From Saved By The Bell: The Post Trump Years
You cannot find limbs not gnawed by animal or decay as you find the parts you need to start construction on your piecemeal wingman, the perfect boyfriend to distract the girl with the melting face so you and the mermaid can get to know each other enough to turn any place you both want into a dark corner to feast on each other. Your parents ask you what that smell is coming from the basement and you tell them it's your science project for the district science fair coming up in a month. They ask if they can come down to look at it and you tell them no, you don't like anyone looking at a work in progress. They ask you to do something about the smell then, and the growing number of insects swarming around the house. You tell them the insects are part of the project and they roll their eyes and walk away.
You are having a hard time staying up in classes since you are up all night digging and extracting parts and pieces for the girl with the melting face's perfect boyfriend. There is more blood than oil in your phlegm since you've asked the tumors to help keep you awake, to operate your body as if you're awake when your eyelids droop. Don't do anything I wouldn't do, you tell them, and you're not sure if they'll do anything you wouldn't do. They know they need your body to keep them alive but they don't need you necessarily intact to keep them alive. You're afraid this might be what finally lets the tumors overthrow your control of your body but the mermaid's love is worth the risk.
The girl with the melting face lets the rumor about the boy who coughs up oil robs graves slip after she drinks half a bottle of the wine you stole from your mother's cupboard. You ask her where the rumor came from and she said it came from the boy who oozes and the girl whose mouth opens sideways and they said they heard the rumor from the boy with no skeleton. They all had different reasons why the boy who coughs up oil might be doing this. The boy with no skeleton says the boy who coughs up oil is running out of time and is looking for replacement body parts. The girl whose mouth opens sideways says the boy who coughs up oil is putting together a pretend mermaid to practice with so he will be ready when the real mermaid finally says yes, yes, yes. The boy who oozes says the boy who coughs up oil is putting together a perfect boyfriend for himself to hold hands with. Everyone knows though the boy who oozes has it out for the boy who coughs up oil because of you.
You and the girl with the melting face sneak out of your house. You follow the boy who coughs up oil as he leaves his house, shovel perched on his shoulder. You watch him enter the graveyard, break hallowed ground. Maybe it's the wine making us see these things, you tell the girl with the melting face. You and the girl with the melting face stagger away, the wool starting to expand in your mouths. You wonder what the boy who coughs up oil is up to, whether he'll tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear.
Paul David Adkins lives in NY and works as a counselor. A 21-year US Army veteran, he has published three full-length collections through Lit Riot Press: Operational Terms and Graphics, Flying Over Baghdad with Sylvia Plath, and La Dona, La Llorona.
Amy Bassin and Mark Blickley's text based art collaboration, Dream Streams, was featured as an art installation at the 5th Annual NYC Poetry Festival held at Governors Island and exhibited in several galleries. They have published numerous excerpts from this series, including in the Columbia Journal of Literature and Art. Their video, Speaking In Bootongue, was recently selected for the London Experimental Film Festival.
Daniel Blokh is a 15-year-old American writer of Russian-Jewish descent, living in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the author of the creative nonfiction collection In Migration (BAM! Publishing, 2016) and the forthcoming chapbook Grimmening (Diode Editions).
J. Bradley is the author of The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016) and the Yelp review prose poem collection Pick How You Will Revise A Memory (Robocup Press, 2016). He lives at jbradleywrites.com.
Sierra Brown-Faust lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri where she attends the Kansas City Art Institute as a Sculpture Major who doesn’t make any sculpture. Sierra likes reading linguistics textbooks and volunteering at a local adult literacy center. Her work is also forthcoming in the Sprung Formal Literary Magazine.
Professor Nancy A. Fandel teaches college, holds an MFA in Poetry Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, is a Jelaluddin Rumi scholar and lecturer worldwide, and is a co-author of Mystery Box, an art book that features her poetry. Fandel writes and teaches in the US and Spain.
Vince Gotera is a Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, where he served as Editor of the North American Review. His poetry collections include Fighting Kite, Ghost Wars, and Dragonfly as well as the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems are in The American Journal of Poetry, Star*Line, Parody Poetry Journal, Altered Reality Magazine, Eunoia Review, and the Prince memorial anthologies Delirious and A Prince Tribute. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar <http://vincegotera.blogspot.com>.
A humble GREAT scholarship awardee, Sneha Subramanian Kanta believes in grammar but not essentially tenses. Identity, gender, sensitivity (not necessarily in that order) pull her attention. On an ordinary day, she reads Hemingway and meditates upon a glass of plain water. Her work is forthcoming in IMMIX, Sahitya Akademi's journal, Erstwhile Magazine, Fallujah Magazine, and Dying Dahlia Review. She has also been featured in international literary anthologies such as The Dance of the Peacock (Hidden Brook Press, Canada) and most recently in Peacock Journal's first print anthology to be published by Little Red Tree Publishing. She is pursuing her second postgraduate degree in the United Kingdom. Letters to email@example.com.
Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, and PEN. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.
Lahraeb Munir is a nineteen year old living in the UK. They are a spoonie and a queer Muslim who enjoys carving letters into words and then morphing them into sparkly butterflies and/or beautiful daggers and when not doing this, they can usually be found napping or…nah, just napping.
Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee and took 2nd place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz annual poetry competition, sponsored by Alaire Publishing House. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.
Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. She's the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books).
Anna Cabe is the guest editor for The #Demands Issue of Killjoy. She is a MFA candidate in fiction at Indiana University and the web editor and incoming nonfiction editor of Indiana Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Toast, SmokeLong Quarterly, Necessary Fiction, Cleaver, and Split Lip Magazine, among others. She was a 2015 Kore Press Short Fiction Award semifinalist, a finalist for Midwestern Gothic's Summer 2016 Flash Fiction Series, and a finalist for the 2015 Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers. You can find Anna at annacabe.com.