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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Freaks and Weirdos:

Welcome to a project that has been festering in the corners of my mind for a long time. I am a big fan of small press horror and small press horror mags in general. My first exposure to them was in high school when I first got my hands on a copy of Cemetery Dance magazine. Since then it changed me; I saw in its newspaper folds a world where horror could come to life without being approved by a publisher first. Fiction magazines (especially for horror) are hard to come by these days and I believe there are some amazing writers out there just waiting to be discovered. I joined the Litreactor writing community late last year - an amazing writing community by the way - and found a group of kindred spirits. Some amazingly talented and intelligent people, we put together an anthology called Psychosis: Stories of Madness which we are currently shopping around. After this I still felt something itching in the back of my skull, hiding inside the cerebral cortex, a tiny insect picking at my hypothalamus with exquisite delight. I wanted to create a magazine and being of lesser income means for the moment, I had to do it the only way I could which was digital style. So I enlisted the help of the talented Jason Van Horn, one of my Psychosis writer buddies who wrote a very delightful story about amputee porn for the anthology, and he helped me with the layout. Then I enlisted the talent of some more Litreactor community members such as the well-published bizarro writer, Bradley Sands (“Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy”) and Richard Thomas (“Transubstantiate”). Soon the ball was rolling. I met this amazing artist named Peter whose “Woe and Fauna” series literally blew me away. He understood the idea of Surreal and Grotesque. It’s not a “gross out” magazine, nor is it Twilight Zone literature. Surreal Grotesque is horror in its purest sense, finding beauty in the weird, ugly, strange and unusual. Occasionally these stories go to some very dark places, but they all delight in knowing the truth: beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. So maybe we are a bit like the Twilight Zone in the sense that we are the pig people who think that blonde hair and blue eyes is passé. We are Talking Tina and we are going to kill you. We are the thing on the wing of the plane. We are the voice in the dark whispering your name softly. We are the strange mangled hand underneath your bed. We are everything you fear and more. We are the Surreal Grotesque. Psychotically Yours, Daniel W. Gonzales Editor & Necrophiliac for Hire -------PS. If you can hear me, I’m being held hostage in Daniel’s basement and being forced to be his co-editor/layout guy. Shhh - I hear him coming. I’m afraid of what will happen if you don’t like the look of the magazine. I don’t want to get the whipping can again... ~~ Jason Van Horn

art by: Samantha Valery

TABLE OF CONTENTS: The Scavenger Hunt by Bradley Sands --------------- Page 1 - background and top image art by Peter Tucker - photo by Eleanor Leonne Bennett Page 7 - art by Samantha Valery Vision Quest by Richard Thomas ------------------------ Page 9 - background image and photos by Eleanor Leonne Bennett Necronomicon ------------------------------------------------------------- Page 17 - book reviews by Dakota Taylor The Smut by Joshua Dobson ------------------------------- Page 19 - background image by Eleanor Leonne Bennett - Page 21 photo by Yelena Petrovic - Page 24 photo by Eleanor Leonne Bennett An Interview with Fist Kitten by Daniel W. Gonzales --------------- Page 25 The Ugly Husband by Nathaniel Tower ------------ Page 29 - background image by Eleanor Leonne Bennett - Page 29 photo by Yelena Petrovic - Page 31 photo by Eleanor Leonne Bennett K-6 by Dakota Taylor ------------------------------------------- Page 33 - background image by Eleanor Leonne Bennett Page 36 - art by Eleanor Leonne Bennett Surreal Grotesque QA with Peter Tucker by Daniel W. Gonzales --- Page ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 37

The Scavenger Hunt Bradley Sands “A bear on roller skates,” Edwin said to Reginald, reading the first item on the list. “How are we going to capture a bear on roller skates?” He was a worrywart. If he were to stand in a police lineup, remaining quiet and facial gesture-free, the witness would always identify him as the worrywart in the bunch. He had warts over ninety percent of his body. And as everybody knows, people with warts are more prone to worrying. They enjoy it, actually, thanking God every day for something to take their mind off their hideous condition. The two social outcasts from Assumption High’s graduating senior class were riding in a mini fire engine that Reginald had inherited from his father. Mr. Sniffles used to drive it in the circus before he was eaten by a clown-hating strongman. “I can capture a bear by hitting it with my fire engine,” Edwin said, popping a pimple on his forehead. Knowing what would happen next, Edwin rolled down his window. After this night, he thought, no one would laugh at their skin conditions again. For the next few days, they’d be known as the heroes of the senior class’s scavenger hunt. The school administration would send out a press release to emphasize that the scavenger hunt wasn’t a school-sanctioned activity and that they did not condone the illegal behavior of the senior class. Edwin and Reginald would walk around the halls until graduation, feeling like gods in the form of men. They’d get their revenge. Their classmates would look up at the two teens who they had bullied for the last four years and their egos would self-destruct. How could two nerds beat us? They’d at1

Reginald’s pimple erupted, sending an ocean of pus out the window. Edwin stuck his head out, watching Pompeii Road with a tear running down his wart-infested cheek. The pus destroyed all the houses, above ground swimming pools, lawnmowers, pets, station wagons, nuclear families, and bears on roller skates. Reginald made a quick U-turn and sped away from the current of pus as it spewed closer and closer to their fire engine. “We’ll never catch a bear on roller skates now,” he said. “I wish I were dead.” These were the last words Edwin wanted to hear from someone who held his life, and the steering wheel, in his hands. He tried to calm his friend with a Shiatsu massage and a promise that there would be other roller skating bear-fish in the sea. “If we can’t find any roller skating bears,” he said, “we can settle for the many bears on pogo sticks. Once they fall on their snouts, as they are prone to do, we can swoop in and attach skates to their feet…Or we can just hunt down any of the other ten thousand items on the list instead.” He pointed to the side of the road where a pornographic magazine was protesting outside an abortion clinic. “Pull over. There’s number five hundred and ninety-seven.” Reginald complied, just in time for them to hear the magazine tell a nervouslooking pregnant woman she was going to burn on a beach while sunbathing after forgetting to apply suntan lotion FOREVER. The woman wept, but the two social outcasts turned her frown upside down with their unintentionally hilarious Taking Forty-five-Minutes-to-Get-Out-of-Such-a-Tin-Fire-Engine routine. She would spend the rest of her days in an intense amount of pain. The magazine did not applaud their grand exit. Edwin tried not to stare. The image of a half naked woman always turned him into a human flagpole for a couple


of hours. Not only did this make it difficult for him to get around, but it also made him extremely embarrassed, which caused him to break out in hives. Having warts was bad enough, but he couldn’t cope with hives on top of that. He was allergic to bee stings. He would also suffer an allergic reaction when the insects ridiculed his skin condition. If his condition were left untreated, hives would grow on top of hives until there was nothing left in the infinities of the universe besides honey bees and their homes. Reginald leered at the pornographic magazine. Drool tumbled down his chin. Edwin was jealous of his friend’s ability to enjoy himself. Hiding his eyes, he said,

“Come with us, Labia Ladies Magazine.”

Furious about Edwin’s command, the magazine attacked him, leaving a small agonizing paper cut on the tip of his nose. Edwin yowled in pain, wishing he could defend himself without the assistance of his eyes. Reginald came to his rescue with an earsplitting whine: “But we only wanted you to help us win our scavenger hunt.” The magazine’s cover became glossier. “A scavenger hunt? I love scavenger hunts. There’s nothing gentleman magazines like more than helping kids win scavenger hunts.” It turned to Edwin. “Of course I’ll go with you!” Reginald opened his fire engine’s rear compartment and smiled at the magazine like a horny chauffeur.


Before the magazine could turn its pages towards the compartment, the sky filled with paper attack planes and skydiving Assumption High students in crooked baseball caps. Hundreds of military tanks surrounded the mini fire engine. More students broke through the pavement with drills and pulled themselves up through the cracks in the street. The hatch opened on the nearest tank. Billie O’Doyle poked her head out, giving Edwin and Reginald heart palpitations. Billie was the school’s meanest lunch lady, the queen of the bullies, and a superhuman who was the result of a laboratory experiment to create someone who actually liked high school. Her failure to leave had been an unexpected side effect. Edwin and Reginald wished they were popular enough to belong to a group of scavenger hunters with hundreds of students.

“Please don’t hurt us,” Edwin said.

Billie adjusted her hairnet. “We’re going to spit on you, punch you in the arm until you’re black and blue, make you kiss each other, steal your lunch money for our nuclear weapon fund, and insult you with new nicknames. But first I’ll have to confiscate that magazine. You’re not old enough to look at the pictures.” Unwilling to expose themselves to Billie’s cruelty, Edwin and Reginald tried to make a quick escape. They failed. It is impossible to make a quick escape in a fire engine the size of a chubby man’s coffin. But they still pulled it off in half the time it took to squeeze their bodies through its doors.


Amused by their buffoonery, Billie allowed them to leave unscathed, shouting after them, “I wouldn’t feel such a strong urge to pick on you if you’d get skin treatments from a dermatologist and started referring to yourselves as Ed and Reggie.” Edwin gazed out the window as they pulled away. Billie’s beefy arm was wrapped around the copy of Labia Ladies Magazine. It did not look upset by this turn of events. Its paper curled into a smile. Edwin turned into a human flagpole. “Reginald, you have to drive me to the hospital or bees will pollinate the universe!”

