Yellow Mama Archives II

Martin Zeigler

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

Point Made


by Martin Zeigler



Mr. Nielsen sat in his cubbyhole of an office, just off his classroom. It was late. The hallway outside was dead quiet.

He was at his desk, grading homework. Checkmarks for the right answers, X’s for the wrongs. There were far more checkmarks, which was a good sign, but still too many X’s.

A man appeared at his office door. An older guy, not a student.

"Help you?" Nielsen said.

"1967," the guy said. "This'll be the year. Meadows High will make state for sure."

"And you are?"

"Gary Seltin's my son."

"Ah, okay. Come in. Have a seat."

Seltin stayed where he was. "Coach Aden says Gary is one hell of a player. But he'll need good grades to make the team."

Nielsen shrugged.

"His other teachers will do their part," Seltin said. "And he could sure use a B from you."

"He's at D level right now, I'm afraid."

Seltin stepped into the office, stood at the side of the desk, close to Nielsen. "Doing what? Making circles and lines?"

"There's more to geometry than that."

"Not much more," Seltin said. "I flipped through Gary's textbook. It's all useless, you ask me."

"Learning can often be its own reward."

"They teach you that in teacher school?"

Nielsen shrugged again. "As I told Gary, I can recommend a tutor who'll give him the one-on-one attention he needs."

Seltin snickered. "And I recommend you listen to Coach Aden about what it means to have school spirit."

"It's a matter of being fair to my students."

"So you won't budge? Not even this once?" Seltin said.


Seltin swung his fist, slammed it into Nielsen's face. Nielsen's head lurched sideways, and he grunted. He whisked a hand to his stricken cheekbone and held it there. "What on earth?" he muttered.

"You'll survive."

"I'll press charges, do you hear?"

"Is that so?" Seltin said. "I belong to the Chamber of Commerce. I'm active in Kiwanis, Rotary. The Boosters. I own and run the best trophy shop in the area. I sponsor more games and competitions than you can count with your tiny teaching degree. Good luck trying to make me look bad. And I'll expect that B by tomorrow."




Nielsen, at his office door, called out to Seltin, at the classroom door, "Wait. Don't leave. Please come back in and have a seat. Let's talk."

This time Seltin sat.

Nielsen stood by the chair. "We use a straightedge for the lines," he said.

"So what?"

"And this for the circles."

With an aim straight, true, and swift, Nielsen rammed a leg of a drawing compass up Seltin's right nostril until the sharp end pierced solid tissue and stuck.

Nielsen held tight until Seltin's scream settled into a whimper, then let go of the compass.

It didn't move. It hung sturdily from Seltin's nose, the one leg still lodged in the nostril, the other leg visible and pointing upward, the handle hovering motionless over Seltin's quivering mouth.

"Here's the deal," Nielsen said. "I'll give Gary a B on one condition."

Seltin pawed at the hanging instrument, wincing with each touch. "What," he said finally. "What condition?"

Nielsen rested his hands on the chair arm and leaned forward. "That he do B work. Deal?"

"Like hell."

"Really?" Nielsen said. He reached out toward the compass.

"Okay! Okay!" Seltin said. "Deal! Now get this thing out!"

"I'm going to have to yank it. Really hard."

Sweat streamed down from Seltin's hairline. "Do what you have to do."

"Will do," Nielsen said. "And, oh, one more thing. As one good person to another, can I give you some friendly advice?"


Nielsen tapped his finger on the tip of Seltin's nose. "On your way out, try not to bloody the floor."




by Martin Zeigler



"Ten dollars says I can pull my eye out of my mouth."

I was on my way back to my hotel, but this sounded too good to pass up. I smiled at the young man who had approached me. "That so?" I asked. "Which eye?”

"Does it matter?"

"I suppose not. Okay, you're on."

I flashed a ten from my wallet to show I was good for it.

He took a thin card out of his shirt pocket and slipped it into his mouth, then slowly drew it back out and showed me what was on it—a saliva-dampened letter I.

"Pulled an I out of my mouth, just like I told you," he said.

I had a nitpick or two, but I kept them to myself. He seemed a decent sort, well-dressed, almost as if he were out to make a little extra for his mom and him back home.

I hoped the ten would help. I would've only wasted it on a superhero flick.




Come evening, I headed out for one last walk before calling it a night and flying back home in the morning.

A few blocks down, a guy in an ugly shirt was whaling away at someone in an alley. I had a feeling I knew who the someone was.

I raced ahead. Ugly Shirt backed off from the alley with something in his fist. He sputtered angry sounds and took off running.

The someone he left behind was who I thought it was. The “I‑Man.” I held out my hand to help him up. He took it.

"Let me get you to an urgent care," I said. "I'll pay."

"I'll live. Bastard took my money roll."

"I'll be right back."

I let the cry of "Hey, don't!" fade away behind me. Within seconds I spotted him, his shirt a sore thumb. He'd slowed to a brisk walk. I sprinted ahead and turned to face him.

"He wants his money back," I said.

"Scumbag's a cheat."

"How so?"

"He bet me ten bucks he could make me turn around in a circle. I showed him a ten and stood perfectly still. Meaning he lost. But not only did he keep his ten, he snatched mine. So I snatched them both, plus interest."

I had to laugh. "Let me guess. What he really said was, 'I bet I can make you turn around.' Then, after you took him up on it and stood oh, so perfectly still, he showed you a card with the letter U on it and rotated it three‑sixty."

"Yeah, so what?"

"So you're a sap, and he won fair and square."

Ugly Shirt shoved me.

On instinct I shoved right back. He lost his footing and landed on the sidewalk. I'm no great fighter, so that worked for me.

As he lay on his back, groaning, I took two receipts out of my wallet, and using the ballpoint I carry around, I sketched out a large capital letter on the back of each one. I slipped them into different parts of his ugly shirt so the letters would show.

While I was at it, I dipped into his shirt pocket.

Not far up the street, the I-Man was limping toward me. I met him and gave him back his money roll.

"Hey, man, thanks a lot," he said. "What'd you say to him?"

"A few words, then I kayoed him but good."

The I-Man watched the same thing I did—Ugly Shirt getting to his feet.

"Looks like it didn't take," the I-Man said.

"Might be because the K and the O are on slips of paper."

"Ha," the I-Man said, trying a laugh that likely smarted.

He peeled off a couple bills, but I waved them off.




Martin Zeigler writes short fiction, primarily mystery; science fiction; and horror. His stories have appeared in a number of journals, both in print and online. Besides writing, Marty enjoys watching movies, playing the piano, and going for long walks. He makes his home in the Pacific Northwest.

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