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News & Features » April 2018 » “A Good Day for Redheads” by Patricia Abbott

“A Good Day for Redheads” by Patricia Abbott

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

This week, a man goes home with a mystery redhead, despite all the warning signs. 

A Good Day for Redheads
by Patricia Abbott
Mount Clemons, Michigan (Macomb County)

It took me several foggy-headed seconds to realize the redhead standing in the doorway at Frank’s Eastside Tavern wasn’t my ex. She was a dead ringer for Adeline: same body type, spiky hair, vague look in her eyes. Those eyes latched onto mine, zeroing in the way Adeline’s once had.

Sweet Dreams was playing on the juke. Who was that redhead who sang it? I turned back to my third Bushmills. A good day for redheads—always my weakness.

I smelled her perfume first. Spicy and sharp, a concoction for sirens.

“Hey mister.” My pulse quickened. Damn, if I could help myself.

The bartender, hammering at some ice, frowned. I got the message—the redhead was trouble. I bore down on my drink.

“Mister.” Her voice was throaty, irresistible.

A tug on my sleeve, and I turned without thinking. “Yeah?”

“Wonder if you’d look at my car?”

“I’m no mechanic, miss.” Her eyes looked fox-like in the dim light of Frank’s.

“Worked fine yesterday, but now it won’t start.”

“Kimmy, call Bud at the Sunoco. This guy’s busy.”

“You busy, mister?”

The bartender’s sigh said I couldn’t handle Kimmy. But I never could resist a siren call. “Name’s Doake if you don’t see me again.” 

“Did you say Dope?” he shouted after me.

Door slammed closed. “Where’s your car, honey?” I blinked in the fierce light and slapped on my hat.

“Out in Shelterville.”

“You walked into town? Why not get a tow.”

“I just need a jump.”

I’ll give you a jump, I thought to myself. I was thinking of Adeline again—remembering those days when jumping didn’t hurt.

I drove Kimmy out to her place. A lop-sided house sat back in the trees, its steps a half-foot off the ground, the door flung open, all wild-like. Someone had burned garbage not long ago and my nose stung with it.

“I can see why,” I said, peering into an old Escort. A guy heavier than me was slumped over the wheel, dressed in a suit that didn’t come from Value City. 

“That’s Mayor Parker. Came out last night for a pick-me-up.”

“Looks like he was disappointed.” A hole bulls-eyed his middle. I looked around. “He walk out here? Lots of people walkin’ to Shelterville, huh?”

She narrowed her foxy eyes in contemplation. “Can you get him outta there? I gotta get to work.”

“Well even if I do, Kimmy, I doubt you can leave. We got us a murder here.” Blood dotted the gravel. “Looks like someone dragged Mayor Parker from elsewhere.” 

The blood stopped just east of a large hole. It was no natural hole. Someone had back-hoed it into being—its sides were sloped, its base cavernous. At the bottom, a huge fellow sat on a stool. At least, I think there was a stool beneath his deep strata of fat. Had the same red hair as Kimmy—maybe a tad more orange.

“That’s my brother, Tiny,” Kimmy said. Tiny grinned, showing me wall-to-wall choppers. Couple were missing, but I’d bet it didn’t slow him down much.

“What’s he doing in that hole?”

“Iffin Tiny gets outta there, he does bad things,” she told me. “Stays down there ‘cept when I throw ‘im that chain.” She nodded toward a chain fastened to a huge metal anchor. 

“You throw that chain down there last night?”

She nodded. “But it wasn’t Tiny killed the Mayor. Just chased him around some. Had hisself some fun.” Tiny roared his approval, and I stepped back from the hole.

“Tiny’s hungry now. Been waiting a long time for his dinner.” She paused. “That’s where you come in, mister.”

“Who killed the mayor?” I asked, mesmerized.

“I did. Blew that hole clear through ‘im.”

“Why d’ya kill him, Kimmy?”

“’Cause I needed to get Tiny his dinner.” I felt her hand at the small of my back. “Seemed like a good way to get someone out here. Been known to work before.” She shoved me then, and I slid down into the hole like a Finn on skis.

“Let me get this straight,” I shouted once I picked myself up. “You murdered that obese mayor so you could put him behind the wheel of your car, come into town, tell me it wouldn’t start, then drag me out here? Why didn’t you just feed Mayor Parker to Tiny?” 

“Tiny’s not overly partial to government handouts. Ain’t that right, Tiny?”

Tiny roared, his mouth inches from my ear.

***

PATRICIA ABBOTT is the author of the Edgar, Macavity, and Anthony nominated books, Concrete Angel and Shot in Detroit. A collection of her stories, I Bring Sorrow: and Other Stories of Transgression debuted in March. Her short story “My Hero” won a Derringer Award in 2009. She lives in the Detroit area. 

***

Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Apr 27, 2018

Category: Original Fiction, Mondays Are Murder, Original Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



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