“What’s so bad about pollinating the universe?”

“I don’t actually know what pollinating means,” Edwin said. “It just sounds foreboding.” “I’m not taking you to the hospital until we win the scavenger hunt and the respect of our peers.” Edwin broke out in hives. “The safety of the universe is more important than our reputations.”

“NOTHING is more important than our reputations.”

The buzzing started and Edwin panicked. He grasped for the door handle. Before he could open the door and spend fifteen minutes throwing himself out of the car, Reginald locked it with the flick of a button, which unleashed a steroid-abusing Slinky that wrapped itself around the passenger side of the car.


Reginald rubbed a Stridex Triple Action pad across his forehead. “The next item on our list is a stop sign who moonlights as a serial killer. Any ideas where we can find one?”

Edwin punched him in the face. Reginald’s pimples burst, drowning them in his pus.

Edwin’s bees survived the deluge by stinging though the windows and buzzing into the Slinky’s ear. After the coil couldn’t take it anymore, they swarmed across the universe, pushing everything and everyone else out of existence. This won the scavenger hunt for Edwin and Reginald, fulfilling the criteria for the final item on their list: the apocalypse as brought upon by honey bees. It was worth a lot of points— more points than any of their competitors were able to obtain before the end of it all. Reginald was a little sad about bringing devastation to the universe, but he cheered himself up by being really mean to his ghostly classmates in the cafeteria of the afterlife.



Vision Quest Richard Thomas The frozen pack of peas that I hold to my forehead can’t block out the noise of broken glass and twisted metal. Last night was another failed opportunity, one of many in a long line of failed evenings spent racing battered cars around the city, aiming for brick walls and concrete dividers. I was trying to undo the men tal anguish that had come home to rest on my shoulders with a crippling weight. The others don’t understand me, they want what I have, hoping that their slippery catch will yield less teeth than mine, that their visions aren’t hauntings—shadows of my past. The dark helps. The shades are drawn down behind thick curtains, the recliner leaned way back, the bag on my head, the television set muted, flashes of color sending icy spikes through my temples, so I close my eyes and take a breath. When the weight of my long dead cat settles into my lap, hot tears push out of my eyes, and I ask him to go away. But he won’t. This is where he always rested, where he came to sit and purr, the vibrations thrumming my legs, so I have no choice but to pet the long-haired beast, the swollen tumor in his throat distended, as his outline shimmers in the dimly lit living room. The house is empty now, too large for my newly solitary life, but it’s the only thing I have left of them, and I’m unwilling to let it all go. I can’t explain it, nobody can. The medical doctors just refer me to psychiatrists and those shrinks only prescribe pills that dull the edges, nodding their heads and using words like “closure” and “release.”


I hear cars outside on the street, the world slipping by, and I wonder how I got here. Accident, what does that word mean—random, unintentional? Accidental. Accidents. We all have them. I’m having them all the time now. An innocent phone call lead to a deafening silence to a morgue in a concrete bunker that I never knew existed. Every detail made my hands shake, my head throb, the officer with his hand on my shoulder, his fingers gripping into my dead muscle, the black bags pulled back one by one, each one worse than the previous devastating knowledge. My wife was first, asleep on the cold metal, the gash across her head the only obvious sign of the violence that started my undoing. “You okay?” the man asked. He kept asking it over and over. The twins were next, still in grade school when the minivan skidded off the icy road, barely in second grade. My son, a lump on the side of his head, a seam running up the front of his chest, his tiny ribcage, and I thought of birds, wanting to get out, trying to push against the bars, and I turned and vomited into a plastic trash can that the man standing next to me held out. A cop, the morgue guy, I can’t remember who we really was. I try not to think about it. My daughter, I only had to look at her hand, the pink fingernails, with Hello Kitty appliqués looking up at me, forlorn. “Don’t pull it back. Please.” I asked. But he did anyway. And everything went dark. 10

That was the first accident, the one that started it all. Left to my own devices I started to drink, whatever was in the house, everything, all of it, until the next thing I knew I came to flying down the highway at eighty miles an hour. That’s never a good thing. # It took me awhile to start calling people. I just couldn’t muster the strength. It wasn’t real to me—I didn’t want to own it. But eventually I started calling family— mothers and grandmothers, brothers and sisters, all of it painful until it stopped being anything but a headache, a tension in my gut, snakes uncoiling inside me. They started showing up and I went through the motions, the crying and the hugging, and eventually they faded away, back to their cities and lives, afraid to catch what I had brewing inside me. I understood. I welcomed their departures. The insurance check came in and I quit my job, not that I had been going, and decided to drink myself to death. It seemed like the right thing to do. It was an easy choice, barreling down the highway, flashers in the rear view mirror, and little left that mattered. All I had to do was pull the wheel hard to the left, and the moment the thought entered my head, I did it. Maybe it was an accident, a twitch. The tires squealed, and the car flipped over, blackness wrapping around me, a smile pushing across my face, dots of white light—my head making contact with something. I wanted this, wished it to be over, the sickening momentary panic of my head being crushed, the sense that this was more


pain and more serious than anything I’d ever experienced, that revelation flashed across my mind, and then everything winked out. A hospital, several tickets, uniforms in blue, uniforms in white. I couldn’t do this right either, the seatbelt saving my life, a life I had no interest in saving. A new word was bandied about the room, as I drifted in and out, pain radiating out of my misshapen skull, broken fingers, broken legs, broken ribs. The word of the day was “lucky” and it made me laugh until blood sprayed out of my mouth, a coughing fit, and then they pushed me back under with meds and hands on my cold flesh, and the pale outline of my daughter standing next to the bed, shaking her head slowly back and forth, disappointed in my reckless behavior. # Amy and Robb were friends, people I used to work with. Amy was a slightly overweight, loud-mouthed blonde who made me laugh. She was always placing her hand on my forearm, always touching me. I didn’t mind it so much now. Robb wore glasses and a black Kangol hat, skinny and pale, a moustache and goatee giving him the odd appearance of a foreign filmmaker, or perhaps an unemployed mime. They came to visit me in the hospital, and followed up with random drop-ins at the house, forgiving in their judgment, bringing chicken wings and beer, absorbing my pain, listening with tight lips and barely nodding heads as I told them about my shadow daughter, and the recent reappearance of my cat. “It’s stress,” Amy offered. “You’re just dealing with it all, processing. I’m sure it’s nothing.”

Robb nodded, sipping at his beer. “Yeah, stress. I’m sure that’s all it is.


I didn’t tell them about the day before when I walked past my daughter’s room and saw her and my son playing on the floor, a bucket of Lego pieces scattered across the carpet, a brick wall built up in an array of colors, repeatedly running a tiny Lego car into the solid structure they’d built, over and over again. They looked up at me, and moved their lips and I stumbled over my own feet, moving past them without looking back, unable to mouth the words “I love you” in return.

In time I would tell Amy and Robb about that moment. I would tell them about my wife appearing in my bed, her arms wrapping around me, pressing her cold flesh up against my bare backside, her hand reaching around to rub my chest, nibbling at my neck, unable to stop her. I would tell them about all of this, about my dead wife turning me on, her hands wrapped around my cock, stroking me as her breasts pressed against my back, my eyes squeezed shut, pretending it was all a dream. When I washed the sheets later that day, I sobbed and bent over the washing machine, afraid to go back to bed. I told them all of this because I couldn’t keep it to myself. “I’ve had worse wet dreams,” Robb mused. “Don’t get me started. Clowns, old grade school teachers, a cousin I barely know, fairies farting sparks of glitter when they came.” Over time, they started to believe me. They muttered things about long lost relatives, ex-boyfriends that overdosed, bored with their lives, their office jobs and life in the suburbs. I laughed about my head injury, laughed about my visions. And as the nights expanded and the conversations continued, they would place their hands on my forehead, the bruise and the lump fading, making mental notes about the exact location. 13

When I told them about my son, his worried look, the note he left me scrawled in the foggy mirror of the bathroom one morning, the numbers 8 22 32 44 64 pushed together in his tiny fingered script, they swallowed their beer and leaned back onto the couch. They were always here now—this was better than watching TV, better than hanging out at some seedy bar. I was spending money on food and drink, plowing through it, buying a new car, and my ghost of a son was worried about the money. I spent some cash on a Little Lotto ticket, and collected $4,235.26 the following day. It wasn’t much, but as he leaned over my head, pushing my hair out of the way, in the same way that I used to tuck him in, he told me that I didn’t want any attention. Small steps, he whispered, pressing his damp lips onto my forehead, and I fell asleep shaking and cold. # The first thing we did was cut all of the seatbelts out of my new car. It pained me to do this to a brand new Mustang, but it made sense— no chickens in this ride. I was trying to get out, and they were trying to get in. I’d look in the rearview mirror at Amy and Robb, giddy as two kids heading off for ice cream, and shake my head. “My brother,” Amy said, one night on the couch, one of many lost nights that we spent talking about this new endeavor. “He died in high school. Ironically, in a car accident, drunk as a skunk,” she said. “I want to see him again.” “My first wife killed herself,” Robb said, swallowing another beer, head bowed. “I need to talk to her, I have questions. I need to say I’m sorry,” he mumbled.


