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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

Looking Cold

by Stanton McCaffery


Ricky looked at the photo held to his visor with a rubber band. The girl in the photo had the biggest brown eyes he had ever seen. Had they changed as she had gotten older? He didn’t know.

He parked behind the abandoned grocery store, under the only functioning streetlight in the rubble parking lot. Luiz got in the back seat like he always did. Few people felt safe sitting next to Ricky.

He folded the visor up, took a wad of cash from Luiz and counted it.

“Thin this week,” he said, looking at Luiz through the rearview.

Luiz was rubbing his thumbs together and fidgeting all over, trying not to look at Ricky’s gaze in the mirror. “Competition, I think.”

Ricky said nothing, asked nothing, allowed the silence to do the intimidation.

“I mean, I didn’t hear about any of our customers kicking the bucket or leaving town,” said Luiz. “Must be they’re getting from someone else.”

Ricky hit the unlock button, waited for Luiz to get out, and drove off.


“You look cold,” Ricky said.

“Looks can be deceiving,” she said.

He nodded, assessed her again as she stood on the street corner, and he sat in his car with the heat up full blast. “Yeah, but common sense, though. It’s cold out.” He reached over to his right and opened the passenger side door, patted on the seat. “Come in. I want to talk to you.”

Her coat was substantial, the large sleeves brushing against the gear shift and center console when she sat down, but she wasn’t wearing gloves. Ricky smiled when she rubbed her hands together in front of the vent on the dashboard. She was a redhead and had blue eyes, not brown, but still, her projected toughness and independence felt familiar to him. Her presence had within seconds filled a void.

“Who you with?”

“Who’s asking?”

Her jeans were dirty and frayed, and not in the fashionable way. Her business on the street wasn’t whoring. She would be dressed flashier or would be in much worse shape, skinnier, strung out. This girl wasn’t an idiot. She would have at least put makeup on, if it was herself she was selling.

He shook his head at how brazen she was.

“The fact that you have to ask that tells me you either out here all by yourself and that your operation is all your own, which is badass but also fucking stupid, or that you are in with some real dumb pendejo.”

She shrugged. He was scolding a child, he realized. He put his hand on her shoulder. She stopped rubbing her hands together and looked at him. With his other hand he pulled cash from his pocket, handed her three hundred in twenties. “Give me whatever you have.”

She handed him an ounce of coke, a baggy with three tabs of acid, and a bottle with a few Oxy. The bag of coke had a red skull stamped on it that had smudged. He’d seen it plenty of times before.

“Tell me where you live. I’m driving you home.”


Her name was Brandy. Ricky rolled his eyes when he learned. Name and all, the kind of life she was on course for was not pretty.

He looked at the picture stuck to the visor, rubbed his thumb on it. It was 4 AM. He folded the visor up when Luiz got in the back.

The man handed Ricky one of the fattest wads of cash he’d seen in months.

“Competition vanished, man,” said Luiz. He caught Ricky’s sinister and knowing smile in the mirror and widened his eyes. “But you know that makes us the only focus, right? It’s easier to hide if shit’s crowded.”

Ricky jerked his head around and glared at Luiz. “Sometimes you got a moral obligation to do shit.” He stared at Luiz, didn’t blink or smile or breathe or move. Then he turned around, unlocked the doors. “Get the fuck out.”

He slept in his car for two hours. When the sun started to rise above the dormant factories across the bay, he adjusted his seat, put the car in drive, and stepped on the gas.

He pulled up in front of Brandy’s apartment complex and she got in, this time with a bookbag.

“All I want to hear is that you did your homework. And I don’t want to hear about no bullshit when I pick you up at 3.”



Roger writes fiction under the pseudonym Stanton McCaffrey. His short stories have been featured in Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, Between Worlds, and Heater. His novel, Into the Ocean, is available from New Pulp Press. He is the Editor-in Chief for Rock and a Hard Place Magazine. He works in communications for a UN agency.

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