By Erik Harper Klass

Once in the city at a gathering of political activists and poets, a man I did not know, drunk as a fish, walked up to me and told me apropos of nothing of the waxworks museums of the past, in which people were sometimes hired to stand with the human sculptures, and the museum’s visitors would amuse themselves in trying to discern those objects of flesh and blood with their white-painted faces and their painstaking costumery, from the dead objects of wax that surrounded them, but what was not remarked at the time, and rarely since, the man, swaying, continued, was the strange, almost compulsive drive of these stand-ins—these false-sculptures, these living beings twice removed—who were allowed by the curators to enter these waxworks museums at night after closing and stand motionless with Napoleon and Marx and Gediminas the Grand Duke of Lithuania—to stand in silent, half-darkened rooms and feel the eternal bliss of being an object among objects.

Erik Harper Klass has published stories in a variety of journals, including New England Review, Summerset Review, and Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, and he has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes.

Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado, living in Oregon by way of New Mexico; He records music as Tom Foe.

By Sophia Pierroutsakos

In the palm of my hand I held the small, translucent packaging, printed with tiny strawberries and filled with a sparkly pink goo, sweet and delicious looking to my 7-year-old eyes, so I rushed home to ask my dad for 5 drachmas, then walked back along the dusty road to the beach town convenience store in the brutal afternoon sun of an August in Greece, eager to taste the confection, silver coin in my grip, my anticipation growing as I paid for my treat, tearing it open to release the syrup into my mouth: the sudden, bitter soapy taste on my tongue less painful than the sharp sting of my father’s anger and disappointment–how could I make such a stupid and dangerous mistake, missing the small print in Greek, "shampoo"?–my tan cheeks flushed with shame, relief only to be found by running into the cool, blue waters of the Mediterranean I now desperately long to reach, my father forever silent.

Sophia Pierroutsakos is a developmental psychologist currently trapped in the Midwest, teaching college courses from home, battling for bandwidth with her family of 8.

Art by Jay Baker, an artist from Colorado, living in Oregon by way of New Mexico; He records music as Tom Foe.

By Jade Braden

It had been raining earlier the evening that the girl was walking, dodging worms on the sidewalk which she quietly laughed at, thinking there must be some better place to gather than a dirty sidewalk, practically waiting to be stomped on, maimed—obliterated even—so unable to protect themselves from whatever came their wayher boots included, as clustered as they were in her path… but the thought was interrupted when she caught sight of her friends, vibrant in the wash of neon light spilling out of the bars, inviting her to remove her facemask to say “sorry I’m late: the kid I nanny got a fever and was absolutely clinging to me until his parents got home, oh, and the worms, so gross.”

Jade Braden is an author and artist based in southeast Ohio; she can be found on her website and twitter @jadewcb.

Photo by Jade Braden.

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