She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen the stars.

The news that occasionally aired on the TV told her she’d been there over two months, but no matter how hard she tried thinking about the last time she laid on the cool, prickly grass with her kids nuzzled into her on either side as they all gazed up at the night sky, she just couldn’t remember.

Oh how she missed her babies.

Ethan was 9 and sure to be quite upset that she was gone; Emily, 6, probably cried a lot for their mommy.

Maybe this is why God took them away from me and gave them to Brad? All that time I spent pissed that they were with him during the week and me on weekends… maybe God knew I’d be taken away from them. Maybe He was protecting them.

Jennifer’s arm started to ache. She had it scrunched below her for too long. She needed to stretch.

But she couldn’t.

The cage wasn’t much bigger than that for a medium sized dog. Like a bulldog. Of course a bulldog would at least have a bit more room to move around than Jennifer whose body folded and remained contorted for hours on end until she was released for cleaning or sex.

Jennifer did her best to keep believing she’d catch a break and be freed, but the days were so fucking excruciatingly long. She even begged the male captor—“Babe”— to shoot her with the rifle he hid behind the door to the mobile home.

Babe just coughed out a laugh. “How you gone make me a baby if I shoo-cha?”

That was the last time Jennifer allowed tears to stream down her face. Inside she screamed and cried all the time, but when Babe and the female abductor called “Kitten” were nearby, Jennifer did her best not to show any kind of emotion.



The nutty aroma of coffee filled the air. Jennifer tried focusing on that rather than the nearby putrid scent of her own excrement as she opened her eyes to a brightness washing over her.

She was hungry.

It had been at least two days since she was given some food. Her stomach started twisting at the scent of the coffee, and when the sizzle of something frying started to scream out, Jennifer finally couldn’t hold it in any longer and begged, “Please can I have somethin’ ta eat. And some water. Please.”

Kitten’s eyes moved from the TV to the cage. “Maybe if there’s some left over.”

Babe wandered into the room with two paper plates piled high with eggs, potatoes, bacon.

“You should probably save some for her,” Babe said, handing a plate to Kitten. “She gone need her strength.”

Jennifer closed her eyes and started falling.

Miles below her were her children. They were small like ants but she knew they were there watching her fall; she could see their bright eyes, their blond hair. Their arms reached up for her and she reached down for them as she fell. Not a scream came from her, not a worry. She fell and fell and fell. Soon she’d feel their arms around her.




(inspired by this week’s speakeasy prompts as well as this disgusting news story i read yesterday)

everyone has a story

He taught me how to read people’s eyes.

When I was 8, Scotty took me to the bars with him. I watched him load up on booze and cigarettes. I watched him laugh and lean into all the women. Any of them. I watched him place his hand on their thighs. I watched him back away if they moved his hand. I watched him lean in more when they allowed his hand to remain. I watched him remembering I was sitting at one of the tables with a bag of chips and glass of Coke. I watched him throw his head back and toss the gold liquid from a small glass to the back of his throat before slamming the glass onto the table and standing up.

“Lessgo!” he’d bark.

Sometimes he’d slap the woman’s ass on our way out. Sometimes he’d tilt her head back and kiss her for a moment or two. Always he’d stumble out of the bar while I followed like an obedient little puppy.

We’d go back home where my mother would be passed out in her bedroom. Scotty would go in anyway. Always I’d hear the click of the door lock. Sometimes I’d hear a knocking sound. Sometimes I’d hear my mother yelling. Always he’d end up leaving at some point in the night, only to repeat the same game within a day or two.

He never really did much talking and he made even less eye contact. I don’t know what my mother saw in him. He was always drunk, always coming over at the oddest times.

When I was 12, Scotty showed up one night when my mother wasn’t home.

“Where the fuck is she?”

“I dunno.”

“Well what the fuck, man.”

“I dunno.”

He barged into the house anyway, headed straight for the fridge.

“Where the fuck is the beer!?”

When I didn’t answer right away, he came toward me like lightening. Before he knocked me unconscious, I realized his eyes were almost black and he was looking at me with such rage. Like I had taken all the beer and hidden it. Like I had told my mother to not be home at that time.

