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News & Features » December 2017 » “Flood Street Fire” by Oscar Holiday

“Flood Street Fire” by Oscar Holiday

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, arson and drugs, with a Chihuahua thrown in the mix…

Flood Street Fire
by Oscar Holiday
Norman, Oklahoma

Flood Street. I wound up there after a long period of debauchery, or so I’m told. Struck a deal with the landlord and moved into this dilapidated duplex. Just me and Choo-Choo, my chihuahua. 

Then Choo-Choo died.

Parvo. 

Came home from work and found her stiff as a brickbat, legs sticking straight out. 

Next day, Octavia moved in the other side with her chihuahua, the spitting image of Choo-Choo. Tied her up out back. 

It was like Choo-Choo never left.

The date: July 2nd. I was three months clean. 

Sober, not so much. 

I celebrated by getting sideways with Captain Morgan. 

2

One Friday night, Octavia knocked on my door, wearing white crotch-cutters and a white bikini top, carrying a bottle of Cuervo. I put her at forty, but hot damn. 

“I came bearing gifts,” she said, grinning. Handed me the Cuervo. 

I invited her in.

“You sure I’m not wrecking your plans?”

“I haven’t had any plans since the Clinton Administration.” 

She laughed.

I led her to the sofa, suddenly conscious I was still wearing my painting scrubs.

“We never officially met. I’m Octavia.” 

“I’m Chase.”

We shook hands, knocked a few back, shot the shit, but you could tell something was on her mind.

Finally, she spilled it. 

“You know where to get some…?” She tapped the side of her nose.

Floored me. 

“An eight-ball.”

Hot damn.

I said, “Well, uh, …I know a guy over at the Campus Corner. But there’s no guarantee… “

I hadn’t seen Frosty in three months.

Hadn’t missed him either. Well, maybe a little. 

3

We took Octavia’s Datsun.

“It’s right across from the university,” I said.

The familiar sights and sounds were giving me familiar thrills. The beer lights, the drunk college girls stumbling around, the clash of three local bands jamming on the same block.

We parked on Asp Avenue. In the alley behind the Music Box was Frosty’s hangout, the trusty old titty bar: Honey’s.

4

Place smelled like dirty carpet. Both kinds. Between the godawful electronic music and my godawful human sweat, I couldn’t even enjoy the little honey shaking onstage. 

Spotted Frosty slouched in the corner, smoking a cigar. 

I signaled him, ordered a Heineken, and waited. He took his sweet time, but eventually I followed him into the men’s room.

He flashed a quarter-paper.

“All I got right now.”

I paid him. Took it. 

He raised a devilish smile.

“It’s not for me.”

“Sure thing,” he said, slapping my shoulder on his way out.

Asshole.

5

In the car, Octavia was giddy as a kid at Christmas, while I gazed out, dreading the major fork in the road approaching, scared shitless which way I’d choose. 

6

“Well, have fun,” I said, unlocking my door.

“Don’t you want a bump?”

“I gotta work in the morning.”

“So save it for later.”

“No, I—”

“I insist.”

“Well…”

She followed me into my apartment, divvied it up on a plate, and snorted hers through a twenty.

“Ooh, Mary!”

She offered the bill with a twinkle in her eye.

“Sure you don’t want yours now?”

I knew what would happen, but I did it anyway. 

Probably what they’ll put on my tombstone.

7

A month later, I was pacing the floor, shaking with rage, dead broke, sleepless, not to mention, jobless, staring at an eviction notice.

Why did I let Octavia in my house? How could this happen? 

Again. 

Life seemed like a joke I wasn’t in on. Like everybody had it figured out except me. Even the chihuahua had his shit together. Had his own tree and people bringing him food and water.

I did my last line and felt a violent rush of euphoria. 

Picked up the eviction notice, flicked my lighter and lit the corner. 

Eviction notices burn mighty good, if you ever wondered. 

I dropped the paper on the carpet, watched the orange-blue flame catch. Something came alive in my chest.

Grabbed my suitcase and hat and bolted. 

Felt good.

Burn it all down, I thought, Octavia included. Burn it all down and start over.

But first, I was taking a little parting gift with me. A consolation prize. 

Tell him what he’s won, Don.

It’s a brand new chihuahua! 

Out back, I unwound her chain from the big oak tree. 

“Wanna go bye-bye?”

She twirled and yapped and jumped. I took that as a “Yes.” 

So, we went bye-bye. 

Just the two of us.

It was like Choo-Choo never left. 

***

OSCAR HOLIDAY is a self-taught writer and musician living in Los Angeles.  He’s currently working on a novel while writing short stories in the thriller/noir genre.

***

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: Dec 4, 2017

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



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