Monkeybicycle has been pumping out the jams for years now, but even so, MB seems to be hitting a new stride. This is next level shit. The MB mothership has landed. You need to open up a copy, have a look, and let MB do it to you in your eyeball.
Chopsticks by Ryan Boudinot
Ryan Boudinot is back with a brand new invention. His story “Chopsticks” is a sharp turn, if not a total one-eighty, from his last MB offering, “The Mine”. But fear not, this is not unfamiliar water. “Chopsticks” is funny and biting and reminded me of another wonderful and funny and biting story called “Free Burgers for Life” …also by Boudinot, also published by MB (back in the halcyon days of issue three). I like how each issue of MB shows growth, sometimes small, and other times by leaps and bounds; but always staying true to their roots, gut instincts.
A Certain Mental Toughness by Tyler Stoddard Smith
Another MB favorite, TSS, has a story that opens like this:
“My running style at age 8 bore a striking resemblance to C3PO’s, although I added a “windmill” technique that involved whirling my right arm in a counterclockwise direction, an addition that
Unfortunately served to further slow my forward progress.”
You read that right? So, you’re sold. Pick-up the issue, scumbag.
On Anzio Beach by Elizabeth Alexander
Just a wonderful story, really. There is this mixture of dream imaginary and reality that reads like a literary interpretation of a Looney Toons episode. We see Alet (a family friend of the main character, who has been reincarnated as a dog) smoking a Winston cigarette and making shapes with the exhaled smoke: “…a ghostly nine iron…a salad fork with wobbling tines…” The absurdity of the story is entertaining as hell, but the real attraction is the earnest moments that deal with the impending and past death of loved ones. “On Anzio Beach” also boasts an excellent ending, one of those endings that explains the whole story and redefines it at the same time. It makes the reader appreciate what they just read all the more. Hurray!
My Brother’s Keeper by Andrew Ervin
One of the great things about this story is that it takes place in the space between the sensational or bigger story, and that is appealing, isn’t it? As the story opens a death has already occurred. The reader gets the story of what happens before the news is passed to the family and police… but funny. The narrator is an excellent bundle of nerves, but there is a quiet to this story that is very satisfying. Ervin achieves this terrific dynamic by balancing the crazed narrative with some stoic well-chosen images. The piano standing in flood water comes to mind, lovely. And, thus the reader finds he has the sensational or bigger story with these pages. Or, wait, And thus, the reader gets the real story, not just the bigger one. Maybe something mixing the two? And thus, the reader gets the real story, not just the sensational story. And thus, is just too pompous sounding, no matter what. Either way, “My Brother’s Keeper”… is a keeper, see for yourself.