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Flash Fiction Friday: The Pub Fight

by James Burr

“You, sir, have spilled my pint!”

All eyes in the pub turned at the sound of breaking glass, a pool of foaming ale rapidly spreading out at the feet of the furious Academic.

The Professor eyed his accuser angrily. “And I contend that I did not spill your pint, as all property is theft. Ergo, if a pint was spilled, it was certainly not yours.”

The Academic jabbed the Professor in the chest. “But a pint was indeed spilled, as we can see from the shards of glass and pool of beer at my feet.” His companion, an elderly man in a tweed jacket tried to restrain him, weakly muttering, “Leave it. He’s not worth it.” The Academic continued. “And the pint was indeed mine for does not First Occupancy theory proceed on the basis that it does not particularly matter how I took possession of it or what sort of use I intended to make of it; what matters is that I am acting as the owner of said beverage.”

The Professor snorted at him. “Well sir, I could proffer Liebniz’s contention that everything is contingent: that is that, logically, it is quite possible for the pint to not even exist!”

“But something can be said to exist if it has a place as part of objective reality?” the Academic replied.

“But what is ʻreality?’”

“ʻReality’ is real existence, what is real, what underlies experiences.”

“But what is ʻreal?’” the Professor asked.

“Something can be considered real if it exists as a thing or occurs in fact. I can determine the existence of the former pint through my eyes and the stickiness under the soles of my shoe. A pint has been spilled. Such a fact can be undeniably determined through the sense organs. The fact that the pints exists – or at least did until you spilled it – is an undeniable, objective fact.”

“Very well,” said the Professor. “I shall accept your objectivist observation that the presence of an ex-pint before us means that a pint was spilled. However, I counter your assertion that it was I who spilled said pint as that would require conscious agency on my part. Without such deliberate intention, the very best that can be said is that your beer was spilled – the result of mere accident or act of God.”

The Academic puffed out his chest. “Pah, but God does not exist. A claim that is further evidenced by the fact that if He did exist, His omnipotence and omniscience would ensure that He did not go around accidentally spilling pints.”

“And yet, my slippery-fingered friend, you contend that God does not exist when the adherents of scores of faiths and religions would argue that their personal experience of God is very real. Billions of souls have experience of whatever deity they worship, so by your own definition, God must exist and so be real, as is evidenced by the fact that we are talking about Him.”

“Rubbish! Liebniz believed that it is possible to describe the essence of a person or thing whether they are real or imaginary. God has an essence, in that his qualities and personality and station can be described, yet he does not exist. The fact that an entity has an essence does not necessarily imply existence! The pint was not spilled by accident or through some act of God. Ergo the pint, if not spilled by a non-existent deity, must have been spilled through some agency, and I contend that that agency was you, hence my original assertion!” The Academic angrily pushed his face into that of the Professor.

His companion turned and cried, “Someone, call the Police!” to the other patrons.

“Nonsense!” said the Professor. “We may have determined that there was a pint and that it has now been spilled. We may have even decided that it was not spilled through some act of God. However, I cannot yet be sure of your existence, as your existence is integral to your belief that it was your pint that was acted upon. Just because you may, as proposed by Liebniz, have some essence as an argumentative, small-minded buffoon, the fact that such an essence can be described does not necessarily mean that you exist. Using your own argument, you, like God, may not exist, and so it was not your pint that was spilled.”

The Academic’s companion tried to feebly pull him back by the arms. “Leave it” he muttered weakly. “He’s had enough.”

“Indeed,” said the Professor. “Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. I can be certain of my own existence but not of your own.” The Professor smiled as he sought to end the barbarous altercation with a brutal strike. “And of course, as Spinoza believed that everything is ruled by an absolute logical necessity, there is thus no such thing as ʻFree will’ in psychology, or ʻchance’ in the physical world. As such, the pint was simply spilled – not by accident and certainly not through any intention of my own.”

