Cover Photo: The Devil Came From Kansas by Chris Okum

The Devil Came From Kansas

Warren Z. Lowenbrau fell in love at least once a week. This week her name was Lexy. Met her at a Christmas party. He was walking out as she was walking in. Lexy grabbed him by the lapels and said, Damn, mister, you look tight. He told her to get in his Rolls-Royce. Without her friend. When they got to his house he told her to wait in the kitchen. He left her with a bottle of wine and went upstairs. He got on the treadmill and ran three miles. He took a shower. He walked into the kitchen wearing a robe and cleaning out his ears with a Q-tip. He said, My accountants are trying to screw me. And I don't like being screwed. Lexy said, Me neither. He said, Well, that's too bad. Because if I'm getting screwed then so are you. Lexy put her purse down in front of the microwave. Warren Z. took off his hat. He asked Lexy if he could take some pictures of her. He told her he knew some casting directors who were always looking for new talent. He told her to look directly into the camera and not smile. He said, This isn't going to last, you know. It'll be over before you know it. Lexy said, That's what you all say. Warren Z. asked Lexy if she was a fan of Fatal Attraction. She said, the movie? Warren explained to her that the shooting of Fatal Attraction was a case of art imitating life. Michael Douglas and Glenn Close had an affair on set and it went sour and Glenn got mad at Michael and threatened to tell his wife. Lexy put her hand on her hip and cocked her head to the side. Warren Z. said, Good god I love a cocked head. He asked Lexy if she knew that it was the golden age of stars. He said, Do you understand that? You're a star. There are tons of stars. Everywhere I go I see nothing but stars. It can't last. None of this can last. The longer it goes on the sooner it's going to end. Lexy said, this isn't the golden age of stars. She said, There's just a lot of people out there who know how to act like stars. Warren Z. told her that the whole scene was going to eat itself. He said he wanted to watch her talk on the phone. Lexy took out her phone. He told her to pretend like she was talking to someone. Lexy said, Mommy's going to be home real soon, and when I get home I'm going to come and check on you. She said, Once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up in a trailer and one day she decided that she wanted to be a princess and so she did, she told everyone she was a princess, Princess Nancy, and she told them that she wasn't just going to wait around for her Prince Charming, she was going to go out and find him, be proactive, and so she did, she found her Prince Charming, and he was sweet and cute and addicted to painkillers and so she let him have all the painkillers he wanted and she even pretended to like them herself, which she did, but not as much Prince Charming, who took too many pills and died and left everything to Princess Nancy and she had so much money and so many beautiful house and she wore the most beautiful clothes and dated other Prince Charmings and then she lived happily ever after. Warren Z. waved a Polaroid in the air. He showed Lexy a picture of herself. See what the difference is between you and me is that the camera likes you. Look at me. And look at you. Who would you rather look at? Lexy said, Myself. Warren held the camera up to his eye and told Lexy to look at him. He told her to look right into the camera. He told her not to look anywhere else. He said, Don't look behind you. Whatever you do, he said, don't turn around.