Black Petals Issue #80, Summer, 2017

The Critter in the Tin
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Andrew's War-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Down at the Hardware Store-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Excision-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Rise-Fiction by Mike Mulvihill
Surviving Montezuma, Chapters 9 & 10-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Bugbear in the Darksome Chamber-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
The Critter in the Tin-Fiction By K. B. Updike Jr.
Bondegezu, Tree Kangaroo and 3 other poems by Richard Stevenson

Fiction by K. B. Updike Jr.


The Critter in the Tin

By KB Updike Jr.

Poetic narrative microfiction




A tin can kept spinning through alleyways and sidewalks as if recently kicked.

Within the soda delivery apparatus a four-handed critter with one eye and no head

crawled thru the muck lining the sides.


The monster’s mouth, a drooling slit below its one eye,

attached to the body between the two front arms,

released an elongated tongue to lap up caffeinated soda.


Adventurers appeared within the can, men and women

seeking a land apart from their classic space

where smaller beings lived.


A trench-coated man smoking a hand-rolled cigarette drew a shadow-concealed blade from his pockets

and drove it into a similar creature traversing the sides of the can.

He exhaled a thick smoke as the animal died, and his friends vanished with him into faery lands.


Magical energetic vibrations adhered to metal density;

the cylindrical nature of the introductory beast’s hovel

attracted the kind of psychic swirls emitted by chakra.


Headless announcement, scenic abomination, it exuded a repellant smell

to defuse any intent to enclose in reference to the creeping things in the tin tunnel:

rank, musky, acidic, and probably poisonous.


The can denizens regularly appeared and disappeared in

accidentally enchanted space,

a paradox of occult residues.


Headless four-handed torso crawled thru a dent in the tin tunnel,

disappearing into shadow, emerging full-sized in some major city’s sewers,

devouring sludge with prolonged sipping actions.


The torso’s hands became hairless, fleshy, toeless paws with three sharp fingernails,

its arms shape-shifted thru patterns of elbow to knee,

and the animal rushed through sewer depths to a nighttime surface.


The abomination dwelled upon inescapable longing for sustenance,

apart from the abyssal energies invisibly flowing freely

through its body, providing an aimless, pathetic, soul life.


The wanderer shifted into a skin-colored puddle,

oozing forth from the depths of the sewer

onto nighttime city streets.


Its shape returned to four arms and hands

and eye and mouth and seeking tongue

sucking muck off the street.


An empathic need to find love

attuned the animal to emotional vibrations

of nightlife in the city.


The abomination sensed an old woman’s heart explode for dozens of miles

as her tongue penetrated her lover’s lips,

her arms embracing him on the bench in the city park,


She pulled him down atop her,

grasping his thighs, forcing his knees against her sides,

as his mouth and body followed her back’s settling upon the wood.


The animal felt love thumping against building and road,

and hungrily invaded the source, tongue pulled against stomach,

wagged by air currents behind torso anus hole like a tail.


The two lovers closed their eyes and melted into

The timeless passion born of



The creature’s mouth expanded from the outer limits

of its body, and, white needle teeth elongating,

the beast struck!


It chomped the woman’s leg and chewed vigorously on her love,

as shrill agony blasted from her mouth

into the night sky before she died.



KB Updike Jr.,, of Mechanicsville, Virginia, who wrote BP #80’s “The Critter in the Tin” poetic narrative microfiction, is a Virginia “virgin writer”; in addition to his own writing website, he has been in online publications like Circle Magazine, Word Riot, and The Freezine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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