Category Archives: Issue 1

Two Fragments

By David Stromberg

Fragment 1

I once knew a young man who wanted to write a story about disappointment.  The story was to be set in biblical times, centered around obscure characters, and involve an intricate plot.

I offered the young man to go and tell his idea to some editors around town, some of whom were also rabbis.

They listened to the whole careful outline, all the while shaking their heads.  “We can’t publish such a story,” they’d say.  “No one wants to read about something that doesn’t happen, especially if it’s set in an era to which they can’t relate.”

“But it’s a modern story,” I argued on the young man’s behalf, “transposed into the past.”

“Maybe it is,” they answered, “but who wants to read about something that doesn’t happen today?”

With these same comments we left one editorial office and went to another, until an entire day had passed.  In the late evening, I apologized to the young man for our lack of success.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “it’s just a disappointment.”

Fragment 2

I’d like to talk about the playground: any playground you remember.  On this playground there are many children.  There are boys and there are girls, maybe forty in all.  There are three or four adults present. You’re sitting on a bench in the corner of this playground.

With you is a friend, a friend that’s a boy.  If you are a girl on the playground, you are probably the only one hanging out with a boy.  If you are a boy, you are a loner and have only one friend.  Either way, you have been set apart from the rest of the group, and are left to your corner.

From that corner, you see a girl being hit by another girl.

Your friend says to you, “Angela isn’t nice.  She’s always picking on her friends.”

“Yeah,” you say, “she sucks.  You shouldn’t pick on your friends.”

“You shouldn’t pick on anyone,” says your friend.

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On Being Blind

By Tali Sarnetzky

Like vampires, I mirrors hate,
For I have no use for those,
And the beauty of the rose
Must prick, almost like fate.
And Windows sense have never made,
As if installed to tease
Those who cannot enjoy with ease
The light and must know the shade.
Some advances of mankind,
Cars to drive and wars to win,
Which I cannot even begin
To understand, for I am in a bind.
Do not pity the lack of the perception!
Instead, observe a fresh conception.

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Wendy

By Itai Rosenbaum

Tuesday night and Daddy was drunk again. Passed out on the couch.

The night’s entertainment was on the floor beside him, still clutching the bottle of five pound whiskey like it was the last on Earth. The used condom lay on the floor, dripping onto the carpet, adding one more stain that won’t come out. I think I know the girl, she may be a senior in my school. Yet another face I can no longer look at without disgust.

I scanned the room. Amidst the empty beer cans, boxes of pizza and at least 3 different pairs of underwear, I spotted Daddy’s wallet. I took the cash, what little there was left after the booze and possibly the girl too, and threw it back into the piles of trash on the floor. Stepping over the thong-clad body I went towards the kitchen. My foot slipped and I may have planted my boot straight in her face, accidentally, I’m not really sure. She didn’t wake, either way.

In the kitchen I reached for the jar marked “Tea”. It was the one thing that was still left of mom, and he wouldn’t dare touch it. It was the only thing left  to remind him that things weren’t always like this. Mom left several years ago. One night, without a word, with no  goodbyes, she just took the baby and left.Got on a plane and flew, flew away. I reached in the jar and pulled out the back door key. He didn’t know I had one.

Peter was waiting in the car, two houses down.

“Got the cash?” he asked.

“A fifty note, how much will that get us?”

“Enough,” he said and pulled out of his parking space. We drove in silence, running two red lights, one after the other. Making a right, he headed into the industrial zone. I had been in the area before, Peter’s dealer lives somewhere nearby. When we go and get the stuff, fairy dust we call it, I wait in the car.

“Tink don’t like no surprises,” Peter says. I met Tink once, at a party. He’s a beautiful man. Truly beautiful. He has this elegant air about him, like he’s descendant from royalty. His hair perfectly frames his face, in a way you only thought existed in paintings, and his slender build gives him a fragile look. You can tell he’s anything but fragile, though. It seemed like the party circled Tink, even if he wasn’t the center of attention. People just hovered around him, in awe and reverence. It was not that I was attracted to him as much as I was fascinated by him. Being with him seemed an enigma, something I had to experience before I died. It came as quite a shock then, when I learned he was a fairy.

