Yellow Mama Archives II

Jacob Graysol

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
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.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
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.
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
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
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernice
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Koperwas, Tom
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Jen
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Prusky, Steve
Reddick, Niles M.
Robson, Merrilee
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Saier, Monique
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
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, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

Hate and Love




Jacob Graysol



Millie woke and massaged her temples. Sunbeams framed drawn shades. Afternoon? She turned; her blue bandanna covered the clock. Another anxiety blackout? What’s the last thing . . . the morning meeting with Simon’s spineless principal!

She rubbed her neck. Advil!

She slipped on her terry robe and stepped into the hallway. Simon’s door was closed. Past four already? She approached and knocked. “How was school, sweetie?” She grabbed his doorknob. Locked!

Millie’s eyes watered. “Did Nick bully you again?”

Silence, still, as usual. He’d have swept his desk clear and laid his head on his arms, crying.

“Focus on your friends. Nobody who matters cares about your ear.”

She felt the slim key through her pocket, then dropped her hand.

“Simon, I’ll respect your privacy”—she wiped off tears—“but talking always helps.”

Mousy Moorehead! He set up today’s meeting after last week’s threats, then gave Nick a warning after his hollow apology. Another warning!

“I’ll make sundaes.”

She waited, then bit her lip. Refusing ice cream? Nick must’ve pulled his worst.

Bang! Bang! Bang! A fist pounded the front door. “Police, Mrs. Gold!”

She yelled to Simon. “It’s the police! Maybe they’ve arrested Nick.”

She ran downstairs and opened the door for a muscular patrolman.

“Millie Gold?”


“Earl Broderick, ma’am. There was an incident at the middle school—”

“I told Moorehead leniency would only encourage Nick Marden. Mousy dismissed them both to Woodshop.”

He nodded. “I need to ask about afterward.”

“Simon’s decompressing. I give him alone time when he’s upset. You understand, with kids.”

Broderick raised his left eyebrow. “It’s urgent we sort this out.”

“Then I’ll fill you in. In elementary school, Simon’s microtia was a curiosity, not a curse.” She brushed her left ear. “And it’s barely noticeable now, with the surgery. But Nick’s been calling him ‘half-head’ since September, shoves him in the hallway, and scorched his coat.”

“The captain’s interviewing Nick—his father gave permission.”

“Of course. Now his parents respect authority. They skipped our meeting, wouldn’t face that Junior’s a hateful delinquent. Don’t trust what Nick says.”

“We tried calling here, about talking to Simon—”

“I silence my phone when I get migraines.”

“—and to you.”

“Me? Sure.”

“Someone pulled the woodshop fire alarm fifteen minutes after your meeting. Was it Simon?”

“Why would he . . .” Her jaw dropped and she grabbed Broderick’s shirt. “Was Simon hurt?”

Broderick windmilled his right arm, breaking her grip. “Ma’am!” he yelled, red-faced. “Don’t do that!”

She held out her hands. “I—I’d never hurt anybody, especially a policeman. Just tell me what happened at school.”

Broderick brushed down his shirt. “Right, school. The alarm caused a big commotion, everyone packing the halls. And the shop teacher was focused on securing the flammables, following protocol.” He paused. “Mrs. Gold, were you still in the building then?”

His narrative evoked forgotten memories, like yesterday’s dream. “I was. . . . I left with everyone else . . . so crowded. . . . Some of the kids were yelling.”

Broderick’s phone chimed. He tapped it, muttered, “From the captain,” then looked back at her. “Mrs. Gold, I have to come in now.”

“But Simon’s been through—”


“Fine! Seeing the police take this seriously might help, anyway.”

She led him upstairs. “If only the Mardens taught Nick consideration, or Moorehead meted out consequences. . . .”

She gestured to Simon’s door.

Broderick rattled the knob, then scowled at her.

“It’s his safe space. Just knock.”

He locked this?”

“I’ve allowed it, since the bullying.”

Broderick shook his head, turned back toward the door, then stooped and stared.

Millie followed his gaze to a crimson speck. “Simon’s bleeding!” She reached into her pocket, then fumbled with the key. “We’re coming, sweetie!”

