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Son of a Circus Clown-Fiction by Kip Hanson
Blinders-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Run, Robby, Run, Part 1_Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
707-1900-Fiction by Sean Daly
Bloodbath in a Vegas Firestorm-Fiction by J. Brooke
Resolve-Fiction by Stephen Tillman
Pom Pom-Fiction by Liz McAdams
The Woman on the Bed-Fiction by Justin Swartz
The Thing with Five Fingers-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
The Opposite of Dreams-Fiction by Beau Johnson
An Editor's Rejection Mistake-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Dig-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
Alibi, Inc.-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
A Slave to My Passion-Flash Fiction by Rick McQuiston
The Beckoning-Poem by Michael Keshigian
and so, naked us-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
fyi-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
last journal entry-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
the story to here-Poem by Meg Baird
Tom cat-Poem by Meg Baird
mon amie/my friend-Poem by Meg Baird
Ravens-Poem by John Grey
Tunnels and the Man-Poem by John Grey
His Body Dug Up from Your Garden-Poem by John Grey
Deuce-Poem by Sanjeev Sethi
Maxilla-Poem by Sanjeev Sethi
Resume-Poem by Sanjeev Sethi
Desperate for Entertainment-Poem by Michael Marrotti
Poetry in Need-Poem by Michael Marrotti
One Man Can Only Take So Much-Poem by Michael Marrotti
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2017





Cindy Rosmus



          The subway platform, as usual, smelled like an armpit. Worse: a homeless guy’s crotch.

And they were sleeping, all over. One guy Samantha stepped over, not far from the turnstile.

Call 911, she thought.

But she’d called 911 lots of times. All false alarms. Drunks sleeping it off, cops said. Always, she was late for work. The last time she called, the cop who showed up raised an eyebrow, like he’d recognized her voice. A serial prankster, he might’ve thought.

She’d worked in the City long enough to be up on the latest. Thieves, perverts who rubbed against you on the M train. Nuts who shoved you in front of it as it roared in. Whether at rush hour, or 2 A.M., none of it made sense.

Shit happens, she thought, as she waited this morning. From some things, you just couldn’t protect yourself.

An hour late she’d be, thanks to Bingo Joe and the cats. His aching gut cut into her bathroom time. And the cats: One had puked in the bed, another had left shit by the front door. Don’t leave us, Mommy!, no doubt that meant.

Good afternoon, Sam, her boss would say. Nice of you to drop by. She’d be waiting at Samantha’s desk.

But they were called “kiosks,” now. In all the years she’d worked, things changed faster than Samantha could keep up with. Bingo Joe misspelled shit 90% of the time, but she still needed him to download the apps on her phone. “Get with it,” he told her.

Speaking of phones . . . She slipped hers in her purse.

Thieves were everywhere. The old lady over on the bench seemed to be sleeping, but maybe it was an act.

Where’s that train? Samantha fidgeted. The longer it took, the worse the platform stunk. She had to hold her breath.

Finally, she thought, as the tracks lit up, suddenly.

When the M pulled in, Bench Lady woke up, singing loudly. “En mi Viejo San Juan.”


With a whoosh, the train doors opened. I wish . . . Samantha pictured her boss at her kiosk, I could join you there.

The car was empty, except for two guys. And a guide dog, a yellow lab, wearing a blue vest. “PLEASE DON’T PET ME,” the vest said, “I’M WORKING.” 

When Samantha sat down, the dog looked over, smiling.

She loved animals, mostly cats. When two tenants died, one from being old, the other a suicide, she and Bingo Joe took all their cats in.  

The blind guy stood, facing straight ahead. Blond, like forty, he wore shades and looked like somebody itching for a fight. The other guy, dark-haired, early twenties, sat nearby, texting away. But they didn’t seem to be together.

Before the next stop, the young guy got up, still texting. The dog edged toward him, nudging his leg. Finally, he looked down.

“Don’t pet the dog!” The blind guy yanked on the harness. “Read the fucking sign.”

The young guy froze, as the train slammed to a stop. “Dude . . . I didn’t pet him.”

“Her,” the blind guy said, coldly.

Oh, jeez, Samantha thought.

“Nobody pets guide dogs,” the young guy said, looking anxiously at Samantha. “You go to hell for that.” He hurried off the train.

“That’s right,” the blind guy said.

Lots of people got on. Before any could sit, Samantha ran and sat by the dog. She caught her breath, as it laid its paw on her foot.

“Wow,” she said.

The car was filling up, fast. Still, she reached out to stroke the dog’s head.

“Hey!” some suited guy yelled. “What’s wrong with you?”

“You don’t pet seeing-eye dogs,” said a bitchy-looking lady. She stood close to the blind guy, who nodded, triumphantly.

Samantha’s face burned. But the dog was waiting.

“Should be ashamed,” the bitch hissed. All in purple, she was dressed, like a real kook. And she needed a root job.

From where she sat, Samantha could see right into Purple Bitch’s huge, open purse. Served her right if someone snatched all she had.

“Fuck you!” Samantha said.

People gasped. They kept staring as she ruffled the dog’s ears, then lay her cheek on its head. “It’s OK,” she whispered. The dog turned and licked her face.

When she looked up, the “blind” guy was cleaning out Purple Bitch’s purse: wallet, laptop, phone.

He checked the time on the phone.

Samantha smiled.

The train stopped, and the doors flew open. On their way out, people still gave her disgusted looks.

“Don’t work too hard!” she told the dog, as the thief dragged it out the door.



Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife and talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out a lot, so needs no excuse to do whatever she wants. She hates shopping and shoes, chick lit and chick flicks. She’s been published in the usual places, such as Hardboiled; Shotgun Honey, Twisted Sister, A Twist of Noir; Beat to a Pulp; Pulp Metal; Thrillers, Killers, n’ Chillers; Mysterical-E; and Powder Burn Flash. She is the editor of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s also a Gemini, an animal rights activist, and a Christian.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017