Black Petals Issue #93 Autumn, 2020

Notes from a Bathroom Stall
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Justin Alcala: A Horse for Us All-Fiction
Matthew Penwell: Bless Be Him-Fiction
Shiloh Simmons: Coffin Birth-Fiction
John Cox: Don't Teach Cats Latin-Fiction
Ken Hueler: I, Said the Fish-Fiction
R. A. Busby: Not the Man I Married-Fiction
Jude Clee: Notes from a Bathroom Stall-Fiction
M. W. Moriearty: Scarecrows-Fiction
Robert Masterson: Sharper Than She Ever Imagined-Fiction
Michael Steven: The Mirror-Fiction
Kevin Hawthorne: The Song-Fiction
Marlin Bressi: The Man on the Box-Fiction
Terry Riccardi: Winter Hunt-Fiction
Stephen J. Tillman: Angry Tammy-Flash Fiction
Andreas Hort: Pay the Price!-Flash Fiction
Sam Clover: Piety and Parm-Flash Fiction
Deisy Toussaint: Parasite in the Shadows-Flash Fiction
Outnumbered-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Mickey Sloan: Basement Beldam-Poetry
Daniel G. Snethen: Grandmother Screamed-Poetry
Daniel G. Snethen: Pumpkin Tanka-Poetry
Daniel G. Snethen: Yellow Death-Haiku
Theresa C. Gaynord: The JuJu Man-Poetry
Theresa C. Gaynord: The Widow Paris-Poetry
Theresa C. Gaynord: Funeral at the Louisiana Bayou-Poetry
Theresa C. Gaynord: The Old Hag-Poetry
Loris John Fazio: Halloween Prayer-Poetry
Marilyn Lou Berry: My Darling, My Sustenance-Poetry
Chris Collins: Nature-Poetry

Art by Michael D. Davis 2020

Notes from a Bathroom Stall

Jude Clee


In the Tipsy Unicorn’s unisex bathroom, above the faucet that never twists all the way off and never will, the words Laura+Tommy 4eva were scratched into the wall with all the precision of a drunk kindergartener.

Just below it, in what appeared to be yellow highlighter, was written the following:

Laura is a fugly slut.

A laminated sign hung on the bathroom door, informing all patrons that:

Here at the Tipsy Unicorn we believe in the freedom of expression. Therefore, it is our policy NOT to erase graffiti, no matter the content.

Thank you =)

A policy tested and proven true when some undiscovered comedic genius drew a Hitler moustache on the smiley face. Common decency prevailed when, not even a weekend later, the Hitlerstache morphed into the luscious twirls of a Victorian gentleman, with an added top hat and monocle to complete the image. Within the fortnight, an arm extended from the disembodied smiley face, holding what appeared to be a fat caterpillar but was actually a joint.

And so, the Tipsy Unicorn earned a reputation among urban hipster bars. If bathroom graffiti was an artform, maintained the profile pieces and local blogs, then the Tipsy Unicorn was the gold standard. There was even #tipsyunidickcount to keep track of every phallic image drawn within the confines of the bathroom

(Current count was twelve).

A message appeared above the toilet in the second stall from the door. Scrawled in dollar store pen, with faint ink and loopy, feminine handwriting, it read:

This isn’t a joke. I’m Margot Diaz. I don’t even know how long I’ve been trapped here. Call the cops. These people can’t be trusted.

A litany of comments formed below it.

You look awesome, love yourself!

Fuck u

That’s not funny you sick fuck. How do you think her family would feel if they saw this?

Whos Margot Diaz?

Some chick who went missing last fall.

people are sick yo

ur mom takes it up the ass


OMG what if it’s real + y’all just ignoring her?

It’s FAKE, was written in sparkly green gel pen, the penmanship looking like resembling something straight out of a fourth-grade boy’s notebook. Why would they let her out to write this? Makes no sense.

But not even two days later, another message appeared in the same neat handwriting and cheap ink.

It’s really me. I know it sounds crazy. I don’t even know what happened. I was here at the unicorn with my friends. It’s hard to remember exactly what happened, but I think we were celebrating my friend’s birthday (her name’s Maya McClure, you can look her up). I went to the bathroom and a man walked in after me. I didn’t pay attention at first

The message cut off.

