Friday, January 28, 2011

A Twist Of Noir 655 - R.S. Bohn


“Burn the judge.” Mr. Moretti daubs the corner of his mouth with a napkin and stands. “Thank you.”

He smiles, nodding absently as Carey hands him his hat and scarf. A man with a lot on his mind. I sometimes wonder how he manages to sleep at night. Me, I’m up all hours, thinking about work. You might say I’m devoted.

Jack waits until the door closes before he reaches for Moretti’s wine glass and downs the remaining gulp. I turn my head, grimacing.

“You really shouldn’t do that.”

“Yeah?” he says, reaching for a piece of garlicky shrimp left on Moretti’s plate. “Think the old man’s got some disease or something?”

“I think you got a disease.” I hold up a hand for Carey. “It’s called disrespect.”

“What are you, my freakin’ father or something?” He rubs the back of his hand across his lips. They shine with oil.

I reach into my wallet, pull five folded bills and slip them against Carey’s soft palm. I thank him, and he discreetly pockets them and backs away.Jack glares. “You’re too generous with that guy. How much did you give him today?”

“Does it matter? It’s not your money.”

“He doesn’t deserve it. What does he do?”

I can’t help it. “More than you do sometimes.”

He shifts in his seat, wags a finger at me. “Watch it.”

Carey disappears into the back of the restaurant. It’s after three, no one else is here. Of course, there aren’t any signs advertising the place. No windows.

Just cheap linoleum on the floor, tables like your grandma used to have in her kitchen, Carey, and the best Italian food you ever ate in your life. There were times when I wished I lived here.

He pushes back in his chair. “Come on. Let’s go. Who’s this judge, anyway?”

“What’s your rush? Mr. Moretti didn’t eat all his linguine.”

He leans forward on one pudgy, Armani-clad forearm. “I told you. Enough.”

“Fine. Let me finish my bourbon.” I’ve been swirling it for minutes, watching the last piece of ice melt. Carey comes out of the back just as Jack settles with a sigh. I watch the man, thin as a reed at almost eighty, walk sedately past us to the front door.

“Hey. Carey just left.”

“Did he?”

“Why’d he do that? He doesn’t leave until we do.” Sausage fingers tap on the table. “What if I want something else?”

“We’re not havin’ nothin’ else.” I shrug. “Maybe he had an errand to do.”

“Who’s gonna lock up? I ain’t staying here all night.” He sniffs. “You smell something?”

“Jack, for Christ’s sake.” I stand. “I gotta use the bathroom. Then we’ll go.”

As I get to the men’s room door, I look back. Jack’s taking my glass of bourbon.

Let him have it. In the men’s room, I lock the door and make sure the window is open. From under the sink, I take a glass bottle, light the wick, unlock the door.

Jack’s walking to the kitchen, snuffling like a pig for truffles. The bottle smashes in front of the open kitchen doors. I’m already heaving myself through the window when the heat hits my feet.

On the other side, Carey gives me a hand and helps me to the ground.

“Shame about that old stove,” he says.

I grunt, listening to the muffled screams.

The blast rocks us both. He grabs my arm, keeps me from falling over. We walk away from the place, and I don’t look back.

“Sorry about your job.”

He gets into an ancient green Cadillac in mint condition. “It’s all right. It was time for me to retire anyway.” He carefully shuts the door, rolls down the window, and says, “It was a hell of a retirement party. Thank him for me, won’t you?”

The Caddy trundles down the street. I gotta lot of respect for that man. Very polite.

BIO: R.S. lives in a suburb outside of Detroit, where she writes flash fic that isn't usually flashy, and sometimes isn't even fiction. You can find her riding solo at R.S. Bohn.

A Twist Of Noir 654 - Kelly Whitley


Mitzi sat in her bra and panties on the bed, blowing smoke rings as she absently toyed with the necktie around her neck.

Richard walked out of the bathroom in a cloud of wilting steam, a thin towel wrapped around his hips. “Did you want a turn at the shower?”

Mitzi flicked her gaze in his direction and exhaled, bouncing the red stiletto on her left foot. “No.”

He grabbed his boxers off the floor, then turned his back and worked them on beneath the towel.

“Too shy to dress in front of me? You weren’t shy fifteen minutes ago.”

Tension shimmered in the room. Richard grimaced. “You seem pissed off.”

She tapped ash into a Styrofoam cup half-full of coffee. “Why would I be pissed off? Because you chose this scuzzy motel room? Because you’re leaving already? Because you’ll be with her tonight instead of me?”

“See? The anger is radiating off you.” He let the towel drop and yanked on his pants, then pushed his arms into his shirt as it stuck to his damp skin.

“When are you going to leave her, Rich?” Mitzi leaned back on her elbow and blew smoke at the yellowed ceiling.

The bedsprings squeaked as Richard sat down on the mattress and put on his socks, then hunted under the faded bedspread for his shoes. “Don’t do this now.”

She took one last drag off the cigarette and dropped it into the cup; the butt hissed as it hit the coffee. “Then when should I do it?”

He leaned his forearms on his thighs and folded his hands. “Mitz—”

“Don’t ‘Mitz’ me,” she said, stretching out on the bed propping her head on one hand and pulling the tie from around her neck with the other.

With a groan, Richard stood and turned away as he buttoned his shirt. “You know I can’t stay.”

Mitzi tucked the necktie in her purse. “Well, I can’t do this anymore.” She rocked off the bed and snatched her dress off the desk and stepped into the red satin, zipping up the back herself.

“I love you, but I can’t leave her.” He shoved his shirttails into his pants and swung his jacket over his shoulder.

She snorted. “You would leave her if you loved me.”

Richard exhaled loudly. “She’s got the house, the business, everything. I leave, I lose it all. You know this.”

