In the Black, With Jessica

by Christian Kiefer

The sound of a car gearing up the ashen road. Chuck thought at first that it had to be someone from Cal Fire or another crew but then the radio crackled and Bob told him it was a civilian. “Copy,” he said, and then, after releasing the button: “Fuck.” No part of him that was not exhausted: his skin, his hair, his stubbled beard, his heart, his soul—all of it coated with a layer of colorless powder that clotted his lungs and filled his nose with viscous gouts of gray phlegm that he repeatedly blew into the ash at his

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Three Windows Onto Rome

by Kirstin Valdez Quade

Santi Quattro Coronoti On the right wall of the basilica is a fragment of a fresco of San Bartolomeo. He’s a bearded old man, mouth obscured by damage, his eyes suspicious. His own wrinkled pelt is thrown over his shoulder like a traveling cloak. No longer the cheerful dandy, dressed in white with swinging purple tassels. (He took good care of that white tunic; for twenty years, across all those distances, it never showed signs of wear.) No, there on that wall, he lives immortal as he died: flayed bare. The son of the one who holds the waters on

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A Curse on Chavez Ravine

by Lou Mathews

I’m reading in the newspaper today and I see that Peter O’Malley wants to build a new football stadium, next to Dodger Stadium. Some of the neighbors are upset. ¡Que surprise! Some of them have been upset since the first O’Malley built the first stadium. That one was Walter. A big, smart, mean Irishman from Brooklyn. Muy duro. Always with a cigar Cubano. He had a full set of cojones and he always got what he wanted. Ask Brooklyn, they’re not over it yet. A good Catholic of course. He made sure the cardinal got good seats. The son they

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Ini Y Fati

by Carribean Fragoza

You would think that such an event, a bolt of lightning shooting out of the sky to strike a little girl in a vacant lot, would call immediate attention from the neighbors. But it did not. Only the dogs pointed their snouts to the sky and howled. Birds were startled into flight from their power line perches, but even they quickly settled back to roosting in the stillness of a late afternoon grown almost dark with pending rain. The sky had become heavy and shadowed, a rare experience during those years of drought when the blue sky imposed itself on

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Shelter in Place Schedule

by Christine Sneed

7 AM Rise from bed in a sunny mood 7:15 Drink coffee from home-roasted beans, painstakingly ground by hand with Japanese-engineered grinder while listening to northern mockingbird sing from the top of a nearby lemon tree. 7:20 Feel upsurge in mood after caffeine hit and read a New Yorker profile of a hearing impaired beekeeper 7:40 Feel good mood wane as neighbor starts blasting Meatloaf CD through the wall 7:43 Pound on wall 7:48 Pound on wall again 7:52 Pound on wall a third time while screaming 7:55 Go outside for exercise with face mask and gloves 8:02 Accidentally step […]

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Interoffice Memorandum 6/25

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Date: June 25th, 2018 To: All Quest Industries Employees From: President Bryan Stokerly, Esq. Subj: Staying the Course Please ignore any and all rumors you might be hearing in these hallways about the financial health of Quest Industries. Everything is fine, ladies and gentlemen. It really is. Take my word for it. One other matter before I conclude: Whoever has been sticking wads of chewing gum on the underside of my office doorknob, here is a warning, just for you: Stop this evil, puerile business immediately or I will be forced to hire an unscrupulous acquaintance of mine who will beat […]

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Interoffice Memorandum 4/20

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Date: April 20th To: All Quest Industries Employees From: President Bryan Stokerly, Esq. Subj: Important Discoveries I am very pleased to share with you a few recent discoveries I’ve made that I think you too will benefit from: 1. Some of us think we are allergic to nuts, but we are not. 2. Parking in a tow zone for 1-3 minutes is usually okay. 3. It is very difficult to know, objectively speaking, if you are good-looking. 4. Late-night eating is never a good idea, unless you have had nothing to eat in at least 12+ hours. 5. It’s okay […]

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Interoffice Memorandum 3/27

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Date: March 27th To: All Quest Industries Employees From: Ken Crickshaw Jr., Office Manager Subj: Dispelling Rumor re: UFO Sighting With my generalist title of “Office Manager,” I am aware that many here at Quest Industries can’t help but consider me a jack of all trades, even if the current description for this position does not include dispelling rumors related to supernatural phenomena such as ghost or UFO sightings. Be that as it may, I am happy to provide this service despite its absence from my detailed list of job duties. Fred Sagen, CFO, who is near retirement and admits […]

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Interoffice Memorandum 2/15

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Date: 15 February To: All Quest Industries Employees From: Judy Kemper, Vice President of Marketing Subj: Lost cardigan—please help! I seem to have misplaced a very important sweater and I’m almost certain I left it here in the office this past Friday. If you have seen my lime green Laura Ashley cardigan, size M, with pearl buttons, a small-to-medium gravy stain on one sleeve (left), and one frayed cuff (right), please tell me where you spotted it, and if this information leads to its recovery, I promise to give you a reward of your choosing, up to $10 in value. […]

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Interoffice Memorandum 1/15

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Date: ​January ​15​ To: All Quest Industries Employees From: Mid-Level Management Subj: Live Plant Policies in the Office A short note on office policy regarding potted plants and floral bouquets: a) If you enjoy the company of a potted plant on your desk, please water it as needed in order to keep it from becoming an unsightly and dispiriting brown heap of tendrils, leaves, stalks, stems, pistils, stamens, husks, pods, and/or roots. b) If you have received a bouquet and are keeping it at your desk, please do not, under any circumstances, balance it on the edge of your cubicle wall where it will inevitably be bumped and dislodged by a passing coworker and […]

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‘Secret Santa Protocols’ by Christine Sneed

by editor

Interoffice Memorandum  Date:   December 1 To:      All Quest Industries Employees From: Upper Level Management Subj:   Secret Santa Protocols It’s once again the time for one of our most beloved Quest Industries traditions: Secret Santa week, and this year’s exchanges will take place from Monday, December 11 through Friday, December 15. A couple of minor adjustments have been made to the Secret Santa guidelines, as noted below.  We have also answered several questions that came to us from some of last year’s participants. The longstanding $5 maximum per day/gift has been raised to $5.32, which we believe is […]

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Donald Trump Reviews Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’

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Stars: 10/10 Bergman. You know, people said he wasn’t as good as Dreyer. They said it. They said he couldn’t do it. He did it, though. He really went and did it. I mean, people are worried about death. Capital-D Death. They want answers, they’re dying, they’re not happy. So this guy, big handsome-looking Norwegian guy, European guy, you know, he plays chess with Death. Death doesn’t know what to do, he’s like, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” It’s true, folks. Never before—no one’s ever seen this before. They keep playing, they’re on a beach, it’s great. There’s […]

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