Dispatches from the press room: Magnes’s Mailbag: And In The End Part 2/3/5: Sunday Mailbag Coming Down

Howdy folks. Elton here.

In the words of Bigfoot: “I not dead” [sic].

I was minding my own business down in the press room, trying to get this issue printed up after weeks and weeks of delays from those dopes upstairs. The editors–an incompetent bunch if I ever saw one–left Magnes to run the place while they all went gallivanting off into the sunset. And if the editors don’t know how to lick a stamp, then Magnes doesn’t even know what a stamp is. Which is funny, since he gets the mail more or less every week. And then wastes your time answering questions no one asked and clutters up your MyFace page and Twatter feeds with his inanity.

Anywhom, I was running the presses–because the magazine’s finally ready to go–when I heard this obscene ringing in my ear like a drill bit whirring into bone. My vision went black and I saw in my mind a red telephone on a rain-battered Ikea table (those Swedes can make anything, can’t they?). The receiver jumped with each ring and with each ring the drill bored deeper into my skull. On the third ring the black went white and the telephone vanished and when I could see again I saw the flesh melting off my own skull in the garbage-filled office of the Portland Review, an office that shuddered with each breath it drew.

What sorcery was this? I touch my face. My skin was still there, but it was my skull, unmistakeably bubbling in the corner, the rest of my body evidently incinerated into a pile of ash at my chin. But I was here. Was that body a creation of the Review or the occupiers or Magnes himself? And what of poor Patty, the tortured assistant to whom I never screwed up the courage to reveal my love? She was even more unrecognizable, reduced to rubble in the fray, just a scrap of her hair to reveal the body’s identity. Scraps of the occupiers decorated the walls and Magnes was locked in conflict with himself and the sentient office. The red telephone was there.

“Don’t answer it!” I yelled.

Magnes reached out his hand and I jumped for the wall and the phone line. Magnes’s hand shot back. His eyes were wild with terror and confusion. I pulled the cord from the wall and creaked my way upright. There was a full minute of silence save the sounds of the Portland Review’s labored breathing.

The phone rang.

The cord was still in my hand.

The phone rang again.

The drill worked deeper into my brain and I fell to my knees.

The phone rang again.

Magnes reached out his hand.

_ _ _

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD


Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

I’m sure you’re all wondering where I’ve been. Me too. One minute I’m changing my earplugs in the press room, the next I’m sitting cross-legged in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa. I think there may have been a writers’ workshop of some kind or another nearby, because I heard a bunch of idiots hooting and hollering about POETRY! And they were all wondering what was at steak and whether or not some asshole earned his cliche or not. And there I was, scratching my ass and wondering how in the hell I got there. It wasn’t even sweet corn, just that nasty starchy field corn that’ll make ethanol and feed cattle.

Anyway, I was just sitting in the dirt and the shade, watching aphids crawl all over everything, when an incredible sense of calm washed over me and I knew I was on corncation. I never liked Magnes, that squirrely turd of an administrative assistant, but he got the corncation thing right.

Here’s what I think happened: Patty, the idiots’ long-suffering secretary, got tired of Magnes eating her yogurt (Patty’s yogurt, DON’T EAT!), so she set up on a corncation. I was mistaken for Magnes and sent on corncation instead. And I spent six weeks in the dirt and the mud and the rain and the sun and the corn. I found myself steadily coming to peace with the fact that the editors of the Portland Review are incompetent slobs.

And now the issue is on its way to me. And maybe those kids running the show upstairs are damn dummies, but at least they’ve managed to churn out a product. Look for it in the middle of Novemeber.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

Well, seems I’m a bit late to get Magnes out of the sewers. I tell you, that kid is sure annoying–and he’s never put in a day of work in his life. Regular Chicken Little, that one, sky’s falling every day. First, he thinks he’s fired, so he runs away into the sewers with his tail between his legs rather than coming to me–the union president–to see if there’s a way to rectify the problems he caused with that insensitive post. Then, when he gets into the sewers the idiot gets himself stuck in a pipe. And then he thinks he’s the center of the goddamn universe when he can’t grease his way out of there. Like his problem is everyone’s problem. So when I found him while getting rid of some hazardous…I mean…GREEN, SUSTAINABLE waste down there, he thinks I’ve got to drop everything and get him out. Like I don’t have enough to do.

