“The Farmer and His Wife,” by Earl Staggs, Mystery Weekly Magazine, March 2017.
notice that private eye fiction is full of missing daughters? Ross
Macdonald did. One of his books begins: "It was a wandering daughter
Staggs seems to have noticed, too, but he does a neat role reversal.
His P.I. is hired to find a missing son. Oh, by the way, here is
Staggs' opening sentence:
"She had me from the
Aw, the big sentimental lug.
is the mother. Her son disappeared while working on a farm to earn
college money. And we won't go any farther, although, naturally, the
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Sunday, February 26, 2017
If you took a Bob Dylan song full of surreal imagery, say "Desolation Row" or "Just Like Tom Thumb Blues," and turned it into a crime story the result might be a bit like "Mad Still."
The anonymous narrator is a retired boxer (mostly a sparring partner). He is newly arrived in New Orleans and he is meeting with the Clown.
The Clown is the leader of a group of street performers and they are having a problem with a human statue, the one nicknamed Mad Still because he can stand unmoving all day, hogging one of the best places to attract crowds. "He doesn't even take tips." The Clown and his associates want him moved by any means necessary.
But it turns out there is a rival group of performers that want Mad Still to stay where he is. They are the ACTors, movie star look-alikes who earn their daily bread posing for photos with tourists. There leader is Clint Eastwood, more or less. Both groups want our boxer hero to enforce their will.
Violence happens. Someone is kidnapped. Golems are invoked. Then things turn weird.
What I am saying is, if you want a straight road to a logical conclusion you shouldn't be on Highway 61 in the first place.
I enjoyed this story a lot.
Monday, June 27, 2016
I believe this is the first story from Mystery Weekly to make my weekly best. It was also their free sample of the week, which you can get sent to your email.
The story is a little thing, flash fiction or close to it, more anecdote than full-blown story. But it's interesting. containing a character sketch (the narrator), nice language use, and something to think about.
Here's how it starts:
I only know three ways people ever get eaten by bears. There could be others, but I haven’t run across them.
The gentleman meditating here is a small-town coroner in West Texas, and as you may have guessed, he is dealing with the results of one of those three methods. The victim is a meth cooker who apparently lost a fight with a colleague, which led to him starting a new career as bear chow.
Our coroner explains what he can tell from the partial remains that have been brought in by the violently ill deputies. Then he ponders the unfairness of the future that is sure to be waiting for the bear.
And that's about it. Like I said, it's slight, but it hangs together, and is definitely worth a read.