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The Big Stupid Review


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
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
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
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
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
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
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
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
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
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
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
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
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
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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Alone, As Always

By Jennifer Gardner

Green Chair by Leonard F. Ashcraft

Friday AM, the day of...

He sleeps beside me, his arm draped over me like a cover on a book. I feel the hair on his arm grazing the bare skin of my stomach which rises with each labored breath I take. A hundred times this has happened exactly this way. I've woken before him, his hot breath billowing against the back of my neck. He is so close to me, so physically close. Yet we are miles apart.

This isolation does strange things to my mind and though I know this, I am no less a victim to my own madness. Danny, especially at singular times in the morning, does not seem to exist. And if he does, he’s a mere ghost of his former self, a holographic sliver of the man I fell in love with.

Always, a hundred times at least, I lay in bed beneath the weight of Danny's possessing arm. I lay in bed and think betraying thoughts, as if to validate my grim reality and justify my future behavior.

But this morning something's different. I can feel the other body in the room. She's a forceful presence, as forceful as I wish I could be. Gazing at me, she knows I'm not asleep, though my eyes are tightly shut. When I open them she is standing near me, staring at me with the way she has of tilting her head back and sizing me up. As if to give me a sort of relevance. As if seeing me is the proof I need to know I exist.

She bends down to whisper something in my ear.

She’s oblivious to my nudity. The backs of her fingernails brush my chin. I'm strangely aroused.

"We need to do it now," is what she whispers.

Her warm breath reminds me of her faint touch, her words tiny breezes on the arm draped over me. Can he feel her? Before the sentence is punctuated in my head, she's gone.

Danny shifts beside me. "Honey," he says, rubbing his eyes. "What time is it?"

"It's dawn," I tell him but I can't be sure myself.

"Shit," he says, because he has to get up, and rolling off his side of the bed he stretches and yawns. I continue lying there, staring hard at the empty doorway like she were still there. "You getting up?" he asks, running his fingers through his hair. Danny doesn't wait for me to answer. He walks around to my side of the bed and leans down to kiss me on the cheek. Pausing slightly, with a look of pity in his eyes, he adds, "Make me breakfast, baby." And with a slap of my thigh he heads for the shower.

Sunday AM, five days before...

Angels by Leonard F. Ashcraft

I was in the garden when she drove up in a white convertible, wearing dark shades to match her hair.

"Excuse me," she called, but I knew she was the type who never needed excusing. "Is this Hickory Street?"

I shook the dirt from my hands. "No," with a quiver in my voice, like a child in front of the classroom called on by the teacher to answer a question. "This is Maple Lane. You want the next street over." I pointed with a dirty finger.

"Next street?"

"Yes," but was really saying Please don't go.

She didn’t listen. Within moments she was gone.

Like she was never there at all.

Monday PM, four days before...

A cold autumn night and I curled under a blanket in my favorite chair with a book when the doorbell rang. My heart dropped. The doorbell wouldn't normally evoke such unease but I was alone. I crept to the door and spied out the peep hole.

"Who is it?" I asked but didn't need to. I recognized her instantly.

I also recognized her voice when it rang out. "We met yesterday. You gave me directions. Remember?"

How could I forget? I opened the door, but only a little. "I remember," I said, my words peeking out of me as shyly as I peeked out from behind the door. "Are you lost again?" Such a stupid thing to say I thought only moments after saying it.

"Always." She smiled at me and laughed a little. "Actually I just wanted to say thank you. I was late yesterday and rudely sped off without thanking you."

"It's easy to get lost around here. I'm just happy I could help. I'm Vicki, by the way." I reached out, almost hungrily, and she held out her hand to me.

"Stella." Our fingers fumbled in the partially open door and then pulled away too soon. "Well, I should be going. Have to be in Chicago by morning."

Such a mystery, she was. What awaited her on Hickory Street yesterday and Chicago tomorrow morning?

"Are you sure? Why don’t you come in and have some coffee? You'll need the caffeine. You'll be driving all night." I opened the door.

She stepped into my life.

Eggs by Leonard F. Ashcraft

"You have a beautiful place," she said as might a burglar. I pointed to the couch and headed for the kitchen. She appeared comfortable when I returned armed with two cups of coffee, seated with legs separated just enough for me to notice. "I interrupted your reading," she said glancing at my blanket and book near the fireplace.

"Oh no. I kept reading the same page over and over anyway." When I handed her the coffee, our hands briefly touched, the cold of our skin contrasting with the warm mugs. "Cream or sugar, Stella?" It was the first time I'd said her name and I saw her smile when it rolled off my tongue. She shook her head and I took a seat beside her.

"Do you live alone, Vicki?" She spoke my name as if to repay the favor.

"No. My husband Danny, he's in Minnesota on business."

The danger of allowing a stranger into my home and telling her I was alone aroused me. I didn't fear her, but she made me uncomfortable. She touched my hand holding my coffee. "You don't wear a ring," She gazed deeply into me, not in distrust, but in curiosity. Her dark eyes seemed to penetrate my soul and I worried she could see my thoughts and read everything I imagined letting her do to me.

"I don't wear it at night," I told her, which was true. My wedding ring was on the table near my bed, in my empty bedroom. "I started taking it off at night when Danny wanted to pretend to be with another woman."

She rolled her eyes. "Does he wear his?"

I tried to think of Danny. Where was he now? Really on business? Or in a hotel wearing nothing but his wedding ring, beside a woman wearing not even that much?

My silence was answer enough.

An awkward pause followed; we fondled our cups.

"May I use your bathroom?" she asked, breaking the silence.

"Of course. End of the hall."

She stood and languidly walked out of my sight, my eyes fastened to her every move.

I must be crazy, I told myself, thinking about her as I was. I have to be severely out of my mind.

I went on thinking it anyway.

Minutes passed and she didn't return. I began to doubt her existence. Did I dream her up? I waited until I couldn't wait any longer and walked down the hallway looking after her. On my way to the bathroom I passed the open bedroom door. I always kept it closed but Danny must've left it open before leaving for Minnesota. Leaning in and reaching for the doorknob, I noticed Stella standing near my bed, gazing at a photograph on my night table.

I cleared my throat to announce my presence.

Something fell from her hands and clanged on the floor.

Embarrassed, she struggled with an apology as I walked in behind her. "I'm sorry. Your door was open and I... I was being nosy."

I didn't respond, not quite sure if I felt violated or seductively probed.

"Is this uh..." she looked to the framed picture by the bed.

"Danny, yes."

Her fingertips traced the image of his face. "He's handsome," she said, and turned her attention to me. "And lucky."

Flattered and uneasy with her compliment, I looked to the floor for something to break our gaze. The shine of my wedding ring sparkled up at me from beneath the night stand. I bent down to pick it up, but couldn't quite reach far enough under the table. "Here, let me," Stella said, lowering to her knees as her slender fingers danced over the dusty floor. When she handed me the ring, our fingers touched, longer this time.

"Thank you," I said, looking directly at her. She didn't let go of the ring right away, so as to prolong our closeness.

"You're welcome." And with her words, and the gaze of her dark brown eyes, I was locked to her.

Locked willingly with her.

Our lips had nowhere else to go.

They closed in together.