21 lede

Mammal by M.K. Joseph 

Normally, I’d take nourishment from the climax of Father John’s sermon by closing my eyes and savoring his fervent spirit. On this morning though, despite sitting in the rear of our antiquated church, his rhetoric gave such breath, such charge that the compulsion to commune with another overwhelmed me. 
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Our Heroes by Troy Prichard

As unlikely as some myths are, there are some that you might wish were true. This may be one of them. In a land never far enough away from Iowa there lies a kingdom; this land is one of the few truly wonderful places to live. Partly because the Queen of this land, named Queen Cheezit, has long reigned with a firm hand and an iron clad constitution. One her first decrees was that mean people suck, and people that suck were to be from the kingdom. A tragedy of epic proportions is about to strike at the very heart and soul of this land and all the cool people who call this place home. This is where our story begins.

Screen Time by Mary Valle

My daughter said that one of her friends had told her that there's a certain amount of hair in cookies and cream ice cream.

"Hair permissible?" I said. "I think that's just in case you find one, so you don't sue the ice cream company."

A Letter to the Elvis Impersonator Who Stole My In-Flight Muffin

Dear Sir and or Madam,

Recently…whilst on a pleasant trans-Atlantic scurry flight to the fruit fields of Malaysia, I had the decided displeasure of making your rancid acquaintance. I remember when you first boarded… wandering in, garishly clad in your overwrought jumpsuit splayed by an abundance of sequin misuse…your tasteless sideburns and the perverse familiarity of cheap Scotch, unwashed boxers. You were severe and protracted yet strangely pithy and blunted and I do admit I felt a certain tinge of pity for you and what has become of your vanity…sodden from the futility of your apparent misplaced futility of your vocational endeavors.

Regrettably, the unavoidability of bleak fate and assigned seats would soon swathe me into quite the unfortunate reality that you and I would soon be sharing an armrest and undoubtedly, a bit of tattered banter.

I watched in abject horror as you began the ceremonial enterprise of compression and constriction of cramming as you jostled your grossly distended hind end between the limitations of modern aviatory comfort…directly onto the quivering seat below. These spastic attempts had scarcely come to a tactless, non-diplomatic conclusion when the nonsensical prattle began. Suddenly and quite unpreparedly, I was immersed in the demoralization of America through the modernization of the baked potato and the advent of short wave radio frequency use in the control of the suburban ferret population. I listened patiently as you expounded in great detail your life at sea with the Norwegian Scone Polishing Brigade and how you will never forget the day the Captain took you under his wing and taught you the finer art of chum scrubbing.

I agreed whole heartedly with you and your feelings about the generation of today and their capitulative loss of interest in beach party movies and their overall lack of respect for eating hard boiled eggs in the hot tub with Hawaiian stewardesses. Not once did I bat an eye, nay did I flinch when you vehemently disavowed the pushy nature of large women in ill fitting stretch tops with vivid patterns.

Look, I even let you give me that pinky toe massage and I helped you retrieve your duffle bag from the overhead compartment so you could awe me with your endless array of glossy photographs of you in Karate poses. I zipped up your jump suit when you returned from the lavatory and I made absolutely no mention of the fact that you returned smelling like peanut butter and stale Aqua Velvet. I helped you decipher the map you drew last night in that run down Tiki Bar and Auto Salvage Yard over there on Fifth and Gleason…the one leading the way to the wild scootch hunt path and resultant treasure.

Later that evening when the cabin lights were temporarily disabled due to jarring turbulence, I lent you my Itty Bitty Book Light so you could catch up on all the latest Hollywood gossip and I held your rhinestone glasses whilst you vomited into the portable vomit receptacle found in the seat pocket in front of you. I offered to watch your dog, Cattlewig, the next time you were called upon to serve God and the greater good of the country…which is often, apparently.

All these things I did for you and your repugnant strangeness…and I did so without once complaining or flagging down a flight attendant to relocate my seatery to a less “complicated” area of the craft. All these intrusive little sacrifices I made for you and you chose to repay me by snatching my in-flight blueberry muffin the minute I turned my head. I know it was you. There is no sense in your continued denial. Despite these protests and weak attempts to mask the gentle wafting aroma of fresh blueberry goodness of your guilt with the moldy shrimp you found in your pocket, dry Vermouth and clumsy winks and nods…I know it was you.

I know it was you and I hope you rot in hell.

Gabriella Garofalo