I’m not sure how he didn’t kill me that night.


Everyone has a story. Mine involves Scotty. Mine involves a shit of a woman I was lucky enough to have as my very own mother. Mine involves learning that people look at you, really look at you and study you. Mine involves learning how to attack without them even knowing I’m going to do so.

Why Scotty didn’t learn to attack like this, I don’t know. I don’t care. What I do know is that it’s so much more satisfying when they have no fucking idea what’s coming. And then bam!, completely blindside them with the unraveling of all your rage.



the puppet

“Tell me if you’re game,” he whispered in her ear from behind, slowly tugging at her hair.

“Yes,” she cooed from beneath him.

With her head pulled back by her hair as far as it could go, he reached for the red bandanna with his free hand.

“I’m gonna put this in your mouth. Just bite down on it ‘n’ breathe through your nose.”

He rested her head back down onto the bed and placed the red cloth in her mouth, tying it behind her head along with most of her hair. Her hands and fingers, already secured behind her back with her own leggings, looked like a nest full of freshly hatched baby birds reaching with their beaks for food.

“Just breathe through your nose,” he said again, slowly reaching his foot to the floor to steady himself and stand up.

Once off of her and the bed, he studied the curves of her naked body as it wiggle on the gray sheets. He was reminded of worms that emerged after it had stopped raining.

She closed her eyes and tried remaining still, but she couldn’t; the gag was just too much for her. She lost any control she had left. She became his puppet and that realization soon brought the taste of salt from her tears that the bandanna absorbed.

When she managed to open her eyes, she saw his hairy legs, then his cellphone. He was recording her or taking her picture. She tried telling him to stop, but the gag prevented her from saying anything coherent and forced her to concentrate on breathing through her nose.

What the fuck was she doing? How could she allow someone to tie her up? The drugs were good. The sex was good. Why was she allowing this though?

She was his puppet. She would do whatever he wanted because he was wanting her company. This is what you do when someone wants to be with you.

He placed the phone onto the nightstand and rolled her over so she now lay on her back.

“You’re doing great,” he whispered. “And you look fuckin’ a-maze-ing.”

He smiled as he climbed back on top of the bed and loosened the gag. Then he kissed and teased each nipple while she moaned.

This is why she let him do this to her.




Sadly this piece is “inspired” by the missing persons case of Kelly Dwyer, particularly this news story here. She’s been missing since October 11, 2013!!

the hair cut

It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still. I looked down near my Docs then up into the mirror to gauge Margo’s reaction. There wasn’t one. The other girls seemed to be watching for one, too. Instead, silence suffocated the salon.

“Is that okay?” I said, my voice feeling like monstrous thunder in the still of the salon. I retrieved the five inch thick curl of hair from the floor and held it up for Margo to view.

“I s’pose,” Margo hummed. “But I may want even more cut off after yer done, okay?”

“Of course.”

I continued cutting Margo’s silver and black hair and wondered why she was wanting such a change. This was her first time with me. Actually, it was her first time in the salon. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been in a salon to get her hair done, but she needed a change. “Desperately,” Margo added, dropping her eyes from mine.

She wanted a little life put back into her hair, she told me. Something that wouldn’t require her to color it, nor require much maintenance. She couldn’t afford to do either, and I was pretty sure she wasn’t referring to just money.

There was something about Margo that intrigued me more-so than most first time clients, and I found myself trying to get her to talk more.

“I bet you’ll be a lot cooler with shorter hair,” I smiled, focusing on cutting.

“That’d be nice.”

“Has it ever been short?”

“Not since I was a kid.”

What was it about this woman that I needed to know?

“Have you ever tried blowing your hair out?”

Margo shifted in her seat before answering, “It’s just too much work. I’d love it straight, but we all want what we don’t have.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” I snickered.

I looked at the mirror and found Margo’s eyes and immediately felt something that I really don’t know how to describe. A connection of sorts, perhaps? I’m not sure, but I needed to keep this woman talking. It felt necessary.

