Special/Signature Issues » Unique Specimens

BONUS CATEGORY: Freudian Slipstream


Descending the elevator of the collective unconscious, eventually you get to the bottom floor, where humankind's deepest impulses hang out. Three themes came up so many times, they win a category all their own: Smoking and Drinking, Sex, and Death. It seems obvious that the one often leads to the others, so here, a handy chart for guiding you through what we like to call human life.


“I know he comes here, to gamble and smoke cigars and do whatever else it is you men do when your ladies are not around.” — “Tuesday Afternoon,” Michael Barrington Palmer

“‘Those damn cigars.’ A phrase commonly followed by ‘Those damn shots.’” — “Untitled,” Greg Bilyeu

“Mom and dad coming home covered in tobacco flakes, yet still managing to put down at least two packs of L & M's a day. Guess that's what happens whey they're free.” — “Easy Come, Easy Go,” Joseph Alan Nicholas II

“'Trying to talk an archangel out of being an archangel? The drugs must be really good down here.' He laughed really hard until he started coughing smoke again. ‘Boy, Hell is really tough on your lungs.’” — “Bad,” Lovelace Moore

“His long, worn, ashy fingers, yellowing from the nicotine, even on his brown skin, fondle the handle of the exquisite glasses as though it were a spiritual amulet.” — “Jimmy & Willie & Katrina,” Donna Joyce

 “At age 92, with plans to make it to at least 100, her mind is clear as the crystal goblet from which she drinks her nightly bottle of Chardonnay.” — “Ashes,” Dorothy Marie Rice

“Hank favors the flat kind of road-kill and stacks them up behind his shed. I know 'cause I saw him put some there one morning while I was walking down the road having myself a smoke off a Camel cigarette I just thieved from Momma.” — “Folks in My Neighborhood,” Lenore Gay

 “‘Great. Now I’m a drunk and mentally unstable,' Mitch said aloud one day.” — “Juice String Cheese and the Retreat Plan,” Ryan Brosmer

About Last Night

“She just assumed G spots were a passing fad like the ERA movement and Cabbage Patch Kids.” — “G Spot,” Lizzie Drucker

“There's ‘barely legal,’ ‘Asian fantasy,’ ‘horny housewife,’ and ‘girl on girl’… She paused and told me that one was dicey, because you couldn't pull another girl every time someone called, so I would be required to act like two girls.” — “Once in a Lifetime,” Jennifer Lemons

“… the woman who made him forget 1-900 numbers and had the power to raise him from the muck, up, up, up on that Buddhist Expressway….” — “Doctor Duke's Magic Elixer,” Sarahfina

“He drove to the hotel, obeying the speed limit and coming to a complete stop at all intersections. We are always the most lawful when completing illegal acts.” — “A Weight You Couldn't Lift,” Sarah Beth Yuhasz

“I left her exactly 102 voice mails, just so I could hear her voice, just so she could hear mine.” — “Her Haunting Presence,” Christabelle D'Silva

“With those blue shoes, she took her first drink, lost her virginity to her neighbor's son, Randy, and she slept a few hours in them before sneaking off to the bus depot with a few of her clothes.” — “Returning Home,” Patrice Jones

“Shut up or I'm getting a divorce and you can kill yourself all you want.” — “Plan C,” Ryan Brosmer

Dead Ends

“The principal froze mid-task, pulled a gun with fury in his eyes and shot me, shot me dead.” — “Untitled,” Savannah McReynolds

“Civilians are screaming in terror and spilling out of the curry house. Ravi Shankar drops his sitar and picks up a missile launcher from a secret compartment in the back of it.” — “Atman Samsara,” Michael Hirsch

“Some couples fight on the way to a party, some people call their little sister, our woman had to shoot a man. And that's why anatomy should be taught in every school.” — “A Friday Evening in the Fall,” Joni Renee Teague

“No sound was made when the two lovers hit the river. The roar of the Rapids drowned out all except their love. Never to resurface, they were gone.” — “Mayo Bridge,” Garry Powell

“You made me listen to you when the gun went off. But it was too late to ask you to explain.” — “Silence,” Michelle Levy

“He couldn't hurt her anymore. Not with a knife in his heart.” — “Footfalls,” Cathy Allen

“He missed the exclamatory whoop as Margaret took a ride of a different sort, cracking her skull on the steps.” — “Fashionista,” Sharon Boyles

“Amelia was buried alive.” — “Regrets,” Guido Alvarez S

Back to the Cover Story

Add a comment