I understood. It wasn’t the money—I shared the numbers that my flickering son whispered in my ear, we cashed in our tickets for a couple grand here or there, every once in awhile a bigger score, ten grand or more. We couldn’t keep winning, he told me that, we had to drive to Indiana, or up to Wisconsin, spread it around, and take turns buying the tickets. It wasn’t about the money. We had nobody to share our spoils with anyway. We were three loners connected by the thrill of doing something that nobody else could do. I looked into the back seat as I accelerated up the entrance ramp onto the highway.

“You’re just going to end up dead,” I yelled.

They held hands and smiled. On the seat next to me my wife sat in shadow her face away from me, staring out the window into the night. Silver tears ran dirty paths down her cheeks, a weary smile crooked across her face. She didn’t want me to join them on the other side. And yet, she did. The rules. Who knew what they were? I only knew that the pale imitation of life that I held onto with my weak grip—it didn’t mean anything to me anymore. On either side of Amy and Robb, the twins sat somber, frightened by it all, eyes on me, and yet, unable to really look at me, wanting me to hold them again, to feel my warmth, but afraid to ask me to do this, the violence a terrifying unknown. We were sober, tonight, facing this obstacle head on. I punched the gas on the new Mustang, the pang in my stomach the only bit of life left in me. I wanted her to say no, my wife, but she didn’t say anything. I wanted the kids to say we’ll wait for you—we’ll be here whenever you get here, twenty years down the road. But they didn’t say those words.


I pushed us out into the night, my wife’s cold hand resting on my thigh, and I pulled the steering wheel to the left, looking up into the rearview mirror, Robb’s mouth open, as if poised to say something, his eyebrows arched mid-question. Amy’s eyes were glassy and distant, far away, knowing that one way or another she’d see her brother soon. And my daughter, her head down, unable to face me, my son with his hands in his lap, they looked up in unison, a slow grin spreading across their distorted features, a secret held in their mouths—and the car flipped us over and into the great beyond.

About the Author His debut novel, Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications) was released in 2010. He is currently at work on his second novel, Disintegration. There will be two short story collections in 2012, Staring Into the Abyss (Kraken Press) and Herniated Roots (Snubnose Press). His work is published or forthcoming in Shivers VI (Cemetery Dance) with Stephen King and Peter Straub, Murky Depths, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Pear Noir!, Metazen, 3:AM Magazine, Word Riot, Dogmatika, Opium, Vain, Emprise Review, Cherry Bleeds, Beat to a Pulp, Crime Factory, Warmed and Bound (Velvet Press), Noir at the Bar (Noir at the Bar Press), Slices of Flesh (Dark Moon Books), Dark Moon Presents: Vampires (Dark Moon Books), In Search of a City: Los Angeles in 1,000 Words (Thunderdome Press), Eternal Night: A Vampire Anthology (Living Dead Press), Outsider Writers Collective, The Oddville Press, Colored Chalk, Cause and Effect, Gold Dust, Nefarious Muse, and Troubadour 21.


Necronomicon Book Reviews For Bastards by: Dakota Taylor

Crash By J.G. Ballard “Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash.” This is the opening sentence to Ballard’s novel that blends the surreal with the grotesque like a math formula. The sentence is a brilliant hook but also a powerful thesis statement in its brevity that accelerates us towards this disturbing and oddly exciting adventure. If you have ever been to a NASCAR race or sat watching one on television, then you are probably familiar with that little voice in your head rooting for a five car pile-up. There is a special relationship between a man and his car and Ballard uses this premise, though taking it a step forward. The protagonist narrates the madness of Vaughan and his obsession with his fantasy of wanting to “die in a car-crash with Elizabeth Taylor.” Meanwhile our narrator, James Ballard, deals with his own obsession: symphoriophilia or “car-crash fetishism.” J.G. Ballard takes the reader through the dark landscapes of airport parking garages and other ominous settings that Ballard makes his own. Prostitutes, death, car-crashes, obsession. J.G. Ballard takes these common themes and twists them into something new and explores undiscovered territories. Buckle your seat-belt when you crack this book open because you’re in for a wild ride. Every chapter and every sentence packs a punch that is harder than the last. When you read this novel, you won’t have to sit for hours in the hot sun waiting for the unlucky NASCAR driver to crash, because in Ballard’s universe, the drivers are more than eager to.



The Smut

Joshua Dobson Beyond the most feverish dreams of savagely slobbering madmen, beyond the most deranged dreams of the perviest Japanese hentai animators, beyond the sickest syphilitic sins of the most sinister and surreal sexoffenders The Smut is thick today ... ... pressing heavily against the glass like a frotteur dry-humping a teary widow on a public train. The Smut is a heavy billowing red fog, mist, or smoke. Obscene swirling pornographic images, circus freak orgies reflected in a funhouse mirror, forming, foaming, writhing and dissolving in the damp fog of wet and wriggling nightmares. The undulating amoeboid fornications roiling through the creeping concupiscent crimson chaos look as if they could only have been conjured from the darkest doom and diseased dedications of Bosch, Giger, Bellmer, Seligmann, Dali, Crumb, Wolverton, Witkin, Bishop, Crepax, Beardsley, et. al. When I was a kid I used to watch scrambled porno channels late at night. Every once in a while the scrambled porno would semi-unscramble, treating me to discolored distorted porno images rolling up, down, or across the TV screen, The Smut reminds me of a semi-unscrambled porno channel, but in monochromatic shades of crimson, and broadcast through fog rather than TV. Actually, The Smut is more like a dozen semi-unscrambled crimson porno channels layered atop one another and broadcast via fog rather than TV.


According to the government, The Smut is merely “swamp gas”.

Even though the weeds and dead tree branches whip in the rushing wind, The Smut doesn’t seem to be affected by the breeze at all. The Smut seems to come and go of its own accord and no pattern has been found in its stochastic migrations. The Smut is getting bigger. When the blooming blood clot of Smut first congealed in the air, it was only big enough to cover an area the size of a city block, give or take. Now the foul ruby red horny haze blankets half the city. The Smut is getting turgid, denser, more realistic, more detailed, and seems to be growing more solid. Many think The Smut is metastasizing into solid flesh, or at least a substance resembling molten wax or ectoplasm. Lately an oily prismatic sheen, a skin of liquid rainbows, has begun to coat The Smut. The Smut leaves a permanent red stain, impossible to remove even with all the caustic chemicals and elbow grease in the world, on anything it touches. The government claims all the buildings have been “painted” red as part of a campaign to “improve” the city. They have yet to explain how “painting” the dead trees, stray shopping carts, feral cats, discarded plastic bags, dead derelicts, the sidewalks, dumpsters, even all the windows of the buildings the color of a biohazard sticker “improves” the city. The stink of The Smut is definitely permeating. The miasma of sleaze reeks of carrion and coitus, sewers and rutting goats, farts and rotten fruit, cotton candy and burning cat fur, mildew and menses. The stink of The Smut is giving me a headache and making my bloodshot eyes anime watery. 20

Whereas once The Smut was silent, it has lately begun to emit dim muffled noises, violent sensual growls, groans, moans, screams, and buzzing insect noises, just slightly above the threshold of audibility. At least I hope The Smut is making those sounds. Maybe staring too long into The Smut has wrenched me into utter madness and they’re just in my head. Everyone knows The Smut is getting hotter. They guesstimate it is currently 98.6 degrees and rising at a febrile pace. They say The Smut is what makes the sunsets around here so hideous. Not that anyone has seen the sun much lately. It is dark most days since The Smut first congealed in the air. Many think The Smut is blotting out the sun like dinosaur-killing-comet-dust. Many think we are plunging headlong towards some sort of Smut Winter. The Smut is swelling, pulsating, feeding off my fantasies and seducing me with them at the same time. The Smut can read my mind. The Smut wants to be one with my flesh. I tell myself I’m just going to look at The Smut for ten minutes. By the time I pry my aching eyes away six hours have passed, my priapic cock is numb-tingly, my blueballs ache, and my vacuous belly is gurgling angrily. Many people starve to death staring into The Smut. After staring directly into The Smut for any significant length of time I always find I have a foul sulfurous yet fungal taste in my mouth. I will begin to love it. 21

The Smut is hypnotic, a pornographic filter of doomsday, curling like pubic hair, twisting like nooses, bubbling like rabies foam, beckoning unto the damned, enticing me to enter it, promising unearthly delights if one were to but let The Smut’s greasy smoky tendrils cloak them in a devouring embrace. I only notice the strange woman and the old man when the strange woman rather loudly proclaims, with a note of fatalism in her weary chain smoker’s voice, “He’s goin’ in.” I grab the back of the old man’s baggy clown pants as he darts forward towards the entrance of the bus shelter and the hungry Smut beyond. The old bastard couldn’t weigh more than eighty pounds soaking wet, but driven nuts by The Smut he struggles with the inhuman fury of madness. Alligator wrestling, the old bastard slips from my grip and runs shrieking into the swirling scarlet Smut, which had seemed to sense our struggle and squiggled its tumor-orgies ever more frenetically than usual before forming a horrible dripping cunt-mouth to swallow the old bastard as he lurches into the scarlet shroud of sordid spiraling shapes.

