I’d Rather Capitulate to Satan – by MICHAEL MARROTTI

I woke up on a Saturday morning hungover, but with good intentions. My head was throbbing, so was my urine erection. I rolled over on my right side to the sexy, soft body laying next to me. I slipped it in with ease. She had a post evening moist vagina. I cupped her tit with one hand and roughly pulled her head back with the other as I bit her neck. Unprotected sex first thing in the morning. I diligently tried to fuck away that hangover. It worked for the most part. The symptoms were subtle after that.

I haven’t woke up early in the morning since I dropped out of high school. Today was a special occasion. The winter season is about to begin, and they need help sorting and separating jackets at the Light Of Life donation center. I received the Gmail a week ago asking if I were interested. It sounded like a noble, worthwhile cause, so I signed up for assistance.

It must’ve been a hard night of drinking for the majority of people in Pittsburgh. I wasn’t the only one suffering from a hangover. The people who accompanied me onto the trolley looked like shit. For once in my life these assholes and I were in solidarity.

I sat in the back like usual with nothing but a hilarious book by Monica Drake called, “Clown Girl,” to keep me company. I was dealing with periodical bouts of nausea. Nothing I couldn’t handle, though. By the time I reached North Side I felt better and ready to go vigorous at the Light Of Life.

I stopped at Sunoco to get a pint of orange juice. My body desperately needed vitamin c. I was thinking fortification.

I was in a state of confusion by the time I reached my destination. All the doors were locked. Homeless people were congregating around the premises. I looked in the window and saw volunteers, so I knocked a few times to get their attention.

After that I was let in and greeted by the woman who sent me the Gmail. We made our introductions. Then I followed her back to where all the action was happening.

I’ve never volunteered at this building before, which happens to be an old dilapidated school. Usually I’m putting in time at the soup kitchen. This place had a creepy vibe to it. For some reason the notion of Satanists making human sacrifices in the dark abandoned room down the hall came to mind.

It’s ridiculous, I know. The mind thinks of absurdities when detaching itself from a hangover.

I was led to an old classroom with ten Christians and forty large trash bags filled with winter jackets. We separated them by size, making piles on the table. Our routine was efficient. There wasn’t much talking, but it wasn’t awkward either. I noticed the guy across of me pull out his star of David necklace after five minutes of sorting.

This was a first, I thought. I’ve never volunteered at a Christian organization with a Jew before. I kinda felt honored. I’m a huge Woody Allen fan.

The feeling of self gratification brought on by this act of philanthropy was phenomenal. I felt extremely beneficial to humanity. It was a beautiful thing until he showed up.

A man came into the room wearing conservative dress attire. By the way he walked I’d assume he had a stick up his ass. He was definitely a republican. In fact, if he’s not, I’ll let my girlfriend blow you.

I’m well aware of how judgmental I’m being. That’s fine. I don’t claim to be a Christian. Besides, you get what you give. Keep reading, I’ll explain.

I’m having a great time, minding my own business when I felt these judgmental eyes upon me. I looked over and saw the conservative prick giving me dirty looks. I was immediately irritated by this act of bullshit first thing in the morning.

It’s not like there’s thousands of people in Pittsburgh that give a shit about people they’ve never met before. This is a very small gathering of good hearted people in here right now. The last thing a philanthropist wants to deal with is persecution, especially by one of the people who claim to be on his side. I continued to sort the coats until he walked over to confront me.

“Excuse me,” said the conservative prick who had a personal problem with someone he never met before. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Mario.”

“Okay,” he said with blatant disdain in his voice. “What are you doing here?”

I’m trying at this point not to have an episode, but this prick was making it hard on me.

With a coat in my hand I said, “Is it not evident what I’m doing here, bro?”

The prick took it a step further by saying, “Who let you in here? What are you doing?”

Now approaching indignation.

I slammed down the coat I had in my hands on the pile and said, “It’s too early in the morning for stupid questions. Do you treat all the volunteers like shit, or am I special?”

