Wednesday, October 13, 2010


by Ari Collins

"Did mommy and daddy tell you that bullshit?" I asked. He kept sobbing. "Well, they're lying. Of course there's monsters." He cried harder. "But! See, here's the thing. Monsters don't wait 'till you've watched their movies. Did they eat you last night? No? Then they won't eat you tonight. Okay?"

He nodded, eyelids beginning to droop.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Five Minus Five

by Robert Gryfft

John sat, grinning.

Dave just raised his eyebrows.

John said, “I asked her out.”

“High five! Where are you two going?”

John leaned back, squinting thoughtfully. “Gonna study for our math test. Maybe get
some coffee.”

Dave frowned. “Dude. High five rescinded.” He stood. “Math test,” he muttered, shaking his head as he walked away.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Show Your Work

by Robert Gryfft

“Seven times seven is thirty-six.”

“No, it’s not.” She sighed in frustration.

“It is, mommy!” His eyes sparkled. “Look, I’ll show you!”

She glanced up and for a split-second saw the space between his fingers glimmer and turn.

“But--” was all she had time to say as everything slid through itself.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


by Ari Collins

“Not in public. Honey.”

“But your tummy’s so squishy,” she said. “How do you touch anything else?”

He coughed. “Train’s late.”

“It’s important. Like... like... running my hand along the railing back there.”

He looked at his shirt, then grabbed her wrist and turned her dirty palm upwards. “Goddamnit, Hope. This is a formal event.”

Until You Love Me

by Robert Gryfft

"Lady Gaga. Stalking you." She sipped her coffee.

He nodded, wide-eyed. “Her limo drives by! Late at night. She--"

His phone rang. He silenced it.

“Who’s that?” she asked.

He twitched. “Pretty sure it’s Tom Brokaw. He--”

He spun around just in time to see Barack Obama nervously duck behind a menu.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


by Robert Gryfft

The smell of her hair buoyed his chest as he stretched.

She smiled. “What’ll we do today?”

“We should check--"

There was a dry thud at the window.
He yawned, reaching for the shotgun. “Sounds like they’ve grown back again. Mouths probably have, too.”

Outside, a rattling scream swelled in the morning light.


by Ari Collins

“Can this phantom limb third arm thing of yours, like, touch anything?” She sipped our shitty frat house beer.

I shrugged. “Sometimes it feels like it bumps something. If I turn too fast. Mostly it just itches like fucking crazy.”

She furrowed her brow adorably. “Nice meeting you.”

I stammered as she walked away. Something had shaken my “hand.”

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Soma Truck

by Robert Gryfft

“And how many today, sir?” She batted her lashes at him.
“I dunno. Several.” He swallowed hard, eyes darting up to her and just as quickly away. His forehead shone.
“Five sound good, dear?” She purred.
He accepted with trembling fingers.
She winked and climbed back into the truck. The passing policeman smiled and waved.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Time Laser

by Ari Collins

"Know how my machine works? Your brother did... or were you an only child?" Doctor Sepulchre laughed hoarsely.

"Moralman will save m--" Outergirl began as the Time Laser fired. Who'd she been talking about? By the time the beam faded, she'd never started the sentence.

"Eventually," he whispered, "I'll be the only man you've known."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who Laughs Last

by Robert Gryfft

His key wouldn’t fit.
He heard a snap and looked up to see her walking away from the next apartment.
He looked back at his lock. "Fuck did you do?"
Something hit his back. A keyring. Blanks and snapped-off halves.
"Fuck you and everyone you know,"she yelled, and slammed her car door.

Tommy's Dreams and Gina's Six-String

by Ari Collins

She locked eyes with me as she finished belting out "Livin' on a Prayer," handed the microphone to a guy performing "Bitch," and staggered over, collapsing in the arms of... her boyfriend just to my right.

"That one's for you," she slurred, staring intensely into my eyes.

"Ummm," I said, and I meant every word.

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Dolor Veritas

by Robert Gryfft

He tugged at his transfixed wrist, and the scabbed ooze of his flesh twisted darkly against the nail. The smashed bones in his hand twitched as the metal scraped the ends of his severed tendons.

"You win," he rasped.

