998 Slices
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Medium 9781942496656

Chapter 29

Charlotte Jones Solution Tree Press ePub

Shira heard the door open, but she did not even open her eyes. The Iniskroun had only just left; what more could they do to her? She let her body remain limp, still in the same position in which the Iniskri had deposited her. Perhaps they would think she was dead if she stayed still, not even a breath stirring her body. If she remained unresponsive, perhaps they would leave her alone.

The person who entered quietly approached her cell and paused outside her door. Dread poured into her stomach. How much further could they possibly degrade her? What would they do to her this time? She could feel the water puddling around her, streaming off her still-soaking clothes, and she fought to suppress a shudder from the cold. She had to keep herself as still as she could manage.

A key slipped into the lock, and it immediately clicked. The metal door creaked open, and whoever it was did the last thing Shira expected. The person knelt at her feet.

“Shira?” a man’s voice said softly.

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Medium 9780253019813

Elvis the Pelvis

Zachary Tyler Vickers Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

This morning my front maple is draped with toilet paper. Lyle clings to my leg, teething on his leash tethered to the upright piano. A lawn gnome hangs from a limb by something metal, bent like a noose. Maybe the local teenage gang S.I.V. did this? I recently saw those initials spray-painted vertically on a lamppost at the playground, a phallus carved into the teeter-totter with a misspelled curse veined across the shaft. I shielded Lyle’s innocent eyes. Except how did the gang jettison the toilet paper over the highest branches? Nobody can throw that high. Not without a ladder. Only that schmuck Tony Duda could maybe ever do that.

In high school Duda was the stud varsity quarterback. I was the elite trombonist nobody. Duda triple-pump-faked Forrest Andover Central High’s secondary during Homecoming while the band marched and performed the alma mater with cunning tenacity in glorified foil sombreros. We called ourselves the Upstate Space Racers, which added flatulent hipness. Duda and his linemen were versatile student athletes. We were swirlied, wedgied, wet willied, noogied, nut tapped, Indian burned, charley horsed, spitballed, and purple nurpled. Duda once pantsed me in the cafeteria and exposed my underwear portraying Elvis Presley’s snarling mug. The briefs were on clearance. Money was tight in my family. My parents were loving and uneducated. I didn’t have confident leg hair yet. I started wearing two belts to school.

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Medium 9780060727864

Jim Blaine and his Grandfather’s Ram

Twain, Mark HarperCollins ePub (DRM)

[from Roughing It.]

Every now and then, in these days, the boys used to tell me I ought to get one Jim Blaine to tell me the stirring story of his grandfather’s old ram—but they always added that I must not mention the matter unless Jim was drunk at the time—just comfortably and sociably drunk. They kept this up until my curiosity was on the rack to hear the story. I got to haunting Blaine; but it was of no use, the boys always found fault with his condition; he was often moderately but never satisfactorily drunk. I never watched a man’s condition with such absorbing interest, such anxious solicitude; I never so pined to see a man uncompromisingly drunk before. At last, one evening I hurried to his cabin, for I learned that this time his situation was such that even the most fastidious could find no fault with it—he was tranquilly, serenely, symmetrically drunk—not a hiccup to mar his voice, not a cloud upon his brain thick enough to obscure his memory. As I entered, he was sitting upon an empty powder-keg, with a clay pipe in one hand and the other raised to command silence. His face was round, red, and very serious; his throat was bare and his hair tumbled; in general appearance and costume he was a stalwart miner of the period. On the pine table stood a candle, and its dim light revealed “the boys” sitting here and there on bunks, candle-boxes, powder-kegs, etc. They said:

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Medium 9780253008183

16 Miscarriages

Jason L Brown Quarry Books ePub

Shannon Robinson

You look familiar.

That is what the anesthesiologist says to me. She’s petite, much younger than I expected, and has pale, smooth skin. I’m here to have a D&C. I had an abortion three years ago, but that was in another city. In a few minutes, this woman will take the clear plastic cup that she’s now holding and place it over my nose and mouth; she will put me to sleep. I will have no memory of her doing so.

D&C is short for Dilation and Curettage. The initials are for delicacy as much as for convenience. It is the operation performed after a miscarriage, wherein the fetus (or dead baby, however you wish to think of it) is sucked out of your womb. A bit of vacuuming in preparation for the next tenant. If there will be one.

