Random Short Story From Me to You #1 (Draft 1)


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Hello, Emptiness. I take extra long to turn off the alarm clock and lay there for a few minutes after. Because…why not. Tick. Tick. It all went and eventually I felt okay enough to go with it.

The clothes go on easily enough. As does the make up I use to enhance my eyes and hide my blemishes. No one ever tells you that you can get blemishes at 26. Physical ones, sure. But they never tell you about the emotional ones. Those bubble up. Even puss, like the physical ones. You never know when they’re going to flare up. So you hide them with frivolous bullshit so no one else can see. Spoiler: everyone hides something behind bullshit. Because…why not.

You know what else flares up? People. No matter how reclusive you want to be, you’ve gotta deal with them.

“Are you going to have breakfast?” my mother asked, wrapped in her warmest white robe.

“Only if you can make it for me.” I threw on my shoes, knowing they’d be off in 5 hours, placed exactly where I had gotten them.  Nothing ever changes if you try hard enough.

“I have a few extra eggs, if you want.  I can scramble ’em quick.” I smile and nod. She smiles back.  If you can’t hide unhappiness from your own mother, what’s the point of anything? She went through a lot of trouble to get you existing as you are. The least you can do is feign some sort of happiness, for her own sake.

I eat the eggs while explaining what others expected of me today.  I expected nothing.  It leaves little room for disappointment when you plan your days that way.  People don’t realize I do this, I don’t think. If they did they’d probably feel some sort of sadness for me. So I have to hide that too. No need for that. Pity helps no one. Sure, empathy helps you ‘connect’ to humanity. But ‘pity’ just unlevels the playing field.  I’m still at full capacity when I feel this way, but I know nobody would believe it. I know what I am. What I can. I know better than anyone else.

I put on my long red trench coat and head to my Last Minute Vanity. Beside the front door, I have a mirror with make-up on a shelf below it. I always trace my lips with red velvet on the way out the door, because that’s what they liked.They zoomed in on them as if they were on the Mona Lisa. And if I’m being honest, I played it up, licking my lips coyly (never too sexily…they never deserved that).  But a light lower lip nip, I’d give them that.  Cuz if you can’t give them that little nugget, they’d pry for a sex tape or a nip slip of another kind. You always have to play the numbers. And never let them tip the scale too much in their favor.

I hollered a goodbye to mom and gave a quick smile to the mirror. Then I naturally let it fade back to my naturally bored look.  As I open the door, one, two, three cameras flashed from the other side of the gated driveway. I pulled my coat tighter.  Instinct always kicks in.

They always found me. Which was sort of endearing, since I could never find myself. But we were thousands of miles from where I work, and they watched me more here than they did there.  I didn’t wave. I only gave a half-hearted smile.  Then I turned to my car and got in. I put on my driving gloves (no one my age wears driving gloves anymore) and I let the air stay neutral. Why change what nature wanted to give me?  If it wanted me to be cold, so let it be.  And, I guess, if something in this car shouldn’t be phony…it’s only fitting that it should be the air around me.

The only thing I had to do today was meet for a photo shoot at some random museum.  Apparently, this facade next to taxidermy is something ‘intriguing’.  But they don’t see it that way.  I’m not a facade to them. I’m Adelaide Kincaide. Not a fake at all. People…they love to think their idols are pure and encompass all things fantastical. And with my mug, it’s an easy dream for them to have.

I drove fifty minutes in silence when I wanted it. In music when I wanted it. With only my voice when I needed it. I feel like the only honest conversations I can have with myself are done when I’m sleeping or when I’m alone in my car.  If I wanted to scream, I could. But I never did. I always wish I had, once I reached my destination, but I never did.

And as I reached the museum’s parking structure, I wished I could shriek, let my vibrations bounce off the cement.  But imagining the fallout if someone had heard, was too troublesome.  This face.  This body.  These assets. They wouldn’t last forever.  And I didn’t want to give a reason to rush my ending in this business.  My parents needed this.  Needed some of my money. They always needed this. But the one thing I needed, I couldn’t even be anymore.  But who can complain when you’re rolling in cash money? I said I’d cosplay for the world until the world didn’t want me anymore. Do normal people cosplay as another themself?

A tiny woman with a stunning golden scarf directed me to the Amazon Rainforest display in the lower section of the museum.  The camera was set up towards a cheetah with an arrow in it’s side.  Just off camera was the ‘hunter’…celebrating a kill.

I smiled and shook hands with the crew and photographer. I think he was famous. I think this was for some big magazine people my age gave a shit about. Maybe. And as someone took my coat, I craved to walk the museum by myself…the lights dim, with no one in sight.  But as my clothes and make up were stripped off my body, I knew they wouldn’t let me.

I was stationed next to some creature that had been set in this unnatural position for so long, layers of dust had to be quickly removed. Fake blood dribbled out of the arrow’s entry location. I wondered if the cheetah was going to get a touch up after every 5 shots.  Hollywood always loved more ‘blood’.

“Does this thing need more red?”  I asked to the room, not knowing who could answer this question.

The camera man looked around his lens, “Blood?”


“No, I don’t want it to take over the photo.  I want to keep that thing simplistic.”  He stuck his head back behind the camera.

“I think this place needs more red.”  I went to my purse, pulled out my trusty red velvet lipstick, and while the make up artist shook her head in shame, I put it on without a mirror.  I knew my lips.  I knew where they ended. I knew how far they reached. The room was a flutter with words I couldn’t hear. But I knew what they’d say, “Typical Adelaide. Gorgeous Adelaide. Give it to us Adelaide.”

