanks,” she said. “Been a long time since you gave me one.” “Trust me, I am capable of showing emotion.” I gave my daughter a kiss on the cheek. Then, she leads me to the 9
morgue. Madeleine gave me more news about the situation leading towards the time of death. An hour ago John Ripley picked up a load of lumber to be delivered to his employers. Hmm, Sunny Mancha. Small world. For reasons unknown, John brought the deceased and the daughter along for the ride. While coming westbound to Fort Scott on Highway 54 a truck ahead of the Ripley’s vehicle hits their breaks suddenly. Truck made of steel, Ripley’s fiberglass. John Ripley relatively unharmed, Laura Ripley minor scrapes. Inside the morgue I finally met Anne Ripley. Thankfully, the Fort Scott morgue is small. Madeleine pulls the body out of the cooler adjacent to the wall, and I see the damage. Fuck, a blind man could see this. “Autopsy scheduled for later today?” I say. Madeleine nods in return. I put on a pair of rubber gloves before examining body. Death, instantaneous. Face, what a terrible ordeal. “Not a good sight. The family?” “Waiting room,” Madeleine says. “Father, mother, older brother, and someone else.” “Who?” “Evangeline.” “Why is Evangeline here? Helping the family to greave?” “I smelled my sister’s breath from across the hall.” “Evangeline is drinking while pregnant? Stupid child. Have you talked to her about it?” “How often can you talk to Evangeline about anything? Father, there is another time for this.” My daughter places her hand on my shoulder. No marriage, now possible drinking damage to the child. Damn it. “The Ripleys are the main concern. You should see them now.” “Give me a few moments. I need a brief examination of Mrs. Ripley here before I go out. Extensive restorations are costly, and I want to give the family an honest figure. This time of crisis requires a firm hand, as I have told you.” “Already thinking about the money, right now, Daddy?” Madeleine says. “I didn’t mean that,” I say. “Didn’t mean what?”
“Child, I am not going to tolerate this regardless if you are employed here or not. I am not someone trying to Jew money out of this grieving family, nor am I trying to screw them over. I am not a salesman, and I am not trying to oversell my services. Honesty, honesty is what we need at this time. I am not going out there to tell a new widower a false price because I did not do my job properly. Are you capable of understanding what I have just said?” “You do not have to be so rude,” Madeleine says. Amateurs, all around me. Little kids wanting to play adult. Why the hell was a man driving his wife and kid around in at that time in the morning anyways? Why? Why? Why was my youngest daughter fucking an unmarried man, or my oldest? “Look at this face, Madeleine. Look at this face. Destroyed, grinded into a series of small, fleshly pieces. Destroyed. A man out there loved this face before this happened.” “I know that,” Madeleine says. “Then why are you trying to hurt my work ethic?” “I am not trying to do this. You are, so do not blame me.” “Nonsense. I appreciate your help, but if you are going to be quarrelsome then please leave.” This time I smile at Madeleine. Mother told me smiling at a person is the best way to disarm them. “If you are so upset about Evangeline yourself then you can go outside and talk to her, assuming you have nothing more important than yelling at your father while I work and you are supposed to. Am I clear?” “Very,” Madeleine says. “Enjoy your body.” She finally leaves the room. Silence, at last. I put on a pair of rubber gloves, remove several tools from the bag I brought in, and start examining the body. Nasty piece of work. How dare she say I am simply viewing this person as a piece of meat, as a piece of profit. I expect Madeleine to have greater appreciation for what a mortician does after having been raised by one, but apparently I’m wrong. The few years Madeleine was an only child I worked at a gas station during the day while my father taught me
the mortician arts. “Damn girls,” I say to myself while I pull what I assume to be Mrs. Ripley’s nose over. “Always quarrelsome.” Before Marjolaine died, everything was easier, simpler. Madeleine did not argue, the family was together, everything seemed orderly. Then my Marjolaine left the world, and I had Evangeline to take care off besides Madeleine and the family business. Though this may be a common mistake on my part. Everyone who shows up at a funeral assumes the rose colored view of the departed; someone how punches on the face turned into pats on the back and so forth. A common but sad fact. Did life go on so much more simply than what happened now? Am I imagining things? No, Benedict, you are simply losing track of what is going on. You are examining a body, speculating on the price, and you are trying to pass the time in your mind while all of us moves on. Think of all Marjolaine gave for the family. The door opens. I look up at the person entering. I expected Madeleine or even Evangeline to enter, but a different woman enters. A young woman, early twenties. Instead of a dress she wears a business suit (lesbian?) with her black hair pulled back behind her head. Short woman, maybe five six at the best, and thick black glasses on her face. “Sorry,” I say, “I have an examination going on right now. You’ll have to leave.” “I’m here on behalf of the Ripley family, Mr. Lajeunesse.” So everyone knows who I am today. This woman walks over to me, pulls out a card, and then does something odd. She sniffs the air. “Fume tu?” She chuckles a little after saying whatever she said. She shows me her card. “Simone St. Laurent of Mancha and St. Laurent, partners at law,” I say. So, the missing female lawyer at last. “Sorry, I do not speak French.” 10
