Yellow Mama Archives II

Roy Dorman

Acuff, Gale
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Burke, Wayne F.
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
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.
Dorman, Roy
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fillion, Tom
Fortier, M. L.
Garnet, George
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hohmann, Kurt
Holtzman, Bernice
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Koperwas, Tom
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Prusky, Steve
Reddick, Niles M.
Robson, Merrilee
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schmitt, Di
Short, John
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snethen, Daniel G.
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Temples. Phillip
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, K. A.
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zimmerman, Thomas



Roy Dorman



“Damn! That’s gotta hurt,” said Marisa Turner as she finished pumping gas into her rental car.

Marisa was travelling east on Interstate 10, still a hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans.  She’d stopped for gas, fast food to go, and a potty break.

As she pumped her gas, she’d watched an eighteen-wheeler pull into the diesel side of the oasis.  After the driver got out of his cab, he’d walked around looking at the front of his truck like they always do, and then headed into the McDonalds.

As soon as the trucker was inside, Marisa saw a man drop from the undercarriage of the trailer onto the blacktop.

The man who looked to be in his early thirties picked himself up off the pavement, brushed himself off, and walked in her direction.

“You okay, guy?” Marisa asked.  “Need anything?”

Marisa already knew something about this handsome tag-a-long from his clothes.  She’d seen the cheap outfits prisons gave to inmates upon release.

She’d been given clothes like that.  More than once.

“Yeah.  I’m hungry, thirsty, and could use a nap,” he said with a smile.  And after looking Marisa up and down he added, “And if ya had a mind to — "

“Let’s work on the hungry and thirsty for now,” said Marisa.

They both turned and watched as a State Patrol cruiser pulled into the parking lot.

“Why don’t you get into the front passenger seat so you don’t attract any unwanted attention,” Marisa stage whispered.  “I’m going into Mickey D’s.  Burger, fries, and a Coke?”

“Beggars can’t be choosers.”

Marisa returned with the to-go food and drinks and was pleasantly surprised to see her new friend sitting in her car.

“So, you wanna ride with me for a while, or is this the stop you were lookin’ for?” she asked, leaning in the front window.

“I’ll ride for a while.”

“What’s your name?”


“Jeremy what?”

“Ya don’t need my last name.  But I already know you’re Marisa Turner from the rental paperwork in the glove compartment.”

“You went through my car while I was in getting food for you?”

“Found yer switchblade under the driver side floor mat too,” Jeremy said with a smirk.

Marisa handed Jeremy his McDonalds and put hers on the console between them.  She then took a .22 from an ankle holster and leveled it at him.

“Give me my knife,” she said through clenched teeth.

“I said I found it; I didn’t take it.”

Marisa stared at him for a few seconds. “Are you a tough guy?” she asked, putting the .22 back into its holster.

“Yeah, I’m pretty tough,” said Jeremy.  “That important?”

“I need to employ a tough guy for a couple of jobs I’ve got comin’ up.  Interested?”

“Well, I — "

“I know you just got out of prison back there someplace.  If you don’t wanna get involved in anything right away that might — "

“It was the clothes, wasn’t it?” said Jeremy, laughing.  “Ain’t we a pair?”

“We’re not a pair yet, but we could be,” said Marisa.  “I’m gonna eat while I drive.  Go ahead and nap after you’re done.  I’ll wake you up when we get to New Orleans.”

“It’s Weston,” Jeremy said around a mouthful of fries.

“What’s Weston?” asked Marisa.

“Me.  I’m Jeremy Weston.”

“Well, I seriously doubt that,” said Marisa.  “But it’s okay, I’m not Marisa Turner, either.”

“See,” said Jeremy.  “I told ya we were a pair.”

Marisa kept her eyes on the road as she ate her burger.  Though she thought Jeremy was cute and could maybe fill the bill for what she needed as far as hired muscle for a while, she decided it would be best for now if she didn’t believe a word he said.                                                                                        

And those prison clothes?  She figured she knew why he hadn’t tried hitch-hiking instead of riding under the trailer.  Those clothes may have been given to him at the time of his release, but more likely he’d commandeered them in order to make a successful escape. 

There was probably an alert out for him up and down the Interstate.  That State Trooper who pulled into the truck stop hadn’t been a coincidence.

Jeremy would need some careful watching during his probationary period.


They spent the night at a mom-and-pop motel in a little town thirty miles outside of New Orleans.  Rising early, Marisa gave Jeremy a twenty-dollar bill and sent him up the street to a café for some breakfast for the road.

