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The Fog-Fiction by Kevin Eade
Claire's Close Call-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Fools for Love-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Texas Redux-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Bridge Game-Fiction by DV Bennett
Transitory Unease-Fiction by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Howie's Cell-Fiction by Chris McCartney
The Hit Woman's Hand Book-Fiction by J. Brooke
Stones Girl-Fiction by Don Stoll
One Day in the Suburbs-Fiction by Mitchel Montagna
The Bloody Whorehouse Detective Agency-Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Happenstance-Fiction by Michael Stewart
You Were Supposed to Be-Flash Fiction by Bill Baber
The Last Time I Almost Used-Flash Fiction by Jennifer Carr
Swimmer-Flash Fiction by Mark Cotton
Wordsmith-Poem by Meg Baird
Hey, Aunt Libby-Poem by Alex Salinas
Three Colors-Poem by Melissa Dobson
The Ladderites-Poem by David Spicer
My Kind-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
Night Colors-Poem by Luis Berriozabal
Doc's Death-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Gopher-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
A Hot Summer Night After Wine-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Conception-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Married Life-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Sea World-Poem by Robert Halleck
Early Morning at a Friend's House in 1972-Poem by Robert Halleck
Pelican Bay-Poem by Robert Halleck
Right Through the Heart-Poem by David Boski
Sky Burials-Poem by David Boski
Third Time's a Charm-Poem by David Boski
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 Scarefina Doll 2019





Cindy Rosmus



          It was the summer of ’84. The four of us were just as broke, just as drunk, but not as happy as the year before.

          I’d “called in drunk” so many times, my boss, Mike (a raging drunk, himself), blew up. “Monday morning,” he said, “I want to see you, with the shop steward!”

Sandy, I thought. Sandy was the shop steward, who worked right next to me, in his department. Once again, he forgot her name.

          Freddy, my best friend and neighbor, had lost his new job. On the first day! In the men’s room, he was pulling up his pants, when a joint fell out of his pocket. Figures his boss was in the next stall.

          Who, a self-righteous fuck might say, brings a joint to work?

          And Francine and Nicky . . . Man, they were worse off than us. But not with job shit. Relationship shit. Suddenly, with no warning, generous, compassionate Francine turned into this clingy bitch.

“Where you going?” she demanded, each time Nicky tried sneaking out the door.

Like he was up to something. Till now, everything was cool with them. More than anything—except maybe her—Nicky loved his music. Most of the time he sat, strumming his guitar, singing, while the three of us listened. Just . . . loving it.

To Freddy and me, he was like Joe Strummer, from the Clash. Nicky was a huge fan, but he wrote his own stuff. Straight from the heart, he wrote, about real-life shit: being broke. Losing someone you loved. Wanting stuff you just couldn’t have . . .

Till now, Francine sat along with us, goo-goo-eyed, as he played. Like time had just stopped. . . .

But now. . .

“You check the paper, today?” She meant the want ads. “I’m trying,” Nicky said. “Every day I read it.”

“Not the funnies,” she said. Wiseass bitch.

Shelley, she’d told me, you could make good money. . .

If you didn’t drink like a fish.


Out in the hall, last night, Freddy and I waited for Nicky.

“Where’re you going?” Francine screeched, as he threw open the door.

“Nowhere,” Nicky half-lied.

We were just sneaking up to the roof. Since last year, it was off-limits, ‘cos Billy, the super’s drunk son, jumped off it. But Freddy busted the lock, and we snuck up when we could.

And we knew what was coming.

“Rub my feet,” Francine said. Slowly, Nicky shut the door.

We just stared at it. “Bitch,” Freddy said finally.

Who, she’d said yesterday, brings a joint to work?

An hour later, Freddy and I were on the roof, sprawled on my sandy blanket, drinking beers. It was dusk, so the sky was a hot, stinky orange. Toxic waste over the filthy, depressing city. No wonder Billy jumped.

Maybe someday, I thought, downing my beer, we all would.

Since Freddy busted the lock, only Nicky and us came up here. But Nicky was stuck home with Francine.

