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Flash Fiction Friday: The Friend We Made

by: James Burr

He danced in the dry ice, his limbs staccato-jerking in the strobes. He’d cleared a space for himself and was dancing on the spot, breathing heavily through his nose and mouth, his eyes glazed and staring blankly ahead. “I’m dancing, I’m dancing,” he kept repeating as he danced and danced. Around him, sweating clubbers pointed and whooped and high-fived him, this consummate dancer, as the beat rattled and the bass wobbled and dropped.

The next time I saw him was at a Rugby Club Ball, standing on a table, Harlequins jersey stained with curry, leading a drunken rendition of Father Abraham, Stella Artois spilling and splashing those who stood around him, laughing and cheering. At the end of each line he thrust his hips with a powerful snap, his cheering, ruddy-faced compatriots doing the same, following this seeming best friend to all, as they slapped him on the back and cheered and roared their drunken approval.

I spoke to one of his friends later at the end of the evening, after the lights had come up and the bar had mostly emptied save for some stragglers trying to stay awake as they drank in small groups or a couple trying to finger new girl friends in the shadows. He could barely focus and was slumped on a table, the sleeves of his blazer sodden with beer, but despite my describing the man in detail and saying what he had been doing all evening, one of this man’s seeming core group of friends had no idea who I was talking about, my questions only prompting vague recollection of someone being there but nothing more.

But then I saw more of him after that. At demonstrations outside the Student Union, his hair dyed purple, surrounded by cheering social justice warriors who applauded his railing against the patriarchy, and at poetry evenings, clad in tweed and thick-rimmed specs, his verse received with standing ovations before he then retired to the café where he held court to the assembled poets and performance artists and spoke of the merits of repetition, word play and the importance of oral storytelling. Occasionally, I’d see him out of the corner of my eye, walking around a corner surrounded by an adoring group of chavs, baseball cap on his head and can of White Lightning in hand or entering a Metal club, all in black, illegible band logo on his T-Shirt, and always, always the centre of attention, effortlessly the leader of the group, clearly the best friend to all.

Sometimes, I’d speak to these people about him, sometimes only moments after he’d left, but they could only vaguely recall him, just remembering a few details, a tinge of an accent, a mannerism, an odd recollection that someone had indeed been there. No-one seemed to know him; no-one knew who he was yet whenever I saw him, he was always the centre of attention, the focal point of that social group.

So I wasn’t that surprised when the next time I saw him was when I went to a friend’s house for a quiet smoke. As I opened the door to the living room, through a hashish haze I saw him holding court, expertly skinning up as he mumbled about his travels to Tibet and his experiences of various drugs, my friends relaxed with his company and enraptured with his conversation. And I watched him through the evening, this consummate Head, as he expertly selected the music, Floyd then Orb then ambient trance, as my friends mumbled their approval at his selections. But as the night progressed, my limbs grew heavy and my head filled with warm cotton wool, the others slowly went home or shuffled upstairs until I was finally left alone with him, the first time I’d seen him outside of a group.

We sat slumped on the floor as the ambient wash pulsed and throbbed around us and as for a moment I think I saw a look of panic pass across his face as he realized we were alone. Then he turned to me, his face an exact mirror of my own. I wanted to ask him who he was, how he seemed to know everyone, be liked by everyone. But my mouth was dry and I could feel myself sinking into unconsciousness. As I closed my eyes, I thought I heard him say, “I’m not sure I want to find myself….”


When I woke up the next day, I found his “body”, if you want to call it that, on the floor where I had last seen him. Lying on the carpet amidst the full ashtrays and fragments of discarded cardboard was a man-shaped transparent vessel, a brittle glass container, empty and dead.

His hollow frame shattered into a thousand fragments when I threw it into the bin outside, and when my friends slowly surfaced, rubbing their eyes and shuffling to the kitchen to make mugs of hot tea, like everyone else, none could remember him or even recall his name.