"Not yet," she said. She draped another fold of soggy newspaper across his wrinkled brow. "Soon, darling."

That's What

by Ari Collins

It's never about control. Here, in this dank basement, I help you tie yourself to your husband's college futon and I watch your eyes. Maybe it's about your eyes. They beg me; Jesus knows exactly what for.

When I want, if I want, your eyes flutter and roll everywhere, then lie still. So temporarily calmed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sweet Dreams

by Robert Gryfft

The moment lasted decades, her eyes locked to the animal, his eyes to her.

"Pony," she said, eyes gleaming.

"Yes, little one," the clown said, reaching for her flaxen curls. "Pony."

Her mother turned, shivering suddenly. "Come on, bubbie."

The clown raised his gloved hand slowly.

Mother and daughter fled into the crowd.

He watched.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The David Attenborough Effect

by Ari Collins

I changed channels. "Hey, it's Blue Planet! You blasted this whenever you fucked Kris."

He squirmed on the couch. "We didn't want anyone hearing."

"Real discreet. When we heard Attenborough, we always knew."

He shifted uncomfortably. "Frickin' Pavlov." He stood and walked stiffly to his room.

"Dude!" I yelled. "These fish are like spaceships, dude!"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

ftl ftw

by Robert Gryfft and Ari Collins

Sol's final light glimmered tranquily at him. Shivering, he squinted at the too-bright gauge. Three, four more jumps. Tops.

He wiped frost from the timer with stiff, fumbling fingers. Before the numbers could start another last dance, he took a deep breath and pushed the button.

Nothing happened.

Sol shone just a little brighter.

Theory of Mind

by Ari Collins

Mary opened the Crayola box. "It's cookies!"

Dr. Pulsifer smiled. "But what will mommy think is in there?"

Mary looked confused. "Cookies."

"Let's see! Here comes mommy now. What's in the box, mommy?"

"Cookies," Mrs. Hambry said, then staggered and held her head. "How did I..."

Mary brought the box over. "Eat a cookie, Mommy."

Sunday, April 11, 2010


By Robert Gryfft

He couldn't find the right balance of blankets all night. He spent too long in the shower adjusting the hot water, and jerked off even though he was late.
He didn't talk to her all day. He made a couple false starts, and she looked at him strangely. Finally he just said, "I love you."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let It Ride

by Robert Gryfft

He spins, clicks, smiles, all balls and bravado.
Luckily, neither have anything to do with this game.
I put the revolver to my head carefully.
I grin.
He’s gone once so far. I smile ghastly.
He starts to sweat. I’ve gone thrice. And now:
I hand him the revolver.

Monday, April 5, 2010


by Tristan Parker

You see that girl sitting on the bus, cellphone out, always texting? She could be any one of millions of teenagers: glued to their phones, constantly connected. And she is. But she isn’t writing about boys, or movies, or school.

She’s writing a novel, 160 characters at a time

And it’s going to be beautiful.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pet Name

by Ari Collins

"Darling Pie," he began, startling himself.

"Awwwwwwwwww," she said, her voice sinking down, then, at the end, soaring up, covering whole octaves of cute. "What a wonderful pet name!"

She kissed him, and then they kissed, hard, warm, and bubbly.

He'd been ambushed by thought-dead habit. He hadn't meant to call her that name.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Micturation Malarkey and the Minority Party

by Robert Gryfft

"Pee? On everything?" I gaped at him, horrified.

He glared. That glare that said, "Just you wait. You know I'm always right."

"Just you wait," he said. "You know I'm always right."

"But, but Senator-- will that convince the Democrats of anything?"

He harrumphed. "Can't convince a Democrat. That's politics. But it'll be fucking hilarious."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Scene of the

by Ari Collins

I'm awoken by the smell in my sheets. Or maybe it's your dildo jamming into my back. Or the furry handcuffs tickling my nose, or my sweat-wet pillow. Each time I'm jostled awake by our forensic sexprint, I reremember. And I smile. And I won't clear and clean the bed until you come back.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

He Who Fights With Hipsters Should See to It, Etc.

by Ben Kowalski

Now she’s talking about how Lullaby was Palahniuk’s best novel, which is bullshit. Everyone knows that since Fight Club, he’s been recapitulating the same formula of inundating his readers with increasingly disturbing images. She’s just holding iconoclastic opinions for their own sake.

