Sunday, October 31, 2010

Issue Five and One-Quarter, Halloween Spectacular

From the Desk of the Editor,

     Welcome to the Halloween Spectacular Edition of Streets Ahead Magazine! Its been a busy week for me as I went to a journalism/writing conference in Kentucky (not Louisiana as previously thought). I will be posting transcribed notes from the conference on various topics from blogging tips, how to layout a print magazine, and how to publish a novel (by the way, I want to be Max McCoy when I grow up) to my writing blog on Concerning Fiction in the weeks to come.

     I hope you all enjoy the first ever SAM choose-your-own-adventure and have a happy Halloween!

Daniel "Kiddy" Pool

Trick or Treat, or Else


The killer, clad in black, crept behind the heroine. His hand grasps the knife till his veins bulged and the music intensifies. The pipe organ's shill cry joins the violin's lament. She won't see him coming, but then...


The sound of the door bell makes you jump.

“Are you going to get that?” asks Ted from the couch.

Well? Are you?

--to answer the door go to II.
--to ignore it and see what happens in the movie go to III.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Issue Five and Three-Quarters, Volume One

From the desk of the editor,


Hello and greetings from the Staff of Streets Ahead. Here at the office we have been trying to search out advertising. If you know group, agency, or persons that offer low budget advertising or have directories of publishing firms please feel free to message us (we will qualify for Duotrope Digest next summer).


This past week we have been trying to get a time to meet with our sound tech to put together a radio drama of "The Krumps", but sadly we did not meet our deadline for today. He had several personal issues and then became violently ill with food poisoning (better now), however this meant we  will wait till the November issue to post the radio drama. With the time till then we should be more together.


Next week will be a special Halloween issue by my co-editor and I, not to give much away but the words "choose-your-own" will be in the title.


I will be in attendance to a journalism conference in Louisville, 89th Annual ACP/CMA National College Media Convention. If any reader is there I would love to stop for a chat or get some lunch.

Our biggest news is we have extended the upper word count to 7,500 words for submissions!


Anyway, on with this 3/4 of an issue.



Daniel "Kiddy" Pool


Moss at the Table

By Keith Arron Townley

Somewhere in between the terror of being;
With someone, And the terror of being with myself;
I find myself.

And perhaps if it is true, that as individuals,
We are nothing more than polaroids of memorable experiences Conglomerated, and 
scrap booked on top of one another,
Then perhaps it would be better to experience the taste and touch
Of a single finger, as opposed to holding the entire hand.

People, in spirit, are ugly creatures; And I confess to never so much as loving a woman
In so much as I am in love with the idea of her existence.
That such a creature would engage in conversation with a pen artist, would entertain  
my company, and perhaps leave me with something she believed to be undiscovered.

Even if such a frontier straddles the boundaries of my complex nature. Leaving me held 
together with post it notes and yellowed postage stamps, Things that live existence 
out on bookshelves and in closets, Their very value protecting them from use, 
possibility overriding practicality;
Until nothing remains but scrap paper bearing the resemblance of some Famed farm 
animal or man of the hour, each whose presence only serves as reminder
Of the hour of their purchase.
 But, in the spirit of keeping each other at heart's length, and an open mind equal to an 
open door, it would appear that an erasure of the equation would be about as virtuous 
a task as solving it, in saying that perhaps love should be left to those most willing to 
saddle themselves with the thought of it's existence. 

Keith Townley is a 23 year old student of history, communication, and psychology at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. He is a "warrior"-poet and part-time philosopher. His previous  works are extensive poetry on Myspace and Facebook as well as a work on depression and MMORPG ("WOW Depression").

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Issue Four, Volume One -- Fantasy Fiction Contest Issue

From the Editor's Desk

Hello and welcome to issue four of Streets Ahead Magazine of Fiction. Here at SAM headquarters we have a few set backs due mostly to personal difficulties (most of these difficulties are located between the back-of-the-head and the mouth, and the foots therein). We apologize for these set backs and hope to have them worked out of the system very soon. Until then we will be going to a once a month issue after the next release until December.

In good news we do have the results of the Fantasy Fiction Contest and our winner was Meredith Mclean! Congratulations! We hope to do another contest soon, most likely in December.

For those of you in our neighborhood of central Oklahoma, US--there will be a conference at USAO in the spring with the writer Margaret Atwood, it will be free to the public.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Larks,

Daniel "Kiddy" Pool

John Knox of USAO created this image for the magazine. It is entitled "Breaking Wave" and is proudly our first piece of artwork.

If you or someone you know enjoys making art we would love to see it, all work can be sent as regular submissions.

The Krumps
By--Meredith McLean

I sighed as I drove home from work. It wasn’t a loud sigh, it wasn’t even one of those heart-breaking, academy award winning sighs. It was simply an honest exhalation of air that had built up in my throat over the course of the day. My hands gently skimmed the steering wheel as I turned into my street. My left hand twitched at an odd angle. That was…interesting? I turned into my driveway and shook the hand a little. It must be just jittery from the cheap coffee at the office.