An English writer of dark, humorous, paranoiac fiction, James Burr is the author of Ugly Stories for Beautiful People and is working on a novel titled Razor Moccasins. You can follow him on Twitter and find more of his stories here.


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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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Out Now: Fukced Up


A collection of flash fiction, author illustrations, and manipulated images. Note: If you are a really fast reader, then you’ll probably finish reading this book in six minutes and sixty six seconds. Or if you are a really slow reader, then you’ll probably finish reading this book in six years and sixty six days or something like that.

Available on Amazon

Flash Fiction Friday: I Am Tigre de los Bravo

by: Andrew Novak

The people see me dance and they can’t believe. They compliment my wooden mask, its bright saffron and blackened stripes. They stare into my reflective eyes and touch my mouth lined with rotting teeth of creature.

Only, it’s no mask.

It’s my face.

It’s real.

And the people, they love me.

Burning yellow and black-spotted, I run around town kicking up dust at the base of the mountain. I’ve twice trashed the offices of the major political parties. First with cinder stones, then with fire.

I run faster than cops can drive.

At the strip club, ladies tug my tail and stroke my fur under dim purple lights. I purr to the sounds of reggaetón. The owner of this place knows me well.

I blast dumpy rock music at unreasonable volumes in the zócalo. When people come to stop me, to shut me down, I spit cheap beer onto their clothes. When they spit back, I catch it in my mouth and laugh.

I eat tobacco leaves and dance the danza.

I smoke a pipe and drink mezcal.

Yes, I’m the wiseguy who buys up all the books at the bookshop. And after I’ve read each one, I eat the pages. I chew paper to pulp and swallow.

The mayor hates me and prays for my death. He knows: I secretly run this town and, if pushed, I’ll run it right into the ground.

The people erected a statue in my honor, right downtown. But someone spray-painted a hooked phallus ejaculating over the bronze face of my likeness. That someone was me.

The mayor, he hates me because I was wearing one of those trick handshake-buzzers the first time I met him. He looked so foolish yelping on stage, pulling back his soft palm, and flailing in front of thousands of respected city denizens. I burned his house down later that week.

My email address is I spend hours each day sending obscene spam emails to every person I hate.

I care for stray dogs and cats. I feed them the food I cook for myself. I also keep a green bird as a friend that I teach to swear at passersby.

I spray-piss poems onto walls and prolapse my ass squeezing coiling shits into rich people’s pools.

Yes, I live on peanut butter sandwiches.

And still I run faster than cops can drive.


Andrew Novak is a journalist and news editor in Washington, DC. He likes to read. He likes to write. He likes to take pictures with his camera. His fiction has appeared in Shotgun Honey, the Robbed of Sleep anthology series, Dark Moon Digest, and Out of the Gutter Online. His bloggings can be found at Neon Grisly.


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Flash Fiction Friday: The Ghosts Live in the Walls

by Nimrod Tzarking

The walls are white, immense. A void. Gauzy specs wiggle in the air, wrinkles in the eye revealing flaws in the infinite, giving way to ghosts.

The ghosts live in the electric. The electric lives in the walls. The walls are throbbing with crazed ectoplasm. How much of me lives in there?

It’s a fresh day. The walls are screaming hundreds of names; I do not know which one is mine. Janet, Doris, Evey, they moan. Juanita, Natasha, Lucille. Faces dance in the ectoplasm. There are no mirrors here, but sometimes a face reaches out. Sometimes they cluster.

One is reaching out to me today. It slinks from the wall and into my grasping hands, its surface sticky and its color inconsistent. I hold a right hand to it, and my left to the face I am wearing. I am not a blind person- I cannot feel if they’re actually the same, or if this is just what faces feel like. My reflection is muddy and distorted in its surface. It coos and licks my earlobe. I wrap my arms around it and kiss its sticky face. I do not remember any songs, so I hum a new melody. Light flickers.

