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Bad Beat (alternate ending)

by Blake Butler (original story by Barry Graham)

bonus features:
alternate ending to Barry Graham's "Bad Beat" by Blake Butler

"Owen Morris's Other Creativity Games (to date)" by Dave Madden

deleted scene from Mary Miller's "Pearl"

behind the scenes:
art by Peter Schwartz an "origins" essay behind his Leisure Suit Larry essay by Matt Bell

“It was time to go.” I kept saying that, over and over again. I couldn’t feel my mouth. I stood there in the middle of the spotted carpet in the Showboat’s dining room. “It was time to go.” Several other diners had turned to look up from their plates of fried food. More than one waitress stopped dead still. My voice was getting louder. I could feel it thicken in my throat. My lungs burned. I was barking, then I was shouting. The words kept coming out the way the cards did, one by one.

“It was time to go.” My eyes were massive.

“It was time to go.” My hair seemed made of hurt.

“IT WAS TIME TO GO.” What was my dick doing?



Someone grabbed me by the arm. There were men’s hands on my back. More hands than last time and no one was offering me free money. I don’t like people touching me. So many years with all these fuckers forcing in. Trying to make me move a different way than how my body itself wanted. My mother matting my hair down with her saliva, no matter how quick it popped back up. Mom’s spit had always stunk. My father making me stand up straight and perfect in the hallway so he could mark my growth against the wall. How some years I got shorter. How some days I wished my body would just hunch. My Little League coach with his fat hands on my elbows trying to make me stand right so I could swing. I never wanted to swing. I never wanted

In my body then, I was outside. I looked up and saw the Taj from the outside. Its massive reams of crass endless lighting, turrets with windows behind which so many people right now were getting fucked—one way or another. My mouth kept making words. I felt new bruises rising in my blubber. I saw the big men with their shaved heads and dark glasses watching from behind the flat glass of the front casino doors, their breath fogging the glass cold white between us—these same men who on my way in had tipped their hands in welcome—my newer money already safe behind their eyes.

I could not stop myself from speaking. There was so much coming out. There was so much coming out of me. My body started slurring. My arms jerked between numb and spurting, like slot machines stuffed, full of sound. I felt my body move back in toward the casino entrance, gassing outward, strumming all ways, wanting more.

Halfway there I stopped, turned around to face the thousand cars parked in the sick heat, refracting.

I turned to face the dumb fat sun already half sunk among the other neon money burp sat on the sky.

I turned to face the direction I could most sense; my home, my wife and daughter, those two, which way from here they were, though really, out of all these goddamned earth’s directions, I had no idea.

an old essay about Magic: the Gathering, with new footnotes, by Mike Alber

an essay on noodles, with recipe, by E.P. Chiew

short supplemental stories:
"Picture I Stole from My Lover" by Stefan Kiesbye

"Adam, Jacob, John, Paul" (with baseball card) by Jennifer Pieroni

"Crossing Borders" by Grant Perry

short interviews with the cover artists:
Ryan Molloy

Steven Seighman

David Kramer

more bonus features:
a short story by Fart Party comic artist Julia Wertz

Gene Morgan and Matthew Simmons Discuss Dino Run

Gene Morgan and Matthew Simmons Discuss Ninja Hunter

Gene Morgan and Matthew Simmons Discuss Rose & Camellia