Storybook Love, Part III: John Daniel Ripley cont’d Short Fiction by Daniel Ripley “I noticed,” Simone says. “Doesn’t matter. As Mrs. Ripley here died while her husband was doing work for the law firm it is in our best interest for me to oversee your examining of the body. Lose ends to tie up.” “You have experience going over the departed?” “No, you do. I have no need to interfere with your work because I prepare legal briefs. I simply want to make sure you are focused and able to your job properly.” This one has fire. “Miss St. Laurent, I have over twenty years experience preparing bodies for burial, cremation, and the occasional odd request. I maintain a minimal staff because I prefer to handle most aspects of the burial myself.” “Understandable,” Simone says. I notice she pulls out her own notepad. Perhaps the Spaniard is her master. “As you can see here the body requires massive restoration if an open casket funeral is wanted. For an amateur, Mrs. Ripley appears beyond hope. Ten years ago I would have given up on this one, yet my skills are honed enough I can produce a face for the family.” “Lot of dedication, experience, on time,” Simone says. “You seem to care about your work.” “Of course. I am good at what I do. This is not arrogance, this is fact.” I pull the plastic tarp over Mrs. Ripley’s body. What’s done is done. I push her back into storage. “Fort Scott Funeral Home understands the family in need requires time to bury their loved ones while recognizing speed is an essential for the grieving process. This is why I am already here to see the status of the body so I can begin 11
to realistically offer prices for the family. As I told my daughter earlier, there is nothing worse than someone trying to give false hope. Honesty is needed. Any more loose ends, Miss St. Laurent?” “Just several more, Mr. Lajeunesse. I do not want to waste any more of your time.” Then shut up and let me move on. If this Mancha fellow was so concerned about his employees why did he not come here? Why send this broad to waste my time? Women, women everywhere attacking me. “Understandable,” I say. “So, as you mentioned earlier, you handle all aspects of the burial process?” “Yes. I have a few part-time greeters at the home to help there, but outside of them I do everything myself. The town and surrounding area is small enough so I take care of the business personally. Another common touch for the common people. I am able to interact more with the people who need help. They know the person talking to them, counseling them is the one doing the help. Am I clear, Miss St. Laurent?” “Very much so. All of your business life seems clear. Tell me, how’s Evangeline?” “My private life is none of your concern,” I say. “I am willing to assist you this far, but I do not see how my life is relevant.” “No Mr. Lajeunesse, all of this is relevant.” “I will not-” “I am not finished, Mr. Lajeunesse. When I speak, you will listen. When I say you may speak, you will speak.” “You have a lot of nerve,” I say. “How did I finish law school?” She says. “Now tell me, how is Evangeline? How is she doing? How are you providing for her during her pregnancy?” Fucking Standish bastard, telling every single person he sees about the pregnancy. He has no honor. “I refuse to answer,” I say. “Unable to answer or refuse?” “You heard me. Answer a few of my questions.” “No. I have Evangeline’s best interests in my heart, my associate feels this way as well, and we want to make sure you do as well.” “I refuse to answer,” I say again. “Get out. I
will not be insulted in this way.” “Fair enough,” this stupid woman says. “You will give the Ripleys a free funeral, and you will go encourage your daughter to enjoy herself during the pregnancy. My associate will allocate a large sum to you to cover for the normal costs. This will be the beginning of a new, fruitful relationship between Fort Scott Funeral Homes and Mancha and St. Laurent at Law. Are you insulted enough now, Mr. Lajeunesse?” Fucking bitch. Trying to pay me off? “How much, and what is it to you?” I say. “My personal interest, my associate’s interest, and this.” The woman removes brown bag out of her suit jacket. I look inside the bag. Reason enough. “Do you understand?” “Very,” I say. “Good. Sorry about the little misunderstanding. Negotiations are a sad but essential part of our respective fields. You have made a powerful friend