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Latest Stories

June 17, 2018
Poetry Marty Kay

Hand of God

Then there you were. Calling through the din of war, you beckoned, and I obeyed. I make amends. The muzzle of my gun muted, I mask my military might and squat to greet your greatness. Give me your hand. For I am more than war. A mother; my name is Mary. Call…
June 17, 2018
Crime Stories Scott Sinclair

Saturday Night at Fort Apache

Saturday February 8, 1973 I never thought I’d be a cop on the take. Hell, I never planned on being a cop period. My goal was to follow in the footsteps of my older brother Scotty and join the fire department. Succumbing to family pressure to not follow Scotty…
June 17, 2018
Romance Stories Alicia Aitken

The Lemon Sherbet Cafe

Emily Chambers stood on the wooden decking that surrounded her cafe watching the tide slowly come in. Just over a year ago, she would have chuckled bitterly at anyone who dared to tell her that this is where she’d be. At that time, she was at her weekly…
June 17, 2018
Crime Stories David De Santo

As Good As It Gets

The detective proceeded cautiously. It wasn't comfortable driving on a dark country road at night. The long narrow stretch of highway faded in the distance. The barren land looked like one of those places that had been declared dead but refused to die. There…
June 17, 2018
Horror Stories Patric Quinn

When It's Time To Go

(Harold and Vlad are a pair of aging monsters. Harold is a werewolf who no longer fully transforms during a full moon. Vlad is a vampire with dental problems.) The night was beautiful in the cemetery, especially one as old as this one. The full moon on the…
June 10, 2018
Poetry BR Giga

The Fix

Cool steel penetrates consciousness, piercing the ravenous flesh. slowly the Momentary agony is Dispelled by the plunging rush of toxic euphoria. the elated quest for Weightless tranquility begins to Transcend the mortality of mindless despair. mercifully,…
June 10, 2018
Horror Stories Grace Treutel

Braised Heart

When I saw him for the first time, I knew I had to have him for dinner. It was in the ripe red of his mouth, the plush of his lower lip. The hollows of his cheeks were little inlets for his amusement, surprise dusting his high cheekbones from the shadows of…
June 10, 2018
Science Fiction Stories R.Scott Venegas

The Bottom Line

 Motivated by the odium of self-aggrandizing butt-hurt under the guise compassion for the surplus population, perceived slight of the day, those who were productive, hatred for anyone not in agreement with her views and hunger, Duhlia Abzoog wormed through…
June 10, 2018
Horror Stories Elin Ridge

Vengeance

The rust-coloured blood flakes off my hands and falls to the ground like snow. Grime is caked underneath my fingernails and twigs nest in my hair. My shirt is torn, boots covered in mud. My throat is closing with my heart beating out of my chest. Sweat drips…
June 10, 2018
Mystery Stories Jerry Hogan

The Flopping Arm Burial

When I was fifteen, Mom told me that we were going to the funeral of her Great Aunt Mildred. I never heard of Great Aunt Mildred. “Who? Are you kidding me?” I said. “Jay, don’t give me a hard time,” Mom scolded. “We are going to pay homage to my grandmother’s…
June 09, 2018
Romance Stories Brian Glass

She Needs To Go

She had to get away. The timing wasn't ideal, but when was it ever? Her boyfriend of six years proposed last month and she had said yes. They met at one of the Marist College dining halls. He was a junior, she a sophomore. There might have been a slight…
June 09, 2018
General Stories E.Louise Jolly

The Doctor and the Pear Tree Switch

"Robert! I will not speak to you again. I want you to quit teasing your little sister.” "But Mama, she kicks my marbles every time she goes by!” "If you two can't play together without quarreling I will have to punish you both. Remember, my overshoe is out…

 

 

"Two hours," Kyle said.

I nodded.

"Two hours and that kid hasn't shut up for one minute.

Ray, let's just blow him away as soon as he comes out of the bathroom, we'll tell Jesse and Jay it was an accident."

