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American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
01-01-2015
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
01-11-2014
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
01-04-2014
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2014
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
10-01-2013
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
07-01-2013
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
04-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
10-01-2012
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-07-2012
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-04-2012
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
01-01-2012
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
01-10-2011
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
01-07-2011
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
01-04-2011
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
01-01-2011
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
10-01-2010
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
07-01-2010
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
04-01-2010
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
01-01-2010
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
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The Shadow - Part 1

By Zdravka Evtimova

"Of course, it is for you, Sophie," Antonia said. "I envy you. There’s something really sweet about that letter." She picked up the sheaf of white sheets covered with Andrey’s sprawling sentences. "I saw that he had drawn you in ink. However, I can’t explain the fact that in his drawings, your stomach is severed from your body. In fact, I have to confess I envy you your stomach. It’s so smooth. It that’s the kind of thing that turns me on. It turns Andrey on as well, I guess. I ordered the nurse to hang your portrait above his bed."

At that moment, Antonia’s face looked as thin as a knife; her eyes cut, too, but the most dangerous thing was that her beautifully manicured forefinger touched her chin. That was a bad sign. Soon after that, a nurse, a post-graduate student or a doctor from the ward was hauled over the coals for virtually nothing at all. The personnel swore to God they’d leave that hole where Antonia Tomova’s whims were the law. It was not so much the words she uttered that insulted you; it was her eyes that read your thoughts. But she had never given me a piece of her mind. I suspected not only my colleagues but also the doctors in the other wards of the clinic hated me for that.

snake temple

When I entered her office she often said, "You are beautiful, Sophie." Then she slowly examined every inch of me. I felt embarrassed and panicky, and after her eyes left my face I thought her words were meant to give me a headache. Of course, I could go to Andrey, one of the inmates, and tell him about my childhood. That sort of thing steadied my nerves.

"You are very pretty," Antonia’s manicured fingers told me. Her manicured hands could talk: they pointed to the chair opposite her on which I had to sit. Her eyes were on my face all the time, giving me a splitting headache. Sometimes she touched my shadow. You couldn’t imagine what it was like to see the owner of the clinic, a renowned psychiatrist, touch your shadow, her fingers pausing on your neck then slithering down your back. She touched the shadow of my hands for a long time. If I attempted to hide them behind my back, or if my shadow trembled, Antonia ran a temperature. An hour after that meeting, she pinned my portrait to the wall above the beds of the inmates. She usually chose patients whose diagnoses we had not yet established. Antonia was convinced that my portrait, in combination with peptidine treatment, alleviated psychiatric disorders.

"Your eyes are your most striking feature," she said. "You look like an early Christian martyr or…or like a movie star."

Every now and then she asked me to dye my hair, so in the colored pictures I had posed for – most of them hanging above the beds of the inmates - my hair had numerous tints: from platinum blond and copper to raven black. I felt I didn’t belong here. The clinic in Pernik gave me the creeps, and it scared me to think I was alone in the building with the chief psychiatrist, Doctor Antonia Tomova. Antonia and I studied medicine together, then both of us specialized in psychiatry. She was a brilliant scientist, and that was exactly the thing one should expect: she was born into a family of psychiatry professors, European scholars of international repute. Antonia was exceptional during the years of study at the university: she did well on all her exams, and she was a born researcher. I wasn’t. Not by a long shot!

"But you are very pretty, Sophie," Antonia had always said.

When she felt jittery before doing something, she asked me to look at her face. She never suffered from exam nerves, but before sitting for an exam she pleaded with me to stay in her room. My face of a martyr calmed her down and helped her to concentrate, she said. I watched her work for hours. She paid me to do that. Antonia made the discovery that peptidine influenced reversion complaint after she touched my shadow for the first time.

I was a mediocre student. I flunked anatomy, biochemistry, physics and pathology, and I was aware that if Antonia had not asked me to work in her clinic, I would have become a general practitioner in the backwoods. There people died at an advanced age, and all serious cases received hospital treatment in the county towns.

"You are so conservative," Antonia told me one day. "You’ll never do it with me. If I undergo a sex change operation, will you marry me?"

"Of course not," I had answered expecting to be dismissed from my job on the spot. "You know I live with Ivan."

Ivan was a mining engineer. If the man I lived with had been a physician, Antonia would have ruined his career for sure. He wouldn’t be able to become a GP even in a rural backwater where people died of old age, and children had a sore throat once every two years. Antonia would see to that. Ivan had worked for a private coalmining company for a year, and yet Antonia had managed to persuade his boss to give him the sack. For the time being, he was unemployed. In the evenings, Ivan waited for me, smoking in his old Peugeot in front of the clinic. Antonia said she broke out in an itchy rash every time she saw his car. Her flat tone of voice hated him.

Her manicured fingers often ordered me to sit down opposite her. She examined my face, my neck then she asked me to rise to my feet. Then she touched my shadow: my head, my back my knees. Her fingers remained on the shadow of my hands for a long time. She watched my every movement. If I trembled or jerked, she looked up, tears welling up in her eyes.

"Go to Andrey’s room," she said after she wiped her face.

Andrey had the strangest habit: he cut my enormous portraits, which Antonia left on his bedside table, into exactly one hundred pieces. She had given him a silver pair of scissors to work with. Andrey chopped and hacked my painted face into one hundred ragged fragments which he stored in shoeboxes. Andrey had a passion for shoes - he had twenty-five pairs of them. He put on brown shoes when he was angry with me, black ones when he was happy, and white ones when he felt like cutting my portrait into one hundred scraps. When Antonia sent me to his room, he took out one of his shoeboxes and asked me to give it a good shake.

"Wait and see what’ll do," he said, then started putting my face together. He worked slowly, and it usually took him a week to finish. He wore his best black Versace shoes, smiling all the time. He didn’t take off his shoes when he slept at night or even when he had a bath in the morning. My colleagues told me that when I took a month’s paid leave Andrey was seized with a fit. He tried to stab Antonia with the silver pair of scissors she had given him, and he got into a fight with a hospital attendant. The crisis passed after he swallowed one by one all the hundred scraps of my face. Antonia gave him a peptidine injection and a lot of mineral water. It kept him calm for an hour then he cut another portrait into a hundred pieces of ugly ragged shapes and asked one of the nurses to do the jigsaw puzzle on his chest. The nurse’s efforts ended in failure, and Andrey went on the rampage again. It was Antonia who coped with his violent outburst. She sat on his bed, showed him the pieces of painted paper and repeated, "Can you see how pretty she is?"