Stepping inside I greeted Heather, my loving bed buddy and soul mate, like I do every afternoon, a kiss on the cheek and a clunk as the briefcase hits the counter. I went in for the kiss and nailed the clunk then my fingers pitter-pattered along her back in a haphazard way again.

“Honey, that feels nice. Keep doing it.” She said surprised by my change in our afternoon ritual. I looked at her nervously.

“ I don’t know what that is, my hand’s been kinda’ shaky since I left work.”

She looked down at my now still hand then held it tight.

“Probably all that coffee.” she said.

“ That’s what I thought!”

After that I dismissed the thought and continued about the remainder of my day. I showered, got changed and embraced the monotone enjoyments of television. I reached for the remote and felt a ripple down the veins of my left arm again. This time it was much sharper and my hand knocked the remote control off the couch. I tried stretching my fingers a little more and felt the knuckles crack awkwardly within the skin that encased them. I couldn’t say hello to my wife properly. I couldn’t even watch T.V. I decided an early night would be the perfect cure.

When I woke it was ten past midnight, Heather was shrieking in bed next to me when I realized my left arm had swiped and scratched her face. Consciousness slapped me in the face and I sat upright wrenching my infernal hand away from her mouth.

“Heather! Are you okay?” I called through the dark on the verge of panic.

She spluttered for a moment but finally produced a decent sentence.

“I don’t know what’s happened but I slipped into bed to cuddle you and your damn hand flung out and smacked me!”

I hushed her and squeezed her tight until my fingers wriggled uncontrollably.

“Maybe it’s nerve damage?” I suggested when the roughest of the quakes settled down and my arm lay out on her lap occasionally jumping to some unheard rhythm.

“Who knows? I’m calling a doctor to come check it out,” she said sternly. She certainly knew how to take charge of situations in the bedroom.

I sat in the dark while my hand tap-danced across the bed sheets. First it attempted classic tap then diverged into a hip-hop dance number. Finally it settled on imitating waves, wriggling back and forth, back and forth, all the while Heather barked down the telephone. When it sounded like someone was on their way to help Heather sat back down beside me, interlocking her fingers with mine. They tried to wiggle away but she held on tight. I stared at her face in the dark knowing she was doing the same. This did not look good.

The strange, foreboding and yet welcomed form of dark love was cut short when we heard a knock at the door. Heather got up to answer it and I heard a reply to Heather’s chirpy introduction. She strode in flicking on the lights as she passed then in stepped the man who would hopefully hold the diagnosis. He wore tweed trousers with a brown jacket holding in his pokey stomach. Small glasses clung to his eyes and he seemed to have this crazy idea that his beard would compensate for his balding head.

“Errgherrm, scuse’ me. I am the on call doctor tonight. Doctor Engelhart here to help you,” boasted the man.

I didn’t bother saying anything; I figured he would be capable to do all the talking.

“Your wife tells me you are suffering the tingles and jiggles in the left arm and hand, is that correct?” He asked pleasantly. I nodded and held up the rocking arm to demonstrate.

“Hmm,” he said, “Let’s see, let’s see…” He clicked his tongue to himself and lifted a heavy brown bag onto the bed. It made a softened thud on the bedspread and he began ruffle through its contents. After a lot of cursing under his breath the strange and probably inadequate doctor removed a small rubber hammer.

“Let’s see how those nerves a doing,” he said grinning inappropriately.

Unexpectedly for the man’s character he gently lifted my left hand and lightly tapped it with the small hammer. My fingers immediately convulsed and jerked about in ways I didn’t know fingers could even move.

“Mm-hmm,” Doctor Engelhart nodded as if this is what he expected. He took out a Popsicle stick and laid it flat on my palm.

“Now say Ahhhh” he commanded. I looked at him like he was a loon.

“Just kidding!” the Doctor shouted and roared with laughter. I gave Heather a good hard look and she looked back at me as if shouting, “Well don’t blame me!”

I prayed this strange, on-call Doctor would hurry up and do his job as he flexed my hand, tugged my fingers and shook my wrist. I honestly wondered if he had a clue what he was doing but I was interrupted from this analysis when he unfortunately spoke again.

“I have the diagnosis!” He shouted gallantly.

“Is it some sort of nerve damage?” asked Heather. The worry in her voice made me love her just that little bit more.

“Not at all, not at all” rambled the Doctor.

As he said this he was removing a bundle of instruments wrapped in material. He began to unfold it on the bed.

“It’s something much worse” the bundled clanged open revealing an assortment of scalpels and hatchets as he said this. My hand seemed to be listening to my emotions and began to flutter on my wrist as I breathed faster.

“How much worse?” I gasped.

