Dylan had been walking a Border collie and some groceries back to his University Heights duplex when he was stabbed twice in the side. One of the blows chipped his fourth rib, the blade twisting harmlessly into the muscles of his abdomen. The second tore a small hole in his right lung.

As he lay dying, Dylan smelled milk; the milk had broken as he fell. Blood began gurgling to his throat with each breath.

The kid didn’t even rob me, he reflected.

Dylan James McCorey’s last living thought was of how annoying the frozen concrete felt on his neck. There was a swelling burst of white noise, a sound like a single note played on a piano in an empty room, and then nothingness.

.

Suddenly, Dylan became aware again. The hallway he walked down stretched far before him and resembled the long corridor that led to the separated gymnasium of his elementary school. Soon Dylan realized that this was the hallway from grade school. It was a playback of his life. Quietly, Dylan’s consciousness looked around for a fast forward button. To his surprise, he found one. In the lower right-hand corner of his vision he saw a flashing red button display that resembled the one on his VCR… sort of. Something seemed out of place. He wasn’t really there and neither were the buttons, but Dylan exerted all his will at the idea of pressing “F FWD.”

The images blew past him at a mercifully blinding speed. He could catch little glimpses of scenes, and pangs of emotion as well. The vision could give him his emotional feedback at the time of each replayed event. His life was moving so fast now that Dylan barely had time to marvel at the beauty of it.

Most of it was pretty boring, to be truthful. Elementary school: unkempt blond hair pushed back over freckled ears, kickball, awkwardness. Middle school: acne, standardized testing, more awkwardness. High school: introduction to sex, marginally less awkwardness, 9/11, sweaty Prom-night hands…

Dylan paused. The images paused with him.

9/11. I’d like to see that again one more time, he thought. Dylan had been in a class when the news came. He’d skipped the rest of the day and glued himself to the television with the rest of the nation until late at night when the first fighter jets lifted off from a nearby air base, startling him out of his dumb shock. He wouldn’t mind living through the day’s emotions again with an older mind to see if he could process some of the heartache now. Unfortunately, as he looked at the button display again he realized what was missing: the rewind button. Dylan decided to watch more carefully from now on. However, with 9/11 already passed, he realized that he could remember pretty clearly what came next and none of it was worth watching.

F FWD. He flashed through graduation, his first few years at the University at Buffalo, other, more successful grocery trips, and finally the unfortunate events of that very morning. The screen went blank.

Dylan didn’t feel as though he’d learned much. A few perceptions had been corrected, a few memories clarified. He had, in fact, been the one who’d started the prom night argument that led to a mid-summer break up with his girlfriend at the time. “Funny Cide” really was a prize-winning thoroughbred and a brand of novelty beer, settling an unfinished bar bet Dylan now realized he would never collect on. And the little rat-tailed murderer had robbed him.

Dylan bitterly cursed the existence of all snot-nosed troubled youths, swearing to never again, if given the chance, feel sorry for them and the broken homes they may or may not have come from. He felt jealous of their life and the second or third chances they had to use it wisely, to take advantage of life, to have fun, instead of the quarter-century or so of awkward fumbling Dylan had just lived and reviewed. He wished bad things upon the boy who’d killed him and everyone else like him

Just as his thoughts were reaching their most crudely graphic apex, the lights came up and revealed Dylan’s surroundings: the pearly gates of Heaven. He saw St. Peter, clipboard in hand. Dylan was a body again, with eyes and hands and a brain and a mouth, a mouth that worked, that was connected to the brain, which was engaged in some fairly colorful imagery at the moment. Dylan tried in vain to shut himself up

“–and their cocksucking baby factory mothers, too,” he finished, right on schedule. 

St. Peter gaped. The silence before his gates was thick and sweaty, and Dylan felt he could see cool blue flames in the old man’s eyes as he folded his arms over his clipboard and waited for the big gear-shift he knew was coming.

