Table of Contents

Summer 2008

From The Editor

Letter from Sandra Ruttan

Short Stories

Amra Pajalic

The Game

The Old Man

The Vow

The Other Shoe

Patrick Shawn Bagley

Bank Job

John McFetridge


Russel D. McLean

Her Cheating Heart

Steve Mosby


Grant McKenzie

Out Of Order

Patricia Abbott



Damien Seaman

Love In Vain

Ugly Duckling

Steve Allan

Hump The Stump

Stumpy's Revenge

You and Me and Stumpy Makes Three

Stephen D. Rogers

Head Shot

Richard Cooper

Simmer Time

Sandra Seamans


Allan Guthrie


Brian Lindenmuth


Tony Black

London Calling

Brian McGilloway

Spoonfull of Sugar


Damien Seaman with Tony Black

Reviews by:

Sandra Ruttan

Savage Night

The Cold Spot

Brian Lindenmuth


The Crimes of Dr. Watson

Half the Blood of Brooklyn

Crimson Orgy

Mad Dogs

The Resurrectionist

Sharp Teeth


Black Man


Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle


At the City's Edge


Small Favor


Book Excerpts

Toros & Torsos
by Craig McDonald

Paying For It
by Tony Black

Dirty Sweeet
by John McFetridge


The Graveyard Shift: blog by Lee Ofland

Head Shot by Stephen D. Rogers

Melissa Henders twisted to examine her right heel. “Did I get any brain on my shoe?”

Greg rolled his eyes. “I’m setting up a head shot. Nobody will see the back of your shoes.”

She glared at him. “These shoes cost me seven hundred dollars. A piece. I’m not going to be happy if I stepped in brain.”
“My car cost seven hundred dollars and it’s not going to appear the six o’clock news either. Listen, the light becomes less complementary by the second.”

Melissa raised her microphone. “Go.”

“Tape rolling. Three. Two. One.”

“Good evening. This is Melissa Henders coming to you live from outside Mama’s Steakhouse and Grill where only minutes ago Sal ‘The Butcher’ Bunichelli was shot to death while preparing to enjoy a quiet dinner before the restaurant opened.”
Melissa smiled.

“You may remember Sal Bunichelli from my coverage of his recent trial where he was cleared of all ninety-seven charges.”

She paused for five seconds.

“Why yes, Alger, those segments were voted the most popular of the week by viewers who visited our web site.”

She paused, this time for only three beats.

“Actually, the police haven’t arrived yet. Concerned citizens knew to call our tip line -- flashing now across the bottom of your screen -- so that they could compete for free cash prizes, and I’m sure that at least one of them went on to call 911.”

As Melissa glanced at the dead man sprawled on the sidewalk next to her, Greg followed her movements with the camera until Sal’s body filled the frame.

“They say that those who live by the sword die by the sword and Sal Bunichelli was no exception. Involved in everything from drugs to prostitution, Sal wallowed in a life of crime. He killed or had killed friends and enemies, friends thought to be enemies, and enemies thought to be friends.”

Melissa turned to the camera and waited for Greg to reframe the shot. “Sal may have deserved what he got today, but what about innocent bystanders who might have been injured by the flying bullets? The Mayor ran on a platform promising law and order. If he considers these streets safe, he needn’t bother running again.”

Greg lowered the camera. “That was great. Let’s drop this off at the station and go grab a bite to eat.”

“No, the ending was rushed.” Melissa took a deep breath.

“That’s because we’re in a rush.”

“I want to shoot another closing.”

Greg glanced at his watch. “It’s going to be tight.”
“I don’t remember asking.”

He shrugged the camera back onto his shoulder. “Rolling. Three. Two. One.”

“Sal may have been a hardened criminal but what about the young children who pass this spot every day? The Mayor promised us law and order when he ran for office. Mama’s Bar and Grill delivers. The Mayor doesn’t.”

Out of frame, Melissa waved Greg towards Sal.

Greg focused on the dead man, slowly zooming in even though they probably wouldn’t be able to use the more graphic footage. “Damn.”

“What?” Melissa patted her hair in several places. “Was the light no longer flattering?”

“Sal’s alive.”

Melissa jumped. “Alive? How can he be alive? His brain is all over my shoe.”

“Not the part that regulates breathing apparently.” Greg lowered the camera. “Look for yourself.”

“No. This can not be happening to me. I reported Sal shot to death. Shot to death does not mean alive. Shot to death means dead.”

Greg sniffed. “So tomorrow the station will run a retraction during the production credits.”

“The public has come to depend on me as a seeker and defender of truth.” Melissa crouched down over Sal’s body. “So die already.”

“We have to go now or you won’t make the six. By the eleven o’clock, every station on the planet will have this story. You can kiss your exclusive good-bye.”

Melissa watched Sal’s chest rise and fall as sirens screamed from several directions. “If Sal lives, he could sue me for defamation of character. It’s just not fair.”

After glancing over each shoulder, Melissa reached for Sal’s hair, lifted his head off the sidewalk, and slammed it back down against the pavement. Twice.

“There.” Standing, she straightened her outfit. “Now let’s go drop that off at the station and catch us something to eat.”

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