Coffee and Killings by Simon Maltman

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The hubbub of the cafe offered a pleasant background noise. It was Saturday and customers in the Starbucks seemed generally relaxed and to be enjoying their conversations. It was the beginning of spring and the morning sun allowed most to be in t-shirts and some to venture into shorts. Russell sat at the corner table in a sleeveless striped shirt and blue jeans. His second Frappucino sat as yet untouched while he leafed through his Classic Rock magazine. He glanced over at his Uncle Marty and then took a sip of his caramel frothy goodness.… Read the rest

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Mysterious Private Investigations by Peter DiChellis

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Jimmy told me about the burglary almost exactly a year after it happened. Right after we got thrown out of the pawnshop where Jimmy tried to sell the jewelry.

He had gone into a house one afternoon, Jimmy told me, with a guy everybody called Howie The Dog because he could sniff out excellent burglary sites. A shaded corner house in “a nice doctor and lawyer neighborhood,” as Jimmy put it. Howie and Jimmy felt sure they’d hit big money when they saw the tuxedo and evening gown hanging in the mirrored dressing area, instead of in the closet.Read the rest

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The Asshat Fund by Todd Morr

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The wire digging into my wrists and the punches to the gut and face were unnecessary. I would have given them the name based on mean looks and harsh language. Depending on the day, they could have just asked nicely.

After digging another upper cut into the extra padding around my mid-section, he said, “Give me a name.” I looked up with full intention of not only telling him a name, but spelling it. Only when I looked up, standing behind the steroid junkie beating me senseless was the asshole I was planning to rat out.Read the rest

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Intimate Knowledge by Suzanne Baginskie

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Gentlemen’s Night Club, where I pole danced, reeked of cigarette smoke and stale booze. Heat from the overhead spotlights illuminated the stage floor and made my skin clammy. I bumped and gyrated to the tune “Let’s Get it On” in front of twenty or so leering men with beer bottles in one hand and a fistful of dollars in the other. I pasted on a smile as their sweaty groping fingers slid the green stuff into my g-string.

Scanning the room, I spotted two men in designer suits sitting at a small table drinking from amber-filled glasses.Read the rest

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Broken Hearts by Laird Long

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The house was in the hot part of Hollywood. The part where the sun doesn’t shine tourist-bright and pleasant, but rather hot and oppressive; the part where you’d never dream in your wildest scar-dust dreams that there was a great big, cool blue ocean only five miles away. In this part of Hollywood, people were actually punished for their sins.

The house was between a pool hall on the right and a vacant lot on the left. It was a nice house — for a midget. It was bigger than a cardboard box but smaller than a coffin.Read the rest

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