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A Love for Chocolate: Fiction by Kevin Hopson
Ban the Box: Fiction by David Hagerty
Different Paths: Fiction by K. A. Williams
Night Sight: Fiction by C. A. Rowland
Encounter on the Lane: Fiction by Anthony Lukas
Moving South: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Just a Small-Town Boy: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Loneliness of a Reseller: Fiction by Brandon Doughty
Food Chain: Fiction by Phil Temples
Final Notice: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Stunning Redheads are Trouble: Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Point Made: Flash Fiction by Martin Zeigler
The Secret Ingredient: Flash Fiction by Cecilia Kennedy
Stand in Line: Flash Fiction by Lucinda Kempe
My Special Garden: Flash Fiction by Gay Degani
Revenge of the Inanimate: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
The Abductee: Poem by Sophia Wiseman-Rose
De-Icing Fate: Poem by Tom Fillion
Description of Death: Poem by Meg Baird
Basking in Sunlight: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Found Floating Above: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Beer-Craving Zombie: Poem by Bradford Middleton
They All Hate My Hero: Poem by Bradford Middleton
In Search of Ghosts: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Seven Hanging Trees: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Persistent Daylight: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Rebirth: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Bundy: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Calais: Poem by Peter Mladinic
The Room: Poem by Peter Mladinic
People with Dysentery: Poem by Partha Sarkar
There Has Been No Cooperative System: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Goes Back Toward the Talisman-the Future: Poem by Partha Sarkar
The Broken Seashore and the Fishermen: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Lucinda Kempe: Stand in Line

Art by Michael D. Davis 2023

Stand in Line


by Lucinda Kempe



Swift. Using his hands for forward propulsion, John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt scooted in a full lotus across the floor. He could almost taste his mother’s petit fours on top of the table. So, he did what he always did when he had to wait; he stared up at her 18th century damask tablecloth, fantasizing. The embroidered cloth depicted a sunny garden awash with cat mint, anise hyssop, bee balm blossoms, and neatly tucked in amongst the lush, a bat-eared Fennec fox lounging around.

The artist’s illusion of the Fennec fox in the English garden distracted John from his impediment. He loved the fabulist intent and had studied about the flora and fauna. The Fennec fox, Otocyon megalotis, were nocturnal and lived in the African savannah and not in an English garden. The aroma of the fondant-covered sweets returned him to the here and now. He tugged the tablecloth, but his mother had pinned its corners to keep it in place. He took off his bandana and wiped the drool from his hair lip and wished he was a normal boy who could stand, pull out his mother’s Victorian side chair, seat himself, and eat without chaos.   

He closed his kohl lashes, which he’d never seen because his mother kept him away from mirrors and repeated the hated phrase his elocution teacher made him say.  

“Stand in line long enough, you’ll be served.”

John opened his eyes to find a small fox looking down at him from the tabletop.  

“Where did you come from?” John asked, startled.

The fox jumped off the table causing some of the petit fours and a silver candlestick to clatter to the floor. John gobbled the sweets. The fox curled up near John’s feet. He thought of his mother’s reactions and waited for her to come home. The moment his mother arrived, she ran up to her son.

 “I don’t know what came over me,” he said, and began to cry. “I can’t stand. I will never be able to stand.”

His mother put the remaining sweets into a napkin and joined John on the floor. “Perhaps we should invite your teacher over and serve him lunch at eye level. We’ll wait for his reaction and if it’s not the one we like, then we’ll tell him to get to the back of the line.”

John was glad he had this mother. There were two petit fours left. His mother offered him one and he gave the last one to the fox who was happy to be out of an English garden and living with a real family.




Lucinda Kempe’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Menacing Hedge, New South Journal, New World Writing, Midway Journal, Matter Press, The Southampton Review, and the Summerset Review. An excerpt from her memoir was short listed for the Fish Memoir Prize in April 2021. She lives on Long Island where she exorcises with words. 

If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at mad_hatters_mania.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2023