Tag Archives: Absurdism

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 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“.

THE ALIEN by Thom Young

There’s this alien in my room. The other night we were playing cards. “You son of a bitch, try that shit again and I’ll kill your ass.” The alien didn’t like cheaters much less me as a roommate. I came home one day and she was on the couch. I was startled at first, but she warmed up to me. It seemed strange the alien didn’t look like you see in movies. The alien looked human. Huge aliens tits and tight alien pussy. The first few days were great. We talked about her planet. She lived on Venus. It was hot as fuck she said. I told her about my day. “I usually get up about six and make coffee. Put on my tie and go to work. I sit at my desk and stare at a computer.” The alien laughed. “You get paid for that shit? You’d be unemployed on Venus.” I guess the alien had a point. My job was stupid. The alien ate me out of house and home. “Bring some more of those cheese things.” “You mean Cheetos?” “I don’t give a fuck what they are, just get them.”

I barely had time for myself. Not that I did much. I usually just ate a TV dinner and watched Johnny Carson. Then I jacked off and went to bed. The alien liked to stay up all night. She watched sappy romantic comedies. The damn television stayed on. “Listen, I gotta go to work. Do you mind turning that down?” “Shut the fuck up Larry. Go get me some more cheese things and beer. Don’t buy the cheap shit either.”

The next few weeks were hell. I didn’t get a wink of sleep. I had to have a talk with the alien. “Listen, we need to talk.” The alien laughed and wiped cheese dust on the sofa. “You want to talk now? You son of a bitch.” “Yes.”

The alien and I sat down one night after her movie. “Look, you’re great and all but I just need break.” “A break?” The alien laughed and slammed a beer. “If you don’t shut the fuck up Larry, I’ll murder your ass.” I saw no point in reasoning with her. The alien had news for me though. “You know that night you got drunk with your buddies?” “I don’t remember.” The alien grabbed her stomach. “Now I’m carrying your baby.” “What?” “You don’t recall fucking the shit out of my pussy?” “No.” “You were drunk as shit and stuck it in. Now we got a baby.”

“Larry, go get me more Cheetos and dill pickles. I got a craving. You did this to me.” I left and got in my car. It was a strange night. The clouds hung low. A fog that surrounded everything.

I pulled the Ford over. I lit a cigarette and stared out the window.

THOM YOUNG is a writer from Texas. His work has been in 3am magazine, Word Riot, Thieves Jargon, The Legendary, and other sundry places. He enjoys fine tobacco and women.

DATE NIGHT by J. Bradley

“Why did you knock on the door instead of burst through one of the walls of my apartment?”

“I only do that to houses and only when making commercials. The ad men said that invading apartments is too depressing. People who live in apartments normally can only afford Flavor Aid, so the folks in marketing tell me.”

I remembered the way the djinni that came from Pavement’s vinyl album cover sleeve of Wowie Zowie looked at me when I wished to take the Kool-Aid Man out on a date.

“Are you sure you want this? You can have anything you want, money, cars, superpowers, anything.” I nodded my head.

At the tapas restaurant, the Kool-Aid Man and I share stuffed grape leaves, a cheese plate, bell peppers stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese and sweetened chorizo. I try not to watch the digested food disappear into his cherry food colored plasma. “That was delicious”, he rasps. “Can we step away for a moment? I need a cigarette.”

Outside, we lean against the restaurant. He digs a pack of Lucky Strikes and a black Bic lighter out of his blue swim trunks. He grabs a cigarette out of the pack using only his mouth, then lights it. “I’m not allowed to drink booze or pop pills. It’s in my contract. This helps calm my nerves down after spending hours and hours with child actors, bitter adults working for scale. I’m having a good time, by the way. I forgot what it was like to have dinner with a decent person.”

“I figured you needed a nice night out. I’ve always wanted to meet you, find out what you would be like away from the cameras, children, and animation. I’m having a good time, too.”

“Anything else you’d want to find out,” his right eyebrow forms a come-hither arch.

