I went to the movie theater after an algebra exam. Didn’t cost much to see the show. Firefly light bulbs lined around the sign over the teller. There wasn’t any line to go in. Some seniors from school talked outside, they smoked cigarettes and looked at me but didn’t say anything. Popcorn was cheap and premade. They didn’t even have Coke, just a knock off. The cashier that handed me the snacks had dark hair and green eyes. I asked if we could get a hamburger after her shift, but she didn’t say anything. I grabbed the snacks and walked upstairs to the balcony on the second floor. I was the only one up there. Most of the people sat on the first floor. Wooden seats lined with thin cushions, carpet peeled off the floor and stuck to the sides of the metal legs. Gum stuck underneath the seat. I sat in the first row, close to the edge of the balcony. Some woman walked in from the side. She was older, wore a dress and had curly hair. Didn’t think much of her. She sat down in the back corner, in the darkness. Face blurred in the lightless room. She wheezed in between the sounds of wet slaps. I turned around and her legs on the front chair spread apart, she ran her fingers around her leg. When I shifted in my seat, her hand went underneath her dress. I looked around and nobody else was there. She was the only one and nobody else came in from the side. I wanted to hold her in the dark with her face unseen, and feel the fabric on her dress. But the only thing I felt was the buttery oil around my hands, and the salt underneath my fingernails. My fingers ran along the edge of the condensation from my soda, felt the cold drops run through the crevices on my flesh and only imagined how her fingers must have felt.
Ulises Palmeno is a student at Sacramento State University studying English with an emphasis in creative writing. He was born and raised in Salinas, California.
. a period grew tired of being at the end of things so moved itself to the front of the sentence while the first clause gave it a curious look snickering, “Why do you want to move there, it’s so much work,” in which the period responded, ” I don’t just want to be associated the end anymore, but the beginning, now if I could just capitalize myself –––”
Johnny Sittisin is the end result of a half-baked cosmic joke with a surprisingly funny punchline. He lives his life akin to a run-on sentence. One day he wishes to meet his spirit animal in the form of Snoop Dogg, or rather, he hopes that Snoop Dogg is his spirit animal. However, he would settle for Woody Allen. Currently, Johnny has no idea what to do – which is why he is in grad school.
Thousands of abandoned books crammed into the shelves hugging the Book Collector’s walls. Paperbacks and hardcovers. Ripped and yellowed pages. White pages with thick uncracked spines. I wandered around for nothing in the smell of decay and forgetfulness. Books whispered their names with hot breath against my ears. The old and brittle leather backs wearing embossed titles and authors’ names, echoed between the heavy claustrophobic towers. But something unfamiliar, “New Age” – can that be fiction? – attracts the electrons under my skin: Astral Projection: The Out-of-Body Experience. Creases along the binding made its name difficult to read, seducing my idle fingertips to undress. All the others around watched as I pulled the lesser book from its shelf, sighs from expectant volumes loosened dust to drift aimless among our silence. My left thumb ruffled its pages; I stopped in the middle with no reason. Just to see. It was all words anyway, absurd geometries painted on thin corruptible fibers waiting to give over to time. They all waited. Staring. No subtlety, no reservations. From my hands black ink poured cacophonous characters on to my feet and the tiled floor, like echoing bricks against thick glass bottles. And faster, smaller shapes followed; slippery pieces of soft sounds forming partial sentences around my ankles and up my shins. I closed the book to stop the inky typewritten words from spilling more over me and the store, but the sealed pages continued to leak the dark pus that mumbled phrases in languages I don’t know, and now escaping was impossible, my legs bound in the lost information. Other books began to drool their contents, mixing religion and fiction and history and art and music, millions of words like blood cells were born and died in the churning homogeny, while the black rose about my navel, crawling up my chest and shoulders. Astral Projection floated before my eyes, laughing, all it contained spewing into my mouth as the black void slapped under my chin.
Second year masters student from CSU: Sacramento. We live stories. We are stories. And so we must tell stories, in any form. For me, I write. It’s what I know how to do. What I love to do. After six years now, I still have no clue what I am doing, but I write and will write until all turns to black.