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Karma at the Charlie Hotel: Fiction by Louella Lester
Acceptable Margin of Inventory Loss: Fiction by Charlie Kondek
The Racing Rocks: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Preacher Woman of Reverie, Oklahoma: Fiction by Ann Marie Potter
Justice Served: Fiction by Glen Bush
A Broken String of Love Beads: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Revenge and Redemption: Fiction by Walt Trizna
Thirst: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Solar Punks: Fiction by James Blakey
Rito Was a High Number: Fiction by Fred Andersen
The Parcel: Fiction by Robb White
Red Wine and Cyanide: Fiction by Adrian Fahy
The Crowd: Fiction by Jack Garrett
The Offal Truth: Fiction by Scott MacLeod
Madam Maree Sees Your Future: Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Wereworm: Flash Fiction by Daniel G Snethen
Promises: Flash fiction by Richard Brown
No Need to Cry: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Classy Woman: Flash Fiction by William Kitcher
oh how i wish: Poem by Rob Plath
Bird in Flight, Nullarbor Plain, 1967: Poem by John Doyle
Pools: Poem by Bernice Holtzman
I Exist Inside an Invisible Poem Everlasting & Overflowing: Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Let me drop the last chapter: Poem by Partha Sarkar
Excursion: The Cruise Ship Chronicles: Poem by Jake Sheff
We'll Always Have Two Things to Hold: Poem by Chandu Govind
why nothing else matters: Poem by John Sweet
the pale grey light of forgotten afternoons: Poem by John Sweet
Orchestra Class: Poem by Elizabeth Zelvin
The Old Lady Shows Her Mettle: Poem by Elizabeth Zelvin
Eggs Over Easy: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Pretty Face: Poem by Peter Mladinic
Another Saturday Night: Poem by Richard LeDue
My Death Knells: Poem by Richard LeDue
Poems as Cheap as Christmas Lights: Poem by Richard LeDue
Dead Work: Poem by John Grey
How He Died: Poem by John Grey
The Man in Their Midst: Poem by John Grey
First at Pimlico: Poem by Craig Kirchner
4 AM: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Leap Year: Poem by Craig Kirchner
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

William Kitcher: The Classy Woman

Art by J. Elliott 2024

The Classy Woman




William Kitcher



You don’t usually meet classy women smoking in the grungy alley beside the grungy bar in which I sometimes drink. I don’t, anyway. Maybe other people do. I don’t know what other people do.

I’m normally confused by classy women. That has to be my fault, not theirs. I have no idea where classy women generally go for recreation—

probably a part of the world I don’t even know about.

Anyway, I met Vicky. As I’d seen her in the grungy bar (and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what she was doing there), I thought it’d be OK to say hello and perhaps just say I’d seen her inside. I did that and we soon got into a conversation that, in the space of a couple of smoked cigarettes, went around music, history, current events, and the weather. The details are unimportant, mainly because I don’t know much about any of those things. It’s enough to say she was informed, intelligent, modern, and classy as I said. Well-dressed but casual, smart and sarcastic, attractive and not overly made up, everything you’d ever want in a woman you meet in a grungy alley.

As we stood there smoking and talking, a street wastoid came up to us, took out a knife, and said, “Gimme your money.”

Vicky said, “You know, no one carries cash anymore. It’s all debit and credit. Fifty years ago, you might’ve got some money, but now? No.”

The kid stood there, dumbfounded.

Vicky then stepped forward and kicked the knife out of his hand straight up into the air. The knife somersaulted down, and she caught it by the handle and pointed it at the kid.

“Dangle,” she said, using a term I knew from 1930s Raymond Chandler stories. Man, was I impressed. The kid dangled.

Vicky flipped the knife to her other hand, and underhand, threw it backward and it lodged into a wooden beam above the bar’s garbage cans. So cool.

We went back into the bar, and she asked me to sit with her. She started laughing and I asked her why. She took a wallet out of her pocket, flashed it open. She had at least $500 in fifties.

“If that kid had forced the issue,” she said, “I probably would have given it up.”

“You have fast feet,” I said, “so, probably not.”

Vicky laughed at that. “Next round is on me,” she said. “Maybe also the one after that. And then . . .” Her voice trailed off and she just stared at me, her sparkling brown eyes telling me nothing I could understand.

A couple of drinks later, she went to the toilet. She touched my hand as she left.

I thought about things for a moment or so, then took her wallet out of her coat pocket, extracted two credit cards, one debit card, and the five hundred dollars. I threw a hundred on the table and scrammed out of there.

By the time I tried to use the cards, they’d already been cancelled. The five hundred paid my bar tab for a few weeks, but not at the grungy bar. I figured I’d take a hiatus from there for a while just in case.

But when I finally went back about a month later, Vicky was waiting for me when I went for a smoke in the alley. She was all class, as I said. She took all the money I had and didn’t kick me in the nuts.




Bill Kitcher’s stories, plays, and comedy sketches (and one poem!) have been published, produced, and/or broadcast in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Czechia, England, Guernsey, Holland, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, and the U.S. His stories have appeared in Horror Sleaze Trash, Rock and a Hard Place, Shotgun Honey, Guilty, Mystery Tribune, Yellow Mama, and many other journals. His novel, Farewell and Goodbye, My Maltese Sleep, was published in 2023 by Close To The Bone Publishing.


Also, his prehensile tail, which never caused him any problems, has now started lengthening.

J. Elliott is an author and artist living in a small patch of old, rural Florida. Think Spanish moss, live oak trees, snakes, armadillos, mosquitoes. She has published (and illustrated) three collections of ghost stories and three books in a funny, cozy series. She's currently writing (and illustrating) a ghost story novel, Jiko Bukken, set in Kyoto, Japan in the winter of '92-'93. Episodes on Amazon's Kindle Vella. Paperback and eBook coming late this summer (2023). 

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2024