Fifteen minutes later, we’re back at my place. He tries pinning me against the wall to kiss me; I look like an insect on his windshield. We then try fooling around on the couch, his glass mouth lukewarm against my neck. I don’t reach into his shorts. I already know what he doesn’t have.

“Kool-Aid, sweetheart, this isn’t working. Our bodies are just too different. I hope you aren’t disappointed.”

“You’re just like the others.” He picks his yellow Hawaiian shirt off the floor, puts it on, then walks out the door. Even in his anger and frustration, he still walked out the door instead of burst through a wall. I might call him tomorrow and see if we can go out again.

J. BRADLEY is the author of Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009) and The Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You is a Robot (Safety Third Enterprises, 2010). He is the Interview Editor of PANK Magazine and lives at iheartfailure.net.

STYLE by Shea Newton

In the river just blocks from my house I watched a corpse caught in an eddy beneath the cottonwood trees that line the bank.  I waded toward it.  Toward its long yellow fingernails, transparent blue skin, slimy moss tangled beard.  It had bloated in the summer heat and strained the suit it wore.

“Why are you floating in this river?” I asked it out loud.

It turned its head and the glassy eyes met mine.

“I’m watching the clouds.” It winked.  “This suit’s Armani. I’m watching the clouds in style.”

“What’s it like being dead?” I asked it.

“I’ve done some terrible things,” it said.  The decaying flesh of its lips fell in pieces back into its open mouth.

“How much do you want for that suit?”

The corpse rolled on its side, its body still held by the current.

“What would I do with money?” it asked

“What will you do with that suit?” I began to smell its decay. It smelled like urine and rotten fruit. It smelled like flies and fish.

“I don’t know,” it said.  “How much you got?”

“Ten bucks. No twelve.”

“You’ll have to pull it off me. I don’t have the energy.”

I waded further in.  I took the pants first.  They slid off easily.  The skin of its legs slid off with them.  Muscle shown bare and gray there.  I took the jacket.  One arm pulled from its socket as I wrenched it from the sleeve.

“I think this will fit me,” I told it. I unfastened the buttons of the vest. The corpse’s torso fell back, sinking into the water as I pulled it over its head. I set the suit on the river bank to dry. Eventually the torso surfaced.

“You owe me twelve dollars,” it said.

“You’re not trying to scam me into an Alfani are you?”

“Read the label you prick,” it said.

I waded back in and counted the bills.  Two fives and two ones.  I shoved them into its rigor mortis fist.

“I don’t have any pockets,” the corpse looked at me questioningly.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“God damn it,” it said.

On the beach I watched the body turn in the eddy until it finally broke away, belly up in boxer shorts toward the rocks ahead.  The twelve dollars had slipped from its grasp and still spun in the water near me.  I picked up the bills and once they dried put them back into my wallet, crawled into the stiff sandy Armani suit and walked home, watching the clouds in style.

SHEA NEWTON lives in Boise, Idaho. He is forgetful in all the wrong ways.

JEDEN POŠETILÝ POVÍDKA! by M.J. Nicholls

Warm towels a-comin’.

Simon awoke one morning to discover he was a homosexual. It couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. He said the word to himself in the mirror: hoe-moe-sex-you-all. What did it mean? It meant he preferred penis to pudendum. What else? Nothing else.

Problem: He had taken a part-time post at Nuts Magazine writing gratuitous sleaze for builders and bozos. How could he poeticise the female form with conviction? Answer: The readership were illiterate and he could fake his way through using the words pwoar and tittifarious.

That problem was solved. What was more distressing was the man dressed as a four-bedroom Georgian terraced cottage rapping on his door. What did he want at this time of the morning? He was a double-glazing salesman! Skilled at the job thanks to his fifteen double-glazed windows – real-time examples of the power of padded glass.

“I trust you’ll be wanting safety and protection for your family?” he asked. Christ he was smug! All Simon wanted was a shave, a slice of toast and penetrative anal sex with a Russian builder.

“Not really.”

“Oh, so I suppose you want your family to get raped and killed to death?”

“No.”

“Choose from a range of panes! Look at our catalogue!”

“But they’re all the same!”

“Yes. You’d better get in there QUICK!”

