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When the Omen Follows You Home-Fiction by Alyson Tait
The Pie Room-Fiction by Dave Kunz
On the Matter of Hennessey-Fiction by Ed Nobody
Proud to Be a Pig-Fiction by Bob Ritchie
Marmalade and Mayhem-Fiction by Bruce Costello
Check Out-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Stanton Harbor Grocery Massacre-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Seizing Power-Flash Fiction by Tim Frank
Frog Huntin'-Flash Fiction by Gary Clifton
Best Friend Forever-Flash Fiction by Serena Jayne
Bus Stop-Flash Fiction by Jonathan Woods
Doing Without-Poem by R. Gerry Fabian
Another Day-Poem by Ann Marie Rhiel
Don't Say You'll Play the Game If You Don't Know the Rules-Poem by David Centorbi
Why I Stopped Being Me-Poem by John Sweet
Something About Her-Poem by Meg Baird
Only the Good-Poem by James Lilley
Bill's Otherworldly Cafe Across from Cafe Bizarro-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Eating Catfish on the Bank of the Sankuru River-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Post Mortem-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Deer in the Headlights-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
I, Cartographer-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
I'll Paint You a Picture-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
beside wild roses-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
sitting quietly-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
lifetimes-poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
All the Way Home-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
like a poem written-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
So There-Poem by Judith Partin-Nielsen
Sugar Wolf-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

86_ym_headerforcheckout_kcwalker.jpg
Art by Keith Coates Walker © 2021

CHECK OUT

 

by

 

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

Atlantic City 1972

 

 

          “Ten minutes?” Howard says, smirking. “Same place?”

          Room 314, he means, of his dad’s old hotel. Where we meet, secretly, to do dirty stuff. Everything but fuck. I wasn’t ready for that, yet. “Pam the Prude,” he calls me.

          “I guess.” But he knows I’ll be there.

          Howard is fourteen, too, but a slut. Groovy-looking, with blond curls like that guy from the Who. Greenish eyes that madden me when he takes off his glasses. He’s short like me, but has a deep voice. God, I love him.

So much, I almost killed him.

          I’m nuts, right? Back home they call me “Psycho,” but now it’s summer and nobody here in Atlantic City knows that.

My mom—I’d love to kill her, too—thinks I’m crazy, too. In sequined evening gowns with matching turbans, she screws all the guys in the bar. First, Marco, the bandleader. Then everyone else. Last night she left with some guy with creepy eyes. She hasn’t come back, yet.

She never knows what I’m up to. Or cares. I could spend all day and night with Howard in Room 314.

‘Cept there’s other girls.

But today it’s my turn.

 Today, Howard and I are gonna fuck. In daylight. With the sun making everybody else lobster-red on the beach, and seagulls screeching outside the window.

Last night, while Mom was out with Creepy Eyes, I lay in bed, imagining Howard’s penis inside me. I even touched myself there. Sometimes he touches me there, but just so I’ll lick him. He makes me lick him till my jaw aches.

Downstairs, Marco and his band—I call them the Mustaches—played loudly. I felt like every corny, romantic song was about Howard and me.

 

Maybe we’d get married, someday. Or . . .

Sneak down to some hick state and do it now. I could make myself look older. Wear Mom’s heavy eyeliner, and her white turban . . .

I would never come back.

She’d miss the turban, but not me. Never wanted me, to begin with.

“ ‘Daddy’s girl,’” she calls me, sneering. She hates my Pop.

“ Play ‘Something Stupid,’ ” she told Marco, the other night. Just so I’d cry.  Frank Sinatra had sung it with his daughter. I wanted to go home to my Pop. I love him so much.

But I love Howard more.

The plan is, Howard goes upstairs before I do.

I sit in the paneled lobby, on this vinyl chair that sticks to my thighs. Howard goes up to the front desk, to pester his dad, Mr. Hertzberg, who’s flirting with some bikini blonde.

