Black Petals Issue #87 Spring, 2019

There's an App for That

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
God's Canyon-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Napper's Holler, Chapter 10-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler, Chapter 11-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler, Chapter 12-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
There's an App for That-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Sepia Photograph-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Chorus-Poem set by Christopher Hivner
Granite Garden-Poem set from Michael Keshigian
Cottonmouth-Poem set from Hillary Lyon

Art by Hillary Lyon 2019

There’s an App for That


By Hillary Lyon

Taking those outside calls




The phone in Vincent’s inside coat pocket vibrated like a tiny rattlesnake against his chest. He put his scotch down on the bar, smiled at the pretty gal beside him, and excused himself. He pulled out his phone only after he’d left the bar and walked a ways down the sidewalk.

On the screen was a map of the area; Vincent’s location appeared as a glowing blue dot. Two blocks over a red dot throbbed and moved towards a static white square—which was a trendy night-spot called Blockheads. Vincent watched until the red dot and the white square merged. He shoved his phone back in his coat pocket and walked toward Blockheads. 

Of course there was a cover-charge at Blockheads; all the social media virtual reality bars charged out the wazoo; this place was no exception. He swiped his debit card between the lips of the bouncer-bot; its eyes flashed green and Vincent was handed a pair of Blockheads EsclusivoTM VR glasses. All the classiest VR clubs supplied their own glasses nowadays. He went inside.

It was like forging through a mudslide of humanity, Vincent thought as he shouldered his way through the crowd. He found a perch on a tall chair along the back wall, where he could scan the crowd, unnoticed. Like most clubs, all the action took place on the dance floor in the center of the room. Vincent pulled out his phone. Now the screen displayed a map of the club: Vincent’s blue dot off to the side, stationary, and the throbbing red dot careening back and forth like an errant ping-pong ball.

He looked up from his phone, attempting to correlate the red dot’s movement with someone on the dance floor. No dice. He put on the VR glasses and the dance floor exploded with avatars, all with wispy name-tags floating above their heads. He saw Princess Purple Dragon, who left a trail of sparkles with every movement, Joey Kanga—half man, half kangaroo, athletically bouncing across the floor. There was the Binary Bunch: a small group of indeterminate sex, just six black silhouettes filled with streaming, illuminated ones and zeros. There was Cap’n Arbitrage, the Duchess of Digitalis, and—Alucard, a black and white avatar based on a young Bela Lugosi, but with vibrant red lips added for dramatic effect. Seriously, did no one here get the joke in his name-tag? 

Vincent watched as Alucard drifted from one digital denizen to another, until he landed on a lonely lady at the dark end of the bar. Well, her cloud-tag said “Lady Jane.” She appeared to be a praying mantis in a wedding dress. Alucard leaned close to Lady Jane’s face and whispered temptations to her. 

Vincent took off the glasses and rubbed his eyes. Again he consulted his phone’s screen. Red dot’s location confirmed it was ‘Alucard.’ No doubt. He slid off his perch and moved toward the couple. For an avatar, Vince had also chosen an old movie character—so no one noticed as the Invisible Man opened his coat and retrieved a silver-tipped wooden stake, hand-crafted by a monk of the Saint Isadore Monastery. Oh Patron Saint of High Tech, don’t fail me now, Vincent prayed.

He waited for Lady Jane to turn her head away from Alucard; when she did, all it took was one thrust with the vampire-slaying stake and—Alucard was dust. She turned back, sadly unsurprised her new friend had vanished. Relieved, Vince consulted his phone. The club was clear, though to his consternation, the app immediately reset itself. Like a tiny drop of blood, a new red dot blossomed in a dive bar six blocks away.


The End



Hillary Lyon,, who wrote BP #87’s “There’s an App for That” (+ BP #85’s “Bottle Music,” BP #83’s “Strange Music Follows Her Everywhere,” and BP #78’s “The Lucky Break”) lives in southern Arizona, where she founded and still edits poetry journals for Subsynchronous Press. Her stories have appeared in 365 Tomorrows, Eternal Haunted Summer, Night to Dawn, The Sirens Call, Trembling with Fear, Yellow Mama, and numerous horror anthologies such as Alternate Hilarities 5: One Star Reviews of the Afterlife, Fright Mare, More Tales from the Blue Gonk Cafe, My American Nightmare, Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big Easy, Postcard Shorts, Stories from the Graveyard, Surreal Nightmares II, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. When not writing, she hand-paints boxes and furniture in the colorful, Dia de los Muertos style and creates artwork for horror and pulp-fiction magazines. 

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