New Fiction: Doppelganger by Bernard O’Rourke
You are male, white, single, and there’s two of you. There’s the you you know, the you you can smell and touch and see in the mirror, and then there’s the other you. The you you only know from the spoor of abusive forum posts that appear under your username on sites you never signed up for. Posts you know you would never ever write.
You are male, white, straight, middle-class, graduated from college but unemployed, and there’s two of you. The you you know first found the other you on Reddit. He’d taken your username from Twitter and opened an account. He shared a YouTube link to a no-budget short film you’d directed, claiming it as his own. When somebody told you that you didn’t know shit about grading, that the white balance was all over the fucking place, his response was petulant. Get back to the circle-jerk in the film-school canteen you pretentious asshat, that sort of thing. Words you would never say, signed by a name that was yours.
You are male, white, intelligent (Mensa member five years) but unfulfilled, never once been in a fight, and there’s two of you. The other you took to Instagram in your name and stared posting revenge porn he’d dug out from some lawless territory of the internet; all pale bodies posing awkwardly in dark bedrooms, hunched shoulders and sucked in bellies, heads sliced out of the frame. He was on there for three days before he got taken down, but that was long enough for your friends to see and start to wonder.
You are male, white, have no girlfriend, suffer occasionally from mild symptoms of depression, and there’s two of you. Since you know nothing of the other you but his online affronts against gentler sensibilities, you are forced to give him a personality that reflects your own when you picture him in your mind. You spend too much time online, harbour misanthropic tendencies, have more than once had sexual fantasies about the girlfriends of friends. You think things you would never say, imagine doing things you would never do.
You are male, white, well-read but inexperienced, above average intelligence but naive, top of your class but unable to drive a car, and there’s two of you. There’s two of you and you wonder why. Why he leaves comments on photos of women you know telling them that he will break them in like never before, that his cock is the answer to all of their prayers. Why he calls the best friends standing beside these same women fat and disgusting, and asks them how the fuck they can allow themselves to go out in public looking like that. Why he chose you, or if there was even any element of choice at all. You wonder if perhaps all of this was somehow inevitable, that this other you is something you created, a consequence of your actions, a caustic by-product gathering unseen in filthy globs behind you; a slug-trail residue, translucent and voiceless but internally bleeding hatred for years and years while you plough forward through a life you hate and keep on creating moreRead it: http://theneweryork.com/doppelganger-bernard-orourke/
josh hi! im on drugs right now im doing so great
put me on the mailing list im so down
im down to come obv! thanks so much
writing this whole email is very difficult lol laughing a lot
oh wow the book festival i completely forgot about that will try to make it to that too
laughing right now also yeah im not together with kelsea it was a very emotional and public break up lmao i had a complete breakdown on facebook actually lol laughing
how long are you in town around then? im doing a reading/event thing on the 19th in the lower east side
im trying to make readings not boring as best as i can
i kind of hate like planning all of it i dont think im going to do it again lol
i have zachery german reading i think + my friends lol
also im like idk some other dude is organizing a lot of stuff now with it so theres going to be artwork and music i think
idk im supposed to make the event page right now
will invite u to it lol
this email is awful i feel like every correspondence i have with u is v embarrassing on my part lol
Submit your weird work to a lit rag: The Birds We Piled Loosely
A LIT RAG DEDICATION TO POETRY, FLASH FICTION/NONFICTION, AND WHATEVER ELSE IMPRESSES US
Since this is a quarterly magazine, our submission periods are for four months out of the year. We accept submissions in August, October, January, and April (Subject to change). Please follow submission guidelines, any piece that does not will be rejected outright. We will be flexible with…
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New Fiction: CloneTense by Ryan Nyburg
I cloned myself and then killed my clone for the experience of killing myself and then I cloned myself again so I could discuss the act of killing myself with myself but my clone was horrified at what I had done and killed me for fear I would kill him as well and then he cloned himself to have someone to help him dispose of the body and together they devoured me and buried the bones and were held together by this dark secret that tore their conscience apart, so to assuage their guilt they cloned themselves over and over hoping to disappear in a crowd of replicating identities, losing each other in a seething mass of personalities and soon a small society of clones was formed from this seed of madness, all of them experiencing themselves subjectively but holding that initial first imprint of the same mind and finding themselves connected and thinking of themselves as one personality, together aiming to experience the