Yellow Mama Archives

Dini Armstrong
Home
Adhikari, Sudeep
Ahern, Edward
Aldrich, Janet M.
Allan, T. N.
Allen, M. G.
Ammonds, Phillip J.
Anderson, Peter
Andreopoulos, Elliott
Arab, Bint
Armstrong, Dini
Augustyn, P. K.
Aymar, E. A.
Babbs, James
Baber, Bill
Bagwell, Dennis
Bailey, Ashley
Bailey, Thomas
Baird, Meg
Bakala, Brendan
Baker, Nathan
Balaz, Joe
BAM
Barber, Shannon
Barker, Tom
Barlow, Tom
Bates, Jack
Bayly, Karen
Baugh, Darlene
Bauman, Michael
Baumgartner, Jessica Marie
Beale, Jonathan
Beck, George
Beckman, Paul
Benet, Esme
Bennett, Brett
Bennett, Charlie
Bennett, D. V.
Benton, Ralph
Berg, Carly
Berman, Daniel
Bernardara, Will Jr.
Berriozabal, Luis
Beveridge, Robert
Bickerstaff, Russ
Bigney, Tyler
Bladon, Henry
Blake, Steven
Bohem, Charlie Keys and Les
Booth, Brenton
Boski, David
Bougger, Jason
Boyd, A. V.
Boyd, Morgan
Bracey, DG
Brewka-Clark, Nancy
Britt, Alan
Brooke, j
Brown, R. Thomas
Brown, Sam
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Burton, Michael
Bushtalov, Denis
Butcher, Jonathan
Butkowski, Jason
Butler, Simon Hardy
Butler, Terence
Cameron, W. B.
Campbell, J. J.
Campbell, Jack Jr.
Cano, Valentina
Cardinale, Samuel
Carlton, Bob
Carr, Jennifer
Cartwright, Steve
Carver, Marc
Castle, Chris
Catlin, Alan
Chesler, Adam
Clausen, Daniel
Clevenger, Victor
Clifton, Gary
Cmileski, Sue
Coey, Jack
Coffey, James
Colasuonno, Alfonso
Condora, Maddisyn
Conley, Jen
Connor, Tod
Cooper, Malcolm Graham
Coral, Jay
Cosby, S. A.
Costello, Bruce
Cotton, Mark
Crandall, Rob
Criscuolo, Carla
Crist, Kenneth
D., Jack
Dallett, Cassandra
Danoski, Joseph V.
Daly, Sean
Davis, Christopher
Davis, Michael D.
Day, Holly
de Bruler, Connor
Degani, Gay
De France, Steve
De La Garza, Lela Marie
Deming, Ruth Z.
Demmer, Calvin
De Neve, M. A.
Dennehy, John W.
DeVeau, Spencer
Di Chellis, Peter
DiLorenzo, Ciro
Dilworth, Marcy
Dionne, Ron
Dobson, Melissa
Domenichini, John
Dominelli, Rob
Doran, Phil
Doreski, William
Dorman, Roy
Doherty, Rachel
Dosser, Jeff
Doyle, John
Draime, Doug
Drake, Lena Judith
Dromey, John H.
Dubal, Paul Michael
Duke, Jason
Duncan, Gary
Dunham, T. Fox
Duschesneau, Pauline
Dunn, Robin Wyatt
Duxbury, Karen
Duy, Michelle
Eade, Kevin
Elliott, Garnett
Ellman, Neil
England, Kristina
Erianne, John
Espinosa, Maria
Esterholm, Jeff
Fallow, Jeff
Farren, Jim
Fenster, Timothy
Ferraro, Diana
Filas, Cameron
Fillion, Tom
Fisher, Miles Ryan
Flanagan, Daniel N.
Flanagan, Ryan Quinn
Francisco, Edward
Frank, Tim
Funk, Matthew C.
Gann, Alan
Gardner, Cheryl Ann
Garvey, Kevin Z.
Gay, Sharon Frame
Gentile, Angelo
Genz, Brian
Giersbach, Walter
Gladeview, Lawrence
Glass, Donald
Goddard, L. B.
Godwin, Richard
Goff, Christopher
Goss, Christopher
Gradowski, Janel
Graham, Sam
Grant, Christopher
Grant, Stewart
Greenberg, K.J. Hannah
Greenberg, Paul
Grey, John
Guirand, Leyla
Gunn, Johnny
Gurney, Kenneth P.
Haglund, Tobias
Halleck, Robert
Hamlin, Mason
Hanson, Christopher Kenneth
Hanson, Kip
Harrington, Jim
Harris, Bruce
Hart, GJ
Hartman, Michelle
Hartwell, Janet
Haskins, Chad
Hawley, Doug
Haycock, Brian
Hayes, A. J.
Hayes, John
Hayes, Peter W. J.
Heatley, Paul
Heimler, Heidi
Helmsley, Fiona
Hendry, Mark
Heslop, Karen
Heyns, Heather
Hilary, Sarah
Hill, Richard
Hivner, Christopher
Hockey, Matthew J.
Hogan, Andrew J.
Holderfield, Culley
Holton, Dave
Houlahan, Jeff
Howells, Ann
Hoy, J. L.
Huchu, Tendai
Hudson, Rick
Huffman, A. J.
Huguenin, Timothy G.
Huskey, Jason L.
Irascible, Dr. I. M.
Jaggers, J. David
James, Christopher
Johnson, Beau
Johnson, Moctezuma
Johnson, Zakariah
Jones, D. S.
Jones, Erin J.
Jones, Mark
Kabel, Dana
Kaplan, Barry Jay
Kay, S.
Keaton, David James
Kempka, Hal
Kerins, Mike
Keshigian, Michael
Kevlock, Mark Joseph
King, Michelle Ann