The Academic rounded on him. “Yet you argue there is no free will! If there is no free will, there can be no independent thought. Thus, if you cannot think, using your own philosophy, you cannot exist!”

The pool of beer on the floor spread across to where the Professor may, or may not, have once stood.

The Academic cracked his knuckles, nodded at his companion, and went to the bar to buy another pint.


Jim Burr wrote Ugly Stories for Beautiful People and is working on a second collection, State of the Nation. You beautiful people can read more of his writing here and here. Ugly people can follow him on Twitter. Do either or both, depending on your mood.


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Flash Fiction Friday: Friction

by Brian Auspice

I flip a switch and turn off friction. I slide into a wall. The wall slides into me. Everything and everyone slides into everything and everyone else. We all get a good laugh out of it. I flip the switch again and begin to untangle the mess I’ve caused.

“Ultimately,” some pundit on some station says to the camera. “Ultimately, this whole situation has brought us closer together.” He sticks a revolver in his mouth and blows his brains out.

I turn off the television and stare at my reflection in the black screen. My face melts, dripping prismatic wax onto a checkered tile floor. It coagulates into liquid gold. I scoop it into a mason jar, make a poorly-timed knock-knock joke to an empty room, and dive out an open window.


Seven-thousand hour slow-motion establishing shot of stunt double falling to the city below.

I land on my feet. I twist my ankle. I untwist my ankle and do a one-handed cartwheel. Bystanders applaud. I flip them off and tell them I wasn’t trying to impress them.

“I did it for the lulz,” I say, turning and deliriously skipping down the street, head cocked back to belt out a long and unpunctuated series of psychotic laughs.

I reach the corner of Lo and Main. I sucker punch a pedestrian in the crosswalk. He staggers back and stumbles into a crowd of nuns, setting off a chain reaction of human dominos that wraps around the world twice, coming to a fiery, apocalyptic conclusion at Burning Man.

“All good things must come to an end,” I say, shrugging uncontrollably for seventy-two hours.

I wander off into a junkyard. Scrap metal. Tires. Frames. Fumes, toxic and otherwise.


I follow the sign, weaving serpentine through the mounds of rust and rubber. I come to a clearing. A shack sits at the edge of a sludge pond. A flickering neon sign hangs above its door. A series of saturated wood shipping pallets float on the surface of the pond. I leapfrog across them, landing on the opposite muddy bank. I lose my footing and slide into the shack’s door. It opens. I tumble inside, leaving a skid of slime in my wake.

“Welcome,” says a man behind the counter. “I,” he pauses, clears his throat. “I am the Reclaimer.” He spreads his arms like a messiah. “This is my domain.”

I survey the room. Dented tin cans, broken toys, half-magazines, warped instruments, discarded personal hygiene products, previous generation iPhones – a collection of temporary one-time relics tossed, lost, and forgotten.

“I’ve come to barter,” I declare. I stand, stride across the room, and place my jar of liquid gold on the counter.

Reclaimer eyes it. He strokes his chin. He reaches under the counter and retrieves a pair of unnecessarily complex magnifying goggles. He straps them to his head and examines the jar.

“Few imperfections,” he mutters. “Some pitting here, bubbling. Otherwise,” he removes the goggles. “Otherwise, of good quality. The contents are useless, of course. Dime-a-dozen.” He places a rusted hubcap on the counter, dumping a handful of chipped plastic coat buttons on top. “And that’s generous.”

I laugh. He laughs. I slam my fist on the counter. The buttons tiddlywink. We stare at one another for five years.

“Very well,” he says. He places a previous generation iPhone on the counter. “My final offer.”

I nod. He nods. I hand him the jar and take the iPhone. I awkwardly bow and exit the shack. I stand at the edge of the pond. I power on the device and immediately download an app that allows me to remotely flip switches. I tap the touchscreen and turn off friction. I slide into the sludge. The sludge slides into me.