I don’t have a reply for the anesthesiologist’s remark, although I feel that I should. She sounds so casually certain. Oh, I say.

Maybe I just have one of those faces. I’m lying down on a padded table, dressed in a large, two-ply green paper gown. A hose attached to a circular notch on the gown blows in warm air, inflating me like a pool toy, making me feel both comforted and a little silly. I’m wearing purple socks, with teddy bears on them in a raised, rubberized pattern. The hospital provided them. These I will keep. I will wear them around the apartment for the next few days until the soles get dirty and I begin to worry about the state of the unswept floors.

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Medium 9781771870764

THE ONE CURRACH RETURNING ALONE

Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
“The One Currach Returning Alone” is the story of one year spent on a small island off the West coast of Ireland, where Theresa Kishkan befriended the locals, wrote poetry, and fell in love with a fisherman.
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Medium 9781574413311

My New Life

Peter Brown University of North Texas Press PDF

My New Life

O

nce or twice that week we exchanged glances. On Friday night, at the Proteus, she was watching me.

Saturday night, same club, same crowd of locals, she worked her way closer. The same leather jackets and sunglasses at the far end watched me, too. She was a very young woman, a girl even, with a small, pretty face, a large coil of black hair tied over her shoulder with a loose string. Even when she stood near me, she didn’t seem to mind how I admired her air of sophistication, the narrowness of her wrists as she tapped the ashes off her cigarette, the quick quality of her eyes. She nodded perfunctorily when I gave her my barstool.

Sunday morning she passed by as I sat on a bench in the plaza, reading the Herald Tribune. She said, “Good morning” in

English and I asked if she would join me. Soon, we had some laughs. Twice she touched my hand.

“How pretty you are!” I said.

“You are staying at Greben’s, no?” she said. “How are the rooms?” I checked down the street: no one. An organ played inside the church. Across the street, the door of the Proteus was open.

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Medium 9781771870023

Modern Apparel

Worrell, P.J. Thistledown Press ePub

Modern Apparel

Luck

MIRIAM WAITS UNTIL THE OTHER PASSENGERS exit the bus. Then she uses the pole to pull herself to a standing position, grips the handrail, and watches her shoes step down to the sidewalk. She can’t afford to slip and fall. At the bus stop, men shift their weight from one foot to the other. They’re skinny, grizzled smokers with necks wrapped in scarves and briefcases poking out of their armpits. The girls in leggings look to Miriam like they’ve forgotten their skirts at home. She walks along Avenue Bernard in Outrement, with people rushing past her on both sides.

She stops at Modern Apparel, rises onto her tippy-toes, pulls envelopes and flyers out of the mailbox, and unlocks the door. The paper with the words Logement A Louer is still where she pasted it to the window of the separate entrance accessing the second storey.

Fluorescent tubes running the length of the store light up.

Some of them flicker. Miriam throws her coat over a rack, and makes her way past the merchandise to a congested little office.

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Medium 9789351380511

Ch_6_F

A.J. Sebastian SDB Laxmi Publications PDF

6

Sexual Oppression in Satish Alekar’s

Mickey and the Memsahib

Excelling in depicting absurdities of life, mingling black humour and satire, Satish

Alekar (1949 - ) has been acknowledged as a major force in the Indian theatre. Coming under the influence of the dramatist Diwakar (Shankar Kashinath Garge (1889-1931) who employed Natyachhata (dramatic monologues) to project issues of social customs, women, politics, colonial bureaucracy, using dark comedy and cynicism, Alekar has successfully mingled colloquialism and traditional theatrical practices of Maharashtra

(Alekar 410).

Mickey and Memsahib (1973) throws light on the irony of life that a hen-pecked professor who lives under his young and beautiful wife, depicting sexual oppression.

The play is a mingling of realism with absurd mode of expression shown in the strange relationship between the professor and his wife.

Alekar has very adroitly brought together several sequences in Mickey and the

Memsahib to bring out very powerfully the stream of consciousness of the protagonist who undergoes mental and physical conflicts in his relationship with his wife. Though, disconnected, in thought and feeling depicting absurd situations, the play delves deeply into various areas in a suppressed self.

