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What I Love About You: Flash Fiction by Elizabeth Zelvin
Everything Is the Same: Flash Fiction by Bernice Holtzman
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Forgiveness: Flash Fiction by Karen Schauber
Doctors Make Good Killers: Poem by John C. Mannone
The Monster in the Mirror: Poem by Bernice Holtzman
The Folly of the Filly: Poem by Becky Parker
My Most Favorite Things: Poem by Di Schmitt
Take a Look: Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
skin and bones: Poem by Meg Baird
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Scaling the Wall: Poem by John Grey
On the Commuter Train: Poem by John Grey
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

John C. Mannone: Doctors Make Good Killers

Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2022

Doctors Make Good Killers


by John C. Mannone


She’s completely relaxed

after a dose of good sex


and nods off under the silk

touch of satin sheets.


He slips into the bathroom

looks into the hard mirror.


Years of medical practice

stare back through haggard eyes,


through the trauma

of an emergency room


at St. Christopher’s, the stress

of his own weak heart


and all the gambling

of his career. Literally.


There’s no other way

to recover the money


he owes to the mobster

bookies, not even prayer—


no absolution for foolishness

before he gets whacked


by a couple of goons.

Desperation is always


a poor accomplice

of Deceit. She didn’t know


that love could be

supplanted by Greed.


He didn’t either.


Maybe the insurance money

will assuage the guilt.


He removes the vial

of succinylcholine


from his medical bag,

draws the solution


into the barrel of the needle,

squirts the air bubbles out.


The needle gleams

in the soft yellow light,


his face pallor with fear

but as colorless as Sux—


an affectionate name for

the paralytic muscle relaxant


used for ease of intubation

of ventilators for his


seriously afflicted COVID

patients; his unsuspecting wife.


A perfect poison

that leaves no trace


quickly breaking down

into natural chemistry.


He bends over his wife,

stutters a nearly silent


Hail Mary before

he injects, softly


kisses, and whispers,

“Please forgive me.”


He plunges the syringe

into his own thigh


to give him a little time—

thirty minutes, maybe more


to clean up the crime scene

before visceral congestion,


before severe pulmonary

edema, before petechial


hemorrhaging of heart, lungs

—before the visitation of death.


He leaves a note for his wife

[for her eyes only]. Not a suicide


lest she wouldn’t be able

to collect the insurance.


“Pay Guido” it said: the amount

and directions. She didn’t


know they were going to kill

her, too. Naturally, his death


will look like a heart attack,

for sure, this has broken

                   his heart.


He lies next to his beloved

and sleeps.



John C. Mannone has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. Winner/Nominee of numerous contests/awards, John edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a retired physics professor living in Knoxville, Tennessee.




Ann Marie Rhiel is the Assistant Art Director for Yellow Mama Webzine. She was born and raised in Bronx, New York, presently living in New Jersey. She reconnected with her passion for art in 2016 and has had her work exhibited in art galleries around northern New Jersey ever since. She is a commissioned painting artist, who also enjoys photography. Her work has also appeared in Black Petals and Megazine Official.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022