Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Stephen D. Rogers



Stephen D. Rogers


Somewhere east of the Jones Falls, hidden between Chase and Madison, is a neighborhood worse than most.  The crown in this jewel is a house that only two types of people ever visit:  the truly desperate and the uniformed servants of the very rich.

The servants in their pressed jackets and starched shirts are sent to retrieve completed orders of Fontanel crab cakes, not that they’re advertised by that or any other name.  As servants have always done, they blind themselves to everything but the task at hand.

Knock on the door.  Say the words.  Take the box wrapped in thick brown paper and butcher twine.

Bring the item back to the house, to the kitchen where one can shake off the chill.  Focus on the next important duty, perhaps polishing the chrome.

Cook has a million thoughts colliding within her brain, scrambling for supremacy, survival.  She has no time to dwell.

The master shivers with anticipation.

The desperate are drawn to that address from all over the city by the promise of money, the relief of a burden.

How many fixes will the man pay for?  How much sweet oblivion?  How much time before the burning claws twist and tear?

The baby will cry but the baby always cries.  A nuisance.  A problem.  A curse.

Clutch the money in trembling hands and hear nothing as you stumble down the broken walk.

These are the people that visit the house in east Baltimore, direct descendant to the Block.  Prostitution can be considered a victimless crime only to the extent that it eventually kills off everyone involved.

The basic recipe for Maryland crab cakes reads thus.  Mix one cup of breadcrumbs, one large egg, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  Add one pound of Chesapeake Bay blue crab after removing all cartilage and shell. Mix all ingredients taking care not to reduce the crab into mush. Form into cakes and fry until brown in oil, butter, or margarine.

Derivatives and embellishments include but are not limited to onion, parsley, yogurt, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, capers, tarragon, jalapeno chilies, shallots, lime, paprika, horseradish, zucchini, Tabasco, crackers, celery, mustard, milk, cornmeal, white wine, and thyme.

The very rich, their taste refined and then bored by easy access fueled by unlimited resources yearn for something different, something unique, something special.

Balmer Merlin is the consuming hunger.

Balmer Merlin is the monster that hooks into a back with long, sharp claws.

Balmer Merlin is the man who buys sexual release from zombies.

Balmer Merlin is the unwanted baby.

Balmer Merlin is the person behind the door who wants it nonetheless.

The Chesapeake Bay blue crab is renowned the world over.  During the stage after molting, when they are soft-shelled, they are considered a particular delicacy.

The skull of a baby is not of a single piece.  Instead, it consists of eight bony plates that slowly fuse together between birth and the age of two, the separations known as fontanels.

Balmer style.

BIO:  Stephen D. Rogers is the author of SHOT TO DEATH and more than 800 shorter works.  His website,, includes a list of new and upcoming titles as well as other timely information.