Kirk, D.
Knott, Anthony
Koenig, Michael
Kokan, Bob
Korpon, Nik
Kovacs, Norbert
Kovacs, Sandor
Kowalcyzk, Alec
Krafft, E. K.
Lacks, Lee Todd
Lang, Preston
Larkham, Jack
La Rosa, F. Michael
Leasure, Colt
Leatherwood, Roger
Lees, Arlette
Lees, Lonni
Leins, Tom
Lemieux, Michael
Lemming, Jennifer
Lerner, Steven M
Lewis, Cynthia Ruth
Lewis, LuAnn
Licht, Matthew
Lifshin, Lyn
Liskey, Tom Darin
Lodge, Oliver
Lopez, Aurelio Rico III
Lorca, Aurelia
Lovisi, Gary
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Lukas, Anthony
Lynch, Nulty
Lyon, Hillary
Lyons, Matthew
Mac, David
MacArthur, Jodi
Malone, Joe
Mann, Aiki
Manzolillo, Nicholas
Marcius, Cal
Marrotti, Michael
Mason, Wayne
Mattila, Matt
McAdams, Liz
McCaffrey, Stanton
McCartney, Chris
McDaris, Catfish
McFarlane, Adam Beau
McGinley, Chris
McGinley, Jerry
McElhiney, Sean
McJunkin, Ambrose
McKim, Marci
McMannus, Jack
McQuiston, Rick
Mellon, Mark
Memi, Samantha
Middleton, Bradford
Miles, Marietta
Miller, Max
Minihan, Jeremiah
Montagna, Mitchel
Monson, Mike
Mooney, Christopher P.
Moran, Jacqueline M.
Morgan, Bill W.
Moss, David Harry
Mullins, Ian
Mulvihill, Michael
Muslim, Kristine Ong
Nardolilli, Ben
Nelson, Trevor
Nessly, Ray
Nester, Steven
Neuda, M. C.
Newell, Ben
Newman, Paul
Nielsen, Ayaz
Nore, Abe
Numann, Randy
Ogurek, Douglas J.
O'Keefe, Sean
Ortiz, Sergio
Pagel, Briane
Park, Jon
Parr, Rodger
Parrish, Rhonda
Partin-Nielsen, Judith
Peralez, R.
Perez, Juan M.
Perez, Robert Aguon
Peterson, Ross
Petroziello, Brian
Pettie, Jack
Petyo, Robert
Phillips, Matt
Picher, Gabrielle
Pierce, Rob
Pietrzykowski, Marc
Plath, Rob
Pointer, David
Post, John
Powell, David
Power, Jed
Powers, M. P.
Praseth, Ram
Prazych, Richard
Prusky, Steve
Pruitt, Eryk
Purfield, M. E.
Purkis, Gordon
Quinlan, Joseph R.
Quinn, Frank
Rabas, Kevin
Ragan, Robert
Ram, Sri
Rapth, Sam
Ravindra, Rudy
Renney, Mark
reutter, g emil
Rhatigan, Chris
Rhiel, Ann Marie
Richardson, Travis
Richey, John Lunar
Ridgeway, Kevin
Rihlmann, Brian
Ritchie, Bob
Ritchie, Salvadore
Robinson, John D.
Robinson, Kent
Rodgers, K. M.
Roger, Frank
Rose, Mandi
Rose, Mick
Rosenberger, Brian
Rosenblum, Mark
Rosmus, Cindy
Ruhlman, Walter
Rutherford, Scotch
Saier, Monique
Salinas, Alex
Sanders, Isabelle
Sanders, Sebnem
Santo, Heather
Savage, Jack
Sayles, Betty J.
Schauber, Karen
Schneeweiss, Jonathan
Schraeder, E. F.
Schumejda, Rebecca
See, Tom
Sethi, Sanjeev
Sexton, Rex
Seymour, J. E.
Shaikh, Aftab Yusuf
Sheagren, Gerald E.
Shepherd, Robert
Shirey, D. L.
Shore, Donald D.
Short, John
Sim, Anton
Simmler, T. Maxim
Simpson, Henry
Sinisi, J. J.
Sixsmith, JD
Slagle, Cutter
Slaviero, Susan
Sloan, Frank
Small, Alan Edward
Smith, Brian J.
Smith, Ben
Smith, C.R.J.
Smith, Copper
Smith, Greg
Smith, Paul
Smith, Stephanie
Smith, Willie
Smuts, Carolyn
Snethen, Daniel G.
Snoody, Elmore
Sojka, Carol
Solender, Michael J.
Sortwell, Pete
Sparling, George
Spicer, David
Squirrell, William
Stanton, Henry G.
Stewart, Michael S.
Stickel, Anne
Stolec, Trina
Stoll, Don
Stryker, Joseph H.
Stucchio, Chris
Succre, Ray
Sullivan, Thomas
Swanson, Peter
Swartz, Justin A.
Sweet, John
Tarbard, Grant
Taylor, J. M.
Thompson, John L.
Thompson, Phillip
Ticktin, Ruth
Tillman, Stephen
Titus, Lori
Tivey, Lauren
Tobin, Tim
Torrence, Ron
Tu, Andy
Ullerich, Eric
Valent, Raymond A.
Valvis, James
Vilhotti, Jerry
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Walsh, Patricia
Walters, Luke
Ward, Emma
Washburn, Joseph
Watt, Max
Weber, R.O.
Weil, Lester L.
White, Judy Friedman
White, Robb
White, Terry
Wickham, Alice
Wilsky, Jim
Wilson, Robley
Wilson, Tabitha
Woodland, Francis
Young, Mark
Yuan, Changming
Zackel, Fred
Zafiro, Frank
Zapata, Angel
Zee, Carly
Zimmerman, Thomas