I envy the old bastard.

Many have gone into The Smut. None have ever returned, though sometimes their screaming faces are glimpsed in the roiling fabric of The Smut, pussies in their neck like gill slits, their empty eye sockets being raped by tiny, big-tittied centaur-scorpions with fleshy penis tails. The more people The Smut eats the sturdier and more solid it becomes - this has been established. Saying it aloud makes it real. Try it. The Smut grows a shade darker as it digests the old bastard, changing from an arterial blood color to the hue of blood drawn from a vein. 22

The Smut has begun to emit a dim blood-red glow.

“What do you see when you look into The Smut?” the strange woman asks in her weary chain smoker’s voice. I have no idea who she is, just some strange woman hiding out The Smut in a bus shelter; same as I am this horrible sultry evening. In the kaleidoscopic tableaus of writhing gaseous filth, I see: Melting fat women gangbanged and devoured by huge undulating amoeboid creatures pulsing at the speed of lust. In the swirling vistas of vertiginous vapor, I see: Giant deformed feet with tits for toes stomping on women with anuses for eyes and perpetually screaming mouths with penile uvulas. In the surreal clockwork copulations that form in the crimson clouds, I see: Spiders made of huge be-veined dicks chasing snatch-like swarms of butterflies across sticky webs of elaborately daisy-chained human bodies. In the protean porno-scapes pulsing with polymorphous perversion, I see: Gaunty bony women sprouting demonic wings as they frenziedly fornicate with an enormous tumorous slug or snail of some sort that implodes upon climax as the winged women are devoured by an obscene fanged moon. In the twisted, throbbing tapestry of sexually seething steam, I see: A huge pyramid made of stitched together tits, no two alike, lactating swarms of bat-winged peni, as the Montgomery bodies, the lil’ bumps on the areolas, grow into tits in a metastasizing eruption reminiscent of both psychedelic fractals and time-lapse photography of fungus growing. In the misty vistas of paisley Rorschach porno, I see: asses turning into tits turning into ass turning into tits whose nipples swell into penises with eyeball heads which weep-jaculate cunty flowers whose petals are made from the dismembered and dripping torsos of rotting pregnant women who give birth to slug-like things through their belly buttons.


“Words fail me,” I tell the strange woman. “Have you ever seen me in The Smut?” the strange woman asks in her husky chain smoker’s voice. Tendrils of red Smut begin to pour from the strange woman’s eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. I breathe deeply, quickly - for the last time.


An Interview With...

Interview by Daniel W. Gonzales

Daniel W. Gonzales: So Kelly and crew, introduce yourselves and tell me what you do in the band. What you play and your name and so forth? Kelly: Hello Danny! I’m Kelly Von Blonde aka Profunda Saint-Sylvain, singer/guitar player, this here is the lovely Llisa Bastard aka the Belle from Hell on bass guitar, and Lady Laura aka Drip on the drums. DWG: How long have you been together and how did you come up with the name Fist Kitten? Kelly: Fist Kitten is a fairly new project, actually. It started off as a diversion for Llisa and I when our last project The Cock went on an unusually long hiatus. I hadn’t picked up a guitar since high school, so it wasn’t intended as a serious venture, I kind of just wanted to see if I could actually remember how to play anything, but after a couple hours jamming we had two pretty catchy tunes down and decided to keep going with it. A couple weeks later I was chatting with Laura, my close friend and neighbor, and she was talking about how she played drums back in school, which in all honesty I probably should have remembered since we’ve known each other since the seventh grade, so I invited her to jam with us. Since then we’ve been just writing like crazy, learning a few covers, and getting tighter every week. The name actually was something I’d had kicking around in my head for a few years. I don’t remember the exact circumstances that led up to it, but I do know it involved large amounts of Black Label Ale, an apartment full of irritable cats with bladder infections, and waking up on a city bus at three in the morning. 26

DWG: What shows have you played and what shows do you have coming up? Kelly: Funny you should ask, we’re actually just booking our first shows as we speak. Llisa and I have a tendency to like to have our premiere at assorted house parties, the last band debuted at her stagette party, and this one is playing her housewarming. The Bastard Family knows how to throw a hell of a party. After that, we will be booking shows around Calgary and Western Canada. But if you can pay us enough, we’ll even play YOUR house party. You can follow us on Facebook for up to date show information ( DWG: What’s the title of your album and what are your favorite tracks? Kelly: We’re putting out an EP that should hopefully be up for sale around the time of the debut show; the working title is Everything’s Fine which we pulled from the song Crazy Pills. We’re working on some pretty epic cover art at the moment, which will hopefully be eye-catching enough that some eccentric billionaire will fund a tour based on it. We’re allowed to dream, right? The most popular song we’ve got at the moment is Back of the Line, kind of a snotty tune about bad parenting. My personal babies are Paid Pony and She’s the One, about some very special ladies in my life. We’re working on some pretty fun covers at the moment, too, which will likely not make the album because we don’t have the money for royalties, so you’ll have to catch the live shows to hear them. Always churning out new originals, too, so hopefully we’ll have enough for a full length album by this time next year. DWG: Do you all write the lyrics or is it one person? Kelly: The majority of the lyrics are my assorted ramblings turned into some sort of poorly thought out rhyming scheme, but all the girls help me tweak them to make them all the more inappropriate.


DWG: What do you think it takes to make it as a band today? Kelly: Well everyone knows it takes money to make money, so we expect to remain destitute for the majority of the foreseeable future. The only thing we’re really in this for is a good time, the free beers and hot dogs, the thousands* of attractive groupies, and to fulfill that inner attention whore in all of us. As long as a few people keep showing up and we get to cause some shenanigans, we’ll be the most successful band I could ask for. *number of attractive groupies may be somewhat exaggerated. DWG: What are your musical influences? Kelly: We’ve all got fairly different influences, but some of the basics are the Ramones (probably our most noticeable influence, as Llisa and I were part of an All-Girl Ramones tribute band when we first started playing together), Dead Boys, Johnny Thunders, Tom Waits, The Runaways, L7, the Squareheads…way too many others to get into without it turning into a list of everyone, ever. DWG: What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you on-stage? Kelly: Well there was that one time when we were playing on that space shuttle orbiting Pluto when science discovered it wasn’t really a planet and so we had to cancel the rest of our tour and all those space geeks burned the motherfucker down…oh wait. No that was just a beautiful dream. I’ll have to get back to you on this one, you know, when we start getting into a bit more trouble publicly. DWG: If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why? Kelly: Personally I’d like to drive around for a couple weeks with Crispin Hellion Glover. He’s just so…eccentric. I’m pretty sure he’s my soulmate. Oh, or Adam West. I just need to hear that voice say my name. Just once. DWG: Last question: desert island - what three things would each of you take that you could not live without? Llisa: My bass guitar, a camera, and soap. Personal hygiene is important in maintaining good band relationships. Laura: Coffee, smokes and a laser pointer. Kelly: A guitar, a backpack full of sketchbooks, and a solar powered vibrator. 28

The Ugly Husband Nathaniel Tower

One Tuesday morning Jessica Bruno awoke to find a very ugly man lying beside her. Panic overtook her and she curled into a fetal position. Three times she closed her eyes. Three times she reopened them. Three times the same unfortunate-looking male breathed inches from her face.

At first she thought it was a terrible mistake.

I must’ve gotten drunk last night, she told herself.

She was about to roll over, wondering how to explain her overnight absence to her husband, when she noticed the unmistakable painting. An exploding sailboat pierced by a horned whale. Okay, so I’ve slept with another man in our marriage bed. Fearing the doom she would face when she opened the bedroom door and encountered her rightfully enraged husband, she decided to take another look at the man. Perhaps he wasn’t that ugly. Her first glance had not deceived her. The man was indeed hideous. His face was like nothing she had seen before. God must have created this man out of spite. Here she was trapped in the sheets with him. Fortunately the man was still sleeping, but his breath was a vile concoction of burnt rubber, raw sewage and rotten eggs. She slowly brought her hand to her nostrils, trying not to disturb the slumbering beast. 29

She began to roll away, unable to take the stench emitted from his jaw. At her movement, the beast began to stir. She had disturbed the hideous creature. “Good morning sweetheart,” cawed the beast with a smile no woman could possibly adore.

She shut her eyes, hoping the monster had not spotted her.

He planted a kiss on her head. “Wake up sleepyhead. Today we leave for Mexico.” She flung open her eyes as the truth sank into her already terrified mind. This was no simple mistake. The repulsive thing in the bed beside her was her husband, the man she had happily married seven years ago. How did I not realize this before? Douglas slid his arm around her body.

Jessica recoiled. “I have to go to the bathroom,” she said, flinging the sheets onto his face in a desperate attempt at magic. In the security of the tiled room she looked about for an explanation. Was her husband really that ugly? The picture from their honeymoon fastened to the mirror confirmed he was. The rose-colored goggles had come off. Love was no longer blind. The man was truly ugly in every fathomable way and she had made the incurable error of agreeing to spend the rest of her life with him.


