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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 Hillary Lyon 2017

All for the Love of a Good Burger

by Paul Beckman


We’re walking down the street, bumping hips, a hand in each other’s back pocket, and life is good and has been, since we met on the Greyhound last week.

Becky wanted a burger, so we left the idiot box on at the motel and strolled down Rt 1 until we saw a sign in the window of The Widowmaker’s Bar & Burger Joint, so in we went and had beers and burgers, and they were some fine burgers, big and juicy, and we both got ‘em with lots of fried onions, and they didn’t have fries but came with big ripple chips and bread and butter pickles.

It was kind of quiet, and after we took a table, I walked over to the bar, got our beers, and the bartender took my order. He gave a whistle when they were done, and I took the plates to the table and brought our glasses back and got another pair of beers.

We were almost to our room, walking through the motel parking lot, kicking up the stones, when a door opened, and this bruiser comes out, yelling that we were kicking stones at his truck and scratching it.

We wouldn’t do that, I told him, and he asked, was I calling him a liar, and I said I wouldn’t do that either, and he said, so you were kicking stones at my truck, and I could tell he was drunk, and a mean drunk to boot, so we kept walking, and he yelled for us to stop, and I guided Becky over to our room and unlocked the door, and quick locked it, and we looked at each other and shrugged, and we both knew we dodged a bullet, and then the mean drunk kicked our door open with one kick.

We didn’t have a back door, and I told Becky to go lock herself in the bathroom and try to crawl out the window and get some help, and I said howdy to the mean drunk, and he took two steps in and tossed me around like a rag doll, and then he belched and fell over on our bed and went to sleep.

I whispered Becky out of the bathroom, and we got our stuff and started walking away from the motel, and drunk guy’s door was open, so I peeked in, saw his keys and wallet, and we had ourselves a ride to the next town and a couple of hundred dollars and two credit cards to boot.

We ditched the pickup when the sun was coming up and walked back to the Greyhound station we’d passed and bought two tickets to New York, and had an hour wait, but just before the bus pulled in, the drunk guy blasted through the waiting room door, gun in hand and shot Becky.

She was hurt bad but still alive, when he told me to give him his keys and his wallet and tell him where his truck was.

I did all that and then I saw the bullet coming at my head in slow motion and heard the noise, and that’s the next to the last thing I saw.


In his younger years Paul Beckman was a numbers runner, a fence, and hung around with the bad crowd. He still hangs with a dubious crowd.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017