entire vastness of this one soul, willingly submitting to pain and dominance, murder and betrayal, pleasure and love, violence and forgiveness, exploring the outer-reaches of their capabilities with a tacit agreement to indulge any whim, give in to any craving, give their devalued life, always ready to be replaced by another, over to the ongoing investigation of experience, to lose oneself totally to this project as the original guilt of the original act was erased in a teeming mass of occurrence, the cloning continuing on and on until we were a vast landscape of genetic repetition and communication between us all was impossible and we split apart and diversified and formed new societies and religions and cultures and this itself was a further investigation into pure experience, and we held wars to see what they were like and we founded kingdoms to know the limits of servitude and dominance and we held inquisitions to test the boundaries of our spiritual commitments to the gods we saw in the blackness of the empty sky and in the face we all shared and we had some who chose to maintain a pure presence so as to never be distinguishable from one another and others who chose a radical individualism and found unique ways to tear my face apart, always the same face though and there was only so much variation one could explore and there were always more, always more, always more they never seemed to cease and soon it came about that a new experience was to be had when the devices for creating the clones were smashed by those who no longer wished to see themselves recreated anew over and over again and wished for this life to be truly unique and hoped that it would make it precious and bring forth a new era of love and understanding while we grew old together and eventually withered away, but that seed of guilt and madness still remained and the thrill of killing and knowing it was no longer a temporary respite for an endlessly renewed form, but rather the final gasps of a true individual who could not be replaced, proved to be addictive to many and our nations withered and warred and destroyed, hoping to hold what they had gained for themselves and slowly we tore ourselves to pieces until we were just a crowd and some chose to die by their own hands and some chose to reach for even further heights of violent depravity and soon we were but one, a single survivor looking over fields of dead, a landscape of himself destroyed in every conceivable way and here I shall lay and await the deluge.Read it: http://theneweryork.com/clonetense-ryan-nyburg/
New Fiction: Pie by Mark Sutz
It took Harold’s parents (Dad: Max, barrel-bellied, hairy; Mom: Francie, prone to crying, pigeon-toed, superior pie-maker) a year of Harold pleading, moaning (through his jiggly, birthmarked head that he should be the babysitter for the newest member of the family (Josephine: two-years, four-months old, intelligible in patches, lover of blueberry pies and folded circles of bologna) before they gave into his pestering. But for the fact that Max and Francie could not cancel their appointment that night (FBI, prearranged, immunity off the table if they didn’t show – the whole thing a sad twenty-year old affair of their youth with lovely memories of their pot-filled Monte Carlo crossing the Mexican border enough times to make their Spanish accentless) and their babysitter came down with a flu, they’d have not let Harold do it. Assured by agents the meeting would take less than an hour and only involve fingering recently-caught perpetrators in photos, not flesh, their blood pressures eased and their breaths loosened to normal.
Fourteen minutes after they left, Harold (eight and dim) had suffered thirteen uninterrupted minutes of Josephine crying and didn’t want to know what to say other than, “Pie.” She stopped crying. Harold went into the kitchen, opened the freezer (vanilla ice cream), pulled fresh cherry pie off the counter, opened the hot dishwasher and made two lovely plates of slice and ice and yelled, “PIE” into the living room where Josephine was watching cartoons and smiling, awash in her life’s first successful cry-hostage with her brother. She ran into the kitchen and around the open door of the dishwashing machine. Harold handed her a cherry pie and vanilla and she said, through tears, of course, loudly, I WANT BLUEBERRY, I WANT BLUEBERRY, until he pushed Josephine hard and said STOP and she fell backwards onto an upturned knife in the utensil holder of the dishwasher and stopped crying. Stopped everything. Harold dropped his slice and ice on the floor. She was tiny enough to roll into the machine, just a foot dangling out when he closed the door almost completely. He pushed her foot in, sealed the latch and wiped up the pie and ice cream from the kitchen floor.Read it: http://theneweryork.com/pie-mark-sutz/
New Fiction: Reviews of Books Received from Lovers by Liam Kruger
The Stone Raft by Jose Saramago
You were new to the city, and a friend of mine asked me to show you around town. She was so smitten with you it hadn’t occurred to her that she was setting us up; I was twenty and an idiot, so it didn’t occur to me either, until we were back in my shitty apartment after touring some central bars, and you’d scooted across the floor to sit at my feet. You came very quickly; I came not at all. Later, in your diary, I would learn that you were indifferent to the sex but liked kissing in my kitchen. I would see you in the city once or twice afterwards, unsure of how to interpret your pained smile, and then not at all.
