Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Reave

Here is Halloween, in all of its terror, and by "terror," I mean adults in costumes that fall under the category, "things you cannot unsee." To take your mind off of that, we at Cormac Informercials™, have the second story in Katherine Tomlinson's NoHo Noir Series, "Wrong Turn." Check the Mark Satchwill illo-

Plus, you get horror from across The Pond. Lewis J. Peters has a short one up on his blog called, "The Horror of Halloween."

Oh, and call me lazy, but I will repost "Succuba," yet again. But if you call within the next five minutes, I'll even add "Introductions Are In Order," at no extra cost. Just pay shipping and handling. So call now, operators are standing by.

Monday, October 25, 2010

NoHo Noir @ Patch.Com

NoHo? Where in the world is "NoHo?"

Who is this woman? And who is she talking to? Who does these dynamite illustrations? All will be revealed in Katherine Tomlinson's tale "House Blend," which can be found at

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This is for the inaugural session of Icarus' Flight To Perfection, which is the new blog that I am co-moderating with the mighty Nicole Hirschi. This story is also a semi-sequel to "Strawberry Quick; same narrator, similar situation, different day."

7:43 on a Monday morning and I’m stuck with this Chatty Cathy of a mug in a minivan, in a suburban parking lot. We are packing a shotgun, a crappy Glock-knock off, and a ski mask apiece. He may have gotten me this gig, but if he doesn’t shut up soon, I’m going to empty all four of our guns into him and call it a day.

“Uh, I like to get mentally ready with some silence,” I offer, leaving him the chance to shut it. “I need to focus, ya know?”

“Well, it’s just that…” he trails off. His sad face turns even more forlorn and oh, Lord, please tell me he doesn’t want to cry on my shoulders.

“What’s…what’s wrong?” Did I just say that?

“I’ve got a terminal disease.”

Shit, what the hell do I do? I wouldn’t hug a friend of less than five years over something like this. I certainly don’t want to embrace a near-stranger. What does he have? Cancer? ALS? Maybe the big disease with the little name? He gets his wallet out, opens it, almost shows me a picture, and then quickly pockets it.

“What?” I ask, and I’m beginning to suspect that this disease is really some kind of dementia.

“That’s not right, ‘disease’ isn’t the word. It’s more like a ‘condition.’ Do you watch Bugs Bunny cartoons?”

“Sure,” I reply. Should I plug him right here? I mean, my fingerprints are all over this stupid minivan. I can’t simply walk away and risk him getting caught in this vehicle, knowing that they will check for prints after. If I plug him now, it’s an unnecessary murder rap and I’ll have to torch this, but maybe it would be better than walking into a situation with this unstable nut ready to go off the rails.

“Well, it’s like the one with Elmer Fudd and Humphrey Bogart,” he says with the assurance that he just told me everything. The only thing he has really told me, is that I should be contemplating just which kind of accelerant is the most effective in destroying evidence.

“How does a cartoon relate to your ‘condition?’” Gawd, listen to me. If we get caught and sent up for a long stretch, maybe I should become a jailhouse shrink.

“It’s the one where Bogie tells Elmer that he better serve up a fried rabbit, ‘or else.’!”

I mull it over for a few, and then it comes to me. “Yeah, yeah,” I reply, “Bogart says, ‘Why did you hit me in the face with a coconut custard pie with whipped cream?’”

“And then, when Bogie says, ‘Baby will just have to have a ham sandwich instead.’ What does Bug do?”

It’s been years, but it comes to me as if it is after school again, and I’m sitting in front of the TV, eating graham crackers. “He comes out of hiding, jumps on the plate right in front of Lauren Bacall, and he says, ‘Remember, garçon the customer is always right! If it's rabbit Baby wants, rabbit Baby gets!’”

He holds his arms open with a grin, and me? I’m left to fill in the blanks again. I chew it over, and my mind still draws a blank.

“You see, that’s my problem; what Baby wants, Baby gets. If I showed you her picture, you’d get my predicament right away. Fuck Lola and “Damn Yankees,” that cartoon “Slick Hare” came out almost eight years before the Broadway show. For the purposes of this conversation, let’s call her “Bebe.” When we watch a TV show and they mention some kind of exotic shoe brand or $1,000 handbag, she’ll ask me for it and that’s what I’ll get her. I dropped $2,800 on three pairs of shoes for her the other day.”

“So you’re saying that some piece of ass has you pulling heists, so that she can keep up with the Joneses?”

