Monday, June 25, 2012

Updates to the Site, Etc

I have decided that Metzy's choice will not take place on months where we publish less than five submissions. Furthermore I have decided to edit and update the "songs" portion of the site, and I will be doing so every once in a while as it suits my fancy. I would also like to throw it out there that there is currently only one editor, me, and I am interested in perhaps discussing with all who are interested the possibility of "hiring" another editor; especially if any of my authors decide that the position would appeal to them. Inquiries can be sent to our submissions email.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all of our readers and authors for your continued patronage. It is much appreciated, and is the lifeblood of this little Circus that we have made together.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

AL by Michael Flanders

     “Slit their fucking throats!”
     The words still echoed in my mind, the violent urges Al so desperately wanted performed by my own hand. In fact, it was these urges which propelled me even to this day. I don’t mean these harsh actions drive my person, mind you, they don’t control who I am, but rather they cause me to live a life of normalcy. A man of eight years over twenty, I would’ve been a completely different creature had I not taken the straight razor to the throats of my parents. In all honesty, I may have been worse than the Ripper without the stain upon my soul being cleansed at age eight. But even considering this, I know now I still should’ve slashed that monkey to pieces instead of my dear, sweet parents. Maybe in doing so I would’ve only known a life of dull normalcy, not needing to strive for it in the first place… But I’m getting ahead of myself. The story didn’t start with the death of my loved ones. No, it all began with a simple gift.
THEN – Fall, 1888: London
     “It’s a Macaque! Isn’t he simply radiant?” Mother’s tone was cheerful. I always hated how excitable she sounded. “Your father and I purchased him from a foreigner while on our trip to India!” Little did Mother realize she would’ve been the foreign one in another country.
    I looked on at this animal, this gift. Its fur was a pale brown, a mixture of ash and dirt. The fangs it bore resembled that of a monster, eager to sink into the flesh of an unsuspecting victim. Its hands, although small, gripped the bars of its cage and looked as if they were ready to pull them apart with unnatural strength for such a tiny creature.,   Is this really what Mother disturbed my studies for? Wasn’t she aware I had other things to attend to, like the little bird I was working on in my room? A whiff of dung and refuse rose from the monkey, stirring my thoughts.  “He smells.”
     Mother’s face sank, as if taken aback, yet she continued on. “Nonsense, my love. He’s merely a victim of displacement. You’d be rather odd smelling to other people I’m sure, if you were placed in their natural habitat after spending your whole life somewhere else.” Her theories always came out rather dim.
     “Take him back. I don’t want him.”
     Father finally entered the conversation with his steel-trap logic. “We can’t take him back, Pippin. It’s quite a long journey for the return of one simple monkey.”
     “I fail to see how I should be concerned with that.” Yes, I’m aware I was a child of a bratty nature. However, you’ll agree with my complaints soon enough. “Get one of the jaundy boys down by the dock to do it. They’d be more than willing to take on such a task for some pocket money. And if not, roughen them up a bit.”
     The monkey rattled in its confines, as if to signify its resistance in departing upon another journey. If only my parents hadn’t been so strong-willed about this damned beast, they might still have their jugulars intact.
     “Pippin! Such things are not nice to say about the Asian fellows by the dock! They’re just as hardworking as the Irish, if not more! At least we know they won’t steal the clothes from your back while you’re not looking!” Mother wasn’t a fine example of equality, no matter how much she lectured me on my thoughts of the Asians.
     “We’re not discussing the jaundies any longer! The monkey is a gift from our travels and you will tend to him as if he were your sibling. Do you understand?” Father piggybacked Mother’s complaint with his usual cavalier attitude, not noticing the twinge in Mother’s eye at the mention of “sibling”. Of course, it’s here I feel inclined to inform you my parents only went on this trek across the globe to the likes of Sudan, Istanbul, or Constantinople for you westerners, and India to relieve their heavy minds of Mother’s great loss. Yes, I was to be an older sibling, but Fate would have it otherwise. Now I was left with a feces-throwing animal as a replacement. Continuing...   
     “The estate will be a complete mess when you let loose that thing. Do not even begin to fathom I will clean up after its disasters.” Again, I’m quite aware of how spoiled and entitled I came off as. But I did have an extensive vocabulary for my age.
      Both of my parents were completely annoyed at this lack of interest in their gift, it was blatant when they both shouted “Enough!” Father was the first to speak after their unified dismissal. “You will tend to the animal, you will play with the animal, you will love the animal. Am I understood?”
     What was I to do? Yes, my will still screamed to beat against theirs, but I was a mere child. Arguing with a parent while in your formative years is nothing more than a losing battle from the start. Now convinced they had won the debate, Mother and Father opened the door to the monkey’s entrapment. The little creature hastily fled from the box, running up the stairs of the grand hall and down one of the many pathways the manner possessed. It was here I really noticed how my living quarters looked. Each entry was guarded by dual marbled statues imported from Greece. The curtains were a silk rarity from the upper regions of Asia. The walls, although a stale brown, were accented with nothing short of one of a kind paintings from around the world, some of which were accidently disfigured without a culprit to blame. This was more of a museum than a place to live, but I made due with the west wing of the house as my playground. In fact, it was that area of the house I had just heard a crashing sound come from.  If only I hadn’t gone to investigate…