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Medium 9781574413199

The Real Mother's Song

Geoff Schmidt University of North Texas Press PDF

The Real Mother’s Song

“W

in, win, win, win, win, win, win!!” was the incessant cry of our stepmother Sophie. It was the command that drove our household. She was a slight woman with a turned-up nose and a perky hairdo and the figure of a former Miss Alabama, which she was. She smoked Salems from dawn to dusk. We thought we could outlast her because of that, we thought that cancer would take her before she could claim our hearts. In this we were only partially correct. In the meantime, the ferocious bellow that issued forth from that perfect suburban figure was itself enough to sting us all into immediate and unconsidered action, no matter what our chosen field. It did not matter to Sophie whether our pursuits were intellectual or physical. Achievement was the bottom line.

There were seven of us. The tail-end of the family was dominated by two sets of twins, born just twelve months apart.

The Quinns, the three of us called them. We did not think of the nickname as reductive. They were all boys, dark-haired and thin and grubby. They ran through the neighborhood like looters.

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Medium 9780253016881

Cleaning Lady to the Stars

Michael Martone Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Cleaning Lady to the Stars

Call me Isobelle—at least, that’s what my card says. I’d like it better if you call me the cleaning lady to the stars, a.k.a. the professors at St. Meinhof’s. They move in here trailing a van full of kitchen gear they don’t know how to use, wearing their attitudes like tiaras. One of them got the card made up for me ’cause she thought it was cute. I thought it was embarrassing, but she was right about one thing: you got to have a business card if you want to scrub professors’ toilets. They check references, too.

“How you like the Midwest?” I ask the new customers, first time I show up with a mop.

“You mean the Midwaste?” They ask me where you go to eat around here. You go to your well-stocked kitchen, is what I’m thinking, but I point them to Albert’s Seafood Lounge, and it’s not entirely my fault if they swallow a little botulism with their sushi. We didn’t have sushi till Albert thought to bring it in and (in case you hadn’t noticed how far we are from the ocean) we survived without it.

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Medium 9780253223432

Chapter 4

Jim Cohee Indiana University Press ePub

Chapter 4

It was after Pookie died in the car crash that I became interested in the red light on the radio tower. I could see it from the cinder track at Butler University, and I would stand in the center of the field to gaze at it. The light said, “The world is good. You are safe here.”

Mom showed me that, high in the summer sky, above the blinking light, I could always find the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. The wings were difficult to pick out at first, and so were the weak stars of the neck of the south-flying Swan. In the tail of the constellation was Deneb, a first-magnitude star. “That’s where Pookie is,” Mom said, “surrounded by horses, asleep with her little arms outstretched like a swan on the snows of Deneb.”

And it was about this time that I began to acquire unusual powers. When I would go out rat hunting at night with my rat knife, for example, the next day the neighbors and all garbage men yielded to me. Schoolteachers bowed to me. Ministers asked me for understanding.

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Medium 9781574415650

Grip

Becky Adnot-Haynes University of North Texas Press PDF

Grip

I love the pole vault because it is a professor’s sport. One must not only run and jump, but one must think. Which pole to use, which height to jump [. . .] I love it because the results are immediate and the strongest is the winner. Everyone knows it. In everyday life that is difficult to prove.

—Sergey Bubka, 1988

W

hen Ewan began pole vaulting again, he did it secretively, furtively, a thing he held inside his chest until it pulsed—like a family secret, or a lie. Lucky for him, it was a sport well-suited to solitude: You didn’t need someone to hit ground balls to you, to rebound missed shots, to return your serves. It had been eight years since his last vault—it was hardly a sport of casual pursuit—and he missed it. Really missed it. Standing at the end of the runway before his first jump, he felt a buildup of energy course through his limbs, the sensation so visceral that he closed his eyes and simply let himself feel the weight of the pole resting in his hands, that lovely feeling of anticipation. It was the day after he and Cora decided, officially, to start trying for a baby, him making a nervous joke as she pulled him to her that it was time to see if his boys could swim.