Its voice is tiny but unbreakable. It whispers, these faces are not Yours. Perhaps once they were. Now, You grow around their bones.

I look at her fellows in the walls. Each face has a different character. Among them are warriors, mystics, victims and tricksters. Their features are always in motion. Noses pinch and wrinkle. Eyes wander, laze, and squint. Mouths curl, gape, undulate and smack.

Time wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for meals. They come on plastic trays, each morsel segregated in a shallow rectangle pit. I touch foods. I fill my fists with peas, sprinkle them in gravy, and smear my skin with taters. The ghosts sing oooo and aaaah. These boundaries are my play-things. Perhaps I am an artist.

The square white men get frantic when I paint. The void-white walls are stained with streaks of jelly scrawled in shapes unplanned. My arms have an intelligence of their own. Mashed carrots pool in subtle crannies, edges tugged by the weight of having-worked. No mind could guide these subtle forms. Only an artist. Only a room.

They are wordless when they fetch me, draped in ham and tossing crumbs. But I see they carry suds in buckets and wheel a bed with straps.

Leather bites into my arms. Fluorescents whiz overhead. The ghosts sing from their lightbulbs, fear not, for we are here. I smile. A voice grunts with disgust beyond my eyes, whispers a hateful word. Someone’s scrubbing the walls I left behind.

The wheels pause. More leather is crammed in my mouth. Rolling my eyes as far as they’ll go, I see a metal box with blinking lights above my head. A metal band with white muffs wraps around my skull. The machine hums. The dial twists.

A pulse runs through my head, but I feel no fear. The electric is within me now, and I am inside of it. I am in the walls.


Nimrod Tzarking is a middling dungeon master and a bad influence on children. He eats nothing but whey powder, eggs, and coffee. He teaches literacy in Kansas, which means he might not be teaching for long. His fledgling website ( features angsty fan fiction and Bizarro fiction reviews. You should be his friend!


To see your name up in pixels, submit your twisted little stories to to Eric Hendrixson at

Flash Fiction Friday: Pussy Ripper vs. Marv Molotov

by Jeremy Maddux

The Turbo Dome was filled to capacity with ravenous fans who’d scrapped and saved all year to witness the spectacle that was known as Trucks ‘N Guts ‘N Stuff. TGS was a lot like the Harlem Globetrotters or professional wrestling, only the violence was real, and people died on a nightly basis.

The fans had their favorites. There was Marv Molotov, who was notorious for throwing Molotov cocktails or cherry bombs at his enemies. There was the Excess Express, a traveling troupe of ravers who rode in a futuristic looking car that glowed in the dark and played trance music. Their vehicle’s offensive maneuver was to enable a strobe effect on their headlights that would disorient the other drivers they went up against. These were crowd favorites, but none eclipsed the unbridled might of Pussyripper.

There wasn’t much biographical information available concerning Pussy Ripper or its driver, Gus Gloom. What people knew, what they recognized and respected about Pussy Ripper was the fact that it was 30 feet high, which significantly dwarfed the standard 10 foot variety. Every year, people gathered to plunk down their hard earned money for the pleasure of watching Pussy Ripper flatten eighteen wheelers the way the normal trucks flattened cars. That was just a warm up. It was when the trucks went head to head in vehicular combat that the people came unglued from their seats.

It took something like this to bring the Caulfield family together, young Hatebreed thought to himself as he waited in line at the concession stand for a slice of pizza. He’d been there since intermission, and worried about missing the main event: Pussy Ripper vs. Marv Molotov, for the first time ever. Everyone could see the dream bubble of the confrontation hover listlessly above his head, the promise of things to come.

Hatebreed was a living cartoon. This sometimes unnerved people from interacting with him. Friends thought it was great but some liked to put him through the usual cartoon hijinks to which his body was accustomed. They’d flatten him with a rolling pin or confuse him with black holes painted onto the wall. He was used to it.

