Yellow Mama Archives II

William Kitcher

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Flynn, James
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Glass, Donald
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Price, Liberty
Proctor, M. E.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Stanley, Barbara
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Taylor, Richard Allen
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

I Like Gorillas


William Kitcher



It’s difficult to win at poker when everyone’s cheating and there are three large men standing in front of the only door out of the room.

When I say “everyone’s cheating,” I mean including me.

Over the past four hours, I’d palmed a few Aces which had come in handy, and I’d used the Memphis Slide once, so I was up a couple of grand.

I didn’t know why the gorillas at the door hadn’t just taken all our money, but then again, I didn’t know who they were with.

Maybe I shouldn’t call them “gorillas”. None of them seemed to be nearly as intelligent as a gorilla. I like gorillas. More gorillas, fewer people, if you ask me.

I think that Vinny and Eleanor, the only people I knew at the table, had finally figured out this was all a scam by the time someone said it was midnight. Funny phrase “midnight”. Middle of the night to me is about three or four or five, any time before the sun starts.

Vin and El and I had exchanged skeptical looks about ten, and now we just smiled forlornly at each other. No one else knew we knew each other. Between the three of us, I thought we had enough fists to get past the wannabe gorillas if things went south, but I wasn’t sure of that.

There were four other players. It took me a while to figure out who was connected to whom. I thought that the old bald guy David was in cahoots with the young blond Kyle, and that the scrawny red-haired Bobby was in it with the middle-aged woman who said she was a countess. Are there actually countesses anymore? I didn’t think about it a lot because she may have been even though she looked more like a woman I used to know who lived in a trailer park.

Anyhoo, I’d seen Kyle give David a card that had filled a flush, and the Countess had once dropped her cards on the floor along with her cigarette and her potato chips which Bobby had helped her pick up, and the result was the Countess won the hand with four Kings.

So when the next hand was ready to go, and the Countess suggested unlimited stakes, and the three guys at the door shuffled almost in unison, I knew crunch time was coming.

I’ve never understood why Texas Hold ‘Em has become the game of choice. It’s probably due to its being on TV all the time and that’s the only game some people know. I miss draw and five-card stud. I even like Stop. So, when I realized that the goons belonged to the Countess, I said, “How about a game of High Chicago?”

In case you don’t know, High Chicago is a seven-card stud game with the twist that there’s a split pot. Best poker hand splits the pot with the highest Spade down. At the end of all cards being dealt, you declare whether you’re going for the best poker hand or the high Spade or both. If you go for both, you have to win both. Two down, four up, one down, you bet after every card starting with the third card.

(You can also play Low Chicago – lowest Spade in your hand – or High Chicago, substituting Clubs, Diamonds, or Hearts, but that just seems to me to be something you do when you’re drunk.)

El said, “High Chicago’s a great game!” Vin said, “I like it.” The Countess said, “I’ve been to Chicago.” So that seemed to seal it. Four out of seven.

It was El’s deal. As she dealt, I went over the rules of the game. “Yeah, we know,” said David. I didn’t know why he was speaking for everyone else. I wondered if the other four were all in this together.

My first two down cards had no Spades; I had the Queen of Clubs and the Jack of Diamonds. I looked at the other players. The Countess flinched slightly. She had a Spade for sure.

The first card up for me was the Ten of Spades. Straightening. The Jack and Queen of Spades also came out in others’ hands. The Countess revealed a small smile. Did she have the Ace of Spades? At least, she must have had the King. Or maybe she had the Nine or the Eight. At this point, who could tell? Maybe Bobby had passed her all four of them.

The bets were reasonable. No one folded.

My fourth card was the King of Diamonds. I was seriously straightening. I needed only a Nine or an Ace to fill a straight. I bet a grand.

Kyle folded. Bobby folded. Vinny folded. El folded, which surprised me because she was the dealer and I’d assumed she was cheating.

The Countess raised a grand. David called. I felt good and raised another grand. They both called.

The fifth cards came out. Nothing useful for me: Six of Diamonds. I checked. So did they. Apparently nothing for them either. Same with the sixth cards, for me the Eight of Clubs.

And there was the seventh card, down. I got the Four of Clubs. No use at all.

More bets were made. I was pretty well oblivious by this point. I raised a couple of times. So did they. After a while, we got tired and called. There was a pile of cash in the middle of the table I couldn’t have begun to know how to count.

And then it came down to Declaration. “Pick up three coins, people,” said Eleanor. “One for high Spade, two for poker, three if you’re going for both. Show them. Palms up.”

David showed two coins. The Countess showed one coin. I showed three coins.

David had three Queens, and I don’t know how he’d managed that considering I had the Queen of Clubs in my hand and the Queen of Spades was face up on the table in front of the Countess. I suppose that happens sometimes in friendly poker games like this one.

The Countess had the King of Spades in her grubby left hand.

As I mentioned before, I’m good at palming cards. I had the Ace of Spades. Straight ahead. I had to find a paper bag to carry the cash.

Eleanor gave the gorillas a thousand dollars, and we left in peace.

Mister Bunny and $88.01




William Kitcher



I was lying on the couch, waiting for the air conditioning to kick in and dozing off due to the heat, a hangover, and disinterest in the ball game on TV because the Jays were pummeling the Yankees for the third day in a row.

My cat Henry was napping on my chest, and we were both startled awake by my apartment buzzer. No one ever buzzes my apartment. People call first. Actually, no one ever comes to my apartment. I meet people outside.

I staggered to the buzzer. “Hello?”

“Is this James Yates?”

“Yeah. Who’s this?”


Police? What the . . . “How can I help you?”