“Yeah yeah, queer as folk that one,” Peter told me, “heard he has an arrangement with some of his clientele.”

I wondered if Peter was one of these guys, if he had an arrangement with Tink. From what I understood, they went way back. Peter didn’t like talking about it though, said Tink prefers the privacy. I’d think about the two of them together. It would keep me up at nights.

Peter stepped into the car, he had that smile on his face, the one he always had when he came back from Tink’s place. “Got it,” he said, and started the car.
Peter’s house was big. It stood on an old, family-owned plot of land, like an island, in the center of a large lawn. I never did quite understand what it was that Peter’s parents did, but they traveled a lot. Peter pretty much raised himself, just him and his ‘boys’. There’d always be at least a couple of them hanging around the house. Peter kept an open house, so anyone could come and go as they please, he didn’t care.

We walked into the living room, and sat on the couch. Peter took the small plastic bag, filled with the white powder, and threw it on the table. He reached under my dress.

“No,” I said, pushing his hand back. It was a ritual we did, each knowing how it would end. He always tried, I always turned him down. Not before we do the stuff, I can only let him take me if I fly. “Let’s do some first.”

“Fine,” he grunted, and pinched some dust onto the table. As it began to course through my veins, I began feeling that familiar sensation. A tingling across my arms and legs, and I became light. So light. I could almost feel myself floating off, floating away.

When I woke up, we were both naked. He turned and I fell off the couch, causing me to wake abruptly. I vaguely remembered what happened, but it didn’t matter. I saw the bag on the table, there was still dust left in it. A lot of it. I moved closer to Peter, but he was asleep.

He would always set it up for us, but I’ve seen him do it a thousand times, so I knew the process. I pinched some onto the table. The pile seemed smaller than usual, so I pinched a little more, my hands were smaller than his, so it made sense. Three pinches seemed about right. The tingling came faster this time, and a shiver went down my back. I saw my dress on the floor across the room, and went over to get it.

There’s a loud crash, and suddenly, I’m on the floor. Peter jerks up and looks at me; at the residue on the table. He picks up the empty plastic bag and his eyes open wide. He’s screaming, but I can’t hear him. He rushes over to me, and picks me up, his hands are red, I’m not sure why. My nose and lips are warm but everything else is cold. I don’t care anymore. I’m flying. Flying higher then I ever have. I’m flying. And I will never, never land.

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Waiting for the Train

By Itai Rosenbaum

Daniel sat, waiting for his train.

Daniel liked sitting here. There was a lot of love in this place. A lot of emotion – love, hate, regret, longing. Love mostly, though. While he waited, he watched the people around him, try to read them. He would try to learn a little about the people at the station through their actions. You could learn a lot that way, and Daniel was good at watching and learning.

Seated next to him was an elderly woman. He’d seen her before at the station. She comes once every couple of days, gets off the train coming from Uptown and waits for the train to the Market. Several hours later he’d see her making the trip back, bags of fruit and vegetables in her little trolley. Sometimes she’d get a loaf of bread. In his head, Daniel would name them. He could sort out his thoughts easier if they had names. The old lady was Mrs. Pierce. There was a Mr. Pierce once, but he passed on several months ago. When he was alive they would make the trips to the market together. Daniel remembered Mrs. Pierce would come back from the market with a flower in her hair each time, a red rose. That was love right there. Love that went up against time and won. Mrs. Pierce still came back with a flower. But now she held it in her hands. Tightly, so  that it will not blow away in the wind. It was a black iris now.

The station gushed and shook, a train was pulling in. People bustled onto the train, while simultaneously people were trying to get out; there was noise and commotion. Daniel watched. Jonathan stepped off the train. Jonathan was a big shot, a lawyer, an agent or something like that. He was married, he had a ring, but Daniel never saw Jonathan’s wife. He did see his girlfriend, though. Several of them. Jonathan had a lot of love to spread. Today he was with Tiffany. Or was it Angela? Daniel got all of Jonathan’s girlfriends confused, they looked similar – young, full of life. The only one of Jonathan’s “girlfriends” Daniel immediately recognized was Tobias. Even though Tobias dressed and looked the same as Jonathan’s other girlfriends, Jonathan was different around Tobias – gentler, more delicate. Jonathan grabbed Tiffany’s ass as they walked out of the station. Or was it Angela?

