Issue #89

Winter Issue | February 2024

In this Issue:

Three Stories by Salvatore Difalco

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The Hippopotamus

"Who's the director?" I asked. No one in the amphitheatre answered. I knew no one. I tried to lock eyes with a few of them, but they averted their gazes. I wanted to know what I was in for after agreeing to appear without reading the fine print. "Do y'all have contracts?" I asked aloud.

"Hey buddy," someone carped in the back, "why don't you just shut up. We're all trying to get our shit together, okay?" Read more...

Disappearance of the Iznikk Motifs: Theft or Flight? by Patricia Newbery

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Disappearance of the Iznik motifs: theft or flight? by Horace Monk, Emeritus Mimar Sinan Professor of the History of Ottoman Art and Architecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies. The Ottoman Review, vol. 54, no. 1, Spring 1988.

Scholars have long agreed that, in the first year of the Great War, Enver Pasha, the Young Turk Minister of War, ordered all Iznik motifs[1] to be locked in a bank vault. What remains in dispute is why: most scholars believe it was to protect them during the hostilities, but a significant minority has always argued that the motifs – so closely associated with Ottoman power at its zenith – were incarcerated to prevent the uprising they were believed to be planning in support of the beleaguered imperial family. Read more...

Following by RW Spryszak

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There was something about the green and white bus that wasn't really green and white, the white being more of a dirty cream color and a green not bright and cheery but dull and a shade darker than expected and seasoned with that special kind of dirt one only finds in the northern cities, a proverbial-looking thing except for the witless faces staring out at the street from badly tinted windows at the buildings that were left with only a frame or else all ripped apart from the bombs in the last air raid, every one of them gazing out onto this neverland they no longer recognized with thick and vacuous expressions and bullet heads nested comfortably in thick fur coat collars for the winter chill and sucking greedily on cigarettes through pouting lips imitating old fruit. Read more...

Five Prose Poems by Vicki Kaye

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Hatched/Matched/Despatched

It's the latest way to deal with the rituals and formalities of life both economically and mindfully. Sophie is chief bridesmaid at her brother's wedding, one of the speakers at her grandfather's funeral and a rather young godmother to her sister's first baby. The parish church has been tastefully sectioned off to incorporate all three services and the guests/participants have become experts in quick changes of clothing and emotional responses. Read more...

Three Short Stories by Ali Hildyard

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My Father Moves on to Other Things

The other week my father, who had died the previous year, visited me to say that he had moved on to other things. At first I made little of this announcement, assuming that it was the prelude to something else. But while my father seemed at ease -- as much, that is, as he could be under the circumstances -- he repeated the phrase several times to underline its significance. As he did so, we held for a moment a new relationship to one another which is very difficult for me to explain. It is difficult because it was the most familiar kind of relationship, the relationship we might hold with respect to anyone outside of our immediate kin, but not a relationship we could envisage holding with regard to our own family. Read more...

Five Micros by Ken Poyner

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DESTROYING A TOWN

Quibble piled all the magic into one stack in the town square. People came at random times to hack out a section of magic and haul it home. Some claimed the ability to raise the dead. Some the talent to spin gold out of flax. Others expect to cast love spells over whole squads of any sex. No one asked where Quibble found the magic, or why he took days to collect it in the town square. Nor did anyone ask if the magic was free for the taking. Quibble said nothing either way. So, townsfolk hacked pieces of magic and dragged them home quietly, to find only in the stealth of their kitchens what power they had acquired. Read more...

Head, Blonde on Blonde, and Mechanical by Ian Seed

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Head

At the opening party of the new primary school, the head did a striptease for us, bumping and grinding to 'The Stripper'. I didn't think he would go the whole way, but he must have done, for, though I couldn't see his naked crotch because I was at the back of the group of parents cheering him on, I saw him twirl his underpants in the air.

Afterwards, a woman went around gathering his scattered clothes, then disappeared down the corridor in the direction of his office. Read more...

Suspicion and Big Eddie is Dancing by Robert Garner McBrearty

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Suspicion

On the first Tuesday of every month, another person in their small town was murdered. After each murder, Sergeant O'Malley assured the public that there was no cause for concern. He was on the case, gathering evidence, ruling suspects in or out, and in the meantime, everything was under control and the citizens should relax and go about their lives. Sergeant O'Malley, a reporter inquired, why is it always the first Tuesday of the month when someone is murdered? It seems odd on the surface, Sergeant O'Malley admitted, but when one digs deeper, it appears random. I assure the public that one could just as easily be murdered on a Monday or a Wednesday. But for many years after, someone was murdered in town on the first Tuesday of every month. Read more...

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