Mitzi picked up her purse. “If they’re so damned important, find a way to keep them and get rid of her.”

He opened the door to the humid night. The red neon blinked in the parking lot.

“It’s not that simple—”

“It is that simple, Rich. It is that simple. There are a million ways. Accidents happen all the time.” She pushed past him.

Richard stared and shook his head. “I can’t. She’s my—”

Mitzi whirled around. “Your priority? Over me?”

Richard snagged her around the waist. “No. No, she’s not. I’ll think of something.” He leaned in, but she twisted to avoid his kiss. He sighed in defeat. “See you next week.”

Mitzi extricated herself. “Get your priorities straight, and then we’ll see.”


The evening heat rose up from the sidewalk as Mitzi approached the house. She looked up and down the street, then knocked.

A woman answered the door. “Yes?”

“Hello. I’m Mitzi. A friend of Richard’s from the office. Is he home?”

The woman pulled the door open wide. “Oh. He hadn’t mentioned a visitor.”

“He wasn’t expecting me. I have a project I’m finishing for him, and thought I’d stop by.”

“Would you like to come in and have a glass of tea while you wait? Richard should be home anytime now.” She turned and walked into the house.

“Oh, that’s okay. I’m actually here to see you.” Mitzi pulled the necktie out of her purse and looped it around the neck of Richard’s mother as the door closed behind them.

BIO: Kelly has been writing for years, but is new to the art form of flash-- the shorter, the better.

A Twist Of Noir 653 - Liam José


Juan Hundred dreamt about the rats again. They came all around him, everywhere. Only this time, the dream wasn’t a nightmare, for although he wasn’t in control, he knew what to expect.

A beautiful señorita called his name from a staircase. Her skin was stained a rich brown and her soft curves worked against the harsh gradient of her hair. Though Juan chased her, he could never reach her, and she’d shed a piece of clothing with each of his attempts.

She stopped running. Juan hesitated, but something pushed him forward, be it choice or fate. At first he thought that just this once, he might make it. So he ran. And no sooner than he did the stairs collapsed. Though he fought the urge, Juan looked, and saw the former stairs had, yet again, turned to rats. And he sunk, deeper and deeper still into the never ending writhing mass, until he could see nothing, and just feel the rats that stretched in every direction.

And there was no traction in the world, no up or down, only himself at the centre of things.

<“Hundred, get up. It’s time.”>

Juan shook himself from the dream and looked at the lantern.

The cold black of his cell was cast with flickering shadows from the greasy flame. He pulled off the blanket and stared at Carlito, grinning wide-mouthed with his few yellow teeth.

Without protest, Juan followed Carlito from his cell.

The sound of a small gas generator was amplified by the bare concrete walls of the recreation room.

<“And here’s my star, the great Juan Hundred.”>

Luis, the director, handed a hand-cranked film camera to Carlito. Luis was a guard captain at the Islas Marias. He was a sweaty, small man with fake teeth he seemed especially proud of.

Juan removed his shirt, his wirey frame had already started to glisten.

<“Wait, Hundred. You must get undressed in front of the camera.”> Luis nodded at Carlito. Carlito gave the camera to another guard who held it like an ugly child. Carlito walked to Juan, and lazily smacked Juan in the mouth. The force knocked Juan over. He didn’t make a noise.

He stood and buttoned his shirt back up.

Carlito walked back to the camera. Juan looked into the lens.

<“Who do I fuck tonight?”>

<“You must speak American when you’re on camera! They like to understand you.”>

Juan spat blood.

“Who do I fuck?”

On cue, a door opened and produced a starved looking giant. His beard as thick as his upper body. He smiled when he saw Juan.

<“We call him Dick-eye.”> Luis waited for Juan to ask why. Nothing. <“Guess where he likes to stick it.”>

Juan ignored Luis, dropped his shirt.

“Get over here, hombre.”

Dick-eye lurched over. Juan began to lower his slacks.

Dick-eye grunted and slapped Juan in the eye. It swelled up at much the same rate as Dick-eye’s pants.

Carlito furiously cranked the camera.

“It doesn’t have to be like this,” Juan said, blood weeping from his socket. Dick-eye grabbed Juan’s hair and brought Juan’s face into his crotch. He grunted again and rubbed himself on Juan’s face. Juan slid an arm between Dick-eye’s legs and squeezed his balls as hard as he could.

Dick-eye tumbled over and Juan scrambled on top of him. Juan kissed him on the side of the face.

“I can treat you well, if you will let me.” And he kissed him on the mouth. “The Americans like us to kiss like this.” Juan kissed him harder, until their teeth crushed their lips. “They just don’t know they like it.”

Juan kept a hand on Dick-eye’s balls, ready, until he had him trained. And then they made a porno. Juan Hundred’s way.


Back in his cell, bruised and restless, Juan only realised he was asleep when the rats came all around him. But he loved them. He loved them all.

BIO: Liam didn’t quite grow up in Melbourne, Australia. Along with Cameron Ashley and Keith Rawson he edits Crime Factory. His writing has appeared on Powder Burn Flash, The Flash Fiction Offensive and made its way in print on the odd occasion.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Just an update on my mom and her condition.

She's walking better every day, making good progress.

It's going to be slow for a long while yet, as she was informed by at least a dozen doctors and nurses while she was in the hospital.

Thank you to everyone that has sent along their best wishes. They are greatly appreciated by all of us on this end of things.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The 600 To 700 Challenge is on hiatus for a little bit.

The reason is because my mom has a hairline fracture of her tailbone and I, along with my sister, are caring for her.

It should not be too long before the Challenge is back, though, so enjoy what on offer right now and the new stuff will be coming soon.