Thursday, May 8, 2014


by sutcliffe lovingood

illustrations by konrad kraus and danny delacroix

tony didn't look like an assassin, especially not like an assassin who killed a whole lot of people, but he was one.

he was average size, skinny, but kind of mean looking. and he looked impatient, like he couldn't believe how stupid people were.

i first saw tony when me and my mom and my brother joey and my sister jocelyn got evicted.

it was a bright sunny day. we had everything in one big suitcase. mom was dragging it along the sidewalk and the wheels on it were squeaking.

the bus pulled up beside us and stopped.

tony was driving. he got off the bus and looked at us and the suitcase. he didn't ask us if we wanted to get on the bus.

"that suitcase is going to have to go in the luggage compartment," he told mom. he started to open the luggage compartment door on the side of the bus.

"uh - maybe we could just not get on the bus?" mom asked him.

"lady, are you serious? you just got evicted, right?"

"yes, we did."

"are these your kids?"


"all three of them?"

"yes, all three of them."

tony shook his head. "just get on the bus. you know the rules."

"they are kind of new rules."

"so what? they are still the rules."

"come on, mom," jocelyn told her, "there's no sense arguing." jocelyn never liked mom to embarrass her.

joey didn't either. i never let it bother me much.

we got on the bus. there were four or five other people scattered around the bus. none of them were sitting together.

it was kind of dark on the bus. the windows were not completely tinted, but it was dark.

tony got on, got behind the wheel and we started off.

we went directly into the tunnel.

so this was it - the end. i didn't know how long the ride would be but i knew we would be killed when it ended. that was just how it would be.

i felt sad. i was sitting by myself looking out the window. mom and jocelyn were in the seats opposite me but the rows of seats were staggered so they were actually a little behind me.

joey was somewhere else. probably behind me, but maybe in front. i couldn't tell, because the seats were so high.

nobody spoke. not us, or the other people on the bus.

i guess we were all sad because we were going to die at the end of the ride.

why didn't i run when i had the chance? when tony was putting the suitcase in the baggage compartment i could have run and he might not even have noticed.

i decided to try to slip away when we got off the bus. maybe nobody would notice.

it would be a long walk back to the city, even if i could get away.

a really long walk.

because the bus just kept going and going. out of a tunnel, into a tunnel. out of a tunnel, into a tunnel.

when we were out of a tunnel there was nothing much to see, just flat land. no houses or buildings or trees or anything that i could see.

i thought maybe it was "farm land". i didn't really know what "farm land" looked like.

i didn't see any cows or sheep or pigs.

jeez louise, we just kept going and going. how was i ever going to walk back?

maybe someone would come along in a car and i could thumb a ride?

but they would be just as likely to turn me in as drive me back to the city.

i would worry about that later.

i decided to definitely make a break for it. no matter how long the walk was. what did i have to lose?

but first i would tell mom i was going so she would be cool about it and not be asking where i was.

that was the plan.

finally we stopped. there was a gas station, a few old buildings. you wouldn't exactly call it a town.

the building we pulled up beside looked kind of like a church. it was white.

we all got off the bus. tony came back down the aisle and made sure everybody got off.

when we got outside everybody gathered around tony. he and mom seemed to be having some kind of conversation. i realized there was no way i could tell mom i was going without tony hearing.

so i just slipped away. i felt bad about not saying goodbye to mom and jocelyn and joey.

i didn't look back. i started back down the road the bus had come on.

i kept walking. and walking. i didn't hear anything behind me.

maybe i was safe. maybe nobody noticed me.

finally i heard something. it sounded like gunfire. i figured tony or somebody else was probably shooting everybody that had been on the bus.

i kept walking. i finally saw somebody up ahead.

it was four girls. they were a little older than me. they were all chattering and laughing together, not walking all that fast.

when i came up behind them they just glanced at me and didn't say anything.

i saw they all had fat asses. the fat ass sisters, i thought.

i decided not to say anything to them either, and just passed them by.

i was walking a lot faster than they were and after a while i looked back and i couldn't see them.

it started to get dark. i didn't know how much farther i had to go.

then i heard a car behind me.

i started to step off the road - darn it, i thought, i should have been walking beside the road instead of right on it - but it was too late.

the headlights caught me and i stopped.

the car stopped and a guy got out. i thought it was tony.

it wasn't tony, but he looked like him. maybe he was his brother.

"you're not tony, " i said.

"no, i'm terry. get in the car." he didn't seem angry or pissed off. "i don't know what you thought you were doing."

i walked around and got in the front passenger seat. terry got back behind the wheel and started the car .

to my surprise, he didn't turn around but kept going toward the city.

"i asked, " did you see those four girls?" i don't know why i said it - just to be saying something, i guess. as soon as i did i wished i hadn't.

"what! no, i didn't see any girls. where were they?"

"just walking along."

"ahead of you?'

"they were, but i passed them."

"fuck!" he stopped the car. then he made a u-turn, back away from the city.

we drove along slowly. i kept my mouth shut. terry was scanning the sides of the road.

"what side were they on?"

"just kind of in the middle of the road."


we drove along. it got completely dark.

