Tag Archives: FLAPPERHOUSE #15

“My language is so dead & undead” – Poetry by Kristen Brida

“My Language is So Dead & Undead” is Kristen Brida‘s supremely bizarre poem from our Fall 2017 issue.

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DIRECTORS CALL ME IN
I’m an on-call death
Consultant now
How is death done they ask me
Is it as still as they say it is
Is it unfaithful to throw petals by a corpse
How can I make the body feel
More or less beyond itself

It used to be such a great question
Where I would slide in & out of certainty
Just to see their faces
But now I’m so bored
It gets boring after a few times
The way people crawl around
Their own sense of decay
It’s a movie loop
And I am a sad moviegoer
with Dorito dust spackled across my face

Today I stood over Jeff Goldblum
Covered in fake blood like this dream I had
Where I poured chocolate syrup over his sick ass abs
His body in front of me in tension
with wound & liddedness

I stared at his sick ass abs
and I put my hair in my mouth as I watched
the director said cut
he asked me if Jeff was believable
I should have said fuck
Yes it is now let me lie with him
But I didn’t let them have it

I said shit on him
Throw some glitter in his mouth

And oh did Jeff have so much glitter in his mouth
And was he more exciting than ever
And what a beautiful direction I told them to go in
And still I did not touch him
Even though that would have been the way to go

{ X } Continue reading “My language is so dead & undead” – Poetry by Kristen Brida

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“A Bullet for Mr. Sweet” – Fiction by E.L. Siegelstein

Chocolate – Salvador Dali, 1930

An infamous candyman becomes the target of a disgruntled former associate in “A Bullet for Mr. Sweet,” E.L. Siegelstein‘s scrumdiddlyumptious short story from our Fall 2017 issue.

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DEATH HAD CAUGHT UP TO THE OLD MAN AT LAST. 

After too many years and too many miles. Six times, the trail had gone cold, but the killer persisted. Three times, he had come close, missing the old man by mere minutes in Pittsburgh, seconds in Dublin. The old man had seen him then, electric blue eyes meeting his through the glass of the taxi window, but hadn’t shown any sign of recognition. But the killer, who most people knew simply as Chuck, persisted. The Salt Family provided him with all the money he needed. The fat German furnished an extensive network of contacts throughout Europe and the Americas. Little Mikey T. provided the gun, the cold steel Derringer .45 Chuck clutched in trembling fingers in the pocket of his green army jacket. And now, in a hotel bar in Cleveland, of all places, he finally had the old man cornered.

The old man bellied up to the bar, pushing himself up onto the stool with the cane he always carried. He had to be at least 90 years old, but he didn’t look it, not at all. His hair was white, but it was all there, an unruly puff of cotton candy on his head. His eyes still held all their power, darting around the room, laughing at everything they saw. The old man had gone by many names. In some places he was known as the Candyman, in some places he was Mr. Sweet. Then there was his original name, the most famous name of them all, but he hadn’t used it in ages, which was just as well, as the very thought of that name made Chuck want to vomit.

The old man caught the bartender’s attention, and ordered a Double-W on the rocks, adding, “And you know what? Let’s make it a double,” smiling like it was the cleverest thing in the world. It was the old man’s own whiskey, too, from a distillery he’d founded only a few years ago. Nobody knew how he managed to make young whiskey taste like it had been aged for decades, but knowing him, Chuck guessed it was something inane, like boring it with political speeches or something.

Chuck took the stool next to the old man’s and ordered a beer. The old man didn’t even look at him, seeming completely enwrapped in tasting his own drink, swirling the whiskey around his teeth with eyes closed.

“Hello,” Chuck said, simply.

The old man swallowed. “You know,” he said, opening his eyes, “most people drink to make themselves happier. But the problem is that alcohol, on its own, is a depressant. Everyone knows that, of course, but strangely nobody’s tried to do anything about it. They just accept it as a ‘fun fact’ and go on making depressing whiskey. Except for this one. It has happy things, like childhood memories of Christmas morning, the first ray of sunshine after a summer storm, a new lover’s smile. They’re subtle, but they’re there.”

“I heard it was just a trace amount of MDMA.”

The old man shrugged. “For a whiskey to be classified a bourbon, the mash needs to be at least 51% corn. What you do with the rest of it is entirely in the hands of the maker.”

Chuck took a slug of beer and turned in his stool to face the old man, his right hand still clutching the Derringer in his pocket. “You’re a hard man to find,” he said.

“No, I’m not,” the old man replied. “I’m right here. You’ve found me.”

