Rip Crowley in Fox Osage

The older one released the cylinder and spun it once. Then he tipped it back, emptying the six chambers of the cylinder. Then he let one shimmering, gold bullet in between his black-dirty thumb and forefinger, and loaded one chamber.

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Amelia Dare, Baby Girl Detective: The Case of the Heavy Patsy

In this line of work, you have to know when to use the carrot, and when to use the stick. Thud was nearly twice my size though probably a month younger. All he’d have to do is fall over on me, even a little bit, and I’m pretty sure I’d break. I motioned O’Shaughnessy to watch lookout – see any of the Biggies coming back into the room, distract. He knew what to do.

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The Unopened Box

The older bald man sits in a light-rose wingback chair. What look like two security guards stand behind him, motionless. They haven’t taken off their sunglasses yet. It doesn’t look like they’re going to.

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The Prince and the Unicorn

In the clearing ahead, the brush rustled and the pebbles at the edge of the stream registered the sound of hooves. As the blood in his veins turned as black as the evening shadows, he steeled himself for the shot. And for his final choice.

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The Last King of Siam

Sitting in the seat of the big Cadillac, he clicked the freshly loaded clip back into the Beretta and checked the safety, slid it comfortably back into the holster, like a hand going into a waiting pocket. He was glad the running was over, glad that he would be able to ask for the bonus without any guilt this time.

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The Deal

This is a story I began writing a long time ago. I had the idea for it in the very early 1990s. I didn’t finish it until 2007 or 2008. I re-write it and finished that around 2010. 

This is some of my earliest stuff. Like anyone’s earliest stuff, I recognize it has flaws. It’s far from perfect.  

Still. I hope you find it entertaining — lots of bang bang shoot-em-up. It’s longer than a short story, too, I warn you: little more than 102,000 words, so take your time. 

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Red Base 7

The Praetorians will take me, I’m sure of it. One last walk down the low-lit red corridor to the mess hall to be with my girls.

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They hit the switch, there was an electric crackle, and all I could see was hazy white out the window. I felt myself drifting, and then I saw nothing but blue. No other colors, not even close.

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The Hermit

I’d gone to the place of the hermit not too many years before expecting the usual. Dusty brushes with horse hair at the end of a stick, ash from an old cigar and some crushed shell thrown around the room, the Ace, the Queen, the Five of Hearts and Two of Spades on the table next to a glass ball and a chicken foot.

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Sacrifice to the Gypsy Monkey

He had found it almost by accident, the strange stone monkey, an artifact worth a lot to an old guy in Chicago. Three days later he was on a cot in a hut in Fortaleza in the depths of something a lot like malaria. It was the monkey – the Gypsy Monkey, they called it – and it spoke to him in his twisted dreams. Make your choice, make your sacrifice.

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A Conversation with an Angel

Two days later I was sitting on my small balcony wondering what to expect, when the breeze shifted and the evening rain clouds rolled in. I ordered a pizza and ran down to the market for a six-pack. The rain had just started plinking on the roof when I heard the knock. I knew who it was.

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The Pure Sons of Liberty

The Alliance, the last of the war frigates, bound tight to the dock by the tie-lines, held fast and creaked against the sharp chop off the harbor. A brackish mix of brown-white froth assailed her starboard. The thick ropes pulled against the pegs of the dock, and as she moved against the unrelenting tide, against the backdrop of gray Atlantic clouds buried in the horizon, the whole world seemed to rise and fall in a neverending whorl of forlorn desolation.

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His eyes glanced at the polished desk to the right of the fireplace, papers stacked meticulously. A green lamp, a set of gold pens. Something that looked like some official stamp. Some envelopes.

A gun.

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The 60 of Operation Loki

In 1977, as you may or may not know, NASA launched the twin deep-space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.  To this day, both of them carry a gold-plated phonograph depicting the sounds of life on Earth.  Carl Sagan himself helped pick out the more than one-hundred images and the music that each vessel carries.

The idea is to put a happy face of life on Earth, should either of the Voyagers encounter alien life.

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The Bay

The blade goes in, fast and easy. Butter and a hot knife. One hand has a good grip, pushing the knife in-between the ribs, past muscle into the heart and the left lung. One hand on his mouth. Can feel his hot breath on my palm.

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Manna of St. Nicholas of Bari

I have a special way of working.  No guns.  Don’t like the goddam things, and I like the kin d of people who use ‘em even less.  Noisy, messy.  Easy to trace, too.
I have a better way.  Cleaner.  Easier.

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The Extraordinary Rendition

How do you lose a body on a plane this small?

He’d heard her the first time.  And if he hadn’t, he could have read it on her face.  One of her best features: she couldn’t keep a secret.

“What?” he said again, anyway, the husky voice nearly lost to the heavy thrum of the Curtiss-Wrights roaring outside the fuselage.

“Gone!  It’s… he’s just… gone!” She threw her hands up into the air and tossed her lush, auburn hair from side to side, looking up and down the passenger cabin again.

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Twilight & Brimstone

This story was one of ten selected by the readers and editors of Creative Loafing for their 2010 Fiction Contest.

Like most everyone else in Florida, Twilight Janus Dawson had come to the Sunshine State for the conveniences but stayed for the complications.  These days, T.J., as he would have been known to his friends if he’d had any, just told folks he liked the warm weather.  In fact, he found the warmer temperatures preferable to the cold New York City winter nights he worked as a beat cop.

Today, though, was hot as hell. In a room with a bare light bulb humming.  Handcuffed around a chair bolted to the floor.  The windows covered with heavy dark cloth and duct tape, no air circulating.  Him and six guys in a room that comfortably held four.

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It was the first night, Monday, when Ren knew something was wrong in the room of the old hotel. He didn’t see anything, but he could feel it. There are things that feel right and things that feel wrong. At that moment in the room, in the middle of the night, at two forty-six a.m., which he knew because the red light of the alarm was right next to his head, everything in the room felt wrong.

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Things don’t always work the way we think they gonna work.  Things change, some for better.  Not always.

Now he live out what we used to call Osgood Point.  Call it Clam Bayou now.

Like I say, things change.

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