"there's something!" he said. i looked and saw a little light in the field on one side of the road.

terry stopped the car. i didn't say anything. i thought maybe i could try to escape again.

terry took a gun out of the gun compartment. i don't know what kind it was - i don't know anything about guns.

he pointed it at me. "get out. walk ahead of me."

we got out and walked into the field, toward the light.

we got closer. the four fat ass sisters were sitting around a little fire. two of them were sitting on a wooden board, the other two on the ground.

one of them was holding a stick over the little fire. it had something on it - a marshmallow?

another had something bigger on a stick - it looked like a little bird or animal. smoke was drifting off it.

all four had cans in front of them, of beer, or mountain dew, or whatever.

"hey terry, what's up?" said the one with the marshmallow.

he pointed the gun at them. "what do you think is up? what are you sluts trying to pull?"

"calm down," one of the two sitting on the board told him. one or two others laughed.

"if it wasn't for this little lady here, you might have got away with it."

for the first time they seemed to notice me. they started screaming - at me, not him.

"who the fuck are you?"

"you stupid little cunt!"

"we'll see you in hell, you little bitch!"

"we're the devil's daughters, and we'll fix your skinny ass!"

terry started shooting them. four shots, one in each of their foreheads. it took about two seconds.

they were all sprawled on the ground around the fire. they looked deader than pieces of peanut butter fudge.

"what a fucking mess! now i'll have to come back and clean it up." terry kicked at the fire, and then kicked one of the bodies.

"that was pretty efficient," i said.

"it should be, i've doing this shit long enough. come on, let's go."

we got back in the car. terry didn't put the gun back in the glove compartment but on top of the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. he turned the car back around toward the city.

"where are we going?'" i asked him.

"i got something to do. what do you care?"

i didn't answer. we headed back towards the city, real fast this time.

before we got there he turned off a side road, that i hadn't even seen.

we drove about two miles.

we came to a gas station and pulled in. there was a diner beside it. it wasn't a mcdonalds or arby's or anything, just a diner. there wasn't even a sign outside, at least not one i could see in the dark.

terry got out . he took the gun off the dashboard and stuck it in his belt. i got out too, even though he hadn't told me to.

i followed him into the diner. it was pretty dimly lit. there were no customers. there was a fat person behind the counter. i couldn't tell if it was a guy, or a woman with short hair.

"coffee," said terry, as he sat down on a stool. "and a cheeseburger." he turned to me. "you want a burger, too?"

"yes, please," i answered. "just a burger, no cheese. but onions, if you've got them. and do you have fries?," i asked the fat person.

terry started to laugh. "did you hear that? she wants fries. do you want a cherry on top of it, too?"

"fries are only seventy-five cents extra," said the fat person. i could tell from the voice it was a woman.

"sure, give her some fries. but no cherry." terry took his phone out of his pocket and started checking his messages.

"do you have ketchup?" i asked the woman, as she turned toward the grill.

"yeah, right down on the counter there. see it?"


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

wild women

text by cathy aragon

illustrations provided by penmarq studios

x, b, and s9 were on their way back to their work station from lunch when they saw a story on an overhead monitor about some wild women who had been discovered on an island in the middle of the ocean.

as they had plenty of time before they were due back, they stopped and watched it for a while.

there were shots of the wild women being led into a processing center in singapore after their flight from easter island, where they had been first taken after their capture.

one of them was struggling against the officers and had to be forcibly carried into the building, but the others - five or six of them - allowed themselves to be escorted without offering any resistance.

none of them looked directly at the cameras so it was difficult to see their faces.

x, b and s9 had never seen anything like them before.

they were dressed in standard issue yellow clothing, and as two or three of them were quite large the clothing was tight on their curiously misshapen bodies.

all had some sort of fibers growing directly out of their heads, and large lumps on the front of their bodies. several also had large protuberances directly beneath their spines.

later that week, when x returned home from work, the story was being updated.

the women had been successfully assimilated, but the authorities had had some difficulty in finding something to occupy their days.

food was not an issue, as they ate and drank everything put before them without complaint.

they had been given exercise machines and weights and ping pong tables and offered cooking and weaving classes, but they showed little interest in these things, and spent most of their waking hours singing the blues.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

question #25: powerville

text by cathy aragon

illustrations by rhoda penmarq

for previous entry, click here

25.) there are an even number of people in powerville,

every person is either an "a" or a "b".

all "a's" have power over all "b's"

every person is either a "c" or a "d".

all "c's" have power over all "d's"

every person is either an "e" or an "f".

all "e's" have power over all "f''s"

and every person is either a "g" or an "h".

all "g's" have power over all "h's"

there are 16 possible combinations.

what then is the power structure in powerville?

obviously, the a-c-e-g's have the most power, as no one has power over them.

and the b-d-f-h's are at the bottom, as they do not have power over anybody.

but what about the others?

which of the following statements do you think makes the most sense?

1. the persons with three "plus"attributes ( a-c-e-h's, a-c-f-g's, a-d-e-g's and b-c-e-g's) rank above the persons with two "plus" attributes ( a-c-f-h's, a-d-e-h's, a-d-f-g's, b-c-e-h's, b-c-f-g's and b-d-e-g's) who in turn rank above the persons with only one (a-d-f-h's, b-c-f-h's, b-d-e-h's and b-d-f-g's)

2. there is no way to tell who has power, except for the highest and lowest group

3. determination should be made as to the relative potency of the 4 groupings (a-b, c-d, e-f, and g-h, ) and the 16 combinations could then be ranked in order.

4. power is an illusion

5. all power to the people