IN THIS ISSUE:



Rachel Adams >>

Roshelle Amundson >>

Kenny Bellew >>

Cat Campbell >>

Alicia Catt >>

Raymond Cott-Meissel >>

Ben Findlay >>

Gail Gates >>

Brent Giesen >>

Kristine Hayes >>

Blaine Huberty >>

Peter Laine >>

Amy Mattila >>

Suzanne Nielsen >>

Dawn Nissen >>

Norah O'Shaughnessy >>

Rebekah Pahr >>

Sally Reynolds >>

Donna Ronning >>

Kah Shepard >>

Kelly Taylor >>

Jonah Volheim >>

William Wells >>

Jake Wendlandt >>

S. A. Victory >>

Kate Young >>

Alice Lundy Blum >>

Natallia Meleshkevich >>

Ben Findlay



Little Red Riding With The Top Down

Little Red Riding Hood walked through the forest to drop off some cookies at Grandmother's house. Actually, there wasn't really much walking involved. She mostly tripped and stumbled through the forest getting tied up in briers and falling over logs.
      “Stupid fucking forest.”
      She hated the forest.
      “Stupid fucking cookies.”
      And cookies.
      “Stupid fucking Granny.”
      And Granny.
      Granny told her to wear the pair of gross red hiking boots she bought her for Christmas, but Lil' Red had to stay fly, so she wore her red leather sex boots with the three inch heels instead. Her Ferrari red knock-off Gucci purse, stuffed full of thin mints she had stolen from a Girl Scout on the bus, hung from her shoulder. Red was certain that Granny, the stingiest person on the planet, secretly had a bunch of money squirreled away somewhere. Red was turning sixteen next month and needed a convertible in time for summer, so she trudged on through the forest, cursing God, and Granny, and the fucking mud puddles all the way there.

      A dog with the size and personal hygiene of a small crack addict stood on its hind legs pounding on Granny's front door. She had ignored the racket for ten minutes by cranking up her record player, but the best part of her favorite Neil Diamond song was coming up, so she got out of the rocking chair to tell whoever it was at the door to get lost. She put on her purple slippers and leveraged her weight against an old wooden cane. “Sweeet Ca-ro-line,” she sang as she unlocked the door, opened it, then bellowed, “Bah Bah Bah,” into the dogs face.
      “Go away. I don't want any Jesus, and I already have a vacuum cleaner,” she said and began closing the door. Before she could shut it completely, the dog had wedged in one of the dozen or so newspapers that had clearly been sitting on Granny's doorstep for quite some time.
      “They call me the Big Bad Wolf,” said the dog.
      “Are they trying to be funny?” said the granny.
      “May I come in for just a moment?” said the dog who was already halfway through the door.
      “I suppose,” said the granny. She let go of the door which promptly swung open, spilling the dog into the living room. “Am I going to need my checkbook for this?”
      “No ma'am. This transaction should be nearly painless,” said the dog.
      “Let me get my glasses.”
      When she turned back around, the dog was picking pieces of Granny's cat out of his teeth and smiling at her. She was unimpressed, but soon the dog was picking little pieces of Granny from his teeth as well. He threw on her muumuu, which proved more comfortable than he had expected, and hopped into the rocking chair to wait for seconds.

      “Wow Granny, you look like hell,” said Red, “What up with your eyes? Did you screw up your med schedule again? I told you last time that T is for Tuesday and TH is for Thursday.”
      “All the better to see you with my dear,” said the dog.
      “Well, whatever. The cookies are on the kitchen table. Call me when you come down,” she said and turned for the door.
      “Wait! Won't you stay and chat with your sweet grandmother for a while?”
      She said, “I guess,” and already regretted it. She plopped down on the couch, flipped on the TV, and asked, “So Granny, you get Showtime? I need to catch up on Dexter.”
      “Um, would you be a dear and get your grandmother a glass of water?” said the dog.
      “I guess so.”
      She returned with the water and held it out to her Granny. The dog reached for it, extending his hairy arm which was little more than skin and bone.
      “Jesus Granny. Look at your arms. Did they swap your blood pressure pills with Trimspa? You should really think about eating a cheeseburger once in a while,” said Red.
      “All the better to hug you with my dear,” said the dog.
      “Yeah, um, maybe later.”
      “Will you be a sweetheart and bring your grandmother some of those delicious cookies?”
      “I guess so.”
      Red went back into the kitchen and started rifling through her purse. “I don't have time for this shit,” she said to herself. She pulled out an orange prescription bottle of Oxycontin that she had stolen from her mom and crushed two tabs up on a plate. She sprinkled the powder over the top of the Girl Scout cookies and brought them back into the living room for Granny whose mouth was half open and drooling.
      “That's gross. When's the last time you brushed your teeth?” asked Red.
      “All the better to eat you with my dear!” bellowed the wolf who sprang up out of the rocking chair, arms wide and eyes on fire. Red shrieked and slammed the plate of cookies into the wolf's nose which was now caked with white powder. The wolf gasped, then started to sneeze uncontrollably. Red smashed her red sex boots into his shins, and screamed “Shit! Shit! Shit!” out the door and into the woods.

She didn't have a convertible until she was twenty-nine.


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Ben Findlay is a senior of sorts at Metro State.  He's also a displaced amateur word magician with an irrational fear of electricity.  In his spare time he enjoys standoffs with unfolded laundry, raising eyebrows, and cooking fish tacos. His writing has been described as clever, whimsical, and "What is this crap?" He hopes you like it.