“What?” she softly asked when our eyes met. “What is it you want that you don’t have?”

Love…happiness…peace, my brain shouted, but instead I smiled and said, “Oh ya know, the usual stuff: my own home, a new car n stuff.”

“Hmm,” a grin washed across Margo’s face. “That’s just ‘stuff’ though. Is there anything you want that doesn’t cost money?”

“Of course,” I replied, trying to focus on more cutting; Margo had a lot of hair.

With another grin washing across her face, Margo continued: “One of my favorite quotes is from Picasso: ‘Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.’”

Our eyes met again, and again there was that… spark.

I thought about what she said for a moment and her eyes dropped back down into her lap like they had done when she first sat down with me. I continued cutting her hair when suddenly I blurted out, “Is that why you’re cutting off all this hair?”

Immediately I wished it back. I don’t know why I had become so defensive. But when I finally looked back at Margo, she was grinning again. And she was looking into my eyes again with so much kindness.

“My hair, for me,” she said smiling, “is just more ‘stuff’. It doesn’t really matter in the long run, ya know?”

I returned her smile and noticed her blue eyes started to shine and that, in turn, made me start to well up as well.

I finished cutting her hair and when it was all said and done, she smiled big again, shook her head and curls and thanked me, telling me I did a great job, that I was right to start cutting it longer.

A couple weeks later, I got a card in the mail at the salon. It was from Margo with no last name, no return address. The front of the card had an image of someone sitting on a bench watching the sunset. Inside the card was a handwritten note:

John Steinbeck said, “I wonder how many people
I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
I want you to know that I saw you,
the REAL you and you deserve love and happiness.
You just got to believe that. Truly believe it.
Thanks for the great hair cut!





well, this was new for me… i’m not one to generally go sappy when writing fiction. hope it was still enjoyable.

excerpts from Phun’s Blog


Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold, making the tiny blond toddler cry out even louder. Like a vicious circle, the girl’s crying made Winter clamp down even harder on her leg. It all happened so fast and within seconds people swarmed around tossing sticks, bags, rocks, even cell phones; but nobody could make the dog release its hold on the girl’s leg.


Finally a tall man in a blue baseball cap squeezed his way through the crowd and injected the mad dog with something that enabled him to put it into a headlock and lock it into a cage.

It was the craziest thing I’d ever seen.


The poor little girl laid on the ground, blood oozing into a puddle below her, turning her into a stop sign. She stopped crying and screaming by then. In fact, the girl seemed to have lost consciousness.

Stupid fucking dogs.

“Winter!” A woman’s voice called out in a bit of a panic. “Winter?!”

“Tell me you’re not calling after your dog,” I said, peering over the top of my sunglasses.

She looked at me. “Have you see him? He’s got yellow—“

Who the fuck names their dog Winter?

“Yeah he just fucking took a chunk outta that poor girl’s leg,” I nodded my head in the direction of the girl still lying motionless in a pool of her own blood.


“Dude, yer dog’s as good as dead. If not by animal control, by these people who had to witness the horror of all that bullshit.”

“I… I….”

“That kinda dog doesn’t belong in the city, lady; what the fuck is wrong with you?”

The lady looked at me, tears streaming from her eyes. “Winter’s not a dog,” she managed to spit out through her tears. She looked past me and started running toward the animal control truck.

The fuck is wrong with people?


Blog title: Clearly I Am Not a Dog Person
Author: Phun E. Joak


So I was watching the news last night after witnessing that crazy shit with the dog attacking the little girl… Seems there’s a story that’s been released about a woman who kept her son locked in a cage from the time he was born until he escaped the other day. The boy was six years old. She kept him locked in a cage for six years, treating him like a fucking animal. The boy’s name is Winter.


Blog title: Holy shit
Author: Phun E. Joak





Slicing him open wasn’t really an option; Marissa couldn’t stand the sight of blood. In fact, she cringed anytime she saw a sharp knife, so the thought of shoving a blade into someone over and over again to kill them was one that sent her to the bathroom to vomit.

