The Sadness of Past Romance As Delineated by the Depiction of Age in Less

While, of course, there is a bittersweetness to all novels centered on aging, perhaps no other in recent memory gets it so right regarding both the cruel and just nature of time. That novel in question being Andrew Sean Greer’s Less, which miraculously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2018 in the face of it being a “humorous” work. And, as we all know, … Continue reading The Sadness of Past Romance As Delineated by the Depiction of Age in Less

Carlos and Us by Ewa Mazierska

Tony met him during his second morning run on the beach near Puerto Plata. They ran in the opposite directions on the empty beach, crossing each other’s paths at half past four in the morning. For the first time, they just looked at each other, not sure whether to acknowledge each other’s presence. But the next day the guy stopped and asked Tony where he … Continue reading Carlos and Us by Ewa Mazierska

Downtown by Max DeVoe Talley

When you plunge into overwhelming darkness, the beckoning tunnel, your face ghostly, almost alien in the scratched and scuffed window reflections, nothing is secure. Grab a metal strap or pole and don’t dwell on germs, because losing balance and falling onto a splayed lap or atop a moist reclining passenger is infinitely worse. There’s a roar of sound and forward thrust. The clack-clack-clack forms a … Continue reading Downtown by Max DeVoe Talley

Vegania by Mark Norman Harris

Part I There are two islands in an imaginary world. One is vegan, democratic and vaguely socialist. The other is inhabited by cannibals. We’ll call them Vegania and Cannabalia. Vegania had a veritable religion built around gastronomy and organized themselves into three distinct hereditary classes: farmers, blacksmiths and chefs. The farmers grew the raw ingredients, and the blacksmiths made the pots and pans, while the … Continue reading Vegania by Mark Norman Harris

The Call by Darius Jamal VanSluytman

The garbage juice pooled at the bottom of the open dumpsters lining the Navy Yard Canteen, baked in the morning sun. Noxious plumes floated upwards taunting heaven and throne. It was eight a.m. and already eighty-two degrees. Zip walked through the tangle of food trucks parked semi-legally outside the sad building sitting near the foot of Clinton Hill, where Clinton Avenue meets Flushing. He had … Continue reading The Call by Darius Jamal VanSluytman

Weaponized by Dave Odegard

The fucked up thing about their last mission was that it went almost exactly as planned. That shit never happened. There was always some unforeseen factor or lousy intel that forced them, after cursing and seeking cover, to improvise in the field, resulting in thrilling success or terrifying cluster fuck. It started, like most missions, with Xandon doing his drill sergeant/guru act. He guided them to … Continue reading Weaponized by Dave Odegard

PornMe2 by David Leo Rice

Before reading this sequel, it is highly recommended that you confer with the first installment of David Leo Rice’s all too prescient work, PornMe. The below work also appears in the print version of The Opiate, specifically Vol. 14. Poor Gribby’s on his last legs, so to speak, dying in the bathtub with the other Gribby standing over him, filming it all on his phone, uploading … Continue reading PornMe2 by David Leo Rice

Predators and Reapers by Matt Jones

1. The day stuck out for me because I discovered a sasquatch underneath the barracks. I investigated closely: this was not a military-issued sasquatch. He had wormed his way beneath the shower room, and was curled in the opposite corner from where the floor got soggy and sagged. As I shone the flashlight up and down his hulking body, dozens of greasy frogs hopped away … Continue reading Predators and Reapers by Matt Jones

“I’m Not Just Doing It For the Likes”: Does Writing Mean Anything If No One Sees It?

I once had an “s/o” who used to criticize me for, among other things, constantly feeling the need to publish my work (belittled to that still demeaning term, “blogging”) ad nauseum on all social media outlets. He would taunt and lord his superiority over me, remarking of his own writing, “I’m not just doing it for the likes,” as though to emphasize precisely how frivolous … Continue reading “I’m Not Just Doing It For the Likes”: Does Writing Mean Anything If No One Sees It?

A Permanent Cure for Sadness by Giovanna Pompele

Think red. Make it a balloon so big its red is deeper than a fresh running wound. A rich hemoglobic red. A red so deep and full Mondrian cries. Miró cries a little too. You have a red so red Mondrian, Miró and all the red specialists in the history of red are in tears. You don’t enjoy other people’s tears, of course not. You … Continue reading A Permanent Cure for Sadness by Giovanna Pompele