“Er… hey,” Dylan began.

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A boy, an aspiring poet named Rhyson, walked into his science class late, as ever.
“I don’t even want to see you come in anymore if you can’t make it on time, Rhyson,” his teacher, Dr. Spectacles, said. “Go down to the front office and wait there for the rest of the period. You’ll be making this one up after school. Detention ’til 4:40, right here.”
“Aw, c’mon man…” Rhyson began.
“Go,” said Dr. Spectacles.
Rhyson went.

Around 3 p.m. Rhyson was sitting at his desk in Dr. Spectacles’ classroom. He could see out the window, which fact he loved and hated in summer, which it was. The school sounded quiet and underpopulated. Girls he could only just tell were girls but knew were pretty were practicing field hockey maneuvers on the fields far out to about his north-northwest, if his desk was north. Late spring air drifted lazily in through opened windows like truant children.

“Hello, Rhyson,” said Dr. Spectacles as he came in, mispronouncing the name for the nth time.
“I told you, Doc, you say it like ‘reason,'” Rhyson said. “Like, ‘the reason I was late before is ’cause–‘”
“I don’t really want any excuses, son,” said Dr. Spectacles. “Now, as far as today’s lesson, when you walked in we were talking about simple machines…”

After about twenty minutes of screws-and-axes-talk, Rhyson had had enough. Dr. Spectacles was in the middle of a deft illustration linking the common wood screw to the class’s more recent lesson on applied forces, which Rhyson had also missed and didn’t regret missing.
“Hey Doc,” Rhyson said, hand in the air. “Why hasn’t there been any new simple machines?”
“There are only six, Rhyson,” Dr. Spectacles said. “And stop calling me that.”
“Until someone invents a new one though, right?”
“No, there are only six simple machines. Those are the six simplest machines you can have. There are no others.”
Rhyson glanced at the clock, glanced out the window.
“Well, what about a slinky?” he asked. “How come that’s not one of the simple machines?”
Dr. Spectacles abandoned his chalk and sat-stood at his desk, hands crossed on a knee. He appeared to be riding the desk side-saddle.
“Because it doesn’t do anything,” he said. “It can’s move an object anywhere.”
“Sure it can. It can move itself downstairs.”
“Gravity does that.”
Rhyson thought for a minute.
“Well, gravity moves a ball down an inclined plane, doesn’t it? Why isn’t gravity the simple machine?”
“Well, yes, but–” Dr Spectacles began. “It’s different.”
“Different how?”
“Just different. Now, we’ve really got to get back to–”
“Doc, what about a belt?”
Dr. Spectacles frowned. “Rhyson, a belt doesn’t move anything either–”
“Sure it does.” Even with all his willpower focused on the task at hand, Rhyson couldn’t help a small eye-tic towards the northwest. “It stops my pants from falling down. It defies gravity, so it must exert an upward force on my pants of at least 9-point… whatever… whatevers… right?”
“Well, no, technically it’s exerting a force inward, creating enough friction to counteract the forces of gravity on your pants.”
“Ohh…well, waht about a bouncy ball? When I throw it at the ground it switches around the forces of both gravity and my throw, causing it to redirect and defy gravity.”
“Well, first of all, it involves rubber, a complex man-made substance, and–”
“Hey! Rubber! Rubber is a simple machine!”
“Er…no, you see–”
“Doc, we just invented a new simple machine!”
“No, it doesn’t–”
“The Bouncer!”
“Well, it really doesn’t–”
“Sure it does.”
“It does what?”
“It bounces. Watch.”
“Okay, yes, yes, but…you didn’t invent the bouncy ball, now did you? Someone else had to. So it’s not our invention anymore, now is it, Rhyson?”
“Oh, I suppose not… jeez, Doc, this is hard. How did the great ones do it? The da Vincis, the Einsteins, the Picassos, how did they invent so many new things?”
“Well, Picasso wasn’t an inventor, but–”
“Sure he was. He invented a painting in my house.”
Dr. Spectacles began to protest, but thought better of it.
“Rhyson, the great inventors of the past, they learned theories of science, tested them, and built on the successes of their predecessors, just as I do today.”
“Okay, so… da Vinci, he learned from someone else before him, and, say, Newton learned from him, and now you learn from Newton?”
“Something like that.”
“But if there was always some scientific authority before da Vinci, Newton, Einstein, and you, how does anyone invent anything new? How does science progress?”
