Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Mickey A. Goes to the Moon
by Ronald D. Ferguson

To Make it to Hilion
by Dori Peleg

Deep Down Here
by Kathryn Michael McMahon

by Eric Del Carlo

Run Program
by D.K. Latta
and Jeffrey Blair Latta

Between Two Worlds
by Bill Suboski

Radiance in a Dark Lens
by Derrick Boden

Those Golden Years
by Chet Gottfried

Shorter Stories

Earthly Hosts
by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Fried Chicken You Can’t Refuse
by Peter Wood

by Richard Wren


2075: A Day in the Life
by Curt Tigges

Forensics Under Fire
by John McCormick



Comic Strips





Fried Chicken You Can’t Refuse

By Peter Wood

DELINI BLEW CIGAR SMOKE at Rick. “No changing history, pal. You’ll arrive within a week of the date you pick, but your personal timeline affects when you arrive, who you meet. There ain’t no coincidences.”

Rick coughed. “Got it.” He’d scraped together every tip for ten years for this meeting with the New Jersey mafia. If he could get that fried chicken recipe, he’d convince somebody to bankroll his restaurant.

Delini pointed behind Rick. “My associate’s coming with you. If Luigi thinks you’re gonna mess up, he’ll trigger your recall unit and shoot you back where you’ll have some explaining to do. We don’t take any chances.”

The unit on Rick’s wrist resembled a knockoff Rolex. “Okay.”

A hulk in a rumpled brown suit stepped from the shadows.

“Take a seat.” Delini thrust his chin towards two frayed lawn chairs duct-taped with wires.

Rick and Luigi sat down.

“You didn’t pay enough to take anything with you.” Dellini snickered and pushed a big red button on his desk.


Rick was in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a typical suffocating summer day. The enormous exhaust-belching cars confirmed it was the mid-seventies.

“I’m sorry,” Luigi said from beside him. “My boss has a strange sense of humor.” He tossed Rick a grocery bag.

Rick was naked. “Son of a bitch.” He pulled a Keep on Truckin’ t-shirt, shorts, and canvas tennis shoes from the bag. He ducked behind a whale-sized Buick and slipped on the clothes.

“Delini’s a jerk.” Luigi sighed.

“Yeah, peach of a guy.” Rick saw Shorter’s Chicken across the street. “Let’s get something to eat.”


The waitress seated them in a booth opposite the long lunch counter. Stuffing oozed from the cushions. A ceiling fan twirled lazily above. The smells of fried chicken, collards, and stewed vegetables filled the air.

Luigi yawned. “Why are we here?”

“The owner of this place disappears and takes his fried chicken recipe with him. The restaurant closes in 1976.”

Luigi started to speak, but was interrupted.

“Mario Carlini, nice of you to come down south,” a middle-aged man in a white seersucker suit drawled. “You might not remember meeting me at the Baltimore summit. I’m Cooper.”

Luigi fidgeted. “Mario’s my father. I’m Luigi.”

Cooper squeezed beside Luigi, pushing him against the chipped cinderblock wall. “We had an agreement. Y’all stay in Jersey. Italian Mafia. We stay in the Carolinas. Dixie Mafia.”

A burly man who looked like a linebacker sat beside Rick without asking. He poked a handgun over the table.

Luigi took a sip of iced tea. His hand shook. “I’m not Mario.”

Cooper sighed. “Okay, Luigi. Gimme your wallet.”

Luigi handed it over.

Cooper glanced at Luigi’s license. “So you’re Luigi.” He frowned. “You were born in 1976? Real funny.” He tossed the wallet back.

“I just want the recipe,” Rick said.

Cooper frowned. “What recipe?”

“Shorter’s fried chicken.”

Cooper snorted. “Didn’t any of you Jersey bastards pay attention at Baltimore? Fried chicken stays in Raleigh. We divvied up all the foods. Barbecue. Pizza. Moxie.”

