Friday, May 16, 2008


To take from the grave, exhume (v)

One time I was in the car with my friends and we were all in high school so they weren't really my friends and they started talking about this time when they stole a goat from Old Man Rumdle's farm out by the elementary school and brought the goat to the cemetery nearby and dug up this dorky kid Eugene's grandmother that'd recently died and strapped Eugene's dead grandmother's body to the goat and set the goat loose and chased it around the cemetery and then they said the next day at school they told Eugene all about it and Eugene said,

"Oh my gosh, you guys are so dead."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Refractory (edited)

Stubborn, unmanageable (adj.)
by David Backer

The story we usually hear about Sir Isaac Newton is that one day, by chance, an apple fell and hit him on the head and inspired the theory of gravity.
But it wasn't chance that caused the apple to fall.
On that fine sunny day, he was leaning against the trunk of a tree playing with a glass prism. Newton caught a ray of sunlight in the prism and, just as the spectrum of colors spread out before him, a genie wearing a tweed jacket and a powdered wig arose out of the light.
"Hello!" it declared, "I am the Occidental genie!"
Newton was horrified. The possibility of a genie contained within the properties of light was inexplicable to his scientific mind. But Newton, assuring himself that there is a natural explanation for any observable phenomenon, regained his composure.
"Okay," he said, remembering something, "isn't the man that frees a genie entitled to wishes?"
"Wishes?" asked the Occidental genie.
"For you?"
"Yes, for me."
The Occidental genie waited, rubbed his transparent chin, and said,
"Absolutely not."
"Why?" demanded Newton.
"Because I'm not that type of genie."
"Then what type of genie are you?"
"One that is nobody's slave! I do indeed have wishes to give but I've come to the conclusion that it's inappropriate to just give people what they want whenever they ask for it. I like guessing what they want and then giving it to them."
"Can't you make an exception?" Newton asked.
"Absolutely not," said the genie.
Newton paused, considering the situation.
"So what do I want?" he asked.
The Occidental genie floated close to Newton's face and said, smiling,
"You want very badly to be hit in the head."
"I can honestly say I don't want that," Newton responded.
"Yes you do," the genie insisted.
"No I don't."
"Oh yes you do, believe me."
"Not a genie at all, really," Newton said Britishly, under his breath.
"Yes I am," the genie said.
Newton became annoyed.
"No, you're certainly not," he said.
"Oh yes, I am," the genie persisted.
"What kind of genie tells a man that he wants to be hit in the head?"
"One that's nobody's slave!" the Occidental genie chanted like an ancient song.
And with this the genie vanished upward into the center of the sun, becoming one with the rays of pure light streaming through the branches of the apple tree.
Frustrated with this encounter, Newton leaned back heavily against the trunk of the tree. When he did this, his back hit the trunk with just enough force to cause a ripe apple to fall from its branch and hit him on the head.

Tacit (edited)

Understood; not put into words (adj.)

by David Backer (published on

You know those moments when you’re talking to people you don’t really like where your eyebrows go up or your lips pucker or you nod and walk away because there's something that the both of you understand but don't want to say aloud? I always used to take those moments and completely demolish them and say everything that was on my mind because I liked the look on people's faces when the awkward things they were feeling or only thinking got said. I called people bastards and weirdoes and under-achievers and sadists and depressives and bleeding hearts. I said things out loud that were supposed to be tacit just to see people freak out—because it really did freak them out and I got a lot of enjoyment out of seeing them freak out because: what the hell? The whole tacit thing is totally stupid. It's like there's some tacit rule that tacit things are supposed to remain tacit. Screw that. People need to get over themselves.
But since I died in a bar fight (imagine that) and I went to the Underworld (turns out that the Greeks were right about the afterlife and there's no heaven or hell or anything, it's just the Underworld, which is complete crap if you ask me) I have to admit that I'm starting to understand the tacit thing. Get this: I have to tend sheep for eternity in a universe where I'm the only human. And I think the sheep are in on it, too. Maybe the gods told them about me or something, because there are moments throughout the day when the sheep are just looking at me and I'm looking at the sheep and it’s understood somehow between us that I was a jackass as a mortal and there's nothing else I can say about it.