today. Oh, and you need to tell Evangeline everything she’ll ever do will always impress you. Also be nice to the new widower, John. He’s a pretty one. Keep the bag. Good day.” And then she leaves. There is a lot of money in the bag, a lot of money. Give these people a funeral paid by the man who I met earlier, and talk to Evangeline. Paid by the odd man I saw today at mass. Am I someone who can simply decided if God threw a stack of money into my life? Simply decide to support Evangeline’s sin? The sin is my daughter’s, not my grandchild’s. Who am I to throw blame at the unborn child when she messed up? I decide to keep the money for myself: The Ripley family is waiting for me to talk to them about what has happened to their family: a young daughter missing her mother, forever. Thank you God for this. I exit the morgue and head to the waiting room down the hall. I notice the Ripleys at a distance. I see an older man wearing faded coveralls, grey hair, and a red shirt. He stands outside of waiting room. Must be Marcus, the father of the husband. Marcus is walking around in a slight circle while Adrian leans against the wall eating
some French fry gravy mix. The dull grey paint allows the two to stand out. Evangeline is nowhere in sight. Perhaps I just need to sniff the air to follow her. Damn it, why did this woman take Evangeline out drinking? Two nurses? Pathetic. The closer I come to Marcus Ripley I can tell why his wife is out of line. A sad man, lines running across his face. Adrian is saying nothing. Good, keeps the dumb bastard from making suggestions. I wonder where the ice cream bar is. “Mr. Ripley?” I say as I come close to Marcus. I place my hand out, and he shakes it. Adrian remains calm. “I’m sorry about your loss.” Marcus does not say anything. He turns his ahead way from me. Adrian nods at me. “Marcus is slightly phased out at the moment. Taking this as hard as John,” Adrian says, his lips smacking each time he bites a French fry covered in gravy. “If you want to talk to John he’s in there with my brother, my mother, and your youngest.” “That is very kind of them,” I say. “They‘re praying right now even though I thought there was a rule forbidding people from paying to Mormon Jesus and Trinitarian Jesus at the time. Plus I figure Marcus here needs someone to watch him during this.” What a disrespectful shit. Marcus does not meet his son’s eyes, and I do not blame him. If Evangeline or Madeleine ever spoke to me in this tone of voice I’d break their jaws. Marcus continues to pace around while Adrian’s dark green eyes meet mine. “If you need me to come at a later time I can. I’m Ben Lajeunesse, the town’s mortician.” “I know who you are,” Adrian says. Before I respond Marcus finally says something. “My granddaughter, my granddaughter,” and he disappears into the waiting room. 12
Storybook Love, Part III: John Daniel Ripley cont’d Short Fiction by Daniel Ripley “Marcus has been going on for hours now about the granddaughter, the granddaughter. I imagine somehow John and Anne have now disappeared from his psyche. Tell me, Benedict, if you do not mind, is this a common symptom of grief?” “All people suffer and handle grief differently. At least from this tragedy your niece has survived.” “Yes, the beautiful Laura survives to fight on another day. Well, mortician, tell me about what you want?” “What I want?” “I speak English clearly enough. My brother is in no shape to negotiate the transactions needed for a proper funeral. So, here I am.” “I appreciate what you are doing for your brother.” And you are also wasting my time. I know these types, vultures swooping down when a family member is at their weakest,. “Tell me Benedict, would a good Frenchman as yourself enjoy a piece of poutine? Your countryman GeorgesÉtienne gave me the recipe.” “Sure,” I say. He hands me a few of these gravy covered fries. I bite into the warm mix. They slither down my throat. “Good stuff.” “Thank you. Your daughter ate several bowls of these at my store before we came here.” “You saw my daughter earlier?” This caught my attention. “Of course. When Nancy and Evangeline were returning from Missouri they gave me a visit because of a run-in they had with my other brother, Ivan, and at my store they found out my sister-in-law died. Perhaps this was a prophetic symbol of your arrival 13