Shooting him would be just too chaotic, she figured. Plus with her luck, the bullet wouldn’t hit him properly and he wouldn’t die. And Marissa knew if there was anything she had to get done right, it was killing her husband Stan.

She plotted for days, months. She thought about all the movies and TV shows she’d seen, all the books she’d read that involved a killer. She was going to become one: a killer. It’s not that she was going to go around killing all men named Stan; but she knew she would go to prison, she knew she’d be labeled as a killer once she did it.

Killer. Marissa Mercoli, killer. Husband killer.

The idea of going to prison frightened her, but the idea of living her life knowing that her own fucking husband raped her when she was a child… Marissa felt submerged in a deep black hole. She felt trapped. The only light she could see and grasp was that which would come after killing the prick who raped her when she was only 9 years old.

“The gig is up, fucker,” she thought, squeezing out a bottle of eye drops into his carton of orange juice he always finished within three days.


Poor, poor Stan.

Marissa looked down at him, pants around his ankles as he lay in a fetal position on the blue tile floor next to the toilet.

“Did you really think I’d never figure it out?” she asked him, shaking her head. “Stupid fuck.” She kicked at his feet.

The paramedics came first, quickly followed by the police. Marissa was handcuffed and put into the back seat of a squad car.

At the station, Marissa was pushed into a cell until a gruff female guard finally came to unlock the gate and called to her: “Mercoli?”

The guard took Marissa to a secluded room and told her to take off her clothes. “Underwear too,” the guard barked.

Standing in the dank room, Marissa was ordered to raise her arms as the female guard snapped on a pair of latex gloves and started feeling around her naked body to see if anything was hidden.

“Open your mouth,” the guard ordered next. “Flip the top lip… the bottom… lift up the tongue.”

Marissa kept thinking about when she was 9–if she could survive that, she could survive this.

“Lemme see the souls of your feet.”

Marissa lifted a foot behind her.

“Other one.”

Marissa eyed the orange uniform neatly folded on the bench and prayed for the guard to tell her to put it on.

“Bend over for me, please.”

Marissa started thinking that maybe she should’ve called 9-1-1 sooner and gone into hysterics over finding her husband passed out on the floor of the bathroom, instead of nonchalantly calling hours after he died and shedding no tears.


Tears seeped from Marissa’s eyes as she let out a whimper of a cough.

“Put on your uniform and lessgo.”

Marissa draped herself in the orange uniform and shuffled down the hall back into the cell where she waited for someone to tell her what to do next.



if interested, you can find more from Marissa’s story HERE.

why not?

“No one could ever know what happened here,” I told her as she grabbed her clothes from the floor and put them on. She didn’t say anything, just grabbed all her stuff and walked out the door. Just the way I like it.

A week later, I saw her again. Same bar, same bar stool. Drinking another dirty martini, she started groping at me, asking me to take her back to my place again. I knew I could get what I wanted from her so I was game. Why not? This time, I entered from behind, pushing her against the couch, shoving her face into the couch pillows to smother the screams. Stupid little whore wants to play with me, she can take it in the ass.

After, I told her I was going to bed and she could show herself out. She did.

I really thought that would be the end of seeing her; clearly she wouldn’t go back to O’Reilly’s Pub on South Street the following week.

I was wrong.

Barely in from off the street, I immediately noticed the back of her curly hair. Quickly, I snuck into a booth and watched her a bit. I wanted to see if she’d let someone else pick her up. A couple different guys approached, but left almost immediately. I was going to just leave, not wanting her to get the wrong idea if she saw me, but meh, why not?

“Back for more?” I said, while looking at the bartender to order a drink of my own.

She didn’t say anything but I was pretty sure she was smiling. With a drink in my hand, I started to leave and she grabbed my arm. “Wait,” she said.

“This is what you want?” I asked her.

This time I saw the smile to know for sure. She looked so young in that moment. Too young. And I immediately got hard.

“Fine,” I said, tossing back the Johnny Walker. Oh the warmth.

