Nice Girls Say Please

Unicorn and Pegasus sat down with the Queen.

Unicorn’s horn went somewhere obsc –

“Cream with your scones?”

Nice girls say please.


Knock, knock?

Who’s there?

Mother told me not to swear.

Knock, knock?

Go away, come again another day.

Knock, knock, knock.

Go away, nasty girls who want to play.

One has a phone; one has a knife.

One’s barely clinging onto life.


“Raspberry jam?”

Nice girls say please,

hide the bruises on their knees.

Knock, knock?

Who’s there?

I said, who’s there?

Nobody loves you; nobody cares.


Too many sweets will make you sick.

Mother call the doctor, quick, quick, quick.

Nobody loves you. Nobody cares.

Let’s push Pegasus down the stairs!


Sticky-sticky hands, covered in jam.

Simple Simon broke her hymen.

Mother call the doctor, quick, quick, quick!

He smashed her face with a candlestick!


Nobody loved her. Nobody cares.

Nice girls don’t meddle in others’ affairs.


Megan Cartwright

Megan Cartwright is an Australian college teacher and poet. Her work has appeared in Arteidolia Press, Authora Australis, Blue Bottle Journal, Meniscus Journal, October Hill Magazine, and oddball magazine. She also has poems due to feature in upcoming issues of Fatal Flaw, Tabula Rasa Review, MONO, and Quadrant Magazine.

Tetman Callis

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Tetman Callis

Tetman Callis is a writer and artist who lives in Chicago. His stories and poems have been published in a variety of literary magazines. His photographs, painting, and mixed media pieces have shown in galleries in Albuquerque and New York City. His photographs have previously appeared in Burningword. He is the author of the memoir, “High Street: Lawyers, Guns & Money in a Stoner’s New Mexico” (Outpost 19, 2012), and the children’s book, “Franny & Toby” (Silky Oak Press, 2015). His website is, and he can be found on Facebook.

The Chaise

A young woman lies, shining, on a chaise by a pool. She tilts her head forward. This flattens the neck, turns it into a lovely puddle of brown butter. She examines her midriff.

At the same moment, a man passes. He is old enough to remember fresh footage of ayatollah-freed hostages. To remember their peculiar mix of weak and exulting. He has witnessed it since: an old dog caught in the rain and finally home sneezing, grandfathers at piano recitals.

He sees the woman arrayed, shining. He says to himself, Give me a weekend. I’d glaze that flat stomach Saturday night and Sunday morning I’d ruin it from the inside. He does not say this to her. He says to her, Good morning.

She does not notice the man until she hears him. She is young enough that she is comprehensively unsure of things. Where she should and/or will put her arms while lying down. What she could ever possibly do, possibly, to justify the sluice of self that runs through her head, that puts her ridiculously at the hub of the world. Her year in a children’s hospital did not change this. Losing her mother to the same bone cancer two-and-a-half years later did not change this. Nor the genes that stole from the family an implausibility to rage against. She is young enough that each thing is more different from the last thing than the same.

She says to the man, Good morning.

What she says to herself, in the meanwhile, is what she’s been thinking, and the words, were she to speak them aloud, would hardly devastate the man, though they should wound him deeper by multiples than his would her, even were he to stop smartly at the foot of the chaise and divulge the reason for his staring. The roach next to Descartes’ shoe crouched and crouched and still could not wonder after existence, and this man cannot begin to comprehend his pitifulness. For this man, a man pretending not to stare and staring, there is no change, there are tax rates and sensation, and the future is over. On the other hand, as he is not a roach altogether, hearing the thing might remind him he could never hope for such a thing.

To herself, as she watches her own skin blip out pearls of minute perspiration, she says, Soon I’ll be who I really am. Soon I will be who I really am. She says these things to herself, thought and not speech, but two thoughts, no mistake, and not because she does not want to be who she is, but because she is merely sure, freed from uncertainty by a curious mix of cowed and exulting, that who she’ll be will be more different from the last her than the same, as sure as the beads of sweat there, fat and quivering, tiny curving windows into a hazy future, right here, which is why we’re staring.


George Choundas

George Choundas is a Cuban- and Greek-American and a former FBI agent with work in over seventy-five publications, including The Best Small Fictions, Boulevard, Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Santa Monica Review, and The Southern Review. His debut story collection, The Making Sense of Things (FC2 2018), was awarded the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, as well as shortlisted for the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose, the St. Lawrence Book Award for Fiction, and the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. His debut essay collection, Until All You See Is Sky (EastOver Press 2023), was awarded the EastOver Prize for Nonfiction.

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