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Baked in the Cake-Fiction by Hilary Lyon
The Bridge is Over-Fiction by Tim Frank
Free to Leave-Fiction by Mickey J. Corrigan
Bruno-Fiction by Edward Francisco
The Sicilian Doctor's Tale-Fiction by Paul Smith
Money Heals All Wounds-Fiction by Chris Fortunato
Flag Day-Fiction by Paul Beckman
Dance Fever Part II, Fiction by Greg Smith
Black Fedoras, Fishnet Stockings and An Old Master-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Lunar Madness-Fiction by J. Brooke
Killing Chauncey-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
Dee's Sentence-Fiction by Steve Prusky
Fire Man Sings the Blues-Fiction by Terry Butler
The Sequel: My First Novel_Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Switchbacks in the Forgotten Corner-Fiction by Walter Giersbach
Carnival Days 1969-Flash Fiction by Robert Kokan
Break-Flash Fiction by Martin Zeigler
Isabelle-Flash Fiction by KJ Hannah Greenberg
All You Young Dudes-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Irony-Flash Fiction by Betty Reich
Even the Dead Need Somewhere to Live-Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Boiled Like Lobster (Not Me)-Poem by Bradford Middleton
Black Summer-Poem by Wayne F. Burke
14 Days-Poem by Ann Marie Rhiel
Lives Alone-Poem by Kenneth James Crist
My Palimpsest-Poem by Leon Fedolfi
I Lay with Tigers-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Rushing Slowly Through a Lucid Dream with Roberto Bolano-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Dive-Poem by John Sweet
The Poem as a Bouquet of Broken Glass-Poem by John Sweet
The Projector-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Boston Common-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Along the River-Poem by Holly Day
The Voyager-Poem by Holly Day
All Points from Zermatt-Poem by Henry Bladon
Lost Letters-Poem by Henry Bladon
Black Throat-Poem by John Tustin
Working It All Out-Poem by John Tustin
The Brutality and Terror-Poem by John Tustin
A Nice Poen for a Change-Poem by Marc Carver
The Lover-Poem by Marc Carver
Metier-Poem by Marc Carver
Strangers Keep Friending Me-Poem by David Spicer
True Love-Poem by David Spicer
Rita Hayworth and Me-Poem by David Spicer
Green Lasers-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Rodeo Clown-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
My Nightmare-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
The Joker-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Hillary Lyon © 2020


By Roy Dorman


 “It’s the same guy,” Emily Russo said to herself as she saw a man approaching her on the otherwise deserted street.

Emily was a courier who handled high risk packages.  Most often, she had no idea what was in the packages she picked up from her supervisor and delivered to the clients.

Though she couldn’t see his face because the brim of his black fedora was pulled low, she knew it was him.  She had only seen men wearing that kind of hat in old movies.  In addition to the hat, he wore a long trench coat, completing the other-era ensemble.

She’d gotten out of the cab a few blocks early to stop at a greasy spoon near her employer-provided brownstone. 

Emily now pulled the briefcase that was handcuffed to her wrist to her chest and took her Glock from its holster.  “Let him try,” she whispered.

He was now only a half-block away and still walking toward her.  When she switched to the left side of the sidewalk, he did too, keeping them on a collision course.

Now three feet from her, he stopped and lunged at her with a knife.  From out of nowhere, a woman dressed like a streetwalker, complete with red fishnet stockings and very heavy make-up, stepped between them and took the knife thrust in her abdomen.

“Keep going,” she said.  “We’ve got this.”

Another woman dressed in the same garb had grabbed the man with the fedora from behind in a chokehold and now pulled him away from the first woman.

“I could have handled him,” said Emily, showing the second woman her pistol.

“Go!” the woman yelled.

Emily then left the scene, again heading to her apartment. 

After throwing the deadbolt, she went to the window to look down to where the altercation had taken place.  No one was there.  She was hardly surprised.

She unlocked the handcuff from her wrist and put the briefcase under the bed.  She then lay down fully clothed with her Glock in hand.

Tomorrow would be an interesting day.


In the morning she decided to have breakfast and coffee in, avoiding any unnecessary stops. 