I slipped the glass onto the bar and grabbed her hand. When we got outside I pushed her against the door of the next building  and kissed her hard.

“You gotta do something for me though.”


“I’m gonna give you some money,” I told her, finding the big bills in my wallet. “A-lotta money. And you’re gonna go where I tell you to and tell them I sent you. They’re gonna give you a paper bag, like a lunch bag, and you’re gonna give them the money an’ come back out here to me.”


“Don’t look in the fucking bag alright? An’ don’t look around much when you get in there. Just go in, find the guy behind the counter, tell him my name and leave with the bag.”

I looked at her and she looked different. Even younger than before.

“How old are you again?”

“Twenty eight, why?”

“You gonna be able to do this or what?”

“Um, yeah. I guess. Sure.”

We walked around the corner to the Chinese take-out joint and I sent her in and waited and not more than a minute or two later, she came out holding the bag.

“Is there at least some food in here?” she asked.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I took her back to my place and fucked her before I showed her what was in the bag—an eight ball of coke. We snorted a couple of lines and fucked again and I realized I was in a fucking relationship with someone I didn’t really care about who I couldn’t shake. And she was okay with me doing whatever the fuck I wanted to do to her. The kinkier the better it seemed. So why not?

Had I known I’d be trying to hide her fucking body a couple months later, I would’ve known why not.


This piece of FICTION is inspired from this week’s speakeasy prompt as well as the unbelievably true and disturbing story of the missing woman from Milwaukee, Kelly Dwyer.

more from the interview

“I have spent years chasing the tail of my darkness.”

“Yes?” Dr Axelrod responds, lifting his eyes from the notebook he feverishly writes into. “And what have you discovered?” His eyes lock with Marissa’s. He needs her to spell it out for him so that it’s on record.

Marissa smiles again, then looks down at the floor before continuing. “I didn’t even remember I was raped. I blocked it out. I blocked out a lot of my youth, but there was always something inside me that ached so bad. The sun would be shining, people would be singin’ and dancin’, but something felt dead in me for so long.”

She looks at Dr. Axelrod again. “When I met Stan,” she continues. “Something changed. It was like things weren’t so fuckin’ dark anymore. It was like the sun was shining down on me, too, and I could finally sing and dance with everyone else.”


“I know it sounds corny and cliché but it’s how I felt; things were just so fuckin’ great between us.”

“Marrisa,” Dr. Axelrod says. “When did you remember being raped? What happened to make you remember?”

“Oh doc,” Marissa sighs. “Can I have a smoke first?”

“Not allowed.”

“Of fuckin’ course,” Marissa snaps. “Fine.”

Marissa shifts, bringing her knees into her chest so that she hugs herself on the chair. “I didn’t remember till after me and Stan got married, obviously. I mean, who’s gonna marry their rapist? That’s just sick. So one night we went out to the bar and had some drinks and stuff, and when we got home, we started going at it. You know. And we’re both kinda drunk and it’s getting really heated and stuff and all of a sudden, he pulls at my hair.” Marrisa closes her eyes again and holds her hands to her head. “He yanks at my hair and just kinda snaps my head back a bit and just holds it there for a second too long and that’s when it comes back to me like a motherfuckin’ semi runnin’ me over.”

She opens her eyes and looks at Dr. Axelrod who’s writing in his notebook. “I let him keep drillin’ me and when he finally came and released my hair, I looked at him and it was like I was nine again. It was like I was laying on that cold stinky clammy garage floor. In the dark. All alone.”

Marissa inhales deeply before resting her chin down atop her knees and exhaling. “He rolled over and outta bed and went to the bathroom, and I re-lived the nightmare from twenty years ago in my head. I started shaking bad and he came back to bed and saw me shaking and went and turned the heat warmer. I started screaming like mad but I don’t think it happened outta my head, ya know? Because he just turned the notch on the thermostat and went and sat by the computer.”

“Did Stan rape you when you were nine?”


“Did you confront him after remembering?”

Marissa didn’t answer. She just sat in the chair hugging herself, rocking a bit.

“Did you confront him about the rape after remembering?” Dr. Axelrod prodded again.