Continue reading “A Bullet for Mr. Sweet” – Fiction by E.L. Siegelstein

“Ares Inebriated” – Poetry by Bernadette McComish

The God of War – Jules Perahim, 1937

“Ares Inebriated” is one of two marvelously mythical poems by Bernadette McComish in our Fall 2017 issue.

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A LOADED GLOCK
a full shot—
That’s American, he mutters.

No grin or grimace
just down the throat
and another and what

will they sacrifice to him today—
a goat, a village, a teenager?
Would it matter if they knew

he was over it, done with war
or would they keep killing
in his new names, the ones he hates.

At the only bar
in a town with no strangers
he drinks alone and thinks

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

{ X }

Continue reading “Ares Inebriated” – Poetry by Bernadette McComish

“Big Game Hunter” – Fiction by Matt Patrick

Successful Hunter – Alexander Pope, 1912

An old hunter’s animal head collection gets inquisitive in “Big Game Hunter,” Matt Patrick‘s curiously surreal flash fiction from our Fall 2017 issue.

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IN HIS OLD AGE, THE HEADS MOUNTED ON THE WALL STARTED TO TALK TO HIM. At first asking the obvious whys, but over time the conversations began to wander.

The lion asked: Does the sun still beat on the savannah?

The shark inquired: What’s it like to live without gills?

The human head, as always, stays silent.

Every once in a while he toys with the idea of getting rid of them. Stripping the walls bare. He can’t do it, of course. He would miss the company. Not that he’s particularly hospitable to them. The questions often go unanswered as he drifts into his imagination and hunts far more elusive game.

The hippo asked: What did you do with my body?

The gazelle inquired: How does it feel to take a life?

The human head says nothing.

The hunter tries to picture what sort of gun he’d need to bring down happiness, or a bond with his son. And if he did bag them, what sort of mount do they need? Can they be taxidermied?

The second hippo posits: You must hate hippos. Why else would you kill so many of us?

The third hippo concurs.

The human head motions, as if to spit.

Someone visits the hunter. A young person. Not his son, maybe a grandson? Granddaughter? The young person politely follows his lead and ignores the heads as they pester him. The young person leaves. The hunter is alone for a long time. He isn’t sad, he tells himself, but a lesser man would be.

Continue reading “Big Game Hunter” – Fiction by Matt Patrick

“So, the Portal to Another Dimension is Not in the Hudson” – Poetry by Chris Antzoulis

Evening on the Hudson – Leon Dabo, 1909

Behold the shimmering dread & terrible beauty of “So, the Portal to Another Dimension is Not in the Hudson,” one of three terrific poems by Chris Antzoulis in our Fall 2017 issue. (And be sure to check out the recording of Chris reading his poem below~)

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IN TIMES OF DISTRESS
                I look to the water.
Today it’s the Hudson.
I was hoping for fog
and all I got was the sun
                                                rolling diamonds
down river like roulette balls.
And I could see my reflection, a specter
                atop the glitz and shimmer.

He walked
toward me as he started
                                                devouring
his own arm,     took a chunk right out
from behind the elbow—
the part that heats up
                                                when someone asks
                you to hold them tighter.

He kept taking bites
                until his arm was gone.

Now, in front of me
                with his head swiveled in a way
that only a dead thing could

I watched, red-eyed in terrible
                                                beauty,
as he sunk his teeth into his shoulder,
                                wondered if I was supposed
to be watching.

The sun whipped the smell
                                                of breathing
off the gems of the Hudson
                                as I lunged into its riches.

{ X } Continue reading “So, the Portal to Another Dimension is Not in the Hudson” – Poetry by Chris Antzoulis

“No More I Love You’s” – Poetry by Juan Parra

Happy Election Day, America! Let’s celebrate with “No More I Love You’s,” Juan Parra‘s politically surreal poem from our Fall 2017 issue.

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I WAS WEARING MY BLONDE WIG
When Trump pulled me over.

America my love, I thought I knew you.
But you’re living so wild now:
Bowing like Franco. Dancing like Mussolini.
Smiling like Pinochet. Clapping like Stalin.
I thought you loved me.
Once upon a time you would wink at me
And I would whisper: “Becquer and Lorca,” in your ear.

“I’m gonna need you to step out of the car,” Trump said while his upper lip twitched.“No more I love you’s is right,” he said, as he aggressively turned off the stereo.
“I’m gonna need you to balance yourself on your thumbs for the next ten minutes.
That better not be a wig you’re wearing, your tongue better not be having love affairs with
Other dialects.”