There were few options:

Divorce was messy and unappealing.

She could constantly live a lie, pretend she hadn’t married a grotesque creature, close her eyes and imagine someone else, anyone else, every time she kissed him or made love to him. Such willful ignorance would surely have its limitations. In reality there was no hope; she would simply have to live with the fact that someone had once lied to her and told her that what was on the inside counted a lot more than the way somebody looked. Then it came to her. She could blind herself. Yes, that was what she would do. The physical pain would pale in comparison to the agonizing torture she would experience every day for the rest of her life. She just had to choose the right tool to make it look like an accident.

The options overwhelmed her.

I’ll stab myself with nail clippers was her first thought, but that seemed painful, messy and unexplainable. I’ll burn my eyes with the curling iron was the next thought that came, but she was afraid of the scars. I’ll smash my head into the mirror. Again, messy, and she didn’t want brain damage to accompany her blindness.


I’ll spray my eyes with Lysol until I can’t see anymore.

She thought for a while, but there were no flaws. Lysol would burn away the problems of her husband’s ugliness. A few sprays later she was writhing in pain on the floor. Douglas rushed in when he heard her screams.

“I’m blind! I’m blind!” she shouted.

After flushing her eyes with water, he rushed her to the hospital, holding her hand tenderly all the while.

She grasped his hand tightly to relieve some of the pain.

She was not surprised when the doctor walked into the room and said, “I’m afraid you’re blind, Mrs. Bruno. The damage is permanent. There were just too many toxins.”

A curious crooked smile crept across her face.

When the doctor left, she listened as Douglas spoke, trying to comfort her, trying to get the details of the accident. “I just don’t understand how something like this could have happened,” he said. “Because you are so ugly,” she muttered to herself, forgetting for a moment that the man she couldn’t see was standing next to her and perfectly capable of hearing. As they stood in silence, she could feel his ugly staring face much more vividly than she ever had before. It was so ugly.



Dakota Taylor The sunlight poured into me and immediately I shielded my sunken eyes. My head pounded like Neil Pert’s bass drum as I forced myself to balance my shaky legs. The streets were vacant with the exception of crumpled government flyers that rolled past the abandoned buildings like tumble weeds. The few cars that were still left parked were down to their last scraps of metal and were only identifiable by the patches of paint still clinging to the steel frame. The K-6 infection killed everything in the largest cities. Even the cracks in the asphalt were unable to inhabit weeds trying to sprout through.

My bare knees scraped on the sidewalk when my legs could no longer support my weight. I spit the pacifier out of my mouth and watched it fall into a murky puddle. My knees were shaking violently as I waited to fall every five feet that I tried to run. Tiny gems of glass from storefront windows stabbed into my bare feet and felt like wasp stings with every hard slap on the sidewalk. My stomach churned and hot spurts of vomit shot out of me like a geyser. The puke stained my boxers and clung to my tiny chest hairs. The one major flaw of the K-6 Correction team is that they always underestimate the substance fiend. The sedative was already working on me and combining with the other drugs in my system to poison me; their harmless tranquilizer dart was going to kill me, but like a wounded animal I wasn’t going to just lie down. The bastards would revive me and take me to quarantine for interrogation. The news was that we were the last rave warehouse in New York and they were going to hit us harder than anywhere else. We were the only resistance left to the K-6 Correction team and because we had immunity to the


K-6 virus they set their crosshairs on us. We were only soldiers in a trench trying to finish off a bottle of whiskey before the enemy stormed us faster than Blitzkrieg. After the virus wiped out every major city, the survivors banded together in warehouses and tried to keep playing their games to keep from going insane. Keep dancing and stay out of site. We raved all night and slept during the day. The problem was that we weren’t wearing gas masks. We weren’t barcoded wristbands either. If you had a wristband though, you didn’t have much better living conditions than the ravers. The only difference was that you were completely sober and half insane. I couldn’t hear the K-6 team inside the warehouse, but I knew they would be after me faster than a necrophiliac in a morgue and bust out of every door to find me. My entire body shook violently as I crawled on my hands and knees. Three feet is as far as I made it before my organs started to shut down. I pulled myself into the fetal position and closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to look at the rotting dog carcass next to me. The warehouse I managed to walk out of looked like Jones Town if the victims had a drop of GHB in their Kool-Aid and were forced to hold glow sticks. My vision started to leave me and I thought about the blonde that I danced with just minutes before back in the night club and how her highlights looked when they glowed under a row of black light fixtures. She was truly the Bob Ross of raving; she started slow but wielded the most divine painting in the air from the streamers of her glow sticks. The last thing that my memory served me was eating acid jello squares like candy before getting lost in the crowd of dancing people. The girl with the highlights had been feeding them to me and an hour later she had looked more like a demon to me under the flashing lights. A DJ named Bassnectar was playing


his set and the dramatic change of my perception had rendered me temporarily insane. The vibes around me started to rise without warning to the increasing speed of the tempo of the song. My emotions were sharp and constant, but appeared and faded as fast as the glow stick streamers. For a moment I came down again and noticed everyone was holding a Whip-Its can and recognized the familiar scene of mass NOS intake; first the ecstasy tablets and then comes the nitrous cans for ultimate pleasure. Every time someone would offer me one, I could only laugh and stare off in a dazed way while I sat in the middle of the dance floor watching the light show. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the euphoric dancers were dropping like flies. I pulled on my hair until some of it ripped out in-between my knuckles as I stared at the bodies convulsing and flailing around like it was some dance move that I hadn’t been aware of. My thoughts rushed at me a million times a second and I made it to the door as the K-6 team covertly entered from every entrance. I didn’t hear the gun, but I watched the DJ get hit with a tranquilizer dart and face plant into his records. Using the glow sticks as a lighted path, I crawled to the main door over twitching ravers. It was an inside job - that much was for sure; they replaced the nitrous in the cans with nerve gas to ensure minimal resistance. This is what everything came down to I realized as I lay dying on the dirty sidewalk. The K-6 virus itself was an inside job. For a government to have ultimate power, it has to collapse its economy and crush its resistance from the inside out. In the distance, three K-6 agents rolled towards me on bikes, ready to put a gas mask on my face and barcode me. On the second look, I noticed the dog carcass had a custom made gas mask on the remains of its skull.


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Grigori Black Tina gasped aloud as her heart caught in her throat. Blood splattered across her face and blouse. Wide eyed, shocked senseless, her mind scrambled to make sense of what had just happened. One moment Paul from accounting had been leaning against her cubicle, all but begging her for a date. “Come on, it will be fun. We’ll catch a movie, maybe dinner and see what happens. How does that-” Paul’s head disappeared in a crimson splash, the rest of his words were lost as his body tumbled lifelessly out of sight, landing with a dull thud. Ears ringing, she sat frozen in her chair as something thick and sticky slid off her cheek to land wetly in her lap. The walls of her cubicle obscured her view, but she could distantly hear the sound of people running and screaming.

Bam. Bam. Bam.

Each shot echoed throughout the office, with an almost lazy rhythm as methodical as a metronome.

Bam. Bam. Bam.

Tina jerked with each echo, sinking lower and lower into her chair. Her breath coming in rapid gasps, she found herself staring at the ceiling and not quite sure how she’d wound up on the floor. 51

Somewhere nearby a phone rang out. The sound echoed through the office, as if calling for help. A quiet click reached Tina’s ears as someone just out of view picked the phone up. “Human resources, this is Robert Hartwell speaking, how may I help you?” Paralyzed with fear, Tina lay trembling on the floor and listened to the person drone on the other end of the phone. How could he have not heard the shooting? Robert’s voice carried through the cubicle farm, “One moment, please. I’ll check.” A few seconds later a terrified voice began pleading frantically: “No. Please. No. No. Don’t... Please. No!” Bam.

“I’m sorry. Mike can’t make it to the phone right now. Hello? Sir?”

Click. Whimpering helplessly, Tina slid underneath her desk. Heart hammering in her ears, she pushed herself into the farthest corner and prayed silently. Please god, let me get out of this. The dry monotone voice, closer now, interrupted her prayers. “No Jack. That just doesn’t work. Sorry.” Bam. 52

The echo of the last gunshot faded away, filling the office with a crushing silence. Above her desk, the office wall clock ticked ominously. Each second oozed languidly to the next. Unhurried shuffling steps accompanied by cheerful tuneless humming broke the silence. Trembling, Tina clapped both hands over her mouth as tears ran down her face. Patent leather shoes and grey slacks appeared at the entrance to her cubicle. Her chair slid out and the feet stepped lightly around the chair to sit at her desk. A heavy thud shook the desk, followed by an odd rustling noise. Disbelief mixed with fear as Tina stared at the shoes inches from her face. There was no way he didn’t see me. Wheels creaking, the office chair slid back. “Oh, hey there. I’m sorry. I didn’t notice you,” the man said, his voice cheerful but strangely hollow. “You want to come up here where I can see you?” Tina crawled out from under the desk, but remained sitting on the floor. Blood oozed towards her, soaking the slate gray carpet. Just past the man, she could see Paul’s feet outside her cubicle. The man smiled comfortingly. His face was wide eyed and round, unassuming. Dark spiky hair made him look almost impish, but his pale eyes were devoid of any emotion. He seemed oblivious to the pooling blood around his feet from Paul’s body.


