Now That's What I Call Alternative Literature

volume 1
volume 2


Bill looked down at what he had written. His handwriting was neat and small and pencil gray on the bright yellow writing tablet he’d bought at the hospital store for just this occasion. His psychiatrist/jailer told him it would be a good idea to list all the major problems he’d gone through in the past year—a year known forever in Bill’s mind as “THE YEAR OF THE GREAT FUCK UP” in all capital letters, because that was how truly enormous his fuck ups had been.

  • fired from dentist’s office
  • unemployment, wife moved to Australia, divorce
  • house repossessed because I ran out of money
  • arrested for DWI
  • thrown out of sister’s house
  • two weeks in homeless shelter
  • too much drinking, smoking crack
  • thrown out of homeless shelter
  • suicide attempt
  • hospital, bills
  • homeless, lots of drinking
  • robbed, shot in stomach
  • hospital, bills
  • sucide attempt
  • hospital, bills
  • arrested, two months in county
  • mother died
  • sucide attempt
  • hospital, bills
  • institutionalized without my permission

He counted it all up and arrived at 20 major fuck ups, which seemed about right.

Bill suddenly felt very tired.

“What the hell is this list supposed to do for me?” he said, glaring at the piece of yellow paper. The doctors told him this was going to help him organize his life but all it had done was reinforce his hopelessness and the brutal fact that he’d fucked up beyond redemption.

He laid down the side of his face on the cold hospital table and moaned. “Fuck up after fuck up after fuck up after fuck fuck fuck fuck—how the hell—” he suddenly sat up, his red face searching in every direction for someone he could scream at—but he was all alone in the room, so he shouted up at the ceiling: “How the hell could things possibly get any WORSE?”

“Things can always get worse, Bill,” said the ceiling light.

"Yes, that’s very true," said the radiator.


Chris Dankland is from Houston, Texas.  During the day he is a public school teacher and at night he writes stories, some of which have appeared in Metazen, New Wave Vomit, Shabby Doll House, Keep This Bag Away From Children, and have u seen my whale. He blogs at and