Eggnoggy Dasher always dashes the sleigh.
Write drunk, edit sober.
I look at those empty cans in the trash bin. Then I look at the empty screen with its blinking cursor. So far it’s three to zero for the cans. Words are trailing far behind. But I won’t give up. It’s only a matter of time and patience. I open the next can.
“So, it turns out that the average number of blinks made by someone getting their photo taken is ten per minute. The average blink lasts about two hundred and fifty milliseconds and, in good indoor light, the camera shutter stays open for about eight milliseconds. Exciting, huh?!”
Oh, shit, really?
“This way, photographing thirty people in bad light would need about thirty shots. Once there’s around fifty people, even in good light, you can kiss your hopes of an unspoilt photo goodbye. Listen now, this is the most interesting part…”
Gosh, what a load of cack!
“To calculate the number of photos you’d need to take for groups of less than twenty, divide the number of people by three if there’s good light and two if the light’s bad. Hey, Calix, buy me a camera? Please, pretty pretty please! I’ll take a photo of you and Darwin!”
I take my eyes off the screen and point them at the tank sitting on the book shelf. The goldfish goggles at me from there, its own eyes pleading, magnified through the dirty glass.
“You got a smartphone at Christmas, didn’t you? Use that!”
The goldfish pouts and turns its luxuriously long tail towards me. I give a nonchalant shrug and get back to the throes of creation. I don’t have time for silly chitchats. It’s about one in the morning, four to zero for cans, and I’ve still no fucking idea what I’ll write for tomorrow’s advice column. Nasty egoistic sprat! Instead of babbling various nonsense about blinking and winking, it would be better if he helped me with the task at hand.
Absently, I pull a book from the shelf and open it at a random page.
He called out to the golden fish
and the fish swam up and asked him,
“What is it, old man, what do you need?”
Yes, I know what I fucking need now, but where can I find a bloody talking golden fish? This is life, silly Calix, not Pushkin’s fairy tales! I gloomily open the next can. At least the beer is real.
My last thought before my head droops on the table is that I need to wake up early and take out the trash. I don’t want Darwin seeing this mess. After all, every accomplished woman of letters has her own little secrets.
by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018
Bleary-eyed and rat-mouthed, Ezra Darwin squinted up at the ceiling, wondering why the clock radio wasn’t there.
“Which begs the question: What would you do to provide for your loved ones in the event of your untimely demise? Would you leave their fates to fate, or would you step up and take charge?”
Oh. That’s right. It wasn’t normative for clock radios to dwell on ceilings. Ezra turned his head. His cheek rolled into the soft, fresh swell of a pillow. God. That soothing coolness felt so damn good.
“Death can come a-knocking at any moment, so instead of praying for resurrectal intervention, why not hop on the blower and give Miracle Life Insurance a call? We’re true blue, and we bloody care.”
And there it was. The clock radio was a bit blurry and a bit… vertical, but well within reach. Ezra extended his arm and arced it downward, silencing said device with a decisive thwack. Goodbye annoying ad, and hello annoying new day! Ugh. It was time for his morning wee.
Ezra rolled onto his side, swung his feet to the floor, and sat up. Okay, so he wasn’t going to throw up yet. His head felt like a block of marinated wood with buzzing, nightmare insects for eyes. Maybe he shouldn’t have downed that fifth Balkan last night.
He jerked to a standing position. Well, Ezra thought he was standing. He hoped he was standing. And why were the walls dancing around? Were they celebrating something? Surely it was too early in the morning for celebration? He tried not to move his head too much, and concentrated on aiming himself at the ensuite door. Once he was vaguely lined up with its somewhat sideways edges, Ezra lurched forward in one gangly, awkward motion.
It didn’t help that everything was too small in this apartment. Space was at an absolute premium, and there were boxes and other shit absolutely everywhere. Ezra hadn’t unpacked since his arrival nearly ten months ago. Time was slipping by at a rate of impossible deadlines and boozy binge sessions punctuated by episodes of extreme anxiety, and nothing had improved. There had to be a better way to make a living.
Ezra fumbled with himself. Shit. Was it just his imagination or was it getting harder to piss? Or was he simply dehydrated from the previous evening’s impressive, alcohol-fuelled train wreck? He should get his prostate checked. Prostate was remarkably like prostrate, which all of a sudden seemed like an outstanding career move. His junk still flapping from his trunks, Ezra resisted the impulse to fall back, and flopped forward onto the toilet bowl instead.