here or something equally pretentious and dull. Anyways, mortician, how is my sister-in-law? You need not hold back on the details. If you cannot tell I am doing this for my brother, not his wife.” I’d never guess. “The damage to Mrs. Ripley face is extensive. I will require several days of work to properly sew the face together. Under most circumstances I would recommend a closed casket funeral, but given sufficient time I can make your sister-in-law look perfect.” “Minus the living part. Interesting predicament. Should they wait an extra day or so to bury the mother of John’s firstborn, or simply put her in the ground and move on with their life earlier?” “Different people have different preferences. I am here to serve the people and their wishes. Nothing more,” I say. “Good man,” Adrian says. “Please, sit. You are a business man, and so am I.” I want to see my daughter about her child, you fool. I clasp my hands tightly, but I sit down beside this man. A few more minutes of his time, and then I can see Evangeline. Stay calm, stay under control. “A representative of your brother’s employer just spoke to me. They are willing to pay for the funeral.” “Good for them. One less way for the Ripleys to lose money. Tell me, Benedict, do you have any family besides your daughters?” “No. Only child, the rest of them passed away years ago.” “I see. How did your wife die?” I hold my breath for a moment. He’s goading me again. “Marjolaine died in childbirth, Evangeline’s birth.” “I see. Does this affect your views on Evangeline?” “My personal life is none of your business, Mr. Ripley.” “You never told Evangeline an abortion was an option during your wife’s pregnancy, but you decided on the child instead.” This time I stand up. I look at Adrian in the eyes. He smirks back at me. I imagine my hands crushing this shit’s windpipe.
“Who told you that?” “Since you never told Evangeline then the information must have come from Madeleine.” “Enough. Where is my daughter?” “Long gone. Nancy paid me, told Simone, and here I am.” “Fucking bastard,” I say. My professionalism, my composure, gone. “I’ll ignore that statement on behalf of the family. Right now, beloved Evangeline needs one less person screaming at her about her difficulties in life. Cheer up, Benedict, maybe the child will resemble you.” “Where is she?” “Where’s she supposed to be? Why do you care, you have your money. I’d be happy so take it my friend. I’ll see you at the funeral.” Adrian Ripley and his stupid French fries stood up, bowed before me, and walks away. Evangeline, I’m your father. Evangeline.
Mope the Impaler 3136 words Short Fiction by Nick Michalak They always expect it to be the mailman, since there aren’t any milkmen anymore. Delivering big packages and whatnot. That’s the cliché, born two or three generations ago when most women stayed home all day. Some apparently got bored of diddling themselves with turkey basters attached to Cuisinarts and would invite strangers in for a glass of water. The kids outside, playing stickball and running through sprinklers. Men working stupid hump jobs that somehow provided for a family of six. The only bona fide housewives in existence today are ones with husbands in the 200K-plus club, the rest having been wiped out by the economic equivalent of the meteor that killed the dinosaurs, or whatever it was that did that. But in reality it’s usually someone nondescript, dressed plainly and not terribly handsome. Average in all departments. Never a complete stranger, but rarely someone close to the family. Minor social acquaintances like neighbors and coworkers seem to be the usuals, but you’d need to hire a P.I. to confirm who most of these mopes are. To be fair it’s mainly the less-educated ones who suspect the mailman. And they’re of little interest since they usually have very little money. Except when they have money, like this one. Lots of money and not a lot of brains -- an exquisite combination, the grifter’s blue rose. All hard features with blue-collar hands and a white-collar 15
paycheck. Deep-set eyes, two black chasms on a rocky precipice. The handshake of a fighter, or a tradesman. Under most circumstances this might be intimidating but there’s something profoundly pathetic about cuckolds. Money, power and all. He clearly owns a business of some type. Let’s say, construction. If you’re wondering, this assumption is based on: his calloused handshake, heavy from his gaudy bracelet and pinky ring; his luxury pickup truck; and the vowel at the end of his last name. I’m half guinzo myself. Sue me. Not that he told me his last name, or his real first name. Smart enough to be paranoid about his wife, and about me. Smart enough to pay in cash. Wouldn’t want this type of thing showing up on your monthly statement, now would you? Naive enough to do business with a stranger he contacted online. Foolish enough to meet at a coffee shop. To drive there in a vehicle registered in his name. He could have gotten the same deal at a surveillance store, but may have figured they would violate his privacy. Unlike guys who post ads on Craigslist and do shady deals at Coffee Time, never Starbucks. Kinda overthought that one, petrone. I told him, this was just the thing. Pinhole lens, wireless transmitter and rechargeable battery. Can be mounted almost anywhere: camo’ed against tapazzierra, inlaid on a hand-carved oak headboard, planted inside a marble statue of Saint Francis of Assisi. The only thing more easily mounted is... Cue: rimshot. I’d even link the signal to his laptop... to mine, too, though I may have neglected to mention that part. Just leave it running anywhere in the house and if anything should go down in his bedroom, on the bed that he paid for, in the house that he built for her... Unless she’s doing him in another room. So I upsold him on two more cameras.
