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The Scum Gentry Alternative Arts and Media.
The Scum Gentry Prose Desk: literary magazines and writing websites hub: literary fiction, horror stories, weird fiction and more...

Notes of a Professional Voyeur VII - Fiction Serial by Benny Profane

Tonight the bar is unusually quiet. Apart from myself there are only a couple of regulars who are sitting at a table in the corner of the room. Their sense of disappointment at the lack of people in the bar is obvious. They check their watches and sigh while puffing out their cheeks. Every now and then one of them will awkwardly shift their position in their seat.

These men have a curious type of companionship. They know each other from having met in the pub and they never see each other outside of their regular but unplanned meetings here.

Their first encounter was no doubt unremarkable.

I imagine it consisted of nothing more than a sly glance in the other’s direction and a quick ocular scan for the sake of first impressions. The newcomer in this instance would have had to transmit an air of shyness and servility in order to win the respect of the established regulars.

Gradually, silent nods of recognition turned into enthusiastic Hellos. Eventually, one of them swallowed their pride and invited the other over for a chat. And the rest, as they say, is misery.

I wonder do they ever resent the obligations of social niceness that they have now condemned themselves to. Are there times when they stare longingly at other potential drinking partners and daydream...


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Being Sax - Short Story by Jim Meirose

That dog was perfectly trained, my man—that dog would let me know he wanted to go potty, and we’d go on a walk and he would do nothing, just enjoy the hell out of the walk and look all bright-eyed and proud that he had held it and asked me to take him out; as it was generally considered to be the last witchcraft trial in early modern France, the Cadière affair was central to the volatile politics of seventeen thirties France, a time when magistrates and lawyers were seeking to contain clerical power, but, no never mind that all, sure we went out, and then after I was all exhausted from the walk in the hundred degree blazing knifeblade of a super-sharp Summer day, I’d bring him home and let him in, and right after I took off the leash he’d squat and let both numbers out on the floor, and wag his tail and look up and smile at me all big-eyed, fully expecting a treat! Perfectly trained!

Hobo?

Hobo.

No please not hobo, after all that’s too ridiculous, chuckled Doctor Sax. It makes me laugh like hell yes it makes me; as the two men sat taking a break from Stannie’s weekly eight-hour intensive boot camp supersax lesson, in the tiny airless music studio with their gigantic tenor saxophones laid across their bone-dry knees...



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Lifesaver - Short Story by Jacob DeCoursey

Once, when I was little, I tried to fix my stuffed animal’s scuffed eye with a Sharpie. I slipped and left a giant blot over its glass retina. My favorite toy. So I tried to add more black to cover it, more and more corrections, until it was completely blind. So I cried. And then I put it into a box which eventually became a mystery underneath my bed.

Tonight’s venue was a refurbished church which homeless-by-choice punksters had renovated into a sanctuary. The final band was packing up their gear when the lights came on while the floor of kids in studded-denim vests began moving like a swirl of bubbles in a murky sea, fragments of the whole breaking off and floating towards the exit. Those who came here, they dreamed of a freedom I couldn’t understand: of hopping trains and sleeping on park benches and sharing cigarettes with toothless creatures leathered by the sun. They were building their mythos night by night. You could see it behind their eyes, how much they wanted to believe in nothing so they could only hope to believe in something. Macy was one of them. I stood with her before the stage, leaning our elbows on a tall, sticker-covered PA monitor.

“Can we go?” She asked.

“I’m starving,” I shouted past my own ringing ears. I was tired and hungry after dancing for hours.

“Do you have money for the drive-thru?” she asked...


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