Tag Archives: Salvador Dali

“At Ken’s Expense” – Fiction by Arman Safa

Don Quixote and the Windmills - Salvador Dali, 1945
Don Quixote and the Windmills – Salvador Dali, 1945

From our Spring 2015 issue, “At Ken’s Expense” is Arman Safa‘s metafictional short story-length novel about Arman writing a novel at Ken’s expense.

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{ chapter 1 }

THE FIRST SENTENCE SHOULD BE SEVEN WORDS LONG.

“Damn it,” muttered Ken to himself.

Having the last word was becoming increasingly problematic. When he wanted it, the last word evaded him. And when he sought out the perfect seven word opening sentence to his second novel, the last word confounded him still.

It was February the third, a typical and unremarkable occasion, and the eight inches of expected snow was a surprise to no one. Still, at 6pm, the bookstore was extraordinarily empty. And quiet. Just Ken’s fingers tapping on the keyboard in the back office and some aesthetically inappropriate Irish music Arman had put on behind the register.

“Damn it,” muttered Ken, audibly. Arman smiled. Though unable to see Ken, he amused himself with an image of Ken hunched over the keyboard, face aglow, pulling his hair.

“Am I cruel?” he thought. “Can boredom and the certainty of an excruciatingly slow evening turn the butter knife of my heart into a sharpened blade?”

Impressed with his pretentious eloquence and swagger of tongue, Arman decided that, if nothing else, he should be the one writing a story. And in that moment, he knew that the perfect first sentence would, in fact, be eight words long.

Distracted, and desiring a bit of amusement before committing himself to writing an entire story, Arman stepped into the back office. He saw Ken at the computer reading a news article.

“What do you want to eat tonight, Ken?” he asked.

“I don’t know.”

“How’s your novel coming along, Ken?” And before letting Ken respond, he added confrontationally and with more than a touch of perplexing irony, “I’m going to write one as well. In fact, I’ve already started. And I’ve even written more words than you.”

“Well,” said Ken. “I’m doing some editing. And it’s easier for you because I’m your main character.”

Arman was more than a bit perturbed by Ken’s brash display of egoism.

“I had ramen for lunch earlier,” Ken continued, “and it was awful.”

And it was. 

  Continue reading “At Ken’s Expense” – Fiction by Arman Safa

“The Root of Everything Arty” – Fiction by Jenean McBrearty

The Truth at the bottom of a Well Jean-Leon Gerome, 1895
The Truth at the bottom of a Well
Jean-Leon Gerome, 1895

The truth about ourselves is at the bottom of a well, says Donnie Babcock in “The Root of Everything Arty.” Jenean McBrearty‘s story is a droll, twisted riff on art, violence, vanity, and the subconscious, co-starring Gala Dali. Read it alongside other exciting lit in our Spring 2014 Issue (FLAPPERHOUSE #1), now on sale for just $3.

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“AN APPOINTMENT IS IMPOSSIBLE, and Salvador wouldn’t keep it anyway,” Gala told Mrs. Green, the crinkled-lipped woman who had roused her at ten. It was too early to juggle American dilettantes. The Dali Ball had been tiresome after the first half hour. Dali’s glass case and brassiere, worn on his chest to shock the fawners, would work well with the press, but would soon be followed by a what’s next? from the American public.

“I spoke to him about my nephew. Donald. Bunny Babcock’s son. He’s an artist.”

“I know my husband’s an artist, Madame.” Gala was at the phone about to order breakfast.

“No, Donald’s an artist.” Although just sixteen, he was also a high school graduate and his Uncle Marion’s protégé.  “Senor Dali will remember, I’m sure…”

It’s clear why time melts under the persistence of memory. Americans seemed to have infinite recall capabilities no matter how much gin they consumed, and their persistence jellied the nerves. “Could you bring tres huevos and toast?” she said into the phone, and gave Mrs. Green a nod. “Perhaps this afternoon.”

Mrs. Green hoisted a brown leather portfolio case in front of her. “Donald gave me this. He’s says they’re his best portraits. You could tell me if Dali would be interested in them.”

The woman in the crepe dress and open-toed shoes was giving her a way out. She’d take a quick look and deliver a swift dissuasion. “All right.” Gala removed the white porcelain vase stuffed with orange and yellow gladiolas from the table and set the case on it, untied the laces and peeled back one side. She turned the separators slowly, as though reading a manuscript, feeling Mrs. Green’s expectation at her back.  “Have you seen your nephew’s portraits, Madame? They’re all pudenda.”

Continue reading “The Root of Everything Arty” – Fiction by Jenean McBrearty

Welcome To The FLAPPERHOUSE

Drum Tissue Outburst? Throbbing Dust Generation!

Dorothy Parker, Jorge Luis Borges, and HP Lovecraft walk into a speakeasy. Louis Armstrong sings “St. James Infirmary Blues” over a rusty phonograph. Behind the bar, Salvador Dalí pours absinthe into a hubcap full of peanut butter and raw macaroni, and he stirs the mixture with the antler of a live moose.

“Four martinis, Sally,” says Parker. “Plus whatever the boys want.”

Borges excuses himself to the basement in search of the restroom. He must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere because before long he’s lost himself in an infinite labyrinth full of shelves with mirror-spined books. He starts to imagine what stories these books contain, and how he might review them.

Back upstairs, Josephine Baker dances in sensual ecstasy on Fritz Lang’s table while he peeks at her sideways through his monocle and pretends he’s not aroused. René Magritte paints himself painting them both through a castle’s window. Apples hover before their faces.

The ghost of Franz Kafka’s in a corner, leaning sharply against the wall.  Lovecraft spots him and approaches, timid yet determined, as if helpless to confront his most horrifying fear. ”What’s it like?” Lovecraft asks, referring to death. Kafka’s ghost replies only with facial expressions: First with what seems like laughter, then a grimace like he might cry instead, and finally he shakes his head to say no, I really shouldn’t tell you, no. Lovecraft sits and stares at the floor for a while.

We are neither living nor dead!” shouts TS Eliot, raising a glass of gin. “And we know nothing, looking into the heart of light, the silence!

Parker’s sipping her second drink when she finally notices the ants crawling from the stem of her martini glass and onto her hand. Fucking Dalí, she thinks, as she swats and squashes as many bugs as she can. Kafka’s ghost can hear their screams.

She holds her cameraphone in front of her face: bemused, rankled, heartsick, yet almost drunk enough to be tickled by it all. Once she’s got enough good madness framed in the background, she sips, clicks a picture, and posts it to Instagram, caption, “Just another night at the Flapperhouse… #thirsty”