So, when we heard trudging footsteps, we got ready to run.

It was Nicky, looking like a giant bird had shit on his life.

“We know, man.” Freddy handed him a beer.

But as he cracked the beer, Nicky grinned. “Got big news.”

“You left her?” Freddy said.

Nicky sat right on the tar, not even the blanket. “There’s this guy, right? Front man for Fools Rush In. They need a guitar player, like A-S-A-P, ‘cos they’re going on tour!”

“Fuckin’-A!” Freddy said. We both hugged Nicky. “When?” I said.

He looked around, wildly, like the roof was bugged. “Tomorrow. But the thing is, can I just . . . leave?”

We stared. Freddy crushed his can, tossing it aside. “Why not?”

Nicky looked at his hands. They were great hands, with long fingers, meant to strum guitar, to make music. But they looked red and dried out, even in the dark.

Baby, I pictured Francine saying, after that song, can you wash the dishes?

Click-clack. Click-clack.

We listened. Someone was coming up. “Click-clack” meant wooden high heels. 

Who, I thought, cringing, wears high heels up to the roof?

Francine. “I knew it!” she said. Like she’d caught us with a zillion fucking bucks. “You’re not supposed to be up here!”

“Neither are you,” Freddy said.

She walked out further. Disgusted, she studied the heel of her shoe. “The tar’s so soft. My heel’s getting stuck.”

Nicky scrambled to his feet. I was scared he’d beg forgiveness. All he did, I thought, was have a beer on the roof.

“There’s this band,” he said. “Fools Rush In. I’m going on tour with them.”

My heart raced. Freddy squeezed my arm. This was the best, ever.

“Tour?” Francine said. “With a band?” Then she yawned! “You?” she said, still yawning. 

Nicky looked defeated. But he wasn’t giving up. “For six months. We leave tomorrow. On a bus.”

“A bus?” Francine said. “Are you crazy? I’m not even packed.”

Freddy squeezed my arm tighter.

“And which hotels?” she said, sneering. “I bet you don’t even know. There are bugs, and thieves . . .”

With “thieves,” she looked right at Freddy, who turned and walked off.

“I’ll be fine,” Nicky said. “You stay here.” He followed Freddy.

Francine started after them. Then I got up, brushing the sand off, and soon we were all on the opposite side of the roof.

Where Billy had jumped.

“I can’t believe this!” Francine said. “You would just . . . leave? Without even discussing it . . .”

She went on and on. Nicky didn’t answer. She was right in his face, like she would smack him. Maybe she did, all the time.

Nick,” Freddy said, “Watch out.”

Close to the edge, Nicky stood. Facing the sky, poisonous without it even being that lethal fucking orange.

Like he was thinking about a dream he once had. Or wondering if he really did have a soul. And if he could lose it. . . .

As she raised her arm and lurched forward, her heel caught in the tar, again.

He saw her coming. His expression was horrible, like no matter what happened, he couldn’t stop it.

And he wasn’t sorry.

I gasped.

He caught her, a moment before she—before they—would’ve gone flying over. Like Billy. For a moment, they teetered, then collapsed together onto the tar.

Oh . . . man, I thought. Behind me, Freddy’s head sunk to my shoulder.

Then Nicky and Francine were grabbing each other. Crying. Even Nicky. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m so . . . sorry.” Francine mumbled something I didn’t hear.

“That was close,” Freddy whispered to me.

“My shoe . . . ,” Francine said, “it’s ruined.” On the tar she sat, pouting now, holding that ruined shoe.

Nicky smiled sadly at Freddy and me. “I’m sorry,” he mouthed.

In my mind, it was dawn. A graffiti-covered bus crept past our building. A tour bus, headed for sleazy hotels and the cheapest food.

Loaded with punks, and equipment, minus one guitar . . .  

And the dishpan hands born to play it.

Cindy 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, Dark Dossier, 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.

Scarefina Doll: ScAreifiNa Wicked Little doll #ChildrenOfTheBlood

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019