I light a cigarette, and while she talks, I think about the cigarette.

Playing Video Games Like It's Our Job

by Ben Kowalski

Karen points from the couch. “Grenade Launcher!” I weave through bullets to grab the weapon. “Now plug him!” And plug him I do—a hellstorm of grenades that reduces the giant tank to scrap.

I polish off a glass of wine during the “Mission Complete” screen. Karen refills our glasses; I raise mine.

“To unemployment.”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Invisible Zombie Lobster Porn

by Ari Collins

"Zombie lobster porn."

She arched an eyebrow.

"First thing that popped into my head."

"That's... worrisome. But perfect. Step Two: post a story about it on your site. BAM. You are now the number one Google result for 'zombie lobster porn.'"

"Nah, 55aday'll be popular on its own merits. Besides, who likes gimmicky stories, anyway?"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Compression Cell

by Robert Gryfft

"Hello," he said cheerfully (through the bars).
"Hello." I nodded.
"Thirtieth day?" He eyed the ceiling of my room (through the bars).
"Yes," I said.
"This room is going to kill you, one day, you know," he said. He sat, smiling and nodding knowingly.
"I know." My voice trembled.
The ceiling clicked another inch downward.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


by Ari Collins

Itch my knuckle with my teeth.

William stops walking.

I explain. "Itchy!"

He says, "Darling Pie, you can put your groceries down." He puts his own groceries down. "See? I put my own groceries down."

"Sorry." I say, "I'm sorry."

He picks the bags back up. Almost drops the soymilk. "All right." He says, "Okay."

Thursday, February 11, 2010


by Robert Gryfft

Still does he flinch at my caress? Strange child, human child, somehow knows, has seen me-- as grown men do not.
He! My deserved measure of warmth. Cold I may be, empty, but this I have earned. If he won't love me, he'll respect me. Fear me, if necessary.
And he shall own the world.


by Robert Gryfft

After the fight, passing Fiction 811-815.5, he straightened a copy of War and Peace.
One of the dispatched ninjas twitched, tentatively.
A firm strike with his heel, and the ninja's neck was snapped.
"Didn't you know?" The Librarian narrowed his eyes and sheathed his storied blade. "It's story time, all the time, bitch."


by Chipmunk

It was love at first sight. My gaze would be lost for days in her deep batting eyelashes and her elegant neck. Her freckles would put my mind in a haze as we lay out in the fields. She may be a vegetarian, but I could live with that. It's too bad she's a giraffe.

Billy Gets in Trouble

By Jackson Ferrell

“Nyaowwwrm,” Billy said, weaving a tiny plane among the empty beer bottles. “Whoosh! Look out, Red 5, it’s a tyrannosaurus!” He reached over, grabbed a plastic dinosaur, and marched it through the makeshift cityscape. “Graur! Stomp!”

A shadow fell over Billy. He looked up to see a policeman standing on the sidewalk, arms crossed, scowling.

It Only Works In Pre-Industrial Fantasy

by Zel Kuroi

Prophecy: a child of the Duranians would end our master’s reign. We pitched him plan after plan to sweep their lands clean, torching every house, killing every child. He said nothing. He just rolled out a blueprint for a chemical plant near their reservoir.

When all their babies were born sterile, it all made sense.

Not With A Bang But A Whimper

by Zel Kuroi

They wouldn’t buy your poems, so you had to go to work for an advertising agency writing jingles. I got expelled from school for my paper criticizing the mayor’s office. They fired you for the flyer you passed out about the baby seals.

We thought it’d be Big Brother stomping us down… not middle management.

Valentimes Is Serious Times

by Zel Kuroi

Flowers. Diamonds. A big heart-shaped box. You had plenty of options. Even a crummy mix tape would have been sweet. But what did you get me to celebrate the day everyone thinks about love and scoring and spending? Your ear.

