Yellow Mama Archives II

Bethany Cody

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
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
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.
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.
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
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


by Bethany Cody


There’s a new girl in the office. Naomi notices her right away, coming in from the rain, smelling of fabric softener and coffee. She sits across from Naomi’s desk, the one that’s been vacant for months. Her hair is dark and frizzy like someone attacked her with a balloon.

She notices Naomi watching.


Naomi parrots her frostily, “Hi.”

They’re best friends within the week.

Jessi gives her the nickname “Nomi,” and the rooftop of their office building becomes their refuge in a sea of mindless paperwork and spreadsheets. They gossip about absentee parents, woeful love lives, sick grandparents, rising rent, and slimy landlords.

Tuesday afternoon they’re on break, smoking, gazing out at the skyscrapers.

“Got a date for Valentine’s?”

Naomi shrugs. “You?”

Jessi laughs and leans in. “Maybe.”

It takes Naomi off-guard.

The kiss is warm, lingering.

And then it’s over.

Someone opens the door to the roof and the pair flinch apart. Eyes downcast, they glance over at Simon strolling towards the far edge of the roof. He feels around in his pockets for a cigarette before lighting up. He hasn’t noticed them.

Jessi pauses in the doorway. “See you later?”

Naomi nods.

They don’t speak for the next few days.

Naomi finds it difficult to meet Jessi’s eyes.

Nervous, desperate chatter about Valentine’s Day consumes the office and late on a Thursday evening, Jessi appears in the staff room.


Naomi jumps.

Jessi leans against the doorway by the watercooler, boxing Naomi in.

Silence fills the suddenly too-full room.

“This is silly.”

Naomi laughs breathlessly.

“We should go out.”

Naomi feels her face heat up. “Okay.”

“We could do Galentine’s.” Jessi slinks over, her blue plastic cup empty. “Find a bar, get some drinks, dance.”


They set a time to get coffee on the weekend and Jessi walks away with a smile, leaving Naomi alone with the burbling watercooler. Watching her reflection in the blue plastic cup, she dips her fingers in the lukewarm water and spritzes her face a few times.

They go out for coffee on Saturday. The bakery is warm and humid and smells of fresh, yeasty bread. They chat for a while over coffee and croissants until Naomi asks, “Why do you like me?”

Jessi looks confused.

“You’re the only one at work who even looks at me.”

Jessi sits back in her chair. “What do you mean?”

Naomi struggles with the words. “I’m just trying to understand.” She hesitates. “Did they put you up to this?”

Jessi’s eyes close off and she reaches for her handbag resting at their feet beneath the table. She stands and without looking at Naomi, leaves.


Jessi doesn’t show up at work on Monday.

Valentine’s Day swiftly approaches. The office is decorated with poorly cut cardboard hearts and drooping, paper bunting. Naomi hates it. The murmurs, the furtive glances. Hates that Jessi’s desk sits vacant again.

Naomi spends Valentine’s night at home, her curtains closed, the TV on mute, a bottle of red wine on the coffee table. She’s sitting on the couch, replacing the batteries in her vibrator, when the doorbell rings.

She shuffles to the door.

It’s hideous.

There on her doorstep, a bouquet of roses made of tongues. Fleshy, grisly buds glistening with fresh blood, twisted into sickening shapes, skewered on silver prongs, wrapped in cheery yellow cellophane.

Lights from passing cars illuminate the gory, textured slugs and for a moment they appear to wriggle. Naomi hasn’t moved in minutes, her eyes fixed on the obscene display.

A young couple out walking their dog emerges from around the corner and treks down the concrete footpath. Just as they reach her doorstep, Naomi snatches the bloody bundle up in trembling arms and retreats inside. The door closes on the rest of the world and it’s just her and a bunch of severed tongues in the relative quiet of her living room.

Her heart shudders. Her mind is strangely empty.

She peers down and the tongues fall from her hands. Acidic, pink tinged vomit shoots from her mouth, saturating them. She wipes her sticky, stinking chin with her sleeve.

“Happy Galentine’s, Nomi.”



Bethany Cody is an Adelaide-based disability advocate and writer of short stories and poetry living on Kaurna land with progressive sight loss. She has been published in Voiceworks Magazine, InDaily Poet's Corner, Yellow Mama Webzine, the Ekphrastic Review, the WWDA Blog, and Wishbone Words.

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