After he left, Marisa gathered her things.  She’d paid cash in advance for the room the previous night, and was ready to go.  Jeremy made her laugh, was good in bed, and he may or may not have worked out in New Orleans.  But the job was too important to risk using an unvetted partner. Especially somebody as loosey-goosey as Jeremy.  She’d do it alone.

Marisa sighed.  Sometimes she had thoughts of what could’ve been.

Reaching into her purse for her keys, she was brought up short.

No keys.  Pulling back the drapes, she looked out the window at the parking lot and saw her car was gone.

Stepping out the door, Marisa laughed.  “Damn!  Ain’t we a pair?” she said to the quiet morning.

A car pulled into the driveway of the parking lot.  Her rental.  Through the windshield, Jeremy gave her a big smile and a thumbs up.

Marisa smiled back and returned the thumbs up. 

But she had a decision to make before they got to New Orleans.  What she needed was a back-up she could trust with her life. 

And Jeremy didn’t fit that bill.

He was the type who did well at the interview, but turned out to be a problem employee once he got the job.


Two Louisiana State Patrol cars put on their flashing lights as they pulled onto the shoulder of the road, scattering a flock of turkey buzzards. 

Traffic on Interstate 10 slowed and starting moving single file into the far-left lane.

“Looks like he could be our boy,” said Trooper Lester Higgins.

“Sure does,” answered Trooper Bonnie Mae Lapierre.  “Got himself quite a ways before he ran into somebody meaner than him.”

“One shot from a small caliber pistol to the forehead,” offered Lester after rolling the body over onto its back.  “Might’ve been ridin’ with somebody who tired of ‘em.”

“Or maybe he was standin’ here hitchin’ a ride and said the wrong thing to the wrong person.”

“I’ll call New Orleans for the EMTs,” said Lester, walking back to his squad car.

“Tell ‘em they don’t have to rush.  This one here ain’t gonna be needin’ all that much of their expertise.”




By Roy Dorman


“This place looks like it might be open already,” said Gordy Stone.  “Let’s go in and have a couple to celebrate, and then find a place for an early dinner.”

“Sounds good,” said Don Pickens.

It’s a little after two-o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon, and Clarissa McFadden had just opened the doors of Mickey’s Tavern.  She often chooses a couple of weekdays to open the place herself.  It gives her bartenders time to do their personal stuff.

The first two customers to come in and sit at the bar are middle-aged men who look professional. 

Professional like her friend, mob boss Arnie Bate’s hired help look professional.

Clarissa took the bar’s .38 from the drawer and put it on the shelf under the bar for easy access.

She had a feeling about these two.

“Afternoon, barkeep.  Two dry martinis, please.”

“Comin’ right up,” Clarissa said with a smile.

The men talk in low tones, but Clarissa can hear bits and pieces of the conversation from where she’s preparing the drinks.

“Think she’s Mickey?” asked Stone.

“Nah,” answered Pickens.  “From the looks of the architecture of this place, Mickey’s probably been dead for fifty years.”

Clarissa set the drinks in front of the two.  Pickens put a twenty and a ten on the bar.

“Thanks,” he said.  “Change is for you.  First tip of the day.”

“Thanks much,” said Clarissa.

“So, is Mickey around?” asked Stone.

“Mickey’s been dead for over fifty years,” Clarissa said with a smirk.  “I’m Clarissa.  I own this bar.”

“Nice to meetcha,” said Pickens.  “I’m Don, and this is my, ah…, partner, Gordy.  We’re celebratin’.”

“What’s the occasion?” asked Clarissa.

“Two occasions,” said Stone.  “We both retired this week, and we got married an hour ago.”

“That’s great.  Any more drinks are on the house.  Stay as long as you like.  And if you’re not from around here, I can tell you about some good restaurants in the Central Park area.”

Before either man could reply to Clarissa’s hospitality, a third man walked in the door.

Clarissa moved up tight against the bar and picked up the .38.  She held it out of sight at her side.

“Well, well, well. Stone and Pickens,” the rough looking character said, ignoring Clarissa.

Of course, there’s no way he could know this, but Clarissa really hated to be ignored.

The new guy drew a Glock from a shoulder holster and leveled it at Pickens and Stone.  Neither of the men moved.

“You don’t retire until the boss says you can retire.  You know the rules.  He sent me up here to make a lesson outta you two for any others who may think they’re their own bosses.”

Clarissa raised her .38 and said to the newcomer, “Drop the Glock or you’re a dead man.”