     I raced into my bedroom, a place of white walls and dark drapes. It was here I saw the monkey perched atop my cabinet of toys, throwing things about like a regular beast of nature. However, he wasn’t destroying my playthings in an animalistic fashion, but rather as an enraged human throwing a fit. This was only the first of many oddities to come.
     “What the hell are you looking at, boy?”
     Yes, the monkey spoke to me. And even further, my mouth hung open like that of a person suffering a mental ailment. In fact, the monkey even felt inclined to point that out.
     “Are you stupid, or just plain retarded?” The mouth for this creature pierced the very fabric of reality for me. It accentuated itself, moving just like a man’s, lips and all. Yet it was creature-like, something you’d envision in one of Poe’s stories.  The monkey hurled another of my belongings across the room, snapping my attention back to the entire situation. A macaque with the gift of a cursed tongue terrorized my housing while I stood by in awe.
  “Close your fucking mouth, you’re letting a draft in.” He then jumped from the cabinet to the nearby window, trying to pry it open. “Your parents don’t trust you, they have to nail down the damn windows so you can’t get out?”
     My gaze remained unflinching, unsure of what I was seeing. After a few moments I was finally able to mutter out “What are you?” I’m quite aware I seemed daft at this point in time.
     This stopped the monkey in his tracks, turning his full attention to me. “Ah, it speaks. Here I thought I was the only one with the cognitive capacity to actually say something useful. After all, you didn’t say much more than jack shit when talking to your parents. And let’s get something straight, I’m not a what, I’m a who.”
     “Alright, who are you?” Yes, still daft.
     “Name’s Al, and this isn’t who I really am. I was actually an American-“
     “You came from America? But Mother and Father said they bought you in India.”
     Al became enraged. “Will you let me finish, you little shit? I was getting to that. I’m from America, but I was on holiday in India. I came across some sort of temptress and now I’m a fucking monkey. Does that answer all of your asinine questions?”
     The only thing I could think was “No”, but I hardly wanted to provoke Al any more than he already seemed to be. After a few more moments of his bumbling to get out and my bumbling around a talking monkey, we sat down and spoke at great length. The man-ape went on about his journeys across the world, about how he always preferred New York to anywhere else. He said there was a sophisticated aggression in New York and I must really plan a trip if I intend to keep my head squarely up my rectum. Being only eight, I couldn’t tell if that was a compliment or insult. I see now it was the latter.
     We sat on the floor and continued our conversation for awhile, until Al looked under my bed and saw the little bird I had been tending to. He slid it out from its concealment and I immediately tried to stop him, “No, don’t touch that!” It was too late, the monkey had opened Pandora’s Box.
     “What the fuck is this? Are you one of those sick animal killers? Try that shit with me and I’ll kill you!” Al was very displeased with finding my test subject.
     It was an odd feeling, but I felt like I could tell Al my intentions. He was already critical towards me, and we had only known each other for less than an hour, but what more could he do to belittle my character?
     “That was Sam. He was a friend of mine. That was until I cut off his wings with a straight razor. He struggled at first, attempting to flap his detached parts. All he achieved was bleeding out faster. I sliced into his abdomen as he died. It housed such small, insignificant organs, yet I won’t know what pain the bird felt as I cut each one with my blade. I wanted it to suffer, and I wanted it to know I was in control.”
      “Darling, it’s time for your medication.” Mother called from somewhere near the kitchen. I remember shaking my head in shame, not just at Mother interrupting my surgical monologue, but at killing the bird before it knew the pleasure I had in store for it.
     “You’re one twisted little fuck. I bet your parents have you on all sorts of meds. Serves you right too, slicing up a bird like that. Don’t you know you should aim your sights on something that can scream?” Al had a very interesting way of adding suggestion.  But he did have a point. I sat in my room, my sanctuary of white and gory exploration, yet never examined the idea of hearing a person writhe in agony.
     “Are you insinuating I tackle something of a human nature? Move on from petty birds and small field mice? Is that what you’re-“
     Mother cut me off. “Pippin, did you hear me? It’s time for your medication.”
     I rose to my feet and heard Al chuckle. “Boy, I’d shove that bottle down her throat and make her choke on those pills if I were you.” I had no response, or shall I say, what should I have responded with? I merely dusted myself off and began my trip down to the kitchen. I could hear Al yelling at me as I exited though, “Kill the bitch! Kill the bitch! Kill the bitch! Oh, and don’t forget about your father!”
     I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, a talking monkey wanted me to kill my parents. And each point around this time of day, the time I took my medication, Al’s aggression towards Mother and Father became more obvious. I’d walk along the dark halls, judgmental eyes staring at me from the paintings I’d pass, with words like “stab, shoot, murder, kill” pounding through my skull like a bad headache. Finally I stopped taking the medication to get a reprieve from Al’s verbal wrath. Granted, Mother and Father weren’t too keen on my disobedience initially, but they gave up the struggle over time. Maybe a person in their formative years can win an argument with their older counterparts. Either way, my small victory only spurred the tiny mockery of a man to become more angered.
