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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
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Cindy Rosmus 2019

Finally Adopted


by Paul Beckman


These are some of the things I know and some I wish for:

We’ll be getting new BMX bikes. I hope they’re Tony Hawk models. My new brothers will want to play ball with me and Mikey: softball, hardball, bowling, and pinball. We’ll go to a new school in a nice town and live in a big house with our own bedrooms. We won’t have to beg for food or steal it. And we’ll be able to play on the high school sports teams—that is, if we make the tryouts. I’ll be able to play drums in the school band and my brother Mikey will write for the school newspaper. And we’ll go out on dates, get our driver’s licenses, and use our new father’s car. Our new mother will ask about our food choices when she is making out the shopping list. All this and we’ll get new clothes. But best of all, we’ll never have to see our birth parents’ fists again.

Our new mother and father picked us up and signed the papers. We got in the back seat of their silver Mercedes, and they asked if we were hungry, and asked how we feel about a drive-through, and we told them we were excited about McDonald’s, and it would be one of the biggest treats of our lives. We got two Big Macs, a large fries and shake each, and were careful to not drop or spill anything in the car.

We drove off the turnpike ramp and went through beautiful neighborhoods as it got dark, and finally we drove to a  cul-de-sac, and went all the way to the end, and took the driveway in what seemed forever, to a large brick house that was so beautiful, we both wanted to cry, and our new father opened a garage door from the driveway, and we drove into our new world, which was the basement of this new world, where we were told that we were only allowed upstairs in the house when our new parents invited us.

For now, we must put on the handcuffs with their chains imbedded into the cement and our ankle cuffs. We each had a mattress. They brought us down food after they had dinner. It was left over from their meal, and Mikey and I shared roast beef with bite marks, the same with the baked potatoes, dessert, and vegetables. We were told that at the right time in our training, they’d let us loose to work in and around the house, but it would take a while of good behavior.

Our new mother homeschooled us, starting in the morning, after breakfast of leftover eggs, and toast, and sometimes milk, and once, juice.

We never did get our driver’s licenses or go out on dates, or even have our own rooms, until one day, they were gone all day and came home drunk.

Over time I had worked a big piece of concrete almost loose, and they brought us their doggie bags from the restaurant, and sat watching us eat, while drinking Scotch, passing the bottle back and forth until they got silly, and then a little mean, and finally passed out drunk.

Mikey reached the lady’s pocketbook, snagged the keys and her wallet, undid my locks, and I stood holding the concrete slab high over the man’s head.

After we took care of business, we went upstairs to finally see our new house and raid the fridge.


Paul Beckman’s fourth short story collection is Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press). He had a story selected for the 2018 Norton Micro-fiction Anthology and was one of the winners of Best Small Fictions 2016. He won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2016 from Fiction Southeast. His stories have appeared in the following publications as well as many others: Spelk, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, Thrice Fiction, and The Lost Balloon. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly at KGB’s Red Room in New York’s Lower East Side.

Cindy Rosmus is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Twisted Sister. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019