The man was a nuisance, plus he was blocking out the sunlight with his four-bedroom Georgian terraced cottage outfit. So Simon bought the glass, even though he had bought triple-glazing from a Viennese pied-à-terre a month ago, quadruple-glazing from a Romanian bordello two months ago, and a subscription to Glazed Windows Monthly from a priest wearing a Moroccan village on his head seven hours ago.

Simon logged onto the interknot and checked the BNP-4-Baldies Forum. Four people had replied to his post on rounding up headlice and getting them into decent schools, including a man ranting on his hatred of bloody foreign headlice, coming to Britain and stealing British scalp-space! Simon was late for work, so dashed out the door without commenting.

  • Towels. The impending swarm of towels.

    During the commute (he hovered to work on his discarded sense of gallantry) he collided with a man dressed as a Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court.

    “Oh, so sorry!” Simon said. The man had a stunning bathroom. And look at that kitchen! Such craftsmanship!

    “No problem. Where you from?”

    “Over there.”

    “Say, what do you make of this immigrant headlice invasion? Don’t our children have the right to British lice?”

    “Yes. I love you.”

    The laws of socially acceptable conversation had never bothered Simon before and the man dressed as a Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court found this candour arousing. He invited Simon inside and directed him towards his penis (it was hidden behind the immersion heater in the fourth bedroom – not exactly conducive to a trouble-free homosexual intercourse debut!) Ouch, hiss, spuuuuurt!

    After this disappointing exchange, Simon arrived late for work. His role at the Headlice Distribution Centre was to make sure each British headlouse was in work and to reduce the queues of headlice at the dole scalps. Since immigrant headlice had been granted the right to work, thousands of infirm or inexperienced headlice had been laid off and replaced with skilled workers from abroad, willing to work for a reduced salary.

    Simon found this unfair – after all, British headlice were renowned for their ability to nibble through dried skin and burrow into the scalp until it bled – but immigrants had the right to work too.

    He didn’t know. It was a complex moral cake. He was more preoccupied with seeing the handsome Victorian mansion again. Although the sex was weak (the mansion ejaculated soot of all things!), he felt secure with his thighs wrapped around that immersion heater. The snugness of warm fibreglass insulation upon his prickling skin, the gentle hum as the heat spread from his headlice to his pubic nits. It was quite close to bliss.

  • THE TOWELS ARE HERE!

    Citizens of the UK had been instructed to ignore the subliminal Towel Propaganda being broadcast on QVC over the last two months. However, it was trickier to ignore the propaganda when five Nylon Bathtowels, hovering in from the North Sea, were smothering the country in a warm shroud of soft fibres. Tall buildings prevented the towels from suffocating people, and sun blockage was solved by burning a hole through the fabric with laser thingies:

    The invasion put things in perspective for Simon: his arms, his nipples, his toenails – these were the things that mattered the most. Likewise, his latest fling with the Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court. Surely, this was more important than the UK being coated in a series of snug Nylon Bathtowels, or the subsequent state of perpetual darkness visited upon the landscape? Of course it was! He went home.

    Unfortunately, as he dashed for the door, five homeless Czech headlice invaded his scalp and began feasting on his dandruff. These Czech lice really knew how to monopolise a scalp, and Simon was itching non-stop on the hoverway. The man opposite him giggled twice (though this amusement might have been caused by the Moroccan stand-up comedy tape he was listening to – though that was hardly likely!) The lice leapt from his scalp and onto his legs.

    (we demand attention and respect),” they chorused.

    “What? Sorry, could you speak up, please?”

    (of course we can’t, we’re lice).

    “Oh, look… use this microphone,” Simon said, retrieving the lucky microphone he kept in his pants in case someone wanted to interview his penis (well, stranger things had happened.)

    “WE DEMAND RESPECT!”

    “That’s too loud. About my level.”

    “Sorry. How’s this?”

    “Perfect. You were saying?”

    “Yes, we erm… demand respect. Erm… you’ve stolen our momentum somewhat. Well, the point is – we’re from the Czech Republic and yes – we speak perfect English! Could you speak perfect Czech if you went to live in the Czech Republic, hmm?”

