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Unreliable-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Dealing with Mr. Blue-Fiction by Michael Lemieux
iFriend-Fiction by Jeff Dosser
Till Human Voices Wake Us-Fiction by John Post
Tape-Fiction by Will Bernardara Jr.
Dead Drunk in Glasgow-Fiction by j brooke
The Spot-Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Wait Until the Ice Melts-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Tattooed Love Boys-Fiction by Greg Smith
The Losers-Fiction by John Short
Anger Serves a Greater Purpose-Fiction by Heather Santo
Odium Pentothal-Fiction by Steven M. Lerner
Finally Adopted-Flash Fiction by Tom Fillion
Boxing Day-Flash Fiction by K.J.Hannah Greenberg
Godmother-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
First Communion-Poem by Tom Fillion
Almost Gone-Poem by Henry Bladon
Foa Da Price of One-Poem by Joe Balaz
a few haunting memories-Poem by J. J. Campbell
Pressure Lines-Poem by Meg Baird
Work it out-Poem by Meg Baird
lily pads open-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
a melodious voice from the reeds-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
a cobblestone trail-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
A Beautiful Madness on Mallory Square-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
A Beautiful Death on Mallory Square-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
A Luminous Metamorphosis on Mallory Square-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
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No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Noelle Richardson 2019

Tattooed Love Boys


Greg Smith


Manhattan, 1979. This could’ve been easy. Wring the neck, crush the larynx, watch him suffocate. Toss a bindle of smack on the floor. It’s a drug deal gone wrong.  But nooo, Ms. Moneybags wants an overdose.  Accidental death. That was the order. Maybe it got her an advantage in business. I don’t know. The little guy was famous for some kind of music. Not my business. And I’m not a fan. But now I’ve got this monkey on my back and have to use soft hands to subdue him. Could not leave marks. Could not draw attention from the party downstairs. Who’d have thought a twiggy dope fiend facing a capital murder rap would have so much fight left in him?

He’d submitted to handcuffs easily when I flashed my NYPD badge—his rap sheet said he’d been busted before—but gave me a fish-eye when I shackled his hands in front, not in back. When I pushed him onto the bed and starting cooking the dope in a spoon he’d licked his lips and made clicking sounds in his throat. His eyes got wide when he saw the massive dose. Playing in piss-bucket bands he’d surely seen junkies OD.  He’d gotten wise but played it cool.

Ligations on the wrists could be explained by a degenerate history but I couldn’t shoot him up like that. If he died fast thrashing, I might not get the handcuffs off before hypostasis and the medical examiner would recognize he was bound after death and rule homicide. The manacles had to come off. Wearing gloves made it awkward. That’s when he made his move. He scurried off the soiled bed and I just caught him by his torn, black, club CBGB T-shirt pulling him down.  He climbed on my back. I stood and we whirled around. As I lurched about the dingy downtown flop room, he snarled into my ear. He was vicious. He dug his fingernails into my forearms drawing blood. I’d have to clean those nails after death.

Twisting, I got my hands under his armpits. It was an easy press to lift him straight up—he weighed little more a hundred pounds—as a male dancer lifts a ballerina. He kicked at my back which did him no good; so he kneed me in the back of my head catching the top of the spine. That was not good for me;  I saw stars and my heart fluttered. I dropped to my knees; he went free.

Going for the door he tripped over me. Regaining my senses enough I was on him, picking him up by his belt, and carrying him horizontally. He did a sort of dog paddle with his hands, looking to grasp anything.  I dropped him on the bed, flipped him face up, and lay my big frame over his. He was trapped. Except his shooting arm was loose. He socked me in the eye. That pissed me off. I yanked down on the arm and heard a pop. The arm spasmed but did not rise; his shoulder was dislocated. Fuck. It might be okay; junkies can convulse when they go adios.

As I reached for the syringe, damn it if the little shit didn’t squirm free again. His pallor said he was half-dead, but he still had spirit. Good for him. But enough was enough. Cutting the room off I stopped him with a right-cross punch to the cheek. He stiffened; his eyes rolled back. I caught him, tossed him back to the bed, grabbed the syringe tout de suite, popped a vein, and gave him the full load.

He flopped about like a boated fish. I got up and let him fly. It was hard to watch but I hoped he’d crack his skull on the heavy oak headboard. No such luck. After a few minutes he went. His death rattle sounded like “Nancy” or maybe “fancy.”

Looking at my handiwork I saw a mouse was formed under the eye where I’d punched him. Fucko, that suckoed. But there was no way I was returning my fee  to his mother so maybe I could split it with the ME.

Greg lives and works in New York City. Stop by his website The New York Crimes at nycrimelimericksandbeyond.com for fun, free stuff. And please, enjoy!

Noelle Richardson comes from a relatively large family and has been illustrating and painting for about twelve years. She writes a little on the side, plays a couple of instruments and dabbles in tattoo design.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019