The guy turned toward Clarissa and she fired, hitting him in the forehead.  Falling back, he managed to get off a reflexive shot that hit Clarissa near the heart.

“Let’s get outta here,” yelled Stone.

“Fuck that,” said Pickens.  “Call 911.  I’m gonna try and keep her alive until they get here.”


“Call 911, goddammit!  We’re done runnin’.  You and me started a new life together this morning.  We’re joinin’ the ranks of the regular folks.  Call!”

Stone dialed.  “Shots fired at Mickey’s Tavern near Central Park.  Bartender down.  Need an ambulance.  Now!”

Pickens grabbed a handful of clean bar rags and pressed them onto Clarissa’s wound.

“Missed her heart, but it’s gonna be close,” he said between forcing air into her lungs.

EMTs came pouring through the door and took over for Pickens.  Uniformed cops followed the EMTS.

“What happened here?” asked Ritchie Byrnes, the officer in charge.  “Damn, that’s Clarissa McFadden.” And then, “Who’s that?” pointing at the dead man.  “And who are you two?”

“I’m Don Pickens and this is my husband, Gordy Stone.” 

That was the first time he’d said that and it felt good.  “We were havin’ a drink and chattin’ with the bartender when that guy on the floor came in, probably to rob the joint.  The bartender had a .38 behind the bar, and while this guy was lookin’ to relieve us of our wallets, she told him to drop his piece.  He turned to shoot her and she shot him.  That’s about it.  It happened pretty fast.”

“Okay if I pat ya down?” asked Officer Byrnes.

“Sure, go ahead,” said Stone.

Stone and Pickens had decided to start their retirement and married life without carrying the tools of their trade.  They were clean.

EMTs hurriedly wheeled Clarissa past Stone, Pickens, and Byrnes, and out the door.

“You did a good job,” said one of the EMTS to Pickens.  “You in the business?”

“Retired,” Pickens hedged.

“Well, you almost certainly saved her life.  Nice work.”

“We’re gonna need you to come to the precinct for statements,” said Byrnes.

“We can do that,” said Pickens.  “Lead on.”

Byrnes left an officer at the bar to wait for someone to come in and either take over or close the place.


Pickens and Stone had saved Clarissa’s life.  But before they’d done that, she’d saved theirs. 

After surgery, Clarissa told her husband, Carl, everything that had happened, including her thoughts as to why those two had been targeted. 

But she hadn’t shared all she suspected with the police.  Pickens and Stone would be looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives, and didn’t need any additional scrutiny from the NYPD right now.

When visitors were allowed, Mickey’s bartenders came in with flowers and cards to cheer her up.  The bartenders were handling the scheduling, and things were once again fine at Mickey’s.

Carl was just leaving Clarissa’s room to go find coffee when he spotted two big men, one carrying a huge bouquet of flowers, heading his way.

“Are you Don Pickens and Gordy Stone?”

The men tensed.  “You a cop?” asked Pickens.

“No,” said Carl, extending his hand.  “I’m Carl Monroe.  Clarissa’s husband.”

The two shook hands with Carl and visibly relaxed. 

“Your wife saved our lives,” said Stone.  And nodding at the flowers Pickens was holding, said, “We wanted to thank her.”

“I understand you saved hers.  And I want to thank you for that.”

“Yeah, well, if we wouldn’t’ve been there, she wouldn’t’ve been shot,” said Pickens.  “We feel bad about that.  From that little bit of time we had to get to know her, we got the idea she’s a great person.”

“That she is,” said Carl.  “And you didn’t shoot her, that wiseguy did.  Come on.  I’ll take you to her room.”

“How’s she doin’?” asked Pickens, following Carl down the hall.

“She’s recovering.  It’ll be a while before she’s her old feisty self, but she’ll be back to giving me grief when I screw up before too long.”

“Don and Gordy.  Long time, no see.  And flowers.  They’re beautiful.”

“Hi, Ms. McFadden,” said Pickens.  “We wanted to thank you for what ya did for us.”

“I don’t like people pulling guns on my customers,” said Clarissa.

“And when they do, she shoots ‘em,” Carl said, shrugging.

“Hey, I told ‘em to drop his piece, didn’t I, guys?”

“Yes, you did,” said Stone with a chuckle.

There was a pregnant pause until Pickens spoke again.

“Gordy and I would like to ask your permission to continue with something we’ve been plannin’ to do for some time now.  We have plane tickets to go to Paris out of La Guardia tonight.  We’re plannin’ to live there in our retirement.

