Black Petals Issue #106 Winter, 2023

BP Editorial Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
The Thing in the Yard: Fiction by Vincent Vurchio
A Forest Green: Fiction by Logan Williams
Clown Safe: Fiction by Taylor Hagood
Home Delivery: Fiction by Jon Adcock
Judith and Bobby Save the World: Fiction by Stephen Tillman
Many Wee Undead: Fiction by Marco Etheridge
Meat Pie: Fiction by Anna Koltes
Mexican Coffee and Burgers: Fiction by Fred Zackel
Leaving: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Ghost of the Perfect Hotdog: Fiction by Mark Miller
The Illustrated Woman: Fiction by Jen Myers
Thrice in One Sitting: Fiction by Justin Alcala
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning: Fiction by Gene Lass
AI Self-Mortification: Flash Fiction by Christopher Henckel
Correct Mistake: Flash Fiction by Eric Burbridge
A Moment of Inertia: Flash Fiction by Sean MacKendrick
Get Your Kicks on Route 666: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Let's Do Lunch: Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
"Three Wishes": Flash Fiction by Ronin Fox
Woodsman's Revenge: Flash Fiction by Jada Maze
To a Crow: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Estranged: Poem by Michael Keshigian
At the Terminal: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Angler's Nightmare: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Last Thirteen Steps: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Murderous Words: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
My Childhood Snapshot: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
With Vampires About: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Zombies are Loose: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Lil' Toe Dipper: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Scattered Pieces: Poem by Andrew Graber

Eric Burbridge: Correct Mistake

Art by Sophia Wiseman-Rose 2024

Correct Mistake


By Eric Burbridge



            Maxwell Lowe, a murdering short-tempered muscular MMA champion of Penal Colony Alpha twenty miles off the coast of Chicago was admitted to minimum security for minor surgery. His stretcher stopped at the surgical unit while the scanners mapped his entire body. The doctor’s holographic projection smiled and stated he’d administer the local anesthesia since he wanted to view the removal of the inguinal hernia in his groin area. Maxwell wasn’t a wimp and it would bolster his tough guy image. A person in all white clothing wearing a white protective mask guided his stretcher into the brightly lit O.R. There was something familiar about his long ponytail, curvy hips and tight-fitting uniform. He pulled down his mask. “I’m the nurse technician who will guide you through the surgical details, Maxwell Lowe, #414.”

          “Devvie, where you been?” Maxwell said, surprised to see his favorite victim. “You still got those curves.”


          Devin Cordin stood over the degenerate who sexually assaulted him repeatedly, moaning and groaning in his ear calling him, Devvie and whisper, “if you had tits on your back you’d be my woman.”  

            “You are familiar with the protocol?”

          “Yes. I willingly and with full knowledge accept the surgery.” Maxwell said. And with that clear he was automatically strapped to the table. “I missed you, Devvie.”

          “I knoooow you did… now it’s my turn. That wiped the smile off your face.” Devin went to the control panel. “Now, Maxwell, we proceed with the anesthesia.” Two metal rods with needle-like appendages descended from an array of equipment overhead and opened his gown and injected the drugs in places on his lower torso, legs and groin. Several monitors dropped down and came to life, two for real time, the others for the animated part. “The doctors will take it from here for your sexual re-assignment.”

          “What!!! What are you talking about?”

          “You forgot I was a medical professional who made a costly mistake—that’s what got me here, but when I saw your name on the schedule I altered things to include an additional procedure.” Devin whispered in his ear. “If and when they catch it, it might be too late. Soon, you will not be able to scream. See you later, soon to be… Maxine.”


          “Hear those drills, Maxwell?”

            His eyes bucked, sweat and tears rolled down the side of his face.

          “Watch the birdy, Maxwell.” The screens moved closer. The robotic arms spread his legs and laid his penis to the side and raised his testicles. Another set of arms positioned themselves by the hernia.

