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Perfect: Fiction by Elizabeth Zelvin
Duck, Duck, Goosed: Fiction by E. E. Williams
Call Back: Fiction by Brian Peter Fagan
Hanging Out: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Jelly Boy: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Billy's First Road Trip: Fiction by Shari Held
Craps: Fiction by Steve Carr
Blackout Blonde: Fiction by M. J. Holt
Can Lid: Fiction by Frank S. Karl
Hacked Off: Fiction by Pamela Ebel
The Poser: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Trunk Space: Fiction by Jen Myers
Catching Up: Fiction by Edward Ahern
Butcher Knives Don't Float: Fiction by Chris Milam
The Grimsby Reaper: Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Bat Boy: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
For Love: Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
Getting Personal: Flash Fiction by Diana Dominguez
Owen and Jessica: Flash Fiction by Joseph Carrabis
Until I Wrestled It Back: Flash Fiction by Louella Lester
Lying in Wait: Flash Fiction by Robb White
Fox Fox Fanny Cuts: Poem by Otto Burnwell
Beer and Love Songs on a Wednesday Night: Poem by Richard Le Due
Her Wicked Devices: Poem by Lee Clarke Zumpe
Looking at the Sea: Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Twilight Zone Kind of Days: Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
The Canvas: Poem by Meg Baird
me and the boys: Poem by Meg Baird
ode to sleep: Poem by Meg Baird
Plate Tectonics:Poem by Christopher Hivner
Seeking:Poem by Christopher Hivner
Bloodbound: Poem by Harris Coverley
Paradise: Poem by Harris Coverley
The Now Outside: Poem by Harris Coverley
Dallas County Phone Calls: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Two Old Ladies Arrested for Feeding Feral Cats: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Her Name Isn't Margo, but it Should Be: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Yorick: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
After First Sex: Poem by Rp Verlaine
The New Same Goodbye: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Fishermen: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Three Years Ago: Poem by Rp Verlaine
the smallest feline is a masterpiece--da vinci: poem by Rob Plath
no typewriter or ABCs necessary: Poem by Rob Plath
my cat sleeps: Poem by Rob Plath
it's enough: Poem by Rob Plath
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

E. E. Williams: Duck, Duck, Goosed

Art by Steve Cartwright © 2023


By E. E. Williams


The time on the clock read 3:45 a.m. when the alarm sounded. Bill was up in a flash to turn it off. He hadn’t been sleeping anyway.

Susan turned over and groaned. “Too early,” she whispered, and went back to sleep.

Bill stared down at her and thought, You won’t have to worry about it much longer.

He got up from the bed, went into the bathroom and dressed in the clothes he’d laid out the night before. Boots, insulated pants, camo shirt and jacket. Back in the bedroom, he removed his Browning Maxus shotgun from the closet. Cradling the weapon in his arms, he took a long, last look at his sleeping wife. His mouth curled into a tight, mirthless smile.

“See you soon,” he said.

She didn’t respond.

Bill made his way out of the room and down the stairs to the front foyer. Before opening the door, he grabbed his hat and earmuffs. It was cold outside.

He examined himself in the full-length mirror Susan had insisted he hang by the door so she could check herself before going out. How many times, he wondered, had she checked herself before seeing … him?

Bill left the house and walked down the driveway to where a white Honda Pilot, belching exhaust in the frigid morning air, waited for him. He climbed inside.

“Terry,” he said brusquely.

“Bill,” Terry said with a solemn nod.

Terry and his wife Trudy had moved into the neighborhood just a few months after Bill and Susan and in the six years since, the four had become fast friends. The women got together often for coffee in the mornings to discuss the things they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, share with their husbands, while the men hung out watching football, drinking beer, bowling, or, as they were doing this morning, duck hunting.

Bill thought both he and Terry looked ridiculous decked out in their camo gear, like they were off to war or something, but where they were going only the birds would notice so what did it matter. Together, the men had built a blind on an inlet of the lake where no other hunters ventured. Once there, they would be totally alone.

