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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

Kenneth James Crist: Hanging Out

Art by Hillary Lyon © 2023

Hanging Out


Kenneth James Crist


I made a lot of mistakes with Janey. First of all, getting involved with someone so young was not a smart thing to do. Not that she’s all that young, but I’m really old. So, the age difference kinda doomed the relationship right from the start. That, coupled with the fact that the whole thing was based on sex…well, you get the picture.

Janey was always promiscuous. I knew it when I met her. She’d been tending bar down at the Legion post where I went all the time. Always getting hugs and kisses from every guy came in. Probably why her husband, who was active-duty Marine Corps, finally kicked her to the curb. I would imagine he caught her too many times. He’d go on deployment and she’d be out…well, again, you get the picture. I was old enough to be her grandfather and I kinda treated her that way. Let her move into my place. Made sure she had a nice car and spending money. I could afford it, I retired well.

Treated her good in bed, too. She said many times I was the best lover she ever had. Nothing like many years of experience and knowing exactly what women like. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for Janey, in bed and out. I figured she’d probably be my last girl. Well, the last one that wasn’t a dried-up old hag, anyway.

So, we had a hell of a party last night. Lotta friends over. Some of them mine, some of them hers. Nice crowd. But I got tired early and I went to bed. I knew Janey would take care of getting Ubers and cabs for the ones who were too wasted. And the house has two more bedrooms for anybody who just couldn’t navigate at all. She’d lock up and set the alarm and all that. And I figured when all that bullshit was over, she’d bring her drunken ass to bed and probably wake me up for some nookie. That was the way it usually worked with us. I’d be rested somewhat and she’d be drunk and horny.  It usually made for some hot times between the sheets.

When I got up this morning she wasn’t in bed. At least not with me. And when I walked down the hall, the door to the center bedroom was open. Not just standing ajar, but wide fucking open. I glanced in and there was Janey. In bed with Joey. Almost sounds like it oughta be some kinda rhyme. Janey and Joey, sittin in a tree…F-U-C-K-I-N-G…First comes love, then comes marriage, there goes Joey with a baby carriage. Well, not fucking likely, I thought and went to the kitchen to make coffee.

Well, at least they weren’t goin at it right then, I thought to myself as the coffee machine rumbled and hissed and chuckled. That deed was already done, for sure. I took the first cup and hit the shower. Made myself some breakfast. All the time I was scrambling eggs, I was wondering how many times she’d done this shit before that I didn’t know about.

Then she finally got up. Came to the kitchen all proper in her robe. Got her some coffee. All kinds of apologies, tears and all that shit. We were keeping our voices down. Fighting as quiet as church mice. Didn’t wanna wake up Joey, I guess. She tried to kiss me a couple times, and I kept turning away. In spite of the coffee she was drinking, I could smell her cock-breath and it was making me crazy.

Later, Joey got up and wandered out, scratching his nuts through his skivvies. He looked around some, but didn’t ask. Guess he was just gonna brazen it out. Asked me, “Hey, is it okay if I grab a shower?”

“Sure. Use the one in the south bathroom. North one’s not working right.”

He grabbed his shower, then snagged a beer outta my fridge and left. Hair of the dog, I suppose. It’s okay, though. I don’t blame Joey. Joey is mostly a dick leading a man around. He most likely won’t be making any of my parties in the future, though. Damn, I’d better hurry up.

Did I mention I’m a retired cop? Oh, yeah. Twenty years and eleven months on the city P.D. You get to know a lotta people in that amount of time. Judges. Attorneys. Hospital folks. Other cops, of course.

Janey’s hanging out in the north bathroom. When I was in there earlier, I’d grabbed her pantyhose off the bar thing over the tub. Put them in my pocket. Didn’t really even know why I did that at the time. Then, when she pushed my buttons one time too many, I realized why they were in my pocket.

She’s in there now with the door closed, hanging from the curtain rod. This suicide note’s coming along nicely. But I need to get this wrapped up. I’ve gotta tee time at Rolling Hills Country Club at one o’clock with Bill Kravitz. Doctor William Kravitz. He’s the county medical examiner…known him for fifteen years. Bill’s a good guy to know.

And if I hurry, Dr. Bill will make a good alibi…

Kenneth James Crist is Editor of Black Petals Magazine and is on staff at Yellow Mama ezine. He has been a published writer since 1998, having had almost two hundred short stories and poems in venues ranging from Dark Dossier and The Edge-Tales of Suspense to Kudzu Monthly. He has several books in print, Jariah and the Big Green Booger, and What Really Lives in Loch Ness, both children’s books, and Groaning for Burial, a book of zombie stories, plus A Motorcycle Cop’s Motorcycle Manual, all available through Amazon.

He reads everything he can get his hands on, not just in horror or sci-fi, but in mystery, hardboiled, biographies, westerns and adventure tales. He retired from the Wichita, Kansas police department in 1992 and from the security department at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita in 2016. Now 77, he is an avid motorcyclist and handgun shooter. He is active in the American Legion Riders and the Patriot Guard, helping to honor and look after our military. He is the owner of Fossil Publications, a desktop publishing venture that seems incapable of making any money at all. On June the ninth, 2018, he did his first (and last) parachute jump and crossed that shit off his bucket list.

Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications © 2023