Phoebe, or Rapunzel, Revamped by Linda McMullen

Once upon a time, there was a young maiden named Phoebe, blessed with beauty, grace, and intelligence – and enough guile to hide the last, when necessary.

She was the youngest flower of an ancient lineage, the only child of a love-match.  She possessed a wide circle of friends who adored her, and openly envied her loveliness.  She lived in ease in an ancient house in the country.  Indeed, her whole life was a song – except that her parents were in thrall to The Grandmother.

There and Not There by C.J. Dotson

We all read the stories when we were little, didn’t we? A bunch of children go into a wardrobe, or through a tiny door that’s only bricked over sometimes, or find a secret key, go down a rabbit hole, cross a bridge, fall into a book, vanish. Then there’s magic, and adventure, and villains for the children to test themselves against. At the end they come back and no time has passed, no one realized they were gone.

It’s bullshit.

Plane Girl by Andrew Stiggers

Though she loves her best mate to bits, Rachel doesn’t believe her for one moment.

“Yes, someday soon, I’ll be flying planes,” Jeany had told her as they were observing from the bar an airline pilot crossing the terminal hall. He’s smartly dressed in his gold-striped uniform.

“Sure, Jeany.” Her friend could never stick with a job. She gets bored too easily, flittering like a moth from lamp to wall light. First there was the hairdresser’s, then the vet’s, and now more recently the dental assistant job. “That’s it—I’ve quit the practice,” she’d announced, tossing her keys on the benchtop after returning to their flat.

Psychedelic Existentialism in Rob Doyle’s “Threshold” by Declan Toohey

In one of the wittier moments in Rob Doyle’s latest book—a sprawling account of one man’s quest for meaning in the pharmacological era—the narrator visits the world-renowned Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris. There, among other things, he searches in vain for texts by Maurice Blanchot and Pierre Klossowski, and repositions copies of his own novel to cover the works of rival authors. Observing that the Parisian bookshop is as much a tourist attraction as a place in which to acquire books, he bemoans the many patrons who visit the store solely to be photographed, and who shuffle off with a book or two from ‘usual suspects’ such as ‘Kerouac, Bukowski, Hemingway, and Salinger.’[1]

Disconnected by Lillian Brueckman

Savannah went missing on Thursday, or at least that’s when Ida noticed she was gone. Ida had missed work a couple days in a row due to a violent case of the stomach flu that had her puking in a trash can every few hours. When Ida returned to work on Thursday and planted herself in the swivel chair at her desk, she realized Savannah’s cubicle had been completely cleared out. Her telenet screen and in-desk keyboard had been removed and replaced with an outdated monitor and detached keyboard. A disconnect? They really hired a disconnect? Ida sighed and wondered why in the hell their HR manager would let this slide.

The disconnect, Ida soon discovered, was a man named Parker Kavanaugh. He replaced Savannah at the very beginning of the following week and soon enough she was a fragment of Ida’s imagination. She forgot about her quickly.

I Taste Blood by Rebecca Portela

I forget where we got it from. I forget where we got any of our drugs from. Adrian would make a call. He would sometimes be hesitant to make a call, like maybe he had burned that bridge a few times before. Eventually it was 4 a.m. and we got a few hits of acid. We sat on a bench at the 23rd Street subway station waiting for it to kick in. If you know anything about drugs, you know that after an hour, or what seems like an hour, you confidently decide that this shit is weak or fake because it hasn’t hit you yet. So you take more and then, immediately, the first drugs take over and you have a much longer night than you planned.

Starting an acid trip at 4 a.m. is not smart. And taking a second dose at 4 a.m. is what you do when you are with Adrian.