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News & Features » March 2014 » “Devine, TX” by George Masters

“Devine, TX” by George Masters

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, join us and George Masters in “Devine, TX.” Next week, Anthony May will bring us to Queensland, Australia to enjoy the fragrant jacaranda and frangipani.

George MastersDevine, TX
by George Masters
Devine, Texas

By eleven in the morning the streets of Devine, Texas were as flat and as hot as the griddle the cook downstairs was doing bacon and eggs on.

Returning from the bathroom, Ellie got back into bed. She smelled of toothpaste, soap and cigarettes. “You awake?” She put a hand on my chest. I didn’t move. She said, “Tom?”

I said, “No.”

“I’m getting hungry. You?”

“Not yet?”

“Are you okay?”


“Something’s the matter.”

“What makes you say that?”

“You’re always hungry. Who was on the phone?”

“About my brother.”

“I didn’t know you had a brother?”

“Two. And a sister.”

“Oh. Which one was that?”

“Timmy. He’s getting out of prison next week.”

“You don’t sound too happy about it.”

“I’m fine.”

“What was he in prison for?”

“Eight to twelve.”

“I’m not getting a good feeling about this.”

I said, “You get a good feeling last night?”

She punched my arm. “What did he do?”

“Three and a half.”

Ellie turned on her side, got an elbow under her and rested her chin in the palm of a white hand with dark red nails. “Shuuggg-ah,” she said, stretching it out, “WHY was your brother sent to prison?”

I looked into the old eyes of her young face. I said, “Armed robbery.”

“Shit, I knew it. Where?”

“Los Angeles.”

“And right now?”

“San Quentin.”

“Where’s that?”

“Northern California; near San Francisco.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Remember it from Dragnet? No, you’re not old enough.”

She said, “I saw The Rock.”

“That was Alcatraz.”

She cocked her head. “San Quentin?”

“Named after a Saint.”

“Which one?”

I said, “Quentin.” I watched her frown.

“Oh.” That almost settled it. Then she said, “I don’t remember ever hearing of that one.  Quentin,” she said, as if repeating it would conjure a picture or Bible story. One eyebrow went up. “That for hardened criminals?”

“What I understand.”

She said, “How’s he getting out early?”

I said, “You the question lady?” It was a good question and I didn’t know the answer. Before she could answer, the bedside telephone rang again. And rang. Reaching down, I disconnected the telephone. Still it rang in the living room. Getting out of bed, Ellie closed the bedroom door.

Coming back and wearing nothing, Ellie looked fine and knew it. Sitting on my side of the bed, she lit a cigarette and tried to smooth my crew cut. She pushed her lower lip out and said, “Three and a half years. Wow. Did you visit him?”

“He’s my brother.”

Quiet for a few moments, she smoked a couple puffs and then put out the cigarette. She said, “What’s he going to do when he gets out?”

“Stay with me.”

“And now?”

“I’m going back to California.”

“You just got here.”

“That was his PO.”


“Parole officer.”

“What’s he want?”

“She. She wants to meet me and have a talk.”

“Will you come back?”

“To Devine, Texas?” I kissed her and tasted toothpaste and tobacco. “Guess I’m going to have to.”


GEORGE MASTERS was raised in Lima, Peru, served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam and later attended Georgetown University where he began to write. His nonfiction has been published in major newspapers and his fiction has appeared on a number of literary Internet sites. Currently he is finishing work on a new novel, Concerto for Harp, and looking for an agent/publisher. Visit his website: www.georgeeyremasters.net.


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

—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.
—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: Mar 31, 2014

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