Editor's Page & Archive Link
"Skeeter", the Official YM Mascot
Contact Us & Links to Other Sites
The Wrong Thing to Say-Fiction by Bill Baber
Late One Night, We Killed them All-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Call it in the Air!-Fiction by Jim Farren
Arendt and Eichmann: Behind Bars-Fiction by Edward Francisco
A Provocation Game-Fiction by Norbert Kovacs
Carol's-Fiction by G Emil Ruetter
Casting Call for a Tijuana Firing Squad-Fiction by j brooke
Preserving Beauty-Fiction by Paul Michael Dubal
Straight Shooter-Fiction by Mark Joseph Kevlock
Meat-Fiction by F. Michael LaRosa
The Internship-Fiction by Henry Simpson
The Knife She Done it With-Fiction by Matt Phillips
Almond-Flash Fiction by Francis Woodland
Squatters-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
The Cookie Crumbles-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
A Funeral Pyre-Flash Fiction by Karen Schauber
Twist-Flash Fiction by Ram Praseth
Something Has Happened-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
unbound-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Sweet Rivalry-Poem by Meg Baird
when it comes round-Poem by Meg Baird
Dat No Apply to Debra-Poem by Joe Balaz
No Can Change Its Stripes-Poem by Joe Balaz
Infested-Poem by John Grey
Living With the Dead-Poem by John Grey
They-Poem by John Grey
Chesapeake Night-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
Sunrise on Port Royal Sound, SC-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
The Final Dream-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
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

Straight Shooter


Mark Joseph Kevlock




          Tigue took another pull on the straw. That damn McDonald's sweet iced tea was the best he'd ever tasted. Made the wait almost tolerable.

          He was about to get up for another refill when the counter girl from Boston Market slid into his booth directly across from him.

          She was a raunchy blonde number from Noo Yawk who said, "Going to Boston?"


          She was overweight, but in all the right places. An ass you could get a hold of, but thin delicate wrists. Heavy just around the middle, like Manet's "Olympia."

          What the hell was he dreaming about, anyway? This was a woman. From New York, sure. But still a woman. Not his territory.

          "Business or pleasure?" she said.

          "Going to the George Michael tribute concert," Tigue said.

          Red flags went up in her eyes. Her breasts backed away across the tabletop. The result Tigue was going for.

          "So you're..."

          "I am," Tigue said.

          "Huh," she said. "The way you've been sitting here for an hour. Staring at my tits every time I gave a customer change. I kind of figured you were... interested."

          Tigue liked her. A lot. She was a woman: whole, substantial, not air-brushed. There was vitality and humor behind her aspect. Tigue wanted to keep the conversation going.

          "You're facing the wrong direction, you know," she said.

          The turnpike plaza was in Framingham, along Interstate 90 west. Boston was to the east.

          "I'm used to it," Tigue said. "Been going the wrong way my whole life."

          The blonde clicked her teeth like a piranha at the ready.

          "You don't say," she said.

          "What I mean is, I got off at the mall exit up the road and turned around to come here."

          "Waiting for someone?"


          Another red flag in her eyes. But she wasn't a quitter.

          "I just got off work," she said.

          "I know."

          "Maybe you were waiting for me," she said.

          "Maybe I was."

          Her hair was curly in just the right way. Ringlets that would look unbelievably sexy just after a shower.

          Tigue stopped himself again. Chasing after what you can't possibly have, he said.

          She was studying him now, as he finished off his chicken dinner. He ate with gusto—corn, muffin, potatoes, each with a man-sized chunk of meat, then another pull on the iced tea. She ran her fingers along the back of his hand where he held the cup.

          "Something about you," she said. "I want to get naked with you."

          The tea went up his nose, the chicken down the wrong pipe. Tigue choked and coughed and laughed and smiled. Definitely not his style.

          "Am I coming on too strong?" she said.

          Tigue's eyes were watering. "For someone with no chance at all, I'd say you're just about right."

          "That's what I figured," she said.

          It was all a playful dare. But Tigue had no time for games. It would only hurt more in the end.

          "You think you can turn me?" he said.

          The blonde undid another button on her blouse. Only three remained. She shook her shoulders to enhance the effect.

          "I know I can," she said.

          "But why try? Why bother at all?"

          "Because," she said. "I can tell. People come through here all day long. By the zillions. All the same. But you're not. You're one of The Unique. Like me."

          "And that makes us a matched set?" Tigue said.

          The blonde nodded vigorously. "The rest doesn't matter. You'll see."

          It was time to get hard. Tigue was rarely anything else.

          "You have a very jealous boyfriend," he said.

          She was still playing, didn't understand.

          "Doesn't everyone?" she said. "You've probably got one too."

          Tigue looked out the window. July thunderstorms were his favorite. The sky opened up and gave you everything it had. The whole affair lasted five minutes. Then the clouds parted and the sun came back and you could be warm and wet at the same time.

          "Let's go outside," she said.

          Out they went.

          The sky was spritzing enough so that the motorists who were overly paranoid had already activated their wipers. A bus pulled into the parking lot and unloaded a platoon of Japanese teenagers. The boys all looked like they were trying out for the lead in a John Woo movie—jagged bangs over their eyes. The girls were all bouncing and laughing, wearing every imaginable fashion accessory, most of it bubblegum pink.

          Tigue and his companion were headed right through the middle of their crowd. The downpour was seconds away. Tigue stopped and turned to face her.

          "He hired me to kill you," Tigue said. "Your boyfriend. He wants you dead."

          The wind was whipping the American flag above them. The Japanese boys were shooting imaginary guns at one another. The blonde grabbed his arms and pulled them around her.

          "And what do you want?" she said.

          Tigue felt the drops, hard and heavy on his back.

          "I want to spend my life with you," he said.

          "I can't share you with anyone," Noo Yawk said.

          The Japanese girls were giggling and pointing at them, talking fast and in another language.

          "I can't chance losing you," Noo Yawk said to him. "You'll have to go straight."

          Then the shower came. Water in sheets fell upon them. The Japanese kids scattered indoors.

          Tigue started to kiss her and to tear open her blouse. His face was buried in her breasts, his hands up under her tight, tight skirt. It was over for him then. He was turned. All those years he'd been fooling himself. Living a lie.

          He was as straight as they came. The look in her eyes proved it to him.

          "You just never..." she said. "You just never found somebody to love."

          Tigue had been right about the ringlets. Unbelievably sexy. He held her face in his hands.

          "I'll kill him instead," Tigue said. "Your boyfriend. Tonight."

          The downpour ended. The sun broke through. Noo Yawk nodded and gave to him all that she was and would ever be.

          Tigue took it all without question. Inside he felt warm and wet at the same time.

Mark Joseph Kevlock (used to spell it: Kiewlak) has been a published author since 1990. In the past couple of decades, his work has appeared in Black Petals, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Plots with Guns, Thug Lit, The Bitter Oleander, and Mysterical-E. He has also written for DC Comics (FLASH 80-PAGE GIANT #2).


In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018