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**PRINT: STERNUM AS 3, by Louisville writer Jason Jordan, is No. 34.1, the latest in our mini-broadsheet series. What do you do when your best friend in high school has a peculiar ability to pull bones from a "compartment on the underside of his left forearm"? Why, built a skeletal replica of him, of course. This issue also comes with five prose pieces from Rick Henry's "Then" collection.

**PRINT: COLD WAS THE GROUND, by Chicago's Scott Stealey, is No. 34 in our broadsheet series. Gina, protagonist, a rather lonely condo dweller/office manager, strikes up a fleeting friendship with one Porgo, an Eastern European construction worker who is burying on her property what Gina takes for a time capsule. But the metaphorical fix is in -- Porgo, an ESL student, may be leading Gina in directions she canít exactly get her head all the way around. Enjoy. Chicago writer Stealey is editor of the Please Donít online mag.

**WEB: TESTIMONIAL aka Peer
WING & FLY: AN EXPERIMENT IN MIND CONTROL w/ MKULTRA and...Doug Milam | Todd Dills
RACING STRIPES Paul Lask
AT THE HILTON GARDEN INN NASHVILLE AIRPORT Spencer Dew
NARCOLEPTIC Foust
HIDEOUS BOUNTY: ONE WITH WOLF | Andrew Davis
JUST SAY NO Ben Tanzer
ASYMPTOTES Michael Balatico
AFTER THE FLOOD Pitchfork Battalion


TESTIMONIAL
---
aka Peer

Peer, due to the need to make a living and a serious addiction to back country skiing, lives in a state of vagabondage between NYC; SLC; Pine Hill, N.Y.; and Torrey, Utah.

My mother made me a true believer in redemptive power of self-help workshops. Don't mock them, I say: since Mom went to "Power Living for Chicks," she is a different woman than she was when I was ten and she let her lover, "Uncle" Jerry, back into our apartment over and over again.

Jerry was a determined sucker, I'll give him that. After each breakup, he'd establish residence on our landing and stay there for however long it took to soften Mom's heart. The record was five days. In the morning, we'd hear Jerry dressing for work. In the evening, we'd smell his Chinese take-out dinner or we'd hear him talking to a passing neighbor. "Out in the hall again, Jerry?" the neighbor would say. "It's my own fault," he'd reply, "but I love her. I can't give her up."

Through the door, Jerry would talk to Mom: "I got out of hand, but I love you. That's why I get so jealous." Mom would offer to hang clean clothes in the hall for him if he'd leave for a while and he'd say, "You're a kind person. I don't know what gets into me."

When we opened the door to hang his clothes on the railing, we'd find peace offerings: groceries for Mom, things she loved like mangoes, leeks for soup, and free range chickens. For my brother and me, there'd be Japanamation-style comics, stuff we could never get enough of.

Each day after work, Jerry knocked politely and begged Mom to give him one more chance. We'd try to pull her away from the door and whisper, "Don't let him in, don't let him in!" He'd say, "I have the key, but I won't use it without your permission. I respect you," and he'd make promises: "I'll drink beer. No more hard liquor. I'll be more reasonable."

Thing was, although Mom always raged against Jerry when he first left and insisted she never wanted to see the crazy bastard again, if he stayed away completely for a few days she grew listless. She'd lie on the couch and watch TV when she wasn't at work. She kept the blinds down and looked anxiously into the flickering colored light, like a lost space traveler searching for the way home. If I asked what was for dinner she'd say, "Get something you two like out of the freezer and put it in the microwave, would you honey? I'm not hungry." I'd ask her about nutrition and she'd just sigh. I'd ask her if she was going to become an anorexic and she'd pat my cheek and say, "You're sweet, honey. I'll eat later."

When Mom finally let Jerry in, my brother and I would back against the hall wall, remembering the last moments before he stormed out, when he threw things and roared at the ho and her white trash kids. But Jerry rejoined us as if he remembered nothing of the past, as if he'd been away on a business trip and was delighted to return to the comforts of home. He'd kiss Mom, kiss me on the cheek, and shake my brother's hand with mock-manly formality. Then he'd talk and laugh with Mom and us, and hold her on his lap to kiss and tease her. She'd look young and untroubled again.

During the sweet days, Jerry brought home surprise dinners, dishes like Tibetan momo or south India masala dosa. We'd put on "appropriate music," set the table with the Mexican dishes I liked best and eat by candlelight. On Saturday, Jerry would say, "All work and no play makes Jack and Jill dull children. Let's go to the roller rink." Or we would fly kites in the park, or picnic at the lake, or something, always something.

After Jerry came back, there would be two months of what he and Mom called "normal" and then there would be an "incident," some invisible transgression on Mom's part, and Jerry would go whacko. I wondered if the guy was on a timer, or maybe a fuse. I wish we'd known how to disconnect him.

I won't bore you with the details about how Mom found "Power Living for Chicks." Suffice it to say that she was converted by a gang of black leather wearing females who call themselves Power Women. I call them methadone for bad-relationships, but I'd have supported anything, from talking with angels to long-distance running, if it liberated Mom from Jerry. So I'm happy to offer testimony to the redemptive power of "Power Living for Chicks," if it will do them any good.



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