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Prankster-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
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Reading Bukowski-Poem by Bob Kokan
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The Apartment-Poem by Richard M. Prazych
Holiday_Poem by Richard M. Prazych
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

79_ym_prankster_aknott.jpg
Art by A. F. Knott 2020

PRANKSTER

  

by

 

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

Detective, I swear, I didn’t know he was in there.

 

          Remember that TV show, Jackass? With those assholes—Sorry, Ma’am. I’ll watch my language—dopes doing crazy stuff, like jumping off a Harley, to see what would happen? Well, Freddy was always like, flirting with death.

 

          No, Ma’am, he didn’t ride. Or climb into snake pits, but once he climbed from window-to-window, along the fourth floor of our building. Why? I’m not sure, but lemme tell you, that bitch in 4-F who claimed her jewelry was missing was full of . . . sugar.

 

          Inside, he did crazy stuff, too, but mostly pranks. That’s why . . .

 

          I know I should’ve heard the screams, but please . . . what I did hear . . . If you’ll let me talk, Detective . . . Ma’am . . .

 

          Freddy liked scaring people, OK? He’d jump up on the hutch and peer out of the kitchen, waving, like he was Spiderman, up on the ceiling. He’d hide in a closet for an hour, just to scare the . . . sugar . . . out of you.

 

          One time . . . and here’s my point . . . I came home, and heard “Help me! Help me!” in this tiny, muffled voice. Remember The Fly? The old version, with Vincent Price? The tiny half-man, half-fly trapped in the spiderweb? That’s what this voice sounded like. And I had no clue where it was coming from.

 

          At the dining room table was this . . . thing. Like a scarecrow, almost, in a hoodie, with hood up, head down on its thick arms. I saw no hands.

 

          I got closer to it. “Freddy?”

 

          “Help me!” I heard again, but not from Ray Bolger here.

 

          On his hands and knees, Freddy crawled in the room, laughing.

 

          “Where were you?” I yelled.

 

          “I can’t . . .” He choked out, between guffaws. “Can’t ever tell you!”

 

          Who knows, Detective? He wouldn’t tell me. For all I knew, he was hiding in the fridge, back then.

 

          Oh, that’s right. He would’ve suffocated . . . that time.

 

          I’m sorry, Detective. It’s just . . . hitting me, now. That he’s really gone. I loved him, so much. Even his stupid jokes.

 

          “Help me!” I kept hearing, like that last time.

 

          Oh, pul-leasse! I thought. Not again. So I ignored him. Let’s see, I thought, how long he can wait this out.

 

I never thought he got trapped in there, cleaning it. Who knew it was empty? That he’d chucked the old stuff?

 

Sure, I smelled Fabuloso. That super-sweet, cloying stench. He was always cleaning. You don’t smell grease, do you? When he wasn’t playing jokes, he was always frying something.

 

          He loved me, right? But not my cooking. When I made chicken, he’d run out, gagging, like there were maggots in it. But I never got sick.

 

          Chuletas, he fried, and salted plantanos. “Gonna fatten you up,” he promised. Then, in front of our friends, he’d grab a handful of my . . . butt, squeezing it, so it hurt. Laughing.

 

          He caught my best friend’s eye. When I turned, she’d winked back at him.

 

          Laughing.

 

          Like that time he crawled in, laughing, after making the dummy.  

 

          Like when that RC toy helicopter was headed straight for my eyes.

 

          If I heard that laugh one more time—

 

          I mean—

 

          That long he was in there? Oh, my God, Detective . . .

 

          How could I have possibly known?



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, Dark Dossier, 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.



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