So I left him my bag of Combos (the pepperoni pizza kind) and went over to the Pipe Cutters’ shop out on 82nd and got this saw that’s supposed to detect soft tissue and automatically shut down. I wanted to be able to cut through the pipe without sawing the kid in half. The saw’s still in development, though, and the engineer was on his lunch break–which the union stipulates has to be at least an hour, but can last for as long as three weeks. So I decided to take my lunch break too. Hell, even though I didn’t leave Magnes the butter he asked for, at least he had the Combos. He wasn’t gonna starve.

Anyway, I finally got the saw–it’s pretty nifty–and I went down into the sewers today to set the whiny kid free. What a mess. You’d think he’d been trapped in a pipe for FOUR weeks or something. Somehow he had a black eye (I suspect he punched himself), and any kind of muscle mass the little alien ever had was gone. He looked like a wet grocery bag full of pizza crusts. When he saw me trekking knee-deep through sewage up to his sorry ass, he didn’t thank me. He didn’t ask how my weekend had been. He didn’t apologize for the inconvenience. He just looked up at me, tears and blood and mucous streaming down his face.

“Did you bring any butter?” he asked, his voice cracked and rasping.

I was butter-free at the moment, and I told him so. But I had the saw, and I was ready to cut him out. I started it up. The saw’s motor is a perpetual motion machine, very complicated stuff, and it takes a little while to warm.

“Butter?” Magnes said again.

“No butter,” I told him. The saw was ready. I started cutting, and Magnes screamed through the whole ordeal. It took the better part of four hours to saw through that pipe and he cried and cried and cried. Hell of a way to spend a Sunday off.

Well, turns out the saw isn’t has spectacular as those pipe cutters think it is, and when I pulled him free of the sawed-off pipe, Magnes’s midsection was banded with a nearly complete deep cut, oozing blood and iron grit. Seems the saw has to make a few rounds into soft tissue before it recognizes the change and turns itself off. Oh well, it’s nothing 360 degrees of stitches and a few nights in intensive care won’t fix. At least he’s out of the pipe.

When I dragged him up the the surface, into the blinding light of the subbasement of Smith, he looked around the Portland Review office as if for the first time. Marshall, Michael Magnes (the original), and Mollet were all there, huddled over something on the desk. Something real interesting by the greedy looks on their faces. Magnes crawled off my shoulders and zombie-hobbled over to the three idiots around the desk. He pushed himself between his doppleganger and that oaf Mollet. He reached a hand down toward the desk, palm-down and open. When he brought it back up to eye level, it was covered in creamy yellow goo. Magnes licked his fingers and smiled with satisfaction.

“Butter,” he said, putting his entire fist in his mouth.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

Magnes’s Mailbag! 8/12/2011

Hidy-ho Reviewers! Welcome to another gut-busting installment of Magnes’s Mailbag. We bust your gut so much that you’re going to need brain surgery. I asked a doctor about that once, well on my iphone, so I know it’s true. I’ve busted many a gut in my time.

So it seems that Elton is a little late with his saw. I’ve been here rationing out the Combos snacks he left me so I don’t die, but luckily there is plenty of water here in the sewers. I just. Feel. A little. Ugh. Er. Off. So to. Speak. Me. My tummy….

Well, at least there’s no one stuck in the pipe behind me! Behind my behind! So to speak!

Anywho, I thought this might be a good time to introduce you to the rest of the staff here.

Sarah Marshall is the Editor-in-Chief. She is the one who makes all of your literary dreams come true and then squashes them. She is the one who has become death, the destroyer of worlds–not unlike Galactus from the Fantastic Four comic books. She urges you all to write like Nic Cage acts–with wild abandonedmentness. Just make sure you know what you’re doing because Nic Cage is an untamed, Wild at Heart, force of nature who needs a good director to control him. If you have that Trapped in Paradise wild abandonedmentness then you need to make sure you have a director, living in your head (but make sure he’s the only voice there!), to control your own City of Angels.


Michael Magnes is the Managing Editor. His job is to manage the editor. If you ask him a question about his past he will likely mumble something about carved whale bones and mandrake dust. He does not know how to pronounce words so if you can figure out what he’s mumbling you won’t be able to understand him. He’s a bit like that girl from that movie about the piano, Holly Hunter, who made up her own language because she didn’t want to talk to Harvey Keitel because he is a big creep.


