“Bar in Hollywood” by Brandon Dutton
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, Brandon Dutton goes on an unusual date in Hollywood, California.
Bar in Hollywood
by Brandon Dutton
“Aren’t you hot in that?”
She gestured at my sport coat. Felt awkward with it on already. But meeting a girl like Sage, in a place like that, you had to look the part.
“Nothing a cold drink won’t fix,” I said. “What’re you having?”
She tipped her martini back and slid the glass forward. Martini sounded good—I ordered two more.
She rummaged through her purse. That dress drew my eyes like a magnet. Noted how low it was cut, watched as her shoulder blades shifted around with each movement. A neat line went along her spine, ribs barely peeked out. It was crazy how tall she looked sitting, her back a work of art.
Drinks came, snapped me out of it. Sipped on mine faster than she did hers. Watched her talk but it’s hard to listen with Sage in front of you. An odd beauty with direct mannerisms. Everything she did was with purpose.
“Take that coat off, it’s making me sweat,” she said. A sip. “Last thing I need is another sharp dresser in my life.”
“Not for much longer,” I said. Still took the coat off. Felt good. The AC did its best to pump cold air in. Hollywood in July—guess the blazer was a bad idea.
My undershirt was wrinkled and stretched. She glanced at my chest and cracked a grin, gave a quick brush off. “That’s more like it,” she said.
With a slow reach, she pinched her cocktail olive and brought it up to her mouth. Bit half of it and looked me in the eye. “It’s time. He’s back in town on hiatus, has the rest of the month off.” A pause before she repeated, “It’s time.”
My elbows backed away from the bar top. “Ok. When should we . . .” My voice trailed off. I let her finish my sentence. She didn’t.
“Whenever you can do it. Do it right, you know?”
“Yeah, the way we discussed. When he’s home alone,” I said.
That worked for her. She nodded and took a sip. For some reason she looked older now. There were lines on her face I hadn’t noticed prior. Must’ve been the light.
Her eyes welled, were wet, but no tears. I stood, grasped her arms. Cold as ice now, poor thing. Looked down at her, narrow and thin, half my size.
“If you’re having second thoughts,” I said, “tell me now.”
A beat. Her head dipped. When she glanced up her eyes were still wet, but she gave a quick grin. “Kill him.”
Gripped the back of her head and brought it toward mine. Kissed her with everything I had to give. For a moment the motion of our mouths was the only thing on my mind.
A tear freed itself down her cheek. Tasted salty on my lips. Thumbed it off.
“I love you,” I said.
She studied me, probably wondered if I’d go through with it. There was something she didn’t know though.
I already had.
Bastard stretched out my shirt, but I got him down. Kept him down too. My hands gripped his windpipe until it collapsed like a soda can.
Goosebumps dotted her tan skin. Neck still felt cold to the touch. I wrapped her up in my coat—good thing it was handy. Leaned her head on my shoulder.
A weak voice said, “This’ll mean I’m yours.”
“Forever, baby. Forever.”
BRANDON DUTTON grew up in Los Angeles. He received his BA from UC Santa Barbara. His stories “The Blackout” and “Luci” have appeared in the Mondays Are Murder series for Akashic Books. He also works in the film industry.
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 [email protected]. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Jun 13, 2016
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