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Latest Stories

August 09, 2020
General Stories Schubert

The Last Shift

Danny switched on the kitchen light and peered at the clock on the wall above the cooker. It was 5.10am, the middle of Winter and two hours before the central heating came on. Butch opened one bloodshot eye, gave Danny a token wag, sighed and settled down…
August 09, 2020
Flash Fiction Andrei Sisman

Drop, Drop,Drop

Balance, in all things, the monk thought, his face calm and serene, as pea-sized drops of rain pounded the surface of his scalp like a drum. The world around him buzzed with static, yet his mind was like a lake on a summer day. He assumed the lotus position,…
August 09, 2020
Crime Stories Leroy B. Vaughn

Where'd Shirley Go?

He thought he was going to throw up as he staggered to his feet and headed towards the bathroom. Rasmussen splashed water on his face and drank water by cupping his hands and drinking from the faucet. He went back to his bedroom and looked around for Shirley,…
August 09, 2020
General Stories Stephen Faulkner

How It Was

I have often been asked how it was, how it came to be that I did what I did in the way that I did it. Often I will tell whoever has asked such a question that I have been driving for over thirty years and I have always been a very good and conscientious…
July 26, 2020
General Stories Lucy Maybelle

A Reputable Reptile Establishment

“When it feels like your world is ending, maybe it’s just beginning.” This I read in some tone-deaf article about the current state of the world; the equivalent of “keep your chin up!” for the modern depressive. And I wish I could believe it. Truly, I do. I…
July 26, 2020
Mystery Stories John Brady

Winter's Walk

White ribbons in a white landscape. The county doesn’t sand the roads except where they meet and that doesn’t happen much, so the snow gets packed down hard and stays. It won’t melt till spring. Climate change fucks up the weather lots of places but not up…
July 26, 2020
Fantasy Stories Michael Thirlaway

Waveless Ocean

The sailless ship glided smoothly across the waveless ocean. Captain Blake Osric looked over at the crew, each performing their mundane tasks, confused at how the ship was moving without wind. The vast smooth sea stretched in all directions, endless. It…
July 25, 2020
Flash Fiction C Alexis

For Hire

I was sitting, sipping my coffee, swiping my iPhone, when my eyes focused on the cork bulletin board immediately to my right. At the top, in black upper case letters were the words, “For Hire.” One particular card drew me to its interesting font, which looked…
July 25, 2020
Fantasy Stories Charles West

A New Prometheus

“Sit here, Mary, there is someone I want you to meet,” Jane said. “Who?” “You will see. It is someone famous. You will be very impressed.” Mary deferred to her step sister and sat down. There was another vacant chair with a small round table between them.…
July 25, 2020
Romance Stories Patric Quinn

Life on West 4th Street

"Hey, good evening, Frank. How’s the Farrell column going." "Going pretty good today, Pipes. Just finished. I know it’s late, but I just felt like coming out for awhile. Say hello if you were working." "Coming down here, 4th Street?" Pipes’ smile showed he…
July 25, 2020
Flash Fiction Walt Giersbach

The Lawyer Saw Green Until He met Red

Our Tullahoma Tigers weren’t all that hot as a football team. Or even lukewarm, but it was the last thing holding our dying town together now that the mill is closing. However, the real reason all the townspeople close up their shops and houses and come out…
July 19, 2020
Fantasy Stories Katya Kastro

The Year The Virus Came [Editor's Choice]

Lily was annoyed and upset. Her mom switched her virtual reality helmet into school mode and while Lily’s friends were chilling on some Australian or Brazilian beach, she was locked in her room. Lily’s mom won’t unblock the helmet until the homework is done.…

 

 

A short Forties throwback... - Editor

Double Dip

by Lee Hammerschmidt

Courier was staring down a double Dewar’s in the Marriott bar when the burly man in the too-tight, off-the-rack suit took the stool next to him, flipping a large, plain postal envelope in front of him.

“That’s the latest batch,” the burly man said in a gruff, whisky and cigarettes voice.  He caught the bartender’s eye.  “Beam, straight up, beer back.”

They were quite until his drink was served.  Courier picked up the envelope and pulled out its contents, a dozen or so photos of him and an attractive, shapely brunette in various creative forms of sexual gymnastics.

“Lucida,” Courier said shaking his head.  “My God, that was three years ago!  How long have these bastards been tailing me?”

He took a gulp of his scotch and looked over at the burly man.

“Okay, Piper, tell me what happened.”

“Same as the other times, only they changed the route again.  I took the cash and the disposable phone and directions they sent.  They had me walk down to 12th this time, where I headed north.  I went about eight blocks when the phone rang. Then I dropped the envelope with the cash and phone and walked another six blocks until I saw this mailer on a bench.”

“Dammit!” Courier barked.  “They’re cleaning me out!  I’m almost out of my personal cash and assets.  If I have to dip into our joint funds, Geneva will know and raise Holy Hell!”

“And if she sees these photos… and the others?” Piper growled. He fired down his shot and took a hefty pull off his draft.

“Then I’m really screwed.  She’ll get both houses and half the cash and stocks in the settlement.  Shit!  They said last time was the last time.  And now this.”

“There’s never a last time,” Piper said, a small knowing grin crossing his face.  “You’re on the hook pal… for good.”

Piper signaled the bartender for another round.

“But maybe,” he said, “this could be the last time.”

“What do you mean?”

“Lot of homeless guys on 12th.”

“Yeah, so?”

“They’re invisible.  No one wants to acknowledge them, so they don’t look at them.  That’s where the pickup man was, dressed as a bum.”

“And…”

“And, that’s also where one of my, uh, associates was.”

“You had someone there?  He saw who it was?”

“Better.  We got us a few photos of our own now.  That’s why I said this could be the last time.  For a fee, above my usual rate, of course, your problem could disappear… permanently.”  He gave Courier a cold hard stare.

“Whoa, hold on a minute.  I don’t know… you’re talking about….”

Courier shut up as the bartender brought their drinks.

“I don’t know, Piper,” Courier continued after the bartender left.

“Well, let’s wait on that for a minute,” Piper said.  “First let’s see if you recognize this person.”

Piper pulled a stack of digital prints from his jacket pocket and fanned them out in front of Courier.

“They’re a little grainy,” Piper said, “we had to blow them up quite a bit.”

Courier studied the photos. “Is that a… woman?” 

“Look closer, the photo on the far right.”

Courier went white. He stared speechless at the photo for about 30 seconds.

“It’s Geneva!” he yelped.  “It’s… it’s my wife!  My own wife is blackmailing me?”

“Yep,” Piper said, raising his shot glass.  “The old double-dip.  She cleans you out of all your hidden assets.  Then she suddenly comes into possession of some of these photos, and she cleans you out again in the divorce.”

Courier picked up his scotch and drained it.  He paused for a moment and looked at Piper, the cold stare coming from hiseyes this time.

“So tell me,” he said calmly “what was that you were saying about making this disappear permanently.”

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