"We can't do that.  Now just relax.  It won't be long."

 

I had to admit, it was tempting.  Jesse and Jay asked us to take their nephew along for this latest hit, get him 'used to the ropes'.

Considering that Jesse and Jay ran basically everything on the East Coast from drugs to prostitution and considering those who did not

do what they asked usually found themselves very dead, we agreed.  The brothers had been

in America for almost ten years now, and little by little they'd been bringing other family

members over from the old country.  Their nephew Lonnie was the latest...and the worst.

 

Kyle was right, he hadn't stopped talking from the minute he got in the car.  His chattering

was incessant, and his voice was one of a high pitch, it reminded me of those whistles that

only small dogs could hear.  Fortunately, he had to pee so we stopped outside the local

McDonald's and got some respite while he relieved his bladder.  Ordinarily, I'd be

reluctant to park at a local fast food place with someone stuffed in our trunk, but the place

was pretty empty and the guy was pretty unconscious, so I thought we were safe.  Kyle

continued.

 

"It wouldn't be so bad if he actually said something, but he just babbles on and on and on

and on.  I mean, how's he going to be a hit man?  What's he going to do, talk people into

committing suicide?  I tell ya, right now I'd consider it if it would get him to shut up."

 

Kyle and I had been partners in Jesse and Jay's operation since it started.  It wasn't that

we were friends, or even that close, but we played to each other's strengths and I guess the

guys at the top liked the results.  Kyle was explosive, impulsive and could scare the shit out

of people when he wanted.  I was more cautious, calculating, always going with the odds.

Kyle was about 6'2", 240 lbs, played some linebacker in school.  I was a straight A student,

with a degree in science and history.  How I came to be a hit man is a long story, and one I

don't need to get into here.

 

Lonnie came out of the McDonald's grinning like a hyena and holding up three milk

shakes.

 

"Just one shot to the head," Kyle said under his breath. "I could do it easy from this

angle."

 

"Knock it off," I answered and Lonnie got into the car.

 

"Hey, I figured some sugar would do us good," he said, "Keep the energy up, you know?

You gotta have a lot of energy for this kind of job, right?  I mean, the adrenaline helps and

all but still, you need some kinda extra boost, some extra kick, to help get things going."

He put the shakes into our cup holders as I started the car and drove off.  The place we

were heading was only twenty minutes away and I couldn't wait.

 

"So what this guy do, anyway?" Lonnie continued, in between sucking on his milkshake.

"Was he like an informer on Uncle Jesse and Jay, or did he embezzle money, or refuse to

pay some protection, or sleep with someone's wife, or what he do?  What?"

 

Kyle sighed heavily.  "Kid, I told you, we don't know what he did and we don't care.  It's

not our job to ask questions.  We just do what Jesse and Jay tell us."

 

"Yeah, but he must have done something really nasty to get bumped off, right?  I mean,

you don't just kill someone for no reason. I bet he did something pretty bad."

 

"Maybe he talked too much," Kyle said.  If the kid got the hint, he didn't show it.

 

"So how long have you guys been partners?" Lonnie went on.  "I hear it's been like forever.

I wonder if I'll have a partner.

I wonder if it will be a chick, like in the TV shows. A blonde, maybe, with a British accent, or someone Spanish.

Big boobs.  I like big boobs.

Don't get me wrong, small boobs are ok, too.  I'm not prejudiced.  They say you guys have

been partners forever, you're legends, like Batman and Robin, only, you know, you kill

people."

 

"Ten years," I said, to interrupt the flow of gibberish.  "We've been partners for ten

years."

 

Lonnie leaned forward so his head was almost in the front seat. "So, what's it like? You

know, to kill someone.  What's it like inside?  I've never done it.  Uncle Jesse and Uncle Jay

don't think I can, but I think I'm ready.  I think I'd be pretty good at it, actually.  I got

nerves of steel.  They don't know that, but I do.  But you guys have done it, I mean, really

done it.  What's it like?  Do you stay up at night, do you sleep, do you see the victim's faces

in your dreams, do you ever hallucinate?"

