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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

togetherforever.jpg
Art by John Thompson 2017

Together Forever

by Bill Baber

 

“How’s Melissa?” My boss asked. I hadn’t seen him in months, but the bastard had been in town. He should know how Melissa was doing; he’d been banging her for six months.

I don’t know what she saw in him. He was ten years older than me, short, balding, not an attractive guy. He made more money than me, but that couldn’t have been it. We had a custom home with a pool and two almost-new cars. Took a couple of real nice vacations every year. Maybe he was hung like a horse. Who knows what goes on inside a woman’s head?

There were two ways I could play it, confront him with the truth, or play dumb. I figured that would really fuck with him, so that’s what I did.

“Were getting divorced,” I said as we pulled away from the airport.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” I didn’t detect any attempt at sympathy.

I glanced at him like the son-of-a-bitch knew I would. He was looking out the window.

It was time to throw the first punch.

“She was screwing around.”

“That sucks,” he said.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Really sucks for the guy when I find him.”

Must have been something really damned interesting out that passenger window since there wasn’t much to see between the airport and downtown Phoenix. I didn’t see much but a steady stream of commute traffic.

“You need some time away?” he asked.

“No, I’m good. Got an apartment in Scottsdale, I’ll be all right but I feel sorry for the prick that did this. Nobody is gonna break up my family and get away with it. No one else is going to raise my kid, you know what I mean?”

We rode in silence, traffic inching toward the downtown skyline.

“How did you find out?” he asked.

“Hired a private dick.” I thought about the old line from Barfly, the movie about Bukowski. Then I used it myself, laughing a little.

“Hired a dick to find an asshole. Now somebody’s really going to get fucked.”

I looked at him again. Beads of sweat had broken out on his forehead. I was enjoying this more than I had thought I would.

We passed the exit for Seventh Street, where he had a room booked at a hotel. Probably thought it would be a little love nest with my ex later that night. He thought wrong.

“Hey, where we going?” he stammered.

I had played this scenario out a thousand times since the P.I. showed me pictures of the two of them.

I pulled the .357 from the space between the door and my seat. 

“Taking a little ride.”

This time, when I looked at him, there were tears rolling down his cheeks.

“Look,” he said, “what do you want? A raise? A promotion?”

“Fuck you,” I replied. “No way you can undo this. What I want to know is, why? Why me, why Melissa? Actually, I don’t want to know, I just want this whole damn thing to be over with.”

He began to cry. He begged, then pleaded, so I hit him in the face with the barrel of the gun—that made him howl.

When we reached Buckeye, I headed south on 85 toward Gila Bend. After fifteen miles I turned east on a gravel road that led toward a range of cactus-covered hills. I stopped when the road petered out.

“Get out.” I prodded him with the gun. He pissed himself. Glad he waited until he was out of the Lexus.

“I can give you money, anything.”

“Quit embarrassing yourself and just keep walking.”

We came to a draw between two hills. I had dug two graves, one was filled.

 

He started to sob uncontrollably. I shot him in the back of the head; he fell face first into the hole. I covered his body with rocks to keep the coyotes from tearing him up. I threw the gun on top of him and shoveled dirt on top of the whole mess.  Now they could be together forever.

I walked back to the car and when I reached 85, turned south toward Mexico.

 

Bill Baber’s crime fiction and poetry have appeared widely online and in numerous anthologies. His writing has earned Derringer Prize and best of the Net consideration. A book of his poetry, Where the Wind Comes to Play, was published by Berberis Press in 2011. He lives in Tucson with his wife and a spoiled dog and has been known to cross the border for a cold beer. He is working on his first novel.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017