I looked around at all the alleged Christians and the one single Jew. They were all minding their own business, sorting and separating as I dealt with an early morning asshole.

I raised my voice a notch and said, “Answer me! Am I special? What did you think, I was some kind of vagabond off the streets that snuck in here to help! This is fucking ridiculous! Who the fuck are you?”

He arrogantly stuck his chin up and said, “I’m the pastor around these parts.”

I grabbed him by his dress shirt, and threw him onto the table. All the Christians scattered. The lone Jew stayed put. I’m betting he’s dealt with plenty of these pseudo-Christian scumbags before. He wanted a close seat to the action.

I open hand smacked him right in the mouth. The sound of the impact reverberated throughout the room. Then I grabbed him by the hair and started yanking his God fearing head around as I said, “Be gone Satan! Be gone! Leave the spirit of this pseudo-Christian alone! I command you!”

I bitch slapped him a few more times and continued to yank his head around until his toupee ripped off. I screamed, “Kill it with fire!” as I reached in my pocket for a lighter. Then I set it to blaze. After that the pastor hysterically ran out the room.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just witnessed my very first exorcism! What do you think?”

An older woman who reminded me of my grandma said, “I’m so sorry you had to deal with that, son. I’ve never seen him behave in that manner before. Maybe he was possessed.”

“Or maybe he was a pseudo-Christian,” I said.

“Well, don’t let his actions tarnish our Christian image. We’re not like that.”

“I would never think like that. It’s close minded.”

“Good. I’m glad to hear that, dear. All we can do is pray for him.”

“Cool. Pray all you want. I’m not going to waste my time.”

“Why not, dear? It’s the Christian thing to do.”

“I’m not a Christian.”

“But Jesus saves. Don’t you want to be saved?”

“Exactly. He saves all the wrong people. Spending eternity amongst the company of pseudo-Christians, or my drunken mother sounds more like hell to me than heaven. I’d rather capitulate to Satan than endure that perpetual headache.”

They all just looked at me in a pitiful way. All except the Jewish guy.

He gave me a thumbs up.

I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do, and then some. I left the donation center feeling better than I had when I first started.



  Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he’s not writing, he’s volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man’s work, please check out his blog:www.thoughtsofapoeticmind.blogspot.com for his latest poetry and short stories.









Empty Electronic / But / Still Haunted / The Second Coming/Don’t Choke / Easy Does It – by SCOTT THOMAS OUTLAR

Empty Electronic



Flash drive oblivion

white washed

with scarlet light fever

soothing the scabs

with a salve of scratches


to the bone

that grinds to dust

that fades to dirt

that dances on the ash

and laughs

with full moon madness

under pulsing stars

puncturing black holes

in the empty night

while webs

of electric sirens

sing woven psalms

across the sky






I am not in love,

and so I have

no one

to whom

I can write a love song.


But her hair was lovely,

and her smile was amber honey.


But her lust was eager,

and her comfort was an even greater gift.


I cannot remember

the way electric currents

traveled from

her fingertips

to mine.


But her skin was a garden,

and her light was purely born within.


But her breath was an ocean,

and her voice was soft whispered lilacs.


I am not in love,

and so I have

no one

to whom

I can sing a love song.


Still Haunted



On a day such as this

with the weather so nice

I remember what it was like

to just drive

with you by my side

toward any destination

so long as you

were still there

when we arrived


On a day such as this

I know exactly

how it feels

to be alone




The Second Coming/Don’t Choke



Maybe the funniest thing

I’ve ever heard

(at least in the past day)

was a woman

from the crowd

of a deep fried asparagus

speed eating competition

screaming lines such as,

“Don’t overstuff your mouth!”;

and, “Keep swallowing!”

Sage advice,

considering the circumstances.

I had to pause the video

to document her wisdom for posterity,

so there’s no telling

what message

she might still

decree from God.


Part II


“Make sure you breathe,”

wound up being the next eternal nugget

heard after hitting play.



