good benefit

Kristina Pantalone

 

fondling granny smiths at the dime n bag before the gala

so at least something can benefit from my touch

 

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Untitled

Matt Glavin

 

Its been 3 hours and I still haven’t lit my cigarette. 3 hours at my desk and no smoking. 3 hours at my desk of uninterrupted, unadulterated, uncensored and unsweetened stream of consciousness. How pleasant.

I cant imagine how pleasant it’d be if you were here, I’d probably be smoking. Or enjoying myself. I am not to say in these days. These days, I have no say. Speech requires desire.

I realize I have a voice, but it has been strained. I have a will, but it lacks strength. I still have my wits about me. Still. And there, that, is the only problem.

You knocked me over on your way out. I fell from the table by the door I always used to fuck you on back when potentials and possibilities were a short bridge to cross between now and a future gift-wrapped like a present. Like one where it could have been anything we’d dreamed it to be until we opened it. Now that stream floods me like an ocean. I didn’t quite shatter when you knocked me over, but the water inside poured out and I’m soaked. The possibilities and potential are drowning in them now.

I will not pull myself off the cold-soaked floor, however.

I will sit at my desk. She will not light it nor shall I wait for her to. I will light my cigarette. I will take 19 drags. I will ash my cigarette and stamp life out from it.

Her favourite part of Cloud Atlas was always when Robert Frobisher killed himself, he says how suicide is given a bad name by the people who rush it. Suicide isn’t selfish. Suicide isn’t cowardice. A true suicide is a paced, disciplined certainty, he says.

I took my 19th drag, my 38th pull, ashed my cigarette, and for one moment between this and the next, I took my weakened will, lifted my heavy hand to my head, and made it courage.

 

Burned Out

Liam McConnell

 

The caretaker had only bought 2 packages of light bulbs, each containing 4 new bulbs. The Assistance Needed strip had ten bulbs, each assigned to a different resident. This was only the latest in a series of minor frustrations suffered by the nurse, who was particularly annoyed at the constant demands put upon her by her floor’s surliest resident.

She unpacked the bulbs and began replacing them. Her favourite resident, a comparatively young woman afflicted by an aggressive form of skin cancer, died in the previous month and the nurse still hadn’t recovered. Her bulb was chosen as one of the two to leave unchanged: partly because the room was still vacant, and partly as a sort of memorial. She had decided immediately what other bulb to leave unchanged: that of the cantankerous old codger who had bogged down her day with trifling complaints. To leave his warning light with an old bulb was a sort of silent revenge that, once her task was complete, she found disappointingly unfulfilling.

She left to perform a sponge-bath on one of her nine surviving residents, not realizing that the man’s bulb, stressed from too-frequent lightings, had already burned out. The filament had overheated and burst earlier that day when the man, complaining about a lost TV remote, stubbornly held his finger on the button. As such, he could not warn anyone of the hard candy that had become lodged in his throat. Again and again he pushed his button, but the useless bulb did nothing to alert the nurses to his peril. He died with his hand on his throat and his finger on the button.