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Lisa's Revenge-Fiction by Janet Hatwell
Her Passion-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Threes-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Ruby in the Red Hoodie-Fiction by Ryan Priest
No-Fiction by Bruce Costello
Fat Trucker, Hot Wife-Fiction by Matthew Copes
Between the Sheets-Fiction by K. Marvin Bruce
Hearts in Retrograde-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
From a Buick-Kind-of-Place-Fiction by Darrell Petska
The Map-Fiction by Jan Christensen
Old Mules-Fiction by Mickey J. Corrigan
The Right Tool for the Job-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The War Against Stuff-Fiction by Fred Andersen
The Handyman-Fiction by Bobby Mathews
Till Death Do Us Part-Fiction by Justin Swartz
Deadville-Fiction by Gary Clifton
Huggermugger-Flash Fiction by Gay Degani
Mortuary-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
Inside Room 107-Flash Fiction by Dustin Walker
Gatophobia-Flash Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Daybreak Over I-15-Poem by C. W. Blackwell
Confetti and Juicy Fruit Gum-Poem by Kenneth James Crist
Night in Cumming's Cove-Poem by Michael Keshigian
Scar-Poem by Otto Burnwell
Graveyard Love-Poem by John Grey
Plan but No Really Plan-Poem by Joe Balaz
Audible Sigh-Poem by John Tustin
Erica-Poem by John Tustin
Heartbreaker-Poem by Meg Baird
La Guitare-Poem by Meg Baird
Parking Garage-Poem by Joel Matulich
Vintage Trade Paperback-Poem by Joel Matulich
Perpetual Motion-Poem by Stephen J. Golds
The Best Ones Are the Crazy Ones-Poem by Stephen J. Golds
Black Widow-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Out of My Skin-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
The Terrible Shadows-Poem by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
Lucky Number Seven-Poem by Bradford Middleton
The Old Routine of Dreaming and Blasting-Poem by Bradford Middleton
F**K It, Let's Listen to the Ramones-Poem by Bradford Middleton
Our Open Window-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Wandering Woman-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Winter's Twilight Sky-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
You, I, Together-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Each Day-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Ghost Dance-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
He Paid For-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Winter Woman-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Hillary Lyon 2021


Roy Dorman


“You don’t look like what I thought a contract killer would look like.”

Jimmy Hudson pulled his Glock from his shoulder holster and put the tip of the barrel up against Cassie Morgan’s forehead, just above the bridge of her nose.

“How about now?” he asked.

“Oh, I can see it now,” said Cassie.  “Yup, you do look more like a contract killer now.”

Jimmy and Cassie met in a little greasy spoon in a part of the Bronx she hadn’t been in before.  Cassie had made contact with Jimmy through a “friend” who did maintenance work at her condo.

“He’s very good and very discreet,” Bobby Rogers told her one morning while he was gathering towels from the vacant machines in her condo’s exercise room. 

“He costs a lot, but he’s worth every penny.  Like me.”

Cassie and Bobby had been having sex upstairs in Cassie’s unit during Bobby’s lunch hour once a week for about three months. 

Cassie was tired of her loveless marriage and wanted to get rid of her verbally abusive husband, Les.  Cassie and Les were filthy rich, they both had their own successful careers, and she was ready to go it alone.  Alone with all the financial rewards a grieving widow would be entitled to, that is.

Bobby also had visions of starting a new life.  With Cassie. 

But that wasn’t going to happen.  Cassie already decided she would try to talk Jimmy into a “twofer,” killing both Les and Bobby, thereby leaving no loose ends.

“I don’t do twofers,” Jimmy said.  “If ya want Bobby dead too, it’ll cost ya a little more.”

The waitress arrived at their booth with coffee.

“No guns allowed in here, Jimmy,” she whispered.

Jimmy just stared at her.

“Maybe next time leave it in the car, okay?” she whispered again, raising an eyebrow.

Jimmy continued the stare for a bit and then nodded.

“You a regular here?” asked Cassie.

“None of yer business,” said Jimmy.  “Ya got the cash?”

Cassie reached into her oversized handbag and took out a thick stack of hundreds secured with a rubber band.

Jimmy quickly scanned the diner.  “Pass it under the table,” he said.

Cassie sat there with the bundle in her hand.  She was having second thoughts.

I should have probably just done this myself.  I trust this guy because Bobby says he’s okay?  If he takes the money and stiffs me, what do I do?  Call the cops?

Jimmy had seen this movie before. 

“We’re way past second guessin’,” he said.  “Just gimme the damn money.”

“And you’ll do everything like you said you would?”

“Ya get what ya pay for,” Jimmy said cryptically. 

Cassie passed the money to Jimmy.  He drank his coffee down and got up to leave.  “We won’t be talkin’ again, got it?”

Cassie nodded and forced a smile.  She didn’t feel good about this at all.

Their waitress walked over after Jimmy left and refilled Cassie’s cup. 

“I’m Molly,” she said, extending the hand that wasn’t holding the coffee pot. 

Cassie shook with her and sighed.  “Cassie.  I’m Cassie.”

“Ya look like ya need a friend,” said Molly.  “Why ya hanging around that dirtball, Jimmy?  He’s bad news.”

“He’s, ah …, he’s going to do some work for me,” said Cassie.

