Table of Contents

Summer 2008

From The Editor

Letter from Sandra Ruttan

Short Stories

Amra Pajalic

The Game

The Old Man

The Vow

The Other Shoe

Patrick Shawn Bagley

Bank Job

John McFetridge

Overtime

Russel D. McLean

Her Cheating Heart

Steve Mosby

Fruits

Grant McKenzie

Out Of Order

Patricia Abbott

Pox

Leaving

Damien Seaman

Love In Vain

Ugly Duckling

Steve Allan

Hump The Stump

Stumpy's Revenge

You and Me and Stumpy Makes Three

Stephen D. Rogers

Head Shot

Richard Cooper

Simmer Time

Sandra Seamans

Predatory

Allan Guthrie

Freckles

Brian Lindenmuth

Gun

Tony Black

London Calling

Brian McGilloway

Spoonfull of Sugar

Interview

Damien Seaman with Tony Black

Reviews by:

Sandra Ruttan

Savage Night

The Cold Spot

Brian Lindenmuth

Kockroach

The Crimes of Dr. Watson

Half the Blood of Brooklyn

Crimson Orgy

Mad Dogs

The Resurrectionist

Sharp Teeth

Lawrence

Black Man

Tricia

Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle

Chadwick

At the City's Edge

Amber

Small Favor

Madhouse

Book Excerpts

Toros & Torsos
by Craig McDonald

Paying For It
by Tony Black

Dirty Sweeet
by John McFetridge

Feature

The Graveyard Shift: blog by Lee Ofland

You and Me and Stumpy Makes Three by Steve Allan

When I wake up I realize that I’m in a basement, lying on a mattress that smells of sweat and piss. I’m naked, with a spiked dog collar around my neck. The collar is attached to the cement wall by a ten-foot length of chain. An odd precaution, considering I have no arms and no legs. I’m still in a fog from the chloroform, but I can make out someone in the shadows by a washing machine and some gardening tools. She coughs, and then the orange ember of a cigarette burns brighter as she sucks on it. I try to say something, but it only comes out as slurred mumbles.

“You think you’re smart,” she says.

Shit. My sister-in-law. Twice as ugly as my dead wife, and just as mean. The Johnson sisters weren’t raised for debutant balls—they were brought up more like pit bulls for Michael Vick dogfights. In my own defense, I was a terrible drunk when I married my late wife. The loss of my arms and legs wasn’t the worst part of my accident; it was sobering up and realizing what I had married into.

“Calire,” I say, finally able to push against the haze. “Always a pleasure.”

“Shut up. I know she didn’t die from some allergic accident.”
“Hey, sometimes forbidden fruit is the most enticing.”
Did I mention I killed my wife using a shrimp cocktail as the murder weapon? She was deathly allergic to shellfish. Pity.

Claire stands up, walks over to the mattress and grabs the last appendage I have, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, I’m talking about my pecker.

“Source of inspiration,” she says.

Janice had been a wannabe poet. For her, sex was the only subject and I had become her reluctant muse, especially after I couldn’t run away from her pen and paper. The things she did to me for her art are probably best left unsaid. “Do you know how many fucking poems about this shriveled thing I had to listen to?”
I have to say in my defense that your dick would shrivel up, too, if a woman of Claire’s “beauty” was holding onto it.

“Well, I listened to my fair share, too,” I say.
“But I loved my sister,” she says, letting me go. “And I hate you.” She pulls out a jackknife from her back pocket and releases the three-inch blade. “I’m cutting it off.”

“I’m hoping you sterilized that.”

Claire runs the dull edge of the knife from my pubic hair to my chin. “Always with the jokes. We’ll see how funny it is when your blood stains this mattress.”

“Some people have a strange sense of humor.”

Claire pulls at the chain and my dog collar cuts into my throat. I can’t help but to struggle against it.

“Uncomfortable?”

“Just a bit,” I say, gasping for air.

Claire laughs. “Maybe we’ll have some fun,” she says, as she puts the knife on the basement floor. She unhooks the spring carabiner that holds my chain to the wall, and throws it around the wooden beam above the bed. She pulls at the chain, which lifts me up by the neck. The leather pushes against my windpipe and I can’t suck in any air. She pulls me until I’m level with her chest. I do the only thing I can think of: I sink my teeth into her right tit.

She screams and lets go of the chain.

I drop three feet onto my balls.

I don’t have any time to mourn my traumatized testicles. After I hit, I roll like hell. Claire rushes toward me, holding her wounded boob, but trips on the edge of the mattress. With her hand otherwise occupied, she fails to break her fall and lands on her forehead. She’s out cold.

I don’t know how long I have, so I act quickly. I roll toward the gardening tools and find a rake. It takes a couple of minutes to drag the rake next to Claire’s body. I take the carabiner in my mouth and wrap the end of the chain around her neck. Not an easy task. I scrape the shit out of my face as I work it against the cement floor until I have about four feet of chain on either side of her neck.

Using my lips, teeth and tongue, I hook the metal tines of the rake into a link on each segment of chain, close enough to Claire that the wooden handle sticks up at a 30 degree angle. The set up gives me enough slack that I don’t have to worry about cutting off my own oxygen. I roll over onto my front, use my abs to place my chest on the rake and I push down as best as I can, but I’m relying on my weight to do most of the work. The whole ordeal requires me to sacrifice my naked nutsack once again.

At first I don’t think my plan is working, but then her body begins to wiggle. She doesn’t wake up, but her snorting and breathing stop. I press harder, or at least I think I do. It’s the best abs workout of my life. It seems like forever before her body starts jerking. I keep my balance on the rake’s handle and ride it out until and the unmistakable stench of voided bowels hits my nose. Knowing that she’s literally shit the bed, I move off of the rake and roll onto my back.

I lie there and try to catch my breath, then look up at the basement stairs and wonder aloud, “Now, how the fuck am I going to get out of here?”

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