Black Petals Issue #94 Winter, 2021

Mad Money
Home
BP Artists and Illustrators
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary-Chris Friend
Basement Dweller-Fiction by Justin Swartz
The Beating of Their Wings-Fiction by Brian Maycock
Does the Bogeyman Live Downstairs?-Fiction by Clive Owen Barry
Dark Little Boxes-Fiction by C. M. Barnes
Death by Midnight-Fiction by Charlie Cancel
Forearmed-Fiction by Jan Cronos
Inconceivable-Fiction by Rich Rose
The Wolf's Den-Fiction by J. B. Polk
Treachery-Fiction by Ramon F. Irizarri
Tumour Wakes Up-Fiction by Alexis Gkantiragas
The Opal Ring-Fiction by Michael Dority
Flora and Fauna-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Gnaw-Flash Fiction by Tony Kidd
Mad Money-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Madonna of the Damned-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Special Teeth-Flash Fiction by KJ Hannah Greenberg
The Death Set-4 Poems by Hillary Lyon
Five Haiku-Poems by C. D. Marcum
Misanthrope-Poem by Donna Dallas
The Wish Tree-3 poems by Christopher Hivner
Nebulous-3 poems by Juan Manuel Perez
The Sphinx at Night-5 Poems by Meg Smith
Nameless-Poem by David Barber

94_bp_madmoney_afknott.jpg
Art by A. F. Knott 2021

MAD MONEY

 

by

 

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

          In the next room, Paulie heard her, rifling through his drawers.

          Oh, Trish, he thought, wearily.

          Same shit, every day. Looking for money, in all the wrong places. It was in the kitchen, in the Folgers coffee can under the sink.

          The kitchen, he thought at her. The kitchen.

          “I leave her money to steal,” Paulie had told Red, the barmaid. “I’ve got to. Or my whole paycheck goes in the stem.”

“She stole my purse!” Red said.

“Nah. S’not her style. She just takes wallets.” Lovesick Paulie was so in denial.  “Crack is poison,” he said, teary-eyed.

A real killer.

As Trish tore through the closet, boots and shoes went flying. Almost super-human strength, she had, these days.

The coffee can, Paulie thought, fists clenched. Under the . . .

In the doorway, he smelled her. He shut his eyes, pretended he was invisible. Still, he felt her eyes on him.  Sweat poured down his back, into his shorts.

Finally, she went away.

 

*

 

He’d just got to work when the call came. “Your wife . . .” His boss had that knowing look.

          “Is she sick?”

          “Oh, it’s a disease, all right.” Smiling, the boss handed Paulie the phone. “But she doesn’t have a fever, or cancerous tumor.”

          You fuck, Paulie thought. Of all days to be out of cell phone minutes.

 “Yer wife,” a strange guy told him. “She won’t leave. Did all my shit, drank my booze . . .”

Stole your wallet.

“Come get her, dude.”

“Be right over,” Paulie told him.

“And stay there.” His boss had stopped smiling.

 

*

 

Paulie himself was a three-beers guy. Had never done drugs.

“So what,” his friends asked, “do you see in her?”

          Helplessness.

          This lanky thing, with big, scared eyes. A wounded bird, she was like, huddled under his blanket. Almost shy, after sex, but just with him.

          “Trish?” one guy yelled. “Shy?”

 “Yeee-ooww!” Another grabbed his own cock.

          “Paulie,” she would say, in this distant voice, “I need . . . help, don’t I?”

He held her close, her bones nearly cracking. “I’ll help you,” he said.

          But he didn’t.

He was that scared of losing her.

 

*

 

By 2 A.M., he was past three beers. A pint of Jack, he’d found, in that closet. Skynyrd on his iPhone: “Needle and the Spoon.” Words from the wise . . .

          But no needle killed her.  And no stem did, neither.

A speeding truck took her from him.

          Chunks of Trish struck parked cars, a mailbox. Intestines smeared the streets and sidewalks . . .

          Paulie’s underwear drawer . . .

Over Skynyrd, he heard her come back. A shuffling, and scratching, like rats.  Smelled that smell, like a zillion dead ones.

He turned up the music till his ears screamed.

If she hadn’t been high, she would’ve seen that truck.

If he’d’ve helped her, she wouldn’t have been high.

“The kitchen!” he yelled. “Look in—”

But what she was here for, money couldn’t buy.


Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants. She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, Dark Dossier, and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights advocate.




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