All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Valentine’s Day Massacre by Doug Hawley

Special Report To Stumptown Magazine by Elmer Jakes February 10, 20xx

I was at her bedside when Ginger Smith uttered her last words.  “Why did Ted do this?  I thought that we loved each other.”

Ginger didn’t know that Ted Hamer didn’t do it.  He had died before she had.  The real murderer of Ginger and Ted was Phil Jenks the billionaire owner of Fallpark, the famous maker of greeting cards and romance movies.

The why and how of Jenk’s crimes are mostly known, and the missing pieces can be filled in with reasonable certainty.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

There’s No Bars in this Town by J Saler Drees

We were bored when we started drinking and bored when we got too drunk and bored when we stole Adee’s pickup and drove it down to the riverbank. What a joke. We laughed the whole way, that forced, bored kind that sounds like a fraud. How we mused, won’t this be funny when Adee gets off her shift and finds her truck gone.

Since no one ever locked their cars, or their doors, stealing came easy. Only problem in a town this small, you’d get caught. Didn’t matter. Stealing was more a game than a necessity, so catch us if you can, Adee.

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Passing On by John J. Dillon

Kemp emerged from the dark woods behind the little St. Andrew’s church and took a moment to look things over. One car sat in the small lot and a few stained glass windows glowed with feeble light. His watch showed 8:58 p.m. All good for his scheduled private confession.

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Modern Entertainment by Megan Wildhood

The man who pit this roof against rain, his best friend and owner of the final store in town, the woman who pits seed against element to feed me all my life, our humdrum hay baler, two others I didn’t know and I sit in a circle in Shopkeeper’s empty store. These are our Friday nights now after the litany of systems failures. “Supply chain-issues,” Papa mumbles when it comes up. “Just the economy cycling again, actually,” Shopkeeper grumbles. “No one believes us about the mass injuries,” the two guests basically whisper.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

The House Across the Street by Robert P. Bishop

Harvey looked out his front window, saw the real-estate lady pull into the driveway of the house across the street and get out of her car. She walked to the For Sale sign with Sale Pending pasted diagonally on it.

Another victim is moving in, he thought.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

A Boy Named Sue by Scott Taylor – Content Warning. A subject that some readers may find upsetting.

Yo yo yo, I’m here to tell ya about a boy named Sue.

Every day, Sue went into school, in the little pigtails his Momma put him in and his little blue bonnet on his head, and all the children sang, “FUCKIN’ PUSSY!”  They danced around him in tribal fashion, and spit bubble gum in his ears, and tried to make him eat dirt.  Every day he would soil his pretty little yellow dress, skin his knees and run home crying to Momma.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction

some words ending in a sentence by Phill Doran

Hung: It would be wrong to say it was her favourite expression. Her favourite expression, my Mam, was “Hell’s Bells!”, which was short for “Hell’s bells and buckets of blood”. That was her idea of swearing. A jingle: just enough to keep a real swear word at bay.

When the real ones came, they were Dar’s, and they were like my brother, Davie, you know – thick, short, and fast.

So, no, “Be hung for a sheep as a lamb” was not her favourite phrase, but Mam said it a lot. It was shortened, but we somehow knew what she meant. Maybe the long of it had been explained to us once, or maybe we explained it to each other.

The sentiment was that if you are going to be hanged for stealing a small lamb, then you may as well steal a whole sheep. A jingle of wisdom passed down, like a pair of shoes. It was what families did then. They’d pass old sayings down the line, the blood line. They would settle, acting like silt, determining your depth.

It was hard to picture though. Where we lived there were no sheep. A lamb chop from the butcher’s maybe, that could be stolen, but I’d not have the courage. The butcher was a big man. Blood and blades were nothing to him.

No one ever corrected Mam’s grammar, not that I can recall. Hung it was.

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A Strange Way to say I Love You by Matthew Senn

Harper Gillespie, newly fourteen, rode up to a place locals called Baby’s Bush to meet two of his friends: Dave Erich and Robinson Pike, both of whom were several years older. The bush stood in the middle of a field between two lines of pines. Almost as big as a house, they said every time someone tried to cut the bush down, they would have to stop because they heard a baby crying.

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A Saddle in the Desert by Tom Sheehan

He was in the sparse land between shifting sands of the great desert and the last tree bearing green when he saw the vultures descending from their high flight. Breward Chandler, “Brew” to friends back in the mountains where breathing was much easier than here in the midst of little life, sat bareback on an Indian pony he had freed from a natural corral behind a blow-down. Chandler had learned that the horse would obey pulls on his mane and in this manner he had escaped from sure capture by heading into the desert, with his pistols loaded and a lariat and a canteen he had grabbed on the run. He was not sure who was after him, either renegade Indians or renegade whites out for the kill, looking for guns, clothes, saddles, anything for free. He was hoping that they’d measure the little he might have against the rigors of a chase in the desert. Perhaps, he also hoped, they were smarter than he thought they were.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Dauntless by Frederick K Foote

Oh, yeah, here he come. A handsome young, broad-face, dark skin, Black boy with curly hair. He walks with a swagger and a smile. A smile that would strip girls and women, boys and men, out of their underwear at the glint of those sparkling teeth. And he got moves. Athletic, strong, and fast. And he come up here to the log with a smile and style, not knowing he’s still a child.

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