At this point, I have to ask myself, who’s the bigger chump? Is it me for letting a friend of mine talk me into becoming a substitute stick-up man for him? Or is it the moron sitting next to me? When will it end for him? Will he wind up having to steal everything in the world that isn’t nailed down, just to keep this woman happy?

“She’s not some piece of ass, she’s “Bebe.” She is the piece of ass. Helen of Troy might have been the face that launched a thousand ships, but if that whole thing was about Bebe? All of those stupid Trojans wouldn’t have waited on the ships to be built and they would’ve swum in their armor and full gear.”

“She’s all that to you, huh?”

He doesn’t answer, and he goes blank as a TV with the cable disconnected. This mutt is gone; he’s got it worse than any junkie or gambler I’ve ever worked with. And by “mutt,” I mean that this guy is dog-ugly, so I’m guessing she isn’t all that hot. Money can only change so much, and I doubt that there is enough of it to make him appealing enough to the woman he described.

He apparently loves her, though I wouldn’t call what they have “love.” Either way, he’s got it bad and he’s probably right about this being a terminal thing. Hopefully, we’ll get the money, get out of here without getting caught and I’ll never have to deal with his whipped-ass again.

“Hey, are you ready for this, Romeo? Or do you want to back off and try this another day?”

“I’m good, and when it comes to jobs, I always have my head on straight. I’ve been trying to keep her happy for two years straight, and it’s worked beautifully…so far.”

“Okay,” I mumble with a nod. I look the minivan over and mention, “We need to roll down the windows, because fogged-up windows will draw the wrong attention.”

“No, take a quick peek at the other cars that have been sitting here and you’ll see it’s okay. He won’t be able to see in. Our windows have the same condensation on the outside as the other cars that have been left here overnight.”

I rub the window a little bit and see that this is the first thing that he’s gotten right. The other cars, including a few that have been left here with for sale signs, have the same watery buildup. I also see a BMW 5-series pulling into the parking lot, and it’s definitely the bank manager’s car. I duck back down and I nod to him.

He pulls the mask over his face and he whispers, “C'mon, Baby needs a new pair of shoes.”

The End

Friday, October 15, 2010

Best Of: "Let Them Eat Cake"

This was from Patti Abbot/Aldo Calcagno/Gerald So's Fifth Flash Fiction Challenge-

"I’m not a bridezilla!”

You’re absolutely not a bridezilla!

“What have I ever asked you for, Dad?”

You never asked him for a thing, Tammy. If anything, he’s always borrowing money from you.

“Honey, I’m sorry. I know you’ve never asked for much, but I gotta keep a strike fund ready…look, your uncle could get us the basement at the Elk’s Club for cheap.”


Damn, Tammy, you slammed that door so hard, I think you tore it off its hinges!

“What am I going to do? If I don’t come up with the rest of the deposit by Wednesday, we’ll lose the wedding hall!”

Not to panic, not to panic. Let’s go shopping.


Inspiration, Tammy, inspiration.

“To the mall?”

No, let’s go to Downtown Los Colinas.


“Okay, we’re here; now what?”

That’s it.

“What’s it?”

That’s it.

“I already have my engagement and wedding ring sets.”

I know. Look next door, what do you see?

“A CPA’s office.”


“And what?”

Do I have to spell it out for you? Think like your cousin Charlie.

“Why…would…I…ever, do a thing like that?”

Because you’re going to need Charlie’s help, as well as your fiancé Larry’s tools.

“I don’t follow.”

Think like Charlie. What do you see, Tammy? One of these things is not like the other.

“Don’t mock me…oh…Oh! There’s no visible alarm on the CPA’s office.”

Exactly. We’ll double-check around back, but I doubt that there’s an alarm. Identity thieves would rather get the information via trash, mail or online. Now comes the hard part. You are going to make nice with Charlie and invite him to your wedding.

“For God’s sake, why?”

Because you don’t know the first thing about tools, theft or anything that comes afterwards. And what are you going to do, research this on the Internet so that you leave a trail for the police to follow?

“But he’ll get drunk and ruin the wedding.”

There won’t be a wedding or a reception if you don’t make nice with Charlie. Do this right and everybody will come out happy, plus you’ll be able to afford a honeymoon.

“And how are we going to pull this off?”

What does Larry have that can cut through all of this, as if it were a slice of wedding cake?


“I’ll stay in the car, Charlie, and radio you if there are any cops.”

“Oh, no, I’m staying out here and you two will go in.”

“Charlie, let’s be realistic for a second. How much safe-cracking experience do you think I have?”


“And you know what kind of a thief I am. I shoplifted that one time when we were twelve and I got caught. Now, how much experience do you think I have with tools?”

