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The Last Meal of Laughing Boy Reilly-Fiction by Jason Butkowski
Miss Pearl-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Vegas, Napalm Strike-Fiction by j. brooke
Favorites-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Salton Sea-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
We Must Never Find Out-Fiction by Sam Graham
Collateral Damage-Fiction by Jim Farren
Radiant Night-Fiction byPauline Duchesneau
Late Returns-Fiction by P. K. Augustyn
Bad Influences-Fiction by Marci McKim
Where My Fathers-Fiction by Willie Smith
Nothing I Could Do-Fiction by Brian J. Smith
The Magician-Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Sky Toucher-Falsh Fiction by Jerry Vilhotti
Dark Morning-Flash Fiction by M. G. Allen
What Might Happen in Vegas-Flash Fiction by Bill Baber
San Mateo County Easter Egg Hunt-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Doing Some Resaearch-Poem by Roy Dorman
A Lack of Rain-Poem by Michael Keshigian
In Traffic-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Distinguished Souls-Poem by J. J. Campbell
The Ghosts of Murdered Children-Poem by J. J. Campbell
Digging Season-Poem by Christopher Hivner
Sometimes the Light is My Enemy-Poem by Christopher Hivner
Char-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Gone Feral-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Rat Tamer-Poem by Robert Beveridge
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I Knew Him when He was Six-Poem by Michelle Hartman
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Illo stolen from Bing Images 2018

What Might Happen In Vegas

by Bill Baber


The midnight blue Dodge Charger Danny Naughton drove westbound on I-10 was as hot as a freshly poured cup of McDonald’s coffee, the brunette with cherry-red lipstick in the passenger seat even hotter.

He had stolen the car in downtown Tucson; he hadn’t planned on it, but he never was one to pass up a crime of opportunity. He picked the girl up in a Northside bar. Neither action required much effort on his part; the keys were in the car. The girl was drinking a margarita and looked bored, like she was just waiting for something to happen. She decided Danny might be that something.

He drove just under the speed limit even though he had switched out the plates. He liked that the girl didn’t talk much, didn’t ask a lot of questions. He neglected to tell her he had stolen the car. Cracking the window, he lit a cigarette.  He planned on taking the car to a chop shop a guy that he knew operated in Glendale, figuring he’d get a couple grand for it. Thought him and the girl would hop a flight to Vegas.

She played with the radio as he fantasized about what might happen with a little champagne and a Jacuzzi suite at the Bellagio, when he looked in the rearview. Three black Suburbans followed him, looking bigger than shit as heat waves danced off their shiny hoods. What Danny didn’t know was that he had walked right into a drug drop. Someone had been watching the Charger when it got left in Tucson, waiting to be sure no one had followed it. There were twenty pounds of heroin sewn into the back seat.

He took the exit for I-8 that went west toward San Diego. It didn’t get the traffic that the 10 did, and once clear of Casa Grande, he put his foot into it. The girl looked amused. The Charger pulled away, the pursuers becoming small dots in the distance. There was nothing but seemingly unending saguaro-covered, rock-strewn hills and a deep blue sky in front of them. Danny thought he’d stay on 8, then take 85 into the west side of Phoenix. The girl applied another coat of lipstick. He started to get hard thinking about Vegas.

Ten miles down the road, one big rig attempted to pass another, the one in the fast lane not doing much more than sixty and struggling to get past the other truck. Danny watched the mirror. The Suburbans, like desert vultures, swooped in on him in seconds. One got right on his ass while another pulled alongside him. He thought about braking hard and trying to switch directions. The third vehicle laid back, ready to thwart that kind of escape.

The one on his left turned into the Charger, causing him to lose control. The car spun and when it caught the soft desert sand on the side of the road, it rolled twice, coming to rest upside down. Danny scrambled out first and instantly met a burst of gunshots.

Two men quickly grabbed the dazed and bloody girl, roughly tossing her into the back of one of the vehicles, while two others sliced open the Charger’s seat, removed the drugs. and doused the car with gasoline. One stood back a bit, lit a cigarette.

Danny could hear the muffled screams of the girl as two of the Suburbans pulled away. He watched as a slow stream of gas sought its way from the car toward him. He saw the evil smile of the man with the cigarette. Saw his blood mix with the gasoline. And lastly, saw the man flick his cigarette toward the car.

But Danny Naughton died with a smile on his face, because the last vision he saw was of him and a beautiful brunette doing nasty things in a Vegas hotel room.



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 2018