by Tomoé Hill
We have a joke, he and I: the feet. They belong to me—or rather, they are mine, but also exist as sentient, mischievous creatures of their own. There is a photo of me as a very small child, barely one years old. My father is lying on a flower-patterned sofa, face obscured by a book, and I am sitting on his legs, leaning against one of the cushions. My thumb is in my mouth, and a hand idly between my legs. I look blankly content in the way children do at that age, happy to exist and take in their immediate world. My feet are bare and slightly curled, up to no good, as he would say. We have since endowed my feet with a life of their own. Their childish wickedness is blamed when bleary-eyed, I emerge from the bedroom in search of coffee, my silent step nearly frightening the life out of him when he turns round from whatever he is doing to see me standing there, toes curling in glee at their reception, at odds with the rest of my lack of consciousness. Feet represent intuition: fight or flight, standing one’s ground, going feet first into something.
My name is Seb Doubinsky and I am a writer of dystopian fiction. My stories are all located within a “parallel” world, which is constituted of city-states in lieu of our traditional and familiar countries. You find New Babylon, which is a concentrate of American East-Coast politics and urbanity, New Petersburg, which is the West Coast competing pendent of New Babylon, Viborg City, which symbolizes Scandinavia and the general European cultures, and New Samarqand, which is a mixture of Arab and Persian culture and Central Asia. It is a world that experiences the same problems than our own: economic crisis, social injustice, racism, xenophobia and class prejudice. All my characters are looking for either a way out or a way in, dreaming of a better life or renewed possibilities. Some of my novels are tragic, other comical, and most of them open-ended. I am inspired by all the bad craziness I read about in the papers, watch on TV see on the Internet.
I still rent DVDs through the mail. There’s usually a lag time of six-to-eight months between the time I add a movie to my queue and its arrival. I always forget what I’ve requested by that point and get a kick out of the small-scale time travel, the reminder of what I was thinking months prior. This took a wrong turn back in March. The first three movies to arrive during the onset of the Covid quarantine were Soylent Green, The Omega Man, and The Andromeda Strain.
In Defense of Joy
by J. David
Perhaps you are 57. And, perhaps, you think of such things as helicopter crashes and choking on lettuce. This being the case, you will have taken into account life expectancy and mean amount of grief permitted per individual, and will recognize that, odds are, the worst thing in your life has already happened.
I’m pulled from a fitful sleep as the three-year old makes what we call her “guinea pig noises,” quiet squeals that grow in volume as she thrashes in her blankets; my wife and I are used to it by now. She is ghostly on the baby monitor, my daughter – it still stuns me a little to write that word – her eyes a flashing and brilliant white in the horror-movie glare of the camera. I know she’s not really awake, but rather stuck somewhere in that half-lit place between sleeping and waking. At its height, she awoke five or six times a night; we’re now down to once a week or so.
Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.
Streaming entertainment has reached new levels the past several months. According to a recent Nielsen report, the total number of hours spent was up 81% year-over-year, equating to an increase of nearly 4 billion hours of connected TV use per week. While many people watched—or claimed not to be watching—Tiger King and Black AF, others were dipping into older fare that reminded them of the days when George W. Bush was the worst of their problems.
You Never Know
by Amy Kiger-Williams
My dad keeps a rifle in the coat closet in the laundry room. I don’t know why he has it. He doesn’t like hunting or fishing like his father does. He likes Captain Beefheart and Mad Magazine and British racing cars and Monty Python and wearing aviator sunglasses and playing with chemicals in his photographic darkroom in the basement. I cannot imagine a time when my father has ever fired this gun, and I never ask him why it’s there or what he’s done with it. But I take it out of the closet when my parents aren’t home. I take it out of the closet and inspect it, its simple design, the metal barrel, the length of it. I am afraid to touch the barrel, but I do, I touch it with my finger tip, just tapping it lightly as if it’s on fire.
I’ve spent the majority of my twenties working on my upcoming book. I will be twenty-nine when it comes out in August. In a way, it grew up with me: from getting the idea for it after graduating from Hofstra University in 2013, to outlining it in my first apartment a year later, in Harlem, to writing it on breaks during my various day jobs, to deleting over thirty-thousand words and starting over after moving to Brooklyn two years later, to getting an agent, to losing said agent a year later, when they left agenting for publicity, until eventually securing a book deal on my own with a small, albeit mighty and rapidly growing, independent press. Round after round of edits.