Published by AQC BOOKS
December, 2013
Copyright 2013 Jim Lopez

$12.00 (+ shipping)
(BLACK & WHITE ~ 6x9" ~ 356 pages)

Cover by © BAM13 & Jim Lopez Back Cover by © Rick Grimes




SCOT SOTHERN ~"Peckers Beach"

Some things you think about forever, you remember word-for-word, words spoken forty-five years ago.  I remember a fifteen-year-old girl named Betsy Biliyu who looked up at me one night at Peckers Beach.  “Don’t let that big gorilla come down here,” she told me.  “I don’t like him.”  I thought she was pretty even with her buck teeth.  I wanted to kiss her again but not like before, I wanted to kiss her nice, but I didn’t, I pulled up my pants. “Yeah, okay, let’s go.”

“Tell Zeke to come back down first.  I wanna see Zeke, some more.”

Zeke was my best friend.  This was the summer of nineteen sixty-seven, the Summer of Love in California and a summer of drunken debauchery for me and Zeke.  We’d both graduated from high school in June and we both had an eighteenth birthday on the same day in August, a couple of weeks away.  I had a job running a paper-folder at a print shop.  I could run a sheet of newsprint through the machine and it would come out folded in eights, that was my talent...CONTINUE READING



HANK KIRTON ~ "The Crooner"

The Crooner sat alone in his dressing room. He'd draped an old, stained tablecloth over the mirror and had unscrewed most of the light-bulbs around the frame. Dressing room lights were always too bright and the mirrors captured too many hard memories. He wore his life on his face.

He lifted a pint of whiskey from his pocket. He wasn't supposed to drink anymore. Pancreatitus had nearly killed him, twice. But that was years ago, before he’d gained a sense of balance. A few nips wouldn’t hurt him now. He uncapped the bottle and took a long slow pull, savoring the taste and burn as it filled his throat and washed warmth through his belly.

Relief, finally.

A hard rap at the door and he heard Lou say, "You ready in there?" ...CONTINUE READING


Dave MacDowell



My first book, Aspects of the Dying Process, was about to be published by the University of Queensland Press. Then the manager of the press, Frank Thompson, taking another look at my manuscript, decided it was tricky enough publishing fiction with a university press without being charged for obscenity as well. The climate in Queensland at the time was less than progressive. He decided to show the manuscript to the vice-chancellor to ensure that he had support before going ahead. I can see why Frank did it, though the consequences annoyed me. The vice-chancellor, Zelman Cowen, took a dim view of the book. Two stories he particularly objected to: ‘The Phallic Forest’, which Peter Carey back then insisted was the best thing I’d written, and ‘The Image of a Sort of Death’. I remember sitting lugubriously with Frank in the University of Sydney club as he, with some obvious anxiety, delivered the message.It was probably the time that the manager came up to me and told me I was no longer a financial member and was not entitled to be there, having been on leave and forgotten to renew my subscription. It just added to the general sense of being outside the law. The vice-chancellor had been some sort of legal academic.


ANDREI CODRESCU ~ "Myth Demolished!"

there is a myth I didn’t even know I cherished
   until it was demolished
     then I knew by the distress this caused me
that alas and alack I had cherished it

and so it was that in the year 2012 of the Common Era
  formerly known as Anno Domini

I was startled out of my wits by an investigative report in the New York Times
   that took my cherished Cloud
     right out of the sky
        and not only brought it back to earth
          but looked inside and revealed its wormy guts
            of wires pipes and switches
              that wasted more energy than millions of americans watching tv...CONTINUE READING



JACK SARGEANT ~ "To Avoid Fainting Keep Repeating…It’s Only A ‘Video Nasty’"

Until the introduction of Channel 4 TV in the autumn of 1982, Britain had only three television channels, all of which would stop broadcasting shortly after midnight and would not recommence transmissions until the following morning. Closedown would be marked by the national anthem preceded, in some regions, by the snail’s pace parochialism of the religious program Company. It is hardly surprising that with such a stupefying television ethos that when home video was launched in the 1970s it truly took off, leading to a massive video boom in the early 1980s with a greater proportion of people having video recorders than in any other country. Estimates suggest that proportionally the UK had the highest number of video recorders in the world.  Accessible home video technologies enabled families to rent films from the many thousands of dedicated video rental shops that opened across the country throughout the early 1980s. These shops were joined by local ‘corner shops’ which often carried a handful of popular titles, according to some reports there were more than 15,000 such shops in Britain by 1983. These were not the video chains that emerged in the 1990s, but small independent businesses serving their local community.