“Nothing I can’t handle,” smiled Doctor Engelhart. “Now stay still so I can cut off your fingers”

“Wait! Cut off my wha-“ Before I could finish the sentence the hatchet made a quick, metallic slashing noise and sliced off all five fingers, leaving them limp on the bed.

I waited for immense pain and onslaughts of blood to spurt out; Heather rushed to my side expecting the same. But when I looked down there was no blood, there was no pain and Doctor Engelhart had been kind enough to only slice off as far as the nail. Suddenly this pleasant surprise reminded me a man had just cut off the tops of my fingers and the calm was replaced with astonished rage.

“Why the hell did you cut off my fingers?” I roared. I waved the severed hand in his face and cried out, “Who the hell let you become a doctor??”

Heather death stared the man and he held up his hands in defense.

“Please, please! Relax. I’m sorry to inform that you have the Krumps,” he gravely said.

“What on Earth are the Krumps?” Heather asked a little less than politely.

“Well Ma’am,” Doctor Engelhart began absent-mindedly as he packed up the knives, placing the severed fingers in a specimen jar, “the Krumps are worm-like creatures that develop from bacteria in the knuckles. Once they grow they feed off the blood flow in the fingertips and eventually and most unpleasantly take control of the hand,” he finished packing and looked up.

“You expect us to believe that rot?” I growled refusing to subside to this man’s nonsense.

“Yes, yes I do,” he said calmly.

Once again in that unexpected gentle manner he carefully picked up my hand and cooed to the remains of my fingers like they were little babies. I tried to yank my arm away in disgust but his grip tightened and slowly but surely I saw them. Small, scrawny and pink, foul looking wormy things stretched out of my chopped fingers. Black, bulbous eyes peered out searching for more blood.

“Yuck!” howled Heather. I silently gagged.

“Fascinating creatures really,” said Doctor Engelhart. “But, I know they must be gotten rid of so I’ll do what has to be done.” I sighed with relief and watched him take a canister from his brown bag, a steel case of liquid nitrogen. I smiled, cruel I know but I couldn’t wait to see the little Krumps get what was coming to them.

“Now, this will hurt a bit,” he warned. He turned the nozzle so it could spray and a hiss sounded from the can. The Krumps must’ve picked it up because suddenly they started flailing and screeching. As they erupted in anger my arm swung around too.

“Hold him down woman!” He shouted and Heather leapt on top of my arm.

Doctor Engelhart flipped the catch completely and let the icy liquid nitrogen spray all over the Krumps like a flamethrower. The nasty little things screamed and wretched in my fingers, their tiny mouths hung wide open and frightening cries escaped them. The pain seared through my hand and up my arm but I gritted my teeth looking at Heather the whole time. Even Doctor Engelhart looked like he was under immense stress as he blasted the living daylight out of these disturbing inhabitants.

Finally the spraying stopped and Doctor Engelhart sat back, heaving a sigh of relief. I looked down at my hand; traces of nitrogen scarred the edges of my sliced fingers and all that remained were blackened corpses of Krumps lying limp. I stared for a good, long moment and nothing moved. It was my turn to relax now.

“So what happens now, Doctor?” Heather asked. She was always the first to break silences.

“First let’s get you cleaned up,” he said to me and without waiting removed a pair of tweezers from his jacket and began to dispose of the disgusting piles of dead Krumps in the same jar as my fingers.

“Will I ever get my fingers back?” I asked despondently even though I already knew the answer.

“Nope, but the skin will grow over in time so it’ll appear you just have very short fingers. The good news is you won’t ever see the likes of these little buggers ever again,” he grinned as he tapped the jar. I nodded and a few moments of silence passed.

“Well, I think my work here is done,” the man smiled and stood up to leave.

“Wait, thank you so much Doctor Engelhart. You have done me and my husband a great favor,” Heather said feeling bad she had criticized our kooky savior earlier.

“Not necessary at all love. It is my job to tend to these medical emergencies and I expect nothing in return. I hope you both have a nice night. Though I expect the sun will be joining you very soon.”

Farewells were exchanged amongst us and Heather and I stood at the door as we waved goodbye to Doctor Engelhart. We watched as he placed the brown bag in the back of his car and drove off into the night. Leaving only the absence of his loud voice. We closed the door and looked at each other. Our hands interlocked again as we walked back to the bedroom and finally we cuddled until the peace of sleep infected us both.

Meredith McLean is in her final year of schooling in Australia. She has had a few stints with writing such as an article being published and winning a poetry slam contest. She hopes this site will send her into the orbit of the top dogs of writing.


We would also like to give an honorable mention to Laurel Stark for her piece "Giants and Pixies", as it was the inspiration for the Fantasy Fiction Contest and can be read here.


Thank you for reading. Remember we love to read fiction of all kinds! So if you have anything to send don’t worry about the genre. And as always we hope to see you next time on Larks Fiction.

Edited on January 21st, 2012