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Ghosts of Venice

Literary Fiction
The Abstract Elephant Magazine

It was very early in the morning and most of Venice Beach was still asleep. The only sounds were those of the ocean waves crashing and the raucous, echoing yells of a Homeless Man leaning into his stereotype as he held a spirited debate with a fire hydrant. The sun was already shining very white and bright and the wind was blowing in lightly from the Pacific, carrying with it just a hint of rot.

Gil stood on the fire escape, admiring the morning and the way the dew from the night still dampened the windows of people’s homes and left idle cars under a layer of freckled water. He thought of the chemical coating that protected cars’ paint jobs from wear and their metal from rust. Everything, he observed, must need that — a protective layer. He then wondered what his own protective coatings were and upon more self-reflection, his mind settled on several, he tried to imagine his life without them. The thoughts frightened him, but he would never admit that openly.

Overlooking the world around him, he inhaled the last remnants of his joint, and watched the Homeless Man below as he told the fire hydrant to go to hell, picked up his cardboard sign and lit a half-smoked cigarette.


The fool stared down from atop his hill. King Gil the most righteous, arbiter of the truth, his intentions good, but unsure of what that actually meant. He felt a deep sympathy for the Homeless Man, but also a sense of superiority that he did not question.

He looked down at the cracked screen of his smartphone; 6:15. Her alarm would go off in fifteen minutes. He needed to get her coffee started — it was his way of starting her day on the right note. He wanted her to wake-up happy, they had fought last night and had both gone to bed angry.


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Rumble in the Jungle Gym

The Satirist: America's Most Critical Journal

Two of the most popular kids in school, Mikey the Kid Bloomberg and Donny the Lump Trump, will be meeting face-to-face after the big Democratic debate this coming week, and if history is to be trusted, then it’s fair to say it’s going to be a verbal tongue lashing with very little—if any—actual fighting.

Insults will fly, tempers will run high; the candidates will go quip for quip, tit for tat and no one will be turning the other cheek. It’s hard to say when exactly this feud between the ex-besties began but some have speculated and pinpointed it to a fateful day at the school cafeteria late last November. Trump’s father had just flown in his son’s Royale with Cheese and little Donny decided to try his luck at the elites table—Mikey and his N.Y. elites, that is.

To his surprise, and no one else’s, he didn’t fit in. He tried being louder and angrier than the others, by repeatedly shouting his name before the beginning of every sentence. These oddball antics, coupled with his racist denouncements of the soccer and lacrosse programs, (calling them “evil Indian and Mexican juju,”) polarized everyone at the popular table. Some say more than half of the kids at the table hated him so much that they encouraged their friend Bloomy (aka Mikey) to run for student council president and defeat Trump.

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The Appointment

Science Fiction Noir

This was his only chance at a second life.
He knew it.
He knew he had to do it.
But still, he was pissed that his world had come to this.

Orion sat up in his bed. He had been lying on top of the covers, fully and neatly dressed in his grey three-piece and black derbies. He took a cigarette from inside the nightstand, lit it, then took a long drag. For a few minutes, he just watched his smoke rings float to the ceiling. He couldn’t sleep. What was the use now anyway? If he could do the thing, then he would sleep well tonight and if he couldn’t? He’d sleep just the same.

He thought about the pistol and pulled it out from its case, placed his fingers on the reader, and turned it on. He cocked it and looked at the ammunition— good to go. Then he checked his watch; it was 0600— nearly time. He had done all the planning he could, he reminded himself.

He finished smoking his cigarette while listening to the sounds of the city. The hard rain bouncing off the pavement mixed with the soft wobble of VTOL cars rushing through the air always reminded him of his mother. He thought of her and gripped the pistol. Soon, he thought.

Then he was up and looking himself over in the mirror and running through his mental checklist. He would need to time his decoupling perfectly. The city’s anti-crime system has a fail safe and his hack will only allow him to disconnect for three minutes at most.

Orion put his hat on and looked himself over once more. He was ready. He stepped out of his front door with a clinched jaw and a determined disposition.
He was instantly punched in the face...

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