A Story For Sunday: Just Like Dillinger by Bill Baber

locked and loaded‘Don’t ask.  Don’t, because I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that killing two junkies in a Tucson alley for the cash they had just gotten from cashing some paltry government check wasn’t worth the needle ride it might cost us. Jimmy and me must have been stupid. It was the kind of thing that always happened when we took a couple of downs mixed with a forty or two.’

Read the rest here at the well-smashing SHOTGUN HONEY.

Gareth And Fiona Go Abroad By Paul D. Brazill​ is at Jeanette Cheezum​’s Cavalcade Of Stars

cheezy‘Fiona was dragged from the depths of a murky sleep as the rooster in the nearby farm started to crow. As she peeled back her eyelids, she noticed that Gareth, had already showered and dressed in a pair of neatly ironed Marks & Spencer’s jeans, and his lucky plaid shirt.

In the wan light, she watched him as he took the soft boiled eggs from the pan and put them in the candy-striped egg cups. He took the lightly toasted bread from the toaster and carefully cut it into soldiers. Then he poured two cups of tea.
He was still a good looking man, she thought. And as fit as a fiddle as he approached his mid-fifties. She was sure he’d been for his regular morning jog while she’d been asleep. He’d been a bundle of nervous energy since the redundancy. He’d even tidied the motor home and had hung the wash on the line outside.’

Read the rest here.

Halloween Read: 3 Shots Of The Dark Stuff

cropped-cropped-kasianor1a.jpgSince it’s Halloween, here’s a drabble and some micro/ flash fiction for your delectation …

Swamplands

Elvis awoke in a cold, dank sweat, hungover from bourbon and bad dreams. The nightmares had consisted of him being hunted through a swamp by the murderous spectre of Jesse, his stillborn twin. His pounding heartbeat seemed to echo through the mansion. He stumbled into the bathroom, splashed cold water on his face and looked in the mirror, only to be confronted by his own ashen reflection and that of his grinning doppelganger. Jesse tightly wrapped the umbilical cord around Elvis’ throat and pulled it until his brother breathed no more. The king is dead, long live the king, he muttered.

The End.

The Return Of The Tingler

As the bright spring afternoon melted into evening, Dr Shearing’s office grew darker. As did Lee Madison’s thoughts.

“13 Ghosts?” said Dr Shearing. He pulled sharply at his shirt cuffs. “I can’t say that I’m familiar with that particular film, or Mr William Castle’s oeuvre as a director, to be honest.”

Lee Madison cringed as Shearing spoke. The psychiatrist whistled when he pronounced the letter‘s’ and the sound almost perforated Lee’s ear drums.

“Oh it was massively popular at the time. There was even a remake a while back,” said Lee. “All flash-trash and CGI, though.”

The egg stain on Dr Shearing’s paisley tie had distracted Lee so much he’d had to turn away to look at the silent television in the corner of the room. Images of corn fields rolled across the screen.

“But The Tingler was his most famous film,” continued Lee. “He set up a gadget in the cinema seats that gave people little electric shocks when The Tingler appeared on the screen,” He turned to Shearing and grinned, beaming.

“A monster that lives on fear, you say? Quite clever actually,” said Dr Shearing, who was sweating even more than usual. “A slightly Freudian shadow cast, eh?”

He took his ballpoint pen and scribbled on a yellow post-it-note that he then stuck inside his worn brown briefcase. He clicked the briefcase closed and looked at Lee.

“So, you said you were about seven when your own particular ‘Tingler’ appeared?”

Lee nodded to himself. Glanced at Shearing.

“I think so. We were on a school day out. I was running down the side of a cliff with a group of other kids when I started to panic. Imagined myself crashing down to the ground below. My head smashed to pieces. And then the panic took control of me. So, I decided to see what would happen if I just let myself fall.”

“And?”

“Everything went black and red. I came to near a swimming pool and a teacher was shouting at me while she bathed my face in chlorine stinking water. I was off school for weeks. Never really got into the habit of going to school after that, to be honest.”

“And The Tingle returned when?”

“Off and on. When I saw the school bus turn the corner, for example. I just wanted to throw myself under it. Or if I saw a sharp knife, I felt the urge to run it across my tongue.”