All cynicism aside,

I must admit,

that’s some pretty solid stuff

for any situation –



Easy Does It



Sitting here

with a stupid

silent smile,

I wait patiently

for the words

to flow

while meditating

on the absolute


of God, nature,

and all that is good

in this world.


No wars in my mind.

No hatred in my heart.

No chemicals in my blood.


Sometimes it’s just fine

to be at peace

while pondering

how beautiful

this gift of life

truly is.


No metaphors.

No hidden meaning.

No uneasy urges.


The birds sing,

the wind blows,

the season of Spring

cycles into bloom,

and I

close my eyes

to feel the source

kiss my soul

as a gentle caress


all my wounds

with a salve

of blessed bliss.


Chaos Songs Cover

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, and essays can be found. His chapbook “Songs of a Dissident” was released in 2015 through Transcendent Zero Press and is available on Amazon. His poetry collections “Happy Hour Hallelujah” (CTU Publishing) and “Chaos Songs” (Longsword Press) are both forthcoming in 2016.



Invisible Man – by C. C. O’HANLON


I can’t say when, exactly, I became invisible.

There were intimations of it – in the eyes of shop assistants

focussed elsewhere, or not at all, when I spoke to them, and

younger, busier people that bumped and jostled me, saying nothing,

I am not a small man. I am robust and upright. I occupy space.

But my presence had receded, withered. I had become less.


Less here. Unseen.


Look at me. No, don’t look.

My eyes have sunk into my skull. Framed by ursine droops and

dark shadows, the irises are paler, a little watery and unclear.

My hair, what little of it I have left, is grey, and while my face is

unwrinkled, my jowls, chin and neck are fleshier.


Every trace of the middle-aged man I was not long ago is gone,

the essence of him – the thoughts, imaginings and memories he had,

the itchy energy and will – gone, too. Did it all abandon me as I slept –

like rats from a reef-wrecked ship, scampering over rusted gunwales,

repelled by some grim inventory of decay?


I am, somehow, other.


C.C O’Hanlon, 2016


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***C.C. O’Hanlon is what the Germans call a lebenskünstler (‘life artist’). He has also been called ‘an indisciplined polymath’ and ‘a rogue’. He refuses to be called a writer, although he has published numerous essays, short stories, and diaristic photographs. He currently lives in Berlin. Find him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ccohanlon ***

*Featured photo courtesy of Brian Michael Barbeito*

Of Darker Things – by LEE HAMBLIN

Of Darker Things


They spoke of many things that day.

But mainly they spoke of yesterdays.

Or, to paint the more truthful picture; it was the old man who spoke, and the son who listened.


He listened to every word the old man uttered from lips faded and cracked by eighty-seven summers. He even saw glimpses of unbridled joy in the old man’s eyes as he spoke – though now life-tired, milky, and succumbing.


Often the son smiled at his father. It was, of course, the correct thing for a son to do, and he held gently the old man’s atrophied hand in his own, wondering why it was that he had no recollection of the things he spoke, of such joyful things.


For his only memories were of other things, of much darker things.


But the son said nothing, for there was nothing for him to say that should have been said many years ago.

Nothing for him to do that should have been done many years ago.


He listened until his father’s words slowed, faltered, ran dry. The father then closed his eyes.

The son leant over and laid his lips on the old man’s forehead. It was salty and cool, and it smelled of death.


He then whispered in his father’s ear: thank you. Two words hauled from some chasm in his heart, the place where anger and love battled each other daily for supremacy, and he wasn’t entirely sure which had coloured those two words – maybe it was both – or maybe it was something else.


He then placed the old man’s hand back down upon the bed, and began to weep openly for the first time since he was a child.


Photo on 15-07-2014 at 09.11

Lee is a short fiction writer. He has also had stories published with: F(r)iction online, Flash Fiction Magazine, Sick Lit Magazine, Platform For Prose, STORGY, The Red Line, The Londonist, and was shortlisted for the BBC’s 2015 Opening Lines competition. Originally from London, he now lives in Greece.