Daniel sat, watching, waiting for his train. He watched Chris, the snack vendor, as his girlfriend paid him a surprise visit. He watched old Albert sit in his corner, thanking the passerby’s for their change. He’d pet his cat all day long, holding it close. He watched the new janitor, Daniel decided on Frank, unwrap a lovingly made sandwich, and relish each bite.

One day, he hoped, someone would watch Daniel. Someone would watch him and learn about him and his love.

But for now Daniel sat, waiting, for his train.

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This is an Apple

By Itai Rosenbaum

This is an apple.

They call it “Red Delicious” which, when you think about it, is a bit presumptuous. I mean, you’re really setting yourself up for failure when you make promises like that. Sure, the red part is easy. I don’t think many people will argue about whether something is or is not red. It’s the delicious part that’s a problem. Forget about the fact that the apple may turn out to be mushy or sour. It may not contain the adequate amounts of juice. It could have a worm in it – which, granted, may add flavor, but that’s for very specific people. The problem really lies with the simple fact that different people may find different things to fall under the category delicious. My uncle used to say he could not eat anything that was crunchy. He was disgusted with the fact that his food would crunch in his mouth. He did not want his food “offering resistance”, he would say. So how can they possibly guarantee the apple is delicious?

O.k., it is delicious. They got off lucky this time, but I still have a whole bag of ‘em, so they’re not completely off the hook just yet.

This is an apple core.

It reminds me of ancient rome. The romans would build pillars to support their buildings, and that’s what the core is like; it’s a pillar, there to support the apple. It’s the foundation of the apple and without it, it’s not really an apple, it’s more of an apple-flavored donut. When the apple is gone, just like the ancient roman buildings, just the pillar is left, just the core. A reminder of the greatness there once was, a simple memory of former glory. The core has seeds, these seeds will grow to be apple trees. Apple trees are great. Not only do they supply a constant stream of apples, they have many added fringe benefits. There’s the shade, in which you can sit and think, like Newton. Newton sat and thought under an apple tree, when one (an apple, not a tree) fell on his head. Newton then came up with gravity. So, in a way, apple trees gave us gravity. I’ll take the seeds out, now all that’s left is the core.

This is garbage.

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Finding Faeries

By Itai Rosenbaum

Richard Grayson was six years and four months old and lived in a house with a big lawn right on the edge of the forest. When Richie was small there was a fence around the lawn, but when he turned six his father took down the fence and his mom said he could go 10 steps into the forest. Richie and his dad took a piece of red string and counted 10 steps into the forest from the edge of the lawn (dad steps, because they’re bigger) and tied the string to a tree. Then they went to the other side of the lawn and did the same thing. Richie could go into the forest, all by himself, and when he got to the string he would stop. He would stop because dad said that if Richie was good, then next year they would let him go 20 steps into the forest.

Richie loved to play in the forest. One day he would pretend to be a caveman and went hunting dinosaurs with his water gun. Kyle from across the street said that you can’t hunt dinosaurs with a water gun because the cavemen used big sticks, but Richie managed to catch a brontosaurus anyways. He didn’t kill the brontosaurus, he just tied it with a rope to a tree at the very back of the forest (right near the red string) and he gave it leaves to eat and called it Jeph. When Kyle from across the street wanted to feed Jeph, Richie didn’t let him because Kyle said you couldn’t hunt dinosaurs with water guns. At the end he did let him though, because mom said you have to be the bigger person and Richie was already 6 years and 4 months old.

One day, Richie and Kyle were in the forest, 5 steps in, and Richie wanted to look for a fairy.

“Why do you want to look for a fairy?” Kyle asked.

“Because fairies can make you fly and they have magic dust and they glow really brightly.”

“How do you know that?” Kyle was looking for a stick, because he broke his sword made of sticks yesterday when he and Richie were pretending to be Arthur.

“Because daddy read me Peter Pan and in Peter Pan there is Tinker Bell and she makes them fly. But you can’t not believe me, Kyle,” Richie said as he lifted a rock and looked underneath it, “because you have to believe in fairies or they die and then we won’t find one.”