And here we are. Wifey getting comfortable with her new friend. Me, parked one street over, just within the transmitter’s range. Laptop running. Signal: crystal clear. If a fly buzzes in and squats on her satin lenzuola, I’ll be the first to know. Goods in hand, I’ll drive past the stucco behemoth every night starting in a month. If his truck’s not there, he’s probably moved out. Once they’ve split and are in the process of divvying the assets, I pop in. Not me personally, just an anonymous package containing a post-it stuck to a DVD. Do you want this hi-def video of your kid’s soccer coach burying his cannoli between the Mrs.’ ten-thousand dollar tits featured on freewifeyvideos dot net? So let’s talk. Maintain your family’s dignity for say, eight hundred a month. Not a lot, I know, but that’s why it works. You can’t ask for an exorbitant amount up front. People panic. Who’s to say you wouldn’t ask for another ten G’s next month, and the month after? You can shear a sheep many times, but skin it only once. I think that’s what the this thing of ours types like to say. But today is the real work. Today I secure my investment. Camera One. The bedroom, naturally. All quiet on this front, but the night is young. 10:33 AM to be precise. Mr. Sucker left home at 7:35 in a stampede of males leaving the colony to hunt and gather. At that time of day these three-storey castles cast long shadows that stretch across the lawn, spill onto the street, cover my shitbox car in cold and seep through my clothes and skin into my bones. Old injuries flare up—sciatica and a herniated disc fire burning twinges down my lower half. The warmth of the sun helps a bit, but I didn’t get to feel it until ten minutes ago. Camera Two. The kid’s room. This placement is a bit mind-boggling, unless he wants to spy on his ten-year-old son. It’s difficult to imagine even the most depraved, cock-chugging housewife wanting to get drilled
on her little boy’s bed. Besides, it’s a twin. Camera Three. The kitchen and dining area. The site of the only human activity so far, even though it’s just the Mrs. and the mope sitting at her marble counter sipping cappuccinos. An orange faux-tan makes her crow’s feet stand out so sharp and deep my camera picks them up from ten feet. I peg her at thirty-six but her wear and tear add up to forty-five, at least. Pink lipstick must be in this season but the contrast on her orange peel face makes me wish I still sold black and white. Just yapping about stupid bullshit. There’s no audio, mind you, but whatever this douchebag is pretending to listen to looks as interesting as… Well, it’s so interesting I haven’t bothered to hit record yet. Lights, camera… Action? It’s like watching a 70s porn film without sound or a fast-forward button. Lip-reading a conversation about why some tart didn’t make the cheerleading squad or doesn’t have money to pay her mechanic. The mope’s been inside almost an hour and I’m starting to question his manhood. But who knows, if he gets this show on the road he may just surprise me and whip out a Maglite for a dong then force-feed it to her, stretching the crackly skin around her chops, smearing the greasepaint off her collagen bags. Her, gasping for air, eyes watering, mascara running and collecting in her laugh lines. Jam it in and split her up the middle from her freshly-waxed racing stripe to 16
Mope the Impaler Cont’d
Camera Three. Still with the chitchat. If I have to roll out in a hurry I’ll miss Short Fiction by Nick Michalak everything. I glance in the rearview for the Sheltie and his her C-section scar. Mope the Impaler. old fart. Still walking, I watch them Fuck, this job is boring. for a few seconds. His pace slows deliberately, Neighborhoods like this aren’t easy to dragging his white mall-walkers. He operate in. Residents with plenty to be stops and turns back halfway like he knows I’m nosey about and time enough to meddle. paying attention. If you doubt ESP is Like this old fart, silver hair and silk golf real, try a simple test. The next time you’re drivwear, ing, wear sunglasses. When