Random House, 1994, 272 pages
Third Factory by Viktor Shklovsky
The next morning, looking out over the corner of your city and smoking a thick, anise-sweet Indonesian cigarette, you mentioned having a handful of copies of this thing hidden around your apartment, so you could hand them out to good people without worrying about not having an edition to hand; I was too tired to make a joke about a sex-based lending library, for which I would later be grateful, when I read the book and discovered that it, and by extension you, went way above my head. Your voice, normally deep, became girlish, shed a decade, when you ground against me in your cotton underwear, and your DVD of The Third Man played in the background.
Dalkey Archive Press, 1977, 106 pages
Spanish Short Stories: Cuentos En Espanol (New Penguin Parallel Text Series) edited by John R. King
Years before I had fumbled the end of a flirty evening with you by making a slightly drunk, slightly awful comment about a former boyfriend of yours; you got up off my lap and walked off into the woods, and left the continent soon after. So I was moderately surprised to find in my bed, in this city, in the country, waiting for news of a hip operation. Surprised, too, at how limber you were. When next I saw you, you were getting rid of your old stuff, told me I should get another language, and threw this at me.
Penguin, 1999, 256 pages
Letters To A Yong Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, with an introduction by Lewis Hyde
You were back from London for a little while, and we had gotten drunk about it. You had convinced me – without much difficulty -that we should break into your little sister’s school and find the swimming pools. You stripped, which told me that it was probably okay if I stripped too, and we got through maybe one length of the thing before your improbable mouth was against mine, and you were whispering between breaths “this was bound to happen.” Already I knew that I was too drunk to make all of this that it could be; it was with some small regret that I pushed you back against the wall of the changing rooms and kneeled. We stopped when your father called; our clothes found their way back onto our bodies, and I walked with you for a block. We kissed, and you tasted chlorine and your own sex, and remarked upon it. I think I left my underwear at your sister’s school.
Penguin, 2013, 112 pagesRead it: http://theneweryork.com/reviews-of-books-received-from-lovers-liam-kruger/
Porn is Much Less Stressful by Steven Rineer is now available as a poster (designed by nilsjawa).
New Fiction: The Slave by Julia Long
Nate was looking at pornography on the computer. The girl in the photos had hair down to her ass and an awesome squiggly body type. There was enough variety:
At the top of the page it said AMBER’S PLAYHOUSE in a glittery hot pink font.
Lamb let himself in and found Nate in the basement. Lamb was Nate’s friend. “This is my cousin,” said Nate. Amber was not Nate’s cousin. Nate was showing Lamb a video of Amber roleplaying with a man. “He’s going to pretend to be a chiropractor now,” said Nate. The man in the video pretended to be a chiropractor. “He’s going to nut on her face,” said Nate. The man ejaculated on Amber’s face. Nate said “Got damnnn” and Lamb had no opinion about the video. Lamb was fantasizing.
He was thinking about a sandwich:
He’d eat the whole thing in one bite.
“It turns POV now, it’s good,” said Nate and Lamb had no opinion. “Oh hell yeah,” Lamb said on autopilot. Nate’s sister/housemate Stephanie came downstairs too. She was all wet from the shower, wearing a towel. Everyone said hi.
“My friend got in a car accident,” said Stephanie, “she’s okay but she crashed her car into a utility pole. People’s power went out.” Lamb felt normal. “Should we order pizza?” said Stephanie. Pizza. Lamb’s head became sick with dirty images of ribbed to-go boxes, blushing pepperoni, and gymnast-limber cheese with conscious bubbles. He felt hot. There was no excuse for being hot. They were inside; there was no weather.
“I don’t really care either way,” said Nate. I can’t relate to you, Lamb thought. Stephanie pulled up a chair so she could look at porn too. Everyone started talking about life and what they were doing with it. “I actually got a job at the pub on 5th/Harlow,” said Nate, “I’m gonna be a bartender, I start Tuesday. I thought you need a license to be a bartender but I guess not, which is good since I don’t wanna take all the classes.” “Get paid!” said Lamb. It seemed like the right thing to say. “Those wouldn’t even be hard classes,” said Stephanie, “Try being in real school.” She was in real school. Nate just did what he wanted. Lamb paid rent with money from his dead grandma and savings from high school jobs. He had yet to do a thing. One day he would get paid, one day he would take a class, one day he would make a porno, one day he would do a thing. It all sounded like stuff he could be bad at. Lamb’s chronic leg twitch got really obvious. It was panic attack time. He said he had to go meet Amanda.