Shearing repressed a grimace.

“And when did this stop?”

“Well, it didn’t. It got worse when I was a teenager. The Tingler was like a cowl wrapping itself around my head. Smothering my brain. My thoughts.”

“And nothing could stop it? Ease it?”

“Sex took the edge off for a while. But that didn’t last long.”

“So, that is when you started drinking?”

“Yes, the booze helped. And then the drugs.”

“But …”

“Their affects wore off pretty quickly. And then, one night, just after Christmas, I was walking down a path, late at night. It was freezing. I saw an old man shuffling in front of me. Almost slipping over on the ice. In a flash, I realised that I could just kill him. And it wouldn’t matter. No one would know. I could get away with it without a problem. The Tingler almost strangled me.”

“And.”

“And so I picked up a brick, ran up to him and smashed his head to pieces like a soft boiled egg.”

Shearing gulped. His mouth arid.

“And what happened to The Tingler after that,” said Shearing, looking uncomfortable.

“It was gone for quite a long time after that. But, it was always lurking somewhere in the back of my mind. Of course, it crept further forward. Until eventually it was at the front of my brain.”

“And now?”

“A singular truth, Doctor. There truly are no consequences.”

Lee swept up a pencil and stabbed it into Dr Shearing’s eye. Again and again. Pushing it up toward his brain.

And The Tingler slipped away from his body like a shadow during night time. Only waiting for the break of dawn.

The End.

The Tut

After enduring forty-five years of a marriage that was, at best, like wading through treacle, Oliver Robinson eventually had enough and smothered his wife with the beige corduroy cushion that he’d accidentally burned with a cigarette two fraught days before.

Oliver had been, for most of his life, a temperate man and he had survived the sexless marriage – its colourless cuisine and half-hearted holidays – with a stoicism that bordered on indifference. But his patience had been stretched to the breaking point by Gloria’s constant disapproval of almost everything he did.

And then there was the “tut.”

The tut invariably accompanied Gloria’s scowl whenever Oliver poured himself an evening drink or smoked a cigarette. She would tut loudly if he spilled the salt. Or swore. Or stayed up late to watch the snooker. The tut, tut, tut was like the rattle of a machine gun that seemed to echo through their West London home from dusk till dawn until he reached the end of his tether.

Wrapping his wife’s body in the fluffy white bedroom rug, Oliver supposed that he should have felt guilty, depressed or scared – but he didn’t. Far from it. In fact, he felt as free and as light as a multi-coloured helium balloon that had been set adrift to float above a brightly lit fun fair.

Oliver fastened the rug with gaffer tape and dragged the corpse down the steps to the basement. As the head bounced from every step, it made a sound not unlike a tut and he had to fight the urge to say sorry.

He’d done enough apologising.

***

Oliver poured himself a whisky – at eight o’clock in the morning! – and it tasted better than any whisky he had ever tasted before. Looking around his antiseptic home, the sofa still wrapped in the plastic coating that it came in, he smiled.

Savouring the silence, he resisted the temptation to clean Gloria’s puke from the scarred cushion that had been the catalyst of her death. Taking a Marlboro full strength from the secret supply that was hidden in a hollowed-out hardback copy of Jaws – Gloria didn’t approve of fiction and would never have found the stash there – he proceeded to burn holes in every cushion in the house.

And then he started on the sofa.

Oliver’s brief burst of pyromania was interrupted when he thought he heard a tut, tut, tut from the hallway. His heart seemed to skip a beat or two, but then he gave a relieved laugh when it was just the sound of the letter box, flapping in the wind.

***

Disposal of Gloria’s body proved much easier than Oliver would have expected. On a bright Sunday morning in April he hauled Gloria’s corpse into the back of his car, keeping an eye out for nosy neighbours, and drove towards Jed Bramble’s rundown farm, and the village of Innersmouth.

Jed was an old school friend and fellow Territorial Army member whom Oliver occasionally used to meet for a sly drink in the Innersmouth Arms’ smoky, pokey snug. He was also a phenomenal lush. The plan was to get him comatose and then feed Gloria’s body to his pigs. Oliver knew the farm was on its last legs, along with most of the livestock, so he felt sure that the poor emaciated creatures would be more than happy to tuck in to Gloria’s cadaver.