“Fuck off, looney toon,” shouted a boy his age as he cut in front of him. Before Hatebreed could respond, an announcement burst over the intercom saying that the intermission was about to end.

As Hatebreed hurried back to his seat, a tinny voice came over the PA system. It was the announcer, Gary Goodvibe. Someone in the audience had foam hands made to represent his enormous floppy ears.

“And now, without any further interruptions, our feature presentation of the evening.”

The revving of engines could be heard from the entrance hall. Generic synth-metal piped up through the PA. The chants were unmistakable. ‘Puss-y-Rip-per!’ Everyone in the rows ahead stood from their seats. Hatebreed had to stand on his chair to see the pit below.

“Oh, he’s coming! But first, let’s get to know his opponent. Weighing in at 10,000 pounds with a titanium frame and a customized flamethrower, he’s known by his colleagues as ‘the Short Fuse’. When he boards an airplane, the TSA inspects him to make sure he IS carrying explosives! He is the challenger for the TGS World Championship, Marv Molotov!”

Molotov’s truck was nice, but his story wasn’t the kind that inspired any kind of grassroots, underdog feeling. The silence that followed was so loud that it pierced the air like feedback.

“And his opponent, with the combined weight of 15 monolithic structures and tall enough to run over Lady Liberty. He’s not here to give marriage advice! He doesn’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice. Don’t call it a truck, it’s a high performance fuck! It’s death row on wheels and the happiness machine that kills! The undefeated and reigning Trucks ‘N Guts ‘N Stuff Champion of the World…”

Gary paused to let the chants envelop him.

“I give you Pussy Ripper!” He shouted until his voice went shrill, swinging his arm towards the entryway to signal the champ’s arrival. Hatebreed knew this spiel all too well. Gary was going to say that the truck’s too big to fit, then Pussy Ripper would burrow up out of the pit like he always did. Hatebreed wasn’t disappointed. As the monster truck made its way to the surface, it kicked up dirt clouds so big they were dirt mushroom clouds. Marv Molotov circled back around to get in close. It was like a hornet buzzing in the face of a lion. Pussy Ripper rammed into a flattened car at the end of the row of flattened cars, upending it like a seesaw as it impacted Molotov’s rear. Molotov turned up the heat with his flamethrower, napalm-like projectiles making beautiful brimstone sparks as they sought to melt Pussy Ripper’s titanium armor. Pussy Ripper shook it off, picking up speed at over 100 miles per hour.

What the ripper had in sheer size and brawn, Molotov made up for in stealth and agility. Molotov’s flaming assault continued until the ripper’s driver, Gus Gloom, activated a new feature: fire proof shields. Molotov was clearly thrown off his game by this response, but it didn’t stop him from making a beeline straight for the passenger side door of his opponent. It all happened so fast, like lightning striking a window. One moment, Marv Molotov was driving recklessly toward his target and the next, he was ricocheting off a barricade. A sizzling storm of sparks, hydraulics, glass and sheet metal danced and convulsed through the air. The 20,000 people in attendance simultaneously lost and found religion. Maybe in the aftermath they would learn the secret of life and death, an ancient touchstone forgotten to all men. Or maybe it was just their disbelief that Marv Molotov was revving up for another charge at the heart of darkness before him. The two drivers waited at opposite sides of the arena, measuring the distance and mileage it would take to remove the other from this world.

Molotov’s flamethrower was on standby mode. Pussy Ripper’s burrowing jaws of death chomped through the air. Each driver dared the other to make the first move. It was Molotov who acted. His entire driver’s side was caved in, the door hanging by a hinge. Blood hung in syrupy rivulets against the cracked glass of the windshield. More of it dotted his forehead and jaw like war paint. He may have been headed for oblivion, but he was damn sure going to take the other son of a bitch with him. Then, in a final reversal, Molotov dodged the oncoming Goliath. He had psyched out the champion, and now he was on his rear! No one likes a tailgater, especially Gus Gloom, so he put on his brakes and let the dumb son go sidewinding up and over the truckbed, taking a nosedive on the armored frame. In the time Hatebreed managed a blink, Marv Molotov had become debris.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” announced Gary Goodvibe, “here is your winner, and still the TGS Champion of the World, Pussy Ripper!”