“Can we come in?”

“How do I know you’re the police?”


“Hold on,” I said. “I’ll come down.”

I pulled on a T-shirt and went downstairs. Sure enough, it was the cops. Two uniforms, one plain clothes. I assumed the plain clothes was a cop, because she did all the talking. She introduced the three of them by name, but I didn’t really pay attention.

Looking at her notes, she said, “Where were you on the night of January seventeenth?”

Jeesh, what a question. Some random date five months ago. Would she expect me to remember that?

“How the hell would I know?”

“Listen, Mr. Yates, can we talk in your apartment?”

“Do you have a warrant?”

She looked at her shoes. The two uniforms looked at each other. No one said anything.

“Ah, never mind,” I said. “Come on up.”

They made so much noise coming into my apartment that Henry scurried into his cage and burrowed into his stuffed animal friends.

She said, “Do you know Peter Baxter?”


“Are you sure?”

“I don’t think so. Who is he?”

“He was murdered January seventeenth. In a house not far from here.”

“Oh, that guy. I remember that happening. No, I didn’t know him.”

“We think you did.”

“What can I say?”

“Can you tell me where you were about nine on that night?”

“Probably not. That was five months ago. How would I . . . Oh, wait a minute.” I opened up my laptop and went to the website of my credit card company. On January 17, there was a posting from the Terrier and Rats for $88.01. “So,” I said, “if you go to that pub, they’ll be able to pull up that receipt. I remember now. I was trying to figure out the exact tip percentage to get it to exactly eighty-eight bucks. I couldn’t do it. I wanted eighty-eight coz that’s how many points the Raptors scored that night. They lost. The game would’ve been over about nine-thirty or nine forty-five, so my receipt will be ten or ten-thirty. The receipt will have the time on it. So that’s where I was all night.”

She made a few notes, looked at me, said, “Thank you, Mr. Yates. Sorry to have bothered you.” And they left.

Henry came out of his cage, sat beside me on the couch, and we watched the end of the ball game. Then I figured I’d go to the Terrier and Rats for a hair of the dog. I reached into Henry’s cage, pulled out Mister Bunny, unzipped his stomach, and took out a roll of money. I peeled off a hundred-dollar bill from what I’d taken from Peter the night I killed him for trying to rip me off on a heroin deal. I use my credit card only on special occasions.

Just because you have proof you paid at ten doesn’t mean you were there the whole time. I wonder if cops know that.

Free Key Day




William Kitcher



For no reason I could discern except for the fact the three of us were drunk, Eddie picked up a rock and smashed the window of the back door of the store beside the bar in which we were drinking and outside which we were smoking.

Eddie knocked the remaining shards of glass out with his elbow, put his hand through the window, and unlocked the door.

Our drinking companion, whose name I think was Annie, backed off and shook her head. I agreed with Annie. “What the shit, Eddie?” she said.

It was four o’clock in the afternoon; the store was still open for business. I figured that was the worst time of day to rob a place. But what do I know? I’m not a robber. My business is more dispersal of stolen goods, but I was a little intrigued.

Eddie went inside, and I went in after him, more out of interest in what would happen than any potential windfall.

I looked back at Annie. She took a couple more drags on her smoke, threw it away, and followed us inside.

Eddie had already moved into the front of the store. He had the storekeeper, a man about sixty, in a headlock.

“Jesus, Eddie,” said the man. “What are you doing?”

The guy knew who Eddie was. This could not end well.

“Shut up, old man,” said Eddie.

Eddie wrestled the old guy into the back room. “Annie, get the money,” he said.

This was stupid, but at least I was now sure of her name.

Annie shook her head. “Oh, good job, man. You idiot. That’s not my name.” Annie lit another smoke as she went out the back door. Annie wasn’t a burglar from what I’d heard. She was more of a pickpocket and scammer.

“Bill, get the money,” said Eddie.

I was kind of stunned by this point, especially considering my name isn’t Bill, so I went into the front of the store. I had no idea how to open a till.

A customer came in, and all I could think to say was, “May I help you, ma’am?”

“I’d like this key duplicated.”

It was a shoe store. I was confused. Pathetically, I called out, “Eddie?”

Faintly, I heard, “What?”

“Customer wants a key duplicated.”

There was a pause, then the old man came out of the back room, took the woman’s key, and went back to the back.

I smiled stupidly.

A couple of minutes later, he came back with two keys, gave them to the customer, and said, “No charge. It’s ‘Free Key Day.’ Please come again.”

The woman left, and I stood there with the old man. OK, not old, he was about sixty, as I said.

Eddie came into the store from the back. We all looked at each other.

The storekeeper turned to Eddie. “Swear to God, Eddie,” he said, “and you know I don’t believe in God, why do you do shit like this? I asked you to replace the entire back door. I have three sons and two daughters who could do this without being dramatic, but I chose you, and this is how you start?”

“Hey, Dad, you know me. It’s more fun this way.”

I was still standing there, stupidly.

When Eddie and I went back to the bar, we discovered Annie had drunk the rest of our drinks and stolen our coats.



Bill Kitcher’s stories, plays, and comedy sketches (and one poem!) have been published, produced, and/or broadcast in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Czechia, England, Guernsey, Holland, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, and the U.S. His stories have appeared in Horror Sleaze Trash, Rock and a Hard Place, Shotgun Honey, Guilty, Mystery Tribune, Yellow Mama, and many other journals. His novel, Farewell and Goodbye, My Maltese Sleep, was published in 2023 by Close To The Bone Publishing. 

Also, his prehensile tail,which never caused him any problems, has now started lengthening.

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