77_ym_glitterinthedark_dblanch.jpg
Art by Darren Blanch © 2019

Glitter in the Dark

by Dini Armstrong

 

Saskia tried to look defiant while she was grating the piece of shrapnel against a stone, careful to collect the fine metal dust on the cloth below. She wasn’t sure what defiance looked like exactly, but Dad had said that what they were doing was an act of one. Her hands were frozen.

Dad was by the fire, boiling up rabbit skins for glue. He looked perfectly at peace, stirring and stirring as if in a trance. It made Saskia sleepy to watch him, and she let out a yelp when she grated her own skin against the rough surface of the stone.

          “I guess that’s a good sign,” said Dad, smiling at her.

          “How?” she snapped back, sucking her knuckles. Her stomach was growling. Even the disgusting slime he was cooking started to smell good.

          “Means you’re still alive, snoepje.” He continued to stir the gunk. He always called her snoepje, sweetie. When she was little, he had chased her around the house, pretending to gobble her up, and it was strange to think she had been squealing with delight.

Saskia looked around. The war had been over for months now, and they were still in the displaced persons’ camp. Which was funny, because Saskia and Dad were not the ones in the family who were lost. They knew exactly where they were. They didn’t know where Saskia’s baby sister was, or their mum. Not long now, Dad had said, not long, and they were all going to go home.

The woman in the tent next to theirs was having a baby. A birth on Christmas Eve, Dad had said to her worried husband, who had been pacing outside the tent. It’s like a Christmas miracle. The man had just stared at him with that face that people made when Dad told them that everything was going to be okay. Dad had tried to keep him busy by enlisting him in cutting out star shapes from bits of cardboard. It worked for an hour or so, but then the woman’s groans became so scary, that the man jumped up and forced his way into the tent to see what was going on. The old rules no longer applied. To be afraid of a bit of blood and suffering. The idea seemed silly these days.

Saskia was expected to go to school when they were back home. She tried on the thought in her head, but it was hard to picture it. Five years old when the men took her away, there had been no schools where they took her, even though they called it a children’s re-education camp. Almost nine now, she had heard stories of teachers using rods for discipline. She wasn’t scared.

The woman’s groans turned into high-pitched screams.

Dad started to whistle. His face lit up, and he stopped stirring.

          “That’s it, just right. Are you ready, snoepje?”

They both squatted on the frozen ground, and Dad arranged the pot of glue, the metal scrapings and the cardboard shapes in a little assembly line. He dipped his calloused fingers into the hot gloop and smeared glue all over the stars before handing them to Saskia, who sprinkled some of the metal powder over them; careful to hold it over the cloth, in case of spillages. Her dad held one of the finished stars up high — and a beam from the floodlights set it alight.