“Not until I killed the motherfucker.”



Daddy named her Lucy the day he gave her to me. We were at a carnival and he won her for me by shooting water onto a tiny target to make a small horse win a race against other shooters—mainly me and my brothers Andrew and Mark. From all the toys he could’ve picked, he chose the little rag doll with the orange dress, and as soon as the attendant gave her to him he smiled and handed her down to me.

“What’s her name?” I asked while hugging her.

“How about Lucy?” Daddy answered, whistling and singing an old Beatles song.

“I love her so much, Daddy!”

Lucy’s arms and legs fit perfectly in my hand so that I could drag her around with me wherever I went. She had this long gold curly hair and she wore an orange and green dress. I tried changing her clothes more than once but it never worked; the dress was just a part of Lucy. Sometimes I’d put other clothes on top of the dress but after a while, I just let Lucy be who she was.

I was seven when Daddy gave her to me. I remember a lot about that time. We all went camping and stayed in a pop-up camper with no running water or electricity. But we had so much fun. Lucy was at one of the carnivals near the campground we stayed at. That was also the vacation when I learned how to swim because my older brother Andrew pushed me into the pool. I wasn’t so happy about that and it took me a day before I’d go back near the water but then when I did, I wasn’t so afraid of going underwater anymore, and I started swimming through the water with my whole body submerged. It was pretty awesome the way the whole world just kind of turned into a blur as soon as I was under the water. I loved pushing the water away in front of me and kicking my legs at the same time to glide along. I imagined myself up in the sky, finding my way through a big white fluffy cloud.

That was the best summer vacation ever.

Mommy made french toast over a campfire for breakfast one morning, then fried some fish we caught one day for dinner one night. We went on hikes through the forest and slapped our skin to rid itself of bug bites. We ran and hopped on the hot sand dunes to get into cool water to go for a swim in the lake. We ate ice cream and ice cones like it was our job.

I don’t remember a lot from my youth but some things can’t be forgotten. And every time I see Lucy on the shelf next to some of my favorite books in the world, I always think of that summer and smile.

Life was really good then.




There was a loud crash in the hallway and Marissa slammed her face into a pillow to stifle a scream. She lay still for a minute, ears listening for any little thing while her mind thought of what she would do—pretend to be asleep? try to attack? try to hide?—when the intruder found the door to her room.

This was Marissa; she was always afraid. Irrationally so. Ever since she could remember she always heard noises and saw things. When she was in one room, she was sure she’d see shadows quickly darting about in another room or down the hallway. Not all the time, not every day, but she saw these shadows and she heard strange noises quite often. Like the crash in the hallway.

There was never anything to come from the sights and sounds other than maybe an elevated blood pressure or a premature gray hair. Noises generally were a result of something getting knocked down from the vibrations of the trucks on the street she lived on, for example; shadows were just a result of her overactive imagination.

Nevertheless, Marissa always envisioned the worst.

When she was younger, Marissa was sure the car door would suddenly fly open and she’d be sucked out of the car as her mom and dad and brothers drove down the highway to visit family. She hated sitting against the door because of this, but she hated the middle seat more. At least if she was by the door, the chances of her little brother Mark puking on her were slimmer than if she was in the middle since her older brother Andrew refused to give up his seat behind their dad. Of course if the door did finally fly open, she’d be a goner for sure, but she figured that since the door never opened she’d stick with the safety of being able to rush out of the car when Mark puked. Because with Mark, it wasn’t a case of If he would puke in the car, it was always When.

Even when she was a child, it annoyed Marissa how paralyzed she became by fear, but as soon as the fear subsided, she wouldn’t give it another thought until the next time she was paralyzed.

Paralyzed by fear.

It was getting so bad she wondered if she’d ever live a normal life. At 23, and still living at home, Marissa let fear control her. It was like an abusive boyfriend, but of course Marissa couldn’t see this. And because she wasn’t ever the one amidst her peers to shine, even a little bit, Marissa felt doomed for a life of solitude as a result.

And then she met Stan.