Which suited Bill just fine.

Terry parked the car, and the men silently slogged their way to the blind. Beyond their initial greeting, they hadn’t spoken, each man seemingly lost in his own thoughts.

Once settled into the blind, Bill said, “Quiet this morning.”

“You, too,” Terry said. “Something up?”

“Well, now that you ask, an anonymous someone sent me a picture last night.”


“Yeah. Real pornographic.”


“Yeah. Hardcore stuff.”


“You don’t seem surprised.”

“Why should I be surprised?”

“Don’t know. Your best friend tells you someone sent him some porn and all you got to say is, ‘Huh.’”

“Maybe that’s because someone sent me some pictures, too.”


“Show you mine if you show me yours,” Terry said.

Bill reached into pocket, pulled out his phone. Terry did the same. Each fiddled with their devices, held them up for the other to see.

On Bill’s phone was a picture of Susan, naked and legs spread, and between them, Terry. Terry’s phone showed an equally nude Trudy straddling Bill.

Terry leveled his Syren XL R5 Waterfowler at Bill and shouted “You sonavabi …” Bill didn’t let him finish but pulled the trigger on the Browning. As Terry was blown back by the buckshot hitting and shredding his chest, his finger reflexively yanked the Syren’s trigger. The blast removed much of Bill’s face and painted the side wall of the blind in a red mist.

The twin booms reverberated across the lake but were heard only by the V formation of ducks flying overhead.

Later that morning, Trudy and Susan sat in Susan’s kitchen, drinking coffee.

“Did you call Terry?” Susan asked.

“Yes. He didn’t answer. You?”

Susan nodded. “Bill didn’t answer, either.”

They smiled at one another.

“You think it worked?” Trudy asked, fingering one of the tight coils of the auburn hair that bunched at her shoulders. “Are they both dead?”

“I do, and yes,” Susan said. “I’ve gotten pretty good at Photoshop. I could have put a donkey in those pictures, and you wouldn’t be able to tell.”

“What if …”

“… one of them is still alive? He’ll be spending the rest of his days in prison for murder.”

“The police?”

“What about them? We weren’t there.”

“The pictures?”

“Already wiped. I’ve also gotten pretty good at hacking phones. It's amazing what you can learn on the Internet.”

Trudy leaned across the breakfast table, gently tucked back a stray strand of Susan’s blonde mane, and softly kissed her lips.

“That’s why I love you, baby.”

“Need to shut down that fake email account, though,” Susan said. “Just to be on the safe side.”

Trudy stood and began unbuttoning her blouse.

“Later,” she said. “Let’s go upstairs and take some more pictures.”


E. E. Williams is a former journalist who worked at some of the country’s largest and best newspapers, including the New York Daily News, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Fresno Bee. At his last two newspapers—The Muncie Star Press and Cherry Hill Courier Post—he was both Executive Editor and General Manager.

During his 42-year career, he won numerous national and regional awards for his writing and editing. His first two Noah Greene mystery novels were published by a small North Carolina independent publisher that has since gone out of business. (Not his fault, we don’t think.) The third book in the series was published on the Amazon Kindle platform.

It's well known that an artist becomes more popular by dying, so our pal Steve Cartwright is typing his bio with one hand while pummeling his head with a frozen mackerel with the other. Stop, Steve! Death by mackerel is no way to go! He (Steve, not the mackerel) has a collection of spooky toons, Suddenly Halloween!, available at Amazon.com.    He's done art for several magazines, newspapers, websites, commercial and governmental clients, books, and scribbling - but mostly drooling - on tavern napkins. He also creates art pro bono for several animal rescue groups. He was awarded the 2004 James Award for his cover art for Champagne Shivers. He recently illustrated the Cimarron Review, Stories for Children, and Still Crazy magazine covers. Take a gander ( or a goose ) at his online gallery: www.angelfire.com/sc2/cartoonsbycartwright . And please hurry with your response - that mackerel's killin' your pal, Steve Cartwright.

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