Still smiling, he held out his hand. “Robert Hartwell, head of human resources. And you are?” Tina recoiled as if he were a viper, her back pressed into the filing cabinet. There was nowhere to go. Somewhere amidst the fear and terror, she found her voice. “T-Tina.”

Robert nodded jerkily. “Tina. Tina. You’re new here aren’t you?”

Tina nodded slowly, eyes fixed on the hand inches from her face.

“Tina the temp!” Robert let out a braying laugh. “Nice to meet you, Tina the temp.” Withdrawing his hand, he looked down at the newspaper he’d been holding. Pulling a pen from his pocket he tapped his teeth thoughtfully. “Tina, Tina, Tina. Think you could help me, Tina? I’m having trouble finishing this.” Tina gaped open mouth at the absurdity. A few inches from her head, a gun lay ominously on her desk. “What?” “I’m looking for an eight letter word for ‘frozen tundra’.” He glanced up at her. “Any idea?” Snatching the gun from the desk, Tina gripped it tightly with both hands and aimed it at Robert. The barrel of the gun trembled in her white knuckled grip. She’d never held, much less fired, a weapon before. “Freeze!” Robert frowned, seemingly unconcerned. “No, that doesn’t work. That’s only six letters.” He tapped his teeth with the pen again. “Siberian!”


Pen scratching, he filled in each letter meticulously and muttered quietly to himself.

“You’re not going to shoot me.” He said without looking up.


“Stay back!” Tina shrilled, jabbing the gun at him for emphasis. “I mean

“Do you know why you’re not going to shoot me?” Robert asked idly, still filling in the crossword.

Tina squeezed the trigger as hard as she could, once then twice. Nothing.

“That is a Glock 27 Tina,” Robert said, still smiling. Setting his paper aside, he gestured at the gun. “It’s a .40 caliber pistol, which, when loaded with hollow point rounds, will punch a hole in you about the size of my thumb. The exit hole will be considerably larger.” He gestured at Paul’s body. “At point blank it destroyed most of his skull.” Reaching out he gently pried the gun from Tina’s hands. “Also, the magazine only holds nine rounds.” Robert thumbed the release and let the clip fall from the gun. It bounced unceremoniously at Tina’s feet. Pulling a fresh magazine from his pocket, Robert slid it into the gun and pulled the slide back, releasing it with a loud clack. “Now then, where were we?” Robert glanced at the paper again before turning his icy gaze back to her. “Tina. Tina the temp. What’s a five letter word for fissure?”



Damon Teufel My breath sings lyrics of bloody lust and craving over the quickening rhythm of my ravenous heart Anticipation thrills my eyes to widened white readiness attuning my senses to the savage potential of this moment An instinct so primal and hoary I can smell the salt of flesh urging me from shivering fear on into frenzied excitement Bound wood groans with the weight of my quarry upon it as if subtly warning the doomed of my presence and intent A glossed paper rag captivates the creature’s attention filling its mind with opiate delusions of security and future My heedless prey saunters through the illuminated passage enjoying the very light that spawns the shadow in which I hide A soft, white gown flutters about its tiny feet gaited swiftly but falling in short succession A stride that thrusts its hips from side to side offering the alluring impression of vital vibrancy It is an innocent pace that screams of youth and energy drawing forth saliva in my mouth to coat my teeth and tongue I strain to quell my compulsion to pounce upon it now and ruin the potent pose of slumber, which I so relish I must compose my eagerness with refinement and purpose lest it be wasted in a manic display of feral brutality No, I must maintain a balance - both beings must be fed the savage, unclean man and the calculating, tasteful monster


It has been hours since I’ve become the intruder skulking my way inside this den of latent anguish I invaded as the civilized fauna plied wares for wages instilling itself with the hope of a summery morrow It was safe from me there amid the solidarity of its herd but it has strayed from the flock without noticing the danger The grip of desire seized me what seems an eternity past with the clicks of locks and the cry of hinges turning Solid heels bounding from one room to the next with futile toils brewed my blood to a vicious concoction of silent angst and quiet revelry Seething, I bid my time savoring the spices of anticipation while it fed, fattened and rested its way to violent oblivion But it’s turning now, from the lighted hall into its fragrant chamber where soft music and dimmed bulbs create an ambiance of tranquility Perhaps it will read for a while, imagining distant lands and times exciting itself with tales of torrid love and tragic affairs So I will wait until darkness consumes this delicate domicile and motivated to retire, it will close its crystalline eyes -----Each and every light was systematically extinguished just moments ago after the clatter of metal on porcelain announced the end of its day My time has come, my hunt commenced and my veins are pulsing with heat as my steps proceed meticulously forward inch by adrenaline-filled inch I peer down the hall with a ferine grin that could glow in this darkness and open my ears to the most subtle of sounds that would decry an alert calf


I hear only the refrigerator’s hum and the voice of Death, itself assuring me of my station and the penultimate sanctity of my duty Master of Flesh, am I - The Card Dealer and the Life Stealer nothing can relent my inevitable progress across this plane of existence I reach its chamber door, left ajar as only the foolhardy might and slip my head within its confines to partake of that sacred vision Hemmed into a pillowed corral and shrouded by a flowery duvet its torso beneath is only visible by the rise and fall of its breath A single, smooth, pale limb juts out from the warmth of its blanket bended slightly back in on itself but parted from its partner, inviting my advance An arm is curled under a profiled face lavished by lengths of amber curls and emitting the whispered coos of slumbering innocence and dormant awareness I am within the chamber and my will more certain than gravity as I stalk ever nearer to the bedside of an angel soon to fall I am above her now - it has a sex now - I can smell it the damp musk of feminine ardor summons my blade to my grip I am poised to strike and fill my famished soul with blood the purity of her torpor will be torn silently from this world



The Ant Farm Jason Van Horn

I’d been asleep for nearly 32-hours – lost in a dreamy fog induced by helping handfuls of Clonazepam and Lorazepam – when I felt the ticklish lightness of a feather brush against the skin of my face. I tore myself away from my sleep and opened my eyes, starring at the bumpy, scabbed over ceiling as the sensation continued to move up my face. I thought it was merely an eye floater dancing upon my retina, though this one had a mandible and liked to bite. I quickly pressed the palm of my hand to my eye, squashing the little black piss ant to death, and shooting its guts and piss and shit all over my left eye. I licked my middle-finger and tried to scrub the muck away, but it smeared more than anything else. I brought my finger away to look at the gunk and saw that the upper remains were still fairly intact; the one dangling leg twitched as the last neurons fired off, but instead of a seizure it looked more like a beckoning and as if the ant was bidding me to follow. “Come. Join us.” I felt a pinch on my big toe and saw another ant sitting there, actually starring at me. The ant then turned, made its way down my foot, and to the ground where a line of its brethren were already waiting. The ants turned in unison but refused to move. Were they waiting for me? I groggily forced myself off the bed, dropped the bed sheet to the floor, and got in-line sporting nothing more than my morning wood pointing forward like a dowsing rod. The ants turned in succession and began their march from my bedroom, down the linoleum hallway, into the living room, and through the tiniest of cracks near the front door. 61

near the front door. I walked like a duck down their creeping highway, straddling the line so as not to crush any of them, singing to myself, “The ants go marching one-by-one hoorah, hoorah,” as I went. The path of ants ended in my gravel driveway near a clay tennis court colored hill, where thousands of piss ants were swarming, devouring the carcass of a grub that had wandered too close. I squatted down and watched the ants pick and peel away at the creature, zapping it of all life and leaving it as nothing more than an empty husk. The squirming sea made me shudder in disgust, but there was a familiarity that I felt while watching them as if I’d known them all my life. I wanted to shrink down to their size and be part of their colony; to help rip the grub up and carry it into the hole. I yearned to be part of that family, a cohesive unit that stuck together and watched out for each other. I longed to feel wanted and a part of their world. I wanted to not feel alone. I spread the cheeks of my ass with my hands and plopped down squarely upon the ant hill. I leaned backwards until the jagged edges of the gravel dug into my back, rested my head, and splayed my arms and legs to the side as if I were in the midst of doing a snow angel. Some ants are prone to attack when threatened and will swarm and bite and rip at their predator until it wises up and leaves or else is devoured fully. I wasn’t a threat, however, and so I knew my new family would be welcoming in their embrace of me. My sphincter wanted to naturally pucker like a sour mouth, but a thousand feelers massaging at once soon relaxed me enough to open me wider than a sloppy party bottom. The ants marched neatly inside me, but soon they were all scurrying about, tickling my shit shooter as they looked for that proverbial bed to call their own. It wasn’t altogether an unpleasant experience, as it felt like getting a 62

