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A Bad Place to Be-Fiction by Lamont A. Turner
If the World Never Knows Our Names-Fiction by Craig Fishbane
I'm Not Antonio-Fiction by Garr Parks
George's Personal Big Bang-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
When the Omen Follows You Home-Fiction by Alyson Tait
The Pie Room-Fiction by Dave Kunz
On the Matter of Hennessey-Fiction by Ed Nobody
Proud to Be a Pig-Fiction by Bob Ritchie
Marmalade and Mayhem-Fiction by Bruce Costello
Check Out-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Stanton Harbor Grocery Massacre-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Seizing Power-Flash Fiction by Tim Frank
Frog Huntin'-Flash Fiction by Gary Clifton
Best Friend Forever-Flash Fiction by Serena Jayne
Bus Stop-Flash Fiction by Jonathan Woods
Doing Without-Poem by R. Gerry Fabian
Another Day-Poem by Ann Marie Rhiel
Don't Say You'll Play the Game If You Don't Know the Rules-Poem by David Centorbi
Why I Stopped Being Me-Poem by John Sweet
Something About Her-Poem by Meg Baird
Only the Good-Poem by James Lilley
Bill's Otherworldly Cafe Across from Cafe Bizarro-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Eating Catfish on the Bank of the Sankuru River-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Post Mortem-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Deer in the Headlights-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
I, Cartographer-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
I'll Paint You a Picture-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
beside wild roses-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
sitting quietly-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
lifetimes-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
All the Way Home-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
like a poem written-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
So There-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Sugar Wolf-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by K.J. Hannah Greenberg 2021

Proud to Be a Pig

Bob Ritchie


Yes, I am proud to be a pig. And I think I will tell June, my wife, just that. When I see her again. If.

Perhaps you sleep with the TV on. It works that way sometimes.


About two years ago, I began to doze in front of the television. A comment on the state of American TV or my attention span. That is not for me to decide.

Look: The sofa felt soft and warm on a chill winter’s night. The cushions gave and sighed with my every move. A lovely sofa, it held me in its relaxed embrace like an overweight lover. The rich taste of hot chocolate floated on the back of my tongue. What pleasure my nose felt; that piquant scent of cinnamon does it every time.

I didn’t hear June open the door to our spare bedroom/TV Room. I didn’t hear her light tread on the wood floor. Sleep had claimed me.

She woke me with a tap on my balding pate. As the world swam into focus around me, she said in her playful kitty voice, “No sex if you fall asleep before ten.”

Mmph! I’d been dreaming of breakfast, my favorite meal: Sizzling strips of lean bacon, light, fluffy eggs sending tendrils of delicious-smelling steam into the clear morning air.

“Okay,” I answered, closing my eyes again against the flicker and flash of the muted TV.

She bit off my ear. The left one.

The pain flared like a roman candle. My hand shot out, reaching for something to stop the flow of blood. It encountered an open bag of pork rinds. Good enough. I fished out one of the tasty treats and shoved it up against the side of my head. The flow of blood stanched, I turned back to the TV to enjoy the latest video treats.


June wanted her Masters. Following this desire, she’d enrolled at Crafton Hills College. A Physical Education Major, she spent her evenings running and shouting and sweating. Yucch.

I used to greet her with a kiss and a hug when she came home. Then this falling asleep thing had become a regular habit. A problem with an easy solution: I set an alarm clock to wake me a few minutes before she was due to arrive.

Almost foolproof, except when the teacher canceled her 20th Century Exercise Habits class for the night.

Had I been awake:

The front door opened with its usual groan. Laugh tracks and other features of Prime Time TV probably masked the sound of her books thudding to the floor. Had I been awake.…

As a little aside, my Mom was an avid National Geographic fanatic. Her fanaticism ruined my school years. Oh yeah, what’s in a name, right? A lot!

“Jacques,” she called, “I’m home.”

Her heels probably clicked on the parquet entryway, turning to a faint thump when she moved onto the carpeted hallway. Had I been awake.…


Kissing lips moved softly down my jaw and throat. A darting tongue licked and teased the curling hairs of my chest.

Mmph. I simultaneously farted and snorted; a drop of saliva spattered her nose.