Brian Auspice exists in an impermeable void between time and space. He is the author of Deep Blue, which was published as a part of the New Bizarro Author Series in 2014. 01001010 01101111 01101000 01101110 00100000 01110011 01110101 01100011 01100011 01110101 01101101 01100010 01110011 00101110


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Flash Fiction Friday: A Short Rumination On Things That Aren’t Really Food

by Bert Stanton

Totino’s Party Pizza is anything but a party or a pizza. It’s a square of questionable food stuffs; dough, cheese and meat in name only. The reality is ingredients manufactured in the basement of a North Korean sweatshop. At a dollar a pop, you really can’t expect much.

But… The Party. That’s what sells it, right? That’s the part that makes you look over the twelve inch Red Baron pepperoni, or the half off DiGiorno Supreme. Even the Tombstone. The pull of The Party is too intoxicating. Maybe the night won’t be wasted. After all, the promise of fun and excitement is what you’re paying for, yes?

But there’s no party. At least, not the kind you want: one with raucous music and exotic drugs and sexy co-eds you usually can’t get within twenty feet of without hearing a rape whistle. Just a flat piece of bubbling cheese, and each bubble grows until it looks like it’s going to burst. Big orange and yellow domes that should pop at any moment but instead get bigger and bigger. Bubbles the size of baseballs, the size of basketballs. When the bubbles blink and become eyes and the ancient pupils spin around madly, each one locking with yours, you’ll wonder where The Party is. It’s not here, is it? Not as the pizza pushes open the oven door. It’s not even pizza anymore, not that it ever was in the first place.

The Totino’s Party Pizza forces itself out of the oven in every directions and slides all over the place. On your cracked linoleum floors, up the dirty walls, across the nicotine yellow ceiling. The front window and door have disappeared in a thick, sticky, sludge of white and yellow and orange and red, and is it hot in here, or is it just you? No, it’s hot. Maybe the oven is still kicking out heat, but where the oven is at this point is anyone’s guess. But this is far more than any oven can kick out, and whatever is creating that volcanic heat can’t be natural.

The entirety of your hovel has become a breathing mass of judicial eyes, each one a jaundiced iris of loathing and disapproval, and they are all staring at you, into you, through you. After all, how can you live like this? Chain smoking in grubby underwear on a Friday night, eating Totino’s Party Pizza, drinking Busch Light and waiting for some party to come to you? That’s another checkmark on the long laundry list of reasons you are a no-account, not even a blank footnote in history. Right next to your lack of education and hygiene and personality.

So how stupid do you feel now for not paying attention in school, or going to college, or finding true love, or rising above, when all you can do is stand in your kitchen while a living, breathing, feculent organism shifts and pulses and closes in all around you?

You’re the party in the pizza, you dig?


Bert Stanton is a bizarro, weird, and horror writer living in Portland, OR. Please follow him on Twitter.


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Flash Fiction Friday: Sleep is Dumb

by Nathan W. Taynthoemer

One sun-brewed Monday in July, there was a monkey.

He was incredibly drunk.

For no real reason at all, the monkey bellowed “Fuck you, God!” toward the heavens at an ear-bleeding volume. The monkey god didn’t take too kindly to this, so he summoned a plague of locusts upon the monkey’s town. Thinking better of it, he called off the locusts and rained down flaming toads instead and set the entire town ablaze.

“Holy conflagration!” cried the townsfolk, in between putting one another out.

“No shit,” said the monkey, likewise preoccupied with not burning to death.

“Insolent whelp,” whined an old man who had pissed himself to put out his pants. “This is your fault! Look what you done made me do!”

Despite the fact that he was covered in his own urine, the old man was an excellent orator and had managed to incite the smoldering townsfolk into a frenzy. Grabbing whatever stones, pitchforks, and flaming remnants of buildings they could find, the town went after the monkey.