When the lock popped, Broderick burst in, stepped to the desk, and held up his phone. Millie followed, then froze, dropping the key.

Simon wasn’t there, yet his desk had been swept clear, clear except for three items: his clock, sixteen red LEDs displaying 12:15; the nub of an earlobe, matching the scoring knife’s gash in Nick Marden’s photo on the cop’s phone like a puzzle piece; and her cursive on a stained sheet of paper, Nick will never tease you again.






Jacob Graysol


Billy passes as one of the diehards who ventures out in the winter nights to gaze at Edison Tower, aiming his battery-less phone, feigning clicks, having shortly before left the museum through the same door he’d busted to get in.


That was the plan.


But his backpack should be bulging with two fireproof, waterproof boxes, and he shouldn’t have a gash in his right glove. Better not have left blood.


He gets in the car and preempts my tirade with an outburst of his own. “You screwed up, Lee! There wasn’t a cam lock on that cabinet, it had an electronic deadbolt! I nearly sliced my hand forcing it open!”


He waves in my periphery as I focus on the road.


“And there were no records inside,” he says.


“No whats?”


“Edison’s first recordings. Just some old parts and boxes of knickknacks.”


“You grew up in Edison and never went to the Thomas Edison Museum? His lab was there!” I turn right.


“Yeah, yeah. The light bulb, the phonograph.”


“You idiot! Early recordings were on cylinders. Those knickknacks would’ve fetched enough Bitcoin to buy a couple of Cadillacs.”


“What did you call me?”


“An idiot!” I shake my head. “We could circle back if—”


“I’m no dimwit.”


“Do you think that new lock was alarmed separately from the phone line I had you cut?”


“At least I know the difference between ignorance and stupidity.”


“Then focus, ignoramus!” I slow down before Dellwood Road. “Should we backtrack or not?”


“Quit the insults. If I’d planned this job, I would’ve given clear instructions.”


I slam the steering wheel and continue straight. “You think staring at a fortune and leaving it behind isn’t your fault at all? A smart person would’ve asked questions if he didn’t understand something. A curious person would’ve visited the only museum in his hometown. Ignorance is usually caused by stupidity—”


“Don’t call me—”


“—which is clearly the case now.”


I fume, and both of us stay silent until I start pulling into my garage. Billy says, “You’re sure no one will remember my car’s been parked at the Fix-It?”


“There are always different cars there overnight.”


“And this will be our last job together?”


“That’s for sure, Einstein.”


“Then I’m coming in for the evidence burn.”


I huff. “Fine.”


I close the garage door and we get out of the car. Billy puts the backpack on the ground, takes off the black coat, hat, and gloves I’d bought and piles them together on the hood, then retrieves his coat from a hook.


“Make sure your own gloves are on before you come in.”


“I’m not stupid!”


That time I hadn’t meant it.


I say, “Stay here a minute. I’ll double-check that the shades are drawn and start the fire.”


I’d left the wood and wax starters stacked to burn and get back to Billy quickly. He’s wadded the robbery outfit and backpack in his arms and holds the tools in his hands. I lead him in, then nod to the bathroom. “Steel in the tub. I use straight vinegar for any residue that’s stuck.” He’s gentle with the crowbar but clunks the hammer and screwdrivers. “Careful!” Careful, moron!


We continue to the hearth. He kneels with the pile and hands me the clothes. I toss the hat and gloves into the flames, then cut the coat into strips with shears.


“The backpack’s completely empty?”


“Otherwise, what? I’m a dope?” Billy unzips it, puts both hands in, then pulls out four brown-wax cylinders pressed together with the fingers of his left hand.


“You said—”


I raise the shears as Billy brings up a silenced pistol with his right hand. He smirks. “I’m thinking one Cadillac is all I need, and a boat. Or would that be stupid?”




Jacob Graysol ( lives and writes in central New Jersey. He wrote the lawyer-laden police procedural Righteous Judgment, and published its sequel, Righteous Endeavors, in February 2020. His flash fiction has been published by Yellow Mama (#92), as well as Every Day Fiction, Mystery Tribune, and Reflex Press (UK).

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