Wow it’s the same handwriting.

no its not

All that proves is its the same person doing it. Are there any cameras here?

Gross perv.

Only outside.

Trump 2020

Stfu you brain dead magatard. This is serious. Someone should take a pic and put it on insta. We can compare it to the real Margot’s handwriting.

yous taken this waaaay to seriously

See this is bs. Go on r/margotdiaz it says Margot’s friend was TANYA McClure, not Maya.

Maybe she just wrote it wrong.

Maya and Tanya are completely different names, wrote the green gel pen user. Who doesn’t remember their friend’s name? It’s fake.

maybe she was drugged, someone replied in blue ballpoint. fishy but not impossible.

Sorry they cut me off, “Margot” wrote on the fresh side of the stall. It was a white guy behind me but not white like the race. His face was literally white like he was wearing make-up even though he wasn’t. It was like a skull, or like his face was melted wax. He wore black clothes, a black hood, leather gloves. He was tall and so thin, like anorexic/ concentration camp survivor thin. He moved around so fast it was unnatural. He flickered like a shadow against a flame. Then everything got trippy. He dived on me, but I don’t remember him touching me. I woke up in a long rectangular room with no windows. I think it’s the basement. It’s in the Tipsy Unicorn, I know that much.

Omg that’s so freaky!

“White” guy huh?

Are you people seriously buying this no wonder the world’s so f’d up.

Fuck you dumb lying bitch.

This is disrespectful to real victims and their families.

God bless you Margot. Jesus saves.

 Here’s how you can tell her story’s bogus, was written in sparkling green ink, besides the white guy crap. She says she’s in the basement. Google the layout of the buildings on 2nd St., they’re all new and remodeled. They don’t have basements.

how do u know?

He said he googled it learn reading comprehension.

yo we’re famous now y’all see the buzzfeed article?

By this point, the Margot-related graffiti covered half of the bathroom stall. New commenters needed to squeeze their replies around whatever slivers of space were available. Margot’s next message was Jenga’d between JN+BW and one philosopher’s Do you think if our moms could see how we turn out before getting pregnant, they’d decide not to bother?

Margot again. Don’t listen to the person writing with green jel pen. He’s one of them. I’ve seen him writing in this stall. He doesn’t know I can see him. He doesn’t want you to believe me.

 Dun dun dun the plot thickens!

yo wtf

i’m screenshotting this & uploading it to reddit cuz idk what to think anymore

How did she see him writing? Was she peeking over the other stall?

How does she even get a chance to write when she’s locked in the basement??

Maybe they let her use the bathroom.

this chick’s lying or crazy, was written with green gel pen. She’s just salty cuz I’m calling her out.

It didn’t take long for “Margot” to reply.

I’m telling the truth. He looks like a regular person when he’s at the bar, but he lets it slip when it’s just me. He isn’t normal. They’re not normal. It’s hard to explain how I can see him because even I’m not sure. Sometimes I’m stuck in a dark room, sometimes everything gets fuzzy like static on an old TV, then fades and reforms into something else. He doesn’t see me when it happens, when I fade away. That’s when I can come up here and move around a little more freely.

I want w/e drugs she’s on.

Oh PLEASE, in sparkling green pen. She isn’t making ANY sense. First you forget Margot’s friend’s name, then you say you’re in a basement when it’s been PROVEN there isn’t one. You’re only blaming me because I’m the only one with the balls to tell it like it is.

Jeezus Margo’s right. Green Pen Guy's in on it.

fuck outta here

He’s spreading doubt because he doesn’t want us catching on! was written in eager, hastily scrawled red pen. It’s too late cuz it’s all over the Internet. The truth’s coming out one way or another.

Did any of you dumbasses ask yourselfs how margo can get away to write???

bruh she wrote it on the last stall

Maybe she died in the bar but doesn’t know it yet.

How the f can a ghost write????

It’s not impossible, was written in big block letters. She coulda possessed somebody. Happened to my cousin once.

I don’t want a ghost possessing me while I’m poopin.

By now, the conversation eclipsed the second stall from the door, and shifted over to the first one.

