New Fiction: Phone Memoirs by Arthur Crooner
Read it: http://theneweryork.com/phone-memoirs-arthur-crooner/
New Fiction: Goody Gum Drop by Johanna DeBiase
Mama never let me eat candy or watch TV or stay inside on sunny days or have plastic toys. She fed me with veggies and books. But Mama said my little brother was born with a sweet tooth. He only had a few teeth and they all looked the same to me, but Mama said it was the kind you couldn’t see. When she let him crawl, he always found old wads of gum to swallow and candy wrappers to lick. She held him on her lap, but he grabbed at passing lollipops and one time, he ate Mama’s tube of lip gloss, the one that smelled like chocolate strawberry. She tried to keep him from candy by giving him fruit, but he refused it, turning his head, messing his face yellow with bananas.
“Mama,” I asked, “Why don’t you let Mustard Seed have candy?”
“Because sugar is bad for you.”
“Lots of reasons.”
“It gives you cavities, causes you to gain weight, makes you sick.”
“Because it suppresses your immune system and causes your insulin levels to rise.”
“Enough, Jitter Bug.”
I didn’t feel like I got a good answer. That’s why when I got candy from Grandma for Easter, instead of handing it over to Mama like I usually did, I hid it under my bed.
Mama never left me alone with Mustard Seed after that one time she caught me holding a pillow over his head. I told her I was only trying to stop his crying, which was exactly true. She looked at me strange for a long time. Mustard Seed slept in her room and I slept alone. I listened to her lullabies outside the door.
One day, Mama must have forgotten because she went outside to garden and left me alone with Mustard Seed. I let him have some of my Easter candy.
He was so happy that I had to laugh. His face was covered in sticky rainbows. But when I tried to take it away from him, he cried. So, I let him have some more. He ate and ate, even after he stopped smiling. When he floated up off the ground like a helium balloon and out the window and into the big blue sky, I thought of calling Mama, but I didn’t want to get in trouble again. Instead I just watched him disappear into a big fluffy cloud.
I knew then that Mama was right. Sugar was bad. When Mama asked where he was, I told her I didn’t know, which was exactly true.
The flipbook version of Small Creature / Wide Field by John Mortara has arrived!
It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Get’em while they last: https://theneweryork.com/shop/product/small-creatures-wide-field-john-mortara/
New Fiction: Dry Cleaner Shrink by Jane Goodwin
Note: This is an excerpt from a novel of the same name.
SARAH, age 46-52, gives friendly greeting even though no positive reception given by researcher. Researcher purposefully gives negative reaction to measure whether subject’s cheery disposition is situational or a consistent trait. Three efforts are made to turn interaction unpleasant. Sarah remains cheerful indicating it is not external stimulus that affects her. Researcher surmises she has been involved or is involved in abusive relationship.
Test given at 6:42 pm. Subject asked to draw a person.
Subject draws: A woman with no neck.
Researcher’s thoughts: Subject was not aware that she didn’t include a neck: she added a necklace to the drawn woman’s outfit. This points to history of assault involving either attempted strangulation or a method of restraint involving subject’s neck. Researcher notes that subject is wearing three necklaces and speculates this, as well as cheerful disposition not correlating with situation, is a defensive manoeuvre.
Researcher recommends: The adoption of a cat or dog from local shelter.
Follow-up consult: Subject arrives with large grey dog, not a recognizable breed, cheeks red as if been out walking. Subject thanks researcher for his suggestion and invites him to a trip to the dog park on Sunday. This spontaneous invitation of a relatively unknown male to a non-sexual occasion indicates subject’s abuser was a male as she is now trying to gather non-threatening male companions. Researcher declines invitation and notes that subject has no noticeable signs of disappointment (lowered eyes, slower speech.)
BILL, age 51-53, large man, dress shirt, designer glasses with smeared lenses indicates he lives alone. Subject carrying plastic shopping bag. Contents of bag: cayenne pepper, lemons and a bag of regular flavoured potato chips. Presence of cayenne pepper and lemon but no other vegetables and inclusion of junk food points to subject’s desire to improve circulation but not for health benefits. Researcher postulates subject leads a boring life and is aware of it.
Test given at 5:34 pm. Subject given Situation Photo #21.
Subject’s interpretation of photo: Man carrying unopened umbrella has just bought it to pack for a vacation he is taking to Cuba.
Researcher’s thoughts: The unopened umbrella’s connection to something pleasurable like a vacation points to homosexuality of subject. The organization of bringing an umbrella to a sunny destination shows that subject does not have a lot of money. This suggestion contradicts researcher’s earlier observation of expensive eyewear. However subject’s use of plastic shopping bag as opposed to pre-meditative canvas shopping bag implies that subject is an impulse shopper with multiple credit cards.
