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Sibling Rivalry in a Zombie Apocalypse: Fiction by Jon Park
Dead is Dead: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Rooms: Fiction by Harris Coverley
Do You Know the Pizza Man?: Fiction by Beverle Graves Myers
Testing the Waters: Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Unclaimed Property!: Fiction by Pamela Ebel
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The White Nothing: Flash Fiction by Phil Temples
Carmelita: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Horror of Hidden Pond: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Kim Philby: Flash Fiction by Henry Simpson
Fear: Flash Fiction by Cheryl Snell
Homecoming: Flash Fiction by Kurt Hohmann
Castle: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Head: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
Something Wicked This Way Thumbs: Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
The Charcoal Man: Flash Fiction by Fred Zackel
Tarot Tara: Flash Fiction by Steve Cartwright
Mr. Bunny and $88.01: Flash Fiction by William Kitcher
Don't Think Twice: Flash Fiction by Elizabeth Zelvin
Teasing in the Light: Flash Fiction by Bradford Middleton
Spider: Flash Fiction by Mark Jabaut
Infirmities: Poem by David Galef
Dreaming a Little: Poem by Juan Mobili
The Dead Mingle with the Living: Poem by John Tustin
The Flower in Your Lapel: Poem by John Tustin
May Day: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Procession: Poem by Partha Sarkar
At the Funeral Lunch: Poem by Joan Leotta
Dreaming My Way Home: Poem by Joan Leotta
The Silence: Poem by John Grey
Pacing: Poem by John Grey
Elementary Classes: Poem by John C. Mannone
Rage: Poem by John C. Mannone
Comfort Zone: Poem by John C. Mannone
Serpentine Line: Poem by Charles Weld
William Calley's Apology: Poem by Charles Weld
Steve J: Poem by Charles Weld
Thief: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Sweet Pleasure: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Courtship: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Again, A Bike Left: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Short Cuts to Madness: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Ingrid Leaves Vegas: Poem by Rp Verlaine
A Necessary Poem: Poem by Rob Plath
Last Gesture: Poem by Rob Plath
Carpe Sanguinem: Poem by Rob Plath
The Antitesis: Poem by Rob Plath
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Elizabeth Zelvin: Don't Think Twice

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Art by Bernice Holtzman 2023

DON’T THINK TWICE

 

by Elizabeth Zelvin

 

 

It was no use, he sang, gazing at me soulfully over the top of his guitar, to wonder why.

I did wonder why. I wondered why for the third time this month I was sitting on the unmade bed of some guy I hardly knew in Cambridge listening to him sing that fucking Dylan song.

No, we didn't use that word. I remember being shocked when I heard a girl a year younger than me say it. In fact, “ain’t no use” made me wince. But they all wanted to be Bob Dylan. And they expected us to be impressed. Jewish girls like me got over boys like little Bobby Zimmerman in junior high. We didn't expect them to change their name, write songs that made them famous, and win the Nobel Prize.

The song was right. If I didn't know by now, it didn't matter anyhow. I did know. The guy hasn't even unsnapped my bra, and he's singing me a manifesto. He'll be gone by morning. No, I’ll be gone. I’m the one that has to pay for a taxi and sneak into my dorm at three in the morning. Commitment is as off the table as breakfast. He calls me babe not because it's cool, but so he doesn't have to remember my name. And he tells me it's all right. All right for him. Because the Sixties came before the women's movement, and the love-hungry young girl I was didn't think twice. She did it anyway.

Back then, we talked about one-night stands, not hooking up. And we didn’t even pretend we weren’t hoping for love every single time. The Sixties were as cool as they sound if you were a guy. Or if you were a girl with long straight hair and thin thighs and a cool boyfriend. Otherwise, you had to fake it. And wonder why. Dylan didn’t have any answers for girls like me.

So I found my own. I don’t remember anymore how many times I was disappointed and humiliated before I decided I was not going to listen to that damn song one more time. But one night I had had enough. The self-absorbed asshole of the moment was singing his heart out. I listened to the words. And I did think twice.

“I’ll just be a minute,” I said.

I locked myself in the bathroom and rummaged around until I found a razor blade. Then I went back out there, climbed up on the bed where he was still strumming the guitar, knelt behind him, put my arms around him, and slit his throat. Then I washed the blade off, put it back in his safety razor, wiped down everything else I'd touched, and booked, as we said back then. I didn't think twice, and it's been all right for sixty years.

Why wasn’t I suspected? He'd picked me up outside a folk club in Cambridge. Now, what was it we used to call the dropouts who hung out in Harvard Square flashing green cloth bookbags along with their guitars, hoping everyone would think they went to Harvard? I can’t remember after all this time. But they all looked alike. Sexy long hair. No one wanted to look like Dylan. Blue work shirt. Faded jeans. No one ever even knew I knew him.

 

###

 

 

Elizabeth Zelvin writes the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Mendoza Family Saga. Her stories appear in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and Black Cat Mystery Magazine, as well as Yellow Mama. She will have a story in the forthcoming Murder, Neat: A SleuthSayers Anthology.

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