    “Pravděpodobně!”

    “Listen, Englishman – we want to live on your scalp. We’ve prepared a diagram mapping out the areas we demand on your head. If you reach into my pocket, you’ll find it. Be careful not to kill me.”

    Simon micro-tweezed the diagram from the Czech headlouse and used his eyes to view it:

    “It’s very comprehensive,” Simon remarked. The lice were unamused (as most lice often are).

    “Englishman, I would save the frivolities for your fellow humans. We are short on time here, you understand, and are lacking vital nourishment after weeks spent living on the over-infested favela scalps of Czech dissidents.”

    “Hmm… are you going to be a nuisance? ‘Cause I’ve started seeing this really great Victorian mansion with adjoining swimming pool and tennis court and I don’t want to blow things with him. Just keep a low profile, OK?”

    “We will go about our business as lice in the professional manner to which we are accustomed.”

    “Oh, fine! Christ, you try compromising with these lice but they’re so snooty.”

    “We heard that!”

    That evening Simon invited the Victorian mansion over for a boiler check (slang for penetrative homosexual intercourse!) As he rutted with the mansion’s (or Trevor’s) boiler, this feeling of closeness was confirmed, although Trevor felt distant from his lover – after all, his arms were at opposite sides of the house, and he wanted to hold Simon!

    A suggestion was posited by the lice that Trevor remove his Victorian mansion suit, but this was implausible, as removal of the suit required a complex medical procedure, and Trevor wasn’t prepared to sacrifice his career for Simon quite yet.

    In the attic, a blizzard of woodlice had arrived from Naples (of the migrating Neapolitan cabinet-munching genus Fanoplura) to nibble through the antique show furniture up there. During their intercourse, Trevor’s left elbow had nudged open the attic door and let the lice loose throughout the rest of the house. This meant Simon’s scalp was crawling with the overproductive buggers when he left Trevor’s penis for the night (that beauteous rod!)

    The Czech lice had constructed a laser thingie atop his scalp and began blasting the invading lice from his paltry hairs. This was unfortunate for Simon, as the laser was quite powerful, and blew bits of his scalp off along with the lice – exposing his brain inside. Seizing the moment, the Czech lice crawled into Simon’s brain and began reprogramming his mind:

    Function Set To Changed To
    Thought Constant Concerned With the Survival of Czech Lice Only
    Desire Variable To Prolong the Lives of Czech Lice
    Expression Unlimited Restricted to the Wellbeing of Czech Lice

    What a horrible damper this put on Simon’s relationship! Being reduced to a servile drone operated by a Czech louse only interested in the wellbeing of his fellow lice confréres was not the ideal Thursday night for Simon. Luckily (though also unluckily), having parts of his head blown off meant Simon died within a matter of hours. The Czech lice were evicted from their home, and Trevor was evicted from his sexdog.

    Trevor had never experienced a lover dying inside him before, and felt somewhat Byronic – a tragic hero from a Romantic ode-to-doom. It wasn’t too upsetting for him, as Simon had basically been an anonymous fellator, and he’d had plenty of those in his time. If his head weren’t confined to the chimney, Trevor might have stood a better chance in relationships. C’est la vie!

    The lice left the mansion and joined the diaspora. Every headlouse in the country was heading for the Nylon Bathtowels and feeding off the fibres. Gradually, the towels would wear away, clearing the sky again for the citizens of the glorious UK nation, and thus freeing up British scalps for British headlice. However, no British louse wanted to live on a scalp anymore – the towels were much cosier. Soft, nutritious, a great community, and they got to lord it over the humans!

  • Hah!

    As the weeks rolled on (as weeks are inclined to do) Trevor had to vacate himself due to subsidence. He was back in his normal (and less spectacular) body, selling samosas door-to-door. He attended Simon’s funeral, but only to sneak a peak at the corpse, which never happened, since the head had been nibbled away by the lice, and Simon’s parents weren’t overly generous on letting folks having a peep at the mess. (There was substantial demand for it – over fifty people requested to see Simon’s nibbled pate!)

