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Baby It Was Divine-Fiction by P. K. Augustyn
Reservation Beer Run-Fiction by Daniel G. Snethen
Dark Streets-Fiction by Harry David Moss
Breathless-Fiction by Mick Rose
The "Birthday Blues"-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Redhead Reba-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Thor's Anvil-Fiction by J Brooke
You Never Know-Fiction by Jim Harrington
Something About the Devil's Pickup-Fiction by Walter Giersbach by
Do I Know You?-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The One and Only Alexa Kalekar-Fiction by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Guillotines Cause Permanent Disability-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Biology is Destiny-Flash Fiction by David Powell
Knucksie-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Cell-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
Urban Renewal-Flash Fiction by Gerald E. Sheagren
Pearl-Poem by Meg Baird
Conundrum Street-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Hope of It-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Endings #2-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Immense Hot-Air Balloons-Poem by Alan Catlin
Red Fires Up the Bike-Poem bt Alan Catlin
Jazz Standards-Poem by Kevin Rabas
The Evening Air-Poem by Kevin Rabas
For K-Poem by Mark Young
The/Secret Life/ of Wilhelm Reich-Poem by Mark Young
A Line from the Leningrad Cowboys-Poem by Mark Young
Delta Leo Remembers Her Nephew-Poem by David Spicer
Rosa and the Creep-Poem by David Spicer
Tribe of Two-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
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

knucksie.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2018

Knucksie

 

by Paul Beckman

 

Quinn, after dinner, while sipping brandy with his wife, Mary Elizabeth, and talking about their respective days tells her that he’s moving out of their New York apartment and taking  a new job in California. Mary Elizabeth puts her glass on a coaster and rushes to him, sits on his lap, and begins kissing him.

“I’ve always wanted to live on the west coast in warm weather, Quinn. What a great surprise. When are we going?”

“We’re not,” Quinn says. “I am. This has been a nice five years together but I want something better than nice. I want exciting.”

Mary Elizabeth hops off his lap, furious at herself for acting the fool. She walks around the room. “Is there anything we can do to make our lives together more exciting for you?” she asks, picking up the fireplace poker. She pokes the logs. Sparks drift up the chimney.

“You don’t have exciting in you,” Quinn says. “It’s no one’s fault. You’re sweet and lovable and we get along fine, but I want more.” He drones on and Mary Elizabeth’s mind goes to her safe spot—the ball field.

This is for all the marbles—deuces wild, two balls, two strikes, two men on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and Mary Elizabeth is facing a mean knuckleballer with World Series written all over him.

Mary Elizabeth holds her hand up and the ump calls time.

Knucksie yells something from the mound I can’t repeat on TV.

Mary Elizabeth tightens her gloves, takes a couple of cuts with her Louisville Slugger and steps into the batter’s box again.

Knucksie throws, and Mary Elizabeth fouls it off.

Three more pitches and three more foul balls.

Knucksie is frustrated and starts ragging on Mary Elizabeth, and she dashes off to the mound, and they go at it.

The umpire walks out, breaks up the jawing, and walks back to home plate.

Knucksie turns his back on Mary Elizabeth; she stands, bat resting on her shoulder, prepared to follow the ump back to the plate.

She turns, steps into her home run swing, and connects with Knucksie’s head.

“How’s that for exciting? Mary Elizabeth asks, as she drops the bloody poker on the carpet next to Quinn’s head.

She picks up his brandy and takes a sip.

 

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 2018