He can be found here:  https://hamblin1.wordpress.com / @kali_thea


The First Sip – by PENNY BARRATT

The First Sip

By Penny Barratt



“Are you feeling OK?” he asked as I pulled open the passenger door with uncoordinated force. He adjusted his sunglasses in the rear view mirror without bothering to look me in the face. “Because if you’re sick in my car I will never give you a lift again.”


I put a steadying hand on the hot metal roof and eased myself inside his Mini.  The shock of  the heat from the burning leather made my hips jolt upwards and I pulled at my mini skirt as if tugging would  reveal more cloth like a conjuring trick.  I looked down. One of my knees was grazed. No idea why. Bright red freckles of blood were patchworked with grey gravel.  I crossed my legs, hoping he wouldn’t notice.


I needed absolute stillness. A flat, straight Roman road of a journey between Tess’s house and home. No corners, no bumps, no stops, no starts. Instead my brother drove worse than usual, alternately pumping brake and accelerator, like he was operating an old loom rather than a piece of modern engineering. Did he do it on purpose? Maybe.


The morning sun didn’t help.  It was playing hide and seek in the trees, first blinding me and then  disappearing behind branches, leaving my eyes full of white fire, unable to focus.  The pain in my head got worse at the traffic lights as red merged with orange, merged with green in a blurred wheel of primary and secondary colours.


I longed to put my head in my hands but was scared of what bending forward might initiate.


It was my own fault. He had warned me not to mix my drinks.


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***This is the third piece of writing that Penny Barratt has had published that isn’t a feature or a news story, making her a regular contributor to Sick Lit Magazine. Penny Barratt spent 20 years as a business journalist and publisher.  Earlier this year she vowed to attend fewer writing classes, write more, get a lot of rejections and finish at a least one of her three novels. Three out of four achieved so far with particular success at number three. Her work has appeared online at Visual Verse and Writing Magazine.***

Poetry is in the Eye of the Beholder – by YESSICA KLEIN

Of Age



future is coming

fluorescent adolescent

hold tight, ride about to begin

what’s my age

inherit the earth as fast as it comes

live fast die old

don’t give it half-hearted, give it all

don’t be shy

this is what we got

try not to lose it

same place tomorrow

as old as your fears

it is our birth right to be discontented






years ago

urban wasteland

why cities need breathing spaces


visual backdrop

empty and torn down

empty urban space

breathing space

living and thinking

empty space


the rock’n’roll rebels (military gear)

the art-school boys (paint-splattered clothes)

absolutely crucial

absolutely bedevilled


the last 20 years

impossible spaces to move




these places were blank




Forever Young



everyone grows old

maybe, maybe

anything to go by skateboarding the fountain of youth

the clock starts ticking

youth-centric world

keep the dream




Yessica Klein is a Brazilian writer and artist based in London, whose work has been published in zines and websites in both English and Portuguese. Besides writing, she spends her time in a camera shop and in between the kitchen and the local urban farm.

Devours – by CARRIE REDWAY


Carrie Redway


Brigid thaws.


pink beeswax melted around the wick

the room smelled of roses and verbena

a candle for spring, Brigid

lit every night in March


She insists: I am no witch, but I am a beast.

Brigid spills.


wax melted over the candle’s edge

seething down the shaft

how lava overtakes a large spruce

the way a Venus flytrap closes upon lunch–







(I only took communion in kindergarten

because I wanted the old man to feed me

those little thin wafers)


Brigid’s wax blood

pink liquid candy oozed out

through a sheer wax skin

pooled on the table


by morning the new layer dried,

hardened on top of old wax

it looked like stacked meat


A man whispers,

Dig into her, Boy.

Go on–

Women do not bleed. Women do not bleed.

And even if they did bleed,

it’s not real blood, only sweet taffy.


She insists: I am no witch, but I am a beast.


Redway photo

Carrie Redway is a writer and mixed media artist in Seattle. Myth, folklore and ritual inspires her work as does the moody Pacific Northwest landscape. Recently, her poetry appeared in Really System. Find her here:https://twitter.com/carrie_redway.