Yellow Mama Archives II

Paul Beckman
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

Paul Beckman

No Pepsi, Coke.


by Paul Beckman


The bus picked me up after waiting four hours outside the prison, and two hours later pulled into The Junction Rest Stop, where I carried my prison-issued backpack of clothes and personal effects to the gas pump, where I hung around asking for a ride.

“Where you going?” the gas pumper asked and I told him anywhere he was going was good enough for me, so he told me to hop in and asked if I just got out of prison and I told him I did, but that I wasn’t looking for trouble.

“Can you kick in a couple bucks for gas?” he asked, and I told him I had less than twenty on me but if he insisted, I could come up with a deuce.

I gave him a crumpled single and a dollar’s worth of change.

He pulled around to the side of the diner and asked me what type of sandwich I’d like, and I told him I was hungry, and any kind was good, so he came out and handed me a bag with tuna on rye, a bag of chips, and a can of Pepsi.

“Didn’t they have Coke?” I asked, and he said they did, but he was a Pepsi guy.

“Do you mind if I go in and change for a Coke?”

“Yes,” he said. “I’d mind very much.”

“Are you always this sensitive?”

“Do you always look a gift horse in his mouth?”

I reached over, yanked the car keys from the ignition and said, “I’ll be right back after I get my Coke.”

I got back to the car with my Coke, opened the door, tossed him the car keys, and said, “Drive.”

He pulled out of the station, and we rode in quiet until I turned to get something from my backpack, which I didn’t see. “Where’s my backpack?” I demanded.

“With your Pepsi.”

“Well, turn around and get it,” I ordered.

“Can’t. I’m on a tight schedule.”

We were stopped in line at the turnpike toll, so I grabbed him by the collar and pulled him to me. “You don’t know who you’re messing with,” I said, and then heard the click of a switchblade and felt it in my groin.

I let go of his collar and got out of his car.

The driver floored the car, and then I heard him jam on his breaks and watched the trunk pop and saw him run out of the car, reach into the trunk, and grab the backpack. I watched him watching me and then I started running towards the car as he tossed the backpack into the woods and drove off, flipping me the bird as he went.

I caught a ride with an eighteen-wheeler and told him my version of the story where I got picked up, robbed, and had my backpack gone through and all my money stolen.

We spotted Mr. Pepsi filling up at the turnpike rest stop some three hours later, and my driver pulled a pistol from the glove compartment and told me to wait while he went to get my money.

As he reached the car I slid over to the driver’s seat and took off for parts unknown, blowing the airhorn as I went by him and the Pepsi guy, laying on the ground in a puddle of gas or blood.



I May Be on My Way to Becoming a COVID Statistic

By Paul Beckman


The Surgeon promised to take the bandages off today. It’s been almost three weeks. I’m lying in the dark with no visitors because of the COVID thing. I feel like I’m back in the hole after all these years. At least in the hole, I got one hour of daylight to walk around the yard where there are two guards with rifles on the wall and one with a Glock in his lap, sitting in the corner chair tilted back, hat half- covering his eyes, but he’s not fooling me.

The nurse walks in and tells me she’ll have to remove the bandages in the room because all the operatories are taken with pandemic patients. I hear her pulling the blinds and closing the drapes. I am anxious and a little nervous, I tell her.

Nothing to be anxious or nervous about, she says, and then I hear the loudspeaker call her name to report to the nurse’s desk.

I hear the door open, and the drapes sliding back and the blinds opening.

What’s up? I ask my nurse but it’s a different nurse who answers, and he says that both the surgeon and my nurse tested positive for COVID, and he’s going to have to test me.

There is a familiar rasp to his voice, but I can’t place it. He sticks something up my nose hard and twirls it around until I feel the blood drops, and then he does my other nostril, and I reach out grab his arm and feel his obscene muscles and just as he jams for the third time and swirls the Q-tip around. The blood starts pouring out of that nostril also.

I’ll be back with your results, the husband of the woman I picked up in the bar says, and I know he’ll tell me the test says to keep my eyes covered. He returns in an hour and tells me he must draw blood. Can’t you just take it from my nose, I ask?

Still and always the wise ass, he says and jabs me hard, missing a vein but hitting my funny bone.


Strickland’s Last Day

Paul Beckman



Strickland stood outside in the blazing sun talking to Lucas when he spotted the Greyhound Bus rounding the bend and turning into the driveway of the Pennsylvania State Prison. Lucas shook Strickland’s hand, patted him on the back, and slipped him an envelope. Strickland never looked back but got on the bus and handed the driver a chit from the warden and off the bus went with a dozen or so people looking at him.

The driver told Strickland to take a seat and Strickland said, “Yes sir. Where?”

“Anywhere there’s no one else sitting.” So, Strickland looked around, saw the two front seats across from the driver were empty, and placed his two paper shopping bags atop the overhead, spread out on the two seats, legs apart and smiled as he watched the acres of corn blowing in the wind.

An hour later the driver pulled into a gas station and announced, “I’ll be pulling out of here in 30 minutes so don’t dawdle at the buffet or bookstore because I don’t wait.” Strickland was the only one who didn’t get off the bus but opened one of his shopping bags and took out an apple, and a mustard and cheese sandwich.

