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Venom!: Fiction by Pamela Ebel
A Case of Paracosm: Fiction by Bruce Costello
There's More then One Way to Catch a Bank Robber: Fiction by Roy Dorman
My Addie: Fiction by Daniel G. Snethen
Trans/Figure: Fiction by Michael Steven
Secretary to a Serial Killer: Fiction by Robert Jeschonek
The Big Well: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Sooter: Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Heidi: Fiction by Tony Ayers
A Spider Among the Flies: Fiction by Gary Earl Ross
He Wore a Purple Heart Inside a Gray Uniform: Fiction by John C. Mannone
So Bright They Were, So Bright: Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Coyote-Murder-House: Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Spring Cleaning: Flash Fiction by Mikki Aronoff
Chuck Cody: Flash Fiction by Fred Zackel
While My Mother Dreams of Judge Judy: Flash Fiction by Tina Barry
Snoopy: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Afternoon on the Beach: Poem by Elizabeth Zelvin
crowbars and middle fingers: Poem by Rob Plath
Lavender: Poem by Cindy Rosmus
Insouciant: Poem by KJ Hannah Greenberg
Fire: Poem by Bernice Holtzman
7 ways of Seeing a Scar: Poem by Jack Garrett
Freddy on 14th Street: Poem by Jack Garrett
Peace, Baby: Poem by Meg Baird
The Light: Poem by Meg Baird
The lunatic equation and the lemon revolution: Poem by Partha Sarkar
A knife with three wheels: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Belle in the Bottom: Poem by g emil reutter
Glint: Poem by g emil reutter
Marathon Key: Poem by Damon Hubbs
Pretzels: Poem by Damon Hubbs
Times Argus: Poem by Damon Hubbs
Phillip: Poem by John Doyle
The Indiscretion: Poem by John Doyle
The Sadness and Beauty of Car Boot Sales: Poem by John Doyle
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Daniel G. Snethen: My Addie

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Art by Bernice Holtzman 2023

My Addie

by Daniel G. Snethen

 

Her casket was natural wood and beautiful. My twin sister was carefully loaded into the back of a U-Haul truck, nestled behind what meager belongings she still owned.  Anything of any real value had already been lifted by faux-friends, grifters. Her vehicle trailed behind on a dolly.  They told me, the grifters that is, that I couldn’t take Dawn’s car out of the state of Ohio…said it was in probate and that it would be illegal. Acted shocked when they heard I was going to transport her to South Dakota myself and were astonished to find that all it took was a $5 permit to legally take a body across state lines. What I didn’t tell them is that in the small print of the U-Haul contract was a disclaimer forbidding the transport of a corpse. They didn’t believe me when I said I’d be gone by morning. I left the quaint little town of Lebanon, Ohio during the dead of the night shortly after 2:00, but not before first reporting a missing handgun from my sister’s belongings. Daddy Grifter, an oily Pentecostal and his bipolar daughter questioned how I could know my sister owned a handgun. Dawn told me she did. I found the holster and the ammo in her belongings, but no firearm. The police said, she could have loaned it to someone. But I know better and so does Jesus and no doubt, you do too.

The magnitude of this ordeal was unexpected. My son-in-law procured a round trip flight for me with points. I expected a quick trip, albeit a sad one… knowing the inevitable…but still I held hope and I knew Dawn would not expire before I arrived. And I knew this, because Dawn was Dawn, and because she loved me. And well, I loved her too.

Saturday, January 22, 2022 along I-74 near exit 102 exactly 283 miles from Council Bluffs, where my daughter lived, an inside dual had a blowout and there, Dawn and I were stranded on the shoulder of the interstate at 4:32 in the late afternoon waiting for a tire exchange which had to be contracted through U-Haul.

For nearly three hours I waited, barely noticing the traffic passing by, as I contemplated what would happen if we had to unload the U-Haul before changing the tire. What would happen when Dawn was discovered, openly sequestered beneath cover of the U-Haul, and then I realized that Dawn and I had somehow unwittingly become interred into the grotesquery of a William Falkner Southern Gothic novel. Dawn was my Addie and she was paying me back for all the pranks I’d pulled over her the past 56 years.

When I first arrived at the airport in Ohio, I was picked up by a preacher-man, the husband of Dawn’s self-proclaimed best friend. The bipolar one had been beside Dawn the entire time. Had rehydrated Dawn and was carefully monitoring everything. I questioned why they had not taken her to the hospital immediately upon first discovering her failing condition. But they assured me, they knew what they were doing and as a family unit had gone through the same process several times already of successfully battling Covid. Still, I did not understand, and when Dawn’s oxygen level fell dangerously low and they finally called the ambulance, I just trusted they were doing their best…but now I know the truth…they were creatures of the lowest kind—grifters and Pentecostals.

My first inkling of their diabolical nature was when I found out that Dawn’s best friend was filing for medical power-of-attorney over Dawn while I was still in midflight. The entire ordeal was surreal, entirely unfathomable and yet I know it was true. Dawn was there and I was too and I believe I may have noticed Rod lurking in the shadows.

 

It took less than seven minutes to completely change two tires and be heading on down the road. No unloading of the U-Haul, no opening of the door, just nearly three hours of antagonizing anxiety, followed by a quick exchange of tires and nothing more.

As I approached Council Bluffs, Iowa, in great need of rest, I wondered why my two older sisters had never informed me of Dawn’s earlier bankruptcy. Of how her best friend used her. Ran up over $10,000 of credit card debt with the promise of paying her back. Of how there had been an earlier falling out because they grifted her after using her as a free babysitter, enticing Dawn to sell her home and move from Sioux Falls to Lebanon, promising to pay her for taking care of Grandma and then accusing Dawn of abuse and dismissing her with no job or place to stay.

Why didn’t my older sisters tell me this? If they had, perhaps I would have been prepared upon arrival to Ohio. Instead, I walked into a buzzsaw.

I arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa at 6:30 Sunday morning, slept for six hours and headed for Winner, SD at 12:55 in the afternoon. I was tired, but I was focused. The funeral home and my brother were waiting for me in Winner. They needed the body that evening in order to have a burial on Monday. My mind was focused on many things, one of which was why? Why did Dawn reconcile with the Ohio grifters…but the answer was obvious…Dawn was lonely and Dawn loved unconditionally. There was nothing fake about her Christianity and she exemplified the commandment of loving thy neighbor. She truly believed in forgiving seventy times seven times the sins of man…hadn’t her Lord and Savior done the same for her?

The needle approached empty as I neared Tyndall, SD. A large buck materialized as a phantom from the blackness of a South Dakota night, running head-on into the side of the U-Haul. I did not stop, kept driving toward Tyndall, wondering how much damage was caused, thanking God that the deer had not run into Dawn’s car. Oddly, I noticed no discernible damage while filling the tank of the U-Haul truck.

We arrived safely to Winner, South Dakota at 8:15 Sunday evening. Dawn made us sweat beneath her casket as I and my Parkinson’s afflicted brother, my wife and my daughter and some poor laborer from the Funeral Home struggled to extract her casket from the U-Haul truck. Dawn must have been enjoying the carnival ride she endured during our final journey together. I’m sure she was laughing at the hell I was enduring but I know too she was happy that I was saving her from the demons who tried to keep her ensnared in a grifted Ohio hell.

Daniel G. Snethen is an educator, naturalist, moviemaker, poet, and short story writer from South Dakota. He teaches on the Pine Ridge Reservation at Little Wound High School in the heart of Indian Country. 


Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2023