Black Petals Issue #107, Spring, 2024

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(After) Life is What You Make It: Fiction by Richard Brown
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The Renovators: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Balance: Flash Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Bawk Dark: Flash Fiction by Michael C. Jessen
The Incident With the Mismatched Man: Flash Fiction by Charles C. Cole
Radio Tower: Flash Fiction by Blair Orr
Take Me With You: Flash Fiction by Steven French
Slippery: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Where Dead Babies Come From: Poem by Nolcha Fox
302 Asylum Avenue: Poem by Joseph Danoski
Another Story: Poem by Joseph Danoski
Home Repairs: Poem by Joseph Danoski
A Creepy Leap Year: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Funeral Memorial: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
BatGrl: Poem by Casey Renee Kiser
Twin Flame: Poem by Casey Renee Kiser
Shadow Play: Poem by Simon MacCulloch
Dark Ride: Poem by Simon MacCulloch
Leviathans of the Void: Poem by Christopher Hivner
Sunbursts: Poem by Christopher Hivner
Into the Eyes: Poem by Anthony Bernstein
Airtime: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Gloria: Poem by Peter Mladinic
The Sorcerer: Poem by C. Walker
Frozen Eve: Poem by C. Walker

Cindy Rosmus: Slippery

107_bp_slippery_cfawcett.jpg
Art by Cynthia Fawcett 2024

SLIPPERY

 

by

 

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

          “I would never,” Louie said indignantly, “Take money from nobody.”

          Back then. Now he was eating those words with the eggs and soup at St. Jude’s. Three meals a day, like in jail, but at least in jail, your bed was guaranteed. Even if a big, hairy fuck wanted some of you.

          “Please,” Louie posted, on social media. “I didn’t eat today. And I’m cold. Here’s my PayPal address, if you want to send money.”

          Slippery, manipulative bastard.

          “OMG. Poor Louie!” “I’ll make you chili! Where shall I bring it?” “Hang in there, man…” The comments kept coming.

          “What happened at St. Jude’s?” Outside my building, Sid the landlord shoveled snow. “They kick him out?”

          “He texted . . .” I couldn’t help cringing. “Said he got beat up, and robbed.”

          “Still got his phone, huh?” Sid leaned on the shovel. “Posting on LoveBook, or whatever it’s called? Sliding into DM with lovesick fools?””

          Again, I cringed. Not long ago, Louie and I were together. Maybe in love. Who would believe that now I cringed, over his bad luck? Black eyes, pangs of hunger. Nowhere to shit but in . . .

          “The snow!” he’d texted. “Susie, I wiped with old newspapers . . .”

          “Newspapers?” Sid laughed. “Who reads newspapers, anymore? He can’t get the news on his phone?”

          When the next text came through, I knew what was coming.

          “Ain’t comin’ back here,” Sid told me.

 

*

 

“Susie!” he yelled, on his way upstairs. All drunk, and nasty, his face boiled-lobster red. Gripping the banister to keep his balance. 

          “Quiet,” I whispered, like he’d get the hint. “It’s late.”

          That made him louder. “Who gives a fuck?”

          All over the building, neighbors stirred in their beds. One door—Sid’s—cracked open.

          “Please?” I begged. “Just go to sleep.”

          That sneer made me want to kick him down the stairs.

 

*

 

          “Here.” On the black, icy street, I slipped him a twenty. “But no more.”

          “Gee, thanks.” Like he expected lots more. When he leaned in for a kiss, I jumped. “Oh, I get it.” He laughed. “So now I’ve got cooties.”

He smelled like he did, and worse. That we’d ever . . . in my clean, soft bed . . .

 Way back, he used to slide around on the ice, like a hockey player. Now, in hole-y sneakers, he shuffled his feet, back and forth, in the slush. It looked so painful, I almost cried.

Almost.

Right now, I hated him.

“Not even a hug?”

He used to look good, sometimes adorable, with a dimpled smile. But now . . .

It was like Hannibal Lecter nuzzling Clarice.

 

*

 

          “You don’t care,” his latest text said. “That I have nowhere to go. No crumbs to eat. Even birds eat better than me.”

          I started to put down my phone.

          “You, with your Chinese feast. Seafood Delight. The ‘big tipper,’ you are. And your fancy wines.”

Anxiously, I looked around, like he was watching. But, from where?

“Eating cold egg rolls over the sink.”

I’d just finished one.

And it came right back up.

 

*

 

 

          “When’d you fuck him?” Louie had asked me, about every guy at Scratch’s. As the day bartender, I knew a shitload.

          “Never.” Usually the truth. 

          Fists clenched, he turned to Walt, the owner, who looked ready to kill me.

          Once again, Louie got me fired.

 

*

 

          At the bottom of St. Jude’s steps, he was found. Head twisted too far around. Eyes sightless in his red face. In our town, even dead homeless guys make big news.

“I give up,” Louie’s last LoveBook post had said. “Tonight . . . will be my last!” Like a real drama queen. Bitches screeching all over town.

          “So, he jumped?” Sid asked me.

          “Who knows?”

“Was he drunk?” Sid said. “On whose dime?”

“Not mine.” I couldn’t look at him. “He probably slipped on the ice.”

“They didn’t salt the steps?” Sid didn’t buy it. “With all those old guys coming in and out?”

I shrugged.

“He wouldn’t jump,” Sid said. “Nah. A guy like that, he was pushed.”

          “Tonight . . .” Louie’s text had said, “will be my last!”

          I made damn sure it was.

 

 

THE END






Cindy originally hails from the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ, once voted the “unfriendliest city on the planet.” She talks like Anybodys from West Side Story and everybody from Saturday Night Fever. Her noir/horror/bizarro stories have been published in the coolest places, such as Shotgun HoneyMegazineDark DossierThe Rye Whiskey Review, Under the Bleachers, and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of Yellow Mama. She’s published seven collections of short stories. Cindy is a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights advocate.




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