     “Slit their fucking throats!”
     “Why are you doing this? Mother and Father may be a burden at times, but that’s no reason to kill them.” Truly, I had no desire to kill my parents… Yet. “Why can’t we find a vagrant or traveling merchant to test my curiosities on?”
     The creature ignored my inquiry and carried on his mental torment, “Slit their fucking throats! Do it! Do it now, you little shit!” He continued with his demands, instructing me to grab the straight razor I’d use for my studies with the animals. I’d only attempted to use it on Al once since his residency, but withdrew the notion at the final moment for fear of his wrath.  “Put that thing to their necks and slice!”
     I don’t think there was a turning point, some toggle in my mind that switched on. No, it was more like sleepwalking. I staggered down the hallways in my slumber attire, no longer concerned with the art glaring at me for my thoughts. Oddly enough, each picture I walked by appeared different now, as if encouraging me to carry out Al’s demands. These new emotions from the artwork could be contributed to my mental state at the time, yet I don’t feel the paintings have changed their mind over the years. They wanted me to do it, just as Al did.
     The door creaked ever so slightly as I opened the entrance to Mother and Father’s room. There they were, wrapped up like little children in their bed of oak and fancy. I had only been in their room once, but it never looked like this. Shadows danced on the jeweled walls like imps from Hell, the sculptures and statues took on sharp points, as if growing horns. The once ordinary room now lodged all of the monstrosities one would see in a fevered trance, or property of Satan. These things would not detour me though, for my resolve was clear: appease Al so he’d let me have peace.
     Father didn’t struggle too much if I recall correctly. I mounted his chest and he awoke with the thought I needed something. He started to call down to one of the servants, but failed to make anything audible once his vocal cords were severed. Blood began pouring from the wound instantly, soaking his long johns and bedding alike. The sudden wetness stirred Mother from her slumber, causing me to leap at her with a terrible force I never knew I possessed. We tumbled from the bed, myself somehow underneath her. Disregarding my position, I thrust my arm upward, stabbing part of the blade into Mother’s neck. She loosed a scream, but quickly stopped herself. I can only assume the action inflicted more pain than she was accustomed. The now dying woman reached up to remove the sharp object, but only succeeded with slicing her fingers due to her franticness. Her hands withdrew wildly, leaving me to drag the razor through her flesh, carving an orifice of pain and gore into her person. The job took several moments, and even after she bled out her body trembled. I then dropped the razor and went back to my chambers. Even now I’m quite confused with how I committed such an atrocity, yet somehow managed to spare myself even a single drop of blood dampening my garments.
     Returning to my room, I climbed into my bed. I knew I was now free of Al’s torment, his yearnings. My eyes began to sink, I was drifting between this world and the one of rest. It was in my final moment of consciousness I noticed the window to my room was pried open and the talking monkey was nowhere to be found. I had gained control over everything, just as I wanted with Sam.
NOW – Spring, 1908: New York
     There you have it. I killed my parents because an animal, no a man, instructed me to do so. The worst part isn’t my ill-deed, or even that the monkey disappeared once I satiated his hunger for death, but that instead Father was labeled the killer. Yes, the police ruled it both a murder and a suicide. With that, I was passed around from servant to servant until I came of age, thus inheriting the family estate. I live there now, with my family. There’s the Wife, the Son, and the younger Daughter. We even have the Dog. I took on a profession at the local pressing and have lived as normal a life as I could given the circumstances. It was a struggle at times, but I made due with the situation I created. It was everything until now which spurred on this holiday with the family. They longed for an escape, and since childhood I had a desire to go to New York. It turns out visiting the local zoo wasn’t such a good idea though…
     “Well look what the cat dragged in. Long time, no see, my friend.” Al’s familiar voice sounded from a nearby cage. I turned my attention to the monkey, never expecting to find him here, or anywhere for that matter. “It’s a nice family you have there. You know what you should do? Slit their fucking throats!” Suddenly I felt the small handle of a straight razor in my grasp. I looked down and saw the Daughter holding my hand.
     “I like that monkey, daddy. Can we keep him?”
     Al laughed hysterically as I stared at the Daughter. My head began to pound as it did when I was a child, “stab, shoot, murder, kill”, the beat to my internal drum…
     “Yes, sweetheart. We’ll go ask the zookeeper right now if we can buy him.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Night Flight by David Frazier

Bats in night shadows
Ebony flight.
Feeding time
Twilight, bats flock.

Dart and weave
Jagged paths,
Gnashing teeth
As they eat.

Flying rodents
Sucking on warm blood.
Pray your not prey.
Vampire bats 

Drink bodily fluids.
Fly back to the cave,
Hang upside down,
Make guano.

Rest until nighttime, 
They wing into the abyss.
Searching for meals
Red, warm, and thick.

The attack occurred south of Phoenix
On a back road.
Sent you to hell
In the Sonora desert.

Convertible top down, slumped in the seat.
Completely dead.
Your drained body
Never was found.