The Spring 2014 Issue of Viral Cat is available in print and may be purchased from Amazon.com or directly from Viral Cat. You are encouraged to purchase from Amazon if you are requesting multiple copies or if you are requesting that the issue be shipped outside of the United States. You may purchase from Amazon by clicking here.
(82 pages, black and white interior, glossy cover, 5.5" x 8.5")
If you are interested in purchasing your copy directly from Viral Cat, you may use the check-out link below. The issue costs $6 plus $3 for shipping and handling.
You may also purchase a PDF of the Spring 2014 Issue for $1.99.
Below, you'll find the contents of the Spring 2014 Issue of Viral Cat. Blue links will bring you to our Viral Web Selections, where we highlight some of the work of our contributors. All works can be found in our print edition.
Spring 2014 Issue
Table of Contents
“Regarding Rooms” by Marilyn Joy
"J'adore le coup des fourmis, 2012" by Samy Sfoggia
“Die Schraube und der Bauer, 2012” by Samy Sfoggia
“A Birth in the War Zone” by John Grey
“In the Bleak Midwinter” by Marilyn Joy
"14 days' furlough" by Christopher Mulrooney
"Gypsy" by M. Krochmalnik Grabois
“The Medicine Man" by Tinca Veerman
“Experimental Poetry” by John Kaniecki
"from the editorial offices" by Christopher Mulrooney
"Kevin loves Lisa" by Ally Malinenko
"Hot and Cold" by John Grey
"Gabbia di volo, 2012" by Samy Sfoggia
"Barbara the Clown" by Sayuri Yamada
“Plant More Trees” by Benjamin Blake
"Bi-Coastal" screenplay excerpt by Richard Lasser
"Stairs" by Jeff Williamson
“Holocaust Memorial/Berlin, Germany” by Sarah Kayss
"The Willing" screenplay excerpt by Phillip E. Hardy
"Strings" by Peter Wisan
her cigarette is lit still she asks for a match
just when he's about to light a firecracker to drop over the precipice
the news correspondent explains on his large map the divisions around the city and the fighting there
she leaps and not to him but past him to an officer for succor
yes that is how it must seem to some in the circumstances
Some babies are born
a few good grunts and there they wail,
demanding the world
bow down to them.
Others have to be pulled, pried, cut out.
Sleepy-eyed and yawning
they look around and wonder why
they were yanked from their aquatic
world inside the womb.
Words are like that, some arriving slick,
easy, not weighted with
the labor of indecision, of hesitation.
Others argue with their order
or cling willful to the tip of your tongue,
hang out with impossible friends
their reputation and reliability.
I used to think the ones that came easily,
not out of my head or history,
were the bright stars—lithe spontaneous
sparks that could lead the parade.
But have come to know
the merit of my prodigal sons,
hard-won words, worried over,
awakened in the night over,
when they finally arrive—repentant and
it takes the breath and emboldens
a pen to strive, to labor long
with these reluctant, ineffable utterances.
Two new crutches and two double shots of Bushmills Irish Whiskey enabled Joe Faherty to move from the back seat of Moira Murphy's 1976 Buick into Eagan's Funeral Home for Tim McGillicuddy's wake. At 87, Joe was in bad shape, only a tad better than McGillicuddy who looked splendid in a rococo casket.
The way the funeral home had painted McGillicuddy's face, he looked better than most of the folks who had come to say good-bye. Many of them were in their eighties. Even Moira, who still had her driver's license, was creaky at 75.
McGillicuddy was 90 when he fell off his horse out in the country. Until that moment he hadn't been sick a day in his life. Never drank and never smoked. Women were his passion. He was was calling on a couple until the day he died.
Few folks knew that McGillicuddy had been expelled from Ireland by the British in 1920. He was 18. He had been captured at 16 bringing guns to older IRA rebels who were fighting the British. A few rebels with rifles caused the British occupiers a lot of problems.
For two years they kept McGillicudy in prison. They finally agreed to let him go to America. Why not, McGillicuddy thought. Life in America had to be better than prison.
In the funeral home, however, much to the disgust of Joe Faherty, the priest had come to the wake early. This meant Joe didn't have time to grab his crutches and get to the bar next door before the priest started the rosary. The custom at Irish wakes was that the priest would arrive at 6:30 p.m. and all the men would have made it to the bar by then. The women would say the rosary with the priest.
But this was a new priest and there he was in front of the casket saying 15 decades of the rosary. Not the traditional five, as was the case at Polish wakes.
Joe figured it would take the priest an hour to finish. Then he'd ask Moira to take him home. He was too tired to go to the bar. Besides, he had had more than the two double shots of Bushmills he had mentioned to Moira.
Moira drove Joe home. She waited until he was inside the house. She wanted to make certain his new crutches wouldn't result in a fall. Joe waved good-bye to Moira and shut the door but didn't lock it. He had to let the dog out.
