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Fried Zucchini Sticks-Flash Fiction by Cathi Stoler
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Art by Hillary Lyon 2020

Fried Zucchini Sticks




Cathi Stoler



It was time to kill the miserable creep and rid the world of his pure evil. The maggot who turned my sister, a beautiful, happy person, into a slithering mass of oxi-addicted flesh, and who pushed her to kill herself at just twenty.  

That was my motive, which would have been useless without the means and opportunity to get the job done.  

My position as a technology manager overseeing the city’s power grid sealed the deal. Electra, my sister had called me jokingly, not really knowing much about the tragic myth.

It was my path to his death. Dangerous, but still viable. As a manager, I have access to the entire power grid for the town. My job is to supervise the flow of electricity and look for spikes and dips that could damage the grid and people’s homes. Tonight, damage would be done.

The cretin lived alone in a ramshackle old house he rented on the outskirts of town.

After work at the bank, he usually headed for the local bar, where he held court and sucked down the whiskey he favored. When he finally came home, he’d have a surprise waiting for him. Actually, the shock of his soon-to-be short-circuited life.

I snuck into his basement and headed right for the power box. By the light on my cell phone, I powered it down and picked at the old wiring so it would look as if it had become too frayed if anyone examined it. Then I took one of the ice cubes I’d brought with me and wedged it between the back of the box and the exposed wiring. Once it was in place, I amped up the juice as high as it would go. As the ice cube melted, droplets would seep into the unraveled wiring, and the higher level of electricity would short out and surge through him when he flipped the light switch. Best part? The evidence would have melted away.

The next day when he didn’t show up for work, they sent someone from the bank to check on him.

They found his body right inside the front door, fried like zucchini sticks, soft on the inside, nice and crispy outside.

The funeral was well-attended. I went, too. It would have looked bad if I didn’t. I waited, head bowed, until all the other mourners were gone, than spat into his grave.

“Have a nice trip to hell,” I said, knowing like the mythical Electra, that vengeance was mine.



Cathi Stoler’s latest series, featuring Blackjack player, Nick Donahue, includes the just released OUT OF TIME, a mystery/thriller. Cathi’s Urban Thriller Murder On The Rocks series includes, BAR NONE, with The Corner Lounge bar owner, Jude Dillane. The next two books in the series LAST CALL (10/20) and STRAIGHT UP (10/21) will follow. She is a three-time finalist & winner of the Derringer for Best Short Story, “The Kaluki Kings of Queens." Other stories have been published online at Beat To A Pulp, Myssterical-E and in print. Cathi is a board member of Sisters in Crime NY, and a member of Mystery Writers of America & International Thriller Writers. You can find Cathi at www.cathistoler.com

Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2020