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An olive, perhaps, stuffed with something bitter.
A mortgage statement wrapped around an artichoke.
It must be something mature; no teenaged hot hot hot sauce.
No boasts or man-child char-broiled contest; no, something
your grandmother would consume.
But she has her secret scotch against the cold, and ate
many grim and tasteless things to stretch the stew
to the end of the month. Do not discount her.
You will be tempted to mix cigars and cloves and motor oil
To roll them in your taxes and the discarded page of colonoscopy instructions
But remember you will have to eat the final product, that the spell will only work
If you don't choke.
Coffee seemed perfect at first but now you have doubts
It's so easy to buy it in marshmallow form, or as a popsicle, or in a juice box
It won't start a pickup truck any more, you're pretty sure, if it ever did.

I will tell you a secret.
Once you've dressed in nylons and a tie, cast the square, and swallowed the item you chose
To mark the start of adulthood, or the end of childhood
You're not sure which, the paperwork never reached you
Once you've drunk it down, or eaten it entire:
There is no sign.
Did you succeed, or fail, or some wretched middle thing?
Are you accruing now valorous deeds, fathomless debt, or unwanted magazine subscriptions?
In this uncertainty you now dwell.
Welcome. We're here too.



Brooke Abbey is a disabled, transmasculine, queer single parent, putting him at the cutting edge of dad joke technology. He is a pharmacist specializing in compounding and immunization, and is grateful that mad science and stabbing people is a viable career path. He has a Pegasus Award-winning album of filk songs played on the banjo, and if that doesn't terrify you, you can investigate at: https://brookeabbey.com/album/steel-cage-match
Current Issue
20 Sep 2021

Jaysee reported to decontamination, wondering why there hadn’t been a revolt by the augmented long before.
By: Clara Ward
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
In this episode of the Strange Horizons fiction podcast, editor Kat Kourbeti presents Clara Ward's "Motivation Augmentation."
"When we die again, I want to come back as a little brown bat," / I tell the only other person alive.
Art by: Courtney Skaggs
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Courtney Skaggs' “The Little Death After the Apocalypse.”
Issue 13 Sep 2021
By: Steve Castro
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Sep 2021
By: Yuna Kang
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Yuna Kang
By: B. Pladek
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 30 Aug 2021
By: Ian Goh
By: Andy Winter
By: Yong-Yu Huang
By: Sunny Vuong
By: Natalie Wang
By: Mark Dimaisip
By: Yvanna Vien Tica
By: Jack Kin Lim
By: May Chong
By: P. H. Low
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Ian Goh
Podcast read by: Yong-Yu Huang
Podcast read by: Sunny Vuong
Podcast read by: Natalie Wang
Podcast read by: Mark Dimaisip
Podcast read by: Yvanna Vien Tica
Podcast read by: Jack Kin Lim
Podcast read by: May Chong
Podcast read by: P. H. Low
Issue 23 Aug 2021
By: Hannah V Warren
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Aug 2021
By: Bryce A. Taylor
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bryce A. Taylor
Issue 9 Aug 2021
By: P. H. Low
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
Issue 3 Aug 2021
By: H. Pueyo
Podcast read by: Courtney Floyd
By: M. Regan
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 26 Jul 2021
By: Mary Soon Lee
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Mary Soon Lee
Issue 19 Jul 2021
By: Ian Rosales Casocot
Podcast read by: Kat Kourbeti
By: Nora Claire Miller
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Nora Claire Miller
Issue 12 Jul 2021
By: Dante Novario
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Dante Novario
Podcast: Data Migration 
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