The Right Solution

I watched her working in her laboratory. My friend Sheila, the chemist.

She lifted a conical flask containing a colourless solvent and added a reddish brown amorphous substance to it. She placed the flask on the retort stand and lit the Bunsen burner underneath adjusting the flame just so. After a few minutes she dipped a thermometer into the solution to gauge its temperature. Satisfied, she measured a white crystalline compound on the balance and carefully added it to the flask. With a glass rod she stirred the solution till the colour was uniform. Finally she poured two test tubes of another white solvent into the bubbling solution on the burner. Having attained the desired consistency she poured the decanted solution from the conical flask into two beakers and turned to me.

“Care for a cup of Darjeeling tea?” she asked as she handed me a beaker.

waiting room—
the sugar baron complains
of diabetes

Gautam Nadkarni

The Right Solution

Every Day …

Every Day …

… I’m a different person. Every day, I wake up in the body of a terrestrial. I’m myself, but at the same time I’m not. I pass from a man to a woman. At first, it was hard, but now I make myself more agreeable. Has been like this since analogue television was experiencing its maximum moment of activity. The radio signal was spreading freely in space at the speed of light and wasn’t absorbed by cosmic dust or clouds. It could be intercepted. My prime objective was studying Earth and collecting data to transmit to my home world. From the body I’ve access to a mind: most of the information I need are there waiting for me. I’ve made mistakes in the past, but now I’m being careful:

I can more easily mask my surprise and ask fewer questions;

I complain about the boredom of daily routine;

I laugh at bad jokes too, only because I’ll never be able to understand Earth’s sense of humor;

I pay attention at allergies;

I don’t dance in syncopation movement any more;

I certainly eat a lot more cereal now;

I’ve learned the plot of Romeo and Juliet.

But above all, I’m done looking for the truth about God, but I realized that if God spared Keith Richards it’s because he’s probably also a fan of Rolling Stones.

how strange:
every year Miss Universe
an Earth woman

 Antonietta Losito

 

Every Day …

Warps And Gorpps

When Glibb X came across a cloud of smoke appearing out of nowhere and decided to step into it for a lark he little knew he was stepping into a time warp. That’s the fancy word they use for a crack in space-time.

Suddenly Glibb found himself falling with a thud to the bottom of a molehill. When he looked up he knew there was something different in his surroundings. And that’s putting it mildly. Because the concrete metropolis around him had been replaced by a prehistoric setting. And he knew about prehistoric settings. He had seen ‘em all in Hollywood blockbusters.

Even as he looked up a couple of Neanderthals wielding clubs turned the corner. One of them spotting him shrieked in horror and almost fainted. Then he collected himself.

“Do you see what I see?” he asked his equally flabbergasted companion. The companion could only say weakly, “Gee, I dunno…”

This interested Glibb immensely.

“Do you fellows actually speak English? The Queen’s own English?” he asked the Neanderthals.

“Listen, wise guy,” said the taller of the two cavemen. “Kindly desist…refrain from making racist cracks.”

Glibb blushed at the compliment and said, “I’m from millions of years in the future. We didn’t know you chaps were so advanced as to speak English.”

This had the cavemen slapping their thighs and guffawing.

Then the shorter man said, “But seriously, we two are school dropouts. The dudes with the degrees speak a more advanced language.”

And they were still laughing when they disappeared in a puff of smoke.

mementos…
my time machine too small
for a Brontosaurus

 

Gautam Nadkarni

Warps And Gorpps

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS

My eyes have turned to glass, beautiful things that can never see a full moon eclipsed by cloud like a pirate’s patch that censors blindness.

A parrot squawks at me, muttering the same phrase repeatedly, a reverie about poetry, words comprising a vast sea where sail the golden gods on glistening ships—Plunders, pillages, and rapes, songs sung to cinch the irony as bull whips crack with time across backs or boards, creaking with sea-sickness, decks slippery with vomited rum.

Elsewhere silence locks like a peg leg, stuck in nocturnal quicksand—Jungle muddle livid as God with snakes.

vine-covered cave
on a stone tablet
curious cuneiform

 

Anna Cates

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS

So What

Newport Jazz Festival 1958. The year that accelerated jazz into a new era. The white race was catching sight at black music, and Anita O’Day, white as snow, swinging “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Tea for Two”. Fashion was cool, simple and stylish. It was high-level art and completely irresistible. The world would find itself and the music exploded.

She was 10 years old and explosive. She had just saved her father from committing suicide. Or maybe he used her, realizing he would not die by drinking a whole bottle of snaps in one go. However, the gas? Turned up to minimum strength, she barely noticed, when she opened the window and shouted for help, while her father lay in a bloodstream with a hole in the head. Her nose and the smell of alcohol and blood mixed with gas saved them. She had had some experiments with her father’s “circus performance”, making sure he did not jump out in front of a train at North Harbor Station. The repeating pattern: dad on a bender/mom wants a divorce/dad threatens suicide. “Oh, my dear, poor daddy!” Subsequently she drove her mother to madness with psychological questions. Was she malicious? Did she try to save herself by releasing her pain in this helpless manner; did she really resemble her father that much? She had to find out if her mother could withstand her pain and sorrow without giving up, like her father, because she felt empty, selfless and abandoned.

Now her world should change too, so she could find herself for real. What a process, what a chance. In addition, life, so damn slow, lying right there like a big bleeding sparkling love ball, calling for help.

The fool
loses face
So What

Mona Larsen

So What

Two Pieces

cocaine

when we’re done having sex, he asks me to blow his cousin in the adjoining room…

greyhound racing life of a side piece

.

ice cube tray

two bottles of vodka
four bottles of beer
a few eggs
a bottle of mustard

filling up on emptiness someone’s leftovers

Robin Smith

Two Pieces

From the Office of Professional Responsibility

Dear Citizen in Violation (CIV),

You have received this OPR notice as a result of a complaint filed by the Minister of Perpetual Admiration (MPA). He has provided us with screen captures that indicate you are in clear violation of CODE #336-/1. Namely, you have posted online material in defiance of the recent decree regarding The Czar of Everything (CZAR).

Additionally, we have in our possession multiple YouTube videos in which you impersonate The Czar of Everything. All those who impersonate The Czar of Everything, who continually repeat his name mockingly, are subject to severe reprimand, so The Czar of Everything has decreed.

You will be visited by two Officers of Redaction (OR). They will assist or complete your Departure.

The loyal staff of The Czar of Everything thanks you for your past patriotism.

Sincerely,
The Minister of Professional Responsibility (MPR)

 

island retreat
native birds outnumbered
by egg-eaters

Peter Newton

From the Office of Professional Responsibility