Perched on the passenger seat Oliver had a Sainsbury’s bag stuffed with six bottles of Grant’s Whisky. Just in case, he had a bottle of diazepam in his pocket, which he’d used to drug Gloria.

Just outside Innersmouth it started to rain. Tut, tut went the rain on the windscreen. At first it was only a shower but then it fell down in sheets. Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut.

Oliver switched on the windscreen wipers but every swish seemed to be replaced by a tut. He opened up a bottle of whisky and drank until the rain resumed sounding like rain.

Outside the dilapidated farmhouse, Jed stood with a rifle over his arm, looking more than a little weather-beaten himself. His straggly hair was long and greasy and his red eyes lit up like Xmas tree lights when he saw Oliver’s booze.

***

The cold Monday morning air tasted like tin to Oliver as, hungover and wheezing, he pulled Gloria’s body from the car and dumped it in the big sty. The starving wretches took to their meal with relish. Watching, Oliver vomited, but he didn’t try to stop the proceedings.

Back at the farmhouse Jed was still slumped over the kitchen table, snoring heavily. Oliver collapsed into a battered armchair and started to sweat and shake. He’d decided to stay with Jed for a few days, keeping him safely inebriated until Gloria’s remains were completely consumed. But as the days grew dark the tut returned.

The tick tock of Jed’s grandfather clock, for instance, was replaced by a tut, tut. The drip, drip, drip of the leaking tap kept him awake at night and became a tut, tut, tut. The postman’s bright and breezy rat-a-tat-tat on the front door seemed to pull the fillings right from his teeth. He turned on the radio but even Bob Dylan was tut, tut, tutting on heaven’s door.

***

The usually bustling Innersmouth High Street was almost deserted now. The majority of the local people were cowering indoors – in shops, pubs, fast food joints. Oliver walked down the street with Jed’s rifle over his shoulder. No matter how many people he shot he still couldn’t seem to escape the sound of Gloria’s disapprobation.

Tut went the gun when he shot the postman.

Tut, tut when he pressed the trigger and blew Harry the milkman’s brains out.

Tut, tut, tut when he blasted fat PC Thompson to smithereens as he attempted to escape by climbing over the infant school wall.

Oliver heard the sirens of approaching police cars in the distance and realised there was only one thing left to do.

Pushing the gun into his mouth he squeezed the trigger.

The last sound that he heard was a resounding TUT!

The End.

(c) Paul D. Brazill 

These yarns first appeared online at Flashshots, Shotgun Honey and Beat To A Pulp respectively.Pic (fragment) (c) Kasia Martell. 

Bits And Bobs.

noir

… well I gave a short  REVIEW OF 2012 over at VIC WATSON’S blog … at CHRIS RHATIGAN’S DEATH BY KILLING,  I chose five of my favourite short stories of 2012 … and AJ HAYES included my flash story, RETURN OF THE TINGLER – which was at SHOTGUN HONEY- in his FIVE YOU CAN’T MISS.

TA!

 

Short, Sharp Interview: Tom Pitts

PDB: Can you pitch PIGGYBACK in 25 words or less?

When two girls disappear with a trunk-load of pot, a lovable loser persuades a sociopathic killer to pursue them across California in a violent goose-chase.

Gee, that was 25 words exactly.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

With limited time and a funky schedule, I resort to a lot of catching up with TV on the internet. Oh yeah, all the kids are doing it. Flavor of the week in our house has been late-night sessions with HBO’s Bored to Death. Fun and funny. It’s been out there a while, but I’m always late to the party when it comes to these things. Book-wise I’m reading Joe Clifford’s first draft for his next novel; I’ve been nailed down with a no-disclosure clause that forbids me to discuss it. (But, trust me, it’s good. Joe’s pushing the envelope) Movies? I’m still waiting to see Killing Them Softly.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

Of course. We all started with the simple pleasure of reading someone else’s work. We became fans, soaking up the genius of others. I don’t read Cormac McCarthy and think about how I would have written it; I’m lost in his ability with prose. I go again to that magical place, the willing suspension of disbelieve. Now that I think about it, you have to be able to return to that objective state, the state of pure enjoyment. It’s like suggesting a musician can’t be a fan of music. If we couldn’t be objective, we’d be cursed like the fry cook who can no longer enjoy hamburgers.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