The major studios were uncertain of how to position themselves and their product in a medium they believed could become their competitor, and they did not fully embrace video distribution, delaying the release...CONTINUE READING

Confessing to a Suicide" (and other poems)

I’ve been practicing the note,
so far
all I can come up with
is –
It was me...


Margaret Elysia Garcia ~ "The Warfare"

Cheryl Marie Jenkins was fond of placing Bible verses on strips of paper next to her kids’ lunches at noon. On this particular day, Smith, Wesson, Indiana and Dakota sat down to one apple each, sliced and plain cheese sandwiches on plain white bread and one of her favorite verses: "be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 

“Devour,” Smith said to Wesson as he bit into his sandwich. Wesson smiled an open mouth smile, with just come in teeth.

They, of course, were used to a lifetime of their mother. She had two lines of work: homeschooling them and being a spiritual consultant for those in her town in need of guidance.  Her business card had another bible verse on it. “We are to resist the devil and be stedfast in our faith.” A shield, helmet, breastplate and belt arranged in the center right above her phone number. She was serious about her armor and the need for it, in this day and age. Armor, in fact, was everywhere.

Above the mantle of the fake fireplace of their three-bedroom stucco, two-bath and a half home (with the attached garage that had no door between the house and the garage, which annoyed her husband but...CONTINUE READING

CHUCK MAJEWSKI ~ "Censorship"


LAURIE STONE ~ Micro Fiction

At seven or eight, I would walk from our house to buy cigarettes for my mother. We lived in the canal section of Long Beach, where twice a day low tide bit the air, and I would skip along the six blocks to a little row of shops, careful not to land on cracks. One day, as I crossed a bridge, I saw an army of horseshoe crabs camped on the muddy sand with their ancient helmet bodies and pointed stingers. One crab was on its back like a giant beetle, its little legs wriggling, and I hated it. But as the other crabs scuttled toward the water, leaving it behind, I entered the abandoned crab and forgot myself, and I was startled by the feeling of peace.

I knew a man who drove a Jaguar. I wouldn’t let him pay for me. He wouldn’t eat where I could afford. I was fascinated by his having so much. He was confounded by my settling for so little. He said, “I know what you like in bed,” and I became aroused, although you wouldn’t think so to look at him. He tore the strap of my dress in his car. Other-wise he was uninteresting.


PAUL KRASSNER ~ "Are Rape Jokes Funny?"

Abortion was still illegal in 1970. At the time, as both an underground abortion referral service and a stand-up satirist, I faced an undefined paradox. Irreverence was my only sacred cow, yet I wouldn’t allow victims to become the target of my humor.  There was one particular routine I did that called for a “rape-in” of legislators’ wives in order to impregnate them so that they would then convince their husbands to decriminalize abortion.

But my feminist friends objected.  I resisted at first, because it was such a well-intentioned joke. And then I reconsidered. Even in a joke, why should women be assaulted because men made the laws? Legislators' wives were the victims in that joke, but the legislators themselves were the oppressors, and their hypocrisy was really my target. But for me to stop doing that bit of comedy wasn't self-censorship. Rather, it was, I rationalized, a matter of conscious evolution.

Now, in July 2012, more than four decades later, rape-joking triggered a widespread controversy when a woman who prefers to remain anonymous went to a comedy club, expecting to be entertained. She chose the Laugh Factory in Hollywood because Dane Cook was on the bill, but he was followed by Daniel Tosh, and she had never heard of him.


MICHAEL BERTEA ~ "The Vegabond Madonna..."

It was somewhere between his rented room and the bar that he had his epiphany. The Madonna had taken the form of a homeless woman in tattered clothes. When she spoke, the light from the open door surrounded her like a holy aura. When she spoke, it was like the voices of a thousand angels speaking at once. As she held out her hand for the spare change, that was meant to buy his cheap whiskey, she asked, “What if this is as good as it gets?” With these words, Frank Harrison decided that maybe it was.

As he sat at the bar, Frank could not shake the words of the vagabond Madonna, on the stoop of the YWCA. The voices of the angels still rang in his ears, “What if this is as good as it gets?”. He tried to drown the voices of the angels with cheap whiskey and selections from the jukebox, but still the words of the vagabond Madonna echoed deep into his whiskey soaked soul.

“Do you believe in God?” Frank asked the bartender.



