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Spook on Rye-Fiction by Will Bernardara, Jr.
A Study in Loss and Hunger-Fiction by T. N. Allan
Tepid Strawberries-Fiction by Preston Lang
The Ice Tombs-Fiction by j. brooke
Uncle Harry-Fiction by Michael S. Stewart
Run, Robby, Run, Part 3-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Hunting Ghosts-Fiction by J.M.Taylor
SkitzoFreniC-Fiction by Michael Bauman
Candy Man-Fiction by Frank Quinn
A Dog of War-Fiction by Robb T. White
The Retiree's Epiphany-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Reckoning-Fiction by Edward Francisco
Sarcasm's Dream-Fiction by Erin J, Jones
Dishes, Dishes, Dishes-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Angels in Vegas-Flash Fiction by Tom Darin Liskey
An Alto for the Choir-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
A Splash of Red-Flash Fiction by Daniel Clausen
A Slight Disposition-Flash Fiction by James Coffey
Together Forever-Flash Fiction by Bill Baber
Talky Tina-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Play Dead-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Boycott This Poem-Poem by Michael Marrotti
Monaco-Poem by John Doyle
He Dubbed Himself General Custer-Poem by David Spicer
Moment of Madness-Poem by Meg Baird
A Beautiful Chaos-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Phantom Voices Floating...Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Dirty White Girl-Poem by Ian Mullins
Don't Do It, It Ain't Worth It-Poem by Ian Mullins
Cursed-Poem by John Grey
Regarding the Coming of Man-Poem by John Grey
Threshold-Poem by Kenneth P. Gurney
Word Salad With Ranch-Poem by Kenneth P. Gurney
Turnabout-Poem by Kenneth P. Gurney
Cartoons by Cartwright
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

Sarcasm’s Dream


by Erin J. Jones


          Fuck. Do you ever say that? It is my favorite word - very versatile. I say it often. Fuck this, fuck that, fuck society, fuck the world, and fuck you.

          But who am I you ask? A good question that I wish I could answer in a way that you would truly understand. I do not hold the world in contempt—I just see it and its agenda as beneath me. I do not consider myself a superior person to you, I am simply a better person and I deserve more than what life has given me. My brain does not work like yours. I understand things you do not.

          You may scoff at this and say that I am only an old bum, a homeless man who does not matter to decent society—and you would be correct. And you may also point to the fact that I am an ex-con and unemployed—twice again you would be correct. Yes, there was a girl. I know what I did to her and I know what they did to me in return. But now, I am older and wiser and prison is behind me. And yes, I live in a shelter. I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and food when I am hungry. With no job to bog me down, I wile away the hours of the day with good books at the library—and that is where this story truly begins.

          There are many who go to the library. There is a core of regulars and those who only go there from time to time. There was one person in particular that stuck out in my mind. He was a man that would come in the morning and spend an hour or so working on his laptop computer and then leave. Sometimes he would come in again later in the day to spend more time on his laptop computer. I did not like him from the get-go. He was a small man. He was a short little piss ant of a man who shaved and showered every morning. His hair was cut short and combed. His clothes were always clean and ironed.

          Just for shits and giggles I tried to provoke some trouble with him by staring at him over my glasses when he walked by. It did not faze him. He would simply smile and say ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ as he passed by. I knew I needed to up the ante to provoke him.

          One day while he was in the library, he got up from his computer to go to the restroom or get himself a drink of water or something like that. His path of travel brought him close to where I was. There was nobody close by to hear or witness anything, so I glared at him hard, pointed a finger at him and wagged it the way my mother used to when I misbehaved. He did not understand. He looked at me like he was confused and stupid. He stopped and asked me if there was a problem. I looked at him and sternly said “It won’t work.” This only seemed to have confused him more. “What won’t work?” he asked as if he did not know. “Whatever you are plotting, it won’t work. I won’t let it” I replied. He still looked confused and replied “Sorry, but I am not plotting anything”

“Yes you are and it won’t work” I stated.

“Sorry if I did anything to lead to a misunderstanding, but I am not plotting against you and I do not wish you any harm.”

“You just watch yourself,” I warned him, “I am on to your game.” He looked at me as if I was odd and simply walked away.

          The days went by and his routine did not change. When the opportunity permitted, I would flip him the bird or make an obscene gesture when no one was looking.  As the days turned to summer, the only thing that changed was the number of young girls that came to the library while I was there. Sweet treats in short shorts, short skirts, and tight jeans were giving me nice distractions from my reading. But still the game of cat and mouse continued with the little piss ant. He did not change his daily routine or show fear as he should have, but always he seemed to keep a tab on me and know my whereabouts. He always stayed where there were witnesses and help should he need it. I could never catch him alone. He would not allow himself to be cornered.

          I will admit that there are times when I am lonely. The soft touch of a female has been scarce in my life.  The thoughts in my head when I saw these tempting young tarts were disgraceful, yet pleasing.  And sadly, my friends, I was led into temptation by a sweet young thing.

          She was Hispanic. Latina is a nice flavor for a man to savor. She was young, maybe fifteen, maybe a little older. I don’t know for sure. Her tanned legs and flouncing skirt caught my eye as she was looking at books. When she drew near, I reached out with a trembling hand and lifted the back of her skirt for a peek. Her panties were pink and pretty and a satiny smooth that so nicely fitted her pert little ass.

          She tensed in fear and stifled a scream. She turned and looked at me in shock and fear. She quickly turned and hurried away. I sat there for a moment not sure just what to do. Then it occurred to me that I needed to leave and so I did, quickly heading back to the safety of the shelter.

          I could have left well enough alone and I know I should have. Despite my wisdom, I am sometimes a fool. I could have left immediately for another town, another state, another shelter, but I did not. I had a score to settle. The next day I returned to the library. I arrived early, just a few minutes before it opened. I wanted to meet the little piss ant when he arrived. I wanted to catch him in the open and force him into a fight.

          I was sitting on a shady bench smoking a cigarette when I saw a white car pull in. I did not see him get out, but realized it was him as he crossed the parking lot. When he was half-way to the door, I stood up and moved to where he could see me. He froze in his tracks and I smiled a big grin at him. The time was now and he was afraid. The fear showed in his eyes.

          I laughed and started walking towards him. He did not come forward or try to run. He just stood there. Then I noticed that his eyes gazed at something behind me. The sound of a pebble scraping under a foot sent a chill up my spine. I turned to see four young Hispanic males moving towards me; tattooed, young toughs with hate in their eyes.

          I stopped to face this new threat. They moved to circle around me. I was never one to hesitate. I stepped towards the first one and connected a nice, solid right to his jaw. As he staggered back, something struck me behind the left ear. I turned to defend myself against whoever had just struck me and something landed hard to my jaw. My knees buckled and I went down hard. Several kicks landed against my person. I tried to rise but was forced down to the ground. I looked up to see the little piss ant just standing there enjoying the show. I heard someone call for someone to call the police.  I tried to rise…but could not…the world turned black…

Erin J. Jones has had work published previously in Criminal Class Review, Homepage of the Dead, Randomly Accessed Poetics, and Yellow Mama (Issue #55).

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2017

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017