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News & Features » May 2019 » “Norman” by JZ Sims

“Norman” by JZ Sims

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, revenge leaves one man dead.

by JZ Sims
Sycamore, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois

Norman drove toward his hometown of Sycamore, Missouri. It was about sunup on a Sunday. He had been driving for many hours. He topped Queen’s Hill just outside of town and saw a silver slice of the river between the trees. Even this early he could see a thick blanket of moisture hanging low over the corn and soybean fields.

He drove into town, past the diner and the two taverns, the insurance man, the grocery store and the lawyer’s office. The streets were empty except for a cat who sauntered across the road. Norman turned right on a street called Lincoln Street and drove up a steep hill. At the top he turned into a gravel driveway and parked his car. He left it running while he went up to the porch and opened the unlocked door.

Norman walked through a dirty living room, empty beer cans scattered on the coffee table. He walked through a kitchen with a sticky linoleum floor. He went into a bedroom and woke up a man who was sleeping there, twisted and ugly in dirty brown sheets. The man mumbled and turned over. The bed squeaked. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He looked up. He squinted up at Norman. He was confused at first, but when he realized it was Norman, he looked down at his feet and sighed.

“What are you doing here?” the man said softly, but it wasn’t really a question.

They were the last words that ever crossed that man’s lips. Norman pulled a revolver out of his waistband and pointed it at the man’s chest. He fired twice. He destroyed the man.

Norman got back in his car, drove back down the hill on Lincoln Street, and back onto the highway towards Chicago.


Three days later, in Chicago, the phone in Norman’s apartment rang. He answered. It was her.

“Norman,” she said. Her voice was weak.

“Hello, Evelyn,” Norman said. “Its good to hear your voice.”

“You did it, didn’t you, Norman?”

“How are you?” Norman asked her.

“You did it, Norman, didn’t you?”

“Are you still in the hospital, Evelyn?”


“Are you going to be ok?”

“I’m going to be ok, Norman,” she said. “But I don’t want to talk about it.”

“There was a baby?” He asked softly.

There was silence over the phone, and then Norman could hear her sobbing away from the phone.

She came back on the line.

“Did you do it?” she asked. “I’ve got to know.”

“I love you, Evelyn. I always have and always will.”

“I know, Norman.”

“Goodbye, Evelyn,” Norman said. “I’ve got to go.”

“Goodbye, Norman.”


JZ SIMS lives in Missouri. He likes to read and write an occasional short story.


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: May 13, 2019

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