Black Petals Issue #103, Spring, 2023

Editor's Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
All the Sky Is Waiting to Be Told: Fiction by Daniel I. Clark
Fire Sale: Fiction by Christopher Pate
Kregah: Fiction by Ron Capshaw
The Beauty of Machinery: Fiction by Hayden Seay
The Cold Sore: Fiction by Chris McGuinness
The Lake: Fiction by Harper Hargis
The Price: Fiction by Josh Hanson
The Tailbone Is Connected to the Hipbone: Fiction by Michael Fowler
The Thorn Tree: Fiction by Lawrence Buentello
They: Fiction by Tony Ayers
Work Experience: Fiction by Martin Taulbut
Burns: 3 Connected Drabbles by Hillary Lyon
Grandma Medusa: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
I'm So Sorry, Computer: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Invasive: Flash Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Jumper: Flash Fiction by Kurt Hohmann
Personal Things: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Good Doctor: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Another Tomato Invasion, Again: Poem by I. N. Shimabuku
Curse of the Crazies: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Ghosted: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Meteor Moon: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Halo Around the Sun: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Maker's Image: Poem by Bindi Lavelle
Specimen: Poem by Bindi Lavelle
Blood-stained Jupiter: Poem by Meg Smith
Cat Science: Poem by Meg Smith
Mortician's Powder: Poem by Meg Smith
The Pinups of the Afterlife: Poem by Meg Smith
Dark Gate Park: Poem by Meg Smith
A turntable fabricates hope during the apocalypse in 3 parts: Poem by Dennis Bagwell
Reverend Mother Munchausen: Poem by Sophia Wiseman-Rose
Whispers of Winter: Poem by Ashley N. Goodwin
A Man Is Nothing Without His Wife: Poem by Ashley N. Goodwin

Paul Radcliffe: Invasive

Art by Michael D. Davis 2023


Paul Radcliffe


 When your life support is turned off, you needn’t read your horoscope. I had fallen down stairs. Head hit the radiator. Blood on the carpet. More to the point, blood inside my skull. As soon as it happened, I watched myself on the floor. The ambulance, my kids crying, the hospital and the scans. I was on a ventilator. I heard ‘brain death’. I saw the tests. Ice water in the ears amongst other highlights. My blood pressure was monitored through a probe in the artery near my wrist. The probe was wired to a monitor. It led to a socket labelled Invasive Blood Pressure. I watched the pattern and the numbers changing. A red line moving in arch shapes. My kids were upset. I decided to cheer them up. When you are in the waiting room for the Great Beyond, certain abilities are granted—I don’t know how. The kids looked at the monitor. The nurse had briefly stepped outside the room. The children always loved dad jokes. I changed the waveform—the arterial curve of the invasive blood pressure. The curve became words. I spelled out this award winner…

 ‘Why don’t crabs give to charity?...because they’re shellfish..’

My daughter saw this. I loved surprising her. The waveform—the invasive blood pressure—returned to normal. The brain death tests concluded. No happy endings. My daughter thinks she was hallucinating. She wasn’t. I am not sure exactly where-or even what-I am now. I will still visit. It will be a nice surprise.

           Paul Radcliffe (on himself) Based in New Zealand.  Had an aunt who lived in a haunted farmhouse in England. Haunted by a monk-yes, really-which explains a lot. Works in Emergency, susceptible to hypnosis by cats. The supernatural is at its most disturbing when it subtly overlaps the everyday and the boundaries blur. Has worked in various places that are unlikely to be confused with holiday destinations. Grew up in Liverpool but missed the Beatles, and always eager to add to a growing collection of pirate jokes.

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