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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
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

vegasangel.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon 2017

Angels in Vegas

 

by Tom Darin Liskey

 

 

I met Death in Vegas once. Yep, Death. The real one.

 

It was right after the Great Plague. He was at a casino in Las Vegas, winning more money than you can imagine. What was so funny was that he really looked like that Nordic actor who played the Grim Reaper in Bergman’s Seventh Seal.

 

But this Reaper was at a gaming table in a fancy tuxedo with a stack of red chips in front of him—his black robe left behind in his comp room for the cleaners. Death had this luscious blonde clinging to his arm. The way she drank her martini even made me thirsty.

 

When I told him that he really looked like the big screen version of Death, he winked. 

 

“Cameo.” 

 

Wow,” I said starstruck. Death, it’s really you!” 

 

Yep, in the flesh,” he whispered.  “So to speak.”

 

But Vegas?

 

Because what happens in Vegas . . .”

 

I got the inside joke that everyone knew. 

 

Then Death rolled the dice. The Harvester of Souls was on a red-hot streak. The croupier sighed and shoved more chips his way. Death’s pretty lady friend cooed and squeezed his arm.

 

The crowd grew around his table. People hollered every time he rolled the die. 

 

 

 

In Bergman’s film, Death played chess. He played with a knight just back from the Crusades, during a time of plague in Sweden, or wherever it was. The young crusader was playing for his life. But so was death. I mean Death was playing for the knight’s life. The movie was filmed in black & white. It is rife with symbolism. A former professor called it a postmodern gem. Whatever that means. 

 

When I asked why he wasn’t playing chess anymore, Death frowned.

 

“That game. It always ends in tears.”

 

The blonde sighed and clapped her hands. She was coaxing him to throw the dice again. Then she squealed in delight. It was louder than the ding of the one-armed bandits across the aisle.

 

Death looked at me and shrugged. He was tired of the small talk. Death blew into his fist. He tossed the dice. They clanked on the green felt tabletop. The winning streak continued. More cheers from the onlookers. The pile of chips grew higher. Death’s pretty blonde friend wiggled her fingers at me. I took the hint. 

 

I was broke, anyway, and my heart felt like America on the day that Elvis died.

 

When I stepped outside, I saw this really famous TV psychic. This guy used to go on all the syndicated talk shows to tell audience members what their dead loved ones wanted them to know. But the “talking-to-the-dead” business went bust after The Plague. The market was totally saturated.

 

The physic was unshaven and filthy. He had a plastic cup in his hand, pleading for some spare change from casino goers. The look on his face let me know it was tough all over. 

 

Tom Darin Liskey spent nearly a decade working as a journalist in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. His writing has appeared in the Crime Factory, HeartWood Literary Magazine, Live Nude Poems, Driftwood Press, and Biostories, among others. His photographs have been published in Hobo Camp Review, Roadside Fiction, Blue Hour Magazine, Synesthesia Literary Journal, and Midwestern Gothic. He uses images and words for a monthly narrative photography column at Change Seven.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017