Listen, this is important. I’m not the only one. I don’t know who the others are, but I can sense them sometimes, like they’re just on the other side of a thin plaster. I try calling out, but I only hear fragments, like a call with shitty reception. Then everything flickers in and out, like I’m there but not there, in the bathroom or the bar for one moment then back in the black room. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how it is. I swear I’m not on drugs. I think

Guys, I peed a little.

Ok, whoever’s doing this is SUPER committed.

Now I know she said she’s not on drugs, someone wrote in pencil, of all things, the charcoal pressed down so hard it was almost black, but what if it’s just a bad trip? Either a druggie’s writing a story or the kidnappers drugged her out of her mind.

Why’s everyone so sure it’s a she? It’s probably some neckbeard troll in his mom’s basement.

hey have you seen on they compared margot’s handwriting + it’s exactly the same. this is legit.

BS the handwriting samples weren’t even close.

The “Margot” messages had completely colonized both stalls. They next update had to be written over the Tipsy Unicorn’s original, ancient (re: five-year-old) graffiti, the dollar store pen pushed to its limits just to be visible over the stone age doodles.

Why are you talking about trolls? This isn’t a joke. They have me but they’ll probably need more soon. I can already feel myself fading away. There’s too little of me left, and I forget things. I can’t remember what year I graduated high school or where Jake took me on our first date. When they’re done with me, they’ll need fresh people to sustain them. It could be any one of you. Please call 911. Please. Why won’t anyone listen?

Margot, calm down, someone wrote in handwriting so neat it bordered on clinical. No one’s doubting you. It’s just hard to understand. What is Green Pen Guy doing? How does he fit into this?

Margot’s reply came within the hour.

He visits me when I’m in the dark room. I think he needs to feed. I don’t mean blood like a vampire, it’s more like (she crossed out the next word furiously, making it impossible to read) energy. It’s him, but the managers are also in on it. Maybe they also need energy or maybe they just help him or maybe they’re the same. When he’s near, it’s hard to focus. My brain gets fuzzy. But when I concentrate hard enough, if I focus all my energy, I have some control. Even he can’t see me half the time. But it’s getting harder. I’m too weak.

The next comment was written so sloppily that the words blurred together; the Rosetta Stone was easier to decipher. And the sparkly green gel pen certainly didn’t help.

Notice this isn’t getting erased? If it was a conspiracy to drain people’s energy (lol) wouldn’t the owners erase it?

Dude, there’s a no erase policy, the sign says so.


Wow, Green Pen Guy is losing it.

Typical Troll

Unless he’s really scared. Too many people are paying attention now.

I (heart) U Margot, stay strong!

Something freaky happened last night, was written in purple marker. I thought I saw a girl in the bathroom mirror. Long brown hair like Margot Diaz, and that same jean jacket she’s always wearing in the pics. She opened her mouth to speak, but then she disappeared in a flash. All of a sudden I got the chills, you know? Like someone else was here, and they were not good. Like how creepy dudes stare you down at the bar. I peaced out asap.


Fake. Just trying to get attention.

Idk, it does feel creepy in here.

I thought I saw a shadow in the mirror, but maybe it was just an emo kid.

Green Pen Guy has a point. Why DON’T they erase it? It’s calling them kidnappers.

Its there policy.

No moron it’s a publicity stunt. Think about the social media attention.

Weird ass publicity stunt.

We’re all talking about it, aren’t we?

It’s like I’m part of their world now, Margot wrote. They took too much out of me. I try to hold my mom’s face in my mind, but it slips away. Where her cheeks really as round as I remember? Did she wear her hair long or short? Who can’t remember their own mother’s face? Their brother’s birthday? If they’re 22 or 23? I’m so tired I don’t even know why I’m fighting so hard. Can it really be worth all the effort, when I don’t even remember Margot Diaz anymore? I’m so tired. If you’re reading this, do what you can to protect yourself. I don’t think I’m


Margot, are you ok?

The next day, the Tipsy Unicorn closed unexpectedly. A pipe burst, they said. Sorry for the inconvenience. When they reopened, full of apologies and discount drink specials, the unisex bathroom had a fresh, clean coat of white paint.

Jude Clee is a teacher, writer, and blogger for Neuroclastic.

Art by Michael D. Davis 2020

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