Truculence (edited)

Aggressiveness; ferocity (n.)

by David Backer

Bernard didn’t know anything about the fat, sweating man in the back of his limo. The only thing the man said before they left was,
“Drive to the end of Interstate 81 and wake me up when we get to 83.”
This made Bernard nervous.
After they started driving up 81 the passenger fell asleep and Bernard reached a kind of peace with the situation. But then they hit a long and empty stretch of highway between Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania and Bernard heard a loud rumble coming from behind him. He saw four pairs of headlights speed up and overtake him and in less than ten seconds there were four unmarked tractor-trailers surrounding his limo—one on every side of him. Bernard lost his sense of peace. He couldn’t see the road in front of him or behind him or the sky on either side of him. Only trucks. Then the trucks slowed down and they forced Bernard to slow down and everything came to a full stop.
Bernard looked back at the fat passenger as he woke up from his nap and looked out the window.
"Why the hell are we stopped?" the fat passenger asked.
"I don't know sir, I..."said Bernard.
"What the hell are all these trucks?"
"Sir, I really don't know, they just..."
Bernard's high-beams were on and they flooded the space in front of the limo with white light. He watched as four large men emerged from the spaces between the trucks. It was like the trucks produced them from steel and rubber and gasoline and sent them into the space lit up by his headlights. The men from the trucks looked alike: they were broad-shouldered and ferocious-looking men with huge foreheads. The man that came from the front truck wore a baseball cap backwards on his big square head.
Bernard's passenger got out of the limo and walked forward to speak with the man with the backwards hat. The three other drivers surrounded the passenger like they surrounded Bernard with their trucks. The anonymous passenger, sweating now in the light, yelled and pointed at the man with the hat and lunged toward him and continued doing this until the man with the backwards hat pulled out what looked like a .22 caliber handgun and shot a round through the passenger's head. The passenger’s body fell back into the waiting arms of one of the other drivers, and this driver dragged the body back to his truck. Bernard could hear the scrape of the passenger's shoes against the pavement. Then the other truckers went back to their trucks and drove off with the body of the fat passenger.
Then it was dark except for the space in front of Bernard’s limo where the trucker with the gun and the backwards hat stood in the headlights. The gun was still in his hand and the headlights lit up his dirty face. He was staring right at Bernard. Bernard watched him blink and bring the hand with the gun up to his face. Bernard’s fingers tightened on the keys in the ignition of his limo and his foot floated above the accelerator.
Then the trucker pointed the gun at Bernard but before he could shoot it Bernard turned the key and started the engine and drove his limo into the center of the trucker with the gun. Then it was dark and the body of the trucker was splayed across Bernard’s windshield and Bernard’s heart was beating hard through his chest and he could see the trucker was still breathing and he put his limo in reverse so the body fell off and he drove around the body and truck and drove away breathing and sweating.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Concatenate--by Erin Bregman

to join sequentially; linked together as in a chain (v.)

You've likely heard by now
of that anti-gravity machine theory
based on falling cats
and buttered toast,
and I tell you straight I saw my cousin try it once
with his cat who had just given birth
to a litter of ten.
And when he dropped her
with buttered toast tied to her back
she never hit the ground but did manage to
grab ahold of her eldest born,
mouth to nape of the neck like cats do,
and that eldest, he managed to grab ahold of that
ball of string he'd been batting around and
his youngest sister managed to
keep her hold on that string and
I sat there watching as they rose,
and disappeared into the night sky.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Send Me Your GRE Stories!!!

Dear Everyone,

This blog has been a bit unactive recently. But I was just in the bathroom at my school and while I was washing my hands I had a thought:

We should keep this alive! This blog is for the greater good! We all need to suffer the pains of the GRE verbal section! Together!