Amanda was in her ‘new’ underwear. She was on top of Lamb in bed. “They’re new,” said Amanda. She snapped the thing against her hip. It was the only thing she was wearing. Lamb felt neutral. “All I can say is wow,” he said on autopilot. “I need this us-time right now,” said Amanda, “I just went to my mom’s and met her boyfriend. He was wearing gauchos which just no. Then my mom got mad at me when she caught me in her room looking through the divorce papers.” Lamb couldn’t think of anything more dull in the world. “Sorry baby girl,” he said. Lamb wasn’t sorry about whatever the fuck Amanda said.
Amanda’s breasts were breasts. Her breasts looked like, like, like fruit. Her skin was okay and there and had no effect on the world.
“I want you in my mouth,” said Amanda. It was head time but Lamb felt normal and couldn’t get it up. “Think about me fucking you,” said Amanda, “Think about my asshole.” Lamb started fantasizing:
What was supposed to happen did.
Lamb woke up in the evening (that was normal for him). Amanda was gone. He felt a super kind of relief. Lamb went to the grocery store feeling so high. He had a sense of being outside himself, like it was a video. The door in was automatic. Lamb got a basket. In the nut butter aisle, there were USDA certified organic options as well as MSG-filled generic brands in bulk sizes. Lamb got a 40oz Family Size jar of a brand of peanut butter he knew was MSG-filled and evil. Then he went to the aisle called Snack Time. What’s the most evil thing here? he thought. Hostess Twinkies, he realized, were the most terrible, evil things ever. He put a huge box of Hostess Twinkies in his basket. In the frozen food section he found an evil TV dinner that combined pizza + wings + waffles.
Lamb was a smooth criminal. It was self-checkout time.
By the entrance/exit was a rack for an international newspaper with a cover story on bombings in Syria. Human Rights Watch thought Syria was using barrel bombs. Lamb didn’t know what a barrel bomb was and badly didn’t want to know. He had little to no knowledge and planned on keeping it that way. He didn’t read or watch the news and whatever he learned by accident he made sure he forgot on time to develop zero opinions. Barrel bombs. His black inner place flashed red and he looked away from the papers, the overwhelming world.
He felt like a baby. The door out was automatic.
When Lamb got back to his apt he didn’t take off his shoes, piss, breathe or turn the lights on. He made 100% sure the front door was locked and shut all the blinds. It was like he was about to kill himself. His resting heart rate was maybe concerning. The buzz he had going was so overwhelming he threw his head back. It was like drugs. It was kitchen time. He touched every place on his body and checked the shopping bag for barrel bombs.
He opened the pizza + wings + waffles TV dinner and made a seam in the plastic covering with his little claw. While the thing was heating up for four painstaking minutes, Lamb opened all the Twinkies and mixed them into the Family Size jar of evil brand peanut butter using an egg beater. When the microwave beeped, Lamb smothered the pizza + wings + waffles TV dinner in the peanut butter/Twinkie ‘sauce.’ It was major. It seemed like something he would go to hell for.
The plan was to eat it with his bare hands.
Lamb posted photos of the thing on an online forum for people with similar interests. Lamb’s username on the forum was Saddleup. Fellow member Partingofsensory typed to Saddleup THAT IS SO FUCKING HOT. HOW MANY CALORIES?? PM ME IF U TAKE CLOSEUPS. Saddleup typed to Partingofsensory THX PARTING BUT THIS IS GOING IN MY FACE BEFORE I CAN TAKE ANY MORE PICS LOL. Partingofsensory mostly commented on other people’s stuff but he posted his own pics sometimes too, i.e. a cheeseburger that had drugs in it.
Now it was eat time.
The Twinkie-peanut butter-pizza-wing-waffles were going to be in Lamb’s body. They were gonna go in his mouth and down his throat and through him. Lamb became very excited. This was something.
He felt like a toy.
Read it: http://theneweryork.com/the-slave-julia-long/