Daniel Mollet is the copy editor. He drinks out of Claussen pickle jars. He ONLY drinks out of Claussen pickle jars. He is from South Dakota and enjoys Claussen pickle jars. He once read a novel, but that was only by accident. While not literate, Mollet does possess a wild eyed intelligence that one might associate with a baby seal or dolphin or some other animal that people think is smart. But really Daniel Mollet is a cold blooded killer. He enjoys the music of Tom Waits and Claussen Pickle jars. He will also edit all of your stories so there are delicious, crisp, refreshing Claussen pickle jars in them.

Sam Newson is our poetry editor. Not much is known about Sam other than his name is Sam and he edits poetry. He is probably screaming at our poetry Tumble right now. http://portlandreview.tumblr.com/ He runs it. Into the ground? Haw haw haw.

Magnes, me, is the administrative assistant. I recently got fired for…..an incident. The court cases have been sealed. I am Michael Magnes from Earth-2, probably, and am currently trapped in sewer pipe.

Elton Deacon is the master printer here. He makes the magazine. I don’t want to say too much more about him because he’s got this uncontrollable rage about him. The slightest insult sends him off into a well…have you ever seen the Hulk? Yeah. Elton is a good man. Very good. Please don’t hurt me.

There are other people up there too, but I forgot their names because they probably don’t matter.

Did anyone see the Republican debate last night? I just can’t decide who to vote for! I’m just going to have to vote for all of them!





Q:Dear sir,

I’m intrigued by the notion of a corncation and am more than a little concerned that I may have unwittingly spent ages 5-17 on corncation. Is it only a corncation if it happens in Iowa, or are other breadbasket states included as well? Did I waste twelve years of my life without taking advantage of the relaxing properties of such a starchy excursion?

Please respond soon,
Corny And Concerned
Vermillion, SD


A: What the hell are you talking about? Corncation? You can’t just make up words like that. Honestly, I don’t know where my readers come up with this stuff!


Anywhom, email me at the portlandreviewonline@gmail.com with the subject line: Magnes! Mail! And all of your questions will be quickly dismissed because I’m dying. In a pipe.





Magnes’s Mailbag! 8/5/2011

Well folks here we are. It’s a new week and that means it’s time for a new Magnes’s mailbag! I’m still stuck in the sewers in the building here but Elton Deacon found me so everything should be okay soon! Elton, for the uninitiated, is the master printer here at the Review and is a member of the local Pipe Cutters Union (Local #40024). He’s currently using an experimental saw to cut me out, well he left to go get it at the Union offices downtown (the saw is still in its testing phase), but he left me a package of pepperoni pizza Combos to nosh on in order to tide me over till he gets back!

My mailbag has been overfilled with your queries about the Review! Thanks!
Before I tackle your amazing question I want to clear something up. People have been asking me if I’m the illustrious Managing Editor Michael Magnes. No. I am not. You see I am simply Magnes and he is Magnes (no relation). He found me naked, bound, and gagged in a corn field in Iowa in 2005 while on a corn vacation. A corn vacation (or corncation) is when you relax in a field of corn for a weekend in Iowa. I’m told it’s very calming. I had no memories of my past. I couldn’t even remember my name! In his infinite humility, Michael Magnes named me after himself and then christened me his personal assistant, which at the time meant mainly rubbing his feet and downloading episodes of ER onto his computer. Fast forward to June of this year and he hired me as the Administrative Assistant for the Portland Review! Now fast forward to July of that year (whooooa whiplash) and I got fired for refusing to rub his feet, among other tasks that I thought were beneath me thanks to my new title–Administrative Assistant to the Review! (I love typing that!)!!!!!
So I hope that clears that mess up. Boy. We were sure embarrassed. But remember, Michael Magnes and I, simply Magnes, do look exactly the same and have the same name so I see how that could be confusing! We also live together.  Michael Magnes is convinced that I am him from Earth-2, an alternate reality where shrimp does not exist, so he is currently looking into that. I received this email from him:

Hey Magnes,

Or should I say hey shithead! Hahaha. We joke here. How is it going? Found a new job yet loser? Also, pick up some milk. Soy Milk. The one with the panda on it. That’s my favorite. Dick. Keep it sleazy.
Magnes (the real one)

Now that that’s cleared up onto the question for this week!

