Black Petals Issue #86, Winter, 2019

New Orleans Take-Out
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Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Eric Roseman's Poem-Fiction by Jacob Austin
New Orleans Take-Out-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Napper's Holler-Chapter 7-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler-Chapter 8-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler-Chapter 9-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Not This Time-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Our Neighbors, The Zombies-Fiction by Jon A. Park
The Art of Dream-napping-Fiction by Mark J. Kevlock
The Night Side of Eden-Fiction by George Rosas
The Sump-Fiction by Anthony Lukas
Tingles-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Winter's Gnome-Poem by Janet C. Ro
Saucer, Schmosser-Four Poems by Richard Stevenson

nolatakeouthlyon.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon 2019

New Orleans Take-Out

 

By Roy Dorman

An alien walks into a bar.

 

 

 In her new “Janna” identity, Gwen is on a leave of absence from her job with the group of people aligned with the descendants of the aliens who had given a jump start to the evolutionary process that produced humankind.

Elizabeth, Edward, the original Janna, and Corrina have taken off into space to get Corrina to the planet of her ancestors before she dies.

 

“So, back again, huh? Is it because the burger was good, or is it maybe my charming personality?”

Gwen/Janna sat down at the bar in The Grumpy Troll and chuckled at the bartender’s friendly banter.

“The burger was good,” she said. “And you are kinda cute in a rough-and-tumble sort of way.”

“So I am. I’m Johnny, by the way.”

“Janna.”

“Burger, medium, raw onions, fries, and an IPA, right?”

“That’s it.”

After putting in her order and drawing her beer, Johnny asked, “So, ya live in the neighborhood? Am I gonna be seein’ ya in here as a regular?”

 “I wish,” said Janna. “I do live in the neighborhood now, but my cat and I are heading for New Orleans. I got an interview with a publishing company down there.”

“I thought you were an exotic dancer.”

“I was; I just quit. But…hey, in case you’ve always wanted to be an exotic dancer, there’s an opening now. Just tell ‘em Strawberry Fields sent you. Those Cubs fans would love you.”

“Nah, I think I’ll stick with tendin’ bar,” said Johnny. “Ya meet a better class of people.”

“Thanks, I think. Hey, ya know, there’re lotsa bars in New Orleans; you could come along with me,” said Janna. “It would be an adventure.”

“Ya know, Janna, I could use an adventure,” said Johnny. “If you’re serious, I’m in.”

 

That conversation had taken place six months ago, on Janna’s second visit to The Grumpy Troll. 

Actually, the “real” Janna’s first and only visit had been a few days before this Gwen/Janna visit. That first visit had been just before she had taken off to visit another planet. 

Gwen was now Janna so completely that Janna’s own mother wouldn’t have been able to tell otherwise.

Gwen/Janna and Johnny had hit it off right away. With his bartending experience and devil-may-care personality, Johnny found employment quite easily in the French Quarter.

The bar he worked at, Marie Laveau’s Lounge, had three small apartments above it rented by Johnny and two other bartenders. New Orleans being the city it was, Johnny sometimes didn’t leave the building for days. He worked, ate, and slept there, making more money than he had time to spend.

Gwen/Janna landed the job with the publishing company and had a loft apartment downtown. When Johnny couldn’t get time off, she and her cat sometimes stayed at his place and did some work from there. The relationship wasn’t intense, but it was fun.

 

Monday nights were often slow, and though Laveau’s often was open all hours, starting Wednesdays and into the weekend, some Monday nights Johnny told the sparse crowd they would be closing early.

One Monday night, Johnny sent the waitress on duty, Claudette, home at 2:30, and was closing. 

Gwen/Janna had done some work and had decided to take a nap until 3:00. She set her alarm so she could be awake when Johnny finished closing up.

At 3:05, lying in bed naked with the sheet pulled up to her chin, she heard a shout and then a gunshot. She slipped on one of Johnny’s shirts, took the Glock he kept in the nightstand, and quietly stepped into the hallway. 

She tried both of the doors to the other bedrooms and found them locked. She remembered earlier that Tom and Ben, the other two bartenders, had said they were going out, and if they got lucky, might not be back until midmorning.

She debated calling 911 or going downstairs, and decided Johnny might need help now rather than ten minutes from now. When she was halfway down the stairs, she could see most of the bar. She saw Johnny lying on the floor and a guy with his back to her going through the cash register.

“Hey, scumbag!” she yelled.

The guy turned toward her with a pistol in his hand, and Gwen/Janna shot him three times in the chest.

She ran to Johnny and found he had a chest wound. Fortunately, it was high and not on the side where his heart was. She picked up his cell phone from its place behind the bar and called 911. Knowing it would be a while before they got there, she applied pressure to the wound with a clean bar rag and urged him, “Stay with me here, Johnny. Help is on the way. You’re going to be okay, I promise.”

 

Johnny was okay. Surgery was successful, and after just a week he was good to go home. Gwen/Janna spent every minute she wasn’t working taking care of him. 

Their relationship was strengthened, and when Gwen/Janna got “the call” to rejoin the extraterrestrial group stationed on Earth, she said she would return to them only if Johnny was brought into the group. 

After he had been thoroughly vetted, Gwen/Janna was told he was in and she could decide to remain Janna or be transformed back into Gwen.

She decided to continue her life as Janna. That would mean there were now two Jannas, but separated by a dozen or more light years. What were the chances they would ever run into each other?      

 

The End (of Nowhere)

 

 

Roy Dorman, roydorman@yahoo.com, of Madison, Wisconsin, who wrote BP #86’s“New Orleans Take-Out” & “Not This Time” (+ BP #85’s “Door County Getaway” & “The Gift”; BP #84’s “Goodbye to Nowhere Land” and “Nobody Should Be at 1610 Maple St.”; BP #83’s “Door #2”; BP #82’s “A Nowhere Friend” & “Foundling”; BP #81’s “Nowhere Man in Nowhere Land” & “The Box with Pearl Inlay”; BP #80’s “Andrew’s War” & “Down at the Hardware Store”; BP #79’s “Cellmates” & “Get Some Shelter,” BP #78’s “All Is as It Should Be,” BP #77’s “Essence of Andrew,” BP #76’s “Flirting with the Alley,” BP #75’s “The Enemy of My Enemy…” BP #74’s “Doesn’t Play Well with Others,” BP #73’s “A Journey Starts with a Flower,” BP #72’s “The Beach House,” BP #71’s “The Big Apple Bites,” BP #70’s “Borrowing Some Love” and BP #69’s “Back in Town” and “Finding Good Help…”), is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Birds Piled Loosely, Burningword Literary Journal, Cease Cows, Cheapjack Pulp, Crack The Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flash Fiction Press, Gap-Toothed Madness, Gravel, Lake City Lights, Near To The Knuckle, Shotgun Honey, The Creativity Webzine, Theme of Absence, The Screech Owl, The Story Shack, & Yellow Mama.




Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/

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