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Ferdie's Christmas-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Dead Meat-Fiction by Morgan Boyd
Twisted Love-Fiction by Mandi Rose
Run, Robby, Run, Part 4-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
All I Want for Christmas-Fiction by Carly Zee
Arterial Spray-Fiction by J. Brook
Murder Boots-Fiction by Jim Farren
The Blueberry Muffin Girl-Fiction by Michael Bauman
Standoff-Fiction by Lester L. Weil
Guns 'N Money-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Fester-Fiction by Mark Renney
The Start of a Bitchin' Year-Fiction by Luke Walters
Reprisal_Fiction by John W. Dennehy
Elevator-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Jamie, with the Blue Eyes-Fiction by Betty J. Sayles
All for the Love of a Good Burger-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Multiple Choice-Flash Fiction by Bill Baber
Karma-Flash Fiction by Dr. I. M. Irascible
That Poe Story-Flash Fiction by Chris McGinley
Nome-Flash Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Underestimated-Poem by Marci McKim
The Stream of Life-Poem by Aiki Mann
Christmas Tale-Poem by Joe Balaz
In Loving Memory Of-Poem by Michael Marrotti
The Tattooed Man-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
You Got a Friend-Poem by Jerry Vilhotti
70,000 Birds-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Migrations #1-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
at the crest-Poem by Meg Baird
Gottingen Street 1998-Poem by Meg Baird
a subtle karate pose-Poem by Mark Young
The chains coil up into helical structures-Poem by Mark Young
Dream I'd Like to Forget-Poem by Alan Britt
Near Dawn-Poem by Alan Britt
Mischievous Ghosts-Poem by Alan Britt
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 Cindy Rosmus 2017

The Blueberry Muffin Girl

by Michael Bauman


Broccoli Rabe hits my holiday spirit hard, as I take a swig out of the old tin cup. Lifted elephants fly around me on strings, like weightless angels. Carolers reach my door sooner than expected as I go to grab my stone shovel with beveled edge. Pry me away as I fall asleep tonight, looming deeper and deeper into the seams of twilight. Luscious and pure, I rip my heart out from the sleeve and throw it down like yesterday’s candied yams. I try to retrieve it, but fail miserably, killing a nest of slimy birds in the process. Descending further into black molasses, I hold my breath, and wait patiently for the white-bearded man.

I complained about how cold I was as I walked angrily out of the South Garden bakery, into a hearty 30-degree breeze. This was said dangerously by the one-eyed clown, Veto, as he bellows deeply into a benign belly laugh. She’s always on the hunt for her next victim. Goes to show you, never order 4 stuffed mushrooms at an Italian restaurant in Staten Island. 

I thought the food would be good said the Blueberry Muffin Girl, but ALAS we are in Carroll Gardens. The crooked man dropped his smile as the pigmentation fell off like a Van Gogh dinner plate. Even the man with the wandering eye couldn’t help but laugh. The sound of his happiness with the residue of distress just gets me every time. He could only smile, but deep down he knew that his veins were drenched with the oils and sweat of yesteryear. But first, the dome.

Christmas is a time for the taking – a brochure of sheer torture and meandering despair. I once bought a snow dome for my niece, the Blueberry Muffin Girl, but she was much smaller then. She reminded me of a crouched baby tiger, hiding restfully under a green pleather-lined bed-frame – size: queen and a half, in case you were wondering. Oh, what a holiday this will be – just me and my little blue niece, what a treat! Not like apples though, I find them way too stressful.

THERE’S BROCCOLI ON MY TITS! Snow falls delicately, reminiscent of a Clydesdale swimming through the never-ending Baltic Sea. He stood there in a suit. He had a red balloon head, and a white string for a neck. I was surprised at the sight, for I would’ve thought it could’ve been something more sensible, something more Christmas-related, something no one knows. We’re here now, and that we’ll have to live with. It’s almost gone, and the little Blueberry baby was staring at the door for hours, like a dog waiting for his best friend to come from work. Looking- glass strings are hard to come by these days. They’re always either sold out of or under-ordered. I cried at the thought and never wanted to know just how long it would take.

The day is here, and so is Santa. Rudolf made a hole in my roof which wasn’t too bad, but then on my shoe, which filled my body with rage beyond design. Feeling triumph though my bones as I opened the door for the man who eats my cookies. Blueberry was right by my side as the door went from closed, to ajar, to open. Oh, the duties of a door’s life.

He entered the room wielding an ax with the words to inform us that he was here. The man with the red balloon head came at us fast. I popped his bubble and then he went down in shock. Cool climates couldn’t oblige? The hunt is over and the mystery is solved. The children, including Blueberry, no longer need fear.

Those pursed lips are seen from across the room. Red, bright and all around tight. Christmas balls hang in the bowery of the old damp basement. Try to take me tonight, I dare you! His little helpers ransacked my room as I lay tied to a dirty rusted bench. Train on! Train off! My wheels are turning with tinsel now. Let it be known by the men of Yore that I will not demand any more decoration this holiday season. Let me rest here tonight and recall the old year.

Snow is the dust of winter – let it settle. Wise words that would be my last. I threw the candy cane down and picked up the largest piece of striped porcelain and jammed it as far down my neck as I could. I bleed colors. Green and red against the grain, as I grimace at the site of little Blueberry Muffin Princess. She glares out as I bleed to my death. Skittled rainbows drain from me as I drift away into a cloudy death.

She packed up her bags and then went home. My body was left, preserved by the cold. And this concludes my Christmas. Bye-bye Blueberry Muffin Girl. Bye-Bye, Binx. Don’t mold up guys, and always stay strong. Merry Christmas.

Art by John & Flo Stanton 2017

Michael Bauman, 31, is a Brooklyn Italian Jew from Sheepshead Bay. Devilishly handsome, wildly successful. A warm-hearted, Gemini cuddler, with a passion for Balinese monkey parks.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017