Not particularly fond of being on the receiving end of an angry mob, the monkey left town. Since his car was destroyed by the fiery amphibians, he hijacked a bus full of mute rodeo midgets en route to Atlantic City.

“The fuck?” questioned the monkey as he stepped on board.

“The shit?” answered one of the midgets in reply to the talking monkey.

“I thought you were mute,” said the monkey.

“My god, I’m cured,” replied the midget.

She was promptly thrown off the bus.

After dropping off the midgets in Las Vegas Junior, the monkey realized he was now stuck in New Jersey, where the shortest distance between two points doesn’t exist. He sat in traffic and rain for several hours, got annoyed, drove the bus into a ditch, and started walking.

Eventually, the monkey found a bar. He picked it up and used it break the window of a liquor store. The monkey looted the place, emptying the cash register and taking all the Jack Daniels his prehensile tail could carry. Of course, being a monkey, his tolerance for alcohol wasn’t all that high. He quickly drank himself into a coma and collapsed.

The monkey awoke in a field, filthy and naked. He had been filthy and naked prior to that, but he didn’t actually realize it until just then. He jumped into a conveniently located lake and cleaned himself as best as water and mud would allow. He paused mid-bath, distracted by something shiny on the horizon.

“Oooh, shiny,” said the monkey. He headed toward the glare and found himself face to face with a blind, wizened chicken gnawing on aluminum foil. Being both blind and wizened, the monkey immediately realized that this fowl was an ancient seer.

“Oh, kind sage,” said the monkey, kneeling down, “I’m so confused. Help me, please.”

“What the fuck?” said the chicken. “I’m a feathered animal and I’m noticeably wizened? Who the hell is writing this? Buy a fucking dictionary, you fucking hack!”

“What?” replied the monkey.

“What nothin’,” said the bald, unfeathered, but still blind and wizened asshole of a chicken. “What’s your problem, monkey?”

“My life is as boring as a comatose prostitute, and about as fulfilling. I’m lost in New Jersey, I’m hungover, I cleaned myself in a lake, the monkey god’s more than a little pissed off at me, and I’m not even sure what the hell type of a monkey I actually am.”

“You’re a fucking idiot is what,” replied the chicken. “Haven’t you ever looked in a mirror? The tail, the bulbous larynx. You’re a black howler monkey, for crying out loud. Jesus fucking Christ!”

The chicken walked away but was immediately struck dead by a ridiculously fragrant and inconvenient bolt of lightning. His roasted carcass fell to the ground in all its divinely hickory-smoked goodness.

“Shit,” said the monkey, who was technically an Alouatta caraya but didn’t care enough to change his self image.

The monkey stood there for a while, mulling over all that he had seen. Eventually he ate the chicken, drank another half a bottle of whiskey, and realized that he was on a farm. The monkey shrugged and finished the rest of the bottle, this time retaining his consciousness. He made consensual love to a pair of sexy female pigs, stole a tractor, and got the fuck on with his life.


Nathan W. Taynthoemer is a Virgo and enjoys papercrafting, artisanal pork products, and long walks on the beach by candlelight. Visit for all the goods.


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Flash Fiction Friday: When the Thing Did

by Goathead Buckley

His ratman-hair overcoat let him live on the cold streets beneath the levitating, blue pyramid. The monstrosity had appeared one quiet afternoon to the north and steadily hovered closer until, by dinnertime, the entire city lay in its shadow. Humans threw themselves out of windows and into the sewers to breed with rats and get torn apart by lizards, cowering before the mutated scum-born that had been moaning low in the black earth before the city had even been laid out. He wasn’t the last man alive in town, he knew that much. He’d heard screams an octave lower than any that the rat-men could produce and laughter more sincere than the mocking lizards could imitate despite their incessant practice. The laughter, that’s what made him stay in the city. Someone, somewhere, despite the great weirding that went on beneath the static pyramid, had a fit of the giggles. And he wanted to know what was so damn funny.