“Why are y’all bringing guns in here?” a new voice demanded. “How many times do I have to warn you morons?” A bearded man in an apron glared at Cooper.

“We’re protecting your interests, Mr. Shorter,” Cooper said.

“Like you protected Jake’s Barbecue in Tarboro? Best pulled pork in Carolina until you idiots let it burn down.” Shorter rolled his eyes. “Dixie mafia. Sheesh. Why don’t y’all get jobs?”

Cooper pointed his gun at Rick. “This jackass was trying to steal your fried chicken recipe.”

Shorter tapped his head. “The recipe’s up here. I’ll never write it down.”

“I’ll pay for it,” Rick said.

Cooper pressed the gun against Rick’s chest. “Shut your mouth.” He turned to his goon. “Give Luigi’s watch to Shorter for his trouble.”

Luigi’s jaw dropped. “Don’t do that. You’ll—”

“Shut up!” Cooper thundered.

The goon tossed the recall device to Shorter. With a flash, Shorter vanished.

And Rick knew what he had to do. With only one recall device left, he wasn’t going to be the one stuck. He hit the trigger.


Rick felt nauseous. He saw a stranger behind Delini’s desk. “Tell Mr. Delini it wasn’t my fault,” Rick panted.

The sixtyish man laughed. “I know. I was there.”

Rick blinked. “Luigi?”

Luigi nodded. “Forty years older. When you left, I wasn’t happy, but then I figured I was better off than working for Delini.”

“I changed the future?”

Luigi shook his head. “I changed the future. I knew what sports teams to bet on. For a while anyway, until the timelines changed. I lost a fortune betting on the Red Sox in 1986. They won the series the first time.” He picked up a bulging envelope. “I’m gonna thank you. There’s enough cash to open up a restaurant.”

Rick took the envelope.

The door opened. Delini entered and handed Luigi a newspaper. “Here’s your Racing Form, sir.”

Luigi took the paper. “Thanks, kid. Now beat it.”

Delini raced out.

“What about the recipe?” Rick asked.

“About that ...” Luigi reached into his desk and pulled out a cigar. “Shorter came back a week ago.”

“Did he give you—”

Luigi lit the cigar. “We’re opening a fried chicken restaurant chain. Me and Shorter.” He blew smoke at Rick. “It’s damned good chicken.” Luigi pressed an intercom. “Delini, show our friend out.”

Rick couldn’t leave without the means to have a successful restaurant. His mind turned to the barbecue joint that burned in Tarboro. Shorter said it had the best barbecue. Maybe he could trust Luigi.

He cleared his throat. “Luigi, I’ve got a proposition. Do you like barbecue?” END

Peter Wood is an attorney from Raleigh, North Carolina. He has had stories published in “Asimov’s,” “Daily Science Fiction,” “Stupefying Stories,” and “Every Day Fiction.” His previous story for us was “Clothes Make the Man” in the 12-DEC-2015 issue.



bendayBIOGRAPHY CAPSULEpeter wood

Peter Wood is a lawyer who lives in Raleigh, N.C., with his forgiving wife and surly cat. He has had over fifty stories published in places like “Asimov’s,” “Bull
Spec,” and “Daily Science Fiction.” He grew up reading Golden Age science
fiction and watching the original “Star Trek.” He loves the South, especially
southern cuisine. You can probably guess his favorite food. He hopes he has
created a new genre—southern fried science fiction.

Favorite drink: I like any kind of wimpy coffee drink where coffee makes up only half of the beverage—the rest being cream, or chocolate shavings, or
something equally childish.

Favorite movie: I can't name just one. The original “Planet of the Apes,”
“Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” “Christmas in Connecticut,” “La Jettee,” “Rear Window,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein,” “The Big Lebowski,” “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Heck, I have a hundred favorite movies.

Pet peeve: People who text instead of talking to the people beside them.

Advice to NASA: Please don’t ever go away.