HOWARD TEMAN ~ "Commander In Chief"

A Murderer Becomes the World's Richest Man"

Dutch finance inspired John Law (1671‑1729), a most improbable economist. After wasting his youth as a dandy and an impecunious gambler, Law was sentenced to hang as a convicted murderer. Within a short period, he reinvented himself as a financier, taking on the responsibility for running the economy of France, as well as much of what later became the Continental United States. In the process, he earned the reputation as richest private individual in the world. Eventually, he ended in disgrace, accused of ruining the entire French economy. In the process, Law became one of the great pioneers in economics.

Law's story begins in Scotland. Like Ireland, Scotland was an imperial backwater. Just as Holland's success discouraged serious thinking about economics, Scotland's inadequacies helped to prepare the country to become the virtual cradle of economics. Many people attribute the beginning of economics to Adam Smith, a son of Scotland, but economic writing was widespread beforehand. For example, the unfairly neglected Sir James Steuart, who had attended the same, small Burgh School, where Smith studied only a few years earlier, wrote the first comprehensive book on economics in 1767. In many ways,Steuart's work was far deeper than Smith's Wealth of Nations, which appeared nine years later.


BANCI ~ "Death Meta"


"Face It" (and two other poems)

you’re just saying that because you’re a woman of normal height weight and physical attractiveness and society put you in a box. you’re just saying that because you’re a man. you’re just saying that because there is cotton candy stuck to your face. you’re just saying that because you got sixteen medical opinions and one from a dog psychologist.  i know you’re just saying that because you specifically asked them to remove the anchovies. you’re just saying that because james dean made you think it would be a cool thing to say.  you’re just saying that because mark made a racist joke at lunch and you’re still pissed about it. damn mark. you’re just saying that because a bug spit in your eye. you’re just saying that to convince people to accept jesus christ as their savior. you’re just saying that because you recently discovered that you have an identical twin in singapore who will have you deported unless you watch yourself.  hey, you’re just saying that because get off my lawn! you’re just saying that because if 3 men walk into a bar, one man orders the kelp salad and one orders crab rangoons, which one’s name is ted? you’re just saying that because you claim you saw the virgin mother in your cream of wheat this morning.  you’re just saying that because cookie dough and turtles can give you the same disease and it confuses you.  you’re just saying that because it’ll look good on your transcript!...



HOLLIS WHITLOCK ~ "Aphrodite and the Drunk"

John was lying in blissful intoxication on a thin mattress on the floor of his basement suite fantasizing about girls. Static humming of motor vehicles prevented sleep. He was dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt and socks. A sheet and two thin blankets partially covered his body. Sunlight was shining through a small window between the crack in the curtains onto the adjacent wall.

Pounding on the suite’s interior door awakened him to a hangover. Knuckles felt like they were knocking on his skull. His arms and his legs shook. Cravings for tobacco squeezed his lungs. Vomit lingered from his scruffy chin. A gruff, but feminine voice bellowed from behind the door.

“Where’s my rent money you lazy bastard!”

John sat up and placed both palms over his eyes. He massaged his scalp with his fingertips and blinked his eyes...


MARC VINCENZ ~ "Under an Auspicious Eye, the Monkey King, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin and Mao Zedong Do Breakfast at the Four Seasons" (and other poem)

Hey, ho! says the Monkey King tucking
into rashers of bacon entirely forgetting
that his dear friend Piggy (whom
he journeyed to the West with) was entirely pig.

Welcome Comrades! says Mao, digging
into scrambled eggs; and, to the disgust of all,
leaves his cigarette smoldering and rests his oily chopsticks
on the tablecloth like a real country bumpkin.

Years in caves will do that, mutters Karl who abstains...



"Chasing Rainbows"

Deck: In the sky paratroopers jettison from silent jets. Layton knows less than Link knows about the invasion. They come like a mass of falling stars, into the forest, from the campsite and up to where Harry camps, beyond their ridge and beyond even the next. Link, at least, understands that this battle is about him, the rest of them. Meanwhile Zed and Zanie glom onto the hippie, for answers.

DRAINBOWS are energy vampires, says the hippie with a white ponytail who identifies with the Rainbow sect. He describes the ghoul as any random normal or abnormal person who lives to suck vibrancy from human aura. Like experiencing love, the art of romancing an energy field off the body can be a hypnotic to the vampire, who may keep sucking long after he or she is full; drainbows have human limitations. They come in all shapes or sizes, may be a waif or a giant or a freak; a fly-by-nite lover; a criminally pretty drifter; an old ugly grifter; a political or academic or religious misfit; a user or abuser of drugs; a weird eater; a trash-picker; a juvenile; a delinquent; an elitist; an atheist or agnostic spirit— all this is characteristic of a drainbow. They shift through forms and phases...