“Well, they – and I – advance scientific discovery by questioning the accepted theories of our predecessors.”
“But didn’t I just question the theory of simple machines?”
“Yes, but you’d have to prove it wrong to advance another theory. You didn’t do that.”
“This is ridiculous.”
“I was just thinking the same thing…”
“So what you’re saying is that da Vinci, Picasso, Lincoln, all those guys–”
“But Lincoln didn’t–!”
“Five dollar bill. So what you’re saying is that all those guys made new theories by questioning the old theories…”
“Yes…”
“…and the reason that people believe their discoveries is that they took the time to prove them…”
“Yes…”
“…and so if you think about it eventually someone will come along and disprove the current theory of, say, gravity, if they just take the time to learn the old theories, question them, and disprove them, right?”
“Well, possibly, but–”
“Boy, I really think you’re wasting your time, Doc.”
Dr Spectacles’ eyes narrowed.
“Really? What gave it away?”
“What’s the point of advancing new theories if someone is just going to come along and disprove them?”
“Ah, well, yes, well, the end-goal of all scientific inquiry is to create one Grand Unifying Theory, which serves as an umbrella theory, by which we can understand all of our previous efforts and discoveries.” Rhyson noticed a vaguely glazed look creeping into Dr. Spectacles’ eyes.
“But won’t someone just come and disprove that theory?”
“No.”
“But Doc–”
Dr. Spectacles practically barked at the interruption.
“The Grand Unifying Theory will be capable of explaining all aspects and relationships of the scientific world, identifying with and humiliating them all simultaneously, like post-modernism for lab geeks. It will take all theories and accepted rules and unite them in one common algorithm which will provide us with the answer to every question in science…”
“…and it would be based on the previous theories, right, Doc?”
“Yes… it will take all those theories and make them fact… indisputable…”
“Based on the same theories that are being disproven as we speak?”
“Yes, but this theory will be perfect… Every unknown that man has ever not known, every phenomenon he couldn’t explain, every time some little bastard kid asked Science ‘why,’ and Science couldn’t answer–”
“Little bastard kids like me, Doc?”
“Yes, Rhyson, just like you. Er… no–look. Every aspect of life and the universe will be explained by the Grand Unifying Theory. No other theories will be needed… it will be un-disprovable… it will be perfect in every way… in short, by discovering this theory, Science will have burned off the mists, we will scrape off the moss, we will have turned over the murky mountain hiding place that is the realm of God.”
Outside, Rhyson could see acres of green grass, freshly cut.
“I dunno, Doc. Sounds like bullshit to me.”
“Rhyson! Detention–you–tomorrow I’ll tell the–how dare–”
“You’re going to base a theory which you make out to be Truth, big T, and the discovery of God and whatnot, on other people’s theories that, by the very existence of this Grand Unifying Theory, will be completely disproven and flawed? It’s a friggin’ pipe dream. You’re losin’ it, Doc.”
Dr. Spectacles stared, his mouth like a trout’s mouth.
“You know, Doc? You really should have gone into poetry. Way more common sense and practicality in poetry.”
Dr. Spectacles began to sputter and foam.
“What?! Common sense in poetry? Poetry is the pipe dream! It’s completely impractical! At best, it’s frivolous entertainment. At worst, it’s some snot-nosed, air-headed smartass twentysomething living on bread and cheese in some Brooklyn footlocker scribbling verse after tortured verse, thinking they’ll be the next Bard of American Truth, big T and all… when really all they’re doing is wasting their own time and potential, countless efforts on the part of their parents to set them straight, and thousands on thousands of taxpayer dollars when they realize what a colossal mistake they’ve made and end up on welfare in a Southern California trailer park.”
Rhyson sighed, stood up, and began packing books into his bag.
“Yeah, Doc, but at least the poet has the sense, the spirit, and the guts to admit that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.”
He patted Dr. Spectacles on the back on his way out of the room.
“4:42, Doc. See you around.”
It took a good twenty minutes or so before Dr. Spectacles got up and saw, through the window, across well-mown lawns, a crowd of flashing white uniforms and tanned legs, little curved sticks and ponytails, bustling and floating and darting around a tiny, distant black speck.