Hatebreed wiped away fresh tears with his coat sleeve. Cartoon tears were messier than human tears. His dad pulled him in for a hug.

“What’s wrong, buddy?”

“This is the best Christmas ever!”


Jeremy Maddux is Co-Editor of Surreal Grotesque magazine. He has several projects forthcoming, including his first attempt at a Bizarro novella and the second Surreal Grotesque anthology, entitled Vertigo Schisms. He used to date an ex con and worked backstage for a professional wrestling organization.

Flash Fiction Friday: As Far As Bionic Slugs Go, I’m the Total Package

By MP Johnson

Even before Doc Weimerhootch implanted that miraculous microchip into my slug brain and outfitted me with hydraulic arms, I was an exemplary model of the species. I produced slug sauce at twice the normal rate. It smelled like strawberries. And I glided along it at impressive speeds.

I move faster now of course. No longer am I bound to the ground. My arms can easily catapult my tiny slug body over heavily trafficked four lane highways, which seems impressive until contrasted against my recent victory in a steel cage match with the Big Buddha, world champion wrestler and veritable land-whale.

If my physical feats are awe-inspiring, my mental achievements are god-like. When my fellow under-rock dwellers saw me reading Gravity’s Rainbow backwards while crafting recipes for dandelion-infused lasagna, they literally melted down. Being the first and only of my kind, I found myself forced to fraternize with bipeds – humans, that is.

When I mentioned this to Doc Weimerhootch, a human himself, he introduced concerns about potential speciesism. He suggested I initiate communication online to win people over before attempting face-to-face meetings. He recommended something called Craigslist. I posted a watered down tract that yielded a variety of responses. Most came from dazzling, scantily clad teens who immediately attempted to schedule intimacy, but first asked that I join one asinine members-only website or another. My replies to these teen temptresses went unanswered.

Then I received a missive from Becky.

In her initial communication, she seemed impressed by my advertisement’s barely tip-of-the-iceberg description of my mental and physical talents. “U sound like a guy with a good head on his shoulderz lol.” A volley of messages commenced, mine becoming increasingly erudite and hers becoming increasingly less so, until a time and a place were chosen for our blind date.

I recommended a spot in the park near a rock that I had a certain sentimental attachment to, as it had been my birthplace. Perhaps I was nervous. Perhaps my slug nature rose to the surface. Whatever the reason, I pressed myself under that rock to wait in cold solitude for this Becky.

When she arrived, her skin tone high heels sinking into the dirt with every step, I slid out fearlessly. A dandelion clenched in each of my shining steel hands, I exclaimed, “My dear, your hair is as magnificent as an October bonfire and your fingers resemble the finest of my species. I look forward to our evening together.”

“Ah!” she screamed, tumbling backwards, seemingly losing track of which of her limbs should be on the ground and which should be above it. “Ah! Ah! Ah!”

Having admittedly insufficient knowledge of human behavior, I lost a moment trying to comprehend her actions. Had she hurt herself? Was this some sort of attack? When I finally understood what was actually happening in front of me, I beamed. I had not realized that my unvarnished magnificence could cause such an immediate and orgasmic reaction in a human woman.

The evening had just begun and already I had triumphed.


MP Johnson’s short stories have appeared in more than 25 underground books and magazines, including Bare Bone and Cthulhu Sex. His latest chapbook, The Final Failure of a Professional Small Animal Inside-Outer, was recently released by Cloud City Press. He is the creator of Freak Tension zine, a B-movie extra and an obsessive music fan currently based in Minneapolis. Learn more at