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Dick and Jane, Together Again-Fiction by Marcy Dilworth
Lay Down Sally-Fiction by Jack Coey
Cleaning Up After the Narc-Fiction by Walter Giersbach
Faith-Fiction by Don Stoll
Cigarettes-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
Blood Will Bloom Like a Watercolor Flower-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Toast, Jell-o, Tea-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The PLacebo Effect-Fiction by Paul Smith
Aftermath-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Just Like Fish-Fiction by Paul Lubaczewski
Waterworks-Fiction by Sue Cmileski
Saith Me-Fiction by Robert Ragan
The Return of the Ladykiller-Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Fire Man-Fiction by Terry Butler
Lost in Greenwich Village-Fiction by Dr. Mel Waldman
Never, Ever Bring This Up Again-Flash Fiction by Ralph Benton
Hip-Hop Baby-Flash Fiction byJ. Brooke
Idylls of the Queen-Flash Fiction by Dini Armstrong
Looking Cold-Flash Fiction by Stanton McCaffrey
Camera_Flash Fiction by Leyla Guirand
Ashes and Dust-Flash Fiction by Janet Hartwell
Family Man-Poem by Ann Marie Rhiel
Heads-Poem by John Grey
The Architect-Poem by Marc Carver
economy class-Poem by Meg Baird
She Knows-Poem by Bradford Middleton
Rain-Poem by Maddisyn Condora
Counter-Intuitive-Poem by Henry Bladon
An Eerie Journey Down the Invisible Staircase-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
A Sonnet for Elvira-Poem by Juan Perez
Unforeseen Endings-Poem by Michael Keshigian
When Her Kisses-Poem by Richard M. Prazych
In Your White Cadillac-Poem by Richard M. Prazych
Love in the Time of Wolves-Poem by Jennifer Lemming
I Do-Poem by Jennifer Lemming
a bite better-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
hot afternoon-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
registry-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Dirty Pink Lipstick-Poem by Ian Mullins
Wrestlin' Gal-Poem by Ian Mullins
Between Takes-Poem by Ian Mullins
Banjo Bob and Cassy-Poem by David Spicer
Neurotic-Poem by David Spicer
I Imagine It's Goodbye-Poem by David Spicer
A Date with Destiny-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Under Moonlight-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
2020 (The Heart and the Thorn)-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
She Loves You-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
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 A. F. Knott 2020

Never, Ever Bring This Up Again


by Ralph Benton



          Have you ever kissed another man’s blood off your wife’s lips? I heartily recommend it.

          Penny is not a big nor strong woman. She hands me every jar that passes our home’s threshold. Once she tried wearing one of my dress shirts, for that sexy, next-morning look, but it was a tent on her. We both laughed, so she took it off, and we stopped laughing for a while.

But that night she was definitely pulling her weight. She grunted as she staggered backward across the asphalt, dragging the tripled garbage bag behind her. Her skinny calves strained with the effort, and the muscles in her arms popped nicely as she gripped the neck of the bag with those thin, powerful fingers.

She let the bag slump at my feet and looked up at me. Her tongue peeked out of the corner of her mouth.

          That’s when I noticed the blood on her lips. Oh my.

          I grabbed the bag, the last of the three, and jerked it to my chest before leveraging it up and over the side of the big dumpster. The still-warm contents sloshed inside the bag.

          Lord, don’t let it rip, I thought.

          The Lord, mysteriously benevolent, did not let it rip.

          Mick ran twenty red lights in His honor—I should at least say something. “Thank you, Jesus, thank you Lord.”

          “Shut up!” Penny hissed, through those speckled lips. I could see her nipples poking through her T-shirt. “Christ, we’re almost there!”

          “Oh, I’m there already,” I said, in a voice I barely recognized.

          She looked at me, first angry at my lack of focus, then a dawning realization, and then that look that says, I know what you’re thinking, and I’m thinking the

Exact same thing.

          Kissing her at that moment was like kissing her for the first time, all over again. The knowing that, finally, finally, I had found her.

          Except this time I licked another man’s blood from her lips. I almost popped, right then and there.

          After an almost embarrassingly brief amount of time, we emerged from behind the dumpster.

          “Jerry,” she said, in the tone she used when I needed to be told something that the whole world already knew.

          “Yes, dear?”

          “Never, ever speak of this again.”

          “Yes, dear.”

          That was almost twelve years ago. In a few weeks, on that day, like I do every year, I’ll mix us each a tall, strong Bloody Mary, with a dash of vinegar. We’ll sit on the porch swing, holding hands, and silently sip our drinks. When the glasses are empty, we’ll go into the house and make love with a special intensity.

          Making up for all those days we almost didn’t have, I guess. We’ve never talked about it.




Ralph Benton finally came to his senses after wearing for decades the golden handcuffs of a corporate drone. He fled the frozen peaks of Colorado for the muggy swamps of Florida. Now there is weirdness and mystery all around him. He is much better for it.

A. F. Knott is a self-taught collage artist focused on book layout and book cover design as well networking in conjunction with Hekate Publishing, one of its missions, bringing together artist and writer. Sometimes seen selling in New York City's Union Square Park. Work can be found on 

flickr.com/photos/afknott/ Any exchange of ideas welcome: anthony_knott@hekatepublishing.com

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2020