My short story collection Bad Men is reviewed by Kevin Tipple over at his blog today. I had a lot of fun writing those stories, and there’s a wink or a smirk behind most of them. Only “The Leap” and (especially) “Payday” are entirely sincere. The whole premise of “Grace, Period” is that a mobster in witness protection uses his former methods in his new career – bookselling. (It also includes a James Patterson joke.)
If anyone is interested in buying this e-book (only 99 cents! 14 cents per story!) here’s the link:
Here’s the latest news about the Yale art student who claims that she artificially inseminated herself nine times over nine months, then induced an abortion each time and used the blood in an art project.
True or not, this is one of the problems I have with today’s art. Throughout history, many, many works of art have provoked reactions, sometimes passionate ones. It’s a more recent innovation to skip the art and go right to the reaction.
I walked off the construction site when I got the call. I couldn’t go back there now, but that’s okay. I’ve been fired before.
Four years without a word, then this. It was nice to know that she still thought of me when she had a mess that needed cleaning.
As I climbed the four flights of stairs I promised myself this was the last time I would help her. Then I told myself it was the last time I’d make that promise.
I didn’t knock, just opened the door. She sat on the couch opposite, staring at nothing. As I stepped into the room I noticed the smell, the scent of fire and smoke hanging in the air, like the Fourth of July when I was a kid. But this wasn’t firecrackers.
Then I saw the man’s body to the left, by the TV.
I hadn’t been a cop in years but I knew what happened inside of ten seconds. Three shell casings just inside a doorway on the right. Three red holes in the man’s chest. One casing next to the body. One bullet wound in the head.
The gun, an automatic, probably a .32 or .380, lay on the coffee table. Alice didn’t look at it. There were no tears. She was beyond that now.
It was easy to see the girl I’d loved, but she wasn’t that girl any longer. The makeup was thick upon her face but couldn’t hide the lines at the corners of her mouth and eyes. Her hair was no longer blonde, but yellow, a color Mother Nature had never intended. The roses on her cheap print dress had faded.
She stood up slowly and walked past me without a word, close enough to smell her perfume. I saw the plan. She goes, I stay.
No. She’d always asked a lot, more than she’d earned, but not this. She wasn’t worth my life. Maybe she never had been.
I picked up the gun from the table and took careful aim. “Alice,” I said.
She didn’t turn around, just stopped in the doorway. I took a breath, held it, the sight picture steady on the back of her head. A moment passed and I exhaled.
Alice turned and started down the stairs. I listened to her footsteps as they grew fainter, finally punctuated by the slam of the front door.
I laid the gun on the table and sat down to wait for the police.