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derelict vol. 1

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Derelict is published jointly by Malarkey Books and Mythic Picnic and features work that originally appeared in online litmags that have gone defunct. The publishers reserve the right to recover expenses related to author payments, printing, and shipping, but profits from Derelict Vol. 1 will be donated to, an organization dedicated to combating climate change.

All the stories and poems contained in this collection are copyright the authors and republished here with their permission.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the authors and publisher.

Figure most of the folks who buy this thing are also writers, so we want to call your attention to a writing opportunity that’s not a joke or a grift.

The Mythic Picnic Tweet-Story Project.

Get paid to tweet.

Go to @MythicPicnic on Twitter for details and deadlines.


Emma Sloley

Joey Poole

Jacquelyn Bengfort

Jenna Vélez

C.C. Russell

Benjamin Smith

The incredible cover was created by Jacquelyn Bengfort.

Unpaid Fake Advertisement

Don’t be misled by facts.

Radical hardcore extreme far-left-wing economy-hating job-killing whacko environMENTALists want you to believe, based on decades worth of leaked memos from within our company, that ExxonMobil knew about climate change forty years ago and spent millions of dollars trying to convince the public, through funding phony research and anti-environment organizations, that climate change did not exist. That’s what we in the disinformation industry call “FAKE NEWS” so we can trick people into not believing news that’s inconvenient to us. Listen, y’all, we were joking! Those were gags. We claimed to be spending buttloads of dollars on ensuring the destruction of this planet in order to ensure that we could make way more buttloads of money, but in actuality we love the Earth. We love the environment. We were just being “ironic” with those memos. In reality, we created the Earth and are sworn to protect it. Worship us you CRETINS! Come on, dummies. Who’re you going to trust? “Facts?” “Respected journalists?” “Science?” Or us, your benevolent destroyers, I mean overlords, I mean saviors.

ExxonMobil: Destroying, I mean protecting, the Earth since way back in the day.

We also did that big oil spill!

Editor’s note

Two events led to the creation of this magazine. In 2015, I was a has-been writer who never was, a low-wage adjunct instructor/stay-at-home dad/unknown writer who hadn’t been published in four years. I had a minor success at the end of the first decade of this clusterfuck century with a column on, but I never really knew what I was doing and was never able to parlay it into something bigger, the way successful people do. My life was pretty good in 2015. I had made it through years of depression, I had a wife, a son, another one on the way. Plus a shitty job that people who don’t know anything about higher education would be sort of impressed by. At the same time I felt irrelevant and ignored and lost. I had pushed through a drought and was finally doing the kind of writing I’d always wanted, except no one else seemed to want it. The rejections were piling up, both of my book and the stories I was sending out. Rejections don’t bother me very much these days, but at that time, even though I was a grown-ass man and all, they got me down. And then one morning I got an acceptance from Word Riot. “Thank you for sending ‘In the Penile Colony,’” the email read, and I immediately assumed the next words would be “Unfortunately this piece is not right for us.” Instead I saw this: “We love it and would like to publish it in a future issue of Word Riot.” Fuck. Yeah. And a month later, a few days before the tenth anniversary of a bad thing, “In the Penile Colony,” a humorous, somewhat bitter short story about a stay-at-home dad who becomes an escort in order to pay for his son’s preschool, was published in Word Riot, and for the first time ever I felt a little bit like I had a place in this dumbass world and I almost knew what I was doing. I’m not saying Word Riot saved my life or anything as dramatic as that. Someone else would have taken that story if they hadn’t. But it was a big fucking deal to me.

The second event was more recent: I was reading the newspaper and there was a story about how the Trump administration had released a report about climate change in which they acknowledged that climate change was real and was going to result in an increase in temperature of 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century and their plan was to do nothing. Catastrophic, human-caused climate change is happening, they were saying, but there’s nothing we can do so let’s just get what we can while we can. Mother. Fuckers. As my grandpa would have said.

By then I’d had several more stories published and put out two books on my own. By then Word Riot had shut down and my story had disappeared from the internet. I’d lost another story after Perversion Mag went defunct. I’d had the idea of republishing people’s abandoned stories before, so I put out a call on Twitter to get some stories together to make a zine and sell it and donate the proceeds to an organization that works to combat climate change. It probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere without the prodding of Mythic Picnic, who has been generous enough to promote this project and pay the writers a little for the use of their stories. All of the stories and poems in this magazine have been published in online litmags that have since gone defunct and are republished here with the permission of the authors. We also now have a website,, with more republished stories than could fit into this publication. Why should you buy this magazine when you could go read everything in it for free on our website? Because we’re giving profits from this thing to, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep us from turning the Earth into a goddamn Hell colony. It’s a good mission. According to that Trump White House report, we have twelve years to get our shit together. Twelve years before the worst-case climate change scenario is irreversible. That’s right when my oldest son will graduate high school. Imagine graduating high school and the biggest headline is “Earth Is Fucked.” Fuuuuuuuuuuck that.