She bit off my right nipple. Not from anger, she later assured me. The combined shock of slime and scent.

Blood slicked my belly and spattered the hall carpet as I ran toward the kitchen. No biggie, I knew that rust-color would come in handy one day. The linoleum chilled my bare feet. I had run out of my slippers, in my haste. On the refrigerator, I found a tiny suction cup. From its bent metal hook dangled a gaily-patterned potholder. I read the word “Hormel” on the plastic deelie.

From promotional item in a package of bacon to replacement body part. I licked the cup and stuck it in place.

June called from the bathroom, “Honey, we’re out of mouthwash.”


The blood stopped and I opened the refrigerator door. Grazing time in the Simptie household.

Her voice got louder as she walked from the master bath to the kitchen. “Can you pick some up on the way home from the studio tomorrow?”


“Mouthwash, Jacques, mouthwash.” She had her hands on her hips, a favorite what-an-exasperating-man-you-are stance. Blonde bangs curtained her blue eyes.

I had a couple slices of bologna in my mouth, so my answer was a little garbled. “Okay.”


With the touch of the “Perform” button on my computer editor, I finished my documentary on the early Warner Bros. cartoons.

My chair’s wheels squeaked in protest as I backed away from my desk. Have to take care of that; I couldn’t even hear the final “Th-th-that’s all folks”.

I’d gained a lot of weight recently. A combination of June’s night school and my own laziness/lack of imagination. Franks ‘n’ beans played a large part in my night-time routine. As did chili, stew, and ravioli. My wrist was looking quite buff from working out on the can-opener.

I slid off my chair and onto my couch. Every office should have one. Remote in one hand and a can of Vienna Sausages in the other, I zapped the TV into colorful life. Idly, I opened my zipper and pulled out my penis. Fondling myself, I daydreamed of tall, naked, Latin beauties. One in particular caught my attention. She carried a tray, overflowing with bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. With no lettuce or tomato. Before me, the opening shots of the movie “Babe” filled the screen. Sometime around the little pig’s introduction to the animals on the farm—his new home—my eyes fell to a close. My erection remained intact.

I know the air whooshed out my door when June opened it. It always does. I know her heels clicked on the marble tiles as she approached my recumbent form. They always do.

I know the fire leapt from her eyes, hot sparks of rage that burnt all in their path. She has a temper. She always does.

“I’m leaving you Jacques, you bastard son-of-a-bitch.”

Mmph. Right in the middle of a helluva dream.

She towered over me. One hand waved a sheet of company stationery. I recognized the blue logo at the top. I recognized, too, the illegible scrawl that filled the front and half the back. Not so illegible that I could not have deciphered the “Dearest Maryann” and the “much love, J” written at the top and bottom respectively.

Dick in hand, I stared but made no sound.

“I said I’m leaving you, goddamn it, don’t you have anything to say about that?”

I shrugged. “Okay.”


Quicker than thought, she bent at the waist, pushed my hand away and bit.

          I wish I had been eating a hot dog instead of Vienna Sausages.

“Proud to Be a Pig” originally appeared in Unlikely 2.0 (April 1, 2011).]

Hailing from California, Bob Ritchie now lives on the lovely island of Puerto Rico, where he discovered, among other things, that wet heat is better than dry. He and his fantastic wife have released five adult children into the wild. He does some editing, yeah, some teaching, sure, some translating, claro. Ritchie (as his wife calls him) is a musician who is fortunate enough to have collaborated with Jon Anderson, a favorite of many. Bob (as he calls himself) is also a writer of stories and has penned several things that he believes are good. His work has appeared in Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine, Small Print Magazine, Triangle Writers Magazine, and others; two of his stories were nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Neither won. Oh well.

KJ Hannah Greenberg captures the world in words and images. Her most recent poetry collection is Rudiments (Seashell Books, 2020), her most recent essay collection is Simple Gratitudes (Propertius Press, 2020), her most recent short story collection is Demurral: Linens, and Towel and Fears (Bards& Sages Publishing, 2020), and her most recent photography collection is 20/20, Eye on Israel (Camel Saloon, 2015).

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021