Daily Archives: April 20, 2010

LITTER by Steve Prusky

Library shelves, I hear, are littered
With authors that died poor.
Over there in the Classical row lie a few
Humble beggars carelessly shoved between
Lermontov, Hemmingway, Joyce.
I see one or two cowering in Philosophy
Shyly hugging Plato, their opened
Palms extended toward us for tiny
Morsels of gratitude seldom given.
A slew of them are stacked, cold and hungry,
Crushed by the weight of each other,
On the bottom shelf of Poetry and Verse.
They glut the public domain pleading we
Lust after them like Paris for Helen,
Samson for Delilah, Rhett for Scarlett.
They gladly stand-by, content our eyes
May caress their titles before we pass.
They are elated if we stop to briefly
Devote a moment of our lives carousing
Inside the womb of their selfless sacrifice.
What poverty? They ask.

STEVE PRUSKY is a transplanted Detroiter who now lives, works and writes in Las Vegas. He attended Northern Michigan University in the late sixties. After that he was in the Navy during the Vietnam War. After that he attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His work has recently appeared in Foundling Review, The Legendary, Apparatus Magazine and Flash Fiction Offensive.


SEX TOY STORE by Sam Virzi

Don’t tell anybody, but when we were in the sex toy store I discovered a bit of popcorn stuck in my teeth where I couldn’t get it out. It had been there for days. We are great friends now. I ask it: “Why am I in a sex toy store?” and it says something different every time. Sometimes it says I’m there because I’ve never had sex at all, or that I had sex one time for two minutes and cried forty hours straight, or that I’m having sex right now and I shouldn’t be a smartass.

Don’t tell anyone, but when we were in that sex toy store and the sex toy shoppers were giving us nasty looks because they knew we weren’t going to buy anything, just walk around and make fun of funny things, I was about to pass out. They had one of those chairs that’s really a big plastic hand, and I was thinking of sleeping on that, even though it was some sort of sex chair, and I obviously wasn’t going to have sex. You can’t have sex in the sex toy store. Obviously.

Don’t tell anybody, but I had a brief absurd thought about how the sex toy store became a sex toy store:

The owners, a husband and wife, began by selling lubricants and prophylactics door-to-door, and their being a couple made other couples feel comfortable about their sex toys. But rapid industrialization made that abruptly impractical, as a lifestyle. So then they started selling not only catalogues but stuff in the catalogues, and lived comfortably. Trying to improve on the formula, they set up a sex toy farm stand, which wasn’t profitable, and it got closed down because they lacked the right permit.

Parenthetically, there is no such thing as the right permit for a sex toy farm stand.

Opening up a sex toy store made a lot of sense: being indoors is key to sex toy shoppers feeling safe and comfortable enough to buy their sex toys. And that’s how the sex toy store could exist for so long: they cared about it enough.

Don’t tell anybody, but this is what love is like now: letting people into your sex toy store, hoping they will resist the temptation to make fun of funny things, no matter how outrageous they are. Some people will track mud from outside all over your clean sex toy store carpet, and you will have a dirty sex toy store, which is no good. Even worse, some people, after getting the floor muddy, will snicker to themselves and think you aren’t embarrassed, but you are.

Don’t tell anybody, but you can’t have a heart that isn’t a sex toy store. Your heart can’t beat without inviting people to walk in it, muddily. This is what love is like now: shopping in each others’ sex toy stores at the same time. Nobody says, “Buy something or get the hell out.”

SAM VIRZI is a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He’s published stuff at Thieves Jargon, Cherry Bleeds, Dogmatika, Pen Pusher and Unlikely Stories. He’d like to thank his family and friends for their endless support.


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]!”