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The Storm-Fiction by Sean O'Keefe
Claire Morgan's Key to Happiness-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Badass Ted's Christmas Adventure-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
As Good on Him as on a Dead Man-Fiction by Jeff Esterholm
Using Your Kit-Fiction by Andrew J. Hogan
The Apathetic Tide-Fiction by Alan Edward Small
Christmas Karma-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Salt Lake City Slaughterhouse-Fiction by J. Brooke
Mean Mama-Fiction by Tom Barker
All You Can Drink $5.00-Fiction by D. L. Shirey
Shell Shocked-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
The Present-Mark Joseph Kevlock
Red Christmas-Flash Fiction by Morgan Boyd
Samurai Santa-Flash Fiction by BAM
Guns and Rose-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Christmas Eve Blow and Doll Houses-Flash Fiction by Luke Walters
Holly, Jolly-Flash Fiction by Mandi Rose
Pineapple-Poem by Cindy Rosmus
Life is Weird-Poem by Meg Baird
Appendages-Poem by Samuel Cardinale
The Means of Production-Poem by Robert Beveridge
Suicide of Living-Poem by John D. Robinson
It's On My List-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Hoarding Life-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Homeless in NYC-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Death Speaks-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Time Stops-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
House of Un-Reality-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Ghosts of Borges-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Bitchers-Poem by David Spicer
Voltaire and the Literary Guerillas-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

Illustration by Kenneth James Crist 2018

Red Christmas


by Morgan Boyd



Perry found out a hundred grand of the mob’s money was lonesome in some backwater storage unit outside of town. His plan was simple: roll up on Christmas day when nobody was around, take the cash, and bounce. Perry said it’d be like taking a present from a toddler, and I hoped so, but as I’d learned the hard way on multiple occasions, “the best laid plans of rats and dogs usually go awry.”

Perry punched in the code, and the electric gate opened. Mike drove the car down the rows until we located the unit we wanted. I busted the lock, and opened the rollup door. There it was, a hundred grand, stacked and sealed in plastic like a toddler’s present.

As the last of the money was stuffed in a bag, the first bullet hit Mike between the eyes.

Mike’s mortal shell flopped onto the blacktop. I wished I could have done more than just leave him twitching on asphalt, but there’s not much you can do when somebody gets JFKed. 

Perry and the cash dove into the backseat as I ducked behind the dash, and mashed the gas. Lesson learned: the mob don’t get Christmas off.

As we approached the exit, the gunfire intensified. I rammed the car through the gate, and popped onto the highway. The windshield was fried, and one of the front tires was flat, but we were unscathed. 

I pulled into the ditch when the car would go no further. Perry grabbed the moneybag, and we crossed a field into thick woods.

We broke into a boarded-up cabin. I found a can of beans, and offered Perry half. He said there was no way he was eating cold beans for Christmas. I polished them off by my lonesome. 

After a nervous night, we left the cabin, and made our way through the wilderness. Thorns and brambles grabbed at our suits as we traversed deeper and deeper into the forest, until we happened upon an old logging road. 

Around a dirt bend, we found a truck. The door was unlocked, and the keys were in the ignition, so we commandeered the vehicle, and set out for civilization. The empty gun rack above the back seat led us to believe some backwater hick must have pulled over to go hunting. 

Perry opened the bag, and counted the money. A tape stuck out of an old cassette deck, and I pushed it in. “Lasagna” by Weird Al Yankovic played.

We looked at each other with awkward expressions for a moment, and then we both started singing along to the “La Bamba” parody.

It was the first time during this harrowing Christmas Day nightmare that I felt a modicum of respect for Perry.

Too bad for him, the plan gone awry was righting itself, and he’d be dead within the hour.




Morgan Boyd lives in Santa Cruz, California with his wife, cat and carnivorous plant collection. He has been published online at Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, Near to the Knuckle, Yellow Mama, Fried Chicken and Coffee, and Tough.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2018