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Gun Buck Before Dawn-Fiction by j. brooke
Grunt-Fiction by Kevin Z. Garvey
A Stab in the Dark-Fiction by Gary Clifton
Run, Robby, Run, Part 2-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Surprise Me-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Here They Come-Captain Jack, Part 2-Fiction by Michael S. Stewart
Evolution=Crime-Fiction by Calvin Demmer
Bike Killer-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Home on the Range-Fiction by Liz McAdams
Tickets to Heaven-Fiction by Paul Heatley
Free-Flash Fiction by Andrew J. Hogan
I Hate Dave Matthews-Flash Fiction by Carolyn Smuts
The Journey-Flash Fiction by Oliver Lodge
Running-Poem by Meg Baird
in your shoes-Poem by J. J. Campbell
At Midnight-Poem by Sergio Ortiz
Roadkill-Poem by Rachel Doherty
Skinny Dendrix-Poem by Joe Balaz
poet-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Shy Dryad-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Someone Else's Cat-Poem by John Doyle
Sundays-Poem by John Doyle
Farewell, Bibi-Poem by David Spicer
Rolling Down the Highway...-Poem by David Spicer
No One Ever Asked Winslow This-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
The Adirondack Guide-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
Why Back to Gloucester, Boys?-Poem by Gregory E. Lucas
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Steve Cartwright 2017

                         A STAB IN THE DARK                            

Gary Clifton  

           Fat Freddy, a swindler who operated a half-assed numbers game on Main, recognizing the battered undercover Cutlass, waved the two vice cops down.   Detectives Harriet Washington and Sheenika LeBuff stepped out into the humid night air.

“Mu’fucker Blue out here a bit ago saying he gonna shoot the asses off bof’ of you nex’ time he see y’all.”

Chicago Blue was a pimp who’d never seen Chicago. The name came from a crooked card game he used to run over on 3rd, until Ol’ Big Peewee shot off his left nut with a .32 when he caught Blue marking aces.

          Washington had grown up in a housing project, the daughter of a prostitute. Her hatred of pimps was intense. A low rent pimp threatening her life was one hell of a mistake.

          In the cop world, general threats in the blind are as common as free donuts.  But a specific threat against a cop by name is an “oh shit”.  Street rules dictated Washington and LeBuff find Blue and pull off a body part or two.

          The sun was a faded memory to the west, but the hundred plus heat had remained.  LeBuff swung the Cutlass into a defunct service station, the usual gathering spot for about a dozen ladies of the night. Blue would show soon enough. Washington sat on the taxi fender, smoking a filter tip through a long cigarette holder.

          A pimp called “Trike” whizzed up in a black Lexus. Tall, with a single gold tooth, he complained, “Godammit. Y’all interfering with free enterprise.”

          Washington gave him a casual up and down. “Eat shit and die, loser.”

          From the darkness, a hooker called Flower appeared and talked up Trike briefly. Flower was one of Chicago Blue’s girls. Whoredom had no provision for free agency. Blue had been the only suspect in the murder of two of his girls in the past years—one whipped to death with a coat-hanger, the other tied with an electrical cord and burned alive.

          Blue roared up in his light blue Cadillac pimp-mobile. Not having the good sense to see in the semi-dark ten feet away, the two very same cops he’d threatened to kill, he lost his shit and slapped Flower across the mouth for talking to Trike. A hit of coke will give damned fools the courage to do damned foolish things. A hundred pounds overweight in his purple silk shirt and way past too stupid to stir coffee, he mumbled something about “cash” he took another swing—only Flower ducked. Trike retreated to his Lexus and split.

          Flower, her skirt so short it needed no hiking to allow her to run like hell, kicked off her spikes and hooked ‘um. She ducked around the darkened corner of the old service station, Blue waddling behind her.

          In seconds, Blue stumbled back into view, holding his lower stomach together under the silk, blood gushing down like a busted water hydrant. She’d stuck him good. He staggered east on Grand, his eyes silver dollars of wide-eyed terror. Flower, waving a red-handled switchblade, was a few steps behind, her eyes narrow slits of deadly determination. They disappeared into the darkness only to reappear beneath the next streetlight a block down.

LeBuff said, “Harriet, we may not have to kick this guy’s ass, after all.”

          “Think she’ll catch him?” Washington exhaled toxic poison.

          “She don’t kill him, I’m gonna,” LeBuff peered into the darkness.

          As Blue led the chase beneath the next streetlight, Washington remarked, “I believe he’s gaining.”

Ten minutes passed. Blue reappeared from the haze, still making running motions, but at a ghostlike walk. The exertion of running exposed an intestine or two dangling through the purple shirt. Flower, now forty feet behind, had lost ground, but plunged on with dogged persistence. Blue fumbled in his pocket, jangled keys, popped the trunk with the remote, jumped in, and pulled the lid closed.

          Flower, eyes glazed in anger and exhaustion, staggered up, bloody knife in hand and stabbed the Cadillac trunk at least twenty times. She switched to stabbing tires until all four were flat as modern music, then tossed a brick through the front windshield. Only then did she notice Washington and LeBuff watching.

Flower, knowing both cops very well, said, “Ain’t did shit, Ms. Harriet.” Shoeless from the chase, she fled into the darkness, knife still in hand without saying another word.


Washington stared after her. “Hell, Sheenika, we can’t pursue that suspect. We gotta citizen trapped in a car trunk.”

          LeBuff called for backup and responding units peeled the fat pimp from the Caddie trunk. Brodsky’s report would read: “Unidentified suspect eluded capture.”

          John Henry Davis—that’s what the obituary column called Blue when he died of gangrene four days later—lay unclaimed in the morgue for three weeks before he was dumped into a formaldehyde tank in the medical school next door to be carved up in anatomy class. Blue had finally made an honest contribution to society. And Sheenika and Harriet had not laid a glove on him.

Gary Clifton, forty years a cop, has been shot at, shot, stabbed, sued, lied to and about, and often misunderstood. He has short fiction pieces published in well over a hundred venues and currently is retired to a dusty North Texas Ranch, where he doesn't give a damn if school keeps or not. He blogs at bareknucklethoughts.org.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017