COLIN DODDS ~ "Bar Poem One Quadrillion" (and other poems)

No one’s coming for you
so stop looking at the door.
You have your seat at the bar.
You said you wouldn’t ask for more.

And you are always far too near—
sitting between the empty stool
and the guy who was drunk
before he got here.

The cigarette smoke rises.
It’s the only thing that does,...


SEAN MADDEN ~ "Numnums"

TONY RAUCH ~ "witnesses [the americans]"

I’m in church. The pastor is slapping the pulpit, proudly grinning about how elaborate the church’s Christmas pageant will be. “. . . And this year, by golly, we’re gonna have the best darned pageant this side of town,” he taps the pulpit, raises his arm, points, “That you can take to the bank, my fellow friends in the Lord! We’re gonna whip the pants off Our Lady Of Sorrows, that you can be sure of!” he raises his arm to pat his brow with a small handkerchief. “Oh, sure, we’ve been working diligently, pulling together to improve the flowers on our lawn in the summer, to give the Lord a beautiful home here on earth. But down the road there, at Our Lady, my oh my, they do have some nice flowers too. And the quality of their vestments is of the highest standard. Their collectables of early Americana is outstanding. We need do be doing better in this area. My word, they’ve even got a more extensive sprinkler system over there than we do. I mean, just look at their lawn. . . Are we just going to sit here and let this embarrassment persist? Huh? . . Are we going to allow this deficiency in our lives to fester and grow? . .” he pauses dramatically, “. . And what of our children, our families? This is a family church, after all. A family place of worship. A family community. . . Oh yeah, and love thy neighbor.” And with that he raises his arm and steps back, turning away from the podium and into the grainy, gray background.


Earlier this week I had done with the day’s duties and I was staggering off to bed. My wife had beaten me there by roughly an hour. As I entered the bedroom, I noticed that the night’s choice of sleepytime white noise on the tube was our copy of “Kiss in Attack of the Phantoms” and at the point of my arrival it was running at about the 45 minute mark. As I readied for bed, my wife sat bolt upright with the remote and flipped the DVD back to the opening credits, mumbling something vague about, “so you can watch the whole thing.” Then she promptly laid back down and continued sleeping.

Wow, thanks, I thought----and due to some mad insomnia, I think I did wind up awake through most of the questionable spectacle. Later the next day, she informed me that she had been half-dreaming that the DVD was supposed to be a “special cut” of the film and somewhere in her head it was supposed to be radically different from the original---so I guess it was supposed to be a glam rock “Battleship Potemkin” or something.

This terrible, terrible movie is late night video comfort food in our home, sandwiched somewhere between...



M. Persánch & Isabel Mª Persánch ~ "El síndrome de Venus"

Pasad. Cincuenta euros por persona a la hora. Mi nombre es lo de menos. Llamadme María Hierbabuena, aunque, como ya sabéis, en este colectivo nunca revelamos nuestro verdadero nombre y, otras muchas veces, adoptamos un nombre de pila. Supongo que será el equivalente al nombre de guerra que se ponen aquellos que se alistan al ejército. Imagino que la realidad se presenta tan cruda para ambos que prostitutas y soldados nos vemos obligados a crear un alter ego, por si uno sale herido en combate, nos queda la dignidad intacta del otro. Y es que ambos estamos obligados a no dar un paso atrás. Si muestras síntomas de debilidad o miedo, no duras mucho en tu puesto. Eres tú, o los otros. Y, además, tanto en la calle como en el cuartel, una buena estrategia es casi una batalla ganada. En fin, como veis, soldados y putas parecemos estar hechos a medida…. ¿Sois del ejército verdad? Putas y soldados desarrollamos un sentido intuitivo muy particular. Pero entrad. Entrad. Sentíos cómodos y, como digo, llamadme María Hierbabuena, que así lo elegí porque, al ser un nombre común, transmite simpleza y, con ello, quedo en el anonimato cuando le contéis esta batallita a vuestros amigos. Lo mismo les dará por pensar que incluso puede que me conozcan sin saberlo, ¿o es que las putas lo somos las veinticuatro horas y no vamos al mercado ni a la peluquería?


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ANTIQUE CHILDREN: A Mischievous Literary Arts Journal is a NOT-FOR-PROFIT Publication
Copyright © 2009 ANTIQUE CHILDREN/Jim Lopez