“Honey,” Mr. Hertzberg says, with this phony smile, showing every tooth in his head. “Wash the sand off, out back.” He means the sleazy bathhouse. “Pul-lease?”

"Qu-est-ce que c-est?" the blonde says.

When he hears French, he leers. Those French-Canadians are as wild as my mom.

“Dad?” Howard says.  And the blonde sneaks away.

The look Howard gets chills even me. “Nothing,” he mumbles and hurries upstairs.

Five minutes I’ve got, before following him up.

Early as it is, the bar door’s open. The jukebox kicks on: “Alone Again, Naturally.” That hit song by that dorky Gilbert-somebody.

Howard, I think, don’t leave me alone.

“Pammy,” Mr. Hertzberg says, “I haven’t seen your Mommy, today.”

I just shrug.

“Maybe she got up early,” he says, “and hit the beach.”

Again, I shrug.

“She’s really into those turbans, isn’t she?”

Sighing, I join him at the desk.

“My favorite is the gold lame one,” he says, grinning. “That matches that dress.”

More than anything, I hate that gold turban. Each time she wears it, I wish she was dead.

“They all match,” I say, bitterly. 

Still grinning, he looks past me at some new blondes coming in the lobby.

The swordfish wall clock says it’s been ten minutes, not five!

Shit, I think.  Howard might think I stood him up!

Or, worse . . .

He’s with another girl.

A French-Canadian.  Like Cécile, from last week. Or Melanie, the bitch from Maryland . . . with the bug-eyed, fat sister. Her family’s been here way too long.

Howard and Melanie . . . sneak looks they think I don’t see.

She’s on the third floor!

The elevator’s in use, so I take the stairs. By the time I reach the third floor, I’m panting.

Then this strange feeling comes over me. I can’t describe it. It’s not about first-time sex, or even jealousy. In a nearby room, I hear Melanie giggling with her bug-eyed sister.

All the hallway windows are open, and the sea breeze blows the sheer curtains all over. Like daytime ghosts, they look.

I approach Room 314.

Outside Room 313, Jessie the maid is taking a smoke break. “He’s waitin’ for ya,” she says. Her smirk reminds me she once caught us in the act.

“Jessie works Pacific Avenue,” Howard once told me.

The door to Room 314 opens for me.

“What kept you?” Howard is nude, all exposed, in the daylight! With the door open!  And Jessie right there.

Smiling, Jessie unlocks the door next to ours.

As Howard pulls me into Room 314, she screams.

And keeps screaming. Till every guest not roasting on the beach comes out of their rooms.

Howard can’t stop me from joining them. He fumbles with his shorts, tripping as he pulls them on.

I can’t see a thing. Too many people. When Melanie and her sister get there, some guy tries to block their view. “Don’t look!” he yells.

But they do, and scream, themselves. Melanie starts to cry: big, heaving sobs.

Mr. Hertzberg flies off the elevator, just as I squeeze through, and see the body.

Spread-eagled. Handcuffed to the headboard. Eyes wide open. Gold satin turban askew.

My heart feels like I ate it. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Wildly, I reach behind me for Howard, but he’s not there.

Arms around the sobbing Melanie, he’s walking her back to her room.

86_ym_footerforcheckout_kcwalker.jpg
Art by Keith Coates Walker © 2021

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.



Keith C. Walker was born in Leeds in 1939. He studied Ceramics at Leeds College of Art and the Royal College of Art. In the late 1960s to early 1970s, he was Personal Assistant to Eduardo Paolozzi. Keith taught at Hull College of Art and Leicester Polytechnic, which is now De Montfort University. In 994 he retired from Academia.

Keith says, “Digital technology has made and continues to make big changes to all of our lives: the way we communicate, the way we are monitored, the way we entertain ourselves, and much, much more. 

 

We now leave a digital footprint wherever we go, and with whatever we do. 

Do we already have one foot in an Orwellian world?

 

 My collages are an investigation, with a small “I,” on the impact of digital technology and its possibilities.”



In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications © 2021