WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT IN THE ROOM BEFORE THE ROOM WHERE THEY WILL ANAESTHETIZE YOU by Tim Dicks

The blade they will use to remove your face
it can never be sharp enough it will be so sharp
that it’s drawn from a specialized case or drawer
but still they should use lasers for this, blazing

tools from the future. They will cut off your face
only if their tools jam in your sinuses or vessels
burst chaotic but you feel sure they will cut
and toss your face like a slice of fresh pizza

onto a far instrument cart or flatten your face
onto sterilized steel or hang it from a blunt
hook on the table or pile it into a nurse’s close
hands or drape it loose over a green shoulder.

Really if they have to cut and peel your face
they will leave a strip of flesh and will flap
the skin back over your brow to be reattached
later and it will stare eyeless up at the lights.

You will be somewhere far below your face
and you will have it there with you or really
more honestly you will have nothing there
with you. For a short time or a very long time

you will be and feel and fear and know nothing.
Your children will drink coffee in the lounge
while the surgeons work but throughout it you
will be nothing. Everything will be nothing.

TIM DICKS‘s writing appeared most recently in Dark Sky Magazine and matchbook. He contributes to the Uncanny Valley Magazine blog and recently finished a novel featuring a monster that lives on the Moon.

CLARIFYING LIES ABOUT THE INTERNET by John Wiswell

I need to the clear the air. The internet has not diminished attention spans. People were never able to take in more than four paragraphs of information unless it was formatted into The Top Ten Best Asses in Hollywood. There were never newspapers, magazines, novels, letters, or epic poems that entire tribes memorized verbatim. No one ever intended you to finish a short story in a single sitting. Man did not evolve to read the entire Nutrition Information on the side of a cereal box, and certainly not to figure out how much saturated fat he was actually consuming in four bowls of the stuff, unless someone first designed an app for doing so. Except man has never had the patience to design an app. They are found in the wild, caught, captured, domesticated and price-coded by Apple. Contrary to your memory, you could not spend all day reading for pleasure when you were a child. You sat by the window and dreamed, wished and prayed that someone would put videogames on a phone, and you sat there doing nothing more than this wishing until it went on sale. You should not feel badly for skimming Cracked to get to the next item, or for only reading the funny captions under their stock photos. Nor should you feel bad for having the same NYTimes article open in your browser for two weeks, perpetually intending to finish it. It cannot be finished. If you had the superhuman will to consume every sentence, you would find that the writer herself did not finish it, instead trailing off into a series of vowels and punctuation marks. This was the result of her bravely passing out from the effort of trying to sustain thought. This is hazardous and should not be attempted for so long as you can get Angry Birds at a discounted price. I’d go on, but then I wouldn’t have the mental stamina left to tweet about Twitter going down for half an hour tonight. Farewell.

JOHN WISWELL writes daily at http://johnwiswell.blogspot.com. His fiction has appeared at Weird Tales, Flash Fiction Online, 10Flash, Every Day Fiction and Untied Shoelaces of the Mind. He is working on his second novel.

THE WHITE KNIGHT OF AMBOISE by Nic Carey

An Australian engineer residing in Germany, NIC CAREY indulges in art in her spare time, with occasional forays into the world of webcomics. Her work can be found at http://www.smokinghippo.com.

A REAL MAN by Ryan Ritchie

he didn’t even care that his gray sweater had a cross-stitched
picture of two cats playing with yarn.
nor did he care that the “a” in cats was a heart.
all he was concerned with was smelling the begonias
and making chit chat with the filipino proprietor at
the farmers market.

the 30-something knucklehead with visible tattoos and
a social distortion t-shirt who kept bumping into him
and all those in their vicinity
could have learned a thing or two.

RYAN RITCHIE is a 31-year-old writer who will owe someone a lot of money when he finished his MFA at UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. His work has been published in Haggard & Halloo, Burning Shore Review, Modern Drunkard, Dogmatika and the Freefall Review.

THE TORNADO THAT DESTROYED EVERYTHING AND MADE EVERYONE HATE HIM BUT THEN THEY DIDN’T: A STORY ABOUT TORNADOES AND FORGIVENESS BUT MOSTLY TORNADOES by Nick Mohoric

There once was a beautiful tornado named Michael. He was known throughout all the land as Michael the Mangler after his penchant for mangling the crap out of a ton of dudes’ and dudettes’ faces when tearing across the open plains. This wasn’t his fault; in fact, Michael was the sweetest tornado one could ever know and he only wished to bring joy to all those he met along his journeys. Unluckily for him, and those he mangled, his crazy strong winds were known to rip the nails out of houses and throw them, along with any other heavy or razor-like objects, toward the quivering crowds of onlookers.