“You’re a smart woman, so you’ve probably guessed from what you heard the other day as to what we’re retirin’ from.  We’re hopin’ to put some distance between us and that old life —”

“What our old selves would do,” Stone cut in.  “Is go after our boss for sending Walter Dean to execute us, and almost gettin’ you killed in the deal.  If you think we should, we will.  But we sorta promised each other at our wedding the other day that we wouldn’t go back to that.”

“And, hey, before I forget, we wanna thank you for not tellin’ the cops everything that was said during those few short minutes,” said Pickens.  “I’m assumin’ ya didn’t, because if ya had, we wouldn’t be free to try and live out our dream.”

“I give you my permission, guys,” said Clarissa.  “Carl and I wish you all the best.”

“Now, our former boss, Jackie Colgate, out of Atlanta, may not think this is over,” said Stone.  “Sometimes, things like this are never over.  We don’t like leavin’ you in that situation.”

“I’ve got this big, strong, handsome, lunk here to protect me.”

“As if she needs protecting—” said Carl.

“Also, Arnie Bates is a personal friend of ours,” said Clarissa.  “You may’ve heard of him. He just hates it when somebody from some other territory comes into his territory without checking in with him.  Walter Dean didn’t check in.  We’ll ask Arnie to give Colgate a call and tell him what’s expected in the future.”

“Arnie Bates, huh,” said Pickens.  “Heard he’s tough.”

“He is,” said Carl.  “And he’ll be glad to hear someone from Atlanta thinks he is.”

“Well, thanks again, Ms. McFadden,” said Stone.  “It was nice meetin’ ya even if the circumstances weren’t ideal.  You too, Carl.”

“Send us a postcard from Paris.  Maybe if Carl and I can pull ourselves away from our work, we’ll fly over and visit.”




Roy Dorman


Private Investigator Charlie Richardson left two cars between himself and the black SUV he was tailing.  That was standard operating procedure.

But at the next light, his mark stopped for the red light for just a second, and then sped off, running the light, leaving Charlie stuck between those buffer cars.

“Damn!” Charlie shouted, hammering his fist on the steering wheel.

There were cars waiting for the green in the left lane next to him, so his only option would have been to take the sidewalk.  That would have attracted a lot of attention.

Sidewalks have lots of things that make driving a car on them difficult.  Sign poles, fire hydrants, babies in strollers, sandwich boards, bag-people pushing grocery carts full of their belongings.  Lots of deterrents.

He banged the steering wheel again.

A two-year old sitting in his car seat in the car to Charlie’s left had seen him pounding on the steering wheel and thought it hilarious.  Charlie managed a smile and a wave, but wasn’t in the mood for much more than that.

Simmering, he waited for the light.

He figured he must’ve been spotted.  After leaving the light, the SUV probably made a left or right turn off this main drag and had then taken an alternate route to wherever they were going.

When the light changed, Charlie debated trying to catch up to his client’s concern or heading back to his office to regroup.

He decided to see if he could catch up.

He drove for a while, checking his rear-view mirror for when he could no longer see the stoplight. 

When it was no longer visible, he took the first right and accelerated.  Charlie figured a right turn had been the more likely choice as there would’ve been no wait for making a left turn into oncoming traffic.

“Come on, come on.  Where are ya?”

He’d been driving for five or six blocks, looking back and forth at all of the cross streets, when he saw the black SUV coming up fast behind him.

An arm with a pistol attached to it snaked out of the passenger side window.

Charlie hit the brakes, hoping the driver of the SUV would also have to hit his brakes, spoiling the aim of his partner.

It worked.  Sort of.

Two out of four shots came through the back window and exited through the windshield.

Accelerating again, Charlie cursed.  “That’s the third time I’ve had to replace those windows in six months.  My car insurance premium’s gonna go through the roof.”

Within a block, the SUV caught up, this time pulling alongside of Charlie’s old Toyota.  As soon as they were even, Charlie hit the brakes again and made a quick left turn down a side street.

The SUV also screeched to a stop, but was hit head-on by a garbage truck.  They’d been in the wrong lane at the wrong time.

Charlie didn’t see that collision, and he continued on as if he were being followed.  He circled the block where his parking garage was located a couple of times before deciding he’d somehow lost them.

He parked his car and walked the four blocks to his office.


His insurance agent said they’d send somebody out to repair the windows.  He told Charlie not to worry about filing a police report.  They already had police reports from the previous incidents.  They’d just use one of them to satisfy the paperwork.

