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The Hunter-Fiction by Sebnem Sanders
Back in the Day-Fiction by A. F. Knott
Red Velvet, White Lies-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Headhunters-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
Holiday Season-Fiction by Don Stoll
Milky Way Galaxy. Solar System. Earth.-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Angel-Fiction by Gary Clifton
Backpage Baby-Fiction by Robb White
Elegant on the Outside-Fiction by Bruce Costello
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Neighbors-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Strange Attractors-Fiction by Jeff Houlahan
The Ghost of Christmas Never-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Best Enemies Forever-Flash Fiction by Walter Giersbach
Glitter in the Dark-Flash Fiction by Dini Armstrong
Spirit Intoxicating Babe in the Woods-Flash Fiction by Monique Saier
My Only Christmas Story-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Ode to Old Brooklyn-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Bacardi Taillights Machine Gun Farewell-Poem by John Short
Pearl Diver-Poem by Wayne F. Burke
Abandoned Sofas-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Kafka Museum-Poem by Henry Bladon
Elegy for Frank-Poem by David Spicer
Schmoozy-Woozy-Poem by David Spicer
Dangerous-Poem by Marc Carver
Eternal-Poem by Marc Carver
The Race has Just Begun-Poem by J.J.Campbell
The Endless Nightmare-Poem by J. J. Campbell
The Last Word-Poem by Meg Baird
Vision of Steel-Poem by Meg Baird
Zen-Poem by Meg Baird
Estrangement-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
First World Herd-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
Christmas Morning in an East Hollywood Hovel-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
A Season of Bailing Wire and Duct Tape-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
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Angel of Manslaughter
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No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by W. Jack Savage 2019

Best Enemies Forever

by Walter Giersbach


Eben overheard nurses chattering.  Only fifty-six . . . atrial fibrillation. Talking like squirrels rustling in the leaves. Ignoring him as though he were already dead.


He continued clicking through laptop screens. Screw the bitches in white. They did what they had to do; he had his own imperatives. His lifeline was the dozen Twitter feeds and chat rooms where he was Coyote, the insider and tipster.  His barbs and quick wit, arcane economic patterns, and a deep well of knowledge secured respect and fear.


Eben’s roommate — a cancer patient anticipating death — turned on the TV. Eben considered hurling insults as Christmas carols blasted off the walls. Stifling the urge to throw something, he returned to his laptop.


His computer chirped, “We’ve found the friend you’ve been looking for.” He clicked the link, and Myra’s name and photo appeared. Trust a search engine to find someone who had disappeared from the fray.


All derision drained as he stared at her picture. She was the opponent he’d never vanquished. They would slip apart after brutal acquisition battles, only to run afoul of each other in board rooms and courts. At different times, she was with Silicon Valley startups while he managed an array of money management firms selling them short. Another time, she directed a billion-dollar acquisition while he was in the Caribbean, killing her efforts with rumors. 


“Myra,” he sighed. “Are you still pissed at me always getting the best of you?  Don’t be such a pussy.”


“You okay, Eben?” Nurse stuck her head in the door.


 “That’s Mister Ebenezer to you.” He clicked through to Facebook, punched in a friend request, and was rewarded with Myra’s instant acceptance.  


“Hey, Eben,” Myra texted. “My fatwa still stands. You’re going to be dead before Christmas.”


“Forgive me, old girl. If I’m not near the girl that I hate, I hate the girl that I’m near.”


“Same aggressive jerk. Still calling yourself ‘Coyote’? Get real. You’re not the trickster. Just another three-card monte dealer trolling Wall Street.”


Time was suspended as they pushed and pulled at old memories. This was a woman he could have ruined just for the thrill. 


The nurse interrupted. “Will you put down that computer long enough for me to do this EKG?”


“Piss off,” he shouted. “Feel free to use my water bottle for a rectal thermometer.”


Returning, Myra wrote, “Ciao, Eben. Got to go. I’ll be waiting in hell for you.”


Two wives had come and gone, both bitch goddesses. But Myra was his forever enemy. Hate and love were two sides of the same coin. Nurse asked why he was chuckling. 


“I was remembering when a lovely lady and I were caught hiring the same law firm to destroy each other. What a glorious ending then, when the Feds went after her!” More laughter came to his gut, recalling the time Myra saw him at DeGaulle Airport Duty-Free Shop and threw a two-hundred-dollar bottle of Scotch at him.  Love of battle was so exhilarating! 


“You’re weird,” Nurse said. He overheard her talking outside: “Gotta have a heart to have a heart attack.” 


She was back an hour later. “You got a visitor.”  


He looked up at the only person who had remained constant over the years.  Bergerson was friend, confidant, and lawyer. “What’ve you got today?”


“Mail, Ebenezer. Paperwork. No problem. I got you covered.”


“Bergy, I’d like Stella to make sure my houseplants are watered when she comes to clean,” he said. “And while I think of it, if something should happen — you know, something — see that she gets a nice gift from my estate. Five figures, at least.”


“Reminds me,” Bergerson said, sitting down. “I had a call from a lawyer in Manhattan. Remember Myra Kostyrka? You and her in those epic battles?”


Eben pushed the laptop aside and stared hard. “Yes.”


“Her lawyer said she died yesterday. 


Yesterday? Then who. . . ?


Aloud, he said, “I’ll miss that bitch. It wasn’t about the money. Just the chase.”


“Before she died, she told the lawyer to get a message to you. Said she’s the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Said she’ll see you soon for payback. What’s that mean?”


Eben managed a crooked smile. “She wants a rematch. For old times’ sake.” 




Walt bounces between writing genres, from mystery to humor, speculative fiction to romance, with a little historical nonfiction thrown in, for good measure. His work has appeared in print, and online, in over two dozen publications. Two volumes of short stories, Cruising the Green of Second Avenue, were available until his publisher ceased operations. He’s also bounced from Fortune 500 firms to university posts, and from homes in eight states, and to a couple of Asian countries. He now lives in New Jersey, a nice place to visit, but he doesn’t want to die there.

W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of eight books including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage (wjacksavage.com).  To date, more than fifty of Jack’s short stories and over a thousand of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019