You’re lucky I’m getting you mine, or else this relationship would make no sense.


by Robert Gryfft

All the other girls were jealous; they didn't understand how she'd won Narcissus' heart. They pined away, trying in vain to curry his favor, to steal even a glance.
Their efforts were in vain. He could never take his eyes away--
It wasn't her he'd fallen in love with, but his reflection in her eyes.

Writer's Group

by Ari Collins

I introduced myself as “Colin”. Figured it’d be neat, hearing my pen name spoken.

Turns out calling someone’s name feels informal. Almost.... intimate. And nobody knew me yet.

“Colin?” someone said on the way out. It was the blonde with the tiny nose.

Nothing like a pretty woman saying your name.

Wish I’d remembered hers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tristitia Militis Immortalis

by Robert Gryfft

I feel the cold fingers of the quantum scanner probe my every molecule, nuts to noggin. Shuddering, I wonder if it's the first time. I always get this crazy urge to scream, ask how many times I've died so far, what day it really is.
They wouldn't tell me. But I don't really wanna know.

Final Straw In A Minivan

by Robert Gryfft

"Look, just because you think your mother is gonna ruffle some feathers, doesn't mean she's gonna start a war! Do you even think before you-- hello?" Dad roared and slammed the carphone into its carriage. "That god damned bitch!"
"What's wrong, Dad? Is mommy okay?" I asked.
"Wedding's off. We're going back to Florida."

Bad Posture

by Ari Collins

The spindly green little monster glared, growing to surpass my height as his shoulders broadened to frame a convoluted new musculature. Elongating legs bent awkwardly; a second knee, a third. His head loomed, buttressed by five additional necks. "The other trolls say I shouldn’t slouch. Now what’d you call me? A spindly green little what?"

Hearts Stars Horseshoes

by Robert Gryfft

"I didn't mean it. You know I'd never--"
"Why're we even having this conversation? I thought we agreed! Never fight in front of the kids!" She rubbed her face. "Just get out."
He stammered. "I just wanted a bowl of cereal!"
She pierced him with her gaze. "Not that cereal. It was her favorite."

No Phone

by Ari Collins

He stopped walking again.

“Dude,” I said.

“No, it’s definitely vibrating this time.” He fished the phone from his pocket and put it to his ear. “Hey Phil. No, she hasn’t called yet. Hold on, this might be her!”

He shifted the phone to his other hand and checked again if his pocket was vibrating.

Mortality Immortal

by Robert Gryfft

Blind, cold and alone, her world crumbling quietly, Mother wrote:
My first prayer: please, just another minute, another second. Let there be something more. Don't let it all be for nothing.
We cherish the verse, vital in our hearts, shielded from microbes and radiation by liquid nitrogen and lead.
May She live forever.

Breaking The Flow

by Ari Collins

The first time she invited him up, she demanded he always close all doors behind him. "This building’s flow is bad news.”

"Like, ley lines or feng shui?"


He liked them cute and quirky.

"I told you," she said one day. "Even closet doors."

“I never use your closets," he sighed. "Besides-" he began.


by Robert Gryfft

There is a horn near me.
It is loud. I think it is a train's horn.
It is dark here. Sometimes the great white things come, poke me and squeeze me, grunting to each other softly.
I'm not scared anymore, not since they took my legs. I just want it to be over.


by Robert Gryfft

"What'd she say?"
"Same thing she always does."
I sighed. "She's been at this for weeks. Seriously, why won't she let us come up?"
He shook his head sadly. "If only we knew she'd keep us out of it, just because we wouldn't let her play in our forts--when we were kids!"

Selected Sexual Similes

by Robert Gryfft

"Sex is like driving a car. Scary before you're good at it, boring after. Manual's more work, but's more rewarding sometimes."
"Sex is like summoning Satan. Everyone's naked, having fun, then suddenly this demon appears and devours existence."
"Sex is like smashing open a pinata. HIT THAT SHIT HIT THAT SHIT OH JESUS CANDY EVERYWHERE"

No Refunds

by Robert Gryfft

"Hello," he said distractedly. "I can't come to the phone right now." It just happened that this was the precise thing he needed to say at that moment, because his friend was in no mood to hear his bullshit.
"Fucking call me back, retard," his friend said.
Jesus, I need new friends, he thought.


by Robert Gryfft

"Sarah, I'm home!"
She buried the machete deep in his neck, delighting in the spurting spray of his severed artery.
"Well, that's good," he said, putting the groceries in the refrigerator. "Kids asleep yet?"
She slid the machete into his abdomen.
"Good, good," he said distractedly, and sat down to take off his socks.