By day he would wander through trash and corpses, listening to the wind blow lonely down alleyways. He always kept one eye on the blue expanse of the pyramid above. At times, he would forget just what he was looking at and, for a eye blink, he might even think he was looking at the sky. But the sky never blacked out the sun, never sat poised with destructive intent above the once civilized world waiting for fuck knew what. At least, it never seemed that way. His patience was long in those days and he’d walk for hours, waiting to either be finally and restfully destroyed or to hear once again the laughter and to follow it down the detritus choked avenue into one of the abandoned buildings. Perhaps he would come upon a face with a crooked smile, and be able to punch it directly in the mouth and tell it to wipe that goddamn smirk off of its turd-soft mug.

This was some serious shit, he’d say, this pyramid business. What the fuck are you laughing at? At the bodies of your family strewn about like forgotten lawn ornaments? At the rats with human brains the size of dogs that whispered diseased conspiracies against all other life in the light of a fire stoked with discarded femurs? Or were the lizards something to chuckle at as they ate and shat and fucked and grew huge and never once formed a thought in their minds other than “strip the flesh and swallow?” Were the scum-born mere motley clowns to scoff at, mutants that grew moldy filth for hair and clothed themselves in sheets of fungus that fell away and started families of their own? What was so funny that would make someone laugh when so alone and abandoned by all reasonable society?

He’d walk and walk and ask these questions to no one, never expecting an answer. One dim morning, however, the hum of the pyramid, a noise he had not truly registered so constant had it been up to this point, stopped. And echoing down the concrete canyon of Main Street, laughter, explosive and maniacal and so full of unwashed joy that he paused in his tracks and sat upon the blood encrusted curb, heart hurting, breath coming in like rocks. The laughter seemed to come from everywhere now, much like the incessant drone that it had replaced. He looked to the sky, expecting it to fall, but saw that nothing had moved. The wind had died, but the laughter, the hee-heeing and haw-hawing, the chuckling and chortling, continued. His brain felt like the inside of a clown car, stuffed to absurdity with painted limbs and heavy breathing.

On his knees, the edges of his grisly coat soaking the ichor still congealing in the gutter, he prayed to nothing in particular for the pyramid to fall, to fall and pop him like a boil and to end it, if only to stop the goddamned laughter. Prayed and beat his head against the cracking blacktop and thought he had knocked himself unconscious when all went quiet. After a moment, he raised his blood-stung eyes to the pyramid and saw that a crack had appeared in the base from which a tiny white something fell. It floated lazily to the ground a foot from him.

It was a note, written on college-ruled notebook paper that simply said, “I guess it wasn’t all that funny anyway.”

The pyramid rippled as if consumed by a great, invisible heat, and disappeared from the sky in an instant. The intensity of the prodigal sun burnt his eyes to blindness, but he could not stop laughing as his world grew dark once again.


Goathead Buckley has returned from the mountains and would like you to eat his brain and gain his knowledge so that he can get back to grooving and having a good time. He lives in Cincinnati and runs when he’s not trying to sell his organs for an organ-grinding monkey.


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Flash Fiction Friday: Seeking Approval at the End of the World

by: John Wayne Comunale
Kyle shut the window, closed the drapes, and made his decision. The ratings had been shit for years, despite it being the longest running show in history. He was the President of Television, and tough decisions like this were his responsibility. He was going to have to cancel Outside.

Kyle crossed to a large switch on the wall and slammed it down from its current setting of ‘Live’ to its new setting of ‘Canceled.’ The sound of the show’s death decayed into silence as he strolled over to the coatrack by his office door and removed a black, hooded robe that slipped easily over his presidential three-piece suit.

Stitched in crimson on the left side of the robe was a twenty-one-point star with an eagle-winged spider at the center of it. Now that he’d canceled Outside, which was the final thing his brothers needed done to fulfill the ‘prophecy,’ he would be off probation and made a full-fledged member. No longer would he be called nerd-linger, douche-sack, cock-lick, or any of the many names they called him by. Now he would be known as Kyle.

