Best Guests of the Best Western Hotel

a fiction short by Pasha Malla
([email]pasha [at] ekno [dot] com[/email])

Rm #312 – Ludwig Van Beethoven
Mr. Beethoven checked in with only one piece of luggage, a leather- bound valise. He failed to tip either the doorman, or the bell boy. In the elevator he broke wind and blamed it on a child.

During his two-night stay, Mr. Beethoven amassed a substantial bill viewing pornographic films on pay-per-view television. Evidence of semen was found in the bedsheets, wastebasket, shower and bathroom sink. Upon departure he was heard to refer to the hotel as a “shithole” and refused to offer identification while paying by personal cheque.

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The New Sound of the Men Working on the Train Gang

by Rey Martinez
([email]maxinquaye [at] aol [dot] com[/email])

Whenever I thought of such a thing, only warbled service announcements pulled into my mind. Attention wddwndkjwebwejbdjw or The next train leaving the station is on Track 52738dbbe. Nothing against the MTA PA operators, but they wouldn’t be playing Vegas anytime soon.

I’d probably never even have put the two words together if it weren’t for my poorly trained Jamaican auto mechanic. See, he’d promised my car fixed by Friday, but come Friday, there I stood on the 34th Street platform waiting for the R train to take me home. Hector (don’t ask me how a Jamaican gets that name) ruined my date with a precision I could only hope would eventually benefit my car.

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I Am the Ghetto

by A.C. Koch
([email]henry_iblis [at] hotmail [dot] com[/email])

I, Ghatu, continue to devolve. Like my century, I tumble from beauty to shit with a thousand senseless catastrophes along the way. At my side reclines the sleek Frenchwoman who has been my lover across three continents and as many years, a person of such beauty, intelligence and strength that next to her I am but a flake of cum. Out the window smolder the slums of Mexico City — any way you look at it, one of the most spectacular disasters in all of human history. Caught between these two elements, Isabelle and the ghetto, I squirm. I am the lance that pins the butterfly to the board. Vulgar, yes — but remove me, and the spectacle is gone.

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Waterbirth

by Chris Duncan
([email]cduncan204 [at] aol [dot] com[/email])

Skinny Steven Hilton stares at his bucktoothed continence in the mirror of a Shoney’s restroom. He absorbs critically his floppy ears, his close-set eyes, his one eyebrow, his oddly feminine lips, full and red, chapped, flaking, better looking from afar. He bites a piece of loose skin from his bottom lip and swallows it. He tilts his head toward the ceiling and stares as best he can into his formidably sized nostrils into which he rams thumbs and index fingers and grabs as many nose hairs as he can. He yanks. He yanks. His eyes fill with tears. Fuck’at shit hurts, he thinks, smiling dumbly to himself. He again stares at his buckteeth, stained brown from dipping over three thousand cans of long-cut wintergreen Skoal. He ruefully hears his dead daddy commenting: “You could eat corn on the cob through a wire fence with those teeth, boy!” Steven grimaces away the thought and pats down a cowlick. Steven is trying to be happy. No, he is happy. He is! He’s just graduated from Alliance Truck Driving Academy of Bristol, Virginia, and he and his girlfriend and his mom are celebrating. The girls are eating their salads. Steven has just drained what he calls his anaconda and flushed his venom down the dirty urinal. Steven is thirty. Steven is going places. Stephen imagines himself adopting a monkey, a capuchin perhaps; his monkey will wear a baseball cap, and they’ll be like BJ and the Bear, solving mysteries, stopping crime, and hanging out with hot girls in Jacuzzis.

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Bitter Water

short fiction by Diana Adams
([email]dianasadams [at] shaw [dot] ca[/email])

‘You are late again….’ He stood too close to me, and tapped at his watch.

‘Only five minutes, that doesn’t count as late does it?’ I thought of all the extra hours I had put in, carefully carving the chocolate clock. The clock, made entirely out of Callebaut Dark, actually functioned and hung in sugary perfection on the wall.

According to my watch I wasn’t late at all. His watch was too fast, but I wouldn’t say that. I had learned the fine art of being quiet, kissing ass, and working in humble silence; for I was an apprentice doomed to 6,000 hours of subservience in order to get my accreditation.

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You Think YOU’RE Demoralized!

We had this big old Chinese elm tree by our patio taken out last year. Now a two hundred square foot area next to the patio is nothing but dirt, which my two ninety-mile-per-hour Australian shepherds are constantly tracking onto the patio. So my wife wants me to

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