Researcher recommends: Developing Saturday night routine of going dancing. Researcher states this will help improve subject’s circulation.
Follow-up consult: Subject has not gone dancing, but has bought himself a new briefcase. Researcher researched cost of briefcase and found that, without taxes, the cost was $2,500. Researcher infers that subject gave dancing on Saturday nights serious thought but self-diagnosed he was not stylish enough and is now in serious debt.
EDITH, age 82-84, suffers horrible eyesight. Subject squinted until she was a couple feet from researcher and only then did eyes relax to normal position. Researcher asked why she wasn’t wearing glasses. Subject responded that she had lost them. Subject continuously touched forehead and temples during interaction indicating headache, a symptom of squinting for long periods of time. Researcher surmises that subject lives alone and in light of her pastel floral patterned shirt which is in good condition but more suited for summer months, subject’s children have not visited her for at least five months. Evidence of children gathered by fond look subject gave two small boys passing by window during interaction.
Test given at 2:13 pm. Subject shown inkblot #7.
Subject sees: Three women jumping off a balcony.
Researcher’s thoughts: This is an unusual answer. Perhaps subject’s odd interpretation of inkblot #7, which is mostly circular in shape, is due to short sightedness. However this hypothesis is not consistent with researcher’s observation of subject during test performance. Subject showed no signs of difficulty in clearly making out inkblot: no repositioning of paper/stance.
Researcher’s recommendations: No clinical recommendations given at this time due to insufficient results from test. Researcher however did recommend subject calling Health Canada to see about assistance in acquiring new pair of glasses.
Follow-up consult: Subject arrived squinting and without new glasses. Wasn’t wearing proper winter coat. Researcher asked about status of new glasses. Subject stated that her daughter would be visiting her soon and would get her the new glasses then. Subject given second inkblot test using inkblot #303. Subject sees: three women jumping off a balcony.
MARION, age 35-38, arrives with heightened eyebrows as if in state of shock or surprise. First words of greeting are “I’m sorry,” a phrase subject said twelve times during interaction for the following reasons:
1) Accidentally flipping corner of carpet up with her foot as she entered.
2) Setting purse down on desk and metal clasp making noise.
3) (To a prosthetic plant) for accidentally brushing it with elbow.
4) Asking the time and then noticing wall clock.
5) Interrupting (although researcher viewed it as a natural segue in conversation).
6) Quickly answering phone call.
7) Quickly answering text message.
8) Asking researcher’s name.
9) Having only credit card and no cash.
10) Dropping receipt.
11) Accidentally walking away with researcher’s pen.
12) Pulling door instead of pushing.
Researcher postulates that subject suffers from extreme guilt due to highly controlled upbringing and a perceived sense of undeserved happiness. Gold “happy face” sticker at hem of subject’s skirt implies small child at home, or subject is a school teacher.
Test given at 9:07 am. Subject given true or false statement: “I enjoy collecting seashells at the seashore.”
Subject answers: False.
Researcher’s thoughts: Subject is chronic over-thinker. Particular statement was designed to induce positive response due to free association in test-takers mind of statement’s close phrasing to nursery rhyme. Test-taker subconsciously thinks “isn’t this from a nursery rhyme?” leading to a “true” response not relating to their enjoyment of collecting shells. Subject clearly has fear of impulsive responses which is evident as well in tightness of belt and wristwatch.
Researcher recommends: Fifteen minutes daily of guided meditation.
Follow-up consult: Meditation CD purchased by subject broken in half by three-year-old son shortly after opening. Researcher asked if this event occurred during meditation. Subject answered that it had not. Researcher asked if subject had listened to CD prior to its destruction. Subject answered that she had not indicating conscientious traits such as sense of duty and follow-through but also an inability to help herself. Subject apologized twice for broken CD.
DINA, age 26-29, pleasant demeanour to man wearing London Fog coat exiting as subject entered but contradicting condescending attitude towards researcher who was wearing no noticeable brands indicates authoritarian personality. Subject patted pocket five times during interaction pointing to a highly superstitious but not well organized nature. Price inquiry with look of suspicion (narrowed eyes, aggressive stance) leads researcher to believe subject is cheap. Subject stood with one leg in front of other indicating need to use washroom. Subject’s obvious refusal to use public washroom signifies conspiracy theorist leanings.
Test given at 4:06 pm. Subject asked to interpret Situational Photo #33.
Subject’s interpretation: Before giving answer subject asked where photograph was taken. Researcher replied that the location was of no importance but to focus on situation. Subject insisted on being told at least a country. Researcher stated that the photo was taken in Canada to avoid further conflict. Subject stated that dog tied to park bench had a bomb in its belly. Researcher asked how subject’s interpretation would have differed if she had been told photo was taken in England. Subject studied photo again and said dog was waiting for owner who had gone into a shop just out of view to purchase a muffin.