He pressed a button on the wall that opened a door to a dark room where the only light came from a much larger version of the star symbol glowing red up from the floor. The intensity of the light rose sharply as a robot rocking horse with the head of Abraham Lincoln slid from the darkness to the center of the room.

“Did you do it douche-sack?” screamed Abe.

“I told you I’d do it, didn’t I? And it’s Kyle now…right?”

“Don’t bullshit us, nerd-linger!” yelled another robed individual stepping into the light. It was Dave, the shape-shifting alien who’d been every President of the United States since he came down, chopped Lincoln’s head off, and grafted it onto a robot rocking horse.

“I really did it, guys,” said Kyle again, smiling wide. “Now the prophecy can be fulfilled, or whatever.”

“He’s telling the truth,” came another voice from the shadows. A man stepped into the light and lowered his hood to reveal a scaly, reptilian head.

“Thank you Mr. Hubbard,” said Kyle. “See, I told you guys. So, am I off probation or what?”

“Fiiiiine,” groaned Lincoln. “If LRH says you did it, I guess that’s good enough for me. Enter the star.”


“Shut up and enter the goddamn star,” yelled Dave.

He stepped into the star and it glowed brightly as Lincoln rocked off, leaving Kyle in the center alone. He felt the heat in his feet first, but it quickly crawled up the length of his body, causing the hair on his arms to go limp and start to singe.

“Uh, hey, guys,” he said nervously through cracking lips. “Do you think we could turn the star down a little? It’s a little hot and…”

Dave stepped to the edge of the star, raised his hands, and began chanting. Lincoln and Hubbard joined him, and as the chanting became louder, the heat became more intense. Tiny flames danced along the edges of the star, and Kyle gasped trying to high-step his way out of the flames, but his hooded brethren would not let him leave the circle.

“Hey, what gives, guys? This is really starting to hurt!”

“Burning alive is supposed to hurt, dingus,” said Dave, laughing.

“What?” The flames crept quickly up Kyle’s robe. “You guys said that canceling Outside was the last thing you needed to fulfill the prophecy, and I did it!”

“Yeah, well, we lied,” said Lincoln.

“The actual last thing we need to do is sacrifice your nerdy, annoying ass,” called Dave through the rising flames.

The flames jumped to the ceiling for a moment before being sucked back down into the star, and Kyle was gone.

“We did it!” cried Dave.

“Wait,” said L. Ron Hubbard, raising his scaly hand to silence the group. “Something’s not right.”

He walked to the window and pulled the curtains aside, revealing nothing but blackness. A second later, there was a flicker and some static before Outside appeared through the window right before their eyes.

“What the hell?” shouted Lincoln.

“That little shitty nerd lied to us!” yelled Dave.

“No, I’m afraid not, gentlemen,” said Hubbard. “Kyle did indeed cancel Outside just as he said.”

“Then what’s all that out there?”

“Reruns,” said Hubbard flatly. “I’m afraid Outside has been put into syndication.”


John Wayne Comunale lives in the land of purple drank known as Houston, Texas. He is a writer for the comedic collective, MicroSatan, and contributes creative non-fiction for the theatrical art group, BooTown. When he’s not doing that, he tours with the punk rock disaster: johnwayneisdead. He is the author of The Porn Star Retirement Plan, Charge Land, and Aunt Poster as well as writer/illustrator of the comic-zine: The Afterlife Adventures of johnwayneisdead. John Wayne is an American actor who died in 1979.


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Flash Fiction Friday: Porcqupyne

by: Raf De Bie

Last week, I asked Cynthia to marry me. Today, the mailman hands me her reply: an empty piece of paper and a plastic bag stuffed with vowels, consonants, and punctuation marks. The mailman pats me on the back. “Sorry fella, they must have fallen off. It happens sometimes.” I drop to my knees, hands in the bag, then in my hair. How am I supposed to make sense of this? As the mailman walks away I find a Y, an E, and an S. I press them against each other and make kissy noises.

