Negative Assets is a student-produced literary magazine based out of southern California.

"I Found Love in a Dental Place," by Jamie Elmer

The location is the dental waiting room. The occasion is my companion’s root canal.

I did not plan accordingly for my stint in the dentist’s waiting room. I can hear the faint sound of the suction as I swallow my hunger. She has left me with her water bottle, but I can see its impending emptiness. I am hopeful that she will take no notice.

I have forgotten all forms of entertainment, from laptop to tablet, and am not even sufficiently prepared on my phone. A mere 35% battery life is left. This could only mean imminent death.

The magazine offerings here are a pittance. A disgrace. I could learn thirty-eight new sex tricks, or how to find my sparkle, but I think I’d rather jump into their fish tank and eat their goldfish.

The hunger has gotten so bad that the thought of grilled gold fish is not entirely as disgusting as I know it should be. This is worrisome.

My eyes roam for a sweet release and come upon a dream--my only form of foreseen sustenance is the peanut m&ms upon the front desk. I long for their chocolately, nutty flavors meeting my tongue in an explosion of yes. I must have them.

I face multiple dilemmas in acquiring said chocolatey lifesavers. The first includes the eyes of the prying waiting room occupants and dental assistants. Long has someone been present at the desk, but I fear for the moment when I make my attempt and they appear at the scene of my guilt.

There is also the contraption in which my delectable saviors are contained. Upon further inspection, I have noted that this is no simple turn of the dial candy machine, but a high-tech monstrosity placed here likely for the reason of thwarting the fulfillment of my desires. I could rescue these pleasures of my stomach from their oppressor and send them directly to the safe haven of my stomach, where they will return to their former selves, completing their mission on this Earth.

I have discovered a knob on the back that could be the button that will deliver me from this hunger. And the delusions. But I am at an impasse, still impeded by my former struggles.

Look at them there, with their bright, enthralling colors, wide bodies promising a smooth chocolate coating surrounded by a pleasant, crunchy inside. Pure lust.

What temptation the dentist has left me. Do the caretakers of teeth find it amusing to leave treats that can only harm their patients? Do they think they are witty, attempting to ruin my chompers so that I may return to them, punished for my hunger? What a cruel world. Their attempts do not terminate my longing.

If someone would return, I could go about the task respectfully by asking for a small trifle, the least of what they could give me for this torture. Instead, the desk remains empty and the drill continues on, drilling away both her teeth and my hopes.

I fear this is the end for me. The darkness is coming; I feel it with every shallow, starving breath. I will think of you, my dear peanut m&ms, with my last dying breath.

Sweet relief! Just as the darkness threatened to overcome me, the ruler of the desk returned and I resorted to my last attempt at life.

“How do you get these?” I asked, pleadingly.

“Oh, like this,” she said, effortlessly demonstrating the placement of her hand under the shoot, performing magic so that the sweet symphony of love fell upon her hand.

My eyes lit up, my hand outstretched – finally. We are united. A true love story has occurred in this place. Pure bliss.

"Homecoming," by Jamie Elmer

"Journey by Train," by Jamie Elmer