And in the black velvet gown and my ‘fucking take what I give you and like it’ lipstick, I bit my lower lip and gave a low and steady growl.


Found Poem #3


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The Year of Limited Silences 

from Survival Songs by Meggie Royer


The year I grew homesick for my own body was the same year

the local police station put a limit on the number of silences

we could hand out, so we started treating our words like mints

and placed them on everyone else’s tongues.

We told people we despised that we loved them, cowards

that they were brave. That was the year I caught myself

communicating with whales instead of human beings

because the pattern of their grunts sounded more like quiet.

They gulped tiny schools of fish down like stars.

I gulped down other peoples’ silences, as rare as they were,

like throat lozenges. They could have been peach or


or tomato-flavored and I would not have cared.

That was the year I learned the Inuits had over 50 words

for snow, and felt saddened because they only used two of them

when they didn’t even have a limit on their daily number of


We started kissing the people who came to us with open mouths

filled with secrets

just so we would not have to hear their life stories.

We learned to miss the time when words meant more.

That was the year the person I loved, loved the most,

came to me with the words I love you, but I was so sick of

hearing noise

that I turned away.

Random Poem From Me To You #23


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To the Only Person In My Life Whom (I Hope) Will One

Day Need the Heimlich While in a Room With No One


There’s your arm again;

reaching around me

like some sort of

toll bridge;

raising and lowering

whenever you see fit.


You are forcing my spine to

arch away

in some scoliosis-ed form,

so you can pretend you’re less like

a 40 year old crypt keeper and more like

a 40 year old Lothario.


I can no longer fake


when your eyes have

undressed me,

your hands have

‘accidental boob grazed’,

and your mind screamed ideas

that I instantly murdered.


I hope my utter disdain for you,

like a derecho,

can somehow be harnessed

to aid in the global energy crisis.

And may my every eye roll

sent in your general direction,

tick away another mile

on your life’s odometer.

Random Poem From Me To You #22


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Crash seems so harsh

for something so very natural and cleansing.

“Bullshit” was written in the sand and washed away in





And as the kids harness it’s power,

wielding it for the pure purpose of joy,

crash seems too





Forms ebb and flow with the wind and the moon.

Storms come and go and they keep going,

creating sounds that are strong and obliging





Everyone thinks they are invincible here at the earth’s end.

Despite warnings and alarms made by man.

It’s not their fault we feel hubris and that we




Random Poem From Me To You #21


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Decision Maker


It’s lonely when you fight yourself.

You never feel whole when the sides inside only have each other.

The world seems too busy

for your day to day qualms.

There’s no one to play devil’s advocate when it’s only you.

All the decisions are made

by one alone,

and the only person to blame

is yourself.


So stay content with this space.

This simple place.

And tone down all the fighting.

Submission time is NOW (Deadline Nov. 1)

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The Artificial Selection Project is open to a variety of art forms (fiction, music, video, and visual) that are different. Written work must be previously unpublished and the sole property of the writer submitting.

We are looking for fearless, engaging work and are open to a variety of formal and narrative modes. Challenge us, surprise us, confound us, terrify us, but whatever you do, bring us with you. Also when submitting, please include your name and complete contact information.



– The Guidelines –

Fiction: 7,500 words max. Preferably between 10-15 pps, as space is limited. And we are open to flash fiction as well. Include a brief synopsis..

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Found Poem #2


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by David Yezzi


I don’t say things I don’t want to say

or chew the fat with fat cats just because.


With favor-givers who want favors back,

I tend to pass on going for the ask.


I send, instead, a series of regrets,

slip the winding snares that people lay.


The unruffledness I feel as a result, 

the lank repose, the psychic field of rye


swayed in wavy air, is my respite

among the shivaree of clanging egos


on the packed commuter train again tonight.

Sapping and demeaning – it takes a lot


to get from bed to work and back to bed.

I barely go an hour before I’m caught


wincing at the way that woman laughs

or he keeps clucking at his magazine.


And my annoyance fills me with annoyance.

It’s laziness that lets them seem unreal


– a radio with in-and-out reception

blaring like hell when it finally hits a station.


The song that’s on is not the one I’d hoped for, 

so I wait distractedly for what comes next.

Random Poem From Me To You #20


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Just A Night


The sound somehow echoes

off the invisible suburban walls

of the backyard.


And I wonder if the world around

can hear the moment under the stars

as I read my last pages.


And the reverberations that come back

tell me the world is as quiet as I wanted it to be

as we discuss the things that mean more than we think.


There’s a moon that makes sure we’re not hidden

and can’t disguise the eye rolls

and smirks that turn smiles to frowns.


But it’s fine in this moment

to not be alike

because we passed perfection long ago.


That song fades back into the nothing

and my skeptical smirk does too

and the fireflies follow suit. 


I wish to trap this moment in a glass jar

so i can watch it unravel time and again

as we realize nothing and everything.

Random Poem From Me To You #19


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Hello delicious amber nectar

that somehow makes me feel

more strong

than the man

with the appletini.


You seem to have influenced

my voicebox…

repeating words I swore to keep

close to my heart (I did screw that guy over there…and there),

using my limbs as weapons

of enticement (but my fingers running through his hair DOES make me happy),

and forcing my feet to stop moving correctly

and ending up at his door (how I got on a plane after I drank all of you, I don’t know).

Random Poem From Me To You #18


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The World


He was there with his smile

and then

he was not

and I never felt sane

ever since.


For that freedom I felt

always came from

that smile

and those lips

I was destined to kiss.


But the world, it is callous

to wants

and desires;

of the things we live for

and we miss.


So it takes what you need

when you need it

the most

until all you do is