With the base-rate for selling a screenplay set at $110,000.00, who wouldn’t be? But the rigid formula and format intimidate me. Cramming in all that interior\exterior stuff, the love interest must arc by page such and such, and don’t go over 120 pages, but don’t go under 100, all seem tough enough, but to then have some suit tell you, “Sorry, but there’s no car chase in here. Give us something with more explosions!” I’m not ready for the cookie cutter yet.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

Piggyback  was based on something that happened to a friend of mine who is in that line of work. The trunk load of pot went missing; I just took it from there. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the degenerate lifestyle I lived while I was stung-out on heroin provided me with a worldview that shapes much of what I write about. It’s as though I were a method actor that was lost in a character study for ten years. The most actual research I did for Piggyback was Googling what kind of Mercedes a character would be driving. In the novel I just finished, Hustle, a sleazy tale of two male prostitutes who try to blackmail one of their clients, I did actually talk to a guy that was steeped in that trade for years. The conversation didn’t yield much though, he just told me about some scams and different ways to rip off johns. I was ¾ of the way through the book by the time we sat down and didn’t end up using any of his stories.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

I’m guessing very, but I don’t really know. It seems like it’s an effective way to get the word out there, but I’m never sure how much I’m annoying people. I’m sure I’ve got a load of friends that have blocked me because they’re just tired of hearing about it.

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012/13?

Piggyback  is out on October 29th with Snubnose Press. I’m querying agents for Hustle; I’m going to find that disturbing piece of work a home. I sent it to one agent so far; he had one of the assistants read the first chunk. I received a letter back stating that the characters were way too “unsavory”, which I took as a great compliment. And next year, of course, another novel. Bigger, better, and maybe even more “unsavory.”

Bio : PIGGYBACK will be released by Snubnose Press on October 29th.

Tom Pitts also has a story out in the new Shotgun Honey Anthology, Both Barrels. Got get ‘em both.Links to his published stories can be found at http://tom-pitts.blogspot.com/

In addition to writing, working, and surviving, he is also an assistant-editor at Out of the Gutter’s Flash Fiction Offensive.

Short, Sharp Interview: Chad Rohrbacher

PDB: Can you pitch KARMA BACKLASH in 25 words or less?

Derby searches for his buddy’s killer while a mob war threatens Toledo. KARMA BACKLASH is also a love story: a violent, bloody, sometimes poetic, love story.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

Chris Holms’ THE WRONG GOODBYE and Adam Christopher’s SEVEN WONDERS are my two latest reads. I’ve also been looking at some essays by William Gibson. A few pieces from Beth Kaufka and Steve Weddle have been coming my way, and I have to say, people are in for a treat. Now that I am back in school, a majority of my reading of late revolves around organizational theory and resistance to change. Those are always nail biters…

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

No.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

I received my MFA in screenwriting from Louisiana State University many years ago. I miss it quite a bit. But, you write in the form the story tells you to write in; I imagine I will revisit screenwriting and film in the future. My life seems to cycle like this…


PDB: How much research goes into each book?

More than I ever imagined. Interestingly enough, I actually enjoy the research. Human activity, world history, and science not only spark an idea for a story, but also provide a solid foundation for creating a believable alternate reality.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

Social media today is amazing. I’ve met some fantastic people through the intertubes (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, on-line magazines). I’ve discovered authors I never would have been exposed to in my local establishments, and readers who I now look to for book recommendations.

I’ve also met people who have given me wonderful opportunities in the field. Close to home, Kent, Ron, and Sabrina invited me into the ShotgunHoney Magazine family. Out of the States, Luca Veste and Andrez Bergen encouraged me to get involved with their projects: the charity anthology Off the Record and the Tobacco Stained Sky anthology based on Bergen’s novel, respectively. To be honest, there is not enough space to ever give props to all the wonderful people I’ve come across on the nets. Hopefully, I will be able to pay all the goodwill forward.

Some people are naturals at using social media as a tool to promote their own work. I’m not one of them. Maybe I should invest more time there, but that means less time with the fam, reading, writing, coursework, grading (ugh, grading). I haven’t found that perfect balance yet.


PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?

First, I’m slowly adapting Karma Backlash into a screenplay. Second, I have another crime novella that is absolutely begging to be a novel (you’ll be able to see the characters in a story that is forthcoming in Grift Magazine #2).

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CHAD HERE.

Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels Is Out Now ! ! !

bothbarrels_finalcover-1024x735Here’s the SP from SHOTGUN HONEY:

‘I hope you’ve been saving your pennies, because today is the day. Today Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels launches officially! I say officially because some of you discovered that the trade paperback  has been available since the weekend, kicking our sales off to an early start.

Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels features 29 tales of crime from 29 talented voices. Some who we’ve published and some who we had incriminating evidence on. Every story well worth the price of admission. We’ve got a little bit of everything with stories about abusive spouses, down on their luck gamblers, ill-fated drug deals and even some cyborg lesbian vampires thrown in for good measure.

 

And who brought you this range of stories?

  • Andrew Nette – King Tut’s Tomb
  • Cameron Ashley – The Blonde Chimera
  • Chris Holm – Not Forgotten
  • Dan O’Shea – Father’s Day
  • Frank Bill – The Jade Bounty
  • Frank Wheeler Jr. – Tapdancing for Idiots
  • Garnett Elliott – Chicken Soup for the Hole
  • Glenn Gray – Intubation
  • Hector Acosta – Jueves
  • Holly West – Regrets Only
  • Jen Conley – Escape
  • Jim Wilsky – Traffick
  • Joe Myers – Cold Read
  • Julia Madeleine – Rage
  • Keith Rawson – 2 Kilograms of Soul
  • Kieran Shea – The Judgement of Roland J. Monroe
  • Matthew C. Funk – Lovely Men
  • Michael Oliveri – The Wrench in Her Works
  • Naomi Johnson – Hero
  • Nigel Bird – Rhythm of Life
  • Nik Korpon – The Owls
  • Patti Abbott – How to Launder a Shirt
  • Paul D. Brazill – Gareth and Fiona Go Abroad
  • Peter Farris – Cut. Copy. Paste. Delete
  • Ray Banks – The Warmest Room
  • Steve Weddle – The Awakening: From the Cyborg Lesbian Vampire Chronicles
  • Thomas Pluck – Train: A Denny the Dent Story
  • Tom Pitts – Luck
  • Trey R. Barker – A Good Boy

The book also features the new Honey logo, which will making its way into the design of our site, and will be part of the branding of future projects published under Shotgun Honey Books. It’s time to retire Ms. Christina Lindberg and the use of the iconic Thriller: A Cruel Picture material.

Are you ready to buy the book?

Buy the Trade Paperback – $14.95 Buy for Kindle – $4.95 Buy for Nook – $4.95 (coming soon) Buy for Kobo – $4.95 (coming soon)

We are excited to produce this first book, and hope there will be future volumes. That will depend on your support, so if you enjoy what we’re doing with the site and would like to support us and support our authors, jump out there and blog, tweet, tumble, facebook about the book. Whatever you want to do, we appreciate it.

Thank you to all of our regular readers, our editors and the contributors. Together we made Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels possible, so go buy a book already.’

Stories For Sunday : Black, Krohn, Laity, Rosmus.

There are lots of juicy slices of short fiction out and about the interweb at the moment.

Get stuck into this little lot:

Christopher Black makes his debut at Thrillers, Killers n Chillers with a visceral and lyrical tale of one man’s descent into HELL.

Bydgoszcz born globetrotter Magdalena Krohn is over at Litro with DREAM GUN. A man returns to Thailand to come to terms with the past in a vivid and hard hitting story.

The past hurtles towards the regulars at O’Malley’s bar as fast as a speeding bullet in K A Laity’s ASBO BAMBI which is over at Pulp Metal Magazine.

Pulp Metal Fiction have recently published Death Takes A Snow Day, a collection of short stories by Cindy Rosmus. If you want a sample of Cindy’s writing before buying her collection, then pop over to Shotgun Honey where she gives us a corking bit of flash fiction called BANG,BANG.

There you go! That should help your hangovers!

(The pic is of Warsaw Old Town, by the way)