Black Petals Issue #99, Spring, 2022

Editor's Page
Artist's Page
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Are You Full? Fiction by James Kompany
Bunker-Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Buy Here, Pay Here-Fiction by Kim Bonner
The Church of the Coyotes Who Would be Wolves-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Elm Mills-Fiction by Mack Severns
Hearts in the Gutter-Fiction by Lamont Turner
Midnight Espresso-Fiction by David Starobin
Spider Bite-Fiction by N. G. Leonetti
Test Tube Babies-Fiction by Kilmo
Witches' Jubilee-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Biter: A Love Story-Flash Fiction by Harris Coverley
New Mail-Flash Fiction by Eddie D. Moore
Reasons Not to Wake Up a Sleeping Beggar in the Morning-Flash Fiction by Marcelo Medone
While I was Frozen-Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
Woodshop for Werewolves-Flash Fiction by Mark Jabaut
Bruja-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
First Light-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Soul Music-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Stalker-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Zombies in Space-Poem by Jeffrey Park
Bleeding Senses-Poem by Jess Boaden
I'd Like to Speak to the Manager-Poem by Carl E. Reed
The Woods (Behind My House)-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Nocturnal Mode-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
When I Find You-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Ethereal-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Fall-Poem by Mike Edele
Death-Poem by Mike Edele
Where Will You Be-Poem by Mike Edele
Giant Cockroach-Poem by Richard Stevenson
The Allegewi-Poem by Richard Stevenson
Tokoloshe-Poem by Richard Stevenson
The Ghoul-Poem by Richard Stevenson

Giant Cockroach


Richard Stevenson


California City, halfway between

Bakersfield and Barstow.  A woman

named Peggy, en route to L.A. from Las Vegas,

pulls into a cheap hotel for the night.


It’s late, but someone or something

knocks on her door, so Peggy opens

the door a crack.  Keeps the chain on.

She sees a six-foot cockroach!


It spits some brown liquid at her,

manages to get a leg through the door

and flip the chain, grab hold of her.

She remembers a Chuck Norris flick.


Drops to her butt and sweeps

its legs out from under it.

Makes a break for it down the hall,

but the cockroach catches up to her.


She struggles to escape its twin prong

grip of her wrist.  Manages to free herself

long enough to get to an open door,

slams it on one of the roach’s antennae.


It screams, but manages to extract

its antenna and runs off into the night.

Cops are called, but can’t catch the roach.

Not that they aren’t amused by the escapade.


That’s it.  A six-and-a-half-foot roach.

What’s a woman to do?  Call housekeeping?

Get The Better Business Bureau on the blower?

Call for a garbage can size tin of Raid?


Roaches from space lookin’ for some

shut-eye too?  A human voice called

for extra blankets.  Some goof on a toot

in realistic roach suit?  Who knows?


Can’t be the easiest way to get

a young woman to open her door –

What’s he gonna do?  Say he didn’t mean

to scare her?  Wanna go to a Halloween party?


Hey, I’ve got just the costume for you.

A lady roach ensemble.  Should fit you

and still leave room for moving mouth parts.

We could grab a burger or some carpet crumbs … .

Richard Stevenson is a retired college English and Creative Writing instructor. Taught for thirty years at Lethbridge College in southern Alberta and recently moved to Nanaimo, B.C. Has the usual pedigree: MFA in Creative Writing, thirty-five published books and a CD to his credit, including four forthcoming volumes in his Cryptid critter, ET, and Fortean lore series.

He says: That's the boring academic stuff. More interested to me is my good fortune in being able to transition from adult free verse of the lit quarterly variety to sci fi, fantasy, and horror! The new titles might give a sense of the fun I've been having, even in these Covid-19 times: _Cryptid Shindig_ (a trilogy including the volumes _If a Dolphin Had Digits_, _Nightcrawlers_, and _Radioactive Frogs_) and a stand-alone collection, _An Abominable Swamp Slob Named Bob_. :-)

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