          BP: 150/120, pause procedure.

          BP: 180/130.

          “Calm down, Maxwell.” Devin spoke softly into the microphone. The tentacle-like robotic arms hovered over his genitals. The laser scalpel and other equipment remained activated, but the demonstration of the surgery continued on the animation monitor. Devin planned on scaring the mess out of him too, not have him stroke out. Where’s the fun in that? As long as his pressure was up the auto-stop software was in charge. Any second the surgeon would call for a diagnostic of the system. Poor Maxwell, deserved the horror he was going through sealed in a plastic bubble with razors a hair from his balls.


          “There’s a glitch in the system, technician Devin. We’re locked out.” A surgeon said.

          “Locked out?”

          “That’s what I said.” His palms got sweaty, that tone meant trouble. “Need I remind you what’s at stake?”

          “No…I’m on it.” He moved files around as fast as possible; nothing unfroze the system. What is it? Maxwell’s blood pressure returned to normal, but nothing changed. Don’t act too nervous—being cool and professional kept him in this position, and it meant an earlier parole. He would fix the problem, but in the meantime, he still wanted to harass Maxwell. He couldn’t re-enter the sterile O.R. if he did they would hear and see everything. Maxwell stared at the ceiling, that gave Devin an idea. Retract the monitors and enlarge the viewing area to cover the entire ceiling and replay the procedural video repeatedly until the problem was fixed.

          “Technician…technician, the anesthesia won’t last forever. What in the hell is the problem?”

          “One second.” You can kiss my ass; a little pain will be good for that asshole. “It’s not a software problem.” Devin frantically checked everything, but the power back-ups. “That’s it, control. It was nothing but the circuit breaker. You’re back in business.”


          Maxwell felt a sensation in his groin area along with beads of sweat on his forehead. What was happening? The twin monitors retracted and the holographic images of the castration began. The testicle sack was lifted and the scalpel sliced the middle exposing two grey balls. NO…no!!! His heart pounded; he felt cold steel on his hips and penis.

          I’m going to kill you real slow…Devvie!!

          BP: 180/150  Surgery Cancelled.

          The projection disappeared. Maxwell’s head ached and he lost consciousness.


          “The report says you and Maxwell Lowe have history; assault and torture, right?” Devin nodded.

“You tried to take advantage of a serious, unheard-of, mistake for your own vendetta, inmate.” The interrogator stated. He’d never admit it so why ask?

“The mistake hasn’t been found from what I’ve been told.” And, they’d be too embarrassed to admit it. He remained silent sitting in a blinding white room with, God knows, how many sensors arrays, was pissing him off, but he was still in control of his vitals. Beating the lie detector was his specialty. He looked around the box. “Anybody there?”

          “I’ll ask the question, inmate. You do understand your significantly early parole is based on our decision of whether you tried to have Maxwell Lowe de-nutted, right?”

          “Yes.” Devin smiled. De-nutted…he’d remember that one.

          “What’s funny?” There was a hint of laughter in the interrogator’s voice.


          “Maxwell Lowe chose to view the surgery of the hernia, but watching the sexual re-assignment surgery caused a near fatal stroke. The doctors say he’s in for a long recovery. That video made my skin crawl…”

          “He accepted it.”

          “Don’t interrupted me again.” The interrogator cleared his throat. “Excuse me, the integrity of the experimental techniques at this penal facility is vital to the rehabilitation programs. We reviewed the videos and strangely enough the audio was lost in the glitch, or whatever you call it, so for the time being you’re free to go.”

          Three weeks later Devin boarded the ferry to Chicago. The almost-Maxine, Maxwell Lowe was recovering and for spite the parole board made sure Devin’s nursing license wouldn’t be reinstated for six months. Fine with him, they’d never see him again.


The End

Eric Burbridge has been writing short fiction for years. He has written a collection of stories and he is currently working on a novel, but his passion is short fiction.