Black Petals Issue #106 Winter, 2023

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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

Hillary Lyon: Let's Do Lunch

106_bp_letsdolunch_cindyrosmus.jpg
Art by Cindy Rosmus 2024

Let’s Do Lunch

 

Hillary Lyon

 

 

“Anyone who still eats red meat past the age of 40 has a death wish!” The speaker was a tall, effete older man with more salt in his thinning hair than pepper. His foggy eyes hinted at a blue once bright as the summer sky, but were now as cold and scummy as a pond polluted by industrial waste.

Tilda, his current lunch companion, scoffed. “You’re one to talk, Geoffrey.” She crossed her stout legs and shook her foot with annoyance. “I’ve seen you sneak a bite here and there.”

“Besides, when you said, ‘Let’s do lunch,’ I didn’t expect a lecture,” Tilda huffed. She then became engrossed in examining her manicure, a habit she’d developed long ago, to stave off boredom. The cherry-red polish was all but gone, the nails cracked or broken, with dirt visible beneath—except for her left pinky nail, which was missing entirely.

“Tilda, I’m talking about beef,” he snorted. “Those poor cattle, chock full of antibiotics and questionable vaccines.” He shook his head sadly thinking about the life of factory ruminants. “Then force-fed over-processed, industrial feed—”

“Sounds like the human population in general,” Tilda smirked.

Geoffrey ignored her interruption. “Which is why I only eat vegan or vegetarian, anymore.” He pushed his laminated menu away. “Which is why we are here, at Mother’s Organic Cafe.” He signaled to the waiter lingering at the check-out counter.

“Yeah,” Tilda sighed, stacking her menu in top of his. “Anyhoo, I’m gettin’ hungry for some of their advertised ‘Good Eats from the Good Earth’.”

The waiter scampered over, order pad in hand. “Y’all find something you like?”

Geoffrey expertly sniffed the air like a bloodhound searching for a scent. He found no trace of beef, or chicken, or fish, emanating from the doe-eyed, docile waiter standing before them.

Tilda’s bleary eyes widened and shined dully. Geoffrey looked the waiter up and down: the youngish man sported soft muscle mass, and a wispy beard. Geoffrey glanced at Tilda, and rakishly asked her, “Shall we?”

“Oh yes!” Tilda rasped in reply.

As one they leapt up and dragged the weakling waiter under the table, snapping his neck as they did so.

* * *

With her gray tongue, Tilda found a stray bit of flesh stuck to the corner of her wide mouth. She licked it up, then belched loudly. “Oh, pardon me!” she giggled.

Geoffrey waved away her odoriferous faux pas. He rose from the table, extending his hand to help his lunch companion get up. “Come along, Tilda, time to go.”

Outside, she toddled up beside him, clutching his arm for stability.

“That was yummy!” She burped again. “When can we come back? There’s a tasty-lookin’ red-headed waitress—”

“Never, I’m afraid,” Geoffrey said as he patted her chubby, gore-grimed hand. “You see, the staff would recognize us, and that would only lead to trouble.” He removed her hand from his arm, one finger at a time. “But I will definitely recommend Mom’s Organic Cafe to our like-minded friends.”

Like a disappointed child, Tilda stuck out her lower lip; it was an affectation that always made Geoffrey grimace, as he did now. “Oh, come on, don’t pout.” He waved his arm in a sweeping gesture. “This is a college town, after all, and there are multitudes of similar eateries. It’s not like we’re going to starve.”

He stopped walking and appeared to smile, but in fact he was merely pulling his lips back from his teeth—which made grasping at a bothersome string of waiter sinew easier.

“Now turn that frown upside down!” Geoffrey ordered; there was nothing he liked less than a dour lunch companion. Except maybe sickly, sweaty, obese, meat-eating servers; they reminded him too much of cattle. Tilda nodded and did as she was told, before belching one last time.

Hillary Lyon holds a Masters in English Literature, and what did she do with that? She founded and for 20 years acted as senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. Her short stories, drabbles, and poems have appeared in numerous print and online publications. She's lived in Brazil, Canada, France, and several states in the US; she currently resides in southern Arizona. Hillary also creates illustrations for horror, sci-fi, and pulp fiction sites. She is the Assistant Art Director for Black Petals Horror/Science Fiction Magazine.