    Luckily, the pallbearers dropped the casket en route to the graveyard, exposing the mushed brain area to the entire congregation. Trevor wished he hadn’t seen it. The mushy red rigor-mortis bulge atop the forehead, with that left eye lolling from its socket, was not a desirable sight for a Thursday morning. No sir-ee. That was most bilious!

    He left the church nauseous, skipped the burial, and went off to purchase a semi-skimmed chocolate milk drink. The burble of disgust settled like an agoraphobic wasp in his gut: buzz-blurgh, buzz-bluuuuurgh!

    M.J. NICHOLLS is a callow manboy clacking out experimental, sometimes amusing, but otherwise awkward fiction in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is currently undergoing creative irrigation. His works have been published in Gold Dust Magazine, the Delinquent (UK) and Piker Press and New Paradigm (US).

    ST. MESROB’S GHOST PACES, SCRATCHES ITS BEARD by Sam Virzi

    St. Mesrob doesn’t know who he is, and wants you to tell him, because he only knows what the monastery is, and the monastery doesn’t know, but it still wants to tell you who St. Mesrob is. “St. Mesrob,” it says, its big oak doors fanning like crusty lips. (It does not have big oak doors, it is a small wooden church wrapped with clapboards: in some places there are patches where the monks mined firewood out of clapboards that were pretending not to be firewood.) “St. Mesrob, now,” the monastery begins, its eyes looking inward, although there is not a mirror to look into, although there is really only one window and the glass is long gone, replaced with clapboard that was really a window all along; the useless curtain eyelid closes behind its clapboard. “St. Mesrob, you see,” the monastery says: satisfied, it sleeps again.

    St. Mesrob ate five pounds of bread a week, and that was all. He ate no meat, and even apologized to the wheat germs whose ashes gave him bread to eat. “I’m sorry,” he would think. “It’s wearing my teeth down, like a deer’s. You know, you can tell how old a deer is by the wear on its teeth?” St. Mesrob imagined the wheat germs saying something back one day, like lollipops that made noises when bit. Then he would say, “I’m really sorry, though. A man I love gave his life in almost the same way. Just not for bread. You know, that was actually the point, that it wasn’t for bread. The point of it was specifically not for bread. Now that I think of it, it wasn’t the same at all. I think I spoke too soon, I beg your pardon.” But they did not forgive him, the wheat germs: they were all dead.

    St. Mesrob longed to live off things smaller than mustard seeds. He’d read the thing about the kingdom of heaven being grown from a mustard seed, and wondered, “My! I wonder what the smallest unit of measure for flour is? What a pressing question. I should investigate.” Ever since, he has envied wheat germs, and their ability to pick up their roots and drift with their food as the wind took it places. Ever since, he has wanted to live off shavings and start his fires with the latent heat of water turning into ice. Take away the scraps excess leaves and there’s no proof of excess. The best you can do after that is hope somebody feels better because of what you’ve done- yourself or the scraps you eat or the people that give them to you.

    St. Mesrob kept a regular correspondence with his mother, who still lived in the country. The year he left home for the monastery, she was abducted by aliens from the moon. St. Mesrob knows why. “I see them when there is a quarter moon, when it sets beyond my windowsill. I wake up at that hour each night, when the moon has gone down, and I wonder if they will come this time, or if they will ever come back at all.” She said the aliens were shy, and asked strange questions, like, “What is it like when you breathe in?” and “Do you ever feel like everything is thin?” St. Mesrob’s mother looks at the small dark space at the edge of the waning white moon, at the face growing and fading from a grin to a smirk every month.

    St. Mesrob’s funeral was confusing. There was an awkward stretch of time between his death and his becoming a saint, and nobody knew what to call him. The monastery said it most succinctly in its prayers. “I would be afraid to live like him because it is possible to live like him.”

    On Sundays, St. Mesrob’s ghost scratches its beard and walks around the monastery’s backyard, which is how he used to pray. They had to investigate it before making him a saint, because saints are not supposed to have ghosts: they are supposed to be in heaven. But some people had already taken to calling him St. Mesrob, so they decided to just give it to him. St. Mesrob’s ghost paced back and forth, scratching its beard.

    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.