I am proud to announce I have a short story in Grand Central Noir, a neat compilation of crime fiction centered in Grand Central Terminal. Compiled by the Smoking Elk of Pulp Fiction, Terrence P. McCauley, the anthology includes I.A. Watson; Charles “Salty” Salzberg and Jessica Hall; Ron “Fortissimo” Fortier; “Sassy” S.A. Solomon; moi; Amy Maurs; R.J. “Cookie” Westerhoff; J. Walt Layne; Kathleen A. Ryan; Matt “The Hammer” Hilton; W. Silas Donohue; Marcelle Thiébaux; “Jerseylicious” Jen Conley; Seamus “Wishes He Was Puerto Rican” Scanlon; and McCauley himself. There are a million “noir” anthologies out there, but what’s most important about this one is that it’s for charity: all monies go directly to God’s Love We Deliver, whose stated mission is to “improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition.” All the writers did a great job evoking the mystery of Grand Central, and, with your help, that dedication can benefit a great cause. Buy the book! But it now!
Here is an excerpt from my story, “Meet Me at the Clock”:
SNOW! AND LOTS OF IT.
Lew Conrad stared out the window and watched the feathery stuff descend onto the cars and the street and the sidewalk. Blankets. This could be bad. This could screw everything. He closed the curtains and dressed as quickly and quietly as he could in his bedroom. He didn’t want to wake his wife. They always got along better when she was asleep.
But, with an abrupt cease of her snoring, the great and powerful Magda stirred. Without lifting her head from the pillow or opening her eyes, she said, “Want coffee?”
Lew tied his tie right up to his neck. “No thanks,” he said. “You make me bitter enough.”
His wife mumbled, “Suit yourself.”
Then she went right back to sawing her way through a redwood.
Lew put on his best Brooks Brothers business suit – a little worn at the pants cuffs but only a busybody midget would notice – and then his shoes and then rubbers over his shoes. He took his old-fashioned gray fedora off the dresser and walked out of the bedroom. As far as the wife knew he was off to an imaginary office in midtown. Let her keep dreaming. Only a nuke could get her out of bed anyway.
In the living room, he took out a videotape box of The Godfather Trilogy. He slid out the sleeve for Part III, which he’d thrown away a long while ago, and pulled out a fat envelope containing one hundred hundred dollar bills. He put the envelope in his inside jacket pocket.
He left the apartment building earlier than usual, and when he got outside he saw there was just one or two or maybe three inches on the ground, and so he decided, what the hell, he’d save what was left of his subway money and walk the thirty blocks to the 125th St. Metro-North Station in Harlem. How bad could it be? It was just a little snow. But the sky churned, as dark gray as a tunnel rat, and as he slogged his way uptown the snowfall grew heavier. And heavier. He slipped at a corner. And again a block later and almost lost his old hat. He really should have checked the weather. What a stupid thing to foul up.
When he got to the station, his pants wet to his thighs, he ran up the stairs and caught the 5:50 a.m. to Scarsdale just as its doors were about to close.
Lew felt it was only the first of many lucky breaks he was going to get that day.