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The Wasp and the Fig: Fiction by Lauren Scharhag
It's Out There: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
After the Fire: Fiction by Mark Jabaut
"NOYB": Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
La Vengeance De Leo: Fiction by Saira Viola
Bragging Rights: Fiction by James Kompany
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skin and bones: Poem by Meg Baird
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Fly Collector: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Cindy Rosmus: "NOYB"

noybcorrect.jpg
Art by Sophia Wiseman-Rose 2022

“NOYB”

 

by

         

Cindy Rosmus

 

 

“’N-O-Y-B,’” I said, laying down the phone. “‘None of your business.’”

 

 “Oh, yeah?” Marco smirked. He was doing a cut when the text came through. “Everything’s my business!”

 

The client cringed. Marco was always pulling hair.

 

Not everything, I thought. Everybody’s. “Section Eight,” he said, after one lady left. Eighty bucks for a color but she got free rent.

 

Twenty years I’d worked in his shop. It was OK, with clients of all ages, some real old. Vintage perms, they wanted. The solution burned my nose and eyes.

 

 “She’s worth like five mill,” Marco said, as a nonagenarian was shuffling out the door. Like she was deaf. The guy with her, maybe her son, gave Marco a dirty look.

 

As the door shut behind them, Marco said, “Bet he can’t wait to collect.”

                                                                  

“Oh, shut up,” I said.

 

Owner or not, he still wore his curly hair as long as when he sang in a Zeppelin cover band. He was still starved for attention.

 

“ pazzo!" he said, about some clients. Crazy or not, one guy took back his tip.

 

“Cheap fuck,” Marco said, in English.

 

“You,” I said, “talk too much.”

 

He did mostly cuts, left the shit-work to me: frostings, two-tones, those dreaded old-lady perms. But when Himself was swamped, I also did simple colors.

 

“Gina, please . . .” Last week, a regular squeezed my arm till it hurt. “Redo my color! Saturday . . . he missed . . . the whole side of my head!”

 

“Wow,” I said.

 

Saturday he’d been too busy trashing the client before. Theresa, this married chick he was hot to fuck.

 

“She could’ve had me,” Marco said, “Anybody but her would’ve dumped him by now. That . . .” He looked around the shop before saying, “finocchio.” His wrist went limp. “Can you believe it, Eddie Mangione takes it up . . .?”

 

Silence, all over the shop. Nancy, the pink-haired shampoo girl, just stared.

 

Eddie Mangione was once famous, in our town. Owned restaurants that went broke. A bar that got busted for serving minors. People said he’d hit rock bottom. And, lately, we heard he was sick.

 

Marco had never met him, but trashed him, anyway. Once, years back, he’d seen Mangione’s picture in the paper. Chubby-cheeked, with blond hair longer than Marco’s.

 

“Meat Loaf!” Marco had laughed.

 

“Someday,” I told him, that day I redid the lady’s color. “The wrong person will hear you.” My hand shook so, I squirted dye everywhere but on her head.

 

“Sorry!” I told her.

 

“Watch!” Marco yelled. “Blue-black’s expensive.”

 

Big inkblots I had to clean up, mostly on the lady. “It’s OK, Gina!” she told me.

 

What was up with me? That shit I’d said, about the wrong person hearing him, had come out of nowhere.

 

Later, like 3:30, not long before closing, I saw Nancy pack up to leave.

 

“Where you going?” I said, and she jumped.

 

“Um . . .” She slid her phone in her purse. “My son . . .”

 

Son? She looked like a sixth grader.

 

“There’s one more cut,” I said.

 

“He . . .” It was like lightning had struck her face. “He shouldn’t have said that.”

 

“Who?”

 

But I knew.

 

N-O-Y-B, I thought.

 

“I’ll wash his hair,” I said.

 

The guy had called earlier, with a mouthful of marbles. Like Don Corleone from The Godfather, he sounded. “Last-minute gig,” and “haircut” were muffled. The clearest words were “Only Marco.”

 

Only Marco could cut his hair.

 

“What’s his name?” Marco asked me.

 

As Nancy rushed out, the guy walked in, as if neither saw the other. Strange, especially ‘cos of her shocking-pink hair, and how he looked like Death took a holiday.

 

He was so thin, his bones nearly creaked. Face was familiar, but at the same time, not. Like it would’ve been, but something was different now. Hair real long, like an aging rock star’s, some blond, mostly gray. Something big bulged in the black leather jacket.

 

He walked right up to Marco.

 

“Sit down, bro.” Marco pulled out his chair.

 

“My niece said, you said I take it up the ass.”

 

          Marco froze. For the first time, he was shut up good. His face worked, like he was struggling with something.

 

          Nancy, I thought, my heart racing.

 

That meant her uncle was . . .

 

          “Only way you would know that,” Eddie Mangione said, “was, it was your dick in there.”

 

          “Huh?” Marco looked nervous.

 

          I started edging backwards, toward the door.

 

          “If my Theresa thinks . . .” Mangione reached in his jacket. “Your dick was in me,” he said, “I’m blasting yours off.”

 

          “Please,” Marco begged. That fast, he was crying. “I’ll shut up.”

 

          Should’ve done that way back, I thought, getting closer to the door.

 

          “Please!”

 

          On my way out, Mangione started shooting.   

 

           “Help!” I yelled, but couldn’t hear myself. The shop shook with the impact of giant bullets. I ran. A cop car passed, and I flagged it.

 

          It was horrific.

 

What a mess that huge gun made: mirrors shattered, bottles of perm solution, color exploded. Like a bizarre mural, blood, guts, and cellophane colors streaked the walls.

 

On the floor lay Marco, his bottom half drenched in blood. His top half close by . . . that mouth shut up for good.

 

Mangione turned the gun on himself, but the cop I’d flagged yanked it away.

 

*

 

Mangione tried pleading Man 1 but got twenty-five to life. I mean, he’d brought that monster gun with him. His face alone could scare you to death.

 

Bet he gets out, though. They say that wife, Theresa, sticks by him.

 

          Some say Marco was killed in a lovers’ quarrel. Others say, “Shit, he and Mangione were made for each other.”

 

          I say, “N-O-Y-B.”






Cindy is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife and talks like Anybodys from West Side Story. Her noir/horror/bizarro stories have been published in the coolest places, such as Shotgun Honey; Megazine; Dark Dossier; Horror, Sleaze, Trash; and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of Yellow Mama and the art director of Black Petals. Her seventh collection of short stories, Backwards: Growing Up Catholic, and Weird, in the 60s (Hekate Publishing), is out, now! Cindy is a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights advocate. 



Sophia Wiseman-Rose is a Paramedic and an Episcopalian nun. Both careers have provided a great deal of exposure to the extremes in life and have provided great inspiration for her.  

 She is currently spending time with her four lovely grown children and making plans to move back to her home in the UK in the Autumn.  

 Sophia had a few poems in the last edition of Black Petals Horror/Science Fiction Magazine.





In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022