Black Petals Issue #102, Winter, 2023

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Editor's Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Betterment Day: Fiction by Malik Mandeville
Bridget Magnus: Fiction by Dean Patrick
Cemetery Road: Fiction by Richard Brown
I Quit: Fiction by Michael Stoll
Ivory Tower: Fiction by Aron Reinhold
Letter from a Poison Pen Pal: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Neck of the Woods: Fiction by Harris Coverley
No Angels: Fiction by Kilmo
It's A Dry Heat: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Requited Love: Fiction by Travis Mushanski
Stuck in Transit: Fiction by Michael Woods
Cold Yearning: Flash Fiction by Kat Sandefer
I Married a Zombie: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Snack Time: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Boy Who Loved Bolt: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
The Cutting Room: Flash Fiction by Karen Schauber
Dirty Blue Bandana: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Bidee Bodee, Bidee Beaux: Poem by Thomas Fischer
Blood of Whitechapel: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Rotten to the Core: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Seque into Shadows: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Sensitivity to Light: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Boo Hag: Poem by Richard Stevenson
Paranormal Parasites: Poem by Richard Stevenson
Huggin Molly: Poem by Richard Stevenson
In the Morgue of Memory: Poem by Hillary Lyon
Unexpected Culinary Opportunity: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
OI (Oo-ee): Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Plant Eater Gone Carnivorous: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
They Shouldn't Be There: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
The Needle Spins: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Cold: Poem by Rp Verlaine
The Sleepwalker: Poem by Rp Verlaine

M. L. Fortier: I Married a Zombie

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Art by Hillary Lyon 2023

I Married a Zombie

M. L. Fortier

 

          Most girls are attracted to bad boys. I sure am. I gets complicated when you marry one. I never meant to. So, I had just dyed my hair blonde (to test Grandma’s saying, “Blondes have more fun”), but that’s just part of the story.

          I first saw him at a rock concert. Not just any one, but Lollipop-La-La, in Chicago. And, Zed was performing: guitar, singing, gleaming satin pants and tight vest, gold in the spotlights.

          He seemed to aim the lyrics straight at me. “Deader than a doornail, deader than a milk pail or an iron rail . . .” Every single one of my long hairs stood on end. At the end of the night, I jumped him. Actually, I buttonholed Zed as he bounded off stage. His band: Deader than Dead, but I paid no attention to that – just to his hungry eyes, watching me wolfishly. His fiery red orbs flattered by girlish insecurities; I was 27, going on 17.

          The relationship swept me up like a tornado. In a few days, he visited my condo in the suburbs. My mental powers had outstripped my emotional ones, and like pants on fire, I vaulted to a high salary as an accountant.

          In a month, Zed was living with me.

          What was the lure? He remained a mystery, travelling often with his band. After playing in Chicago, claiming he had to chill after stress, he went out with mates, before crashing at the drummer’s pad.

          All this created a blank slate that I filled with wild fantasies. I built Zed into a combination movie star and rock star. “He needs me,” I wept, having never experienced this situation among my admittedly small sampling of men. Zed cried, complained. Whenever I got itchy under the chains of our relationship, he flattered me. Called me “babe” or “teeny Tina.” I felt cool and hot.

          Never mind my bushy hair or the wrecking ball that I threw into any dating game. Blame my parents, who raised me in an iron-girded cocoon.

          In a few months, Zed convinced me to elope—skip the boring relatives on both sides. I never met his mom and dad; kept him at long-arm length from mine. Zed moved totally in with me, but I fretted about his hesitancy to introduce me to his pals. “Oh that bunch of losers, all dead-heads,” he’d mutter, on his way out somewhere.

          When I finally caught up with him enough to show him off to my girlfriends, they gave me a universal verdict: “kind-a strange.”

          I struggled along, stumbled through days. Grandma always said, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” So I cooked up a storm. To change his carnivore ways to my superior vegan ones, I experimented: pizza with eggplant and arugula. When that bombed, I tried patties stuffed with pea proteins. In desperation, I ventured into cauliflower crunch, garbanzo gumbo . . . and my masterpiece, oxtail soup.

          Zed came up with inventive ways to avoid meals. I suspected him of sneaking out for hamburgers. Ugh, all that raw, bloody meat.

          “Don’t you know that meat is unhealthy?” I demanded. “All those dead calories.”

          He just laughed.

 

          I did my best to hold the marriage together, mainly from my pride. Didn’t want to admit I’d made a mistake. Sometimes, hungering for hugs, I’d wonder if Zed had chosen me as some kind of cover. Was he having an affair with a teenybopper, or a married woman? I did all I could to convince him to stay home at night. He seemed to go along.

          One weekday evening we’d had a perfect (for us) time. He bought me a necklace with skulls, to celebrate the anniversary of our meeting. We watched movies about ghosts on TV and retired early. I fell asleep like a rock.

          In deep dark I woke to find Zed gone. Where . . .? Dread gnawing at my innards, I grabbed a flashlight and ran into the yard. Snuffling, rooting in a corner: what?? I aimed a beam—catching my husband’s bloody mouth. He seemed to be chomping on an arm. Aargh. I peered around at the ground—noticed a heap. Gray dress, a tangle of white hair.

          “You’re eating Myrtle!” I accused. “How could you?” This incident had to happen, not in the faraway city among strangers; but with our next-door neighbor, walking her dog.  “How could you embarrass me?”

          My husband was too busy munching to reply. 

         “I’m leaving! How can I stay with a Meat Lover??”


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."