THE JUMP OFF: The Sam Lipsyte Players


INBRED, a. wolfe

“There was something melon-y and inviting about Raskov’s head.”

Conifers were out-sizing my vision, forcing peripheral to kick in, but I hadn’t been a cat in ages—like last Halloween, and maybe “sexy cat” doesn’t count anyway.

Raskov was the guy I thought I shoulda dated while I was out slapping skins with assholes. He was a devoted fiend for platonic hugs and kissing dimples, and it was sweet, but it was neutered.

Woke up a week ago, gut still sore from a whiskey workout, said, well, fuck, I’m almost 30, called up Raskov, said, how ‘bout you take me on a date.

Melonheads were mythical, I say, cobwebs silking my shoulder. I fucking hate beautiful cobwebs.

Raskov says, If you read the literature, Lydia, it doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

Blogs aren’t literature, I say.

Two tiny cabins like bucked teeth jutted out in the distance, no glow but the moonlight.

I say, So you think that people with giant heads were corralled out here in these two tiny cabins to live out life as the all-real version of Freaks?

Raskov, bulbous head caroming through forestry, well-watered shoes digging into fertile soil. He says, They had enormous craniums, all of ‘em together in a big-head community.

There was something melon-y and inviting about Raskov’s head. I say, There’s something melon-y and inviting about your head, Raskov. I say, I wonder if any of them had welcome mats at their doors.

Raskov bent at the waist, hands hipped, like Jack-LaLanne exercising.

I say, I’d juice that head of yours if I could, let out that water on the brain.

Stood up, fingers through his thinning brush, says, At least there’d be junk in mine for juicing.

Isolation with the familiar inbreeds eventual destruction. I sighed, was almost 30. Something sad in knowing two train wrecks don’t make a right.



Mark Edmund Doten’s fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, The Collagist, Guernica and elsewhere. His website is

John Madera edits Big Other and The Chapbook Review. He’s been published most recently in The Brooklyn Rail, Opium Magazine, and Rain Taxi: Review of Books, and forthcoming in Corduroy Mountain and The Review of Contemporary Fiction. He’s editing a collection of essays on the craft of writing (Publishing Genius).

Lincoln Michel’s work appears in The Believer, NOON, Oxford American, and elsewhere. He is a co-editor of Gigantic and blogs at

Maureen Miller is an MD-MPH student at New York University. She is an editor and co-founder of (formerly More work is available at

Shya Scanlon’s fabulist novel, Forecast, will be published by Flatmancrooked in October. His book of prose poetry, In This Alone Impulse, is available now from Noemi Press.

Franklin Winslow’s writing has recently appeared in The L Magazine, Coldfront, and Gigantic. He’s finishing a collection of stories, which is about how we struggle to love where we live and who we live with. He’s also at work on a novel.

A Wolfe’s writing is in Unsaid, Quarterly West, The Pinch, The Boise Weekly, Bookslut, and on several possibly lucrative porn websites and the jackets of many books that do not directly involve pornography.

Snowden Wright holds degrees in creative writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University. He recently completed a novel about the blues musician Robert Johnson.

All original illustrations © André da Loba.

Rozalia Jovanovic is a founding editor of Gigantic, a magazine of short prose and art. She is the Deputy Editor of Flavorpill and has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Columbia University. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming from Unsaid, The Believer, Everyday Genius, Guernica, elimae, and She blogs at The Astonishing Egg and is The Rumpus New York Editor. More from this author →