It sparkled and twinkled, and Saskia thought, Hold it higher, dad, hold it so high that mum can see it and find us. She was mesmerized. Memories came flooding in from a time far away, when the world was not grey and ashes, but gingerbread men and pink and white aniseed sugar sprinkles, and sweets stuffed into boots by Sinterklaas.

That’s when she noticed that the screaming had stopped. The man emerged from his tent, his face ashen, his shirt covered in blood. He slumped down next to them, shaking his head before burying his face in his hands.

Saskia stood up. She grabbed a handful of glitter and walked over to the man.

          “There,” she said, sprinkling it over his head, “all better.”

 

 


78_ym_idyllsofthequeen_blanch.jpg
Art by Darren Blanch © 2020

Idylls of the Queen

by Dini Armstrong

 

When the rapist hit her again, the impact of his right fist shattered the permanent mandibular first and second premolars on the left side of her jaw.

Within minutes his hand was visibly swollen, suggesting a fracture in his fifth metacarpal. An inexperienced fighter. Savvy pugilists present with a break in the second metacarpal. Suppressing the urge to offer him some ice for the swelling, she silently recited Tennyson. Idylls of the King. At one point she had to start again because she got muddled between the “Coming of Arthur” and the “Passing of Arthur.” The terracotta tiles were cold. Her mum had been right, linoleum would have been warmer.

The guy was so tall.

When he finished, he washed her blood off his cock in the kitchen sink. Right there, splattering over the mug that read Queen of Fucking Everything in faded colors, from overuse. She couldn’t help feeling embarrassed about the dirty dishes in the sink. She was going to take care of that before bedtime.

In total, He was there for 19 minutes. She knew, because when He arrived at the door, with his fake Amazon parcel, the BBC Weekend news started at 17:15 and Captain Francesco Schettino steered the 60,000-ton Costa Concordia cruise ship off course, turning it into the largest shipwreck in history. When Kirsty McCabe told her to expect localized upland snow in various parts of Scotland, the door closed behind him.

 

 

One cold and dark afternoon, I stumbled across a newspaper article from Paris, dated 18th March 1818. In collaboration with her daughter, a mother poisoned her husband and both her sons. Both women were condemned to death. What brought you here, mes copaines, I wondered. . . .

 

La Mère Mauvaise

by Dini Armstrong

 

Et voilà. It ends where it began, my child, not long now. If you stretch your head forward as far as you can, it will come off more easily; that’s what they say. Oh, stop your blubbering. We’ve kneeled before, haven’t we? At least it will hurt only on that end this time; the other end will be in peace, finally. It seems right, separating the head from the body. I wonder if my head will taste the iron of my blood as it works its way up from the throat.

Did you know, I was born on January 21st, 1793, the day of the execution of Louis XVI? And here we are, my girl, you and I, both getting royally fucked by that great equalizer, the guillotine.

Don’t cry now, girl; hush hush. It’s over soon.

They’ve taken my scarf to expose the neck. It carried our boy on my back for three months, didn’t it? Just as it carried you, my lovely girl. I miss the weight of you, your breath on my neck, your little chubby hands playing with my hair. The papers wrote that he was mine. They wouldn’t believe he was yours—an unmarried twelve-year-old, producing such an angel with her own brother? Well, we made him an angel now, didn’t we, my lovely? Thanks to you and me, he will never turn into his father. A beast of his own father's making, my husband; may he burn in hell. Do you remember how they writhed and twisted? I wished it had lasted longer.

The crowds have come in full number today. Seeing la mère mauvaise and her murderous daughter, the barbarous poisoners of Paris. I can smell them, roasting chestnuts. I am proud of us, my girl. When men fight back, they are celebrated. When women do the same, they are killed. Remember when we finally did it, and we sang the song all the way to the police station?

“Ah! Ça ira! Ça ira! Ça ira! 
Tous les violeurs à la lanterne!”

I remember when I was eleven, playing with my mother’s bread dough. The smell of yeast and burnt sugar. The softness, the innocence, the way the sunshine just flooded in through the window, as if there was no darkness. That’s when I met him, your father. He joined in with me, despite his age (he was already twenty-five), the smell of gin. At first, he shaped a flower, then he giggled and formed the shape of a man’s bits. He told me to touch it and asked me if I wanted a go at the real thing. That’s when my mum walked in, and we were married two weeks later. She was a great one at turning sin into virtue.

No, I don’t want my eyes blindfolded. No, don’t tie my hands. I will go freely with you, my liberator, mon ami, into the bliss of hellfire, purified, and cleansed — of all.

 

Dini Armstrong, now Scottish, has worked in journalism and psychology. She is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing and has published short stories and flash fiction. Her pithy style got her into trouble from age six, when, after writing a particularly seditious piece about a vengeful cat with explosives, she had to promise never to write again. She lied.

In Association with Fossil Publications