He was in the process of disgorging the contents of his stomach when he noticed the goldfish looking up at him.
by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018
i’d had loads to drink and got up on stage
ready to wipe their asses with my whole life’s page
so i said “blah blah” this and all “blah blah“ that
“are you ready to be in stitches? double drat!”
“i’m the queen of the office! the boss don’t scare me!
the fucking tapeworm in her guts, not her pubic flea!
she’d better step off, man! learn her goddam place!
i’d love to see that smile slapped off her face!”
but she smiled and dropped some coins into my beer mug
“if career suicide’s what you crave then your grave’s dug”
well, i know whatever happens must happen for the best
my home’s a gutter now, and i got that shit off my chest!
1 If any of this ever gets written down then I hope they get their facts straight.
2 How long have I been hanging here for? 3 Damn, it’s hot. And my bladder’s on fire. I’m in agony and I can’t scratch myself. 4 When the legionnaires offered to put me up for the night, I didn’t think they quite meant like this. 5 It’s small wonder that I hate wedding banquets now!
6 Bottomless throats. Sateless stomachs. I had no chance. 7 Who could meet that kind of demand? No one, that’s who. 8 None of them could have cared less for the happiness of newly marrieds. All they wanted was a holiday in Cana to brown the brow, and round after round of my patented Holy Spirit to fill their swollen bellies. 9 Self righteous, narcissistic guzzlers of dwindling decorum. Every last one of them!
10 I guess it’s my own fault really. 11 Maybe I shouldn’t have pressed my ‘apostles’ to water down the whizz, but by god was my tallywacker beat! It was ready to gasp its last, you could say. 12 How many baths did I manage to fill? Who knows? 13 All I do know is my bladder’s as pulverised as a palm frond after a locust convention.
14 And Judas… What the hell, Judas?! What were you thinking? 15 You know you can’t hold your liquor, so why did you drink the merchandise? 16 ‘But whosoever drinketh of the water that I willst giveth unto him shallst never thirst!’ you declared. And you declared it to the whole damn gathering! 17 ‘But the water that I willst giveth unto him willst becometh in him a well of water springing up to eternal life!’ 18 And then you pissed all over the High Priests. Marvellous. Just marvellous. 19 I can’t take you anywhere. I should have left you out the back to calculate our profit margin.
20 And that’s the problem, isn’t it, Mr Iscariot? You play well with numbers, but not with other human beings. 21 Yes, reading ledgers is an important skill, but so is being able to read facial expressions, you sot! Could you not see how livid they were? Utterly hopeless!
22 And why, oh why, did I let you spread those rumours about my so-called ‘miracles’? 23 ‘This will drum up more business,’ you said. ‘More clientele means more tongues at the tap,’ you said. 24 So you had me walking on water, feeding multitudes with a fish finger and two breadsticks, raising people from the dead, and erecting underwater bridges for molluscs fleeing Jewish persecution. 25 Lie upon lie upon lie upon… well, that last one was just plain weird.
26 Dying is not fun. 27 I think I’m dying. Am I dying? Is this what that feels like? 28 I know how to pass water but I’ve not experienced passing from life before, so I can’t definitively say. I don’t think I want to. 29 Still, I keep passing out, so I’m disconcertingly aware of my own mortality. That cannot augur well for my immediate future. 30 Death. Can’t say I’d recommend it.
31 The pain is shocking in its unrelenting intensity. My entire body’s a buzzing mess. 32 How can there possibly be this much blood? I can’t breathe. 33 The tirade I’ve composed in my head escapes as a truncated wheeze. ‘Thanks for nothing,’ is literally all I can muster. 34 Yes, God, thanks for nothing. Just sit there like you always do, and do nothing.
35 First, my carpentry business folds. 36 Then I discover that I can piss wine. 37 Then some opportunistic, money-grubbing ‘followers’ come along and exploit me for all they can get. 38 This involves a clever marketing campaign that promises the public magic shenanigans and quaff-worthy wazz while they’re being entertained. 39 I become said public’s darling. 39 Judas then goes and defiles some elite, paying customers with his own subpar wee while they’re drinking my diluted wee, 40 and then flees with the rest of the apostates at the first sign of trouble. 41 That’s when said public breaks up with me, and the High Priests begin baying for blood instead of my formerly one hundred percent honeyed liquid. 42 What next? Oh, that’s right. Death. Praise Elohim. 43 I’m of a mind to come back and haunt the bastards.
44 I rue the day my pecker piddled on Peter. Sorry. Simon.