Awesome awesome awesome short fiction by a girl named Elizabeth Fallon from Goddard College, courtesy of 3am mag.

The fat man in the big Chevrolet used to park near the fire hydrant, you noticed. Sometimes the cops chased him away, other times they weren’t around and he sat idle for hours. One time when you glanced out of the filmy window during Sacrament, you saw him peering up at you, waving. You didn’t wave back. But after Annie disappeared, you knew what it meant – it could’ve been you instead of her. Sister Frances held a steady finger in the air and said, “Young ladies should mind their own business,” when you told her about the fat man opening his car door when you were outside playing tetherball and calling you over from behind the chain link fence. “What’s her name?” he had asked you, pointing to Annie, leaning against the splintering brick façade of the school. And you had told him her name even though when he smiled at you, you saw that he had little yellow teeth and his breath smelt bitter like beer, yet sweet, also, maybe mint.

Please click the word here.

BUFFALO POLICE DEPARTMENT – SUPPLEMENTARY OFFENSE REPORT

Offense: Missing Person Case No. 27-B-0006

Offense Location: 633 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202

Victim: Jacob Drum

Special Agent Jeff Tamini – Federal Bureau of Investigations – Interviewing Agent

Investigator Joseph Bautaglia – B.P.D. Criminalistics Section – Reviewing Officer

EVIDENCE:

1. Digitally recorded interview of Jacob Drum

2. VHS Surveillance Tape of Bank of America (North NE/Delaware Ave NE)

SYNOPSIS:

Mr. Jacob Drum stated to Buffalo Police Officers that he had been kidnapped from Allston, MA and then sexually assaulted shortly after opening a checking account with Bank of America and subsequently overdrafting that account. After being questioned by members of the Buffalo Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Jacob augmented his earlier statement and stated that he had, in fact, been forcibly and anally assaulted after making several attempts to reconcile his differences with the bank and their application of – in Jacob’s view – excessive overdraft fees and a “biggest check first” policy designed to generate more and greater overdraft fees.

INVESTIGATION:

TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2008 1330 INVESTIGATION

At the listed date and time, Sergeant J. Sandman contacted me via telephone. Sergeant Sandman stated he needed my assistance in conducting an interview. The person to be interviewed was a male subject who had been missing from Allston, MA after opening a checking account at the Bank of America branch located there at Commonwealth Avenue. Sergeant Sandman stated the subject had been located here in Buffalo for several months after the high cost of living and rampant pest animals had driven him from Allston permanently – except in the event of a championship won by the New York Yankees or a professional team from Western New York, in which event he would return briefly to gloat.

The subject had advised responding officers that he had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by employees of Bank of America. Sergeant Sandman told me I would need to report to the intersection of North NE and Delaware Ave NE. I also needed to contact additional detectives and perhaps stop at a precinct station to pick up towels and additional first aid supplies, as there was an abundance of fluid at the scene – much more than necessary for evidence collection. I advised Sergeant Sandman I would be en route.

While en route to the intersection, I learned the male subject had been transported to Erie County Medical Center for the necessary blood transfusions, but that he was awake and speaking. When I arrived at the trauma ward, I learned that he was being interviewed by members of the FBI. At that time, Sergeant Sandman asked if I would like to sit in on the interview. I stated I would, provided the subject stopped spitting so much.

