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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
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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
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

84_ym_threes_branch.jpg
Art by Darren Blanch © 2021

THREES

  

by

 

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

1978

 

 

          Last night was the worst. In twenty-one years of worst nights. Worse than getting burned out of your parents’ place, at age eleven, ‘cos your mom fell asleep, smoking. Everybody lived, but so what?

          Liberty State’s dorm was paradise, next to that shabby flat. Like a neat, pretty set for a movie. A psychological horror flick.

          Your first roommate, Neely, shook her wooden leg at you, for fun. The next one, C.J., robbed you blind. Deborah, who had skin like funeral lilies, stole more than money. Those tiny notebooks you’d hid in your snow boots wound up in her locked drawer. After the whole world learned your secrets.

          How Mom mixed rat poison into Daddy’s juice, but you spilled it, in time.

          How you’ve never once kissed a guy.

          Or even wanted to. . . .

          Now, a year later, the one guy you were dying to kiss, was lost to you.

          Joey, that scruffy, leather-jacketed, bad boy poet. Whose brutal words only you could understand. Who you loved in a way only brutal words could describe.

But you, with your frizzy hair and fat ass, were out of his league.

According to Lisa, Professor Steele’s slutty young wife. Gotta lose weight, she claimed Joey said, about you. Then: “’She sure can write,’” Lisa quoted, in Joey’s scratchy voice, “But she’s not my type.”

Off on a ski trip, Joey was. Like all this snow was a tease. You pictured him wasted, with some slut, maybe blonder than Lisa.

Your heart felt squashed, like someone fatter than you sat on it.

          Fat like Mary Alice next door. Her heart was pulp, like a dinosaur had stepped on it. ‘Cos her fiancé was gone.

Poor Hal. Heart imploded under freezing, black water. His death an excuse to get shit-faced at the pub. Kiss Steele’s ass, so he’d buy pitchers of beer. Jerks who’d never even met Hal toasting to his memory. Behind Steele’s back, Lisa snuck one guy her number.

Mary Alice wasn’t even missed.

 

Suitemates, you were, ‘cos you shared a bathroom. If you didn’t hear her in there, you still smelled what could’ve once been rat stew. But she ate the same dorm meals you did. And lately, the grub was worse.

Right before Hal, the food services guy died, in a gruesome car crash. Like a bowling ball, his head shot across the icy highway. You heard Sam “Three Chin” Jones was buried headless.

Weasel, the new guy, had cooked in ‘Nam but was too stoned to know chicken from pork. Both he served pink.

This morning, your bathroom would smell worse. Mary Alice’s retching made you want to puke, too. When she stopped, she left the bathroom from her side. You hoped she wasn’t down in the dining hall.

Normally, at breakfast, you lucked out. Bubbly Nancy made yummy cheese omelets. But today, Weasel was cooking.

“What’cha want?” His eyes were just slits.

Runny eggs and burnt toast.

That’s what you got. When Weasel cooked, he blasted the overhead music so your head hurt.

Out in the dining hall, Mary Alice sat alone, by the window.

No, you thought, please, not today . . .  

But she looked right at you. So you had to join her.

“Hi,” you said, sitting down.

No answer. Her skin looked almost gray. Her oatmeal was untouched.

Outside, winter seemed in as foul a mood as you. En route to class, kids slid around on the ice. Old students back in school after years walked slowly, nervously.

How freaky it was, that ice or snow caused those two deaths: “Three Chin” Jones’ car crash, and Hal’s ice-fishing tragedy.

“Threes,” Mary Alice murmured.

“Huh?” You thought she’d said “Trees,” but she wasn’t staring out at frosty branches. Her eyes were set straight ahead.

“Death,” she said. “It comes in threes.”

Great, you thought. Bad enough Joey was “dead” to you. Off on his precious ski trip.

Who’s gonna croak next?

Forcing a smile, you skimmed the yolk off an egg. “Awwww . . .”

From the overhead speaker came that Foreigner song: “Cold as Ice.” With that annoying piano intro.

She picked up her spoon. “Yup.” To the beat of the song, she mashed her oatmeal.

“Well . . .” you said, “sometimes, it seems that way. But not all deaths are connected.”

“No?”

“Um . . . the week my aunt died, our super got burned up with our apartment building.” You wished she’d stop mashing that oatmeal. “Then . . . my best friend’s grandfather . . . got hit by a bus.”

“You see?”

“But they didn’t know each other!” you said, wearily. “My aunt lived way out in Seattle, and Louie’s grandpa was on a trip to India. A tour bus hit him.”

Mary Alice dropped the spoon. “Mr. Jones didn’t know my Hal.”

You sighed. So what if she didn’t get it? Her pain was way worse than yours. Her Hal would never come back.

But Joey . . . As long as he was alive . . .

You’re not his type.

Joey might as well be dead, too.

Usually, by 5 PM, you were at the pub. Night class, or not. Beers with Steele and the gang was more . . . enlightening . . . than Social Research Methods.

But tonight, on your way there, this chill came over you. Like your ribs were icicles. Even bundled up, you felt colder than ever.

“Hi,” you told Jack, who checked IDs at the door. No class tonight? he usually joked. But not tonight.

Inside, the place was packed but seemed quiet, though the jukebox was on. A Fleetwood Mac song played: “Go Your Own Way.”

At Steele’s almost-full table, the pitchers were empty. Lisa was crying. Practically the whole gang was there.

But not Joey.

Oh, my God, you thought.

Slowly, Steele got up and walked over to you. Up close, you realized he looked old enough to retire.

As he held you close, your whole body trembled.

“He had too much to drink,” Steele said, “before skiing.” Tears filled his eyes. “Never saw the tree.”

As the bad-boy poet would say . . .

           And that makes three.


Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants. She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, Dark Dossier, and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights advocate.


Darren Blanch, Aussie creator of visions which tell you a tale long after first glimpses have teased your peepers. With early influence from America's Norman Rockwell to show life as life, Blanch has branched out mere art form to impact multi-dimensions of color and connotation. People as people, emotions speaking their greater glory. Visual illusions expanding the ways and means of any story.

Digital arts mastery provides what Darren wishes a reader or viewer to take away in how their own minds are moved. His evocative stylistics are an ongoing process which sync intrinsically to the expression of the nearby written or implied word he has been called upon to render.

View the vivid energy of IVSMA (Darren Blanch) works at: www.facebook.com/ivsma3Dart, YELLOW MAMA, Sympatico Studio - www.facebook.com/SympaticoStudio, DeviantArt - www.deviantart.com/ivsma and launching in 2019, as Art Director for suspense author / intrigue promoter Kate Pilarcik's line of books and publishing promotion - SeaHaven Intrigue Publishing-Promotion.



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