All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Gosh darn it, I’m wet! by Glen Dungan

Alright fine.

Okay so the rubber duck bobs in the water, ignorant of the vapor steaming from the pool and rising to the banisters and balustrades in the warehouse. It wears a yellow raincoat and holds in a cartoonish way an umbrella inscribed with the words “Gosh darn it, I’m wet!” It drifts in between two pillars of steam, bumping like a lily pad just underneath the nipple of child peddler Marc “The Lobster” Cameron. So fat is the nipple that one might consider it a breast. The tattoo on Marc’s pectoral is further an example of this fact, a strange attempt at a Chinese dragon that might have looked better on a fit body but has since taken the form of Mushu from Mulan. At least I think that is his name. I don’t know. I’ve never seen it. That or the godawful remake. Don’t ask how I have an opinion of a movie I haven’t seen. I just know. Okay. All I’m saying is that this really goes to show that some movies should be immortalized, having already stood the test of time with intergenerational audiences.

But anyway. I digress.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Madame by Matthew Senn

She’d tell the newcomers she was from California, the blond haired Madame of the Diamondback Saloon. She’d tell ’em the same jokes she’d told a thousand nights: she’d say she got the name of the place after her man got bit by a diamondback. And if they had enough fun, she’d point to three crosses in the back and say that’s where lie the last people who had too much fun.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Danny by Diane M Dickson

Danny always arrived early. By now everyone accepted that he did and they’d stopped ragging him about it. He wasn’t really supposed to but George let him. “You can do it lad. Them at the council, they don’t know you like we do. No problem, you just carry on. You just listen to us.” Danny liked George.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Dreams Away at Octavia’s by Thomas M. McDade

I was out of the waiter game, quit when a chef threw a cruet that just missed my head; oil splattered my new, old tux I bought from a formal wear rental joint. Only an asylum inmate would be able to summon a voice that said I’d bettered myself. I was working at a fast food joint, The Burger General, home of the Five-Star Half Pounder. I’d added eight published poems to my Good Knots chapbook so I wasn’t complaining about work conditions or pay. I kept a few copies under the counter in case I sensed kindred vibes from a customer. Jake Perez, the janitor found one in the trash. If a fry weren’t a bookmark he might have left it but he thought it was a hoot and shared his kicks with my fellow workers before returning it to me. A high school kid working the drive-thru told me my poems were baffling and so was I but she quotes lines occasionally and said her mom gave me a thumbs-up. Columbia University had recently published the freshly greased poem, “Ghost Shipping” in its literary magazine.  Octavia’s Ristorante returned in sharp focus. Elise shanghaied my mind.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Seroquel by Olivia Austin

I sit in darkness, isolated from the world by a dark wooden door. If I think hard enough, I can imagine I’m standing in a sunny field, or listening to the roar of ocean waves. But I’m not. As much as I try, the thin closet door in the bathroom is not enough to block out the screams.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Fall Guy by Marco Etheridge

Louis Pyne squats on his haunches beside the corpse. The boathouse is cold as a meat locker. A massive hangover is dancing a tarantella six-eight time inside his skull, and the two guys standing behind Lou are making him nervous. At least they’re hungover as well. Hell, even the corpse would be begging for aspirin if he wasn’t so dead. 

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

Baptism by Fire by David Lohrey

Her husband wondered where she had gone. Bernadim could see his wife’s car clearly from the air. There didn’t appear to be anything wrong. He took a quick look as he passed over, spotting his wife’s Jag, a beautiful new sedan which she preferred to drive herself, often leaving her driver when she was certain to find parking. He hadn’t noticed before the beauty of the drive’s flowering canopy. Years ago, on a trip to Table Mountain and Cape Town, his grandfather had been inspired by the wide use of the jacaranda and, upon his return, had dozens of the flowering trees planted along the road leading to the family house. When in full bloom, which happened more or less all at once, the full-grown trees created what looked to be clouds of lavender and violet descended from the heavens, ready to carry away all those anxious to meet God.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

In For a Penny, In For a Pound by David Thomas Peacock

You find meaning where you make it, I thought, polishing off my second bourbon and getting up to leave. I’d stopped by Puffy’s after an early piano gig, hoping to take the edge off before heading home. I couldn’t stop thinking about the old man —always worrying about him, continually reframing the narrative in my mind. I’m grateful for the time I have left with him was the best I could come up with.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

The Weight of Return by Marco Etheridge

Darryl slid three quarters into the vending machine and weighed his options. They weren’t all that good. The overnight Greyhound had carried him across a state line, which violated of his parole. If his tight-ass parole officer got wind of it, Darryl would be on his way back to a cell in Lucasville. First off, don’t get spotted by the cops, same as any day for an ex-con. Second, don’t get spotted by the bad guys. That left having breakfast and finding the girl. He reached for the chrome handle and pulled. A snickers bar tumbled into the sheet metal tray.

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