Black Petals Issue #100 Summer, 2022

Editor's Page
Mars-Chris Friend
BP Artists and Illustrators
Baby, You're the Best: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Darkest Day:Fiction by Richard Brown
They Feed on Light:Fiction by Kilmo
Step Eight: Fiction by Paul Lubaczewski
Reunion:Fiction by Gene Lass
Highwayman's Trousers:Fiction by Michael W. Clark
The Dutiful Hit:Fiction by Jay Flynn
Flight of Fantasy: Fiction by Martin Taulbut
He Asked Me to Do It: Fiction by R. A. Cathcart
Lagniappe: Fiction by Michael Stoll
No Spark, No Flame: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Bathroom Light: Fiction by Craig Shay
Dave Jenkins, Flayed: Flash Fiction by Brian Barnett
Beauty Sleep: Flash Fiction by Simeon Care
Head Games: Flash Fiction by Philip Perry
Hurry Home: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
You'll See, She Said: Flash Fiction by Robb White
Captain Yeah-Way: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Attic Notes: Poem by Michael S. Love
Exit Strategy: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
You Can Pretend: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Gold Star: Poem by C. Renee Kiser
Conflict of Interest: Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Recording: Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Litha: Poem by Christopher Friend
Sleeping Beauty: Poem by Christopher Friend
It Began with Violence: Poem by Donna Dallas
Rocking Zebra Déjà vu: Poem by Donna Dallas
Circle: Poem by Donna Dallas
Love is a Ghost: Poem by Donna Dallas
Together: Poem by A. N. Rose
Silence: Poem by A. N. Rose
Dead at 21: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
House Centipede: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen

M. L. Fortier: Hurry Home

Art by Michael D. Davis © 2022

Hurry Home


M. L. Fortier



        Not again. Racing home, must make it by eight pm. Such long days at the office. Vicious honks behind me; shaking, I press down on the accelerator. Already 7:30, no time to stop for fruits on weekdays. I devour a ton for a 5’4” guy.

        Thank fate, I’ve found a workable apartment. My salvation. Since I moved in, Dad has asked to visit. No way. Naturally, I can’t invite co-workers. Out of the question to bring friends home (not that I have any) since my major transition two years ago.

        Before that, I was normal. More or less. I’ve been agonizingly careful—to pay rent on time, to hide up on floor three, to keep inside the one-bedroom place. Some nights I can’t hold back from hopping, leaping to the floor, throwing stuff. I apologize, as civilized as possible, to the white-haired lady below me.

        Tonight I’m running late, due to construction outside Chicago. 7:45, I’m sweating, heart pounding. Try to focus on bananas; my simple haven with heavy drapes over the big windows. A marvelous humidifier. Huge plants, almost trees, crowd around a small couch.

        Swings are suspended from the ceiling of a back room (which was meant to be a bedroom). Huge bins of fruit are stuffed in a shadowed corner of the kitchenette. I display a microwave and coffeemaker—everything looks somewhat typical in case Maintenance must come.

        Concentrate; change lanes. Wish I could have gotten a crash pad closer to my office in Chicago. But this one is wonderfully far from my dad and my snoopy brother’s family.


        7:50. Miles from home. My neck crackles. Why must trouble descend now? I’ve been so good at keeping super-clean and avoiding odors. Mornings at 8, as soon as I look less hairy, I quick throw on duds and gulp coffee.

        Never have I eaten bananas without removing the peel. I clean up after gorging on pecans, mangoes. I’ve even given up lizards.

        Last week I couldn’t help staring at a bird’s egg, splashed onto my deck. Though I avoid emerging there, I jumped outside after dark and scooped up the runny yolk. Hungering, I crawled up the drainpipe to the next balcony; groped for a nest craving more eggs. The neighbor (a loudmouth) yelled and I shimmied back down. Hope he just saw a furry face and guessed it was a raccoon.

        I never eat humans—honest. Longed to throw poop at Loudmouth, but exercised restraint. More than these wise guys.

        7:55, a traffic jam. Omg, my skin itches like hell. Bones ache, one step above agony. Muscles tighten. I’m going to ruin another shirt. The car turns onto the last intersection.

        Fingers burst as claws click on the steering wheel. Eyes and ears sharpen in the dark. Teeth thrust out, making gums bleed.

        What will neighbors say?

        Will I reach home before I turn completely into a monkey?

M. L. Fortier:  An award winning author, I have also been teaching creative writing at colleges in the Chicago area, and currently work at College of DuPage. I have many poems in print, the most popular being "If I'd Married Poe."

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