Researcher’s thoughts: Differing interpretations based on countries as well as second button from top on subject’s exposed cardigan being mismatched points to a highly idealized remembrance of past. Addition of an unseen muffin indicates subject is dieting.
Researcher recommends: Beginning a craft or outdoor project that involves a heavy use of the hands.
Follow-up consult: Subject has not begun hands-on project but instead has come up with method to re-organize items behind researcher’s desk. Subject initially attempted to verbally explain new organization system but resorted to drawing diagram when researcher confessed confusion. Subject has messy handwriting, indication of low follow-through. To end subject’s repeated refrain of reassurance regarding efficiency of new system, researcher agreed to heed drawn diagram. Given subject’s nature it is unlikely that she will notice her advice has not been taken upon next interaction.
Kind of want that hat.
New Fiction: Thirteen Adoption Stories by Ann Epstein
Read it: http://theneweryork.com/thirteen-adoption-stories-ann-epstein/
New Fiction: The Hummingbird Murder by Shelly Weathers
Everyone asks for an explanation, but all I have is hummingbirds.
Their diminutive size, their brilliant feathers, their precise and musical movements mean nothing. They are bullets of rage. They hate each other. They starve each other off feeders, out of flowers, from the crown of a red baseball cap mistaken for a flower.
Why wouldn’t you take the cap off? The sun wasn’t shining. It wasn’t hot. We hadn’t any rain in a year.
Duck, I yelled.
Not this far inland, your brother said, looking up from his hands, into the sky. You listened to him, looked where he looked, though you knew he was high.
One tiny assassin, outracing the others, fighting them off as it aimed for the cap, poked you in your upturned eye. Blood spurted out the way tears should, streaked your face, dotted your shirt. Before you blinked again, the emerald, the ruby throat, the angry Rufus, they all found your ghastly blooms. Maybe they thought you were a hollyhock, a tall stem of drop shaped scarlet cups, inviting a dive.
I felt the breeze of them, heard them collect before you as an, Ah.
Whatever infinitesimal way hummingbirds experience realization will save you, I thought. But at once, they rushed, pinned themselves on your body like corsages, pricking skin, drinking the sweetest ounces of you, which I also have tasted, have tasted but then restored to you, have replenished and swelled through osmosis, corpuscle by sugared corpuscle.
Angrier than all of them together, your voice rose from under their murmuring hunger, saying, I’m dying, I’m dying, it feels like I’m dying.
Oh, no, your brother said. But he was looking at his hands again, at a spot, dark and withered.
for the man who called my poetry “hipster, feminist diarrhea”
You make an appointment with the plastic surgeon. Show up an hour early so you can spend some time thumbing through glossy magazines, deciding what you want to look like next. You’re so tired of being you: your thick nose, and blotchy complexion, and the stomach that won’t stop howling. You decide it’s time to be someone else. Someone that your closest friend’s won’t even recognize.
You sit on the cold examination table, in a papery gown that reminds you of a moth’s wings. You spent a semester capturing them with poison jars, and dissecting their bodies for science. You can relate to the moth sometimes. When you are walking alone down the street and men roll down their windows to shout. When the bar is crowded and there are hands all over your body, so many hands that you can’t tell who they belong to, and some who belong to no one. When people read what you have written and ask you if its true. It couldn’t possibly have happened like that.
The doctor has a commercial smile and a voice like bleach. He crosses his legs and folds his arms and keeps smiling as he asks you what you want done up. You take a list out of your pocket. It unfurls and hits the floor. The doctor’s eyes widen.
-all of your hair shaved off (except for your eyelashes)
-more teeth (at least two hundred should do, placed strategically)
-lips made of gravel
-replace my fingers with knives
-remove my heart altogether
-legs embedded with bits of chainsaw
Stop it, he says, what’s wrong with you, but you keep talking.
-green lasers in my eyes
-pushpins on my toes
-replace all of my blood with wine
He runs from the room, hands over his ears, but you keep talking. The receptionist ushers you out the front door, slamming it behind you, but you keep talking. The car engine roars over you, but you keep talking. The TV set turns up the volume on its own, the news anchor is screaming, but you keep talking. You keep talking. You keep talking, until you are finished.