 After breakfast, she put the pistol in its shoulder holster under her sport coat.  She decided she wasn’t going to let anyone get as close to her today as the guy in the hat and those two women had last night.

“The sooner I can get rid of this damn case, the better,” she said as she snapped the handcuff to her wrist.  “There’s something in it somebody other than the client is very interested in.”

After some back and forth with herself, she decided to call her supervisor and fill her in as to what had occurred last night.

“Hi, Andrea; just checkin’ in.”

There was an intake of breath followed by a moment of silence.  “Emily?  You’re alive?”

“Yeah, I’m alive. Somethin’ wrong with that?”

“It’s just that I expected that last night — ”

“So you know about last night. What was that all about? Did you send somebody to kill me?”

“Oh, no, no,” said Andrea.  “There are some things I can tell you, but I think we should talk about them after you deliver the package; not over the phone.”

“No, we are going to talk about this over the phone,” said Emily.  “You’re going to talk or I’m going to throw the case in the Hudson and disappear.”

“Okay, okay.  Give me a minute.  You know you’re the best, right?  We’d really hate to lose you, but in this business if the customer has the cash, the customer is always right.”

“Cut to the chase, Andrea, or I’m outta here,” said Emily.

Emily listened while Andrea told her about the contents of the briefcase.  It contained a small but very valuable old painting.  It was done by one of the Old Masters, and the client, a famous mystery writer, had won it in an auction in Brussels.

“I’m sure you’d recognize his name,” said Andrea.

Andrea went on to say that the client got it in his head that he wanted his painting to have a history like in some of the novels he wrote.  Andrea had set up a sequence of the package going from Brussels to New York by way of a number of couriers.

“Any of those other couriers still alive?” asked Emily.

“That’s why we love you, Emily—you’re always so quick.”

“How many are dead?” asked Emily.

Andrea stalled for a bit, knowing no matter what she said Emily was probably through with the company.  “Two,” she finally said quietly.  “There were two.”

“And those three in the weird get-ups last night?” said Emily.  “They were willing participants in this author’s fantasy?  Unless that knife was a stage prop, one or two of them might be dead.  Must be a helluva lot of money involved here.”

“There is a lot of money involved, Emily,” said Andrea.  “And we can see that a lot of it can still be yours.”

“Yeah, right,” said Emily.  “Ya know, I rub elbows with a lot of different folks on my courier runs. A couple of times contract killers have offered to introduce me to their bosses. Right now I’m thinkin’ of two people I could take out to have something on my résumé for the interview.”

Emily had been sitting on the couch facing the door while talking to Andrea.  Out of the corner of her eye, she caught the movement of the doorknob being turned.  

Andrea had been keeping her on the phone, buying time.

 Emily set the phone on the couch and trained her silencer-equipped Glock on the center of the door.

When the door was kicked in, Emily squeezed off four quick shots into the first guy to enter and three more into his partner. It took a few seconds for the apartment to go to silence. Emily waited to see if she could hear a third party out in the hall.

When no one else stepped through the door, she picked up the phone.

“Still alive, Andrea. And I’m comin’ for ya. Ya may wanna tell that sicko author I’m comin’ for him too.”

Emily ended the call and looked down at the two assassins. Both were in trench coats and had been wearing black fedoras. The first one looked like the knife-wieldier from last night. The legs of the second showed red fishnet stockings under the trench coat and she may have been one of the women who played a role in last night’s one-act play.

“The script called for me to get away last night,” Emily thought. “But not this morning.”  

Emily took a minute to collect her personal stuff. She’d only been there overnight, so a quick wipe for prints was all that was needed. She then went out into the hallway with the briefcase. No need to try and lock the door; it was pretty messed up.

On the way down the stairs, Emily was thinking ahead to her new apartment, possibly in London or Rome, and how she’d have an Old Master on the living room wall. 

“And it’ll be an Old Master with a history.”


Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and is the submissions editor of Yahara Prairie Lights. He has had poetry and flash fiction published in One Sentence Poems, Near to the Knuckle, Yellow Mama, Shotgun Honey, Theme of Absence, Drunk Monkeys, The Flash Fiction Press, Black Petals, and a number of other online magazines.

Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/                                             

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications © 2020