In the town’s Scrabble club, I get surrounded like I’m a blank tile. I don’t even have to ask the members to help me out; they just yank the bag out of my hands. Soon they present me a letter that doesn’t excel content-wise, but the word value is off the charts. Cynthia feels like I don’t bake her enough flapjacks. She calls me a porcqupyne. The plastic bag has only five characters left. “You’re welcome,” the Scrabble club members say as they retreat into a corner of the room, where they light up cigars and unfold a game board.

I find a bar where I tell a drunk clown about my love issues. After about an hour, he asks me where Cynthia lives. I tell him, “Way too far.” He says, “Way too far for what? For true love?” He orders another round of rum and cokes, and when the bartender replies that I should buy the clown a round for once instead of complaining about this Cynthia girl all the time, the clown headbutts him. Then he puts his hand on my shoulder, looks me deep in the eyes, and says, “That man has never been in love before. I will help you.” An hour later I’m riding a mini-tricycle on a dirt road, my eyes on the enormous moon on the horizon. I try to see myself in the shadows of the dark craters, on one knee in front of Cynthia as I offer her a ring. Cynthia holds her hands in front of her face and shouts, “I do! I do! I DO I DO I DO!”

I. En route, people throw me sausages and booze, and I ride ride ride two miles an hour, weeks on end. I take the boat, a train, get lost in three different states, and find my way each time again. I take a turn, work myself through the gravel on the long driveway, am unable to stop, and with a bang, I come to a standstill against Cynthia’s front door. I drop to the doorstep unconscious. As I wake up, I’m sitting in a police car right next to the clown, who is very calmly explaining to two officers it’s about time the bartender gets a taste of true love, so this all could have been avoided and it was all a dream.

II. En route, people throw me sausages and booze, and I ride ride ride two miles an hour, months on end. I take the boat, a train, get lost in three different states, and find my way each time again. I take a turn, work myself through the gravel on the long driveway, am unable to stop, and with a bang, I come to a standstill against Cynthia’s front door. I drop to the doorstep unconscious. As I wake up, Cynthia is standing right in front of me, an Elvis suit tightly hugging her slim waist, azure sunglasses on her perky nose, and pink lipstick on her bubblegum-blowing lips.

==> I choose for the dream.

=> For the confrontation.

> For II.

“Yes or no?” I ask.
“No. I already told you in the letter. My manager wrote down twelve pages just because we felt so sorry for you.”
“But I want to marry you.”
“Look, I’m a singer. A pop star. And you? What do you do? What are you?”
“A dreamer, a dreamer!” I shout, “That’s good too.”
“Not good enough.”
Cynthia slams the door shut.
I’m all alone again.

I ride to the coastline, where I rent a glassblower. He blows a gigantic bottle for me. I sit down in the bottle and have the entire Scrabble club push me into the sea. They hand me a quincunx (26 points) as a present for the voyage. Soon I’m drifting through the surf into the salty ocean.

The island where I wash ashore is inhabited by porcqupynes. They eat the few characters that are still in my pockets and soon learn how to speak. I bake them flapjacks. I have discussion panels with them, and soon I forget Cynthia. After a couple of months, I organize a dating show, matching two porcqupynes every full moon. New couples get to spend a night inside my glass bottle. During those nights, I take long walks along the beach, where I think about things that I will have forgotten about the next day. I am almost happy.


Raf De Bie lives and writes in Belgium. He graduated from the Antwerp Writers’ Academy in 2015 and is a former editor of the literary magazine Kluger Hans. His most recent publication in English, before this one, was in the European bizarro anthology This Is Not An AnthologyYou can find him on Twitter.


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