wedgie from a pair of skidmark stained underwear; it’s itchy and tickles and you know there’s an urge to be clean, but yet there’s a joyous sensation from the teasing. Feeling a tickle, I leaned my head up to see a line of ants making their way around my waist and proceeding to the forest of coarse pubic hair and swampy sweat of my scrotum, where my hardened dick bounced up and down as orgasmic delight flooded through me; ants moving in unison and with a purpose, making it feel like a woman licking my sack with her tongue as she practiced rolling her Spanish Rs. The bobbing of my penis attracted a group of ants that slowly crawled along my perineal raphe, causing me to gasp with pleasure. The scout of the bunch ventured ahead, made its way to the tip of my flesh mushroom, and pushed its way through the opening of my dick. I could actually see the faint bulge of the ant through the skin of my penis as it made its way up and down the inside of my shaft, its many hairs tickling like currents of electricity. I couldn’t holdout for long, as several streams of come came shooting out in spurts, the petroleum jelly colored goo painting the fine hair of my stomach and pooling into my bellybutton. The ant that had been fired out of my dick like a cannon emerged from the pool, called his brothers and sisters over, and soon I was covered with ants chewing on my come that stuck to their mandibles like peanut butter when there’s nothing to wash it down with. My dick went limp and slumped to the side, despite the fact that ants had started to march inside, one more apartment building up for rent. The warm, quick breaths of my orgasm drifted through the air to where it was picked up by the ants. A rolling sea of ink crawled its way forward, lingering on my lips like a memorable first kiss, spilling in like tiny spelunkers as they explored my tongue, moved between my teeth like dental floss, and then flooded down my throat like the 63

first choking mouthfuls of water right before you drown. I briefly panicked, taking in a long deep breath, sucking the lot of them back until they were in my lungs and picking away at the inner lining. Ants continued to work my face over, realizing that there were more holes there than they could’ve possibly imagined. Ants tromped into my nasal cavities and brought me close to sneezing; one somehow discovered that the nasal cavities also connect to the tear ducts and managed to squeeze its way through, popping up out of the corner of my right eye. As ants freely flowed from my mouth to my nose, I began to cry crawling black tears in great, long lines, which stretched from my eyes to the side of my head like a pair of wraparound sunglasses, as these explorers found my ears and settled in amongst the unplucked hairs and thick orange wax. I could feel them flowing deeper and deeper into my ears, and as they approached my ear drums and the darkness beyond, I swear I could hear their voices rising up.

“Thank you for this gift.”

“We are one now.”

“Welcome to the family.”

If there was a hole it was now filled with ants crawling around and working themselves further into my body with each passing moment. Pulsing through my heart and being spread through the veins of my body, every inch of me vibrating with fulfillment. Bites upon my liver. My kidneys being torn open until unfiltered piss was spilling into my own body. Ants trekking through my intestines, being daring enough to explore and see what lies at the other end, not knowing the miles left for them to go. I embraced the loving caresses 64

of their feelers and legs through my body. It wasn’t the first time I’d been infested, though unlike previous times these were all welcomed guests and my new family. I remembered all the days that had come before my nap, which had led to my self-induced sleep coma; dark, nagging thoughts of negativity, failure, and depression that seeped through my body like sticky crude oil. My parents telling me that I wasn’t amounting up to nothing. My friends abandoning me. My girlfriend telling me she no longer loved me. My mind telling me to find something sharp and give a quick slice to the wrist. No, I welcomed the ants, for their company filled me with warmth and a sense of belonging. I felt alive and a part of something bigger. I felt needed and loved. ---- The detective approached the corpse crawling with ants. The corpse’s eyes had turned to jelly, its skin was sunken inwards in many places where organs and body tissue had been completely eaten away, while giant holes were scattered about from the man’s torso down to his legs. One of the detectives slapped on a pair of surgical gloves and inspected one of the larger holes, where ants were ripping and shredding and festering around the maggots and decomposed skin; the detective hurried off to the grass nearby and puked. The medical examiner shouted out, “Detective, you might want to take a look at this!” The detective dry heaved once more, but there was nothing else to lose. He wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve. “I think I’ve seen enough.” “Sir, I don’t think you’ve ever seen anything like this.” 65

The detective composed himself and made his way to the medical examiner, who handed him a large magnifying glass like Sherlock Holmes used to use in the old movies he’d watched as a kid. “So what am I looking for?” the detective asked.

“Look at the very base of his right nostril.”

The detective brought the magnifying glass up to his eye, adjusted the distance a tad, and then leaned in close, trying not to breathe through his nose and inhale the stink of the corpse. He wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, but there, right underneath the feet of the passing line of ants, was a little green square with white writing on it, which read ‘Home Sweet Home.’


Alternate Realities & Acceptance Letters Daniel W. Gonzales


March 5th, 2012 Maxwell Davis Sunrise Publications 8632 Douglas Blvd, Suite 12 Los Angeles, CA 90637 Dear Mr. Davis: I am writing to you because I believe I have the most amazing idea for a story ever written. You see, there is this guy and he has visions of alternate realities and worlds but he just thinks he is going crazy and doesn’t really give it a second thought but then his wife gets cancer and dies so he starts to think that maybe it’s a sign that he should find his wife in this alternate reality world. So he starts doing these experiments in his basement using machines that his father gave him because his father was this big scientist before he mysteriously disappeared when he was a child. So anyway, what happens is he learns that his blood is the key to time travel and he has to put it into this device that lets him move back and forth between worlds and he goes to the other side where he finds his alternate reality version of his wife and tries to make her fall in love with him. I don’t really have any writing credits per se but I have a lot of ambition and I am the Entertainment editor of my school paper. I have always wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid and I have a photographic memory. I have my own blog at Wilco Peterson is my pen name, I really don’t want to give out my real name because I would prefer to remain mysterious like Salinger except a science fiction writer. Anyway, give my story a read and let me know what you think. I can’t wait to hear back from you! I look forward to doing future business with you! Sincerely Yours, Wilco Peterson 6523 Sedgwick Rd, Post Box 2567 Jasper County, FL 93893

April 16th, 2012 Dear Mr. Davis: So I haven’t heard from you, Mr. Davis which really upsets me because I thought my story was really good. I showed it to some people I talk to in my online writing group and they said it was awesome. I know it’s only been a few weeks but I was sure I would hear something by now. Then I tried emailing you and got some generic message that said: We will reply to you as soon as we get a chance. Thank you. I don’t appreciate being treated like that, like some nothing, some nobody! Just because I’m a college kid doesn’t mean I’m not a person! I would appreciate a little respect. I called and talked to your secretary, she was really rude to me. She told me that you were busy but then I called an hour later and she said you were out to lunch, I know I cussed at her and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lose my temper. Look, I’m not some psycho or something and I am willing to forget about all the drama, just write me an email or something. My email address is I have a lot more stories that I want to show you and they are really good. I think I could make you a lot of money if you will just publish me. I really don’t want to have to ask again. Attached is a story about a nuclear butterfly that can produce sonic waves with his wings. Sincerely Yours, Wilco Peterson 6523 Sedgwick Rd, Post Box 2567 Jasper County, FL 93893

May 10th, 2012 Dear Mr. Davis: Who in the fuck do you think you are? Yeah, I read your bio on your website, I know you went to UCLA and that you graduated top of your class and that you have had novels published under a pseudonym and yeah, I read your books. They were okay. Your writing was kind of heavy-handed if you ask me. Yet I try to send you something new and revolutionary. You ignore me and then you finally send it back with red marks all over it and tell me that it is “clichéd and cartoony”. What was “cartoony” in your opinion? You mean the time bubbles or when he tells her that he loves her and then the layers in the folds of time implode then she turns to dust? How is that cartoony? You said the writing style was something like a freshmen in high school would write and that words were misspelled. Did you ever think that I did that on purpose? Maybe that was how the character spoke! What really pissed me off is that you circled that one part, the love scene, the most romantic part in the whole story and you wrote LOL in the margins. You couldn’t even use real words, you had to use internet lingo to give your commentary. I want to know who your boss is, I mean like the owner of the whole company, not just you Mr. editor-in-chief. You stuck up piece of shit. I’ll have you know that I have won awards in Journalism and that one of my poems was even published in an anthology in India. No, I haven’t been paid for my writing yet but soon people will realize how good I am and I will outsell Stephen King even. You have no idea who you are fucking with. Sincerely Yours, Wilco Peterson 6523 Sedgwick Rd, Post Box 2567 Jasper County, FL 93893

June 4th, 2012 Dear Max: I found out what you tried to do. Don’t you know that the address I gave you was a post office box, faggot?! Also I gave a fake name and used a fake ID so I didn’t get your little restraining order but the person at the place said the police were looking for me and she tried to call the cops before I ran out of there. Lucky for me she doesn’t have my real home address cause I used a fake ID to open the box so she has no idea of where I really live. Did you really think that was necessary? Are you really that scared of me? I’m sorry I had to lie and pretend I was your brother to get you on the phone. You forced me to desperate measures. Asking me if I was on medication and shit, it’s none of your fucking business if I’m bipolar, schizophrenic or if I happen to have OCD. I stopped taking those medications months ago because they were affecting my ability to think clearly. Then I wrote that amazing story for you and you just ripped it to pieces like it was nothing. I am attaching another story for you to read called, “Apocalypse in Black”, it’s about this old lady who goes back in time and visits her younger self and tries to warn herself not to make the same mistakes twice. She ends up having the kid she got pregnant with instead of aborting it and when she goes back into the future, she has grandkids. It’s actually a really heartwarming story. Just read it and if you like it, publish it please. I am willing to forget about all this misunderstanding between us. I will stop calling your office, just email me please. Sincerely Yours,

