Crime Fiction Friday: “Elevator Pitch” byMatthew J. Hockey



  • Introduced by Molly Odintz

This week’s Crime Fiction Friday, “Elevator Pitch,” is a wicked gem from Matthew Hockey, just published as part of Out of the Gutter Magazine’s Flash Fiction Offensive series. Hockey twists the traditional elevator pitch to take on the concerns of the underworld. This story’s business proposition is rather more compelling than your average offer…

“Elevator Pitch” by Matthew J. Hockey

“My pitch? Sure. Why not? I’ve got a few minutes. Imagine the scene. Guy walks into a specialist pet store on third. He browses for a few minutes, just kinda walking around out of the rain. Owner said he could tell he wasn’t gonna buy anything but it’s good for business having somebody inside, brings other customers in. Suddenly this guy stops, drops his target shopping bag and stands stiff. He reaches into a cage. Scoops up a bird.  Careful to keep its wings tucked against its body so it doesn’t hurt itself.  Owner tells him ‘Hey, put that back. Bird is very sensitive.’ The guy’s not even listening. He’s all hunched over, cooing in the bird’s ear. Real low. Whispering. Nobody knows what he’s saying. Whatever it was it was between him and the bird. Then… chomp! Bites its head off. Cleaner than a carnival geek. Reaches into another cage. Chomp. Another head—”

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “Morning Rounds” by Andrew Jetarski


With the ongoing national debate over gun control, we’ve decided to bring you a topical Crime fiction Friday. Andrew Jetarski had this story of one night in a hotel published in Out Of The Gutter’s Flash Fiction Offensive.  This story has a great first paragraph that, like Chekhov’s gun, pays off at the end.

“Morning Rounds” by Andrew Jetarski

“Hattie Lovett fingered the safety on the .22 she kept under the check-in desk when she saw the man approaching in the gray pre-dawn light outside the glass doors of the Topeka EEZ-On Inn. Unruly blondish hair sticking out of a ball cap, sweatpants and T-shirt, slight paunch. Something about him put her on edge. He was juggling a grande coffee in each hand, trying to elbow the lobby doors open. The electric eye triggered and they slid apart…”

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “Killing The Quails” by Patrick Cooper


Another new writer for the new year, Patrick Cooper, has already written pieces for Spinetingler and Out Of The Gutter. Here is a tight little piece from Shotgun Honey with a first sentence that hooks you and a last one that’s hard to forget.

“Killing The Quails” by Patrick Cooper

“I’ve killed Curtis Quail five times now. Six if you count the one at the flooded quarry. That was more of an accident. I meant to shoot him but he escaped down the edge of the quarry and wound up drowning. I got paid for that one, yeah, but in my heart I can’t really take credit for it. So five times. I’ve killed Curtis Quail five times…”

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “Fudge Factor” by Bruce Harris



The dangers of hot dogs have been in the news again recently. In this piece from Out Of The Gutter’s Flash Fiction Offensive, Bruce Harris shows another way they can lead to harm.

“Fudge Factor” by Bruce Harris

Two things: hot dogs and music. Loud music.

My son Aaron’s twelve. Dealt a rough hand at birth, Down’s syndrome. Some pity him. We’ll have nothing of it. Aaron’s a great kid with an enthusiasm for life unequaled by any other twelve-year old. The kid can pack away hot dogs. I think he ate his first the same week he cut teeth. Who knows, in a couple of years, Aaron may earn his 15 minutes of fame winning Nathan’s July 4th hot dog eating contest. He’s happiest, though with earphones affixed and heavy metal music blaring so that the pounding bass sets off car alarms a block away.

Some pity my wife and me. You play the cards you are dealt, though every now and then I grab one from up my sleeve. I don’t have time for regrets. I make time for life lessons. Aaron comes home from school, his smile nearly stretches to his ears, tells me as only he could that he’s learning to add and subtract. His homework assignment is to spend some money, get change, count it and record it.

Read the rest of the story.

Crime Fiction Friday: “June” by Jen Conley

  • Introduction by Scott Montgomery

MysteryPeople_cityscape_72At this year’s Bouchercon Noir At The Bar, I heard Jen Conley read a great tale of revenge, reminding me, she had one of my favorite stories in the Springsteen inspired anthology Murder In The Heartland. Her work looks at crime and punishment from a different perspective with a touch of Jersey justice. When I told her I wanted to use one of her stories, Jen suggested this piece from Out of The Gutter.

“June” by Jen Conley

“June, wearing a worn yellow eyelet dress, sat in front of the radio, listening to the Velvelettes sing “A Needle in a Haystack.” The music almost drowned out the noise coming from the bedroom, her mother and Mr. Gash back there, wood bedframe banging against the wall, the grunts from him.

The apartment was small—just the bedroom and the front room, a kitchenette off to the side. The men came by, not often, but they came, and in the past, June would go outside and play in the dirt lot next to the building. Today she didn’t. She was getting older, figuring things out, and these men, in their dungarees or slacks, always with wrinkled shirts, cigarettes hanging from their mouths, they arrived at all hours, sometimes standing in the kitchenette, taking a nip of whiskey before disappearing into the bedroom with her mother.”

Read the rest of the story.