you stop at a walking in perfect stride with his Engred light, check out the driver behind you withlish show dog. Happily retired and without moving your head. Only moving your out much to eyes, watch them in the rearview. Look longer do, he’ll gladly pounce on any opporthan three seconds and they will probably tunity to feel relevant. Like spotting a react. It will be very subtle, perhaps a slight burglary or twitch. But the person knows you’re looking shooing away some Jehovah’s Witnessat them, even if they don’t realize it. es. I’m completely exposed, looking like The old fart does know I’m paying attention and I’m now he’s posturing to show me I casing the neighborhood. Which should be intimidated. Standing up as straight wouldn’t be an unfair assumption. My as his hernia allows, droopy shoulders held Jap-scrap coupe square. A silver-haired silverback defending his sticks out among the tanklike SUVs and territory. sporty Eurotrash sedans. I must work in He’s coming back this way. Fuck. either Camera One. No dice. theft or sales. In truth it’s bit of both. Camera Two. Why couldn’t they have had a Zero attempt at civility, he stares me in teenage girl instead? One who has the face as he walks by. He’s wearing her girlfriends over for afternoon study sessions sunglasses, the boxy kind old people that take experimental turns and then finish with wear, so he cranes his neck in my direca promise to never, ever talk about it. My work tion to make once led me to witness a sure I feel him. Hard glances like these client’s daughter banging her black boyfriend on trigger my fight or flight response and on mommy and daddy’s bed. Maybe the most bed she was conceived on. days I’ll act on the former. Teeth grindCue: “The Circle of Life” by Elton John. ing, wet palms mashing the vinyl steering I thought about editing that one over “Circle” wheel. and sending it to ma and pa, but I But I’m working. Move, and I might lose figured it would be lost on them. Plus that kind the signal. So I look the other way. Literof material constitutes possession of youknowally. what-kind of pornography. And that’s not a crime Good. He doesn’t break stride as he passes. The pooch trots along unaware of I’m into. Extortion, on the other hand... any The old fart’s coming up fast on my passenger tension. Dog walking man. side. Camera One. Camera Three. Gone. Camera Two. They’re not in the kitchen anymore. 17
Option One. I peel out, losing the signal. I can drive around the block, then come back around the other side of the property, find a new parking spot and hopefully reconnect in time to catch some footage. Worst case, he takes down my plate number and calls the cops. Unless they think a crime has been committed, they won’t bother coming out. But it’s best to keep my name out of their database. Option Two? No time to think of it, only to close my laptop screen. “Something I can help you with?” He’s shouting through the window, lungs belting at full capacity. Rolling the window down an inch so he’ll lower his voice, I answer his question with a question. “Do you want something?” Put the onus on him. Why are you talking to me? Acquiescence invites aggression. “You’ve been parked here a long time...” I hear the Sheltie pacing and sniffing around my car. “And?” “…can’t help but wonder what it is you’re doing.” Shopping for houses. Looking for a missing pet. “Could say the same about you.” Bra-vo. Might as well have said, I know you are, but what am I? He steps back then starts surveying my car and everything in it. I know that look. He’s making mental notes. Next will be my plate number. “Well, we’ll see about that.” At least he’s worse at this than I am. The old fart jerks forward. A sound like a spoon scraping a saucepan heralds a black nose on a white snout smeared against the window. Pup wants to climb in. “If that fuckin’ mutt scratched my paint…” “No, no it’s fine. She didn’t…” He waves, forces a smile and shuffles off, scared away by the prospect of having to pay for paint repair. I’m pretty sure a dog’s nails can’t penetrate the clearcoat.