“Yeah, I saw ya passin’ him the cash.  Ya don’t ever wanna pay somebody like Jimmy in advance.  You’ll probably never see him again.”

“He came highly recommended,” said Cassie.  “And I hope I never do see him again.”

“Let me guess,” mused Molly.  “He was probably recommended by his partner in crime, Bobby.  Those two are always runnin’ some kinda hustle out of the diner here.  One of these days they’ll mess with the wrong client and wind up dead.”

“Can you sit down a minute?” asked Cassie.

“Hey, Andrea,” Molly yelled.  “Keep my customers happy for a few minutes, will ya?”

Molly sat down in the booth across from Cassie.  “It’s probably too late, but I’ll help ya if I can.”

Cassie debated as to what she could possibly gain by talking to this waitress.  She was pretty sure she’d already made one mistake and didn’t want to make another.

“You’re not partners with Jimmy and Bobby, are you?” she asked.  “I don’t want—”

“Oh, hell, no,” said Molly.  “Give me some credit.”

Cassie proceeded to tell Molly the whole story, leaving nothing out.  Molly nodded or grimaced in all the right places.

“If yer lucky, Jimmy will just take yer cash and you’ll never see him again.”

“And if I’m not lucky?” asked Cassie.

“Then he and Bobby might use ya to get even more money out of yer husband.  They’re not real bright, but they do know how to run a scam.”

“What should I do?”

“If I know those two, and I do, they’ll probably try to shake down yer husband right away,” said Molly.  “Maybe even tonight.”

“How did I get into this mess?” moaned Cassie.

“It’s how yer going to get out of it that’s important now,” said Molly.  “What time does yer husband usually get home?”

“Around 7:30 or so.”

“Don’t go home tonight.  You and I are going to check out the situation before ya confront him.”

“Confront him?”

“Yeah,” said Molly.  “He hired Jimmy to kill ya, didn’t he?”

Molly opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out.


Cassie and Molly were staked out in Molly’s old Datsun across the street from Cassie’s high-rise condo.  Les Morgan pulled up at 7:35 and drove into the underground parking garage.

“What now?” asked Cassie.

“We wait,” said Molly.  “If he calls yer cell, don’t answer.”

Twenty minutes later, an old beater drove up and parked ten yards ahead of them.

“Get down,” said Molly.  “It’s them.”


“Frick and Frack.  Let’s let ‘em get inside.”

“Have you done this sort of thing before?” asked Cassie.

“None of yer business,” said Molly.

Wow, that has a familiar ring to it.

“Okay, we can go in now,” said Molly, getting out of the car.  “To begin with, I’ll do all the talkin’.  If I need ya to say something, I’ll nod yer way.”

“What do I say?” asked Cassie.

“How do I know?” said Molly.  “Just wing it.  I’ll have set the stage by confrontin’ yer husband and those two losers.  If necessary, ya can chime in.”


“Molly!  What the hell are you doin’ here?” asked Jimmy.

“Funny,” said Molly.  “I was just gonna ask you that.  And you, Bobby, ya here sharing bedroom stories with Les?”

Jimmy and Bobby were sitting next to each other on a long couch.  The hit money Cassie had given Jimmy was on the coffee table in front of them.

“Looks like you were right, Cassie,” said Molly, pointing at the money.  “Yer lovin’ husband is hiring these two bozos to kill you.”

“Cassie!” said Les.  “What the hell have you gotten us into?  Have you totally lost your —”

Les didn’t get a chance to finish that thought.  Molly pulled a silencer- equipped Sig Sauer out from under her coat and shot him once in the forehead.

Cassie screamed and Jimmy and Bobby both put their hands in the air.

“I guess this must be for me,” said Molly, picking up the money from the table and stuffing it into a coat pocket. 

“And yer done doin’ things ya have no expertise in,” she said, and shot Jimmy in the face.

“And you,” she said, pointing her pistol at Bobby.  “I guess since he’s done, yer done too.”

Cassie walked woodenly to an overstuffed chair and fell into it.  She figured she was next, but shock kept her from raising any kind of defense.

Molly walked to the front door.  She opened it and waved her arms over head.  A minute later, two men stepped into the living room.

“I know I told you guys I’d have a body for ya to dispose of,” said Molly to one of the men.  “But I got a little carried away here and there’s three of ‘em.  You’ll get paid extra.” 

“Make sure there is absolutely no trace of any of us being here.  No blood stains anywhere.  Cassie and I are going somewhere to have a few drinks and come up with a story as to how her husband could have gone missing.  Call me when yer completely finished, okay?”

The two men nodded and put on rubber gloves.  Cassie had no doubt they’d done this before.  She now knew Molly wouldn’t be associated with anyone but the best.

Molly and Cassie went out the front door and walked slowly to Molly’s car.

“So, the next time I want to kill somebody, I should ask a waitress at a diner for help?” Cassie asked. 

This caused her to start laughing hysterically and Molly finally slapped her.

“Not just any waitress,” Molly said.  “Me!”


Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 65 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published in Black Petals, Bewildering Stories, One Sentence Poems, Yellow Mama, Drunk Monkeys, Literally Stories, Dark Dossier, The Rye Whiskey Review, Near To The Knuckle, Theme of Absence, Shotgun Honey, and a number of other online and print journals. Unweaving a Tangled Web, recently published by Hekate Publishing, is his first novel. 

Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021