Yellow Mama Archives II

Kurt Hohmann

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

Mother's Day

by Kurt Hohmann



“Ma! Thanks for coming. Means a lot to me, you going to all this bother.

“Sorry that chair's not more comfy, what with your arthritis and all. And it's nailed down tight, like everything else here. You hear me okay through this mesh? Good.

"Kinda weird, thinking I gotta catch you up. I mean, when I was little, you always knew everything I was doing. Must have been rough putting me on the school bus, the way you hated me ever being out of your sight.

"You were so sure I was a gonna be a wild child. Drinking, smoking, running with boys. I remember seventh grade, that time you broke your favorite wooden spoon on me. Something you read in my diary, you said. You never did tell me what. But it taught me to hold my secrets close.

"You taught me so much. I know you were just looking out for me. Cause you cared. More'n anybody else ever did. The guys here? I'm sure you talked to a few of 'em when they let you in. They don't care. To them, I'm just another job.

“Like my new 'do? Ha! The way you keep staring at me, I know what you're thinking. All those nights you spent yanking the tangles out when I was a kid, and here I just go, just chopping it all off. You know what though? New hair, new outfit, new outlook.

“Never known you to be so awful quiet. Not saying you talk too much, nothing like that. It’s just — well, growing up, the sound of your voice, it always meant 'home.' Whether you were yelling at me, or Daddy, or whoever.

“But hey, if you’re feeling quiet today, that’s okay. Reckon I got enough to say for both of us.

“Had another visitor a few weeks back. Remember Lyn Hager? We were pretty tight, right up into high school. She looks good. Married, couple kids, decent job.

"I can’t hardly remember the last time we got together. She must've been, what, eighteen? When you told her she was 'too old' to be coming around any more? Of course you were right. I was only sixteen — she didn’t need to be hanging around a kid my age.

"Surprised the hell out of me, her starting that fundraiser. Even more surprising to see how many folks pitched in.

“Well, ain't this just a trip down memory lane. You know what? I really want to thank you. For always kicking my ass back to the right path. Took years before I figured out what you meant when you said, ‘This hurts me more than it hurts you.’ Back then, I only knew how much I was hurting.

“But I reckon it made an impression. Sometimes a beatin's the best way to get through. Other times, even that's not enough. You never took no shit from me — pardon my French — and so I learned never to take it from nobody else. Just how life works. Some folks say it's my attitude's got me where I am today. If that’s true, then you should maybe stand up and take a bow.

“You feeling okay? You look a little pale.

“You were always big on the whole ‘tough love’ thing. I knew you were gonna flip, that day I came home and told you I got myself knocked up. I cursed you up and down after you threw me out. But you taught me to live with my choices. Make my own way in the world.

“That time was tough. No way I was gonna raise a kid all on my own. And that boy that got me that way? He wanted nothing to do with it. Or me. So yeah, I got rid of it. Wasn't long after, I got rid of him too. Guess he was the first.

"When was the last time I saw you?


"That's right.

"Daddy's funeral.

"Sorry to bring that up. But you know what? All that stuff you said that day? I thought about that a lot. And like always, you were right. Probably I did put him in his grave.

"It had to be hard on him. I mean, he could look real mean when you were around. But you wanna know a secret? Lots of times, as soon as you left the room, he'd whisper in my ear. One of his dumb jokes. And we'd both do our damnedest not to laugh out loud. All that flipping back and forth, mean and nice. It took a toll on him.

"I miss him. A lot. You must be missing him too.

“Some parents, they praise their kids for every stupid little thing they do. Just makes 'em think the world owes 'em something, don't it? Not you. You always told me I’d never amount to anything. And you know what? Made my life a lot easier. Every time some guy took me out, started talking me up? I knew he was blowing smoke up my...well, you know.

"There was a time I'd do anything I thought might tick you off. I'd pick up guys just cause I knew you wouldn’t like 'em. Funny, turns out those were the same kind of guys I later...well, you know. Like I said, even a beatin' ain't enough for some.