New Fiction: Riding the Shark by Rebecca Blomberg
Unlike most traditional sitcoms, Full House never jumps the shark. Whereas Fonzie literally jumps a shark, Chrissy gets replaced, Raven Symone and Cousin Oliver join their respective casts, etc., FH’s quality is upheld right through the end of Season 8, which in fact boasts some of the series’ very best moments: The Viper vs. Nelson showdown culminating in the song by Frankie Valli, Jesse’s basketball game with Kareem, and of course, Jesse’s repeated mangling of the Three’s Company theme song for the donkey. The series finale finds Michelle falling off a horse and losing her memory, along with the return of our beloved Steve, reminding us why we loved the show all along. Furthermore, this episode, “Michelle Rides Again,” features Joey and Jesse refusing to dress up in silly costumes to wrestle some Swedes to appease the network, in a self-referential nod to the fact that we’ve ended our journey without ever compromising the show’s artistic integrity.
This is incorrect; by Season 4 you have newly married Jesse and Becky moving into Danny’s attic at the demand of Princess Michelle—an absurd way to uphold the original premise that they all live in the same house. Shark=jumped.
See, I disagree. Season 4 is when FH actually hits its stride. Before then, the humor was a little less wacky, and although there were some early highlights, like the introduction of Walter “Duck Face” Berman, we largely had to suffer through morality plays and ladies’ man, mullet-era Jesse. With the Season 4 advent of more absurd hijinks, the heartwarming material shines in a more realistic, less condescending light. This is where the show finds its voice. Case in point: Jesse’s infamous pre-wedding “tomato country” skydiving incident, complemented by his touching rendition of Forever when he finally makes it to the ceremony. Also see: Danny’s contrasting performances of My Generation and My Girl at DJ’s school fundraiser, the former’s ridiculousness allowing the latter’s emotion to resonate.
No, by Season 4 the characters are behaving childishly to force stupid plot lines, and by the time we reach Season 8, they’re not even realistic human beings anymore. You get such bullshit moments as Danny threatening Ryan with a canned ham for standing up Stephanie and that God awful Vanilla Weasels storyline. A huge departure from the original characters and concept of a nice family banding together to deal with tragedy.
A. It was not a canned ham, it was Spam and B. You’re so wrong, especially Re: Vanilla Weasels. Season 1 Joey, the idiot in the Hawaiian shirt living in Danny’s alcove, was probably more likely to cry over those cookies than any other season’s Joey. And
what about the DJ/Stephanie alliance that really emerges in Season 8? That’s the most touching, realistic character dynamic from the entire show. You have the silly things, like them convincing Michelle she has Smedrick’s Disease so she won’t take their
“Counting Cows” ticket, and then the more serious ones, like everyone’s favorite Very Special Episode (except maybe the one where Kimmy gets drunk) when Deej stops Steph from going on the dangerous car ride. They’re officially friends. This is something I really came to appreciate as my closest in age sister grew up and became my best adult friend, so these episodes really strike a chord and ring true for me. Also, DJ’s looking pretty hot by the time she turns eighteen
Whoa, let’s slow down for a minute and back up. You’re putting words in my mouth. I never said Season 1 Joey wouldn’t care about his Vanilla Weasels, all I said was that the later story lines were contrived and driven by the characters’ stupid behaviors. Do you mean to tell me the man who opened for Wayne Newton, voiced a cartoon dolphin with Frankie and Annette, ran a successful advertising agency, held down jobs as Ranger Joe, Mr. Egghead, a substitute teacher, and a Rush Hour Renegade would actually climb ontoa table in a fancy restaurant to lick some cookie crumbs off a plate? I think not.
Well this IS the same man who bought DJ a stolen car, wasted all that cash he owed Danny in the episode “Mad Money,” and let Steph drive a car through the wall of the kitchen. Not exactly a beacon of responsibility. And let’s not forget the time he brought Michelle and her science club to a bar on Super Bowl Sunday and almost got everyone killed. The Vanilla Weasels seem to be pretty much in character with what we know of the man.
The whole point of the stolen car episode was that Joey wanted to be taken seriously, so you’re contradicting yourself here! Would a man who wanted to be taken seriously climb on a table to lick some crumbs? Really, Marie123?
Even if he wanted to be taken seriously, that episode contains a million examples of his stupid, childish behavior. It’s why after the family lists them all out to exculpate him from the crime that his feelings are hurt, because he’s confronted with all of his immature
tendencies, and he’s embarrassed in front of the lady cop. This is the guy who carries a woodchuck puppet around on his hand and talks to it in public, out of character, not in the context of the Ranger Joe show. He’s a silly guy, deal with it.
Now I feel like I’m being personally attacked. All I said was that the story lines in Season 8 got extra ridiculous, and now I’m being lectured about Mr. Woodchuck?
I’m not lecturing anyone, I’m just pointing out that the tone of the show has long been heightened and that’s where it shines. How Rude!
Yeah, the story of a widower with three motherless daughters is totally goofy…asshole.
this show sux u guys r fagsRead it: http://theneweryork.com/riding-shark-rebecca-blomberg/