They looked for a long time and even checked the empty fox hole but they couldn’t find any fairies. Kyle said they should go into the forest, because the fairies probably live a hundred steps into the forest. Richie didn’t want to go a hundred steps in because he promised he won’t cross the red string. They kept looking all over the forest, and Richie thought he found some fairy magic dust, but it was just sand. They looked all day until finally Kyle’s mom called him home for dinner. Kyle said goodbye to Richie and goodbye to Jeph and left.

Richie stayed out and sat on the big round rock and sighed.

“What’s the matter?” said the fairy sitting on a flower next to him.

“I was looking for a fairy to make fly, but I didn’t find any.” Richie picked up a small stick and started poking at the little pebbles around the big round rock.

“Well maybe you didn’t find a fairy because a fairy was looking for you, so you were looking for each other,” said the fairy as she bounced her flower up and down.

“I guess,” Richie shrugged and poked another pebble, “so I’ll just stay here and let the fairy find me, then.”

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“I’m Richie Grayson and I’m 6 years old.”

“Hello Richie Grayson, I’m Elisa.” She fluttered off her flower and flew to his hand. She grabbed the tip of his fingers with both of her hands and shook it slightly, “Nice to meet you.”

“Are you a fairy, Elisa?” He touched the tip of his finger, where Elisa held on to. It felt funny, like ants were crawling over it.

“Yes I am. Are you a human?” she asked as she flitted all around him. Her voice seemed to be coming from all sides, and Richie was following her with his eyes and getting dizzy.

“Yes. I am a human. Do you have magic fairy dust to make me fly?”

“No, I’m sorry, Richie. Only grown-up fairies get magic dust, but I’m not a grown-up yet.”

“It’s ok. I’m not a grown-up either.”

Richie then heard his mom calling him to come for dinner so he said goodbye to Elisa. He told her she could give Jeph a leaf to eat, but she has to be careful not to let him loose. She said she would be very careful and Richie left.

* * *

Elisa stayed in glade a little longer and rested on the large stone. She looked around her and smiled. The forest was happy today, and it made Elisa happy, too. After a while she got up, flew over to a nearby bush and picked the greenest leaf and placed it neatly on the ground before a large oak.

“Here you go, Jeph. The best leaf in the forest.” She let out a small laugh.

With that she rose to the air, and began flying deeper into the forest. She passed the narrow creek which cut through the forest, and the grassy clearing where a lone, ancient gravestone stood. When she got to the point of the forest where the sun was no longer visible she counted 7 trees and placed a small, delicate hand on the 8th. A small door appeared and Elisa went into her home. Placing her scarf neatly on the hanger she stepped into the den. Her father was sitting on his favorite acorn and he was paging through a newsleaf.

“Daddy, you won’t believe what happened today!” She cried with excitement, “I met a human!”

“Don’t’ be silly, dear,” her father replied, “There’s no such thing as humans. It’s a story grown-up fairies tell to little fairies and you’re not a little fairy anymore.”

“No, but I did. I saw one, and his name was Richie Grayson and he was 6 years old.”

“Nonsense, Elisa. Humans are not real. Now go wash up, it’s almost time for dinner.”

Elisa grumbled and moaned, but her dad wouldn’t hear it. She stomped to her room and got ready for dinner.

* * *

Dr. West was at a loss. He had never come across a case like that. A little boy, delivered to his morgue last evening died for unknown reasons. Every medical test Dr. West performed came back negative. What little the paramedics could get out of the parents was useless. The boy was sitting at the table when it just happened. The boy was telling his parents of his afternoon games of pretend; something about a pet dinosaur and a fairy. He was saying he really believed in the fairy’s existence because, apparently, if you don’t believe in them they die. The parents, naturally, were hysterical. They wanted an explanation, something. But Dr. West as at a loss.

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The Conveniet Monster

By Yahm Reichart

i’m not sorry i left you
i think about you all the time
you stupid, big, convenient monster
always why i denounced my roots
until i embraced them and had to leave you
you ridiculous pile of sparkling shit
and they don’t know understand why i left your consumerism
but i had to
mostly to Know why i am part of you

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