Tag Archives: FLAPPERHOUSE #12

“The Shadow’s Insomnia” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

The Shadow - Pablo Picasso, 1953
The Shadow – Pablo Picasso, 1953

An acquitted killer finds himself stalked by guilt in “The Shadow’s Insomnia,” Shawn Frazier‘s dark & powerful story from our Winter 2017 issue.

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AFTER SIX NIGHTS OF INSOMNIA, I SAW THE SHADOW. It appeared on the paisley wallpaper of my bedroom, as black rings transforming into a pitch black child-size figure. It stepped off the wall, tip-toed on its black cat feet, and sat on the edge of my mattress. Then, as if seizing control of my thoughts, my mind filled with memories of the black boy I killed: his screams, his blood pouring onto my manicured lawn, where my new SUV was parked in front. His opened eyes staring out of a sleeping face.

Fear paralyzed me in bed, though not enough to stop me from moving. I willed this charcoal illusion to return to the wall where it belonged. What right did it have to invade my space like this, to forcibly remind me of that boy? I was found not guilty by a jury of my peers. All I wanted was to keep intruders from burglarizing my enclave. I knew every-one who crossed through our front gate.  How was I to know this boy had friends here?

The shadow returned to the wall.

I shook myself awake and jumped up, thinking my insomnia was playing tricks with my head. I turned on the lights and touched the wall to see if I could feel where he— “It,” I mean— went…but it had vanished without a trace.

In the morning, on my bedroom bureau, I saw a photo of my grandmother crying. She was not crying before.

My friends and family have kept away from me. Frightened of my story. How I acted. Jumping at shadows I see on a wall. They thought I was losing my mind.

Was being alone really becoming so scary for me?  No—this phantasm manifested from my lack of sleep. I prayed before going to bed that this black boy—I mean shadow—would soon be nothing more than another bad dream. And would go away.

But at night, it returned. It floated across the carpet, passing right through my TV set, picture frames. In a photo of me, where I once flashed a gleaming white smile, I now sulked pitifully.

Continue reading “The Shadow’s Insomnia” – Fiction by Shawn Frazier

“Aftermath” – Poetry by Anthony Cappo

Resistance, or The Black Idol - Frantisek Kupka, 1903
Resistance, or The Black Idol – Frantisek Kupka, 1903

“Catalogue all you resist / and call the wrecking crew / to the walls,” declares “Aftermath,” one of three trenchant poems by Anthony Cappo in our Winter 2017 issue.

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the only thing to do is simply continue
is that simple
yes, it is simple because it is the only thing to do
can you do it
yes, you can because it is the only thing to do

                                    –  Frank O’Hara


and call the wrecking crew
to the walls

When your ox is gored
on all sides
the kingdom isn’t come

The confectioner has taken
his whisks and mixing bowls
clean out of town

I’d rain elegies
in sympathy but I’ve
become so

shallow lately
I screw my muse
to the sticking point

roll over and fall asleep
Unbuckle your holster
We’ll broadcast our griefs

to the sky    Just because
I’ve sniffed out your tricks
doesn’t excuse mine

Somewhere a mighty engine rumbles
a curtain is rent
But here the air’s still

The ground a trembling silence
as scathed we set out again

{ X } Continue reading “Aftermath” – Poetry by Anthony Cappo

“Evolution” – Poetry by Francine Witte

Human Evolution – Octavio Ocampo

“Evolution” is one of two brilliantly biting poems by Francine Witte in our Winter 2017 issue.

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paw-digits poking
at sticks.  Monkeybrain
seemed to want
a fire.

Later, early
man.  Thin coat
of intelligence against
the cold.  Someone stumbled,

flint against rock
and sparkshower tumbled
into the unlanguaged night.

Now, there’s us.
Filthy with fires
and bloated with words.
We are scorched with war
and we say nothing.

Future man
looks back on us
and shivers.

{ X }
Continue reading “Evolution” – Poetry by Francine Witte

“The Cake” – Fiction by Jonathan Wlodarski

Hunger - Kathe Kollwitz, 1923
Hunger – Kathe Kollwitz, 1923

“The Cake” is Jonathan Wlodarski’s deliciously disturbing and Pushcart-nominated short story from our Winter 2017 issue. (And check back here on Monday when we’ll post an interview with Jonathan by our senior editorial consultant Maria Pinto…)

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THE CAKE ONLY GETS MADE WHEN SOMEONE DIES—the baker calls it his mortuary masterpiece. “A recipe from my great-grandparents in the Netherlands,” he explains when we ask. “So sweet it expunges the grief right out of you.” The first time he brings it to a wake, we think he’s crazy—cake can’t heal our wounds, erase our sorrow for the town dentist’s death. We’re pretty sure he was overcharging us for crown work anyway, so we’re not even certain it’s sorrow we’re feeling, except maybe for all the money he’d weaseled from us.

The cake really does all of those things, though—as soon as we eat that first bite, our tears dry, our wails melt into sniffles. Some of us even start to look forward to funerals—fingers crossed it’s just our neighbor’s great-uncle, someone who’s already 85 and lived a good life, but we’re not picky. The twenty-four-year-old who crashes his car into a tree is a tragedy, sure, but at least no one else suffered at the hands of his drunk driving.

The cake is black, or sometimes dark gray, depending on how much food coloring is in the icing. “It doesn’t take much,” says the baker, “just five or six drops.” Some of us don’t like the icing’s anise flavor, not at first: it reminds us of our alcoholic grandfathers, or nosy maiden aunts who visit twice a year. But we come around.