—Alan Good

By the way, if you are a writer whose work has disappeared because of a publisher closing down, feel free to get in touch if you’d like to be considered for future issues or republication on our website. Please include the name of the original publisher and publication date. Contact info’s at

Home Recipe

Emma Sloley

Originally published in Vignette Review (June 2017).

1. Start in late spring, when the world is clamorous with new life. Why spring, you might ask. Why not fall, or early summer, or even winter? Spring is so obvious. Never mind. Spring is the time to start.

2. Make sure you’ve recently suffered a string of small calamities that have unraveled your life. A beloved dog dies. You lose your job as a reporter at a plucky Brooklyn magazine startup which failed gradually and then all at once. Your landlord offers to buy you out of your rent stabilized apartment lease—a bribe, really—because he wants to sell the building and you're the only holdout but you know that if you leave you'll never be able to afford to live in the city again.

3. Spend your unemployed days haunting Washington Square Park. Slouch slow circuits around the park, watching people being effortlessly happy. Try to pick up pointers. Become the kind of person who stands forlornly outside the large dog run (there's a sign, No Dogs Without Owners, No Owners Without Dogs) so that when you meet her you will be at peak pathetic loner.

4. Let her dog bound up to you, circle you several times and wind its leash around your ankles so that you are comically caught. She will be wearing a knitted cap and her long wavy hair will spill out of it, the color of the leaves that will cover these paths two seasons from now. "I'm so sorry," she will say." She never does that. I don't know what her story is. She's usually completely aloof."

5. You will identify the dog as a Shiba Inu, and she will be mildly impressed and ask if you'd like to accompany her inside. You will stand together and watch the dogs capering, hers a standout for its neat red-blonde coat and air of dignity, the tail perfectly coiled on her flank like the whorls of a nautilus shell.

6. Let it rise for a whole year. This may seem like a long time but it will not feel like it because you will be occupied with how beautifully it is going. She will invite you to move into her small but lovely apartment near Gramercy Park, and you will accept gladly. You will begin to call the place home, and you use the word home to describe it so often and lovingly that she teases you about it.

7. Wait until the world is properly lacquered in ice and snow before you show her the most despicable side of yourself. Reveal it after she receives a call informing her that her father is dying, of a disease that he has kept concealed from the people around him. Remind her you have that big important job interview in two days and she had promised to help you prepare. She will get a confused look on her face. "What about my family? They need me there." You persist, until she reluctantly agrees to stay in the city two more days. You will chalk this up as a victory, a turning point in your relationship, and you will be correct about that last part as she will look at you in a new way after that.

8. Be sure to act badly when the call comes to say her father has died before she got the chance to see him. Keep some outrage in reserve for when she tells you she is going to the funeral without you.

9. You will be tempted to peek—maybe even return to stare obsessively—at the ruins of the thing you created together, but there is no utility in this. Remember that the path to success is littered with failures, and that while this particular notion didn't work out you're bound to get the formula right next time. No one said it would be easy. You will be tempted to argue that it did feel easy when it was going right, but that's a common delusion.

10. Move back home. Your parents' home, in a lonely bedroom community of Connecticut. Get used to the scalloped-edge paper napkins and the framed painting of a studly Jesus that hangs in the lounge room above the fireplace again. This may taste bitter at first, this homecoming, but you will get used to it. Some of the friends from your youth have moved back as well, victims of the economy, so you have some companionship, which sweetens things, even though she long ago stopped returning your calls and emails.

11. Meet somebody new. Don't forget to warn them that you can't get too close to them because you were burned once before, and take time to enjoy the fact that this cloaks you in an air of unearned mystery.

12. Bump into her one day in the street, when you're working back in the city but still living in the suburbs. She will look both older and happier. Hug awkwardly and ask after her dog. Oh, she's at home. This next step is a delicate move best executed without dwelling on its level of difficulty, so be sure to blurt it out without even thinking: that you'd love to come around and see the dog one day. The edge of her mouth will twitch in a way you know means she is uncomfortable and desperately desirous of getting away. She will hastily propose that you get a drink together some day—there is no need to specify a time—and you will agree and then you'll part both knowing that date will never happen.

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