That could have gone much, much worse. But I can’t stay here. I’ll just do my rounds once more. Camera One. Camera Two. Camera Three. Tumbleweeds. The only option is to regroup. Set up shop someplace far enough I won’t risk the old fart spotting me but close enough to keep the signal. I don’t want to come back another day in case he memorized my plate and phoned it in. Worse, if the husband catches the extramaritals and I don’t. It’s 10:47. No way to tell if it’s happening or not. The mope could be inside of her inside the exercise room, or she could be taking her time leading him to the bedroom. The longer I’m without a signal the more of a chance I’ll miss whatever might be happening. If I’m going to make something of this it has to be now. First gear. Pull a U-ey, keeping the revs down so as not to draw attention. Above four-thousand my muffler rattles and booms like a worn out snare drum. Second gear. Passing houses grow bigger and tackier, each one a semi-unique eyesore. California clay shingles. Statues of lions on top of pillars at the foot of stone interlock driveways. Copper-plated southwestern style gates that couldn’t keep out a motivated Girl Scout. And something that sticks out. Third gear. Stucco blurs into skyline. The lions do their job, chasing me past the target’s house. And past the thing that doesn’t belong, located right in the monster’s 18
Mope the Impaler Cont’d Short Fiction by Nick Michalak shadow on an impossibly small lot. Rising from behind chest-high rosebushes, it’s white and modest with a pleasant, mellow sheen. In the second I have to process I can only surmise it’s a Victorian style home, approximately one-eighth in scale. Custom built for little people so they can feel at home, not subjugated by the height supremacists with their three-foot countertops. Victorian. In this neighborhood. It’s the kid’s goddamned backyard playhouse. One full storey with a bay window and a front porch. Possibly furnished. It could house an adult. An adult could hole up for an entire day. Plunk down on a toy table that costs more than my kitchen set and have a one-person tea party-slash-voyeuristic blackmail-athon. This could work, assuming it’s not locked in any significant way. And assuming the mope hasn’t finished. I snap my head back to face forward just fast enough to see a production line blocking traffic. Man-shaped ants carrying large morsels of imported dirt from a flatbed truck to a landowner’s yard. Tires squeal. I brake hard enough to cause a stir but the ants aren’t phased. My car encroaches on their chain and they simply divert their path, walking alongside and then behind me without slowing pace. An old woman, no doubt the property owner, stands arms folded directing the chain. No walking on the Kentucky blue19
grass, no spilling topsoil on the flagstone walkway. No parking here so I pull over down the road, two fire hydrants away. This is well past where I need to be. Signal: dead. But this is it. I can’t park any closer. All that’s left is… bipedal reconnaissance. Two feet and a heartbeat. I grab my laptop case and step out. Gingerly. Putting all my weight on my left leg makes my hamstring stiffen up like I wish my dick still could. Right foot planted to even the load, I pull myself up and out, lumbering on numb legs, dragging one shoe and then the other. The hobble begins to fade after a dozen or so steps, my muscles loosening enough to allow proper movement. Running numbers in my head, I figure I might make it in time, missing only foreplay. Only a few hundred feet to the kid’s mini-mansion. What kind of boy has a playhouse? A fort would have been more traditional. Maybe Camera Two was meant to spy on the kid, after all. Make sure the bambino isn’t staging makebelieve runway shows in mom’s cobra skin pumps. Walking down the middle of the road, opulence to my left and lavishness to my right, past the ants lugging a tribute to their provisional queen, I feel closer to good than I have since I can remember. It’s calm and sunny and starting to warm up, and I can’t help but daydream that with another couple of home movies in the bank I can buy enough breathing room to enjoy days like this. No more tedious stakeouts. No shaking hands with men whose ruined lives I’m about to piss on the ashes of. Whose worries I’m about to compound tenfold. Just collecting envelopes from my PO box and watching the world go by. This is a nice, but fleeting sensation. An oncoming Mercedes devours pavement. Sapphire black and pointed straight at me, it’s moving fast but barely makes a sound. I take my time moving to the shoulder. No sidewalks here. Walking is for poor people. The driver barely misses clipping my right kneecap, so close I feel the whoosh of air from his oversized wheels. He doesn’t even
look at me, but I look at him. I look at him and I get the double-take feeling you get when you see a celebrity on the street, because they always look just a bit different in real life. It’s him. Of course it is. Mope the Minuteman. Finished his morning romp-slashfriendly chat over coffee, jetting back to sell cars or insurance or real estate. Opportunity: lost. If it happened at all he must have popped in just a couple of strokes. Gotten his rocks off, wiped off on her face towels, and left her unsatisfied. Other people’s shortcomings are about the last source of validation you have when everything goes wrong. Even good people have to admit that. For me, back to trawling online and collecting from my other accounts. New email address and new locale to operate in. Important to stay moving or one of my clients might recognize my ad, schedule a meeting and show up with nothing to lose. Time to turn back. It was time three minutes ago. And yet I’m standing here, outside the target’s house, chilled again by its shadow, contemplating exactly two possible scenarios. All other data falling away, superfluous. Heart pounding, face flushed despite the cold. What if they did. And what if they didn’t. Either way she’s lacking at the moment. So the real question is, would I want the mope’s leftovers. So, why not? If you want something done right… I’ve imagined myself here thousands of times. If not here, then a place just like it. Just here to check the cable. The phone line. The pool heater. That’s what my laptop case is for. Equipment, obviously. Just a glass of water if you please?