The cake has a slab of almond paste in the middle, a thick, golden mortar that shrivels our tongues and puckers our lips with its sweetness. But almonds take a lot of water to grow, water which has been in short supply for so long, despite some of our efforts to form a resource conservation council and unify the town to save water, which generally fails. Little water means few almonds, so often we settle for imitation paste, which isn’t as good. It has a bit of a chalky flavor simmering underneath. Better than nothing.

The cake goes unmade for three whole months, the entire town in suspended animation like prehistoric mosquitoes in amber while we wait for someone to start counting worms. Our nerves get worn down—we’re on edge, our patience constantly pressed against the edge of a knife, screaming at our spouses for chewing too loud, and one of us snaps and runs over the dog next door that just won’t stop barking. Maybe this will count as a death, we think. We hold our breath.  Continue reading “The Cake” – Fiction by Jonathan Wlodarski

Beyond-the-Grave Buzz for FLAPPERHOUSE #12!

fh12coverSome of literature’s deadest legends are buzzing about our Winter 2017 issue, FLAPPERHOUSE #12— now available in PRINT ($6US thru Amazon) &  PDF ($3US)!

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality– especially our present reality– which is why I’ll be re-reading FLAPPERHOUSE #12 every single day for the foreseeable future!”
– Shirley Jackson

“I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees,
because I hold a copy of
the phenomenal FLAPPERHOUSE #12!”
– Maya Angelou

“Hungry readers, reach for a book: it is a weapon…and a copy of FLAPPERHOUSE #12 is kind of like a cross between a sniper rifle and a Molotov cocktail!” – Bertolt Brecht

“How to Vomit Living Creatures” – Fiction by Deirdre Coyle

The Tiger Cat - Henri Rousseau
The Tiger Cat – Henri Rousseau

Our Winter 2017 issue doesn’t fly until December 21, but if you’d like an early taste of all the hungry, beastly lit that lies in wait, here’s Deirdre Coyle‘s wonderfully bizarre short story “How to Vomit Living Creatures.”

[FLAPPERHOUSE #12 is currently available for pre-order in both print (for $6US) & digital ($3US) editions!]

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AND THEN SHE VOMITED A CAT. Not so much a hairball as an entire cat. It folded out of her mouth and onto the floor, fur smoothed by mucus.

She was wearing her bumblebee sweater.

“You look like a bumblebee,” said her mother.

“I just threw up a cat,” she replied.

Her mother looked at the clock. “Isn’t it time for your therapy?”

“Well…is the cat dead?” It was not moving.

“Let me check on it. Go see your therapist.”


Veronica was a student of comparative linguistics. She walked two miles to class every morning. Sometimes she ran. Sometimes she ate Luna bars while walking. This was allowed. At lunch, sometimes she ate french fries or chicken fingers. This was not allowed. Sometimes she stuck her fingers down her throat afterwards. Other times she ran an extra five miles on her way home to make up for it. Nothing made up for it.

The therapy sessions had begun after her freshman year of college, during which she had dropped thirty pounds in a few months and maintained a perfect 4.0.

“Do you worry often?” the therapist had asked during their first session. “About grades, maybe? Or boys?”

“I worry about grades,” Veronica replied. “But mostly I just get good grades. That’s what happens. To do otherwise would be stupid.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I’m in college, right? My mom’s paying for it. So I’m not going to waste her tuition money partying, you know?”

Her therapist raised an eyebrow, one finger tapping the arm of her chair. “Why do you say that?”


After two years and as many pounds of weight gain, Veronica’s therapist continued to question obvious statements.

“You can’t just eat a cookie and then throw up a cat,” said her therapist.

“I could. I did.”

“Not physically,” the therapist said, scribbling on her pad. “In order to purge a cat—”

“I wasn’t purging.”

“I only meant expunge. In order to expunge a cat, you must have eaten a cat.”

“I never ate a cat. I only ate a cookie. And if I had eaten two cookies, I probably would have thrown up two cats. Or maybe one, much fatter cat.”

Veronica felt an internal stickiness in not knowing her ailment. Discomfort came from knowing there was nothing she could do. Continue reading “How to Vomit Living Creatures” – Fiction by Deirdre Coyle

Digital Copies of FLAPPERHOUSE #12 Now Available for Pre-Order

Ravenous hunger, sinister shadows, teenage demons, feline behemoths, asbestos snowflakes, Marxist lice, Henry Kissinger: FLAPPERHOUSE #12!

Now Available in PRINT for $6US
and digital (PDF) for $3US

PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately we are currently unable to email PDFs immediately upon order. Delivery of your PDF may take anywhere from several seconds to several hours, but rest assured, we will complete your purchase as soon as humanly possible.

We apologize profusely for any inconvenience or delayed gratification.



“The Number of Grains of Sand on Earth” – Matt Alexander
“The Unfed” – Nancy Au
“Today I saw Henry Kissinger on the subway,” “She told me she likes to feel dominated,”
and “Aftermath” – Anthony Cappo
“How to Vomit Living Creatures” – Deirdre Coyle
“The Shadow’s Insomnia” – Shawn Frazier
“Beyond Kansas” – Marc Harshman
“Unfurring” – Rebecca Ann Jordan
“Terminal” – Ron Kolm
“Seven Ate Nine” – Hannah Lackoff
“Send in the Clowns” – Chris Muravez
“The Last Cuban Militant” and “Johnny On the Rocks” – Juan Parra
“Love Song of a Femme Fatale on Scholarship” – Maria Pinto
“The Courtship” and “I Feel the Same Way About You” – Jan Stinchcomb
“Evolution” and “Things to Watch out for” – Francine Witte
“The Cake” – Jonathan Wlodarski