“I’m gonna set ya up with business insurance on that vehicle instead of personal insurance,” said the agent, Al Sanders.  “It’s cheaper and ya can write off the expense.  You are getting shot at during the course of yer business, right?  It’s not a personal thing, is it?”

“Yer a funny guy, Al.  Do whatever ya can.”

“I think ya should consider adding some life insurance too,” Al said.  “Got anybody you’d like to leave a little richer?  Just in case?”

Charlie got up from his desk and walked to the only window in the office.  He stared down at the street and thought.  Out of the corner of his eye noticed a fly on its back on the window sill slowly kicking its last kicks.  An omen?

“Nah, I don’t have anybody like that,” he said.  The thought saddened him.

“Well, ya could leave it to a charity of yer choice,” continued Al.  “The way you do business, ya could have somebody killin’ ya anytime.  Think about it.  I gotta go.  Watch yer back.”

Charlie ended the call.  He was still staring down at the street when the hairs on the back of his neck bristled.

Watch yer back,” his agent had said.

Charlie turned from the window to face his office door.  He watched as the knob was slowly rotated and the door opened an inch or so. 

That wasn’t the way clients entered his office.

He heard someone whisper, “One, two, three.”

The door flew open and two thugs rushed in, guns drawn, scanning the office.  Charlie’d already pulled his Glock, and he nailed them both before either had a chance to get off a shot.

Maybe tailing people wasn’t his strong suit, but he’d always been able to shoot straight.

He stared at the two men bleeding out on his cheap carpet.

“…. ya could have somebody killin’ ya anytime.”


“Yeah, Al, it’s Charlie again.  I guess I’d like to go with some of that life insurance you mentioned.”

“That was quick,” Al said.

“Those guys who shot out my windows?  They’re dead on the floor in my office.  I’m waitin’ on Chicago’s finest.  Set me up for $50,000.”

“I’ll have Maddie do up the paperwork for yer signature, and I’ll bring it over after lunch.  Who do ya wanna designate as beneficiary?”

“You, Al.  You’ve been takin’ care of me for years.”

“Ya sure?  That’s sweet of ya and all, but a little irregular.  Probably raise some eyebrows at home office.”

“Well, I don’t wanna get ya in trouble —"

Nah, that’s okay.  Give ‘em something to talk about.  Stuffed shirts.”


Things were quiet for the next few weeks.  There was enough business, but it mostly involved staking out hotel parking lots and taking pictures of wayward spouses meeting to do things with other people’s wayward spouses.

It paid well, but it often left Charlie questioning his career choice.

It was often so boring.

After working late one night, he walked to his parking garage.  Whenever he walked to his car at night, he always had horror movie scenes playing in his mind.  He was alone, his footfalls echoing on the pavement were the only sounds, and he searched for the killer among the few remaining cars on the floor.

And there he was!  How exciting! Standing behind a pillar near his car!

Charlie reached for his Glock and fired just as the shadow stepped out from behind the pillar.

The assailant had gotten off a shot, but it hadn’t come close to Charlie.

Charlie walked over and kicked the Sig Sauer from the guy’s hand.  He turned him over to check for vitals.

It was Al!

“Shit, Al.  What are you doin’ here?”

Al didn’t respond.  He was dead.  Charlie called 911.

After talking to the dispatcher, he looked down at Al and gently nudged his shoulder with his foot.

“Thanks for the help over the years.  I don’t suppose you had a policy with me as beneficiary, did ya?”


“So, Maddie, I ain’t ever had any life insurance before.  What do I do now?  My beneficiary’s dead.”

“I can bring over a new beneficiary form for your signature.”

“I don’t have anybody.  Yer home office would have a hissy fit if I named you.”

“Well, there’s this soup kitchen for homeless folks over off Rush Street I volunteer at.  They’re good people.”

“Let’s do that,” said Charlie.  “And, hey.  Thanks for the help.”

“No problemo, Charlie.  Watch yer back.”

Charlie ended the call and sat back in his chair, staring at his office door.

“Watch yer back?  Really.”


Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 65 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published in Black Petals, Bewildering Stories, One Sentence Poems, Yellow Mama, Drunk Monkeys, Literally Stories, Dark Dossier, The Rye Whiskey Review, Near To The Knuckle, Theme of Absence, Shotgun Honey, and a number of other online and print journals. Unweaving a Tangled Web, recently published by Hekate Publishing, is his first novel. 

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