Although he hated to turn on a light--he lived on Social Security--he turned on just one because it was as dark inside as it was outside. He planned to buy some candles.
As soon as Joe turned on the light, he saw McGillicuddy in his favorite recliner wearing the same fancy suit he had on in the casket.
"What the hell are you doing here," Faherty asked. "Why didn't you stay where you were. We got through the rosary so why do this. They'll come here first, considering all the years we've been friends."
McGillicuddy didn't say a word.
"Well," said Faherty, "if you aren't in the mood to talk, I'll have another Bushmills till you decide to say something. You don't look dead. In fact, you never looked better."
McGillicuddy maintained his silence.
"It's too bad you don't drink. You could join me in some Bushmills. It's as good today as it was back in Ireland."
Down deep Faherty didn't know what to do with dead McGillicuddy in his favorite recliner. How long, he wondered, would McGillicuddy stay. He wanted to be friendly but there was a limit to his hospitality.
"Let's watch the news on television," Faherty said, turning on the set. "Maybe they'll explain how I've come to enjoy your company.
"You didn't drive, did you? If you need a lift I'm sure Moira will come pick you up. After all, you two almost got married. I think she's still fond of you.”
Still, not a word out of McGillicuddy.
"I'm going in the kitchen and call Moira," Joe said. "I'll be right back. We can talk about which way you're going, up or down, if you know what I mean.
"The bets were about even on you. I told everyone you'd be in heaven before they embalmed you. Except for the women, you probably didn't commit another mortal sin in your life. Of course, you were dead when the priest gave you the Last Rites. Don't know if they work on a dead person. Let's hope they do."
Faherty hoisted himself out of the guest chair, got on his crutches and headed for the kitchen to call Moira. He stumbled a bit on the rug because he wasn't used to the crutches or all that Bushmills.
"Hello, Moira," Faherty said when she answered the phone. "Could you drop back here for a minute. I've got an unexpected guest who needs a lift. I think you'll be happy to see him. I have to go to bed. We've got McGillicuddy's funeral Mass tomorrow. Wouldn't want to miss that."
Moira said she'd be right over. Faherty, heading back to the parlor, tripped over his dachshund. The dog had slept through all the commotion with McGillicuddy. Joe landed with a thud on his forehead. He never moved.
The next day Moira blamed Joe's death on his crutches and indeed that was part of the problem. No mention was made of the Bushmills, however. Moira, who had found the body, found the half empty bottle and took it home.
As Joe's driver for three years Moira thought she deserved the liquor. But she wondered who the guest was that Joe had called about. When she got to his house, there was only the dachshund snoring next to the body.
Preserve, he says, though why I don’t know
Preserve books no one reads.
And farm implements from the twenties.
Letters from dead people.
Post cards from the living.
He shows me to his room
where a hundred butterflies are pinned behind glass.
This is the rarest in my collection,
he says, pointing to an insect with purple wings.
It’s no more common
for me having seen its corpse.
In a cabinet in the cellar,
he’s stored a hundred empty beer cans
representing fifty seven countries
some of which no longer exist.
And then there’s his great grandfather’s pipe,
weaving loom, bottle tops, horse shoe
and the sheet music to “Be My Love.”
And wouldn’t you know,
on my way home,
a pretty blonde girl smiles at me.
I’ll keep it.
Her husband is a quadriplegic
so alongside her Capezio sticker
on their van’s bumper
I’d rather be dancing
is his handicapped sticker
a blue wheelchair
In the kitchen he drinks vodka
occasionally gives a sip to his old Airedale
the stinkiest dog in the South
She comes in to make dinner
and he tells her that he’s going to create
a new kind of zoo
one inhabited solely
by different varieties of snails and slugs
He’s going to get
the largest banana slugs known to man
and show them in black light
She says: no one will come to a zoo like that
People want to see animals moving around
Slugs and snails move around, he protests
They get into an argument
which turns violent
Drunken and diabolic
he powers his wheelchair into her legs
runs over her feet
In pain she falls to the floor
and he bashes her body
with his foot rests
She calls the police
but they refuse to arrest him
The neighbors up and down the street
see the squad car
and go: tut tut
That awful woman is abusing
that nice paralyzed man
all day long at
a full bowl
of mixed seeds,
out on the balcony
of my condo,
my cat curls
up on the sofa,
after a meager
meal of house flies-
and dreams of
I saw her not as before
Not the well groomed feline
Sweetly purring at my door
Cast out from home
Abandoned to roam
A feat hard for a street savvy cat
Let alone, one who has known
Comfort and only that
No winter’s bitter freezing snow
No hunger or soaking rain
No wandering to and fro
With anxious worried pain
So I contemplated
The Sahara and lands far away
And I hated
The evil they
It makes not sense
Babies die of starvation
While others live in crowded slums
And when they strive for salvation
The horror of war comes
So I left my refuge secure
And fed her milk in a bowl
I could do no more
Except mourn in my soul