Black Petals Issue #103, Spring, 2023

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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

Cindy Rosmus: Personal Things

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Art by Bernice Holtzman 2023

PERSONAL THINGS

 

by

 

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

          “You serious?” my neighbor Joey said.

“You gotta be kidding!” his wife Sandy said.

          My best friend Freddy’s hand was still out. “Twenty bucks. From each of you.”

          They looked at each other, then back at him.

          “Christina’s request,” Freddy said. “Via living will. Wanna see her dead, you gotta pay.” He struggled not to laugh.

          Dear Freddy. Best friend a kid could have, though we weren’t kids, anymore. Maybe I was, now that I was dead. I bet I could be any age I wanted.

But I wasn’t gone long enough to know.

          “She can’t spend it,” Sandy hissed.

          “Death,” Freddy said, “is a personal thing.”

          The wake had just started, and they were the first ones there. God, Sandy was annoying. If you had red lipstick on your teeth, she’d lick hers, and say, “Christina, do this!” in a bar full of cute guys.

She’d love to see if I had on red lipstick, now. That was in my “living will,” too: Once my lips were sewn shut, the right shade of lipstick should be applied.

Pay up, bitch.

          Why so early? A quick walk-through: “Boo-hoo, I’m so sorry Christina is gone!”, then out the back door, and to Boxer’s Brew. “Boo-hoo,” they’d keep up there, to scarf rounds of free drinks.

          ‘Cos they’d be forty bucks short.

          Joey sniffed the air. Overpriced flowers and formaldehyde, but also . . . “Is there a KFC or Popeye’s around here?”

          Freddy smiled. “No.”

          Well-done chicken wings, I’d requested. Like a death row last meal, though I hadn’t killed anybody and couldn’t eat them, myself. 

          Neither can you, I thought, smugly.

Biggest mooches, ever, Joey and Sandy. Always in my fridge, but they thought I didn’t know. Stealing the last beer I’d hid behind the mayo. Once, while dieting, she’d opened my last chocolate pudding, ate one spoonful, then put it back. Fat-ass bitch.

          Twenty bucks, please.

          Things are getting fuzzy. I go from loving all this on like a movie screen, to fading out. Like leaving the theater with the buttered popcorn on my seat. Without knowing who the killer was. Or if I was even murdered.  

If I was, one of them did it.

          “You’re gonna get shot,” Freddy had warned me, way back. I laughed.

          Wise Freddy. We’d shared guys, some with jealous wives. But we were there for each other. When one’s heart gave out in my bed at 4 AM, who helped me dump the body? It was garbage night, so we left the guy on a mattress up the block.

          I was no angel. I wasn’t expecting wings.

          Only justice.

So, which one did it?

          Plenty, I had, on both Joey and Sandy. How she sneaked down to Jose the super, ‘cos she’d lost quarters in the dryer. But their hamper was stuffed with soiled, stinking clothes. How Joey’d sneak over to me, while she was “washing clothes.” How she crooked her pinky, giggling about Joey’s size. How I’d seen stars, with the real thing.

          How their intercom was patched on with duct-tape.

          What goodies were in the wall.

          How they’d robbed that old man, who was found dead in 1-C.

          So, which one killed me?

The rustle of bills assured me that one of them paid. The box creaked open.

          All I knew, Freddy knew, too. What we didn’t, he would find out, soon. Somehow, he’d find out who did it. He’d make them pay.

Forty bucks was just the start.

His smile, like the Cheshire cat’s, transcended mine.

 

 

THE END

Cindy originally hails from the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ, once voted the “unfriendliest city on the planet.” She talks like Anybodys from West Side Story and everybody from Saturday Night Fever. Her noir/horror/bizarro stories have been published in the coolest places, such as Shotgun HoneyMegazineDark DossierThe Rye Whiskey Review, Under the Bleachers, and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of Yellow Mama and the art director of Black Petals. She’s published seven collections of short stories. Cindy is a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights advocate. 

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