 

"Kid, it's just a job," Kyle said. "Like accounting or dry cleaning.  Just a job.  Besides, we

never kill anyone who doesn't deserve it."

 

This last part wasn't true, but it made Kyle feel good to say it, so I let it pass.

 

"I should probably have a gun," Lonnie said thoughtfully, switching topics as he tended to

do.  "I don't have a gun and I think if I'm really going to be a hit man at some point I

should probably get one, don't you think?  Or at least a sharp knife."

 

Kyle rolled his eyes at me as if to say 'how much longer do we have to put up with this

idiot?' when the woods came into view.

 

"There," I said, bringing the car to a stop.  "That's where we leave the body."

 

Jesse and Jay had picked the place, and I had to say it was perfect.  About as far away

from civilization as you could get and still be in New Jersey.  There wasn't a car, a house,

or a soul in sight.

 

"Damn," said Kyle.  "I didn't know a place like this existed in Jersey.  Let's do this and get

it over with.  I've got a date with the wife tonight."

 

"I didn't know you were married," Lonnie remarked.

 

"I didn't say she was my wife," Kyle grinned, and winked.

 

The trees were thick and dark, long branches hung down everywhere and since the sun was

starting to set you couldn't see for more than thirty yards in any direction.

 

"So this is where we're going to do it," Lonnie said excitedly, but his voice low.  "This is

where it happens."

 

"Apparently so," Kyle said and we all got out of the car.  I went to the back and opened the

trunk.  The guy had woken up somewhere along the line and was staring up at me.

 

"Damn," Lonnie said, to no one in particular.  "He looks scared."

 

"Well, it won't be long," Kyle answered and reached into the trunk.  He lifted the guy over

his shoulder and held him there like a sack of potatoes.  Kyle was monstrously strong and

the guy couldn't have weighed more than 170 pounds.  He looked almost comical flung over Kyle's shoulder.  "Where do we do it?"

 

"Straight that way," I said, pointing to a small clearing in the woods.  "We're supposed to

leave his body out in the open so eventually someone sees it.  Those are Jesse and Jay's

orders."

 

Kyle grunted and turned to walk towards the clearing.  Lonnie followed, his head down,

possibly thinking of whether his new partner would be Swedish.  The small man looked up

at me.  His eyes grew wide with fear when I lifted my gun.

 

Once, twice....three times I shot Kyle in the back of the head.  The blood was everywhere.

He died instantly, I know that.  I insisted on that part.

 

 

Lonnie began screaming in terror, clawing at his eyes as if to take away the sight of what he

had just seen and falling backwards over himself.  I went to the small man and undid his

ropes, cutting them neatly.

 

"Thanks,” Joey said.  “I was beginning to get claustrophobic.”

 

“I’ll see you at the bar tonight.”

 

Joey smiled, winked at Lonnie and took off.

 

I went over to Lonnie, who was still shaking uncontrollably and offered him my hand.

He took it...probably afraid not to....and I lifted him up.  Together we walked back to the car.  He sat in the back.

 

"You see, kid," I said, as I started the car and began driving away, "Kyle was a good guy,

but not too bright.  Your Uncle Jesse got married a few years back to a girl thirty years

younger than he was.  A real beauty from the old country.  I'm not saying it's right, I'm not

saying it's wrong, but Kyle and she...well, let's just say they became acquainted.  And now

they're not.  By the way, that's our next stop.  Jesse's wife.  We're not going to do anything,

we're just going to deliver the news."

 

The trip from the woods to Jesse's house took about two hours, with traffic.  About halfway

there I got bored and turned on the radio.  For the entire trip, Lonnie never said one word.

 

Which I guess was the point.

 

 

Bio: Tony Sportiello is an award winning playwright and author, whose work has been seen in New York, Los Angeles, London, China, Russia and Finland.

He is the producer of four Off Broadway plays.  His scripts "Contract Time" and "National Pastime" are in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

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