Apple Cider Doughnuts Recipe adapted by Joe Krauska Where does the time go? Christmas came and went, it managed to snow once, and I’ve been wearing shorts and short sleeves most of January. I’m sure we’re looking at a sudden cold snap for the end of winter, it just wouldn’t be fair to have the weather be so mild for so long. But none of that matters because I’ve been busy cooking. I debated whether or not to share this recipe for a couple reasons: I don’t like frying and if you are only cooking for 3-4 people, this ends up being way too much. The problem is, these are so delicious. My wife has asked repeatedly for me to make them again. It will have to wait ‘til next fall as citrus season is already upon us and I have a few related plans. So no
further ado, here they are, in all their deep fried glory. I’m trying to come up with a baked version but until then, make these sparingly. I would expect and I haven’t tried this but you could probably cut this recipe in half and use pulses from a food processor with a dough blade (think biscuit making) or use a hand mixer. That would avoid the need to dump them off on your various friends and family members even though they should be grateful to receive them. To save time, I reduced the apple cider the night before since I was making these first thing in the morning. Far be it from me to tell you to wake up 30 minutes earlier. Also, if you don’t like the idea of a glaze 9which I won’t understand, because the glaze has even more apple cider goodness) you can eat them plain or dip them in cinnamonsugar.
Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts (Doughnuts adapted from Serious Eats, glaze adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food) Probably makes 3-4 dozen doughnut holes, or 12 full sized doughnuts with 1-2 dozen doughnut holes. I lost count. Ingredients 2 cups apple cider 3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1/2 cup buttermilk Shortening or vegetable oil for frying 1 1/2 to 2 cups confectionersâ€™ sugar Directions In saucepan over medium heat, gently reduce apple cider to about 1/2 cup by simmering for 20-30 minutes. Set aside to cool. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. Add butter and sugar to stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, continuing to mix until eggs are completely incorporated. Reduce speed to low and gradually drizzle in 1/4 cup of reduced apple cider and buttermilk, mixing just until combined, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture and continue to mix until the dough comes together. Do not overmix. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle generously
with flour. Turn dough onto one sheet and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten dough to even 1/2-inch thickness with hands or rolling pin, sprinkling with flour as necessary. Transfer dough to the freezer until slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter or 1 inch round cutter, cut out doughnut shapes and/or donut holes. Place cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto second sheet pan. Refrigerate doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You can re-roll scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from dough.) Add enough oil or shortening to Dutch oven or wok to measure depth of about 3 inches. Attach candy thermometer to side of the pan and heat over medium heat until oil reaches 350 degrees. Line a large plate with several layers of paper towels. Carefully add doughnuts to oil a few at a time, being careful not to crowd pan. Fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn doughnuts over and fry until second side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds longer. Warm remaining 1/4 cup of reduced cider in a small saucepan over low heat and mix with powdered sugar until smooth (mine had the consistency of cool maple syrup, thick, but still runny. Dip doughnuts once they are cool enough to handle in cider glaze. Serve immediately or give the glaze just a few minutes to set. Good luck getting anyone to wait that long.
Whodunit About our Authors & Artists
Jennifer LeBlanc is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her collection, Coloring the Shadows, won the Mary C. Bryan Women’s Studies Award for 2009, and Cervena Barva Press published her chapbook, Unrestrained (2009). She enjoys reading feminist poetry and dramatic monologues. Nick Michalak lives, works, and writes in Toronto. Daniel Ripley is a writer living in Emporia, Kansas. Joe Krauska is a family man and engineer. He cares for a lovely wife and daughter who look a lot alike. Joe is a devotee of wholesome cooking. He abhors both artificial ingredients and those he did not buy with a coupon. Claire Suellentrop is one of Cannoli Pie’s Co-Editors and works as a radio promoter for The Syndicate. She spends most of her time listening to music very loudly, bonding with college kids over said music and critiquing people’s grammar. We would be lost without her. Stephen Krauska is Cannoli Pie’s other Co-Editor. He is a Kansas expatriate living in New York. He pontificates at http://unronic.blogpsot.com. He is Editor-in-Chief of The College of
Staten Island’s Caesura, swears oaths by The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and is a fan of Scotch. © 2012 All content is copyright Cannoli Pie Magazine or the respective owners. Cannoli Pie retains first electronic serial rights to all work.
4 February 2012, Volume 1.16 http://cannolipie.com