"You really did deserve better. You used to tell me that every day. That, and how you never wanted me in the first place.

"Time's running short, and I’ve been chewing your ear off. Next time, maybe you’ll feel more like talking.

"What's the matter? Oh didn't hear, did you? I can see it on your face. My date with the needle's been put off. The new lawyer — the one I got through that fundraiser? I guess she got somebody to listen to her. So no worries. There'll be a next time.

“And hey, it ain't so bad in here. Three squares a day, and the food's nowhere near as bad as you think. Got a room to myself, and nobody messes with me. 'Death Row' sounds so ominous, don't it? But shoot, it could be months, even years, before my number comes up again. If it ever does.

"I still don't see why it's such a big deal. Seems to me I was doing a public service. They didn't even find but a couple of 'em. I guess cause nobody even cared enough to report the rest missing. Says a lot, don't it?

"My lawyer says there's holes in the state's case she could drive a truck through. She's positive she can get my sentence reversed, and you want to know what else? I might even get out.

"If I do — get out, I mean — you know what I'm gonna do first? Come visit my Ma. Catch up on old times. No guards, no shackles. Nothing to come between us.

"Makes me smile, every time I think about that.



by Kurt Hohmann



Gail waits at the corner of Elm and Third. Her legs ache from two hours of waiting in the damp autumn air. Her spirit aches from a wait that's dragged on for an entire year.

The projector in her mind plays the year-old film in an endless loop.

Jimmy Dupotnik, star quarterback, smiles at her from across the cafeteria. Hundreds of adolescent voices fade into background buzz as he approaches. His eyes, exuding confidence beneath a mop of dark curls, call to her. She answers his call in kind, filled with her own confidence that he's about to ask her to the homecoming dance. Her plans are coming to fruition, dreams falling into place.

But then . . .

Jimmy's smiling face is eclipsed. A shadow falls across the sunshine of his perfect visage. His attention shifts. A moment passes. With it go Gail's chances for a lifetime of happiness.

The shadow is called Mary Fezwick. The pleats of her cheerleading skirt reveal long, tanned legs. Her big, phony smile and bigger, phony boobs consume Jimmy's vision.

Gail, forgotten, is once more consumed by the noise of the crowd.

Her mental film loop includes no footage of Jimmy and Mary being crowned homecoming king and queen. The night of the dance, Gail shrouded herself in the darkness of the woods, where crying coyotes muffled her own tortured sobs.

All of the classes she signed up for, the clubs she joined, the people she pretended to befriend; all of her careful plans became torture. Jimmy was unattainable, but also unavoidable. And his eyes called only to Mary.

The year passed. Summer provided some respite, and in September Gail made sure to avoid them both.

Until today. Today, she'll see them in full royal garb, king and queen of the bygone year. Taking their last ride together.

The parade turns the corner and begins to pass by. Gail ignores the marching band, the tykes on trikes, the clowns. She focuses on her goal, the only thing that matters.

It appears. The monstrous red and blue float, royal coach of the homecoming. They are up there, turning and waving at the crowd.

Gail slides her fingers along the cold steel. A year ago, she knew nothing of guns. Today, caressing its barrel is like greeting a dear friend. Hand firm on the grip, thumb sliding off the safety, she begins to slip it from beneath her coat.

She pauses. Jimmy's in his uniform, but it looks all wrong; it hangs on his frame. As for Mary, the royal robe she's wearing can't hide her protruding belly. Any more than makeup hides the bruises on her face.

They both smile, but without joy. They do it because it's what they're supposed to do.

Gail's own smile is genuine as she slides the gun back into its holster. After all, she still has a lifetime of happiness to pursue.

Kurt tells stories, builds altars to ancient gods, and crafts mad culinary experiments. He and his wife share a home with two living cats, six feline ghosts, and one affectionate python. His work has appeared in Dark Fire Fiction, Inner Sins, Chantwood, Abstract Jam, Bookends Review, and Eternal Haunted Summer.

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