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News & Features » April 2019 » “Incident on the 139” by Arthur Evans

“Incident on the 139” by Arthur Evans

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 takes a final ride with his favorite companion.

Incident on the 139
by Arthur Evans
Holland Tunnel, Jersey City, New Jersey

Pepper, it’s you and me now. Haven’t we been happy long as we stayed close? No, I ain’t actually crying. I’m calming down over here. Just gotta get us clear of the city. We head out to Flatlands for some song and dance and this is the one night things go straight south. All the suicidal drunks plowing around Brooklyn at 4:00 a.m. and who gets pulled over? Who else. The city ain’t my place. I middle finger New York. How’s that? Buncha smegs.

These tunnel lights give me a headache every time. And Pepper, I’m sorry. But that bad man staring at you? Like he can’t believe some booty bounce at Flashdancers? Everything went red. I don’t care he’s the cops, I don’t care he’s the number one boss smeg. I catch that look and I’m going to settle it. 55 grains, pow! He’s behind a badge, but I wouldn’t trade places. You see how he shot wide from two feet away? Won’t be drawing down on no motorists no more.

Now, the emotional temper thing—I gotta apologize on that account. Even with you lying there all still and quiet, just being together gets me emotional. There’s ice men you meet in this life and then others like me the 180 opposite. So yep, I need to work on the self-control, but an ice man wouldn’t be any fun, am I right? Not saying guys can never give you looks. I admit getting off on it. But it has to be my call. Where and when.

Tunnel seems longer than normal, and louder, don’t it? Never mind. I’ve got my baby to talk to. You’ve always had that extra something, Pepper. When I met you in Virginia you were so sharp and sexy. Remember? Like you should be up on a movie screen stead of going around with me. I gave my word we’d have ourselves a blast, and haven’t we? Six good years. Now there’s worries. But it’s not you, it’s never been you. It’s me, Pepper. We’re both getting older. I look it, you don’t. I have no complaints. But hey, you’re in no mood for all this, am I right? Just now you’re dead silent. There’s been times I think they’re hearing you all the way to Weehawken. Babe? Just kidding. Never bothered me.

We’re out. On the Jersey side, smack in the Horseshoe. Sky’s gray like an old nickel, rain spitting down. New dawn, Pep. Yeah, I saw the rollers pulled up in their little plaza. So what. Gobble some knob, ya smegs. We’re coasting. Traffic’s all the other way, back into hell. There’s Burke’s Bar, and the Sally. Sooner or later this’ll all be condos stretching up to the moon. Or lofts—they’re the worst. People crowding in, eyes everywhere.

I know, I know, I’m hyper. Hey, we could stop somewhere and get out a minute, come on. The diner? Last chance. Okay, that’s not funny. Better you’re down where no one can see. Don’t be embarrassed, but sometimes I get these flashes of our mouths together, mine on yours. There’s that kind of musky thing when you’re oiled up, oils from inside you in my mouth and nose, if that’s not too crude. Maybe I’m trying to say I can’t do this stuff alone, Pepper, not since we met. Let’s just get this blown assignment over with. Then we’ll figure it out.

Whoop a whoop? Behind us. The rack lights strobing red, white, blue. What, there’s a cam in the tunnel? Caught you across the seat there? Could someone tell me what’s happening? Now there’s another roller in front. Fuck me.

Shit, really? They’re gonna block us in? Okay, we’re stopped. I don’t want bad men looking at you! You’re mine, I paid that Virginia slimeball for you. And took you home with me. We don’t separate. Pepper? Here. Let me hold you. Oh yeah, your grip, running my palm under your barrel. Still perfect every time.

Okay babe, I’ve got you. Let’s get out. Let’s go.


ARTHUR EVANS’s Jersey crime stories can be found in Near to the Knuckle, Mysterical-E, Shotgun Honey, and Switchblade #7. For his own sinister reasons, he uses a pen name.


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 17, 2019

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