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Medium 9780253019813

Acutely Angled

Zachary Tyler Vickers Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

and I miss the tug of the rod, the crank of the reel, the stench of algae, the bob of my dinghy, the piney taste of gin, but I don’t miss tangling up tipsy in the fishing net and slipping into the lake’s murky blackness, where I swear that two-hundred-pound monster sturgeon swam right by me: bubbles burping, chortling triumphantly as my lungs filled with plankton and my heart quit scratching and ticking like an insect trapped in the kitchen light fixture my wife Selma constantly nagged me to fix, but I thirsted to fill the void in me with two hundred pounds of monster sturgeon proudly arched over my mantle, and I miss the first forty years of my life, the lost second forty, the forty-foot creaky dock warped like the spine of an old woman or old man that I won’t become, and I miss the flashes of fireflies at dusk while playing tackle football with my boys, the flashes of leaping salmon at dawn while arranging my tackle box, and I miss painting Selma’s toenails, painting my lures, and I miss Selma’s slick tanned flesh as she skinny-dipped in our pool late at night, the slick sandy scales of the monster sturgeon taunting me before dipping down into the fluid blackness, and I miss the infrequent intercourse, of course, with Selma: her casting and reeling my bobbing dangler, and I miss Selma’s round stomach, where I’d listen to my fetal boys’ hearts strongly bate, baiting hooks with slippery night crawlers, and I miss the way my infant sons curled in my hands, the curls of the line cast into the crisp air, and I miss Selma’s rare bubbly chortles and the prickly touch of those often unshaven legs I ached to kiss and cry against and leave my legacy in teeth marks sometimes, and I even miss the hideous condemning vein in her taut neck, each vane of my dinghy’s purring propeller, and I do miss my wife’s beautiful bone structure: that acutely angled skull of hers, the scullers gliding through the morning fog like wooden storks, and I miss the taste of scrambled eggs with fresh salmon, the late night scrambled pornography when Selma made up the couch for me, and I really miss my young boys and their photo refrigerator magnets and every bedtime story I never read but should have, the wind whistling through the shore reeds and my thinning unaccomplished hair, and I miss menthol cigarettes, the silhouette of Selma fluidly gliding past the couch that I should have reached out for and stopped just once when she’d visit my nightmared children and lovingly gather them up under one blanket with her and I’d hear their whispers and her tired bubbly chortles, and I miss being a part of that blackness with them, and I won’t miss this chum heart and the endless casting of these threads dangling from my torso like pale soggy kelp until I reach that Great Lake Erie in the Sky, but what I miss most of all is being able to tell Selma and my boys that I’m sorry and they were my everything even if it didn’t seem that way, and I wish they could know just how much I love – but wait! here come those slick sandy scales, and oh I got you this time: hook, line, and sinker! and I cast another thread and stick my translucent face under the water and let the plankton fill my liquor-bottle lungs, and I hiccup out a few minnows and this is now my everything: my head is the world’s biggest fish tank, and I think I hear the bubbled chortling coming from somewhere in the blackness, and I get the curse words ready in my mouth and then that silhouetted monster just glides right by, and I miss

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Medium 9781771870023

Goldie’s Tumour

Worrell, P.J. Thistledown Press ePub

Goldie’s Tumour

MARTIN IS HEADED WEST ON THE Number 1 back to Calgary. He’s half-listening to Q107 and picturing some guy porking Lenore. The image makes his back arch and his right foot flex up off the gas pedal. A transport truck passes him, then a fancy RV.

A green and white sign reads “Kildare 1 km”. He makes a spur-of-the-moment decision, touches the brake, switches lanes, makes a left turn, crosses the divided highway, and bumps across railroad tracks on a narrow gravel road.

Three farm trucks are angle-parked in front of Debbie’s Country Café with “OPEN” flashing in red neon. New Horizons for Seniors is next door, and across the street is Propp’s Foodeteria. Martin burns a Uey, parks, opens his car door, dumps a styrofoam cup of sunflower seed shells, gets out. The businesses on either side of the grocery store are boarded up.

If Martin’s parents were alive, he’d ask them, “What were you thinking, bringing up five boys in the armpit of Saskatchewan?” One of the armpits. Maybe they’d say they got stuck in Kildare with its one grocery store, one café, one school, one church. One-of-each-ville. More like nothing-ville.

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Medium 9781771870757

A RUN ON HOSE

Forrie, Allan Thistledown Press ePub
The protagonist of “A Run on Hose” by Rona Altrows is a middle-aged woman who works in a lingerie shop. After her husband falls ill, she becomes fascinated with a regular customer who she nicknames Rosie due to the woman’s constantly flushed cheeks.
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