Q: My dishwashing soap bottle is all clogged up and I need to do dishes.
A: That is not a question. That is a statement.
Even I know the difference!
I think I hear Elton coming! See you next week!
Send Magnes your life queries at portlandreviewonline@gmail.com with the subject line Magnes! Question!?


Editors note. This column is satire. Humor if you will. Our website is full of humor pieces like McSweeney’s only no one reads them. Humor may be subjective but like any art you can tell when something is crafted well. Like how some people don’t like Virginia Woolf but can appreciate the care and love and structure that goes into her work, which are the ingredients in everything we here at the Review do. With that in mind, please stop searching for our website using the keywords “Common Grounds Wellness” and “Gay.” That was made up. But I bet Jonathan Swift would have gone through the same thing if that essay about eating Irish children babies were published today. Now that was fucking vulgar.

Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

Doesn’t look like those dopes upstairs are any closer to publishing a new issue than they were last week. Earlier today Magnes and Mollet were sitting in the office—Mollet stuffing his stupid face, of course—talking about what they were going to do “to really turn this magazine around.” For all of their talk about groundbreaking policies like “office hours” and “weekly schedules” and “deadlines,” neither of them even mentioned the one thing they could do that would really help The Portland Review—quit.

If they really want to turn this thing around, turn it into a top-tier literary publication, the whole editorial staff ought to hand in their office keys (Mollet finally figured out how to get his. Still no luck getting that computer turned on, though.) and hand the magazine over to me. I’ll appoint competent editors who know something about literature and who pay their union dues on time—Marshall, Magnes, and Mollet are all way past notice and accumulating daily late fees. We’ll see what happens when they’re not dues-current and they need an IBLPOHHIWT lawyer to get them off the hook in a slander case. But those three think they’re above union rules, above the law, and most erroneously, above the minimum literacy standards required to edit a literary journal.

Half the damn time I don’t think they even know I’m down here. I’m pretty sure they’re all under the impression that Santa Claus takes time out of his busy schedule to deliver the issue, perfectly printed and bound, three times a year. Certainly couldn’t come from the printing press in the sub-sub-basement of Smith, where Local 442 works tirelessly to keep this city in literature. Well, I guess last year it’s possible Santa brought the magazine, since, like Christmas, The Portland Review only came once. But I happen to know he didn’t–half my shop couldn’t afford Christmas because they only worked a few days a month. No issues means no work for my union. No work means no wages. No wages means no Santa Claus.

The new crew is always talking about how they’re going to print all three issues, add new subscribers, and generally improve the quality and prominence of the journal. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Well, it seems that they’ve shifted the management around upstairs at the Portland Review again. Without telling me. And what in hell do I need to know for? I just print the damn magazine, that’s all.

Tell you what, I’ve never thought much of anyone running this garbage dump, but this crop is the worst I’ve ever seen, I think. At least Marshall, Magnes, and Mollet are. That Newsom kid I haven’t met yet, and I try to give everyone a real shot.

Shit, Marshall, who claims to be the “Editor in Chief,” ain’t spoken a complete sentence in her whole goddamn life and every third word out of her mouth is Nic Cage this and Tonya Harding that. Magnes is stuck down in the sewers–where I suppose he feels at home, being from New York and all–thinking he’s been fired because he stirred up a little shit with that first mailbag. Poor kid doesn’t understand a little joke and now he’s losing it faster than a gastric bypass patient. And Mollet, don’t even get me started on Mollet. That big idiot lumbered in here one morning, jimmied his way in (because he can’t figure out how to walk up to a desk and ask for a key), and sat there two hours just trying to turn the computer on. Dumb country rube looked for the primer pump for 45 minutes before he just started typing “t-u-r-n-_-o-n” over and over again on the keyboard.

And somehow these idiots got into an MFA program and think they can call themselves “writers.” And they think by virtue of being writers that they know something about “literature.” But let me tell you, these three wouldn’t know literature if it gave ’em a titty twister.

So that’s why I’m here, you know. In addition to being president of Local 442 of the Interstate Brotherhood of Literary Press Operators, Hula Hoop Instructors, and Wine Tasters (IBLPOHHIWT) (we’re working on going international), I hold a PhD in comparative literature from the University of the Working Man (UWM), and I’m not about to let any hack work slip through these presses, even if I have to write the whole thing myself.

Here’s to another year at the illustrious Portland Review, where the good literature is like oil–scarce–and the management is like oil executives–overcompensated and responsible for most of the world’s problems.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD