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Coasting-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Death Orchid-Fiction by j. brooke
Orange Bikini-Fiction by Maria Espinosa
Sirens-Fiction by Jason Bougger
Death Takes a Snow Day-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Chill of a Lifetime-Fiction by Robert Aguon Perez
HIJAX-Fiction by Liz McAdams
Marriage-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Secrets-Fiction by Carole Sojka
The Ten Ten-Fiction by A. F. Knott
Losing Eileen-Fiction by Marci McKim
Snake Dog-Fiction by Catfish McDaris
My Heart Will Always Be Yours-Fiction by Jon Park
Unicorn-Fiction by Rob Dominelli
Call Girls-Flash Fiction by Gay Degani
Hollywood Harry's bar and Grill-Flash Fiction by Fred Zackel
Grandmother Nightmare-Flash Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Death Row-Flash Fiction by Luann Lewis
The Jarvis and Mae Team-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Flying Away-Flash Fiction by Jerry Vilhotti
A Note for Alex Gildzen-Poem by Mark Young
Spoiled-Poem by Chad Haskins
Recognized-Poem by Michael Keshigian
the only goodbye he deserved-Poem by J. J. Campbell
Dropping the Ball-Poem by Ian Mullins
A Song of Vengeance-Poem by Christopher Hivner
A Slip of the Tongue-Poem by Robert Halleck
Again the 11th Hour-Poem by Robert Halleck
Jack-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
singles ad Westwood Magazine-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Love is all-Poem by Meg Baird
Travelling-Poem by Meg Baird
Roxyanna-Poem by David Spicer
Wanted-Poem by David Spicer
Whataya Say?-Poem by David Spicer
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 2018

The Chill of a Lifetime


by Robert Aguon Perez


The season’s chill seemed more sinister than usual. It seeped into my bones, unlike other winters. 

Dark, hollow, and mean, the cold felt against my skin, drilling a hole into my core, exacerbating my loneliness. 

The passing faces, pretty and chic, threatened me with teasing: Ha-ha, you’re alone, frumpy, and unwanted in this big city. That’s what you get for being a loser. Dumb in love. 

Fuck them, I thought. With their average IQs. Like mindless sheep. He still loves me, I thought. Just needs to spread his wings a little. He’ll be back, he’d told me.

But it had been months since he said he’d return. The calls were fewer and fewer. Voicemail had replaced his real voice and even emails had the eerie, electronic silence of “return to sender.”

When he did call, it was with empty promises of “I’ll be there this weekend.”  Then the weekend came and went without him.

What’s going on? I thought. We had come here together! Nine years we’d been together, before moving here. He had a history of for getting up and going, but even this was too much for him. By now he should be back from Boston . . . at home, with me, holding me. Providing warmth.

Thoughts of his coming home did little to numb the pain and drudgery of work today. The idea of serving up fake smiles with sugary concoctions of chocolate, caramel, espresso, and foamed milked curdled in my gut. It was like a mean joke: rich fucks dropping five bucks for gourmet coffee, when what they really needed was counseling. The more time I spent serving their sorry asses, the clearer it was how miserable they all were. They all bemoaned the same shit: relationships and sex. Always the same thing: not enough sex, or not the right fit.

Sex, sex, sex! Whether gay, or straight . . . sex came first, and even in a “safe,” boutique coffee shop, the issue had to be addressed. It hurt that much, I guessed.  A sorry reminder of my own situation. But I was still right about all of them: repulsively stupid, mindless sheep . . . suffering, but still stupid.

My mind was swimming with erotic thoughts of being pummeled by hot, hard, hung men, when my phone rang.  Holy shit, I thought. Him. He’s really calling.!

“How are you?” he said.

“Well, hello to you, Stranger!” sounding pathetically in love and over all the hurt and pain he’d caused me. “I’m great. How about you?”

“I’m OK. Just busy.”

Busy? I thought. You’re a damn social worker, not an ER medic!  But I let it slide, due to my bleeding heart and throbbing dick. I needed him so much. The sound of his voice always did it for me. I could’ve cum right there, at that sexy, sonorous tone.

“I’m coming down to New York this weekend,” he said. “See you Saturday afternoon.”

“Great! I can’t wait!” I could’ve kicked myself, but so what? He was really coming!

The son-of-a-bitch came, all right, but there was that familiar iciness. This time, it was also in his touch. Clearly, his mind wasn’t on me, but something (or someone?) else. He barely pecked me on the cheek and I withdrew into a semi-panic.

Before it overwhelmed me, I said, “Hey, meet me at the shop tonight? We can have a drink, once I’m off.” He looked like he didn’t want to. “After you’re done with your . . . affairs?” Obviously, I wasn’t the real reason he was in New York. It hurt so bad, but I didn’t let on.

“Sure,” he said.

That night, hours dragged by. Was he even coming? I wondered, constantly checking the time. It was like time was going backwards. I was fueled by rage and pain.

Finally, thirty minutes before closing, he walked in the shop.

Had it even occurred to him I might want to talk before cleaning up? The widening chasm between our hearts seemed even more real. The pain was unbearable, now. Months of listening to the heartaches of mindless sheep welled up in my chest, and head.

“You want something to drink?” I asked.

“No, thanks,” he said absently. “There’s an emergency. I’m taking the red-eye back up to Boston.” 

I stared at him, in disbelief. 

Then, as the last customer walked out, I hurried to lock up.

As I walked back to him, I turned down the lights. In the dim light, my smile had to be scary.

I grabbed the thermometer out of the steaming pitcher and plunged its skewered point into his chest.  

“AAhhh!” he screamed. Blood spewed out like the frothy, milky foam of a cappuccino.

I stabbed him again. And again. More frothy blood. Red, and bubbly, like a Valentine’s treat.

I don’t know how long it took him to die.

But I dragged his body to the walk-in freezer . . . and left it there.  

Now he knew what I knew: The chill of a lifetime.

A native of Guam, Robert Aguon Perez is an aspiring polymath. Ultimately he would like to write an opus explaining the human condition with its myriad potential, but for now he is content with making ends meet by teaching, writing, and taking as many courses as he can. With his debut in Yellow Mama, he hopes to continue writing about how people are an interesting subject. He has traveled to nine countries but wants to travel more, because he believes seeing as many different cultures as possible would help with his pursuit of understanding the human condition. Robby has lived on Guam, and in Boston, New Hampshire, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bayonne, and currently resides in New Orleans with his husband Marty and their cat, KitKat. 

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017