Thirty seconds later:

My thumbs cracked under the pressure of my fat limbs,
Forcing me to give up Moliere, hiding under my tongue. To point towards
Tchaikovsky crying of terror in my ear. Conned into admitting my love for
Bashevis and everything Yiddish.
My poor wig prayed and endured under the stomps of an enraged Tyrant.

“You’re not real. From the vomit your tongue stinks of, you probably don’t love my People,” Trump raged, while he hauled me from my ears and crammed me in his policeman’s hat.

Now, straightforwardly, no more swans. Or dances on rose petals. Or sentimental education. No more Poets and love affairs. No more Romance before sunrise; let’s talk of ethnicity Diplomas, of bans & tariffs, of odious men in white robes talking Nazism & looking Ominous on centric Boulevards. America my love you are so wild: There are no I love you’s for Me, In your heart.

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JUAN  PARRA is a Cuban-American poet. His work has featured in the Indiana Review, Basalt, The Lake, Pear Drop, Driftwood Press, 4ink7, FLAPPERHOUSE, and REAL.

“Scent” – Fiction by Cooper Wilhelm

Soir d’orage, Strange Perfume by Mem – Rene Magritte, 1946

A young man’s bargain with a mysterious shopkeeper has some revolting repercussions in “Scent,” Cooper Wilhelm‘s magically disturbing story from our super-spooky Fall 2017 issue.

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THE PORTION OF THE INTERROGATION THAT FOLLOWS was entered into the public record as part of a murder trial that commenced in the Eastern District Court of New York on August 14th, 2015. The suspect [name withheld] is described as male, Caucasian, DOB 12/5/1986, Height 5’ 11”, weight 190 lbs. The interview was conducted by Detective [name withheld] of the New York Police Department 94th precinct, 100 Meserole Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11222.]

INTERVIEWER: When did you first meet [name redacted]?

SUSPECT: In the shop. I was walking past two weeks ago and I could smell the incense. My girlfriend had been ragging me for weeks about how my room smells bad. Like a men’s—like a boy’s locker room. So I figured I’d get some.

INTERVIEWER: And you talked to him then?

SUSPECT: Not at first. I was looking around, picking up different kinds of incense and smelling them. But they had all this hooky-dooky stuff, too.

INTERVIEWER: “Hooky-dooky stuff”?

SUSPECT: Yeah, like crystals, star maps, and like, these little white sticks he said would clean bad spirits out of stuff or something if you burned them. It was all like stuff I’d hear people in my Warcraft guild say they needed for a raid, but in real life. And not cheap.

INTERVIEWER: So that’s when the two of you started talking?

SUSPECT: Yeah. I’m buying the incense and I ask, you know, like making conversation, is this your shop? how long you been selling stuff like this?

And he’s like oh we’ve been doing this for a couple years. We used to be a perfume shop, but we couldn’t make ends meet. And then I tried this money incense and I thought I should start selling it and I branched into other magic whatever since then.

And he starts talking about the crystals and about talking to ghosts and spirits and gods and it’s creeping me out. And the credit card machine won’t work and I start really wanting to leave, like I’m getting the willies from this guy, and he’s sweating a little as he talks to me, and his eyes were, um, they were. . . .

INTERVIEWER: Yeah?

SUSPECT: They were too big. Maybe it was because he was so tall. A lot of people are taller than me, but he was a lot taller. Like 6’ 8”– 6’ 9”. So he felt threatening. He loomed.

INTERVIEWER: Did he threaten you then?

SUSPECT: No, not then, no. He just told me he would give me a free sample of this cologne. And he pulls down this big plastic bottle, like the kind bulk cheap paint would come in in art class. He squeezes out this dark oil, like purple but almost black. And he tells me all cologne and perfume is oil, it’s just that the stuff people buy is watered down usually. This is the pure stuff. And he puts some on my finger for me to smell.

INTERVIEWER: What did it smell like?

SUSPECT: Weird. I mean, I don’t know how cologne is supposed to smell. I mostly just use Axe. But this smelled weird. Like ammonia and rust.

I really just wanted to get out of there because he keeps staring at me. Even when he puts some cologne in a little vial and hands it to me he never stops looking at me.

INTERVIEWER: Did you leave then or stay longer to chat?

SUSPECT: That’s it. I go home and I make dinner. And that would’ve been the end of it. But when I’m pulling stuff out of the fridge, I see this thing on my finger. It was gooey, like three soft little yellow eggs or little balls or something, that were sticking to my finger with this yellow goop. Like what wasps use to stick their hives to the undersides of roofs.

I washed my hands. I figured it’d gotten on me on the subway, but now I think maybe it was on those little sticks I picked up at the store. Continue reading “Scent” – Fiction by Cooper Wilhelm