Let’s Call It a Comeback

I really can’t bear the humiliation to accurately check how long it has been since my last post. That’s kind of an open wound, considering my old propensity to leave things half-finished. I’d rather turn this into a positive experience and tell you what’s been going on at The Bard of Steel since the last time you offered me the privilege of your attention. Continue reading

Garbage

Young Jimmy Simmons trembled with excitement as he thought of ways to hurt and humiliate Frankie, the neighborhood’s resident meth-head and overall scumbag. He was already dead when the white Ford Taurus pulled over and dumped him on the curb, but that wasn’t important. It would not stop the fragile and volatile eleven year old boy he had terrorized since moving down the street.

Time was running short and his brain needed a jolt to get working, so Jimmy started kicking the body. Continue reading

A Rose in Hell

Charlie Talbott and Mina sat too far away from one another but too close at heart. She lied down on her bedroom’s sofa like a supple, silk-skinned cat, her head resting comfortably on the crook of her elbow as she looked at the man sharp dressed man sitting across the room. He read the day’s newspaper with a lit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, unaware of the quiet attention he drew from Mina.

They could have maintained this farce of silence for an eternity –this “nanny job”, as both called it–, were it not for the tune that Charlie hummed with enigmatic, contagious liveliness, a joy unbecoming of such a hardened and serious man, the epitome of a cold-blooded, amoral gangster.

Mina grinned and knelt on the sofa.

“Is that Moondance? It is, isn’t it?” she asked. Continue reading

One for the Road

Saloon-keeper Elwood Liddell was used to one type of customer the most: those in need of drink and weary of spirit, looking for the purpose of their miseries at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. He pitied their erratic, pathetic behavior. He thought it painful to sober up with no other companions than a cold counter and an outstanding tab.

They were different from the man who walked in just moments ago, a tall, broad shouldered cowboy whose gait wouldn’t be any less regal even if he carried the world on his back; and he could have been doing that, judging by his footsteps. His coat and his hat were caked by the dust of the trails he rode, but even that couldn’t hide the thick beard growing around granite features. Continue reading

The Flower Pattern

I didn’t know what to make of it when Clara, my wife, screamed that the floor was alive. Was it some kind of joke? Maybe I didn’t hear her correctly the first time; I was about half-asleep.

I only hoped it was important. Earlier that day I had a pretty heated, pointless argument with my boss that I wanted to forget about.

“Come again?” I asked in a low voice, forgetting that Clara was downstairs. I pried my face off the pillow and tried again, louder this time.

“I’m telling you the floor is alive! I don’t know! Just come, please!” Continue reading

The Bird’s On Stage

The club’s pianist plays his chords with a rough steadiness, like the march of a soldier in the old days. All the notes scramble together to form a song almost out of thin air, at random, but I don’t think it’s improvisation. That song was meant to be this way. Change one thing and it turns into a different animal.

Now the bird’s on stage and everyone cheers. Me? I’m here to either collect Ritchie’s money or kill her. Reminding myself of that makes the next sip of beer too bitter. I’m drinking my own guilt. Continue reading

The Bad Man

Half of Roger Filmore’s world was literally melting in a red, bitter ooze. He had been viciously struck over the tender flesh of his left brow, the blood that poured from the bone-deep wound blinding him from that side. He knew the voice calling to him in that old but all too familiar abandoned house had been lucky to land such a good hit.

“I ain’t a bad man, Roger, but I swear I’m gonna do it!” his attacker shouted for the second time. Continue reading