Wilco Peterson

August 26th, 2012 Max and Linda: By now, you know that I am in LA. I took all the money I had out of my bank account in Florida and flew out here. You got the cops on my ass and you have them looking for me but you won’t find me bitch because I have a million faces. I have a million eyes and I can be anyone that I want to be. So you know my real name now, you know about my life, where I went to school but you don’t really know me. Not like you think you can from a case profile but I know where you work, where you live, where your children go to school, where your wife goes on Sunday afternoons. I have seen the cops in front of your house looking for me, I have walked right under their noses because people never see people like me. They just ignore them. So you just wait, you try to live your life and one day when you least expect it, I will get my revenge. The other night I saw you fucking your wife and yes, the cops were there but they still didn’t spot me. I am that good. I looked in through your bedroom window and saw your wife’s ugly tits and you stick your tiny little dick in her stretched out pussy. I laughed to myself. Your daughter Lucy is very beautiful, only seven years old, so innocent, she likes kittens doesn’t she? Yeah I know you got a cop at the school but like I said, I can be anyone at any time. I am that good. I am like a viper and when I am ready to strike I will and you won’t see me coming. By the way, I have enclosed a short story for your magazine called, “ Blasphemy: A Love Story”. It takes place in an alternate universe where Jesus is still alive but he sells products on the Home Shopping Network. He even hocks the nails from his palms during the crucifixion and they sell for millions of dollars. It’s a story about consumerism. Read it and you might like it. Sincerely Yours,

Wilco Peterson

September 15th, 2012 Maxy-Boy & His Little Honey Bear: I didn’t make the decision to kidnap your daughter lightly. I wouldn’t have killed the nanny bitch either but she wouldn’t let go of her hand. So I had to stab her in the neck, if she was smart, she would have just held her throat until the paramedics came, stupid cunt. Seriously though, your daughter is the sweetest and cutest little girl, she is very obedient and has hardly given me any trouble at all. Don’t worry I am feeding her and I won’t molest her, I’m not like that. I think I made it pretty obvious in my last letter that if you didn’t publish my story I would do something bad. DO I HAVE TO SPELL IT OUT FOR YOU? Are you really going to make me say it? I know your cop friends are reading this, probably putting their pig fingers all over it looking for fingerprints, some way to figure out where I am. I wear gloves when I write the letters, I make sure to mail them discreetly, I’m not stupid. Okay, let me make it clear this time. PRINT MY STORIES OR I WILL MURDER YOUR FUCKING DAUGHTER AND CUT HER IN PIECES. Okay, now that we got that drama out of the way we can get back to what matters, the writing. Enclosed is a new story called, “Androids that Dream of Electric Sheep”, it’s a take on the Philip K. Dick story. Get it? Anyway in the story there is this android who learns to become human and he meets this clone girl who has the recovered memories of her genetic counterpart who has died over 200 years ago so she starts seeking out the ancestors of her originator. Anyway, eventually the android guy gets jealous and starts killing her bloodline, it’s a dark love story. The world will love it. I expect it to get cover art and front page. In fact, I expect the entire issue to be dedicated to me and for you to print all the stories I have sent you so far. If not, I will cut your daughter’s fingers off. Okay? There I said it. Are you happy now? You made me out to be the bad guy. You know, in an alternate universe, none of this had to happen because you just published my first story and weren’t such an asshole about it. Sad that we exist in this world, isn’t it?

You know who

October 13th, 2012 Max and His stupid wife that can’t give a blowjob: This is all your fault I hope you know. I saw you on the news. I heard you say that you will pay anyone fifteen grand who helps find me dead or alive before the police cut you off the mike. Then I had some chink bitch recognize me when I was getting something to eat and try to call the cops. I had to stab that bitch and now I got another homicide on my hands. All because you refused to publish my stories even after I threatened your daughter’s life! Did you think I wasn’t serious?! I figured it out, the cops told you not to compromise with me because then I would have the upper hand and it would never end, they always say that shit. But when I mailed you your daughter’s finger I bet you regretted listening to them real quick. I saw your wife sobbing on the news and then I knew. I was able to get her phone number because I’m a hacker. Hence that’s why you and your pig friends couldn’t track down my email or when I log into my website to address my fans. Did you know there is a Facebook page someone made for me? They are calling me the next great serial killer. I could be famous! Anyway, I talked to your slut wife and she agreed to meet me one on one after you fagged out on me and let your “honey bear’s” finger get cut off. I met that bitch at this hotel room and she obeyed my orders and really did come alone. I told her to take off her clothes and made her suck my dick, I told her I would give your daughter back if she sucked it real good and swallowed. Then that bitch tried to bite my dick off and that’s why I cut up her face. I didn’t do it to be mean, she forced me to do it. You and your wife are a pair of psychos, man. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I am enclosing another story. If you don’t publish it, I cut off an arm.

Your best buddy, Wilco Peterson

November 3rd, 2012 Dear Fuckface: So you got your daughter back and I got shot. I hope you are happy. I bet you and your slut wife are celebrating. Maybe she gives you better head then she did me. She looks like a slut. I hope both you motherfuckers die a slow and painful death. I hope your daughter gets hit by a car and you get ball cancer. Of course, some bastard at the motel called the cops cause your little bitch daughter couldn’t stop crying and then the cops showed up and I tried to get through the window, got shot, then I was able to trade your daughter’s life for mine before I slipped away barely after killing two officers. Now you have made me the most wanted man in the county and I am all over the news. I can’t go anywhere, I had to change my appearance yet again. I can barely go out to get food to eat. I am living on the fucking streets and it’s all because of you! Of course the cops are going to come down hard on me, they will probably ass rape me with their nightsticks for killing their “bros”. The one good thing that came out of this is that you published my stories, a couple hundred copies of the magazine got out before you got your daughter and then tried to pull them all off the market, having them destroyed then encouraging anyone who bought a copy to burn it. Now they are the hottest item on Ebay, people are selling copies of the serial killer’s sci-fi stories for hundreds of dollars! I have over a million fans on twitter. Yes, I can still tweet. I have a pay per minute cell phone and an internet connection, bitch, this is the modern age! You can’t take away my voice. Now I will be more famous than ever. So thank you, Max. Thank you for making me a celebrity.

The Infamous,

Martin Verrill aka Wilco Peterson

Associated Press. December 15th, 2012 INFAMOUS ‘SCI-FI KILLER’ FINALLY CAPTURED Christina Milner, staff writer LOS ANGELES—A long reign of terror has finally ended for publisher Maxwell Davis who has been stalked by psychotic fan Martin Verrill (aka Wilco Peterson). On Friday evening, Verrill was spotted by an undercover police officer in downtown LA soliciting sex from a prostitute. The officer recognized him and placed him under arrest. He was booked on four counts of manslaughter, kidnapping, attempted rape and attempted murder. Since July, the story has taken the nation by storm inspiring a Facebook campaign to “Publish the Psycho Killer” in an attempt to end his reign of terror. Officers advised against giving into his demands resulting in the kidnapping of Davis’ daughter in September. When Davis still refused to publish him, Verrill severed one of the fingers of Davis’ daughter and sent it to him in the mail. Davis’ wife then attempted to deal with the killer by herself resulting in her sexual assault and near murder. After that, Davis finally published the serial killer’s fiction in his nationally lauded magazine, Light Brigade which usually publishes literary fiction and had never published science-fiction in its twenty year history. Davis remarked that he was unsure why Verrill targeted him and his magazine when it was not the market for his types of work. He said Verrill became unnaturally aggressive when he did not respond back almost instantly, calling obsessively and making threats. After a restraining order was released back in March, that was when things spiraled out of control and Verrill came to LA to enact his ‘revenge fantasy’. After publication of the pieces which sold more copies than any other issue in the magazine’s history, Davis attempted to have all copies removed when his daughter was recovered. Yet copies that weren’t destroyed or previously bought sold on the internet for up to fifteen thousand dollars. Critics are calling the pieces, “a disturbing look into the mind of a sociopath with delusions of grandeur”. Davis and his wife have refused to comment on Verrill except to say they were glad it was finally over. Verrill will be arraigned in court on Monday, a spectacle which is sure to be the beginning of the trial of 2013. Already five book publishers have offered to publish his fiction and/or memoirs describing the events leading up to his psychotic break. Barbara Walters has scheduled an interview next week and Verrill’s name has become the latest topic for the nighttime talk show circuit. Psychotherapist Ann Montgomery gave an initial observation of Verrill who she describes as “strangely child-like and innocent despite his psychosis”. The defendants will most likely go for an insanity plea. When asked why he did it, Verrill himself said, “In another universe, this has already happened and everything that was meant to be is now coming true.”

image by: Andrew Bock


Coming Next Time Art by: Joe Whiteford & Featuring Stories From: D. Harlan Wilson Carlton Mellick III Nik Korpon Theric Jepsen Martin Garrity Gregori Black

Surreal Grotesque - Issue 1  

The first issue of Surreal Grotesque

Surreal Grotesque - Issue 1  

The first issue of Surreal Grotesque