There is a mime in a city of France,
Bound by an unfortunate circumstance.
She had devoted her whole life’s work,
To never utter a single word.

Feigning each day, for those willing to pry.
Then new devotion, that she could exist by.
Relentless heart, halted her blood in their tracks,
He saw her, and broke invisible glass.

She loved him, but how could she express?
To speak her first words, they must be the best
He deserved the world, and maybe twice more,
But all she could give was a silent score.

For two to meet in such coincidence,
Was worthy of romantic eloquence.
With a question and a nod to answer,
Her life would change from there on after.

Kate Morris

Alabaster Bastards

Cloud formations below

Are white sea anemones.

They seem soft in air,

Not hardened by salt…

Is there any up here?

If I were to plummet

My feet would divide through them to the sea

Breaking apart the majestic clusters.

A frozen arrow of heroism –

Or more likely stupidity.

Their shape-shifting plays tricks on my tired eyes anyway,

For now they appear as cauliflowers,

A vegetable with dirty dishwater taste,

Always one of my least favourites.

It seems these cirrus, or maybe cumulus forms,

Are a law on to their own…

They have no parental lineage

And do not follow on cordially.

Now mimicking mountains,

They echo past scenery.


Alabaster bastards.

All-absorbing and always eluding me.

Elspeth Vischer

Memorandum From The Ocean Floor

To: Corporate Headquarters
From: Tobias Kirby, Cashier - Quick Convenience: Mariana Trench Branch
Date: Feb 23, 2017
Subject: Bathyscaphe ETA

Following on from my last correspondence (for which I have yet to receive a reply) I must again stress the infeasibility of my current situation. I am having continued doubts over my ability to effectively perform my role as a convenience store cashier in a working environment roughly 36,000 feet below sea level. Things grow increasingly precarious as each day passes, with the following concerns being the most prominent.

As mentioned in my previous memo, wildlife is a constant interference with business. The store's lighting seems to be attracting the local populace of sea creatures, and while I cannot fault the benthos for their natural curiosity, they have unwittingly triggered the automatic doors on multiple occasions now, resulting in large quantities of seawater billowing into the convenience store. I was barely able to contain the most recent surge and unfortunately as a result a large quantity of stock perished in the incident (see inventory).

I have decided the best course of action is deactivating the entrance doors (a lesson I should have learned after my first and only attempted cigarette break) and will instead manually open them in the event of an approaching patron.

This leads me to the most important issue: a complete lack of consumer base. Since this role began I have yet to engage in a single interaction or transaction with a customer and feel the store's geographic placement is entirely at fault. I'll be the first to admit my lack of expertise in business and marketing (or bathymetry, for that matter), but the impracticality of the situation outweighs any notion of long-term profit. Despite our namesake, the service offered here is neither quick nor convenient, thus fundamentally negating our entire business model.

Having initially been enticed by the financial incentive, I have realised the naivety on my part for failing to take into consideration the utter absurdity of this position and now regret the decision immensely. I have come to the conclusion that a career in customer service may not be tailored toward me.

Atmospheric pressure notwithstanding, the tedium of this role is responsible for the majority of my psychological strain. I have checked and double-checked our entire stock more times than I can remember, rearranging them by various criteria - size, colour scheme, political ideology. I now spend the majority of my time watching security camera footage of the previous workday, but even this fails to alleviate boredom, as the protagonist appears to exclusively sit watching himself on the security monitor for hours on end.

My only company has come in the form of a small Dumbo octopus that frequents the area during the early hours of the morning, again most likely attracted by the store's lighting (see above). I have come to refer to it as Kinski, due to its uncanny resemblance to the German actor of the same name, but in all honesty it seems ambivalent to my existence at best.

I have considered various means of escaping my predicament, but so far all have failed to materialise. A number of hours were spent drawing blueprints for a carbon dioxide based flotation vehicle. In theory, caffeinated soft drinks would fuel the craft, somehow enabling the device to propel toward the surface. This was quickly dismissed as fanciful and most likely due to severe sleep deprivation. This would also conflict with the agreement made with Quick Convenience and I am aware that leaving the store unattended would result in immediate termination of my employment. An offering of processed foodstuff to Poseidon also proved fruitless.

The power is currently down and I am only able to write this due to the bioluminescent glow emanating from outside. After a number of failed attempts to dry myself by sitting beneath the employee bathroom hand dryer, my uniform remains soaked from the aforementioned flood and with the bathyscaphe deadline having long expired, my mood would appear just as damp. I am drowning amidst a sea of high fructose corn syrup and waterlogged pornography, my despair witnessed solely by anthropomorphic cereal box mascots and a quasi-Germanic mollusc.

Can you please provide an update regarding the bathyscaphe's estimated arrival time and any additional information concerning overtime pay rates, as I have worked perpetually since my arrival. An address to forward any future therapy bills to would also be helpful.

Zachary Freeman