“Fine, I get your point.”

“Why should we even cut her in, Charlie?”

“Hey, asshole, did you scout this place?”

“No bitch is going to talk to me—"

“Look, Myron! I’ll talk to you the way I like! I came up with the plan, I scouted this place and these are my fiancé’s tools! If anybody is a “bitch” around here, it’s you begging Charlie to cut you in on my job! Got it?”



“Oh, man, look at this! There must be over $250,000 in loot!”

“Don’t open that bag until we’re out of here!”

“Yeah, sorry. Hey, Myron, don’t you have something to say to my cousin?”

“I’m sorry I disrespected you.”

“It’s all copacetic now, Myron.”


That was a beautiful wedding, if I say so myself. The reception is going to be a breeze, especially without Charlie there.

“I’m worried. Where is he?”

“Who are you talking to, Tammy?”

Shut up, Larry!

“Shut up, Larry!”


“’Uh-oh,’ is right. The cops.”

Three squad cars? Charlie or Myron gave us up, probably Myron because he really did strike me as a bitch. Have the driver stop behind the catering truck before the cops see us.

“Driver? Please pull up behind that truck.”

“What’s going on, Tammy?”

Don’t forget the passports and the money!

“Just get the suitcases out of the trunk, Larry.”

Tell me the keys are in the ignition.

“They left the keys in there, yes.”

“Tammy, who are you talking to?”

Shut up, Larry!

“Shut up, Larry and put the suitcases in this truck!”


“Honey, where are we going and why is that police car chasing us?”

The cake, it’s the only way.


There’s no choice.

“Larry? Open the back door and dump the wedding cake in the road.”

“But, honey, are you going to slow down?”


Yes, look at them spin! Let them eat cake and canyon!

“Why do I even listen to you? When have you ever been right about anything?”

Beats me, what do I know? I’m just a voice in your head and if you took your medication like you’re supposed to, I wouldn’t have to listen to me either.

The End

Patti got the idea from a book of short stories that centered around a wedding cake in the middle of the road. A long time ago, I was going to do a story based on real-life drunken bride that went pugilstic on everyone in sight. Her "inner voice" that steered her wrong was retained, and I added that to a real life jewel heist that happened on The (San Francisco) Peninsula in 2008.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Introductions Are In Order" is up at Dark Valentine Magazine's October Frenzy

The magnificent Molly Brewer provides this wonderful illustration...

...and I provide the words. Check out my story "Introductions Are In Order" at Dark Valentine Magazine's October Flash Frenzy. It's dedicated to all the fathers who have daughters.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Coming soon: Katherine Tomlinson's "Just Another Day In Paradise"

Life in the big city is not for the faint of heart. Shadows lurk in sunlight; blood spills on floors; hope and dread are just two sides of a neon sign; and loneliness is a paper cut on the heart, an invisible wound that eventually kills. In these stories, Katherine Tomlinson explores the dark heart of urban living. It is what it is...Just Another Day in Paradise.

Coming soon, the anthology "Just Another Day In Paradise" by Katherine Tomlinson.

P.S. It's here, click this for the details.

Monday, October 4, 2010

You might be a writer

Over at Thomas Pryce's Unnatural Selection blog, he has a whole list of symptoms that show, "you might be a writer."

Some of my favorites are-

If you are sometimes hesitant to even refer to yourself as a writer… might be a writer.

If the word rewrite brings you a tinge of panic… might be a writer.

If you’d rather be writing even more than you’d rather be fishing right now… might be a writer.

If you’ve ever searched through the phone book to find the perfect name for a fictional character… might be a writer.

If you feel that Hallmark should make a sympathy card to send to friends suffering from writers block… might be a writer.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dark Valentine Magazine's October Flash Frenzy still has some spots available

Editor Katherine Tomlinson says, "I thought I'd mention that there are five (5) open slots left for the October Flash Frenzy. I prefer flash at this point (under 1200 words) because I need time to read and edit and assign So if anyone is feeling frenzied, they should submit to us at:"

Friday, October 1, 2010

The October Flash Fiction Frenzy has begun!

Thirty-one days.

Thirty-one stories.

Thirty-one illustrations.

This will be an October to remember. Starting today, October 1st, Dark Valentine Magazine will post a new story a day. The frenzy begins with a real chiller, “Animal Lover” by Kat Parrish. It's illustrated by Mark Satchwill, and the frenzy will end with a Lovecraftian tale by Barbara Emrys, also illustrated by Mark Satchwill. You won’t want to miss a single story.