Therefore: I'm officially opening this site for submissions.

So: if you're either (a) a writer who wants to help or (b) studying for the GRE or (c) a writer studying for the GRE, then send me stories, poems, or essays based on the meanings of new GRE words. Send submissions to

Hurray!!! Looking forward to the project!

(BTW: Two of my GRE stories have been accepted by small online magazines ("Variegated" can be found on and "Refractory" on

Monday, July 30, 2007


fragrant; suggestive or evocative (adj)

[under construction]

Red sat on the proch as he had sat every morning since he could sit upright. He wore the blue plaid shirt and overalls his mother dressed him in and a clean white undershirt with clean white breifs underneath the overalls. His face, as it had been since he entered the world through the drug-abused gates of his mother's legs twentysomething years ago, was crumpled into itself. Every facial muscle stretched or flexed or tensed towards his nose which was pristinely tanned and the only well-built structure on his face. His eyes were shit tight and his eyebrows wrinkled in and his mouth screwed up upwards and his cheeks were set square from a perpetually clamped jaw. All lines connected and pointed to the olfactory center of his face.
His mother, his caretaker, his only companion, came outo n the porch with a plate of bacon, eggs, and grits and Red's hands went flying toward the food, his face unchanging except an accented noise from his nasal inhalations raking against his sinuses.
"Alright, alright, Reddy, hold on," and she dodged his flying fingers to tuck in a hankerchief to catch the food that he would inevitably spill on himself.
"You want to look good for your visitor today, don't you?"
Red couldn't reply. He could only swing his hands around the wafting prefume of the food. His mother brought it to his face and he began to grasp the good and stuff it into his mouth, chewing with thell athose tensed muslces, sucking in air through that perfect as he ate. Pieces of yellow egg landed on the hankerchief, chips of burnt bacon clicked on the wood floor of their little house.
When the plat was almost cleaned off completely a car drove up the dusty path kicking pebbles and dirt up from its tires. The olive sedan parked in front of hte porch. A young, attractive woman with dirty blond hair and turqoise blue eyes exited the car and closed the door and pressed a black button on her key chain so the car beeped. She carried a notebook and pen in her hand as she approached the porch.
"Miss Melly?" Red's mother asked the young woman.
"Hi Mrs. Gretchen, how are you today?"
"Fine, thank you."
Melly walked up the steps of the porch and Red's mother walked to her, seemingly trying to keep her away from her son. They stood several feet away from Red, but Melly looked over Red's mother's shoulder and addressed Red anyway.
"I'm very excited to talk to you today, Red," she walked forward as she spoke and continued to Red's mother, "You know it's so rare to find a case like Red's--he could really help us answer a lot of questions about how much humans rely on smell and pheromonal--"
Red's mother looked away from Melly with a confused face. The scientist caught herself in her scientific excitement and decided to stop talking. They both looked down at Red, who was sitting in his chair. When the two of them were closer to Red his hands began waving through the air. Innocuously at first, but their movements became more desparate and almost violent as they got nearer to him. By the time Melly and his mother were standing in conversation range his hands were flying like they were swatting dangerous bugs.
Then one of the hands found Melly's forearm and squeezed it and pulled the young woman toward Red, who used her weight to help lift himself to a standing position. Another hand found her other arm and Red wrapped himself around Melly and hugged her forcibly.
"Red, no!" his mother yelled.
But he didn't stop, he stoof up, the dirty and egg-ridden hankerchief fell to the porch floor and he brought the young scientist to his face and he pressed his nose into her neck with strong lunges, sniffing her everywhere he could and Melly felt an awkward protrusion protruding from the middle of the man who could only smell and she kicked the erection and the hands released her and she pulled herself away. Then she took a breath, leaning on a post of their porch, looked at Red's mother, and opened her notebook to make a note of something.