Nonfiction

“Not So Fast, Jesus,” by Leah Senona

Feb 24th, 2016 | By

There was probably a time in my life when I had not yet heard of the Rapture—the miraculous evacuation of Christians to heaven before God unleashes hell on earth—but I cannot remember such ignorance. “If the Lord tarries,” was tagged onto nearly every conversation my fundamentalist parents had about plans more than a week or so in the future. Every which way they looked they discovered signs the end was nigh. From the Gulf War to the “Kids First” Illinois license plates popular during my elementary school years, proof that the world was too corrupt to last much longer was seen everywhere. The most damning evidence that the Jesus’s return was imminent, though, was the utter lack of interest our small-town neighbors had in attending our church and listening to Papa preach at them about the sin of abandoning church in the weeks, maybe years, preceding the end of times.



“The God of Vended Things,” by Damien Galeone

Feb 17th, 2016 | By

It’s lunchtime on Thursday. The university commons room is abuzz. Students mill about, others dart their way to class. Blazer-wearing faculty walk to classes or offices. Administration rush around in an attempt to keep the whole operation from crashing. I weave through them with determination. I have a meeting with a vending machine.



“Footnotes to History,” by Nancy Katt

Feb 3rd, 2016 | By

Footnotes are stupid. They’re superfluous.



“Car-isma” by Melanie Chartoff

Nov 25th, 2015 | By

n 2003, I accidentally dated an alcoholic. He came as an accessory on my Prius. I got to know handsome Johnny O. (not his whole name) while I awaited the delivery he promised in four days. And during the four weeks I was dropping in on the dealership to check on my anticipated Prius, he began courting me in a car man kind of way, demonstrating how his smart key could open my vehicle without even touching it, showing me how to change the oil, change a tire, hot wire a car, skills I’d never use, but I liked the way he was teaching me. He would worry, he said, if I were abandoned along a roadside somewhere: fearful, cheerless, Johnny O.-less. This man rolled the odometer back on my feminism thirty years. Single and celibate, I suddenly got hormonal, helpless and girly.



“Pissing in France,” by Ron Riekki

Aug 12th, 2015 | By

We’re driving on whatever the hell the name of the main road is that goes through Paris and I have to piss. There’s six of us in a car—me, my girlfriend, her friend Katty, Katty’s husband’s mother who has a name that I forget as soon as she says it, a dog named Ramses (I’m serious), and Katty’s husband’s father who will not let me piss. I think it’s a gas issue. He’s worried that if we exit, we might end up driving around for a bit looking for a place for me to relieve myself, so he’s telling me to hold it in. Except he’s doing this in French and no one speaks English in the entire car other than me and my girlfriend.



“I’ve Been Trying to Stop Apologizing So Much,” by Sophie Lucido Johnson

Aug 5th, 2015 | By

I’ve recently come to the realization that I say I’m sorry because I lack self-confidence, self-worth, and self-respect. I’m starting to understand that if I’m going to get serious about really loving myself, just as I am, I am going to have to stop apologizing for everything. So you will understand that I have nothing to say about having just crashed your car into a telephone pole.



“To Those Who Insist Upon Running,” by Nicholas Verykoukis

Jul 29th, 2015 | By

Some people have an elegant stride that turns heads while it enhances physical fitness. You do not. If you insist upon running in public, you need to listen to me because when I was seven years old I watched Frank Shorter and his mustache compete in the Olympic marathon on ABC television. I got up and ran around the block until my thighs wore new fringe into my Levi cords cut-offs. My PF Flyers were patched with blood. The feet on my striped Hang Ten tank top bounced and twisted over my sweaty orbs.



“Dear Kid Who Called My Three Year Old’s Hair ‘Big’ and Pointed and Laughed, While His Mother Looked On and Smiled,” by Samantha Rodman

Jul 22nd, 2015 | By

I understand that you’re only four, but I am going to take this opportunity to educate you about hair discrimination, as your parents apparently have not done. It’s not their fault they are unintelligent and ill-mannered. Your mother has straight, shiny, Pantene ad hair, and I bet your dad does too. Sadly, to the world at large, their beautiful, movie-star-like hair completely obscures their callous, empty souls and lack of social graces.



“Recycle This!” by Bill Chatterson

Apr 8th, 2015 | By

I’m sick of recycling, aren’t you? It’s annoying. I hate separating all those paper product packages and folding them up or rinsing out plastic lids and sticking them in little green bins. I miss the old days when you could drive down the highway and lob out your empty pizza box and watch it travel like a Frisbee into the nearby woods. Back in those days people were still pretty much free to behave badly, but not today. Now we have to act “responsibly” and dump all our trash on the floorboard of the car. There are stiff penalties if we don’t.



“Today’s Hick,” by Mike Fowler

Mar 11th, 2015 | By

The hick of today is a stunning sophisticate compared to his counterpart of only one or two generations ago. Often flaunting an Ivy League education and a job in the public eye requiring diplomacy and social nuancing, today’s cracker, compared to yesterday’s in terms of sophistication, is as Rand Paul is to Harry Truman, or as Jeff Daniel is to Oliver Hardy, or as Miley Cyrus is to Minnie Pearl. You would never guess how many influential politicians, trend-setters and opinion-mongers are actually outlanders from benighted states like Ohio and Texas and Kentucky, but grown remarkably adept and refined.