Cults

By Bud Smith

Essay

 

Good Luck: Episode Five

While I was getting my haircut, the bell jangled, the door opened, a woman’s sweet voice said, “Hello. Will you shave my daughter’s head?”

The barber closest to the door turned and looked. He considered it. “Maybe. How old is she?” He was Yugoslavian. I liked the way he spoke.  

The rest of us looked—myself, my short barber, the man getting the fade in the other chair. We turned our heads in perfect synch to see an Indian woman in a lavender coat holding the hand of a toddler.

 

1.

The internet is

A long hallway and you are

Way down there yelling

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Anita Felicelli. Her debut story collection, Love Songs for a Lost Continent, is available from Stillhouse Press. It is the winner of the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart Award.

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Four Poems

By Babak Lakghomi

Poetry

 

Where I Work

 

On the first floor

robots and humans work together

On the second floor

only humans

stare at their screens

wait for five o’clock to arrive

they have lawns to mow

leaves to blow

Some of them have kids

Prize

By Elle Nash

Short Story

Meg walked home from work through the shortcut of her apartment complex and saw a fire engine out front of building two, where Jodi lived. Jodi was older and had a habit of standing outside with her neighbor Blake, who sold weed to everyone in the complex. Meg loved to talk to Jodi because she knew all of the news of the neighborhood and Meg was missing it. Jodi had beautiful, sun-stained blonde long hair, and tanned, wrinkled skin. She wore glasses. She offered to dye Meg’s brown hair to a better shade of brown. Often her eyes were red and she had a soft, spacey look to her. She could remember everything there was to know about what happened in buildings two, three, and four on their end of the complex.

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a new series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky. It will appear every Sunday.

Two Short Ones

By Alec Berry

Poetry

 

I have a few more years to go as I am,

then I’m changing my name to Lyle and disappearing

and getting really into BBQ and BBQ festivals and the people they contain.

I am saving money for this.

First Memory

By Bud Smith

Essay

Good Luck: Episode Four

My first memory which I can place in time is my fourth birthday party. My dad took me for a drive in his midnight blue Ford Mustang so my mom and her sisters could decorate the house for my surprise party. He took me to Roy Rogers and I got a chicken sandwich and a black cherry fountain soda. The soda slipped through my fingers and spilled all over my white OshKosh B’gosh corduroy pants, making a red lake on the seat and then the carpet at my feet. I don’t remember getting yelled at for that. It was my birthday. He loved me.

Later, at the house, in my pink pants, everybody jumped out and yelled, “Surprise! Happy Birthday!” One of the gifts I got was a plastic sword from Thundercats. The sword, when held up high, said, “Thunder Thunder Thundercats Ho!” Just a few days after I got that sword, my babysitter’s little brother heaved it onto their roof and the sword was gone. I never ratted him out about it. But I guess I am now.

Available from Counterpoint Press

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Lake City is a darkly funny and extremely relevant debut novel about American inequality and moral authority, featuring a sad-sack antihero who takes way too long to grow up. When he finally does, the results are beautiful, and the book ultimately becomes an elegy for a now-gone Seattle, and a lesson in how the place we’re from never fully lets us go.” ―Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

Hunkered down in his childhood bedroom in Seattle’s worn-out Lake City neighborhood, idealistic but self-serving striver Lane Bueche licks his wounds and hatches a plot to win back his estranged Manhattanite wife.

He discovers a precarious path forward when he is contracted by a wealthy adoptive couple to seduce and sabotage a troubled birth mother from his neighborhood. Lane soon finds himself in a zero-sum game between the families as he straddles two cultures, classes, and worlds. Until finally, with the well-being of the toddler at stake, Lane must choose between wanting to do the right thing (if he could only figure out what that is) and reclaiming his idea of privilege.

Brad’s Face

By Gene Morgan

Poem

My notes for a potential story about Brad’s face on the evening of November 8, 2016

Start with some general thoughts about Brad, maybe just the grass in Brad’s backyard and his cool studio/garage area. Focus on the small stuff that I like about Brad. How nice it was for him to invite us over for the election suicide party.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with John Wray. A recipient of a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim fellowship, his new novel, Godsend, is available now from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

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Support the show at Patreon or via PayPal.

Hello, my name is Joseph Grantham.

You can call me Joey.

Actually, no you can’t.

Call me Joseph.

I am the new Editor-in-Chief of The Nervous Breakdown.

I will tell you about myself.

TNB is pleased to introduce Joseph Grantham as its new editor-in-chief.  He succeeds site founder Brad Listi, who will continue to serve in an advisory role. Grantham is the author of Tom Sawyer (Civil Coping Mechanisms), a book of poems about heartbreak, depression, family, role models and heroes, and growing up in America.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Joey Grantham grew up in California and got his BA from Bennington College. He runs Disorder Press with his sister, Mik.

Welcome to Joey!

THERE ARE GREAT FIRES that burned everything down that everyone still talks about at all the ruined remaining coffee shops. It’s all everyone still talks about. There are no more wild animals in the world, no more wild animals roaming the Earth, and purebred Dogs are more celebrated than God now. Every day I see there’s proof that things fall apart. Buildings are ruins and the ruins are buildings. The air is less like air, there are fewer trees around, and it’s hard to breathe sometimes. My wife wakes up at four in the morning to pray and she does so staring out the stained glass hallway window, and because I can’t sleep anymore, I have insomnia, I like to wake up with her, sit at the side of the cold bed, and watch her pray through the doorway. I smoke a cigarette and turn on our little box fan. I can hear her whispering to God in a sweet acapella that I try to mouth along to, but I never bother her until she’s finished. She prays for seven hours. I don’t believe in her God anymore.