Editor's Page
Artists' Page
"Skeeter", the Official YM Mascot
YM Guidelines
Contact Us & Links to Other Sites
We the Jury; Fiction by Barbara Stanley
Emptying the Trash: Fiction by Rick McQuiston
Milepost 44: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Planetary Perpetrator: Fiction by James Flynn
A Thin Thread: Fiction by M. E. Proctor
What Is the Song the Children Sing?: Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
A Bottle of Sherry: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Junipers: Fiction by Liberty Price
Institution Inspector No. 23: Fiction by Michael Fowler
Nightmares of Nightmares: Fiction by John J. Dillon
When You're Dead, You're Done!: Fiction by Pamela Ebel
Family Business: Fiction by Donald Glass
Colors: Flash Fiction by Bernice Holtzman
Gladiators: Flash Fiction by John C. Mannone
Pigeons in the Park: Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Kitsy: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
the look of legs: Poem by Meg Baird
Mike's 80th Birthday: Poem by Elizabeth Zelvin
The Art of Flying: Poem by John C. Mannone
Magazine Sestina: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Been Down So Low, It Now Sounds Great: Poem by Bradford Middleton
the burnt globe and the pregnancy: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Evening Alone: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Larry, Moe, and Me: Poem by Craig Kirchner
I Live the Life I Chose: Poem by Richelle Slota
Death House: Poem by Richelle Slota
he died of cancer: Poem by Wayne F. Burke
Night: Poem by Wayne F. Burke
and they are prancing: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
full of thoughts and hopes: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
threading a needle: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Atlas Yearns for Retirement: Poem by Richard Allen Taylor
Frown: Poem by Richard Allen Taylor
Why is the Sky Cerulean?: Poem by Richard Allen Taylor
Awakening: Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Swirling in the Chaos: Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Moira: Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Midnight Molt: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Moments Before Awakening: Poem by Michael Keshigian
The Messenger: Poem by Michael Keshigian
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

John C. Mannone: Gladiators

Art by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal © 2024



by John C. Mannone



“Lois, get over here. Check this out.”

          “Wait a minute, Fred, I got to get the cheese bread baked before our guests arrive.”

          Moments later his wife shuffles to the living room with flour still on her hands.

          Fred rustles the paper to page A3 and reads the headline there:


January 1, 2013[AP]: Televisions Go Haywire

All over America this morning, TVs are behaving strangely.

“A hyperwarp transformation of space-time is sucking people

into the screen,” Dr. Lovelace from the Brook Institute said.

Witnesses reported that their loved ones started to mysteriously

go missing; the strange phenomena started this morning. It’s be-

lieved to be caused by some electrical disturbance. “It’s advised

that no one watch their TVs until the problem is resolved,”

Lovelace said.


          “Can you believe this stuff? Well, I’m watching the bowl game anyway and that’s that.” Fred slams down the paper on the coffee table and fetches a beer.

          “Don’t you think you ought to look into that first?” Lois shifts her eyes from Fred to the blank TV screen, then back to the kitchen. “I gotta get this baking done! It’s probably a Nostradamoff prank left over from 2012 doomsday farce.”

          “It’s Nostradamus. And you’re probably right. This is bullshit.” Fred’s fingers work the aluminum tab to pop on the beer can; spume runs down the sides of the can and onto the table. “Damn it!”  Fred slurps the beer foaming through the keyhole-shaped opening before more spills to the floor.

          “The playoff starts in thirty minutes—it’s the Gladiators versus the Saints.” Fred authoritatively clicks the remote; powers the TV on. “There!”

          ‘Honey, I need your help in the kitchen for a minute . . . Fred, please!”

After a few more moments, Lois stomps into the living room. “Damn it, Fred, why can’t . . . Fred? Fred! Where the hell did you go?”

          Lois hears the commotion on the TV, but it doesn’t look like a football crowd. She inches closer to the set. She mumbles to herself, “Thousands of cats and dogs in the stands, meowing and barking, as if cheering. And the field is full of . . . mice? She peers more closely to see.

          She screams but she’s only frightened for a moment; she’s now secure in the comfort of Fred’s arms again. But he isn’t saying anything. He just wraps his long-sleeved arms around Lois, holds her tight, closing his eyes.

She doesn’t notice his furry hands. She doesn’t sense the giant shadow looming, doesn’t see its fangs.




John C. Mannone has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. Winner/Nominee of numerous contests/awards, John edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a physics professor teaching high school math in Tennessee.




Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Ángeles. His artwork has appeared over the years in Medusa’s KitchenNerve Cowboy, The Dope Fiend Daily, and Rogue Wolf PressVenus in Scorpio Poetry E-Zine. 

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications © 2024