I dislike a spitter. After SARS, no man may call himself a spitter and my friend.

The following is a summary of the information obtained from Jacob during our (Sergeant Sandman and myself) involvement with the interview:

Jacob stated, he had been cleaning kitchen grease out from underneath his fingernails at the listed intersection after attempting to convince Bank of America employees (both at the local branch and via telephone hotline) that his story of personal slovenliness and fiscal irresponsibility was poignant enough to justify a remand of the overdraft fees assessed to his checking account between the dates of April 17 and May 12. He had several times made purchases using the debit card that came with his account when his recorded account balance – both available and adjusted for pending transactions – had been positive to an amount Jacob couldn’t remember because he “never keeps track of these things.” Due to the bank’s policies, transactions were recorded at seemingly arbitrary times, often far beyond the date they were made, making it an almost impossibly task – in Jacob’s view – to know, at any given time, just how much money he had to spend on frozen victuals and pornography.

Relations with bank employees soured and Jacob became irate. He threatened to switch banks. They told him they didn’t care. Jacob ordered them to close his account. Bank employees informed him that he would first need to pay them a sum totaling over one hundred (100) US dollars ($) to close his account. He stated he told them he would not pay the sum, that he could not pay the sum, that the entire sum of his personal wealth was the negative number bank employees had confronted him with. Bank employees informed Jacob they would assess additional fees for the period that his account was in the negative. At this time, Jacob lost control of his temper and most of his bodily functions (Evidence A, B, C, et al.). However, he stated that he paid the sum and left the bank branch office.

It was at or around 1130 when Jacob began sulking and cleaning his fingernails at the stated intersection. After a period of an hour or so, Jacob stated that he was grabbed by a multi-racial posse of Bank of America telephone operatives and thrown into the back of a van. His hands were tied with rope and a hood was placed over his head. Individuals in the van (unseen by Jacob) apparently stated multiple times that there had been a mistake, and that additional fees had been placed on his account, to be paid immediately and in person. Jacob was then taken from the van to a room that he believed to be a basement somewhere in the Bank of America headquarters in downtown Buffalo. The hood was removed from Jacob’s head but his hands remained tied. Jacob was placed on his stomach on a metal examination table and his pants were removed. His legs were tied with additional rope in “a classic spreadeagle” with “just a beauty of a knot setup, a real hell of a tie.” The telephone operatives then left the room.

After some time, two individuals entered the room – an elderly, overweight “Caucasian” male and an older, “Fantastically White, the Embodiment of ‘Patrician'” male. Jacob stated that the men sodomized and tortured him repeatedly for an unspecified period of hours using a variety of methods. (Subsequent medical examination would reveal that most of Jacob’s lower organs had been reduced to one long, straight cavity.) I asked Jacob if he had been bound by rope through the entire assault; he stated that he had. I asked Jacob if the men spoke during the assault; he said they stated repeatedly that he “owed them every last thing they wanted to take from me.” I asked Jacob if he’d heard anything during the assault. He stated that he had heard no outside noise but that the older male had hummed the theme from Love Story as he wielded the hot glue gun.

Investigators continued to question Jacob further about the events of the incident. At various times during questioning, Jacob became upset and sometimes flustered. Eventually, I informed Jacob that his statement did not seem credible and we (investigators) believed he had in fact fucked himself in the ass by refusing to maintain a scheduled budget and an insistence against keeping a proper check record.

The spitting began again, and I exited the room.

SUMMARY

Based on Jacob’s inability to identify his assailants, his inability to account for the discrepancies in his own accounting, and the fact that he’s generally not worth caring about vis-a-vis people with money, this case will be considered closed and unfounded, and Jacob’s bank balance will remain at zero until his monthly account fee places him back in the red where he belongs.