Cop Some AZ’s And an OZ

Cop Some AZ’s & an OZ

By: Joe Szalinski

content warning : drugs

Of course he’s late, I thought to myself, as I kicked small stones out of my path, en route to the bodega up the street.   I’d been ripped away from the fantastical realms of Borges to reup—some books are better enjoyed stoned—and my asshat of a dealer was keeping me mired in this murky reality for far too long. Once inside the store, I withdrew a couple hundred. A text arrived. “Gonna be a little longer. Sorry.” Accepting my fate, I bought a couple iced teas, and shot the shit with the cashier until the plug pulled up.

Joe Szalinski is a writer/performer from West View, PA. He is a graduate of Slippery Rock University and posts a video every Sunday to the Instagram account @poetry_hugger.

Try This Easy Weekday Meal!

Try This Easy Weekday Meal!

By: Alex Miller

Stressed out? Tell me about it! What’s worse than putting in a full day at the office and coming home to a houseful of hungry kids? I’ve got three I’m raising on my own, and they’d eat the tires right off the car if I’d let ‘em. But I sure do love those rascals! When I’m crunched for time, I whip up a meal I call Mama’s Emergency Mac & Cheese. My little troublemakers love it! First thing’s first, grab a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Set a pot of water to boil, then toss in the noodles. Now you’ve got a chance to breathe. Might be a good time to check in on the little buggers. Fighting again? Where do my babies get the energy? Break it up before someone gets hurt. Now, back to the kitchen. It’s wine o’clock somewhere! Take a pull off the Bota Box. Still drinking wine from bottles? Pro tip—box wine is economical! You can drink all night and never hit bottom. What’s that sound? Oh fuck, the macaroni is boiling over. Turn down the heat! Once the noodles are nice and soft, pour off the excess water, then add the sauce packet. Actually it’s a powder, but trust me, once you throw it on the noodles and add milk, it’ll sauce right up. Shit—you’re fresh out of milk. No worries! Just add water. Mix well and you’re ready to serve. Holler dinner time to your little cretins. And make sure they use proper utensils. If I look away even for a second, my little monsters dig in with their bare hands. What a pack of wild animals! Grab yourself another glass of wine. A big one! You earned it! Gaze at your children and smile. What’s more satisfying than seeing them chow down on a meal you slaved over? You can’t help but feel a warmth in your chest. Times like these are special. They remind you that although you face hardships and make sacrifices, the struggle is worth it. For family. Sometimes I think back to when I was pregnant with the oldest. In those days, I was the golden child at the office. The wunderkind. Until my jackass boss found out about the pregnancy. Fired me on the spot. And that was that—no more career track, no more dreaming about a corner office. Hey, it happens to the best of us. Go get yourself another glass of wine. Oops—looks like the devil spawns are done eating. There they go yanking each other’s hair again. Quick! Turn on the TV. What the fuck do they watch? Sesame Street? Teletubbies? Paw Patrol? Whatever, it’s all dumb shit for kids. Now that they’re distracted, time for some peace and quiet. Don’t forget to refill your wine! Sneak upstairs to the bedroom. Lock the door behind you. Peer out the window and observe your dim reflection. Who is this woman? You were pretty once. You had dreams, ambitions. What did you trade them for? This damn house in the suburbs and some man who didn’t stay? You hear the pitter-patter of feet on the stairs. Here they come. Your little demons. They pound the door. Cry out. Mommy! Mommy! You had a name once. Now you are this thing they call mommy. How did it happen? When did your home become a prison and your children, the wardens? Tiny hands grope the narrow space beneath the door. Slender fingers stretch and grow, reaching for you, always reaching. These creatures, they are yours. These helpless sacks of flesh with scraped knees and empty bellies. 

Love them. 

Fear them. 

Feed them. 

Make them strong.

Alex Miller is writer and graphic designer who lives in Denver. His fiction has appeared in “Pidgeonholes”, “Back Patio Press” and “Rabbit Catastrophe Review”. He is the author of the short story collection “How to Write an Emotionally Resonant Werewolf Novel” (2019, Unsolicited Press).

Find Alex @WildernessClub7 on Twitter.