“Watch out below!” he would yell as he flung a house on top of some ladies sunbathing topless for to get as much tan on their boobs as possible. They never heard his warnings, never heard his sweet nothings, they would just hear the sound of his rushing winds swirling around them.

As a Category 1 tornado he fell in love with a young girl in a neighboring town named Rose. She was not like other girls her age. Her parents sheltered her and as a result her life was in her books. Michael was not used to this type of girl; all he knew were the girls that were outside chasing the boys while trying to impress them by watching them play sports, flipping their hair in the sun in hopes of catching themselves in that perfect light. He only saw Rose as she went from her home to school. He watched the way her skirt moved at the slightest updraft, the way her hair seemingly floated behind her, the slight upturn of her lips as she read her book while walking down the sidewalk, the inevitable way her body intertwined with some random passerby when she didn’t see them coming.

She was perfection.

Michael finally worked up the courage to speak to her at her home shortly after she arrived from school. There would be no one else there in case he were to embarrass himself. The second he got near her house he ripped the door off the hinges; his nerves were getting the better of him. Rose rushed into the room to see what was with all the commotion and was immediately sucked through the hole the door used to fill, straight through Michael’s whirling self, and slammed directly into a tree.

She lay there inert. Michael had killed his first love before he could even introduce himself.

This began a vicious cycle for our poor tornado. He flew into a downward spiral of depression (what people don’t realize is that tornadoes normally spin in an upward spiral of happiness). The realization that he could never have what he wanted most, a love in his life, only added to the winds raging within. With each passing day his wind speeds rose until he was a Category 5 ,wandering the city in a fury.

Working his way toward the center of town, he watched the people run in horror. They couldn’t escape him, though; he was too fast as he pelted them with rocks, sticks, tires, hot dog carts, kittens, cats, beer bottles, bums, window shutters, car glass, newspapers balled up really fucking tight and soaked with some water and maybe pee (he couldn’t tell), apples, dirt clods, sex toys, regular toys, dirty clothes, farts, and ultimately their own limbs as he cried “Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself.”

In his heart he only wanted their love, but he had come to believe he was only capable of pain so he figured he would play the part. The self hatred and doubt that he grappled with consumed him as he stumbled from town to town. This blind rage that drove him was a blessing and a curse: the air was filled with screams of terror because of it, but it ultimately made sure that he wasn’t aware of his surroundings and on one fine day Michael stumbled upon a McDonald’s purely by chance. After ripping the roof off he was suddenly filled with thousands of freshly cooked hamburgers, fries, and shakes that were so awesomely packaged that the shake did not get sucked out of the cup. With this knowledge he probably would have chucked that food at all the people around but instead he continued on his rampage, finally tearing the walls and roof off of a nearby orphanage. This added debris forced the food to fly directly into the open mouths of all the starving orphans.

Michael was a hero! The town rejoiced!

But then they realized all the people he’d murdered and the millions of dollars of damage he’d caused and hated him again.

NICK MOHORIC makes a living organizing sex tips for women’s magazines. He lives in Brooklyn with his cat, Flapjack, and can be heard imbibing copious beers on the Literally Drunk podcast. Almost never, he reminds people to “readmyfrigg.in/blag“.

TRUE FACTS ABOUT… THE HULK by Dan Carroll

DAN CARROLL is the cartoonist behind Stick Figure Hamlet and The Political Machine. If you buy a copy of his book, he promises to eat a gyro while saying, “MMM, THANKS [YOUR NAME]!”

HOME MOVIES by Adam Gianforcaro

The clicking of the Super 8 film,
grainy on screen.
My mother pregnant and then a mother
for the first time.
My brother splashed naked
in an inflatable pool on their tiny city porch
off of Simpson Street.
My dad said he has class then:
low class. 1982 and smiling.

ADAM GIANFORCARO is the Social Media Director of Philadelphia Stories literary magazine and has been published or been accepted for publication in 50-Word Stories, Battered Suitcase and The Stray Branch.