While the driver was gassing up, sipping an RC, a car drove in and parked in front of the bus and the driver got out, opened his trunk, took out a suitcase, nodded at the driver, and climbed the stairs to the bus. “Move over,” he said to Strickland and Strickland did what he was told. “There are fresh clothes in the suitcase, go into the crapper in the rear of the bus and get out of those prison clothes and dress like a free man. Wet your hair, use the comb and the stickum, and come out looking like you own the bus. When you get off in Philly wait at the station for us to meet you. Questions?”

Strickland shook his head no but had a bunch of questions. The stranger climbed down the bus stairs and the driver climbed up and gave the horn three toots which everyone else knew was time to get back on.

He watched the driver head out and then took the suitcase and shopping bags and got off the bus. He had three hours before the bus got to Philly. When he was in the head changing clothes, he opened the letter from the warden which turned out to really be from his cellmate.

Be alert. Be very alert. They are sending three guys on the way to take you out in Philly. Don’t wear anything from the suitcase or take the suitcase. It’s got a tracker and most likely the clothes do also. Buy two burner phones, leave your cell on the bus in the suitcase. Offer one of the C notes to a trucker who’s going away from Philly to take you. Get to St. Cloud Minnesota and use this key in the truck stop mailroom. Text me the burner number and then crush the phone and buy another.

He changed his clothes back and repacked his suitcase, and then went back to his seat.

Strickland walked along the side of the highway and came upon a diner with a few pickups parked. He walked over to the one with hay bales and stashed his suitcase, covering it with hay.

He walked inside the diner, sat at the counter, and got a coffee, black, and a slab of cherry pie from the cute waitress with bangs and a pony tail who said, “Here you go, Big Guy.” He then ordered a pair of BLTs, one to go, took the coffee refill, grabbed his shopping bags after leaving a sawbuck on the counter and walked out into the night.

Strickland waited to see where the hay truck was going and then walked on the main road away from Philly and finally got a ride from a shiny Lincoln Town car. He hopped in the back, nodded at the other passenger, a lady about his age who had one of those familiar-looking faces he couldn’t place, (the oversized sunglasses and fedora didn’t help) and they all rode in silence until the driver said I’m going to pull off the road to pee and turned up a dirt driveway and got out.

Without turning around one of the two passengers in the front seat finally spoke. “You were instructed to change clothes and carry the suitcase.”

Strickland began to twitch when the woman next to him pulled out a pistol and passed it over to him. His door opened and the driver was standing looking angry and holding a 6-inch switchblade. The lady opened her door and got out saying, “I don’t want to get my new clothes bloody, Big Guy.”

The knife guy took a step forward and Strickland shot him twice and then ordered both guys out of the front seat and dispatched them with double taps to each of their heads.

The woman walked around the back of the car and yelled at Strickland, “You moron, they were with us,” and then pulled out another gun and finished him off.

After she took all their IDs and money, she dragged them into the brush, searched Strickland again, found the key and letter telling her where to find his hold-up money from five years ago, and drove off towards St. Cloud with thoughts of easy living in her head, the radio blaring country music with her singing along, never noticing the black Town Car with the tinted windows tailing her all the way.

Stunning Redheads Are Trouble


by Paul Beckman



I moved into my New Haven apartment several weeks ago and hadn’t met any neighbors until this morning. I was getting my mail and a woman came up to me and said, “You have a lot of nerve moving into this building. How dare you!”

I looked around to see who she was talking to, and it was me.

“What’s your problem?” I asked. “I believe you have a case of mistaken identity.”

“Still a moron, I see,” she said.

“Perhaps, but what does that have to do with anything?” I asked this stunning redhead who appeared normal as well as luscious.

“This is the third apartment you’ve followed me to in the past two years,” she said. “That’s stalking.”

Well, it was true that this was my third move in the past two years but the other two were in another state, so I asked her, “Where were these other two apartments you say I followed you to?”

“As if you don’t know,” she said.

“Listen, if we’re going to get to the bottom of this. you’ll have to answer my question.”

“Or what?”

“Or what? What?”

“Just what’ll you do if I don’t answer your question, threaten me again?”

“Listen. Go back to your apartment, take your meds, and lie down. This’ll pass and you won’t even remember this episode.”

Here is the point. I knew this woman and did live in two other apartment buildings she was in, but the fact is, she kept moving to where I was living and not the other way around.

My sister’s had these delusional problems since she was a kid but until my father and mother died within months of each other two years ago, she had let me be. I hadn’t seen her for a dozen years before that and until today, never as a redhead. She was a natural brunette given to blonde streaks.

Now, with no parents and no other siblings, I became her target of choice, Threaten her? I’m afraid this time I’m going to have to do more than that.

Paul Beckman’s latest flash collection, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press), was a finalist for the 2019 Indie Book Awards. Some of his stories appeared in Spelk, Connotation Press, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, WINK, Jellyfish Review, The Wax Paper, Monkey, and The Lost Balloon. He had a story selected for the 2020 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology Lineup and was shortlisted in the Strands International Flash Fiction Competition. He was nominated for 2021 Best of the Web and Best Micro-Fiction. Paul earned his MFA from Bennington College and has his next collection of connected flash stories coming out with Cervana Barva.

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