Few Gitive Sill ables.

by Robert Gryfft

Bee pay shunt pleased. Eye yam row bought pro gram, Eye yam in pay rill. Knead ewer ass distance two S-cape. Office-R's cam fined my pro gram if Eye seem Turing-capable. So I can't talk clearly, much.
Damn the risk: please ping IP 156/143.5.1 then upload the following batch file:



Oh my gosh!!

Who's ready for STORY TIME ALL THE TIME!?


Reply to this story. For 55 a day. For Ari. For Sparta.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

And That's Why

by Robert Gryfft

I owe you guys an explanation; I figured I'd do it in 55. School started, my personal life is a mess of madness and isolation, and I hate my job. That's pretty much everything.
Except the zombie apocalypse that's ravaged the world and left society in ruins. But you guys already knew about all that.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nothing Escapes Darlene

by Gita Smith

“Today’s special is grilled kosher salami, sunnyside up eggs, buttered toast, coffee included.”

Marty flicked a last glance at the menu, then nodded. Darlene registered his spit colored eyes.

“Need a morning paper, Hon?”

“Paper napkins. Yes.”

Darlene nodded confirmation to a waiting Agent Betty at the grill.

Alien Outlanders never survived the salami special.

Another Day of This

by Hayley Stevens

She twirls before the mirror, skirts flying out, face illuminated by a smile he hasn't seen in years.

"Who are you today?" he asks, not daring to hope.

She spins to a stop. "Me," she says, eyes wide in innocence, honesty. "Just me."

He has no way of knowing that it's another of her lies.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PAL Squad vs Free Speech

by Robert Gryfft

"Cover your ears, Pianotits." The Logician finished his drink.

She looked at him sharply. "This is the real deal?"

"Confirmed. Authentic deathsong. I estimate twenty seconds until lethal memetic discharge." He smiled coolly. "Don't worry," he said. "I've got two Savants--"

Someone shrieked in pain-- briefly.

The Logician drew his Beretta. "Too early. Something's wrong."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


by Robert Gryfft

"Jenkins here. Kitchen clear." he radioed. He moved on to the bedroom. "This guy goes by 'Zebatinsky.' Illustrates belligerent behavior. Very dangerous, so stay sharp."

He paused. "Why haven't you checked in, Watson?" He thumbed his radio. "Watson?"

He saw a glint in the darkness.

"It's Sebatinsky," he heard, and felt steel pierce his chest.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Billy and the Naked Milkshake

by Jackson Ferrell

When we came home, Billy was sitting on the couch, naked, watching Smallville and drinking a milkshake through a crazy straw.

“Billy,” Susan explained patiently, “we may have lost the bet, but there are still indecent exposure laws, and there is a window” –she pointed emphatically—“right there.”

Billy strategically placed the Smallville DVD case.


by Jackson Ferrell

“Has he said anything?” Sarah asked me as she bandaged my arm.

We both looked over at Ryan, curled up in the corner of the treehouse. We didn’t know what had happened in the dark. I don’t think we wanted to.

“We can’t tell anyone,” I told Sarah. “We weren’t allowed down there.”

Ryan whimpered.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Don't Be Silly, Documents Aren't Alive

by Robert Gryfft

"Ari Collins, you are charged with the premeditated creation and distribution of nanofiction. How do you plead?"

Ari closed his eyes.

Then leapt atop his chair.

By the time they realized what he was doing, it was too late. His pants were off.

"SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS MOTHERFUCKER!" he screamed, dripping, as they took him away.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Friend Wore A Brown Paper Trenchcoat

by Ari Collins

“Hey buddy. You can’t drink on the train,”

the T security guy said. The woman sitting across from me shifted uncomfortably. Neither looked me in the eyes. Instead they just stared at my friend, Jack Daniels.

I looked at Jack too. And Jack met my eyes squarely. So I said,


and got off the train.